Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I Live in Iowa: Week 61

Sorry for getting this up later than normal. I was caught up in Duluth, MN and traveling back and forth from there to Dubuque. Then I became caught in tearing my motorcycle apart because of a leaker carburator. It is a pretty common problem that I hear is easily fixable.

Anyway, the week in review. I did not run at all this week. Not a single tenth of a mile. That is the first calender week since July 2009 that I did not run at least once. That was going to be my "thing" running at least once in every calendar week. It ended after not even three years. I'm so lazy.

At work I spent two days in training learning how to better process data with a newish piece of software. Then I spent two days comparing A to B. If it were that simple it would not have consumed two days of my life. In other words my progress was not immediately clear. That is the nature of the beast though. After all, we don't spend four or more years in engineering school to work on problems that only take a half hour of effort.

The weekend, was great! I went up to Duluth to cheer on four of my friends running Grandma's marathon. I was registered for the half marathon, and I picked up my packet, and brought my running shoes and uniform. Alas, my foot was just hurting too much that running on it would just be plain unwise. So I was the crowd for my friends. I was the cheering section. It was, honestly, pretty awesome! No pressure to perform well, no physically and emotionally draining event. I love racing, especially the longer distances, but these races take it out of me.

All of my friends had a good race. One of my friends classically went out something like 30 seconds per mile faster than he intended and ended up crawling in the last 1.2 miles at 8:40 pace. Two minutes slower than his average pace! Sometimes you just have to put yourself out there. Plus, it is so easy to feel so good the first half of a marathon that you start out at a crazy pace.

My other three friends ran the whole race side by side and finished in just over five hours. I have never gone to a marathon with the intention of cheering for a person who ran slower than three hours. I just don't have many friends that have run four and five hour marathons. Or at least invite me to come along and cheer for them. It was amazing to watch so many people, a continuous stream of people running down the road. Filling up two lanes near the beginning. I clapped and cheered for over 20 minutes strait around the six mile mark. It was inspirational. On the down side, the last few miles of the four and five hour runners was just carnage. People had terribly asymmetric strides, there was blood, there was a lot of walking (which is okay, there was just a lot more at mile 24.5 than mile 6), people just looked incoherent. I seriously thought that at least one of the four would end up in the hospital.

We stayed at my friends' friends' house (now my friends) and they were just amazing hosts! We had pre-race pizza including chicken and wild rice pizza, which was fantastic! We talked and chatted and checked out the race expo and watched the 5k finish. For other activities while in Duluth we ate at Burrito Union and At Sara's Table Chester Creek Cafe. Both of which were just amazing places! Not exactly cheap, but for the value of the food and the quality of the atmosphere both were well worth it. The people were amazing, the weather was great, the race went well, and the food was fantastic. What more could I want.

I do feel like this has given me a skewed view of Duluth though. I hear that most of the year it is cold. Plus, my friends that live there are moving to Denver in three weeks after living there for four years. In other words, I had a great weekend, but it is likely that I will never have a nice weekend like that in Duluth again. It's really the people that make the place and I have been extremely rewarded over the years to be around great people all the time. It was an awesome weekend.

In other news, I bought a Macbook Air. I will of course be writing a tribute article to my old computer which I bought in April 2004 and has lasted until now. It still works but the hard drive is full, applications open slowly, and I have had to plug it in when I want to use it for more than ten minutes since 2006. I'm mobile again.

My friends, I have so much. I am so fortunate. Thank you so much. You didn't have to host me on the couch. You didn't have to provide food for me. You didn't have to listen to me drone on about stuff you could care less about. You didn't have to drive the whole way. You didn't have to call and text when you didn't hear from me. To all of those things, you did. Thank you very much!

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