April 2008 Archives

Amy's new wheels

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Amy bought a bike last weekend - a Schwinn Super Sport. We got it from the local bike/outdoors shop, along with a helmet and a small bag (for carrying keys, phone, tube patch kit, etc). She took it out for its maiden voyage last night - she rode about 3.5 miles while I ran.

Here it is, in all of its glory:


It's got some decent parts, but would benefit from some pretty significant upgrades. It's a good starter bike - hopefully she'll like riding it as much as I like riding my bike. :-)

Here's a tip...

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We went to O'Charleys restaurant on Sunday night with a group of people. We had spent the afternoon practicing for our upcoming softball league (I'm on the Bank's team), and a bunch of folks wanted to grab a bite to eat after practice. The group decided on O'Charleys.

For the record, I've been a long-standing, vocal opponent of O'Charleys. I've never once had a good experience there - the service has always been questionable, the food not so fantastic, and the prices not very reasonable. Most everyone knows that I'm not a fan of the OC. But, the group wanted to go there, so I didn't say a word - I just led the way to OC from the softball field.

We arrived and were immediately seated in the bar, and we had really good service. I was pleasantly surprised. I was further impressed when I browsed the menu and noticed that the prices were reasonable, and the selections were revamped and most looked quite appealing. Our food came out quickly, and it tasted really, really good. Had the OC turned over a new leaf? Maybe it was time for me to lift my self-imposed ban on 'ole Charles.

The bill came, and it was indeed quite reasonable - $29.66. I gave the server a $10 tip - he had done an excellent job - handled our group of 15 people with ease, and didn't goof up a single thing. He was on the ball with drink refills, and really deserved a stellar tip. I left happy, and on Monday, I e-mailed folks at work to tell them how I had previously been wrong about O'Charleys. In fact, I suggested, we might want to make it a regular hang out. Perhaps stop there on a Thursday night or two?

Well, today, I went online and checked my bank account. It seems that my $10 tip wasn't good enough. The server had changed my tip to $110, for a total bill of $139.66, as reflected here:


I called the restaurant and told them about the discrepancy, and the manager immediately fixed it. I got the impression that I wasn't her first call about this - she casually asked, "Were you seated in the bar on Sunday?" And I said, "Yes we were." She said, "I'm very sorry - we'll fix this right away."

So... do I go back? Or, do I reinstate the OC ban? I'm leaning toward the "ban" again...

I guess I'm in decent shape?

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My first 5k race is just two short weeks away, and I'm getting nervous about it. Why? Oh, I don't know... perhaps because I've never entered a real race before, and perhaps because I don't run outside very often (and when I do, it's usually only after a really long bike ride).

So tonight I decided to go for a run at the local walking trail. It's a 1.8-mile loop, and my goal was to run two laps in under 35 minutes. I strapped on the Garmin GPS watch along with my iPod, made sure my shoes were tied tight, and hit the trail. After my second lap, I wasn't real winded - I looked at my watch, and I had completed the two laps in just a tad over 32 minutes. 16 minutes per lap? I was impressed!

I decided that since I wasn't winded, nor were my legs sore, that I'd do one more lap. I wasn't fully expecting to finish the complete third lap; I had run quite a bit on Sunday, and figured I would eventually run out of gas, but I was wrong. I finished the third lap, and my time showed a total of 49 minutes. Not bad, old man - not bad at all!

I couldn't believe how easy it actually was. I guess that when you don't ride 40 miles before you start jogging, the jogging goes a little easier. :-) I told Amy that I'm so happy with the bike - I credit it for my quick progress with running. I never would've guessed that I could run 5.4 miles in such quick time and with such easy effort. A year ago, I would've laughed at the idea. Truth be told, I'm actually laughing a bit right now - giddy, almost.

It looks like I'll be in good shape for my 5k. Worries be gone! Now if only the rest of my gut would go away... I really need to stop eating so horribly and focus on losing this last 15-lbs or so...

I *finally* got a chance to try out my new riding shoes today, as the skies cleared up and the flood waters rescinded enough to clear the trails. The good news is that the rain will return on Monday, and will hang around for about 5-6 more days. That's stellar. I can't wait.

I woke up at around 10:00am this morning, ate a bowl of cereal and did a little stretching. I pumped-up the bike tires, filled my water bottles, put on the riding shorts, popped my pre-ride vitamin mix (400IU of D, 50mcg Zinc, 1000mg C, 2 tabs of L-Carnitine, and 4 tabs of an Amino-Acid mix), loaded the bike and headed for the Military Park trail.

It was about 70F when I started my ride at 11:30am, with lots of sun, and a light breeze. Perfect weather. I put on the shoes, cued-up the iPod, and hit the trail. The first thing I noticed was how awesome my new Rudy Project glasses are.

I can't describe what they do or how they do it, but they somehow manage to shade your vision without darkening anything or causing any distortion at all. The view is phenomenal, as is the fit, which I spent some time tweaking late last week. The glasses are weightless and even after wearing them for four hours straight, they left no pressure points and caused zero discomfort. They are truly unbelievable - if you're looking for some incredible sunglasses, look no further than Rudy Project. I'm a believer - they make my Ray Ban Aviators seem like $2 grocery store glasses.

I completed my first lap (6.65 miles) and realized that my feet didn't hurt at all. They felt perfect and fresh. I think I was so wrapped-up in the new glasses that I forgot to pay attention to my feet. So, for the next lap, I tried to determine if my feet were hurting, and the answer was, "Nope!" Miraculous!

I rode 2 more laps, for a total of 26.6 miles, when my stomach started to bother me again. It had been bugging me all day yesterday, and I felt nauseous all night. Next thing I knew, I was throwing up... nice. I stopped, hopped off the bike and threw up. Luckily I still had two full water bottles, so it wasn't too bad. I finished my 5th lap and stopped at the car for a piece of gum.

I rode one more lap for a total of 40.0 miles, hopped off the bike, took off my helmet and shoes, and put on my running shoes. Despite getting sick earlier, I felt really good, so I ran a lap (well, mostly - I walked about .75 miles of it).

4 hours later, I was done, and I felt fantastic. 40 miles on the bike, 5.5 by foot. I fully credit the new riding shoes - they're so much better than my old freebies. Now I really need to get swimming. I'm not terribly worried about the swim, but I can't put it off any longer.


Before you ask, no - no one made that picture for me, I just happened to find it somewhere on the internet while searching for "number 36" in Google.

So yesterday was my birthday - I'll let you guess how old I am - and it was a pretty good birthday. I was actually feeling quite down on March 31, but Amy and my friends took good care of me on the 'ole Fools Day - by the end of the day, I felt quite good... So good, in fact, that it carried on into today.

I woke-up with the intention to go running on the treadmill, but for some reason, I only slept about 2 hours the night before, most of which came between 5:00am and 7:00am, so I didn't really start my birthday off on the "right foot." It was more like "with your head on the pillow."

I got into my car at around 7:30 and was surprised by a card from Amy. It was pretty much the funniest card I've ever seen - it had a goldfish, diarrhea, and a punch line about "going with the flow." Classic Amy material, and a good pick-me-up. The card even featured one of her signature Cat drawings, and I laugh every time I look at it. It's pretty much the cutest Cat drawing ever.

Arrived at work, and was surprised by another card from some folks in my department - a super nice and unexpected gesture. Then I found out that another department was having a "food day" for my birthday, so I went and got some of Heather's infamous breakfast casserole, along with some cinnamon roles and some OJ. So much for the diet...

Then I found out that another friend, April, subscribed me to the "beer of the month club," and that was a TOTAL shocker. I never would've imagined someone would get that for me, but I'm pretty excited about it. She chose a bunch of national and international microbreweries, so it'll be fun to see what arrives at the 'ole homestead each month. Great gift idea - something I've never had, nor would I have dreamed of.

My department then grabbed me and said that they had also planned a food day for me, so I had to go check out their goodies. There were doughnuts, cake, shortcake, salads, casseroles, fruit trays, and these amazing "stuffed strawberries." I can't describe them, but they were unbelievably delicious. Really unusual, but super tasty. Thanks to everyone for the great food - it was all so good.

Then my friend "T-Bone" (Tonia) pulled me into her office and said, "I didn't know what to get you, because you're pretty much a perfectionist and you research everything and only buy the best stuff out there, so I hope you don't already have these." And she handed me a box that said Rudy Project on it.

I opened it up, and there was a hard plastic case, and inside of that were some pretty radical looking sunglasses. Her husband is an optometrist and she explained how the Rudy Project glasses were the best out there - best optics, lightest weight, best features, and so on. She said that all of the bike racers and triathlon athletes rave about them, and she hoped I'd like them. I tried them on, and they were amazing. I couldn't believe the gift - it was so amazing and unbelievable.

People had managed to shock and surprise me about 100 times, and it was barely 10:00am. Just after I recovered from all of the surprises, it dawned on me that I'll have to try and think of good gifts for their birthdays, so I guess I've got my work cut out.

I didn't go to lunch, primarily because I was so full from all of the breakfast goodies, but I did later meet about 15 of my coworkers, friends, and Amy at the local Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. We stayed until around 10:00pm, then headed home.

The "icing" on the proverbial cake included: a hilarious birthday song from my friend Dan which I didn't hear until 10:30 or so last night, and getting an e-mail from my old friend John, who now lives in Australia (and used to work for Bentley Motor Cars).

All in all, it was a spectacular birthday, and it wouldn't have been possible without everyone who managed to surprise me and brighten my day. Thanks to everyone for the cards, phone calls, gifts, surprises, and $$. Thanks to my parents, grandparents, "Mommy & Mike," Amy, Kelly, and everyone at work - you are all so awesome. Thank you!!! Thanks so much for the great birthday!!!!

In other news - a quick update on Big Boy: he seems to be doing better. We've changed his food to an all natural, grain-free food called Taste of the Wild, and we think it might be helping him. Amy is also giving him a variety of pills from the vet each day. Hopefully he'll put on a few pounds and will regain a little strength.

It's sort of funny how he scares us to death and then rebounds... I think he might like the attention or something... :-) We all know that Regis loves going to the vet; I wonder if Regis let Big in on the secret?