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What a Day September 4, 2016

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First, I can’t believe it has been an entire year since my last post…

The boys and I had a run, the Labor Day Milford Festival of Races… the 10K for me and the  6K for them. I was a bit nervous about how my run would go. I haven’t really run on it since playing soccer last Sunday and I had a major knee into my calf. During the game, my leg cramped up into my hamstring and I debated on whether I would be able to run at all. I rested it and iced it for the last three days, including this morning.

But back to today… I woke up at 5am and decided not to tried to go back to sleep. I stretched and hung out until the boys got up and ready. The weather was perfect 65 to 70 degrees and clear skies. My race started at 8:30 and I eased into a comfortable pace. I was afraid to push too hard so I just locked into a 8:50 pace. I found a group of other runners that seemed to be at the same pace and managed to keep it up. I found that I was able to run the hills well, up and down. On the flats I ran with the others, but up and down, I advanced. As the race went on, I stayed strong and with each hill, I seemed to pull away. It is a relatively hilly course on a dirt road in the second half and it felt great to have that strength to keep going.

Unfortunately, the Nike Running app was just upgraded in the last week and it truly failed me today. It started out in the first mile okay, but after that it seemed to lose GPS. It had me running 13 to 14 minute miles until it stopped the voice notifications in the last mile and a half. But, or maybe because of this lack of feedback, I was able to run my race and it went better than I was expecting. I finished in the official race time of 54:04, though the clock showed 53:55 and my phone read 54:30.

While I was running, the boys started their race at 8:45am. They ran an even more hilly 6K. It starts on a completely up hill first mile before getting to the same hilly dirt road. I know Alec has felt self-conscience about his speed, but Ian has an unending confidence and went into the race with the goal of beating his older brother. I am so proud of the story that unfolded after that… I got back from my happy race to hear that Alec paced Ian through the first mile, he was going out too fast and Alec got him to settle into around an 8 minute first mile. They were apparently in 3rd and forth place among the kids, but after that, Alec told Ian to go ahead. Ian quickly picked of the first other boy and than gradually took over first. Alec kept a good pace and passed both boys, including the second in the last hundred yards.

I am so proud that they both finished first in their age groups, under 10 and 10-14. And Ian actually finished in 6th place overall. So impressed! They both earned glass mugs for their age group wins.

After the race, the boys headed out with Kim and went to her mom’s to check on her after her foot/ankle surgery. And to watch the U of M football game, which turned out to not be much of a game. I think the final score ended up being 63-3.  I watched from home,  relaxing and getting my laundry and home stuff done.

And I finished off the day, after spending an hour weeding the yard, by taking the kayak for a quick paddle down the Huron. I thought I would try taking off from Island Lake. It was a good change. The river is very similar to the section south of the dam from Central Park, but less issue with low water levels. I ending up covering about 5.5 miles in an hour, 45 minutes. It is the first time I have taken the kayak out since early in the summer, I think actually since I started at CGI – though we went out with the Kearns while we were in PA for a much more causal paddle around the lake near their house.

All in all, a pretty good day, I have to say. A day worth documenting for all eternity.


Milford Stay Dri Tri 2009 October 7, 2009

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I am getting closer and closer to participating in a real triathalon. A few years ago, I did an indoor tri that used the pool, stationary bike and treadmill. It did not have measured transitions, so the intensity of the combined disciplines was reduced. I also did a few outdoor duathalons that year, but no swimming. Maybe next year, I will get in the water outside.

This past weekend, I joined a friend in a team triathalon. – although this one was a little different – instead of being in the water, we were on the water… canoeing 5K from Proud Lake to Milford. Once we beached the canoe (for the last time – there were several run-ins with the river banks!) we carried thr 75lb aluminum canoe about 1/3 mile to the transition area where we jumped on our bikes. I left the transition area a few seconds (22 secs) before than my partner who has real triathalon experience. I had a feeling I would be seeing him shortly. From that point, it was a 10K mountain bike ride on a tight single track trail through the woods in Milford. Although I did not recognize him, he passed me in the first mile or so, but we stayed close after that. In the midst of other faster riders passing us, I ended up passing Jeff with a mile or so to go in the bike. As I dismounted my bike, I heard our support team (our families) cheering him on, so my lead was about the same as when I started the bike. I heard later he had crashed right at the end of the bike trail.

After we survived that, it was a 5K run on the new paved Milford Trail. Jeff took a few seconds to put on his MP3 player, but after I racked my bike I grabbed some water and got out on the run. (It turns out he gave me 43 second head start.) I knew from the Milford Memories 5K, he was about 1:30 to 2 min faster than me, so I suspected I would have to have great run to hold him off. Unfortunately, right away, I knew I wasn’t going to set a blistering pace when I could feel the wobbles in my hamstring and then tightness in the calves. Sure enough, at the turn-around, he was only about 10 seconds behind me. He caught me and slowed down as I could keep up with him, although I have to say I would have stopped if we wasn’t there, so he kept me going. I finished the 5K in 28:04 which is decent given the prior bike.

After we finished and caught out breath, the rain started. It had been threatening and spitting all morning, but the skies really opened up. We were quite lucky to have gotten it in before that, because the bike and run would have been tough – it was on 50 degrees at the time. That being said, this was a really fun event. We really pushed ourselves and got to enjoy the outdoor activities Milford has to offer… this is yet another example of why I like living here!

Movie Review: Gran Torino October 3, 2009

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Netflix Synopsis: Curmudgeonly Korean War veteran Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood, who also directs) must confront his Hmong immigrant neighbors — and his own long-held prejudices — when the family’s teenage son, Thao (Bee Vang), tries to steal Walt’s beloved 1972 Gran Torino. Walt soon assumes the unlikely role of guardian angel to young Thao and his sister Sue (Ahney Her), both of whom are vulnerable to local gang influences.

Movie #2 this week – most people have heard about this one as it was critically-acclaimed – and rightly so. This was a great movie, I would say very similar to another good Eastwood movie, Million Dollar Baby with Hillary Swank. In this one, the only real star is Eastwood, but his supporting cast builds a captivating scene and entertaining relationships that make this film enjoyable. It is easy to get immersed in this Michigan based story.

Good Advertising and BAD advertising August 25, 2009

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This past weekend, Milford threw a day long party for bicycle racers. They got to fly around our little town at about 30 MPH for nearly six hours. It was awesome to see 30 some riders barrelling down the street, wrap around the .92 mile loop and return just two minutes later. It was a great event. It highlighted the quaintness of our town and, I am sure brought some people into the area that rarely, if ever, would have visited without it.

Unfortunately, the weather was not beautiful, although I think it actually worked out better that way. If it was too hot, it would have been a rough day in the saddle for the racers. But it did mean that few people probably came out to watch – I don’t think it ever rained, though, but it did before and then later in the evening afterward. Our whole family went down. I helped setup in the dark of the morning and went back with the our group later in the afternoon. In the mid 60s, it was Fall-ish, which for August felt chilly, but it was comfortable with light pants and light sweatshirt or jacket.

Here are bunch of pictures and videos from the event: Milford Crit 2009

Of course, the main streets of town had to be closed for longer than that to protect the bikers and on-lookers. So, what upset me about this event was the reaction from the business owners in our little town. Now, the economy in Michigan is pretty bad, so it doesn’t surprise me that they would be upset that would-be customers couldn’t drive along the main street. But do you really think it is a good idea to bad mouth the event for all the world to see? It is one thing to think it and entirely another to do this…
Klancy's Diner

This diner, called Klancy’s, sits on the edge of the main street. It is a quaint little place that relies on local business for a hometown feel. But as a person who supported this event to draw attention to Milford, MI, it upsets me that they would put out a sign like this. As soon as the baracades went up, they were complaining that they wanted to be reimbursed for their lost revenues. They had months of warning and notification, but they chose to be the martyr. There were so many other ways to handle it and yet they demonstrated how unwelcoming they can be. I can tell you, our family will stop visiting this diner and certainly will not recommend it to anyone who asks.

Used Cars in 2010 July 21, 2009

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One of my co-workers has been spending time searching for a used car for her college-aged son. He was almost in an accident recently and the other car smashed into a median and she said it was totaled. This kind of freaked her out that his older model Grand Prix did not have enough safety features… air bags, anti-lock brakes, etc. All her searching has got me thinking… in 9 months, I will be turning in my lease for a “new” car.

I am not a big fan of leasing a car. It works for some people, but I really do not mind having a car that is older than 2-3-4 years. It may require a little more maintenance, but when you aren’t paying a monthly payment, I certainly think it more than balances out. We did it this time in an effort to actually save money during this short period when both the boys are in day care. (My last car was used as a trade-in for the lease and so we had no payments to make on a two-year lease.)

So, anyway, back to my thinking… with the auto industry the way it is and everything else going on in the economy, it is hard to decide what we should do… nine months from now. I think we are leaning toward buying a used car… preferably one that is less than two years old. And as much as I am loving 29 MPG I get going to and from work, we really need a seven passenger vehicle that can carry more than just the immediate family. At this point, the only vehicle on the market that can meet those two needs is a Toyota Hybrid Highlander. But, being in Michigan, it is really hard to feel good about driving a foreign car.

Despite it’s odd appearance, Kim really like the Ford Flex. Neither of us have driven one, so that would be the first step there. Of the Ford SUVs I have driven, I did not like the torque the engine seemed to have as the vehicle always seemed to really pull when you accelerated. I prefer a smoother ride in that way. I did like my Rendevous, but it has been replaced by the Outlook, Acadia, Enclave and Traverse – which are much longer and would fill up our garage big time, as would the Flex.

And there are couple of others I would consider, like the Chrysler Pacfica and Dodge Journey which seem to squeeze 7 people into smaller packages…. but who knows… what will be on the market then, what prices will they be going for, what quality/service issues will arise in the coming months as more dealerships close. I wonder if people in other parts of the country are considering all the factors that are going to affect the automobile market in the coming months or years. I know in Michigan, it is in the forefront of people’s minds.

Weekend Bike Riding July 21, 2009

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This weekend I took the training wheels AND pedals of Alec’s bike. For some reason he decided he was ready to try to ride without them. I read online that one method of developing this balance is to remove the pedals. This allows him to use his feet without worrying about if his feet should always be on the pedals or the ground. He did pretty well coasting down the slight decline of our street. Kim and I cheered him on the whole time so even though he feel over repeatedly, he definitely did not seem to feel like he was failing… which is our big problem with him sometimes.

Then on Sunday afternoon, I took Ian for a bike ride. It was his first time in the bike carrier for him (the one that sits on the back wheel – he and Alec have been on a couple of rides together in the trailer). He seemed to have fun – although he was mostly quiet for the first hour – he managed to stay awake the whole time. At this age, I think Alec always feel asleep after about thirty minutes. But then again, Ian sleeps a lot less than Alec.
Ian Bike Ride

We road down to the park and around one time. It was relatively nice day so there were plenty of people to watch for him. It was only about 70 degrees, so I was surprised to see so many people at the beaches. I guess they were just taking adavantage of the nice days we have having here this year.

The New Economy Dictionary March 13, 2009

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Another chain email, but this one made me laugh a little, so I thought I would put it up here. Just like Jay Leno coming to Michigan for a free comedy show, we all need a good laugh in these trying times.

    New Stock Market Terms

CEO – Chief Embezzlement Officer
CFO – Corporate Fraud Officer
BULL MARKET – A random market movement causing an investor to mistake himself for a financial genius
BEAR MARKET – a 6 to 18 month period when the kids get no allowance, the wife gets no jewelry, and the husband gets no sex.
VALUE INVESTING – The art of buying low and selling lower.
P/E RATIO – The percentage of investors wetting their pants as the market keeps crashing.
BROKER – What my financial planner has made me.
STANDARD & POOR – Your life in a nutshell.
STOCK ANALYST – Idiot who just downgraded your stock.
STOCK SPLIT – When your ex-wife and her lawyer split your assets equally between themselves.
MARKET CORRECTION – The day after you buy stocks.
CASH FLOW – The movement your money makes as it disappears down the toilet.
YAHOO – What you yell after selling it to some poor
sucker for $240 per share.
WINDOWS – What you jump out of when you’re the
sucker who bought Yahoo at $240 per share.
INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR – Past year investor who’s now locked up in a nuthouse.
PROFIT – an archaic word no longer in use.

# # # # #
If you had purchased $1000 of shares in Delta Airlines one year ago, you will have $49.00 today.
If you had purchased $1000 of shares in AIG one year ago, you will have $33.00 today.
If you had purchased $1000 of shares in Lehman Brothers one year ago, you will have $0.00 today.

But… if you had purchased $1000 worth of beer one year ago, drank all the beer, then turned in the aluminum cans for recycling refund, you will have received $214.00.
Based on the above, the best current investment plan is to drink heavily & recycle.

It’s called the 401-Keg.

I am not sure of the origin, so I can’t give credit – hopefully this post is credit enough.

Unemployment in Michigan March 10, 2009

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Michigan’s unemployment rate released yesterday is now at 11.6 percent.

The National Rate is at 8.1. In the last 60 years, it has only been higher in 1975 (as high as 9.0) and 1982-83 where it got as high as 10.8.

And at this point, it looks like there will be some more changes coming with the Big Three. General Motors is the closest to being the first to surrender, but Ford and Chrysler are probably also on the edge. Even if one closes and the others do not, the number of car dealers, suppliers and other supporting businesses that would be forced to close their doors will still be enormous.

Man, It’s Cold! January 29, 2009

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From the local paper, January is on its way to being among the top 10 coldest in the region’s recorded climate history. The average temperature this month has been 17.1 degrees Fahrenheit, 7.3 degrees below the normal average of 24.4.

View from our front door - Jan 15th, 2009

View from our front door - Jan 15th, 2009

On the snow side, Wednesday’s 2.6 inches of new snow brings Oakland County’s total to 69.4 inches for the season. Last year at this time, the county had 50 inches of snow. Last winter, the total snowfall amount was 91.7 inches.

If I extrapolate properly, that means, we could have 40 more inches of snow yet to come in February and March? Wait for my future post, “Man, It’s Snowy!”

Why I enjoy living in Michigan October 11, 2008

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So, remember when I said it would be too muh of stretch for me to join the local group for a 34-mile ride…

well, 39.6 miles and 4 1/2 hours later (3 hours and 50 minutes of riding) … It was a beautiful day here. Blue sky, barely a cloud… I saw 5 deer, a few chipmunks, countless lakes, endless trees… I see deer in our yard just about everyday, but it never gets old. And I hope it never does. This is the best of Michigan… even if U of M lost to TOLEDO (what?), it was still an amazing day!

I cramped up at mile 35. Even after training for and running two marathons, that is the first time I have ever gone through that. I could barely straighten my legs. I was fortunate to stop in front of a lovely older couple’s house (actually their house was from the 1860s and owned by the same family). Her daughter runs ultra marathons, so she knew what I was going through. She offered me water and an opportunity to rest. I took 10-15 minutes to stretch and get some more water in me (after finishing my granola bars). It was all I needed to get those last 5 miles.