Me Irish Eyes (and legs) be Smiling

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Happy (early - really early) St. Patrick's Day!

Madison hosted a slew of festivities this weekend to support the upcoming holiday, including the Shamrock Shuffle, which consisted of a 2-mile walk, a 5K run, and a 10K run to support The Boys and Girls Club of Dane County. The race started and ended on State Street, and despite the fact that it was a chilly 30F at race time, the race was an enjoyable event. So many of the participants dressed in Irish garb - there were Leprechauns, kilts, St. Patricks, and dozens of people wearing all kinds of crazy green getups. It was really entertaining.

My time wasn't too great... I could only manage a 53:54 time (8:41 average mile), which was good for 332 out of 795 of the 10K racers. I'm so disappointed by my recent "slowdown" while racing - my legs remain uncooperative, sore, and generally feel heavy and thrashed. I'm fairly certain it's due to over training, but taking a few weeks off isn't an option - I remember taking a single week off last year due to my surgery, and the following weeks were almost back-breaking. So, I have to keep moving.

Once the race was finished, I headed back to the apartment where I hopped on the bike and trainer for an hour or so. Believe it or not, I'm not dreading the trainer as much as I did in years' past, primarily thanks to the Turbo Crank training program that I downloaded a few months ago. It's such a great program - solid workouts, some variety, and I think it's delivering results.

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I then hopped into the shower and made my way back downtown, where I met my cousin Leanne and her husband Jeff. No, we weren't there to protest or march around the square, but rather, to watch the Madison Saint Patrick's Day Parade, which was held on the capitol square. Jeff and Leanne (whom I really, really, really enjoy spending time with) secured a superb location from which to watch the festivities; we were in the sun, which helped keep us warm, and totally blocked from any wind, thanks to the buildings around us.

Here are a bunch of photos from the parade, starting with the beginning of the parade, which featured what appeared to be a 1952 - 1954 Chevrolet police car:

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The UW marching band (well, part of it) wasn't far behind. Although, no green? Someone's getting pinched. :-D

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And speaking of bands and lack of green/Irish spirit, what the heck was this guy doing in the parade?? (Truth be told, he sounded pretty decent)

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Ok, this is a bit more inline toward keeping with the spirit of the day:

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There were a few dogs making their rounds as well, including these two guys - that's an Irish Deerhound in the back, I believe - I love those guys!

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There were plenty of bagpipes and drum bands, all of which sounded great. I'm not sure why, but I really like the sound of bagpipes. Honestly!

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I was surprised by the number of Irish dance schools in the area; this was just one of four or five dance schools that marched (and danced a bit) in the parade - check out the Irish curls:

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And finally, a few odds-n-ends made their way into the parade, including this super cool contraption that looked like a mini-ferris wheel. It was entirely powered, steered, and controlled by the guy's momentum and movements - he'd climb around inside of it, sit on certain rungs, lean a certain direction, and so on, all to make it move or stop. He was really amazing:

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The parade was a bit long - I want to say that it ran nearly two hours - and, it featured more candy and beaded-necklaces than I've ever seen. The parade participants were literally covering the streets in candy. We joked that there should be a dentist's office in the parade to hand-out business cards... and there was!!! Genius!

The parade also had a lot of political overtone to it; I realize there's a lot of change and history taking place in Madison these days, but I wasn't sure if the parade was the best choice of venue for folks to share their positions about the recent legislative actions that have taken place (for the record, I'm 200% against the Walker agenda - it seems as though this is a personal battle for him, and it's been quite underhanded and full of what I would consider to be unfair practices). But, the folks were all very cooperative, friendly, professional, and peaceful, so in the end, it was AG (All Good).

After the parade ended, Leanne, Jeff and I went to the Old Fashioned for a late lunch/early dinner. I had a super excellent grilled chicken salad; Jeff had some incredible baked mac-n-cheese, and Leanne had a scrumptious sandwich. I did indulge in one beverage - a warped speed scotch ale - and it was unreal. Oh so good. But then I stuck with water and Diet Coke, so all was not lost.

We scored an ideal seat, near the front window, and talked for nearly 2-hours. It was really enjoyable, and I was shocked to see that it was nearly 4:45pm when we got up to leave. I was certain I'd have a parking ticket on my car (I plugged the meter in the ramp for 2.5 hours), but the luck of the Irish came through - no ticket to report!

So, there you have it. Not a bad weekend. I just returned from the gym where I lifted some weights and am about to eat a late dinner (the usual: grilled chicken, black beans, tomato, and broccoli).

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This page contains a single entry by Steve published on March 13, 2011 8:43 PM.

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