Tuesday, January 31, 2017

An Afternoon At Davenport.

Running In Davenport
Cheryl had big plans today to run on the Kewash trail....but things change.

The temps were pleasant enough ( Around 38-40 degrees), but the trail was muddy and the wind strong and almost unbearable.  She flirted with the idea of giving up on running today, but the topic of Davenport and running along the Mississippi came to light.   With nothing else going on,  what a perfect day for an unplanned adventure!
The sites along the Mississippi

It's a bit of a hike, but we arrived and stopped by the information booth for some maps and conversation.   (We were the only people there, so he had plenty of time to chat.)  A quick bathroom break and we were off.

The wind was the worst part of the entire ordeal.  Otherwise, it was a fun excursion.  We watched Eagles on the ice, geese and ducks on the water and all the industrial sites along the paved bike trail.   We even saw a train pass by!

Cheryl races a Train!
At one point, we decided to cross the bridge over to Illinois,  but Cheryl became concerned a little over half way over.   The metal grid was quite noisy and she noted that during the Race to Home 5K, they put mats over that section to keep running from tripping and seeing down on the water.

Heading back....Facing the wind!
The paved sidewalk along the river is the best for Biking.   The information center even rents bikes, so we may have to stop back in and check them out someday.   It has been a few years since we last did a "training run" along the bike path.  But Cheryl noted that she may want to go there again when the weather was more gentle.  Sounds good to me.

Other than that,  we broke out the Wisconsin Beer Sampler and set up a tasting.  Normally we do not drink this much beer all at once,  but we wanted to compare the various beers against each other.

The Fat Squirrel was the big winner for me.  Cheryl liked the Two Women beer.    The Schells Cave aged beer was a dark caramel-y beer that neither of us liked much.   And the Moon man was a typical Blond Ale.  (pleasant to drink, but rather tame and boring.)  None of them were bad,  but our favorites were the ones we liked best.
Hope everyone is braving the wind and warmer temps....if you have those in your area.  I look forward to visiting Davenport again soon.  It was fun and perhaps I can talk Cheryl into renting a bike instead of running against the wind next time.   We shall see.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Cheryl's Milwaukee Ice Breakers Indoor Half Marathon

 A very unique experience!   Running 13.1 miles on an indoor track around an ice rink. Cheryl had been dreading this for a while and decided to finally face her fears and "Just do it!"  ( Thanks Nike!)

The travel to Wisconsin was normal and uneventful.   I like uneventful travel because that means nothing "bad" happened.   No slide off's, accidents, traffic jams, engine problems, or navigation issues.   The roads were clear and dry and, although cloudy, visibility and traffic was good.   There was slightly more snow in Wisconsin around the Madison area.   But  once we got closer to the lake,  most of the snow had dwindled to sparse patches.  Similar to Iowa.

Packet pickup was early the day of the race.  With only 150 people running the first wave,  it was a small crowd and easy to find our way around.  Most of the "fast people" were in the first heat because of the potential for winning the top three.   In other words:  if you wanted to "win it"   you have to be in that early heat to have a chance.

I sat in the designated viewing area and took pictures of Cheryl as she rounded every lap.   I'll spare the blog by NOT posting 48 virtually identical pictures of her as she passed by.    You would think with 48 opportunities that I would have a ton of awesome pics to show.  But in reality, many of them were blurry, boring, or just repetitious.   If I could figure out how to make an animation by splicing them all together, I would do that.   Until then....Just know that this was how she looked.

The nice thing about taking 48 pictures of her in the same location was that at least Some of the pictures turned out.  Maybe not as clear as I would have liked,  but good enough.  Nothing is worse that waiting for an hour for Cheryl to finally show up and having some guy step in front of the shot....Or the camera lose focus...or batteries die.....yadda yadda yadda.
As Cheryl crossed the finish line,  she managed to hang on to the 45th place for most of the race.  This sort of bummed her out that she did not perform as well as she normally does,  but she was reminded that the top runners were in that first heat and her placement was actually pretty good.

After the race there were cookies in the shape of running shoes and Americas.  They were all home made by one of the volunteers and Cheryl said they were quite good!

With the second heat beginning,  we chose to leave and shower up at the hotel room.   Cheryl was able to wear her race shirt and really likes it.  In all,  the race was a success.   Perhaps not measured in the normal ways,  but rather it was Cheryl's first time running indoors around a track. Her normal strategy for keeping the pace and passing people was thrown out the window as the Elites pass people multiple times.  This is rather demoralizing because you think you are falling farther and farther behind, but that is not true.  She says that if she had to do it again,  she would have a better idea of a strategy.

The trip home as similarly pleasant and boring.   Clear roads, light traffic....wonderful!    The only thing worth mentioning was the HUGE flock of Bald Eagles just sound of Dubuque.  At first I thought they were Turkeys, but the large size was dotted with white heads.   There must have ben about 40 of them!   Quite the sight to behold.

One last picture before signing off....
As for now,   Cheryl is baking more "energy muffins" and I'm cataloging the events on the blog.   We managed to score a little beer from Wisconsin,  but nothing like we usually do.   Only one "sample pack".    So our plan is to enjoy and relax for the rest of the day.   Make a little coffee and try to stay warm from the chill outside.   Hope everyone is having a great weekend.   And if the weather is nice outside,  maybe squeeze in a run.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Weather, Cats, Tires, And Cheryl Running. Happy Thursday!

Snow "storm" in Iowa!
It is my job to showcase the mole hills that are truly EPIC in my life.   All to make everyone who reads this blog JEALOUS!  (Or at least entertained by what I find monumental.)  Like a little kid who exaggerates the life changing new toy he got for Christmas.  
Yesterday,  Warm and green.

And so I shall start with the Weather in Iowa.
Today, Cold and Snowy
  Everyone has weather....But here in Iowa.   It's CRAZY!   Like today (well, actually it started yesterday.)  it SNOWED!   Yesterday,  Cheryl ran down the Coralville trail and there was no snow.   But today.... You guessed it!   Snow!
Yesterday's run:  Overdressed.

Granted it was not very much.   In fact most of the snow melted before she even finished her second lap.  Aside from the wind kicking up,   it was a pretty typical run day.
Cheryl had to down-dress half way through

Today,  Trotting on slushy snow!
 Actually it was kind of nice.   I can't remember the last time the Sun made an appearance.   I'm willing to bet that the Sun has been absent for the entire month of January.   But I'm also happy that the snow has held off this long and if we only get 1-2 inches now and then, I would be OK with that.

Hiro's almost healed!
Beggin' to have that cone off!
In other news,  we have removed the cat's cone finally.   His little wound has healed up to the point where it is only the size of a small dot.  And he has been most unhappy with that darn cone on his head for the last two weeks.

Promises not to cause trouble. 
Ah! Licking is Freedom to a cat.
Last night was particularly fun because he went to the litter box and made a mess!   Without any way to clean himself,  he happily tracked it all over the apartment and bathroom walls!  Now that the cone is off, I'm hoping he will be a little more in control.

And then there is the tires for Subaru. They have been sitting in the shed for several weeks as well, but with cat problems, fuel pump problems, and everything else...problems;  It was not until this morning that I was able to get the local tire guy to put them on for me.  The problem was made apparent the last time we had snow, and my front tires were nearly bald.   AWD Subaru does not mean much if you can't get a grip on the road.  So the new tires have a deeper tread and better road feel.   I'm happy.

Not the "best" for Snow driving
And not a moment too soon,   We have a race coming up this weekend and tomorrow is travel day to Wisconsin.   I'm sure there is a potential for more snow covered roads there than here and I was not looking forward to driving on "treadless" tires.  The race is around an indoor track.  13.1 miles!  I think Cheryl will get a medal and can hear music for the entire race.   I'll be able to stand in one location and get picture after picture of her as she circles by.   How fun is that?!

So now,   relax,  stay warm, rest up and prepare for tomorrow's trek.   There is no packet pick up so there is no rush. We simply have to make it to the hotel  sometime tomorrow.   If time allows,  perhaps I'll even blog an update.   Until then,   Thanks for stopping in.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Side Kickin' With The Great Cheryl Allen!

Who really needs "Pants" anyway?
There are times when I refer to Cheryl and myself as a "team".   But there are many other times where I'm actually more of a support role.  Or as I would like to call it:  Side Kick.

Real men are comfortable in Tights!
Yes, I'm the Robin to Cheryl's Batman.  The Arthur to Chery's Tick.  The Sonny to Cheryl's..... Cher.  I'm the guy who is simply there to get into trouble so the Hero...Or in this case:  Cheryl,  can bail him out.

It's a huge responsibility staying out of the limelight.   Our goal is to make the hero look good while not stealing any of the thunder or recognition.  To help out at a crucial time, but never look like we are actually saving the main character.   A delicate task to balance.
Sidekick:  Brains behind the Talent?
It's true that side kicks don't have much of a role without a hero.   Have you ever read a comic staring only Robin?   Does Robin ever get his own movie that is not a direct to DVD production?  No!  Because Sonny Bono was never really the star quality that was "Cher."  Even as a representative in Congress, he never got the recognition Cher did when they split up.

So,  that is how I like to sum up our relationship.  A Dynamic Duo!  Each one has to assume their roles.   Each task handled with a Master and Apprentice mentality.  Chef and Sous Chef....  The list goes on and on.  Only some guy like "Superman" can fly solo....

Today,  we tackled the painting of the banister.  I was thinking simply repainting it white,  but Cheryl had other ideas.   A hammered gray!

She wanted to do it,  so I "stayed out of the way" (for the most part.)  I did have to finish the hard to reach places and undersides.   In the end,  I think it will work out great!

We still might have to put on a second coat.   The Rustolium paint is awesome for sticking to medal, and the banister was slightly "rust-pocked" to begin with.   Cheryl wants to wait for a few days before applying the second coat because the fumes tend to build up.

Other than that,  The clouds continue to gray the skies above.   I heard it is supposed to cool off later this week.  At least we have a race to look forward to this weekend.   An Indoor Half Marathon!   46 laps around a track...I should be able to get lots of pictures during this one.  Can't wait!


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