Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Year in Review...with Pre-New Year Race Prep.

I would say 2016 has been a less than stellar year.   Much has happened..apparently.   And not all of it was very good.  But before I go into a recap... allow me to chat about today and how things are going for the upcoming year.   I have high hopes for 2017.   There are several HUGE moments to look forward to.   But first.... the New Year Day Dash....

We drove to Madison and picked up our swag at the local run shop.   It is a small run with possibly only 600+ runners.   Best part is... it begins OUTSIDE OUR HOTEL!

Possibly in our own parking lot!   I'll be able to sleep in,  eat breakfast, and not have to worry about finding the start or any parking for the Subie!  How awesome is that!  Instead of a shirt, Cheryl gets a beer glass and hat.  This IS Wisconsin, after all.

To kill a little time and lose a bunch of money,  we visited a local specialty grocery store. At first, I thought Brennan's was another "Hippie joint" where Granola's and Vegans hung out to spread the gospel of "Whole Foods" and recycling.

I was wrong!

The place is a MECCA for the flavors of Wisconsin!   Beer, Cheese, Beer, Brats, Beer and Beer... with fresh fruits and Cheese and beer.   I should probably mention they had a pretty good beer section.  We managed to score a few samples to take home after the race.  We also scored some cheese and crackers and an awesome Cherry Almond Cake loaf.   Cheryl is addicted to it.

So now, we shall run out the remainder of the clock on this year of "Fixing the Broken."  A fitting title for our lives, as I went back and snatched a few of the highlights to show off.  It was not all bad.  However, I think a score of about 3.5 out of 10 would be appropriate.  Let's take a loot back and remember a few of the peaks and valleys...

We started the year repainting the entire apartment. 
For Five years, we had endured that awful cream colored paint.   Apartment fixed!
It took almost three months before Cheryl could begin running again after a hamstring pull. 
She was finally able to run  in mid March.   She was finally fixed

Subie hit the BIG 200,000 mile mark.   Mid-age for a Subaru. 
Soon after,  a Head Gasket, Rear Bearing, Front Brakes, Two Tires, and a radiator Hose Break.  

And a Catalytic Converter all had to be fixed this year.   Silver Bullet Subaru... After 200,00 miles and two years of putting things off......Finally Fixed!
I finished my Novel.   Not published yet, But the words are on the page...Novel Fixed! ( with some help from the cat.) 

Cheryl got some New Marathon Shoes.  After breaking them in,  She truly loves them. Marathon Shoes...Fixed!

Can you believe we have been married 20 years?   2016 was the big 20 and we are still here.   Guess it was never broken. 

Shortly after running again, Cheryl got bit by a dog.  Not a very fun moment. 

However,  she then ran the half marathon on a bum leg.  Runners injuries Mostly fixed.

After that,  the Dam to Downtown.  10 K.   She got first place in her age group.  A new PR for the course

She then got 2nd place in the 5K race to Home.  

Second only to super girl,   She brought home a trophy Baseball Bat.  

Back to Wisconsin for some Windy Cheesy half marathon. 

Then up to Duluth MN. for another Grandma's Marathon. Weather played a role in each 2016 race. 

Cheryl and Ethan Discover wild raspberries and poison Ivy.   Oh, the Itchy Joy!

Another Red White and BOOM half marathon for the 4th of July.

A very Hot and Wet run at the Madison Mini-Marathon...again. 

Madison Wisconsin seems to be replacing Twin Cities for our Favorite Running City.

Off to Chicago.   Cheryl scores the First of the World Marathon Majors.

Her Chicago finish time qualified her, yet again, for the Boston Marathon...  Runner Fully Fixed!

On to Naperville half Marathon.   Sponsored by Subaru!

Back home,   Construction Crews Prepare to "fix" the sewer.  By breaking everything around them.  

Off to Milwaukee for the Milwaukee Half Marathon. 

Now back to Madison ( see, Madison yet again!)  For the Madison Half Marathon. ( not Mini) 

Stockings begin to take off.   Could we be on the verge of setting a new record?

Back to the disaster of 2015.   Grand Rapids Turkey Trot. 

With a bit of wisdom and a bunch of caution,  Cheryl manages to get a 3rd place age group medal.

Now back to Des Moines for another Hungry Turkey Half Marathon.   Cheryl gets 2nd place age group.

The year was FILLED with  Melt Down runs and turbulent weather.   With every rise and fall,  our smiles...change. 
There were many other broken things that needed fixing.   The apartment stairs, the kitchen and bathroom sink, My computer,  and our over all work schedule.   I'm hoping that this year of "fixing" things will last for several years and 2017 will not be burdened with any "major issues".  Cheryl managed to squeeze out a tie for 2015 in the running department.  But most of those successful races were in the latter part of the fall.  2017 will start as 2015 did....with a new year run.   With a little luck, we hope it sets the tone for the upcoming year.

Hope everyone else is having a great last day of 2016.   And hopefully everything that was broken in 2016 will be finally fixed so we can move on to a bright future.   Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Bike, Stuff, And Prep for A New Year of Running.

Where Cheryl and Ethan's Stuff goes
Yesterday was a busy day.   We finally cleared out our stuff from the shed and had Stuff Etc.  come pick it up.   The guys where very cool about everything and carried it all off to the Coralville store for processing.  With a little luck, we will break even for the cost of them coming to pick it up...and possibly even have a little left over. (Our furniture always sells quickly there.)
Pick up was EASY.  No coupon needed.

With all that clutter out of the shed,  I could finally focus on repairing my bike.  It has been a long and rough road for the Giant Green Monster,  but Cheryl finally allowed me to get it fixed.   I knew it was missing several spokes, possibly had a broken axial, off line front tire and sticking brakes.
World of Bikes.   Where Bikes go to get Better

When informed of the "known" problems,  the mechanic suggested we ditch the rear wheel completely and put on a better, stronger, heavier duty one for "chubby guys like me" ( my words, not his) It is double walled for strength and has a built in bearing that is stronger because it is part of the actual wheel.

New Rear tire. rim. axial, and Cassette
 He also noticed that my rear wheel was showing the "wear lines" and suggested I replace the tread. ( outer wheel casing)
Even looks new from the side!
He said if you break more than three spokes,  there is probably a serious problem with the rim itself.   (I did not tell him that I had probably replaced almost a dozen spokes since I purchased the bike two years ago.)  We talked about other upgrades before he suggested I may want to consider a new bike altogether.   For the cost of the repairs,  I could understand why.

Close up of the new Tire Tread 
Old tire on the front was still good.
I decided against it...for now.   But the possibility for next year may still be there.   We shall see how the new tire fares against my "Heavy" abuse. There is a new 29 " tire with disk brakes that has captured my attention.  Very impressive.

New Bar Mitts protect from the elements.
With  the newly fixed bike in tow,  we ran in our usual place in Coralville.   A freshly repaired bike is a DREAM to ride upon.   I never realized just how much work I had been exerting to pedal that broken rear tire!  The new axial and rim is wonderful.   Similar to floating on a cloud.  I also purchased a pair of bar mitts for the colder days.   Sure, I have heavy mittens.  And I used them for an entire year before realizing that they kinda suck.  They hamper my dexterity and make my hands sweat...which eventually makes them cold.   So far, I'm impressed with the Bar mitts.  They are roomy and allow me to remove my hands and do things easily.   They are airy enough to allow my hands to breath and keep dry.   I'll have to report back on how they perform at keeping my hands warm....but they do keep them out of the wind...  one of the biggest factors while riding in the cold.
Our First Planned Run of 2017....Other than Boston. Running naked in the cold does not sound fun. 

So, Tomorrow we leave for the Fleet Feet New Year's Day Dash in Wisconsin.  It will be our first run of 2017.   Tomorrow will probably be spent traveling and trying to sum up the 2016 year.   There were lots of up and downs...  mostly downs to recount and hope for a better year coming up.  With Boston on the calendar,  there is much to look forward to.   I would hope that all of the trouble 2016 had to offer will pay dividends in the upcoming year.  We shall see.


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