Packing

Normally if I have a post about packing, it would generally be about an upcoming trip (And there is one of those at the end of this week) but this time, the packing refers more to the household kind. My lease is up at my current apartment on the 22nd of June. That weekend would mean that it is time for me to either stay in the current apartment or move somewhere else. Considering at the moment I enjoy my location due to it’s closeness to Paine Field. On a good day I am maybe 10-12 minutes drive away from the field so I can catch those good Boeing departures. But lately, weekend test flights have been less and less prevalent and with all the good stuff mainly flying over the week when I am at work, well, there isn’t much of a point of being so close to the field. Sadly my current location though convenient for weekends, is not at all great for commuting to work. I need to use 2 buses to get to and from work and since I moved in, the times have just become shockingly bad. I am now constantly getting into work way to early and due to bus times, I can’t stay all that late as my buses end late and require either a 2.5km walk or a solid 25 minute wait to connect to another bus. The other thing is that the apartment complex is undergoing refurbishments, however my apartment has not yet had that done, with a rent increase again (this time almost $200!) and no date as to when the apartment would be refurbished (which probably wouldn’t happen knowing them), that is not a good thing.

So I looked about for somewhere else to live. I wanted to also bring myself closer to Heidi as well, to avoid the 45 minute drives in each direction. That would mean that I can put a bit of that extra $$ that I am spending in fuel each week (the truck isn’t exactly frugal with the fuel I put into it) towards somewhere nicer, somewhere that may cost a bit extra. Well, after looking around, it is time for everyone to know that I am moving… the date is set, the location found.

Two years ago when I moved over here to the USA I checked out some new apartments in the Renton Highlands at a complex called “Harrington Square”. Funny thing is two years later, I went back to check it out. The place had gotten better and in the end I signed a lease for a 1 Bedroom. What sealed the deal? Well there is a Bus stop at the door that goes directly to work (and actually stops just across the street), it is in a fairly decent location (surrounds wise) and it has an amazing Gym. I couldn’t turn it down.. I went for it straight away!

So on the 14th of this month (yep there is a 1 week overlap) I pack up the truck and head south to Renton to a new apartment, a new location and another step in this journey over here. I will be much closer to Heidi (timed it last night to around 10-12 minutes) and the trip to work should be easier as well (though about the same time frame as the bus goes all over the shop, but still 1 bus is better than two). The packing has begun as I started taking stuff down off the walls today. I don’t have all that much stuff, but still the packing will be a new experience. At least I have a whole heap of favors to call in for moving day. Since the truck has been utilised many times to help others, it is time to call in those favors. Should be an interesting couple of weeks.

It’s Over……

It’s all over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As I type this on my laptop, sitting in the passenger seat of Heidi’s car, I feel a certain sense of accomplishment. I also feel every single piece of muscle in my body screaming at me saying “You’re fucking stupid, if you ever do this again I am going to smack you in the head”. If there was ever going to be a time that Murrphy’s Law was going to make its presence known, this has been it. Ever since that fateful time after my 13km training run, it was all down hill from there.

Friday night was a good night, however the trip north had a false start as we had to go back to my place to pick up some candy that had to go north to Canada (I sure hope those pineapple lumps are tasty Roy!). That should of been the first sign that things were not going to go “as planned”. The weather was fairly rotten up north, the border crossing was as usual, horrible. The border agent just had a bug up his ass and wanted me to say the words “Work Visa” and kept being a douche about it. But the arrival at the hotel and check in was fantastic and by the time we headed out towards the city for dinner we were happy!

Saturday started off fairly ok, I managed to take some photos of a Air Canada Rouge A319 which is what I was searching for (still didnt get my Westjet Q400 but theres still time) but when we were heading down towards breakfast on Broadway, I realised I had forgotten the pineapple lumps…. again. Back to the airport, back to the car, then back to broadway. I am stupid, I know But we had a good lunch with Roy and explored Granville Island and then headed over to the Expo to score some free stuff and pick up my race kit (I now have more power bars than I know what to do with).

Saturday night was meant to be quiet, it was meant to be relaxed. After some carbo loading we were meant to relax in the spa and just have a nice quiet night in…. yeah didnt happen. We waited almost an hour for our take out order to appear *sigh* and by that stage I was tired, hungry, cranky and ready for sleep. I was not a happy chappy. But dinner was pretty good (not really worth the wait though) and I got to have a wagon wheel (or at least the Canadian equivalnet).

Sunday morning was full on pouring down rain. Several times I contemplated sleeping in….. Several times!!! But the ever convincing girlfriend kept me on track and dropped me off to make sure that I got to the race start on time. The race went pretty well and although I didn’t run the whole thing it went better than expected. The rain came down about 90% of the time and it was hard trying to dodge people and giant puddles full of water. When my shoes got full of water, I stopped caring, I just took it as it came. Although I didn’t see Heidi till the final stretch (our timings were off) there was plenty of other people to support me while I was out running. I did like the Tinder support team (around the halfway mark). A few very pretty ladies, some really good pumping music and best of all, a little bit of a a boost to my energy.

I was one of those people that had to make a potty break during the run, which I didn’t want to do at all but it just ended up that way and although it slowed me down, it wasn’t by all that much. The last half of the race was my hardest. My calves were burning, my knees were shot but my injury wasn’t a hassle at all. However the rest of me just didn’t want to give up. I walked a little, ran for a bit, walked some more. I was trying to run for a bit when we hit the hill in Stanley Park near the Rose Garden… yep.. I walked… so kill me :P I did walk about a good kilometer and a half at the end of the race, but I was determined to run the last full kilometer (ended up running about the last 1.25km). I saw Heidi on the final turn, ran off the course to kiss her and kept goinng. Best inspiration ever!

I crossed the line in 2h 35m and I am thoroughly happy with that time. When I had set my goals originally I was expecting to run the full half marathon, start to finish. I was aiming for 2.5 hours for that. When I injured myself I decided to revise that to 3 hours. Even then I figured it would be closer to 3 than anything else. Although I was pacing with the 2.5 hour group for part of the way, I kept up to them but they overtook me after the potty break and I never saw them again after that.

I am proud of myself for not giving up and pushing through the injury to get this done. But I know that Heidi will probably kick me in the head if I say I want to do it again. This race has been the hardest thing I have done since I moved to the USA. It could possibly be the hardest thing I have done ever. The weight loss felt a lot easier than this, Kokoda felt considerably easier, This morning I could have given up so many times and just stopped & walked to the nearest Tim Hortons for a coffee (tempted to as well considering they are on almost ever corner in Downtown Vancouver) but I didn’t, I stuck with it. I know a few people are proud of me for keeping at it, but I know I could have done better.

I wont say I will ever run a Half Marathon again, no matter what others think, it just isn’t me. I will stick to my 5ks and 10ks for a good race event push. Till I have to stop running outright the least I can do is just keep on pushing.. right?

PS if you have some good pain killers, I could do with some right now ;)

Training Complete… Bring it!

Well, this morning was my final training run, and even though my legs, knees, joints and body hates me right now, It was worth it. The last few training runs have been pretty good. I started off with a big full run last saturday. It was my first 10k since the injury and that was going to be a hard task. I hit the trail early for the run so that if things went ok I could go to bootcamp after. I was determined to do at least 10K and try to run as much as I possibly could. I managed to do 7K’s straight non stop and then spent the rest doing 10/1 intervals.

The 10/1’s are working out pretty well for me and the run went off pretty well. Yes it was slow compared to my PB for a 10K but that is to be expected. It has been just two months since my injury and it has been a slow recovery and training process. So that is not all that horrible and my body felt good (especially after a whole other hour of bootcamp straight after the run).

Since that run I have run Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday mornings, all 5k’s each and all not to bad. Monday & Tuesday was 5k’s straight each, non stop. Yesterday was the roughest as I have not been running back to back like that and it has been an effort. But then this morning I did 10/1’s and although my legs hated me immensley, I still did it, I still pushed myself.

From here the full taper program starts. I am going to hit the gym tonight (something I didn’t do all that much of Monday night due to wanting to rest my legs a little, or last night as I had dinner with Heidi) and then the same tomorrow morning. Thursday night begins the full rest period with no gym (might walk home though, still undecided) and then Friday and Saturday are full stops, no gym, no running at all.

Sunday is the big day and I am mighty nervous. I don’t know the outcome yet or how things are going to go, but sure as hell I am going to give it my best and try my hardest. Bring on Sunday morning in Vancouver!

Two Weeks to go

There is less than 2 weeks to go now before the Vancouver Half Marathon and I am pretty sure now that no matter what I think, it won’t happen the way I want.

The longest run I have done in 2 months is 5.6k and I can manage a 5k without to much discomfort, but the thought of 20k straight just isn’t realistic. I’ll be suprised if I can do more than 5k. But I have a plan.

This week I am going to try and keep running as much as I can to strengthen my leg. I don’t know if it will work but I can try right? Saturday morning I am going to try & do a long training run, a smaller version of what I want to do on the day itself.  For the reminder of the week ahead, more runs and then as of next Thursday morning I will make my final run and then nothing till race day, not even gym, to save my legs.

My plan for rave day and for the training run this weekend is pretty much just intervals. Going to start with a 5k run (which I know I can do) then break for a kilometer and then pick up again for another 5k. After that I hope that my legs can handle another 5k run (after a 1k walk break). After that I will just break it up into manageable pieces of whatever I can handle finishing up with a small run to the finish line.

I really don’t know if the whole thing will work, or if It is going to be possible but sure as hell I’m going to try right?

Training Update

Well it has been a month since the injury at the end of February and as I start the last month before the half marathon I have finally come to the conclusion that I doubt i will be able to run the full half marathon. I am barely back running as it is right now.

It has been a long process for the last month as I kept my brain in check without falling apart again. I have been trying not to just give up entirely and keep pushing forward with the running. I had hoped to be running solidly by now but unfortunately 2km at the moment is the longest stretch I have managed (though I am going for 2.5km tomorrow). The running is slow, but it is definitely happening. Slow is better than not at all right?

So I have finally come to the conclusion that although I won’t be able to run the whole way, I am going to try and run as much as possible. I am already $120 in the hole for this half marathon and I am not going to waste that, so if I have to walk some of it, I have to walk, so be it. I am not giving up! I may not be able to run but I am going to give it a crack anyway.

I also have really decided that maybe a half marathon is a bit far for me. I still love my 5ks, I love doing a 10k as my real challenge, so maybe that is as far as I push it? Is a half marathon just that little bit to far for me? I don’t really know and only time can tell but for the immediate future, I will stick to 5k runs!

Tomorrow I run again (after giving today as a break day in between training) and will go for a 2.5km run with a 500m walk and then another 2km run back. That should hopefully do ok enough that on Saturday I can try for a full 5km. If that works and I don’t feel the pain too much, then I can start adding back in the length to the run. Who knows, maybe I can run at least half of the distance in one stretch? Time will tell.

Fun in a Tube

On Monday I got the great experience of indoor Skydiving down at iFly in Tukwila. It was something I had wanted to do again after experiencing it for the first time in New Zealand and at least once more before my goal of jumping out of a plane later this year. With a lovely discount through HowaboutWe a new website for discounted “dates”, why the hell not (big props to Heidi for finding it!).

We got two 1 minute flights each and it was a different experience compared to the outdoor one I experienced in NZ. The biggest difference other than indoor/outdoor was the fact that in NZ the fan was below you and pushed the air up, where as at iFly the fan was above you and circulated the air down through ducting to then below upwards from there. How it all worked or which one was better, I have no idea. What it meant was that it was not as frightening to think that below this flimsy mesh net was a giant cicrulating blade that would cut me in half at any time. It was still a bit nerve racking the way they had you entering the slip stream and I think that freaked me out a bit more than I thought. If you check out the videos you can see I look pretty nervous. But once in the stream, well judge for yourself

From Life in Seattle 2014

For what we paid ($20 for the two of us after the $50 joining credit came off) it was a pretty decent bargain! Now of course what you really want to see now is the videos.. well here are my two flights and the one the instructor did for us as a demo

Glutton for Punishment

One of my goals for 2014 on the fitness side of things is to run a half marathon. Thinking it would be smart to find one around here (rather than have to travel halfway across the country like I did for the Marine Corp 10K), there was a number of options I could run. The two big ones in Seattle are the Seattle Half Marathon in the first weekend of December and the Seattle Rock & Roll Half Marathon which is generally around late May/June. Now let’s look at those dates. December in Seattle, freezing cold temperatures, possibility of rain.. let me think for a second…. PASS! May/June the weather would be much better. Looking at the course (since both are exactly the same apparently) it is fairly hilly so if I was going to run it, I would definitely be doing the Rock n Roll since it would be in better weather (I hope).

But The Seattle course has some pretty decent inclines in it, and if I am going to run double the longest distance I have ever done, I would prefer it to be fairly easy. Nice and flat like the Gold Coast Marathon would of been nice, but can’t have that. So I started to ask around and get opinions from others about what a good run was. In the end I took some advice and just ran with it. I decided to do the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon. What I didn’t expect to see when I decided to do it was the date.

The BMO Vancouver Marathon & associated events (Half Marathon & 8K) are both on the first weekend of May (may 4th to be exact) so that means I have about 3 months to train for this. It scares the crap out of me that I now have to REALLY start training to get this done. It will not be easy and I should have just enough time to start increasing my runs each week by an extra km up to the 21.1km mark. I can’t believe how soon it is but will have to live with that decision. It will be a much easier course compared to the Seattle courses:

Vancouver Half Marathon Course Map - Image stolen from BMO Vancouver Marathon Site

Vancouver Half Marathon Course Map – Image stolen from BMO Vancouver Marathon Site

I am looking forward to a new challenge but it is going to be not that easy. I need to really get my butt in gear and get training and think smart about this. This is not some little 5k where I can just shrug it off if my time is not so great. This is going to require discipline, dedication and some good old luck to keep myself injury free between now and may as the entry fee is paid for ($130!) and since I am paying for a weekend up in Vancouver as well (though thankfully I can drive up and the accommodation is already booked, but doesn’t need to be prepaid) I kind of need to be smart about it.

I don’t know what times or anything to aim for and frankly I will be happy with just finishing. This won’t be an easy challenge, but I guess there is no turning back right now, at least i know I am a glutton for punishment!

Still Alive

It has been a busy week back at work so not much to say really. Long hours, stress & the usual commute hassles really means life is back to normal.

I have already started working on one of my goals for the year but will keep details under my hat for the moment. I did get a fss comments and emails about one of the goals and all I will say is I don’t want to be a Batchelor forever.

Might have an interesting tale soon about dealing with the US health insurance system, last time was a hassle, could be happening again. Will wait & see.

Pretty much life is back to boring normality. YAY?

Looking Back & Looking Forward – Goals in 2013 & 2014

Each year I set myself goals for the year ahead. These are not “resolutions” as that is just a way of saying “i should do this” where as a goal to me has an end and feels more like an achievement. I tend to set two different kinds of goals, I have my fitness goals and I have my travel goals. In 2013 my travel goals and my fitness goals were fairly ambitious (at least to me). Some people may not think so but well, they are my goals anyway.

So for 2013 I set my goals and to be honest I am pretty happy with the way it turned out. I didn’t complete all my travel goals but i did complete everything else.

So for my Travel Goals I did requalify for Virgin Australia gold, and managed to do that after 2 mileage runs and a trip back to Australia. I did get to spend a good amount of time at OshKosh and I am extremely happy with that week off in July. A truly happy and amazing experience.

Then there was the goal to explore more of my own new home state. I did this in two parts with a trip out to Yakima with Dan & Shawna to go cherry picking and also the last minute (like on Monday) trip on the ferry to the Kitsap Peninsula. I did also drive down to Portland for a weekend back in May but that doesn’t count cause it is technically another state :P But it was fun none the less. The only Travel goal I didn’t complete was to use up the remainder of my Qantas points. I had been banking them for something I have planned this year hopefully but time will tell.

I did however complete all my fitness goals for 2014. I had set myself the goals of competing in two 5ks here in Seattle, the 10k at the Marine Corp Marathon and also the Triathlon. All were completed successfully and I was impressed with my times for each and every single one of them.

My two 5ks in Seattle:

Then there is the Triathlon

And the 10K for the Marine Corp Marathon

But what about my goals for 2014? Well that is pretty simple, but I am going to break it down to 3 parts this year Personal, Fitness & Travel.

My Travel goals for 2014 are:

* Return to Japan
* Visit Maho Beach
* Singapore Suites
* Lufthansa First Class

Ambitious for the last one, but I have enough points to do it, it is just going to be a matter of timing.

My Fitness Goals for 2014 is just one:

* Half Marathon

It’s a big one, and I am sure I can do it, but anything else will just pail in comparison. Essentially doubling my longest ever run and more will be nuts, it is going to take a lot of preparation for it, but I am in for a challenge. Not sure which one I am going to do yet (depends where I am I guess) but I will do it!

My Personal goals for 2014 are where what would normally been mixed into one of the other two categories I want to do this to challenge myself some more I guess. These goals are also something that I think if I put them out there it makes me more accountable. So my personal goals for 2014 are:

* Jump out of a plane
* Go on at least 1 date
* Get my weight back to pre USA levels and keep it there!

The first one is pretty crazy but I have been working towards it. I don’t really want to do it as a tandem but I will do what I have to do. I would rather do it as a Free Fall and deploy my own chute (my friend Dan has done it that way) but I will take it anyway I can. The other two are definately something I wouldn’t normally put out there but I need to make myself accountable for it!

So there you have it my goals for this year are out there, I can’t go back on it now!

Looking Back at 2013 – Fun & Memories – Part 2

I ran through my fun memories of the first half of 2013 in this post and here are the last half:

July

In July I had a chance to go tripping in summer with my friends Shawna & Dan as they showed me a little bit of their home. I had a blast as we went Cherry picking and I got to see parts of Washington I had not seen. I got to use the Truck for its intended purpose of hauling stuff around. I Also had another dream fulfilled when I got to step foot in OshKosh for the EAA Airventure.

From Seattle Life 2013
From Seattle Life 2013
From Seattle Life 2013
From AirVenture 2013

August

In August while I was in OshKosh I got the chance to accompany a group of Vietnam Veterans on an Honor Flight to Washington DC. Words can not express exactly how amazing this day was and how many memories I have from it. Being the month of my Birthday there was lots of celebrations and a few friends came to visit. Another memorable experience was getting to see my parents as they were stopping in Vancouver for a brief visit. It was a great weekend (though only brief) and getting to spend more than 3 hours with my family was a memory I will not forget.

From EAA Honor Flight
From EAA Honor Flight
From Fiona's Visit
From Fiona's Visit
From Family Visit to Vancouver
From Family Visit to Vancouver
From Family Visit to Vancouver
From Family Visit to Vancouver

September

September saw my friend Yena come over to visit, (though she was here for the last couple of days of August as well but he, it counts) and getting to spend Labor Day weekend with a great friend and showing her my new home town and having some old school shenanigans like old times was great (like licking a GE90 to win a $20 bet). A memory I will not soon forget. September was also the month I had trained long and hard for. I competed in my first Triathlon, a Super Sprint distance event in Woodinville for the “Cottage Lake Tri” and I did so much better than I expected.

From Labor Day 2013
From Labor Day 2013
From Labor Day 2013
From Labor Day 2013
From Seattle Life 2013
From Seattle Life 2013

October

Work got really busy towards the end of September but for most of October I actually spent my time in New Zealand, a good portion of the month actually. I was down there for training and the AOT Megafamil. I probably had what I think was my best famil ever and I enjoyed every minute of it. I met some amazing people, had a blast of a time and truly made friends who I hope to keep in touch with for quite some time. I also did some pretty stupid things, like Jump off a building or go on a giant canyon swing (without the canyon though) all to combat a fear. After getting back from New Zealand I jetted back east for a couple of days to Run my 2nd 10K race ever. I ran the Marine Corp Marathon 10K, something I had wanted to do for quite some time. If and when I ever get up to a full marathon, I want that race to be there as it felt like one of most amazing events I have seen.

From AOT NZ Megafamil – South Island
From AOT NZ Megafamil – South Island
From AOT NZ Megafamil – South Island
From AOT NZ Megafamil – North Island
From AOT NZ Megafamil – North Island
From AOT NZ Megafamil – North Island
From AOT NZ Megafamil – North Island
From AOT NZ Megafamil – North Island
From Marine Corp Marathon 10K
From Marine Corp Marathon 10K

November & December

November was a tough month, No real travel, nothing happening really. There was thanksgiving which I spent at home but it was all work. I needed to get back to work after spending so much time off. I did manage to skip out to Kansas City for the start of December for my $100 challenge which I won and then the snowpocalypse happened as well towards the end of month. A pretty cool thing to experience for the second time in a year

From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Seattle Life 2013
From Seattle Life 2013

It has been a year of ups and downs, both good and bad, but I have had a blast and have some memories that will last a life time. To my friends old & new who I have shared moments with this year, Thank you for making this year truly special.