Friday, June 22, 2018

Trees vs. Safety (Friday Five Edition)

Wednesday I had a couple of trees taken down in my front yard.  While I thought it was just cutting trees down, I actually found it very interesting.

When I bought my house 16 years ago, there were these really small little Evergreen trees in my front yard.

Over the years they grew.

And grew.

Because they are right in front of my front door, security became a concern.  Someone could easily hide behind the trees or break in my house without my neighbors seeing.  I really didn't want to cut them down, but I didn't have any other option.

I randomly found a company that cut trees down and asked if they could come and give me a quote.  It came to $275 and I wasn't sure if that was outrageous or just about right so I decided to find another company get me a quote.  The second company came in almost $200 higher, so I went with the first company.

They came by this week to cut them down.  While I didn't have to be there, I wanted to make sure that everything was done to my satisfaction while they were there.  And it made it easier to pay if I just gave them a check.

They came by and had a crew of 5 or 6 guys.  All of them very nice.  They started cutting the first down and I felt sad.  Cutting down beautiful trees like that is one of the things I really didn't want to do, but I knew that my house would look nicer and I would be safer doing so.

The mulched it up and moved to cut down and mulch the second tree.

They were going to grid the stumps as well and I have to say that this was the most interesting part as I didn't know how that would be done.  They brought out this machine.

They put up a mesh gate to stop the house from getting hit with anything that might spew out.  And they started to grind down the stump.

And then the second.  They filled up the holes and they were done.  In total the process probably took 45 minutes.  While I really will miss the trees, I'm glad it's done.  I do think that the house looks better and I feel safer knowing someone won't be jumping out.

Have you had someone take down trees around your house?  Were they dead and unsafe or just getting too big? 

I'm linking up with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for Friday Five 2.0

Friday, June 15, 2018

Star Wars Dark Side Expo 2018 (Friday Five Edition)

I'm finally getting to my Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend recaps from April.

On the Wednesday before the weekend, I headed down to Disney World in the evening after work.  The plan was that I would stay with my friend Kelly and her husband Franklin that night and after the Expo on Thursday I would move to my own room.  We did it last year and it worked out great.  This year, because of work, Franklin was not going to get there till Thursday evening, so it was just the girls for the Expo.

Kelly likes to get to the Expo early and wait for the doors to open.  I know we would have to wait either way, so I was fine heading there early.  We took an Uber to ESPN and got there a little before 8 and there was already a short line outside.  Last year we spent the time outside, so I brought a blanket for us to sit on.  The moment we got comfortable they started moving the line inside.  Since the official merchandise area is in a new building, there was room to have us wait in a room inside.

We chatted some and we both brought things to work on.  When we left the room to use the bathroom, you could see the empty Expo.  It was fun to see it empty with all the items there.

There was a DJ there for awhile and the music was too loud.  And every time he talked to the group, you could not understand a word he said.

The Expo was supposed to open at 10, but they let us in about 9:30.  I had seen the Disney blog about the merchandise and had an idea of what I wanted to see.  We did a once through and grabbed items that interested us.  They had tables on the side, so we grabbed one and went through everything we grabbed and tried things on.

The pre-purchased items could be picked up in the same area so we took turns picking up our items and putting things back that we didn't want.  It actually worked out well.  The per-purchased items were to include a magnet, a shoe ordainment, and a figurine.  Well it turned out that we got two ordainment and two figurines.   We came to a conclusion that maybe the ordainment and figurines from the Light Side in Disneyland were ordered before the race was canceled and they couldn't cancel it.  Therefore they were part of the Dark Side items.  We don't know for sure if that is true, but that was the only thing we could figure.

Noticed that they had an artist section set up.  I went over and looked at the drawings and saw the
Millennium Falcon.  I had the artist write "Never tell me the odds." on it and went to pay for my merchandise while I waited for that to be done.

After we paid, we got in the Dooney line.  When I saw pictures on the website I wasn't sure if I liked it or not.  But seeing them in person, I did like the clutch.  They were selling Passholder shirts which I fell in love with.  Kelly was a Passholder and was able to get herself, her husband, and me one.

I picked up my personalized Millennium Falcon and we headed out of the merchandise area.  We saw that they had characters setup for pictures.  As we waited in line for Jabba the Hut, Kelly went to get a drink and came back with this AT-AT.  OMG it was awesome.  It moved and opened up.  It was almost as nice as the toys my mom wouldn't buy me when I was a kid.  I had to have one!

We got our pictures taken with Jabba.

And then with the Storm Troopers.

We had done everything we could do in that building and headed to the building to pick up our bibs.  As we left there were more photo opportunities.  There was the Viper probe droid.

We went in to get our bibs.  Along with the races for the weekend we had to pick up our medals for the Star Wars Light Side virtual race that we did.  They gave us a box which contained the medal, and "I did it" magnet, and a little BB-8 that light up and made noise when a button was pushed. 

On the way to the main expo they had the runDisney icon out. 

In the Expo area they had more cool photo ops. 

I couldn't find my Rock Tape before I left, so I decided to have them tape my knee and buy a couple of roles.  After I passed the Sweaty Band booth and saw that they had a bunch of holiday headbands in their clearance area.  Yes please.

We made it around to the shirt pickup and got our race shirts.  I asked the people at the runDisney booth when and if they expect to have Star Wars Light Side back.  They said that there was a new hotel being built in the parking lot where the finish area usually is and that they wouldn't be back till the construction was done.  Knowing that I don't know where they would put the finish area if that parking lot is gone.  But I did notice on one of their brochures that they are still having the Star Wars Light Side virtual run for next year.  It is the only Disneyland race that they made virtual.  

While there the topic of the virtual summer series came up.  Kelly said that they signed up for it to get in a few longer runs through the summer.  Granted, they do track through the summer, so 3 miles is a longer run for them.  I thought since I probably will do more biking through the summer then running, this would get me out to do a few runs through the summer, so I signed up.  Plus the medals are so super cute!!

I also stopped at the Roo Sports booth.  I had bought one the week before at the Ukrop's 10k
 and noticed that the earphone hole was fraying.  They were super nice and exchanged it without question.  I also talked to the owner about how the corners of the pocket poke out and she thought it was a good idea to do something about that.  If they do, I'll defiantly buy another one.

I finished up the last row of the expo and noticed that there were people trying on compression sleeves.  I was interested as I had tried different brands and they were always too tight for me.  I got measured and tried on a man and woman sizes.  They were comfortable so I bought a pair.

Both Kelly and I were exhausted and ready to head back to the hotel.  We got back and dropped off our stuff.  We had lunch at the hotel and she went off to Epcot and I went to check into my room.  I moved my stuff into my room, showered and rested.  When Franklin got in, I met him at the bus stop.  Since it was pretty late, the plan was that he would jump right on the Expo bus to get his bib.  I met him to take his carry on items from the plane to his room so that he didn't have to carry them around the Expo.

It was an early night for me as I would have to get up early for the 5k.

I'm linking up with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for Friday Five 2.0

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Ukrop's 10k 2018 (Tuesdays on the Run Edition)

I decided to do the Ukrop's 10k, in April, this year as it was a week before Star Wars and a good warm up.

The expo is usually at the Author Ashe Center, but this year it was moved to the Raceway.  I headed to the expo on Thursday and once I got in there, it looked like the exact same setup as before.  I assumed that it was moved to the Raceway because it had gotten too big.  But it turned out that it was because there was a Squirrel game (baseball) on Friday (the second day of the expo) and both share the same parking lot.

I picked up my bib, shirt, and bag and ran into one of my running friends.  It turns out that she was being a blind guide for her cousin during the race.  The story is very interesting.

I bought a shuttle ticket and headed to the expo booths.  The only thing that interested me was the Roo Sport.  I had the original one and it did nothing but chafe me.  After running the Princess Half without my big belt, I wanted to give this a try.

I was done and started to look for the exit.  For the life of me, I couldn't find it.  I asked a volunteer and he pointed me in the direction of it, and I still couldn't find it.  All of the booths and frame of the area, you couldn't see doors or the exit signs.  I finally wandered around and found the exit.

The race was on Saturday and I planned on meeting a friend at the shuttle parking lot.  When I got there she had run into a coworker of hers.  The three of us got on the bus and headed to the race.  We did all the pre-race items: port-a-potties, bag check, and a little stretching.

I walked to the start to find my corral and got there just as they were about to leave.  As I waited for them to set us off, I realized I never turned on my Garmin.  I hoped it would find the satellites fast.  If not, I'd hang back and go with the next wave.  I was in no rush.  But it synced just as they let us go.

The start was close to 70 and just getting hotter.  A lot of the course is shaded by trees, but not all of it.  Even though that's hot for runners, it was great weather for the crowds to come out and cheer us on.  One of the great things about this race is that it brings out tons of spectators.  There were the group that comes out every year to do Tai Chi, marching bands, cheerleaders, and college students handing out beer.

I passed the Richmond Police Trainees running in formation.  I had read an article about how each county had entered in their police trainees to run the 10k.  This was to promote comradery and cooperation with the different counties.

I was really worried how my knee would hold up for the race.  It had really been bothering me a lot during my last runs.  It was tight the whole time, but I never had any sharp pain.  I was also paying close attention to my steps so I would not hyper-extend it again.

Even with the heat and my knee tight, I felt very strong through the whole race.  I kept up my walk/run intervals without any deviation.  As I crossed the finish line I realized that I had a very even pace through the whole race.  Almost the same time for each mile.  I got my medal and had them put some ice on my knee.

My Roo Sports worked well and didn't chafe me at all.  Defiantly something I will be using in the future.  I did notice that the earphone hole was fraying.  Thankfully they were going to be at the Star Wars Half Marathon Expo a week later.  I also noticed that the corners of the pocket pokes out.  Functionally it was fine, but just pointed out that you had it under your shirt.

I met up with my friend from before the race and we met others for a fun brunch.  We go to the same place every year and every year we complain that they don't staff very well and everything takes forever.  But we keep going back. :)  This is one time I get to catch up with a lot of my running friends, so if it takes longer to get brunch, I'm fine with it.

This is a race I’ll do most years, but I’ll have to do it again next year. In 2017 they gave out medals that will click together with magnets and create a big medal with the 2018 and 2019 medals.  A great marketing technique to get runners to continue for the next two years.

Do you like when races do things to encourage you to run more races, like challenges, or themed medals?  Have you ever used the Roo Sport?

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Lucky Charm 10k 2018 (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

I really don't have a weekly wrap as I have been having issues with my knee on and off and I'm trying to get it to be totally off.  I might add in biking or swimming next week instead of running.  We will see.  Instead I thought I'd share my recap of the Lucky Charm 10k from back in March.  I wrote this recap once a few weeks ago and it go lost in the netherworld.  I know this won't be as good as the original, but here is my second take.

St. Patrick's Day weekend I went up to Pennsylvania to visit my friend Meranda.  We had decided to run the Lucky Charm 10k in Harrisburg.  We got to the race early as we needed to pick up our bibs.  Bib pickup was very easy.  We even saw Ana there with her son, volunteering.  Meranda's mom came with us to watch, so we were able to give her our shirts, and other things, to hold while we ran.

We finished getting ready for the race and used the port-a-potties.  It turned out that someone left a sub sandwich in one of the urinals of the port-a-potties.  Very random.

Apparently there was an announcer but we couldn't hear him at all, but it sounded like the race was about to start.  We made our way to the start and quickly we were on our way.  We headed down the street and I was doing my walk/run.  A lady came up behind me and asked what intervals I was doing.  I told her 30/30 and she asked if she could stick with me since she forgot her timer.

We turned a corner and ran towards the capital and then away from it.  We ran towards the river and turned and ran next to it.  What a nice view to run with.  My new running partner's name was Josllyn and she's a parole officer in Harrisburg.  It was great to have someone to run with who wasn't always two steps ahead of me because I was slower.

We came to the 5k turnaround, and since Josllyn was running the 5k, we parted ways.  I noticed that most of the people that were slower like me were turning around at the 5k.  There really was only a couple people behind me that was doing the 10k.

Since I stuck with Josllyn for the first couple of miles, we took things slow.  This gave me a chance to try and do a negative split.  I decided to keep my eye on the person ahead of me and make it my goal to pass them.

I was really getting thirsty and I didn't see any water stops.  I should have carried a water bottle with me, but I didn't want to wear my race belt.  We turned off the river and headed back into the city.  I noticed a water stop, but they were all focused on the people on the other side who were heading back to the finish line.  I had to yell at a volunteer to turn around and hand me water.

All of the volunteers and police who were stopping traffic were super nice.  Most of the roads were still open as we were running by a church and museum that were still open.  Thankfully there was rarely a car.

As I headed to the turn around, I passed a dad pushing a stroller and carrying his daughter.  We chatted for a second and he said that she just didn't want to stay in the stroller.  I thought just pushing a stroller would be hard, but having to carry the baby as well impressed me.

As I headed back to the river, I kept picking people off, one by one.  I kept up my walk/runs, and just looked to passing the one person in front of me.

I was looking forward to the water stop that I had passed as I was very thirsty again.  And when I came up to it, it was gone?!?!  I know that I was at the very end of the pack, but really, they should have stayed out till we all passed.

We turned and ran next to the river again.  It really was a very pretty sight.  I did see someone handing out water.  I don't remember that water stop there on the way up, but glad we finally got a second station.  But really there should have been more then 2 stops for a 10k.

We passed the start line, which was a few blocks up, and continued on next to the water.  The course continued down the bike path right next to the river.  It was nice, but I was ready for the race to be over.  I still had a few people in front of me that I kept my eye on.

While running, I stepped wrong and hyper-extended my knee.  OMG did it hurt!  I decided to walk the next few run intervals.  That seemed to help and work out whatever I did.  Thank goodness it wasn't bad.

We came to the path to take us back up to the street.  I knew that once we went down, we would have to go back up.  It was a tight turn and a steep hill.  I decided to walk it and make sure I stepped carefully not to hurt my knee again.

Once back at street level, we were to run down the sidewalk to where the police officer was stopping traffic for the runners.  There were two ladies in front of me who wanted to cut the corner and ran in front of traffic.  No one around could believe they did that, they could have been hit by a car.  I went down to the crosswalk and the officer stopped traffic for me.

I decided that I would pass these two ladies.  It was my goal to end the race in front of them. We had 3-4 blocks to go to get to the street where the finish line was and it was all up hill.  I concentrated on getting up that hill.  As I did, I saw Josllyn heading down to the parking lot.  It was so fun seeing her as I headed to the finish line.

At the top of the hill I had passed one of the ladies.  Just one more to go.  We turned the corner and the finish line was right there.  I turned it into high gear and passed her and I kept booking it to the finish line.  I passed probably 10-12 people for the last 4 miles and no one passed me.  I was so proud of the race.  After the first 2 miles each mile was faster then the last.  It was a great negative split for me.

I was so happy to be done, but couldn't wait to get water.  I as so thirsty.  I finally found the table where they were handing out green bagels and Lucky Charm cereal.  But the water they had were little cups and a water jug to fill the cups.  I stood there and drank a glass and refilled, drank a glass and refilled, drank a glass and refilled.  I couldn't believe they didn't have bottles to take with us so that we could re-hydrate.

I found Meranda and her mom.  Once the race was finished, there was to be a St. Patrick's Day parade.  We found a place to sit on some bleachers that a bar had put out.  I went to change my clothes and find some place to buy water and a coffee for Meranda's mom.  The only coffee I could find was iced coffee and it tasted like grounds.  And I got another cup of water, though this one was a little bigger then the dixie cups that were at the end of the race.

The parade was a lot of fun.  There were bag pipers, rescue dogs, Storm Troopers, Gaelic Dancers, a DeLorean, fire trucks, floats, tractors, and a band.

We headed back to the cars as the parade came to an end and parted ways.  It was a very fun weekend and I really did like the race.  Except for the lack of water and being so far from home, I would do it again.

Do you like to stay after the race and enjoy the after party.  Do you like watching parades?

I am linking up with Holly and Wendy for their Weekly Wrap!