Thursday, September 15, 2011

Staycation to KS to First 5K of the Fall

After Jackson I took a few days' staycation in Salt Lake (a big deal for me). The highlights were golf at Mt. Dell with my friend Ryan and climbing Mt. Timpanogos (the second highest peak in the Wasatch) with my friend John Regehr. We didn't have a camera, which was too bad, as it's hard to describe how beautiful the place is and how distinct it is from other peaks in the Wasatch. All the photos of Timp on the web suck, so this fine art of the Mt. Timpanogos Temple seems appropriate:

Then it was time to head back to Kansas  K-State's semesters are brutally long. In case you were wondering, "No Place Like Homes" refers to the fact that I divide my time between Manhattan, KS and Salt Lake. I like and have good friends in both places, but of course, to put it mildly, a commuter marriage is not our first choice. At the moment, however, Jeanine and I are happy to each have jobs in our fields (but God are we ready for the next boom; would corporate America please cease its anti-Obama hiring boycott already?).

After the first week of classes, I ran my first race of the fall. I hadn't raced since April because I was so busy with finishing two books, and also because I think of summer as my season off (fall is prime running season, winter is XC skiing season, and spring is you-might-as-well-race-because-you're-still-in-skiing-shape season. Just for the record, I'm not a serious or good runner. But one of the things I like about living in a small city is that consistent training goes a long way  I can actually be competitive in races here (or I can loose a 5K by 4 minutes if real, ran-in-college runners show up). I'm used to running races alone, but for this race  a 5K Parkinson's fundraiser held at our local lake/state park, one of the best roller skiing spots in the world  several members of Thursday night Beer Club showed up, which made it tons of fun (as did the free beer and barbecue). Speaking of beer, if I hadn't have consumed so much the past couple weeks of summer, and if it had not been so hot in Salt Lake all summer, I think I may have had a shot. As it is, I lost (to a 55-year-old I might add) by 12 seconds. I wish it had been closer  I have this dream of just once closing in on and passing someone in the last 200 meters to win a race movie style. And considering I ran at a pace about 15 seconds behind my PRs, it almost happened. Next time. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

After the Book

Ok true to form I'm already behind on the first day of my blog. That's because of my staycation in Salt Lake the week before the semester started (un-tenured professors operate on a thin time margin), and also because I spent most of yesterday pacing my friend Jason for part of the Wasatch 100 and most of today sleeping. More on these things in a few days. For this first entry I want to go back to when I meant to start the blog (which I wanted to call After the Book, but it's taken). Sometime in mid-August I e-mailed the final version of my book to the press (ok the exact time was 5:21 a.m.) and then a couple hours later Jeanine and I (Jeanine = wife of just a bit over a year) drove to Jackson, Wyoming for one our best  and most needed weekends  ever. The State and the Stork (that's the book) has been looming over my life for more than a decade, and I don't think I've ever had a better beer than the first one that night when we rolled into the Snake River Brewery and met our great friends Sean and Gillian, who drove over from Montana.

We also knew it was going to be an epic weekend when the Snow King (I love any resort with a 1970s logo) upgraded us from 1 bedroom for the 4 of us (in keeping with the tradition that we were in the next bed when Sean and Gillian spent their first-ever night together in a hotel room) to a 3-bedroom condo (complete with original 1970s bathrooms). The next day we went on a fantastic hike to Solitude Lake in Grand Teton National Park

and then a trail running weekend broke out. Jeanine's training for her first half marathon this October (I also love running, which I'll be boring you about on this blog), and so we did a run in the park the next day and an unbelievable one at Cache Creek in town the day we left. We also celebrated our first anniversary (yes, Sean and Gillian had left by then) at the Snake River Grill (no relation to the brewery  something of a common name around these parts). When at the SRG, we prefer these: