Monday, June 30, 2008

Alex's Birthday Party

We had Alex's birthday party this weekend at the town pool. Sunshine, fun in the water, cake and ice cream...

We concluded Alex's party day by checking out the Coventry fireworks. An awesome summer night!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

North Face 50 (Re-creation)

Last year I planned to run my first 50 miler at the 2007 North Face Endurance Challenge Hartford, CT race. I was excited because the race course was to be on the local "rails to trails" path on which I often train. However, a few weeks before the event, the race was cancelled due to lack of registrants. The North Face sent a t-shirt and hat as a consolation. But in accordance with Bad Ben’s T-shirt etiquette I have not worn the shirt, since I did not complete the event. So in order to justify wearing the shirt some day, myself and Mark (who's in the same situation) decided we should run the 50 mile course on our own some day. Yesterday was the day.

Keith, a guy we met at Stone Cat last year, and who's going to pace me at VT, came down from Boston to particpate in the training run as well. A last minute change in plans had us stay at Mark's house Friday night and head out from there for the 4 AM start. This would be a good thing, as it added some hills and variation from the soon to be somewhat methodical trot down the long, straight, flat rail trail.

Headlamps lighting the way, we rolled through Tolland on our way to meet up with Mike, who was going to run the opposite direction from Vernon and join us for about half the run. However, we never saw him. He ran past where we thought we'd meet him and kept running on a road which wasn't our route. We'll coordinate better next time!

So the three of us pressed on and soon hopped on the rail trail. We enjoyed the cool morning and the sun coming up, shining through the trees. We saw plenty of deer and even a moose! We had plenty of fluids and calories, as we had some water stashed at a few road crossings and there were a couple of convenience stores along the way.

When we got half way, we ended up missing the point we were supposed to turn around and ran a little further down the trail. As a result the run ended up being 52.6 miles. Not a bad thing to get in a few extra miles. We finished the run in a solid 9:50:05. It was an excellent training run and I was stoked to see that my pacer is in top form and ready to go next month! And now I can where the North Face stuff.

Getting ready the night before

We saw a moose!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Birthday #4

It's Alex's 4th Birthday! He had a party at school with a Lightning MacQueen cake:

And then it was dinner with Mom, Dad and Sis. Next weekend, a party with family and friends completes celebration #4!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Auntie & Keith's Wedding

Last weekend Kourtney and Keith got married. The whole weekend, from the rehearsal dinner, to the wedding and then hanging out at the hotel the day after was awesome! We all had a great time!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Father's Day Breakfast

This morning Alex's class at daycare held a breakfast for Dads in celebration of Father's Day. Here's a video clip of three short songs they sang for us:

They did a great job!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Race For The Cure

Today Shan and I participated in the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure. I completed the 5K run and then Shan and I did the 4K walk. The race seems to get bigger each year with thousands turning out to run in memory and celebration of those who've lost and those who've won the battle against breast cancer. My company organized a team for the event and we gathered to run and/or walk together as a group. It was a great morning!

Sponsor tent area

Shan, Kourt, Keith

Shan with some co-workers

Part of the P&W team

Me and Shan

Ryan King - My boss's kid. He won the 5K run in 16:37 (5:21 pace!!)

Start of the walk

Shan with the crew

Another pic of the crew

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Bruce's hike to the swamp

A friend of mine (Bruce) emailed me yesterday some pics he took on a recent hike. He retired last year, so he has lots of time for cool hikes and snapping pics:

Over the weekend, I hiked to a nest that I discovered a couple months ago, to see if there was any recent activity. It's a large nest, so I thought it may be an eagle or an osprey, since they tend to use the same nest year after year. It was an interesting hike and I thought you might like to see some of what I saw. This is the best nest site I have ever seen for a large bird of prey - it has a lot of character. I shot a ton of pictures, but here are a few to experience a "virtual hike."

Here is the nest in March of this year. There was no activity.

The nest is located on top of a dead tree in the middle of a large swamp.

I saw several large snakes along the edge of the swamp.

And lots of frogs that the snakes feed on.

There were also some large bullfrogs.

This yearling came out of the woods on the edge of the swamp to feed on some tender, new vegetation.

An osprey landed and sat in the nest on and off, so there may be some eggs in the nest.

A landing approach from the north.

Fly-over from the south.

Another fly-over from the south.

Overhead shot

Another overhead shot

I hope you enjoyed this virtual hike. There should be a lot of activity after the eggs hatch, since both parents will be busy bringing fresh food to their young. I also saw a beaver surface in front of me and swim away before I could get a picture (one of the many shots that "got away"). I think one of the landing shots may be a candidate for Nat Geo. You can imagine how many pictures I had to take to get a few good ones. Thank God for digital. I love my new job. Have a great day...

Thanks for the pics Bruce! They're awesome. What a great hike!