Tuesday, April 27, 2010

When Ostriches Attack

Ostriches like to eat fingers. Seriously! Just ask my six year old.

On Saturday the family headed to Zion National Park. Our kids begged to stop and look at an ostrich farm along the way. We agreed, though we regretted that decision after the trauma that ensued.

We bought a little bag of food that spectators can throw through the fence for the ostriches to eat. The kids were ecstatic to have this opportunity. We quickly realized the folly of our purchase.

The children were as happy as could be, ostrich food was flying everywhere, smiles were pasted on everyone's faces, and life was magical. But then......

A loud shriek shattered the moment. Danica wailed in pain. She ran toward the car. Tears were streaming. The screaming continued. And continued. And.....continued.

Apparently, when little children nonchalantly grab the fence, their fingers look like delicious little Vienna Sausages. Suddenly ostriches aren't so interested in ostrich food. Human flesh seems much more appetizing.

Fortunately, no blood was spilled. No fingernails were lost. And we realized that it is incredibly difficult to appear sympathetic when you are laughing. The ostrich owner witnessed the brutality and brought Danica an ostrich feather. Miraculously this healed all pain she had been feeling prior.

For all of you who are brave enough to see how much ostriches love to eat humans, check out this highly funny video:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hurricane Half Marathon 2010

Hurricane Half Marathon - 2 Hours & 8 Minutes!!

Our alarm went off at 4:45am (ouch!). After getting to bed late (thanks to NBA Playoffs) and getting 5 hours of sleep, I'd imagine this is what a serious hangover feels like. We were on the bus for the starting line at 5:40am.

The new course for the Hurricane Half started near Sand Hollow Reservoir. It was chilly as we waited for the race to start, but lots of friends were there which helped to distract from the shivering.

The race started at 6:30am. You could not have asked for a better day to run a race. The sky was clear and the temperature was perfect. I ran the first four miles with Mel. We had an incredible view of the sun rising over Sand Hollow. I was happy I brought my camera with me.

At mile 4, Mel and I paused for a quick self-portrait, gave each other a fist bump, then I headed out on my own.

Soon I arrived at the hardest hill I've ever run up. This beast has been nicknamed "Nemesis".

I slowed my pace and took a few short walk breaks but finally managed to get to the top. The hill is brutal and should be reserved as a punishment for convicts and creators of bad music from the 80's (Yes, Michael Bolton, I'm talking to you.)

This hill is insane. It's a mile long and feels like a vertical climb. Here's the elevation map from my watch. Even looking at this picture is painful:

But in mile 7 I got into a groove. I just put my head down and ran. I knew I was going faster than my normal race pace, but I felt so good that I didn't want to hold back. It was freakish. I was going fast but didn't feel exhausted or worn out like past races.

My last mile was the fastest and I ended feeling strong. My time for each mile was:
Mile 1: 9:47
Mile 2: 10:34
Mile 3: 10:07
Mile 4: 9:35
Mile 5: 9:50
Mile 6: 12:29 (My amigo Nemesis)
Mile 7: 10:09
Mile 8: 9:13
Mile 9: 9:12
Mile 10: 9:33
Mile 11: 8:35
Mile 12: 9:11
Mile 13: 8:25

I averaged 9:43 minutes per mile. This race was a whopping 12 minutes slower than my fastest Half, but I felt better after this race than any other. Being able to pick up the pace at the end gave me some much-needed confidence for the Ogden Marathon in 3 weeks. I could not have asked for a better outcome from the race.

Jackson did the 5k race, so now we all have another running shirt to add to our closets. It was a great week for running!

"Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it's all about."
~ PattiSue Plumer, U.S. Olympian

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Things That Make Me Happy

  • Watching NBA playoffs late into the night and falling asleep with the TV on.
  • Hearing my kids laugh when I tickle their arm pits.
  • Breakfast (4 pieces of toast and hot chocolate. Everyday.)
  • Playing catch, bikes, and basketball with the kids outside until it gets dark.
  • When they turn the air conditioner on at church.
  • Power naps. Give me 15 minutes when I get home from work and I’m good to go.
  • Peanut butter cookies from Maverik.
  • Rain.
  • Hearing my kids play the piano.
  • Fat veins in my feet which prove to me that I’m working hard with marathon training.
  • When my wife whistles.
  • Sleeping with the window opened and listening to the crickets.
  • The familiarity of knowing that tomorrow will likely be remarkably similar to today which is remarkably similar to yesterday. Consistency is good.
  • I can’t overemphasize how important it is to have peanut butter cookies on this list.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Words Of Advice From Maslow

A few years ago I got an email from Derek Sivers about Abraham Maslow's 8 Ways To Self-Actualize. I loved it. It has been hanging on the wall in my office ever since. I thought I'd share it with you.

1. Experience things fully, vividly, selflessly. Throw yourself into the experiencing of something: concentrate on it fully, let it totally absorb you.

2. Life is an ongoing process of choosing between safety (out of fear and need for defense) and risk (for the sake of progress and growth): Make the growth choice a dozen times a day.

3. Let the self emerge. Try to shut out the external clues as to what you should think, feel, say, and so on, and let your experience enable you to say what you truly feel.

4. When in doubt, be honest. If you look into yourself and are honest, you will also take responsibility. Taking responsibility is self-actualizing.

5. Listen to your own tastes. Be prepared to be unpopular.

6. Use your intelligence, work to do well the things you want to do, no matter how insignificant they seem to be.

7. Make peak experiencing more likely: get rid of illusions and false notions. Learn what you are good at and what your potentialities are not.

8. Find out who you are, what you are, what you like and don’t like, what is good and what is bad for you, where you are going, what your mission is. Opening yourself up to yourself in this way means identifying defenses – and then finding the courage to give them up.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

This Is Disturbing

This is disturbing in so, so many ways. It's like when you pass a car wreck and you WANT to look away. You WANT to. But you just CAN'T.

Obviously, with more than 5 million views, others are equally intrigued (and likely disturbed) by this nice Asian boy singing "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston.

Enjoy. And I'm sorry.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Rules For Airplanes

Recently I've had the opportunity to spend some time on airplanes. This activity, in and of itself, is not an enjoyable experience. The idea of spending many hours breathing musty recycled air, cramped in a little seat, sitting next to people who are trespassing into my personal bubble, while speeding through the clouds miles above the earth - it's just not my idea of a good time.

But you know what makes flying worse? People. Every single little idiosyncracy of a person drives me CRAZY when I'm sitting on an airplane. So I have a few requests for fellow passengers next time I fly:

1) Please, please keep your yapper shut. There is nothing worse than a loud talker on an airplane. I DON'T want to hear about your Aunt Hazel. I DON'T want to hear about your dinner group last night. I DON'T want to hear about getting your carpet cleaned. And neither does anybody else sitting nine rows ahead or behind you who is hearing your conversation also. So zip it.

2) Is a little pre-flight deodorant too much to ask?

3) You know the arm rest? Well - don't cross it. Or you might pull back a bloody stump. Alright, maybe that's a bit too harsh. I just don't want to feel your arm hair rubbing against my arm hair. Okay?

4) No loud snoring. Or I'll swat your Adam's Apple with a spoon.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Kangaroos Are Funny (And Mean)

I came across the funniest story on Runners World Daily. Apparently a runner in Australia was knocked unconscious by a grumpy Kangaroo. It is a sobering mental image. The following video must be a taste of what the runner former runner likely experienced.

This short clip made me bawl. I was sobbing with laughter. Mel actually got out of bed to come and see why I was laughing hysterically. I haven't laughed this hard, to the point of hyperventilating, since I watched The Money Pit for the first time when the bathtub crashed through the floor.

Note to self: Avoid kangaroos while running.

Monday, April 5, 2010

No Cat Policy

Mel and I have been very clear with the children: NO CATS. Never. Ever. Ever. I have no apologies about my disdain of cats.

Unfortunately over the last few weeks we have been put into a position of enforcing the strict No-Cat-Policy.

Over the last month, a mystery cat has been hanging out in our yard WAY too often. The cat's name is Kiwi. You can ask every single kid in the neighborhood. They don't know how the cat got it's name. But there is absolutely no doubt: they all know his (or her?) name is Kiwi.

One day I caught Kylee trying to lure Kiwi into our house by sprinkling grass from the porch through our front door. "Sorry honey, we have a No-Cat-Policy at our house."

Another day I caught Danica feeding Kiwi some bread. With a panicked tone in my voice I said "No - don't feed the cat! It will never leave! And we have a No-Cat-Policy at our house."

That night it was starting to get dark and we told the kids to come inside and get ready for bed. Danica had a complete and utter melt down. She started sobbing uncontrollably. We asked what was wrong. After a minute she was able to say through her wimpering that she was sad because Kiwi didn't have a place to stay and it was cold and dark outside.

This was the ultimate gauntlet - the true and supreme test. Putting aside the possibility that Danica would consider her parents grumpy ogres for the rest of her life, we stood strong on the No-Cat-Policy.

Kiwi is still in our yard WAY too often begging to be adopted. Sadly, Kiwi has not received the memo about our No-Cat-Policy.