a new year’s eve 13 miler with a new toy!

a new year's eve 13 miler with a new toy!

due to the snowdeal holiday travel schedule santa arrived at the snowdeal household on the eve of new years eve ( much to odin’s chagrin ). and i was very surprised to get a nifty timex ironman watch from kris and odin! no more jostling with my phone to check my pace with runkeeper ( not to mention the fact that gps tracking sucks the battery dry on my android phone )!

so i thought i’d give it a try on a 13 miler for the final run of 2012. ooohhhh boy does it ever play into my obsessive compulsive tendencies. now i can glance at my wrist every tenth of a mile to check my pace and count calories :-)

a 9:52 pace is a pretty average, relatively easy half marathon pace these days while trudging around in slippery, wintery slop in 10F temps. it’s about a 4:15 marathon pace. if it was dry and not sloppy i could probably easily hit 9:15 minute miles which is a 4:00 marathon pace and pretty good time for me given the fact that i am still subject to the the brutal math of Being A Clydesdale, even after dropping 90 pounds. i think if i lose a few more pounds and focus on developing my speed i can probably hit a 8:30 pace which is around a 3:40 marathon time and about my upper limit.

with a final 13 miler, i’ve ran 2089 miles over the 68 weeks since i started running again and 1,800 miles in 2012!

day 3103: odin shows off his lego millennium falcon.

day 3103: odin shows off his lego millennium falcon. I.

like a lot of kids his age odin loves lego and while he hasn’t seen the star wars movies, he somehow seems to know a lot about them and really likes the millennium falcon, so he was super excited to have gotten the lego ship as a gift for christmas from his grandparents.

while it isn’t the 5,000 piece star wars ultimate collector’s millennium falcon ( which can be had for $3,000! ), it’s still a large 1,500 piece set and i thought it would take him a few days to put it together.

as usual, i underestimated him. it took about 4 hours :-)

day 3103: odin shows off his lego millennium falcon. II.

in honor of putting together the grand ship, we decided to right a wrong and watched episode IV: a new hope so, you know, he could see the inside of the ship in the movie ( he loved the movie ).

odin talks with siri.

odin talks with siri.

odin walked up to his mother and handed her this piece of paper. “what’s this?” she asks. odin replied, “here’s where we can get a good computer.” kris asked him how on earth he learned you could get a good computer at the west town mall 76 miles from viroqua.

siri told me!”

turns out, he overheard me asking kris if she had played around with siri on her ipad and asked her any questions. somehow odin figured out how to ask her a question and his first – telling – question was where to get a good computer ( i.e. where might we be able to get him a good computer ) :-)

of course, siri is a bit biased and directed him to the apple store at the west towne mall in madison.

Little War on the Prairie

this american life has an outstanding episode, “Little War on the Prairie”, on the dakota war of 1862 which led to the public hanging of 38 sioux, the largest mass execution in american history in mankato minnesota. i’m not a minnesotan, but it’s amazing to me that i’ve never heard of the battle or what happened in the ironically named sibley park ( listen to the episode to learn why ). there’s no mention of the event on the mankato sibley park page. i wonder if there’s even a marker. it’s a somber reminder of all the battles ( and massacres ) that took place all around us in the upper midwest in the name of manifest destiny. indeed, the bad axe massacre took place in victory wisconsin less than 30 miles from where i live now.

recommendations for Phase II fitness program reading.

i’ve ran over 2,011 miles after 67 wks which is close to the shortest distance across US ( 1,722 miles in 2012! ) and i’m within pounds of hitting my goal of losing 90 pounds by the new year! hurray! huzzah for long term goals! i still plan on losing a few more pounds, but Phase I of The Snowdeal Fitness Plan ( i.e. Lose A Lot of Weight Plan ) is nearly complete and i’m definitely looking forward to running less and starting a Phase II fitness program focused on strength training.

trouble is, i know even less about strength training than i do about running. i mean, i know folks who love p90x or crossfit and those are probably wonderful and might be part of the answer, but i’m more of a everything you know about fitness is a lie kind of guy with modest goals. i’m looking for something that doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment ( maybe a few dumb bells), that can be done a few times a week for relatively short periods of time ( 30-60 minutes ) that will play well with running ( i.e. not looking to bulk up ).

something like this kettlebell exercises for runners looks like it might fit the bill, but you all surely must have some recommendations that i can read up on!

so feel free to send me your favorite articles or books about this or that fitness program so i can be sure to pick things that confirm my bias that everything i know is wrong!

you’re probably overconfident about the 50% of the facts you know which are actually wrong.

i never tire of reading about the cognitive basis for irrationality with one of my favorite cognitive biases being the overconfidence effect where, generally speaking, even when you’re 100% certain in something you’re probably only actually correct 80% about of the time. to make matters even more uncertain, new facts are piling up at an astonishing rate and half the facts you know are probably wrong!

day 3095: hanging out with family on the eve of christmas eve.

day 3095: hanging out with family on the eve of christmas eve. I.

per usual, we had whirlwind travels to see friends and family over the holidays. on the eve of christmas eve, odin and us had a fun time hanging out with grandparents and cousins!

odin and his cousin jonah only get to see each other a few times a year, but that doesn’t stop them from getting on like old buddies.

day 3095: hanging out with family on the eve of christmas eve. II.

what are the odds, i can get a picture of three grandkids with grandma with everyone looking at the camera? slim and none. and slim is out of town :-)

day 3095: hanging out with family on the eve of christmas eve. III.

perhaps jonah is wondering when all this picture taking will be over!

day 3095: hanging out with family on the eve of christmas eve. IV.

and yet even more evidence as to why i should not be the designated family photographer. just kidding. sort-of.

day 3095: hanging out with family on the eve of christmas eve. V.

who might be trying to tickle grandma while i’m trying to take a picture! grandpa, or odin? OR BOTH?!

going for a leisure run in a blizzard. and a sign from the thrash metal gods.

going for a leisure run in a blizzard. and a sign from the thrash metal gods.

the first really good storm of the season hit southwest wisconsin with predictions of up to 18 inches of snow, sustained 25-30mph winds with gusts of up to 40mph and wind chills in the low teens.

perfect running weather!

just me and deserted streets, conveniently emptied so that i could run right down the middle while only having to keep an eye out for the snow plows and their operators who love to give a one fingered wave ( not the middle finger! )

turns out you can set a pretty good pace with a 30mph winds to your back. but eventually you have to turn around. AND THEN IT’s BRUTAL.

and in a perfectly perfect twist towards the end of the first loop back the to house, “trapped under ice” came on the ol’ ipod and i almost slipped on an ice patch, but somehow managing to prevent myself from going into a cartoonish feet above head fall to the ground.

i took it as sign from the thrash metal gods that 3 miles in a blizzard was enough.

gun control & america’s unique gun culture

in light of tragedies like the sandy hook elementary school shooting, i tend to gravitate towards “easy answers”. i’ve never understood how anyone could be against buy-back programs, reasonable regulations on distribution & sales, mental health screenings, hardware safety rules ( e.g. trigger locks ) and so on. but whatever happens we all have to recognize that america is unique and “…more violent than other countries because Americans are more violent than other people”. simply taking away our 200 million guns won’t work but when we have nearly twice as many guns per person as do yemenis maybe, just maybe, we should regulate them more rigorously than ladders.