Monday, September 30, 2013

Day 6.263: What a difference an hour makes

Unusually for me, I did my long run on Sunday as two loops of essentially the same course. I did it because I wasn't sure if I was feeling well enough to do the full 16 miles and wanted to give myself options.

In the end I ran the whole thing without any ill-effects from my cold.

I was also able to take these two pictures (from nearly the same place) just over an hour apart.

What a difference an hour makes!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Day 6.262: Running update August/September

Not much to say except - yikes in two weeks my marathon will be over!

Here's the monthly chart showing how many more miles I've put in this year compared with last year:

The running has been going pretty well but this week was a bit disrupted - mostly due to coming down with one of the back-to-school colds. Still, as long as I'm fighting- (or at least running-) fit in two weeks I'm pretty happy with my preparation.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Day 6.261: That brings a whole new meaning to "flight"

Here's a few more clues to my location at the end of the week:

Anti- (or counter-) clockwise from top left:
  1. No clue here - but look how nice my hotel lobby was!
  2. A long-distance iPhone snap of the capital building overlooking one of the two lakes.
  3. You can get a flight of local beers - AT THE AIRPORT BAR!
  4. Less surprisingly, lots of options if you want to look like a Cheesehead.

Yes I was in the capital of Wisconsin ... you know ... oh it's on the tip of my tongue ... aargh what is it? ... ... ...  (yes  - I think that was an ellipsisis)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Day 6.260: Home again

This was the view as we prepared to leave the gate on my flight back to Albany. Happy to be home!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Day 6.259: Capital of where?

I flew to another capital city today. Does anyone who doesn't know where I went know where this is?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Day 6.258: What's the matter - too corny for ya?

I spotted this while out for my long run on Sunday:

I wondered what these five stalks of corn had done wrong (or right) to be left behind by the harvester.

Which in turn reminded me of this:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Day 6.257: New England - new conkers!

Remember my post about conkers from a couple of years ago? If not - go ahead and read it - it will only take you a minute!

We had never knowingly seen a horse-chestnut tree here in the US - until Saturday when we were waiting for the gig to start and Exile #3 brought these strange nuts she had found over. I'm pretty sure she remembered what they were but was not sure enough to call it.

But, sure enough, conkers they were. Exile #4 showed some good skills in breaking the shells open and a few other kids showed an interest due to their lead. In the UK, in a park like this, all the good conkers would be gone within minutes of falling if any children were close by.

We let them keep a couple each - maybe we'll have a game at the weekend!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Day 6.256: They Might Be Giants in Connecticut

This was the real reason we made the two-hours each-way trip to Hartford on Saturday.

The music of TMBG has been having something of an upsurge in popularity in the house of late. Towards the end of the school break E5N1 was cycling between the CDs of Join Us and Nanobots generally playing a single track over and over again during a day and then choosing a different one the next day - recently we've been allowed a little more variety each day.

In any case, it seemed that they were very much "now" for us and that we should make the effort to see them live again (last time was a kid's show back on Day 2.266).

Here are some images:

clockwise from top left:
Exile #3 and Exile #2 dancing to the pre-set music;
the top of the capital building which John Flansburgh pointed out looks like a guy in a hat after looking at it during a song that John Linnell was singing;
John in his stage gear;
John in his stage cardigan;
TMBG in full flow.

It was a great night - all five of us agreed that it had been a great choice to go.  The setlist is here for those who are interested by such things.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Day 6.255: Envisionfest Hartford

On Saturday after lunch, we drove the two hours to Hartford, Connecticut where the Envisionfest festival was taking place. We arrived as the event was winding down but we were in time to have some unhealthy -but tasty and freshly-cooked - food-truck food and watch some strange passers-by while we ate it:

Then we walked through Bushnell Park where we saw a large bird and a friendly stone mermaid - and even witnessed an interaction between them (there's also a big arch there):

And we saw this excellent drum troupe:

It looks like the festival was a great event - even the small part we saw was thoroughly enjoyable.

Having walked the length of the park, we sat down between the high-rise of Hartford's downtown and the state capital:

and waited for the real reason we had made the trip...the last event of the festival (and I'll tell you about that tomorrow!)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Day 6.254: Chess (Lego builders edition)

We had a busy day and we just got home from a trip that started just after lunch. I'll tell you about it another day - I promise (because it was awesome), but for now here's a moment from our stay-at-home morning:

Exile #2 and Exile #4 - both nominally playing chess - both actually building with Lego. Don't ask me!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Day 6.253: Watervliet Arsenal City Run (5K)

I ran my third (and the race's 32nd) Arsenal City Run in Watervliet this evening.

After some ideal running weather earlier in the week, the temperature peaked at around 80°F about an hour before the race started today. Here are some pictures of the festivities getting going (before I took my phone to the car):

It's a fast race - flat and straight (basically an out-and-back with a slight triangular shape). Two years ago it was won in 14:50 but today it was closer to normal for this race with mostly local entrants, with the winner coming in in a still-blistering 16:14. The results are here.

I ran significantly faster than my winning performance earlier in the summer but was in no danger of threatening the lead in this one!  Still, I ran a nice even pace and got the time I was looking for which is a good confidence boost as I approach the last three weeks before the marathon.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Day 6.252: School (4th & 1st)

I was at the school open day for Exile #4 and E5N1 today. Exile #4's 4th grade classroom was fairly bare of photo opportunities, although it was nice to hear from her teacher. 4th grade was only just over a year ago for Exile #3, so there are no huge surprises - apart from the changes from the new state curriculum.

E5N1's 1st grade classroom had two items worthy of sharing - the first was outside in the hallway - I managed to work out who he was from amongst his classmates.

The second is on his cubby - I just love that picture!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Day 6.251: E5N1's view

E5N1 really wanted to take some photographs just before catching the bus this morning.  These are some of them:

I spared you the extreme close-ups of (thankfully clothed) backsides.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Day 6.250: At the service area...

On my recent road-trip, I stopped at a service area on the highway to buy coffee. As well as the normal items you could buy these:

I wonder if there is more than one state where you could see such a thing? I suspect maybe not.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Day 6.249: All running and no play...

...makes this a dull blog. But I've got to play the hand I'm dealing myself...

For the last few weeks I've been running a little over 50 miles a week. This is how I do it:

(example data from the week before last)

  • I run five times a week. Sunday is a blessed lie-in without running or work to get up for!
  • In the week I start my runs early - before dawn these days.
  • I don't spend any time naming my 'activities'!
  • That Saturday was a marathon pace run (14 of the 18.5 miles at goal marathon pace) - I don't run most of my long runs that fast.
  • I get to consume more than 5000 extra calories without gaining weight!
The downsides are - not enough sleep, no time for reading and less energy for writing interesting blog posts.

The upsides are: I get to consume more than 5000 extra calories each week without gaining weight (did I mention that?), I'm getting a lot fitter and...oh yes...I hope to have a good marathon in a few weeks!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Day 6.248: Always something new to see

One of the things I love about marathon training is that when my weekend long runs (15-20 miles) come around I can hit the relatively traffic-free roads and go somewhere and see things outside of my normal neighbourhood.

Even at this stage - nearly at the end of the second year of these long runs I still run at least a small section of never-run-before route on each one.

This is what I came across on my run yesterday morning (these were two views from the same spot):

The pretty pond caught my eye first - but that barn is amazing!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Day 6.247: An afternoon of two parties

...if you can still call it the afternoon once the only natural light is reflecting off the moon!

Exile #4 was at a birthday party with the bounce-house and the colourful sunset - the rest of us (and all of us at the end) at the party with the sunny grilling giving way to night time tractors and moonlight.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Day 6.246: That s'more - like it?

Well, it safe to say my Lego treasure hunt didn't exactly set the comments stream on fire, but nevertheless, here is the big reveal of my favourite of all the items...

The grill with a Lego s'more:

Less messy but nearly equally nutritious as the real thing!

(I also quite like the photograph!)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Day 6.245: Hands-free on the road

Here's a couple of things I've never done before with the phone in its holder attached to the windscreen.

1) Take a photograph (or two in fact - just a few seconds apart):

2) Get Siri to send an email.

This is what I ended up sending to Exile #2:

I'm planning on coming straight time without stopping should be. That at about 635

All so very clear!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Day 6.244: Who ordered the soup?

Two mornings ago it was 41 degrees when I went out for my run wearing tights, long sleeves and gloves. This morning it was 75 degrees and 100% humidity. At dawn. 

The humidity had stayed high. Temperatures got higher. This evening I'm in a hotel room. Here's a picture of the heat and humidity. 

It doesn't really capture it. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Day 6.243: Exciting and feet-expanding!

The update from the first two days of school is that everyone is doing fine.

And also this (from E5N1):

Monday, September 9, 2013

Day 6.242: Back to school

Finally, it was the first day of the school year for our first and fourth graders (literally going back to school):

and for our sixth grader - starting middle school similarly swamped by her backpack as she was on the first day of kindergarten in our first September here.

Of course, the overall scale has changed a little!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Day 6.241: Mine & his (craft)

It's fair to say that, despite our tech and geek cred, we're not really early-adopters in this household. So it is that I confess that we have just discovered Minecraft.

E5N1 has been experimenting with it for a week or so - on the iPad, but today in a bit of downtime while Exile #4 was at a birthday party and Exile #2 took Exile #3 out for some last minute back-to-school items, I sat down with him and with my phone entered one of his Minecraft worlds that he was exploring on the iPad.

Of course, I soon needed a challenge and set out to build a house. So, while he made lava rivers and tried to quench them with the traditional kind, I made a two-storey house.  E5N1 made some important contributions too once the structure was basically complete - some lighting for the dingy ground floor, some pictures and bookcases upstairs and - most important of all - a menagerie of creatures spawned in the top floor.  The animals eventually found their way out of the house (except for one cow that couldn't find the stairs) - the chickens were by far the quickest - and into the ocean (you can see them to the left of the top picture):

It's hardly impressive compared with the amazing things that people create in this game, but it was cool way to spend an hour or so!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Day 6.240: Vroman's Nose

The wonderfully named Vroman's Nose is a nearby hike we've known about for some time but avoided due to the thought of its trails-along-cliff-edge with our son-with-no-sense-of-danger.

We finally decided that we were ready and went there today. Spoiler: we all made it back in one piece.

The hike (a simple up-one-side down-the-other loop) is only 1.2 miles, but it is quite steep in places.  Here are a few shots from the way up and the way back down:

The pay-off for the hard-work - beautiful uninterrupted views of the Schoharie valley - is hard to beat!

But yes - the trail does lead right up to high vertical cliff in several places!

And here are a few things that caught our eye - the excellent signs at the parking lot (Vroman's nose trails?! and EXTRA PARKING ON GRAss), a strange globular fungus and a very accommodating black swallowtail butterfly.

We also had a very nice lunch at a place Exile #2 had spotted looking very busy when we were in the area a couple of weeks ago.  It turned out to be the excellent Apple Barrel Country Store cafe.  Simple real food prepared freshly - not the cheapest place perhaps - but very good indeed.