It is week 3 of training for the Vancouver Half Marathon, it is all paid for so there is no way out of this without losing a whole lot of cash. The training is going well and I have started my distance increases. Week #1 saw a 10km run Then the week after (last weekend) I did 11km Then yesterday morning before starting work in Vancouver for the day (well a few hours anyway but that is a different story) I did a 12km run. Now the ones on the Burke Gilman trail (10km & 11km) were so much easier than the run yesterday. The good thing with running on the Burke is there is no stopping and it is mainly flat. The trail makes it easier to keep on pace. Running around the streets of vancouver was tough. There was a lot of height changes and a LOT of stopping for the first half as there was a lot of roads to cross as I headed out over the Granville bridge into the city. But there was many times during that run I just wanted to end it early and give up, but I kept going. It was only 1km more than the last run but, damn, it was tough. The longer I keep running each week means the easier it is going to be on race day, but the more I run now, the harder it is on my body. Yesterday I could barely walk up steps after the run and that was only 12km! I have to add another 9km for that day. I sure as hell am not driving back from Vancouver on the day of the race (someone else can drive me!) as I have a feeling I will be barely able to walk. But I am in this now and I am going to keep at it. In the famous words of Yoda, "Do or Do Not, there is no try".

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

Ok well a lot of you know that I am here in the USA on a work visa, well that visa is fast approaching it's end. For the last 6 months I paniced and worried if I was going to be sponsored again and then when I was told it was all good, it was then hoping to get the visa appointment in time before it expired. Good News! My Visa appointment is on Tuesday!! so the day after Aviation Geek Fest finishes I am driving north to Canada for a few days while I get my Visa renewed! YAYAYAYA for 2 more years!

So back around Christmas we got a nice dumping of snow and the city freaked out. Well after walking out of the movies on Saturday night in Southcenter I was greeted to a bit of a site... falling snow. I was spending some time down around the south end that night so there was going to be plenty of snow on the ground and it was coming down hard! Not just snow that didn't stick but lots and lots of pretty heavy snow flakes... as you can see... there was quite a bit:
From Life in Seattle 2014
Wake up Sunday morning and low and behold there is plenty of snow on the ground... several inches worth
From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014
With that much snow on the ground it did mean that there was lots of problems with cars on the roads and abandoned cars etc
From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014
After a nice morning, Heidi & I decided to go and play in the snow a little, to really get to enjoy it (and also dig the truck out). How do you clean out a truck full of snow... By building a snowman (or Woman in this case). Turning this
From Life in Seattle 2014
Into this:
From Life in Seattle 2014
We then proceeded out for a walk amongst the streets for a bit of a stretch and some exercise
From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014
Before returning back to some warmth!! Crazy Crazy amount of snow! The drive home that afternoon was pain free and by this morning most of it has been rained away, When I left the truck this morning, the Snow Woman had lost her head from melting 🙁

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!

Well since I have a new Breakfast partner in crime, a number of these reviews will pop up in the future. Again as before I don't want to make this a breakfast review site, but hell, it's always a little bit fun to show others how awesome some places are. First off the Rank is The Commons in Woodinville. Run by the Heavy Restaurant Group who also run Barrio (Where I had my birthday brunch last year) it is their newest outpost and is luckily only 10 minutes or so from my house. Loved being able to be at a new breakfast option without having to go downtown. Thankfully I had made a reservation with the HRG twitter team earlier in the week as when we arrived there was a lovely long line waiting for a table #win.
From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014
It had a very old school country kitchen feel to it and I kinda liked it. The dominating point to me was the big table of baked goods just inside the door. Covered in Baked goodies like scones, muffins, cookies & other such awesomeness, I couldn't wait to get stuck into one of these:
From Life in Seattle 2014
We were sat within 5 minutes or so and the first thing on both our minds was coffee which was promptly brought out by the lovely waitress who we shortly ordered with and after asking for the cinnamon roll to share with extra frosting, we got approving looks. That soon landed on our table, all warm and gooey and yummy, we attempted to cut it but failed when the cream cheese frosting went everywhere. Instead we just started to get stuck into it when our meals arrived.
From Life in Seattle 2014
Heidi ordered the Pork Belly Biscuit & I went with the Granola (I was wanting something fairly crunchy for once) and both were good. The Granola was to die for and the berries that came with it were devine. Heidi's biscuit was good but even better with the addition of some of the Barrio Hot Sauce they provide.
From Life in Seattle 2014
We both agreed the place was the bomb and definately good value. Add on the service which was fantastic (even when they forgot about our potatoes) I can't fault the place! Definately want to go back!

Today is Superbowl Sunday and I get to go to my first real Superbowl party and I am pretty excited. Although my team did not make it into the Superbowl (sadly) the atmosphere here in Seattle has been pretty amazing. So much so that everywhere you go here in Seattle right now, it is Seahawks everywhere. One thing you need to understand is that the Seahawks fans think of themselves as the 12th player, also known as the "12th Man". Everywhere you go right now it is 12th Man everything.... Exhibit A:
From Life in Seattle 2014
Boeing even got into the superbowl fever and made their own Seahawks livery, also known as the "12th Plane". It looks pretty awesome!
From Life in Seattle 2014
Future of Flight got into the act yesterday and had a rally up on the Stratodeck and it was pretty awesome to see everyone up there. The crowds didn't seem to mind the cold at all, but the blue sky was amazing. I did manage to get a photo right before I got suckered into holding a ladder for someone:
From Life in Seattle 2014
All in all Seattle has been pretty fun the last couple of weeks, I am looking forward to the game today and meeting some true Seahawks fans. While a lot of my friends get fully into the game today, for me it is going to be more about relaxing and soaking in the atmosphere. Weird american food traditions, lots of football and some velveeta (its cheese apparently), sounds like a good idea to me. Who know's maybe I might even go for the Seahawks.... Go Hawks?