Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey Trot Update

The official results are in:

30th place in a field of 135
4th place in the 35-39 age group
28th out of 81 men
My official time was 28:15. A 1:50 improvement over last year.
Not too bad. If I cut that much time off next year we will be eating major award turkey next Thanksgiving.

My next race is December 5th, the Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis. Last year I did not run it for time, just the experience of running in the winter. This year I have been training pretty hard and am much more accustom to cold weather running. There just might be a personal record in the cards. Gotta go sub 20:56. On the fund raising front, I have just gone past the halfway point towards my goal. Thank you to everyone who has helped out so far. I would love some more help in order to get over the $1000 mark.

Tomorrow is turkey day. The Robinson Family wishes you all a wonderful day. Remember to where your fat pants!


Monday, November 23, 2009

It Was A Good Day...

...Because it was my birthday.

At work I only received one birthday wish. It was a very nice wish as I did not tell anyone at work that my birthday was upcoming. One of my employees actually remembered from a conversation about two weeks ago that today was my day. Made me feel pretty good.

Facebook provided several birthday wishes from friends and family. It is very fun to read them and see all the funny comments. I have some pretty good people in my life.

The best came at home.

Nigel picked out a card all by himself for me. He had made one on the computer for me, but while at Halmark he saw one that changed his mind. It had a cute puppy on the front and the card said "It would be ruff to find a better daddy than you". He signed it himself and everything.

Nora made me a card. It was great. Picture a giant block blue "M" that folds open to a maize background. One the background was a picture of she and I surrounded by "Go Blue". That's my girl.

Jim and Karen (father and mother in law) gave me a wonderful card that further feeds my ego, and a stash of my favorite cookie, Pepperidge Farm creme filled pirouettes. They gave me a can of mint, hazelnut, french vanilla and chocolate fudge. Yum!

Robin gave me a great gift. She is not the biggest Christmas fan. The materialistic nature of the season tends to get her down. From time to time during the season she lets that get the best of her and goes a bit Scrooge on me. Her gift to me for my birthday is a promise to try and enjoy the Christmas season this year. Yahoo!!

All in all a great day. Thanks to all!

If you are still looking for a last minute gift for me you can always follow this link to my Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis donation page and make a donation in my honor.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Race Day

Today was the 2009 Turkey Trot. Since running the race last year I had been very focused on performing better on the hill and improving my time. As the race day came closer my priorities changed a bit. You see both Nora and Nigel expressed interest in running in the 1/2 mile youth fun. As I am sure you can imagine I became a bit more focused and interested in the kids. I wanted to make sure they performed as well as they could and most importantly, had fun. For the most part mission accomplished on both fronts. I will start with the kiddos.

I had spent quite a bit of time coaching the kids on how best to run a longer distance than in the back yard. We talked about pace, not running too fast, or getting discouraged by other kids doing better than them. They both seemed to have a pretty good handle on the concept and were excited about the day. When we arrived we got the kids over to the starting line where they received last minute instruction on the course by the director. He gave the commands and they were off like a shot. Too fast in my opinion. Nora and Nigel got off well and seemed to be doing well. After the initial surge Nigel began to drop back a bit. Nora, bing the great big sister that she is, fell back with him. She did not want Nigel to feel bad. What a great girl. Unfortunately, from that point on it went a bit pear shaped for the Nigel. He got mad about half way through because all the other kids were beating him. Robin told Nora to run her race and leave Nigel. He ended up not wanting to finish. Nora, however, ran well. She ended up running the 1/2 mile in 3:43. She asked if that was good. In order to put it in perspective for her I told her she ran at a pace equal to the pace I run in training runs. Pretty great for my little girl! For Nigel's part, he was a bit bummed that he did not finish, but still had fun. I was very proud of both of them. My primary goal was to just have them try.

As for me, I was fairly satisfied with my performance. I know I had talked a length about placing in the race and getting the family a turkey. However, going in I knew that was not going to be a reality for me. I have trained well, but came to the realization a bit ago that shaving 3 plus minutes off last years time was just not in the cards. So, with the mind set of just running my race and having fun I set out to do my best. That takes a load off the mind. I had a nice run on a beautiful day and learned that I have little more work to do before I am a hill master. Hills are hard. I finished with a time of 28:16. That is 18 seconds slower than my last 4 mile race (no big hill climbs in that one), but 1:49 faster than I ran last year. I cannot complain about that. As an added bonus, I was under one minute off the third place finisher in my age group. There is always next year!

My focus now turns to the Jingle Bell Run on December 5th. I am running pretty strongly these days and hope to perform well. However, that is not the performance in which I am most interested. I really want to raise as much money as possible for the foundation. I am about halfway to my goal of $1000. Please visit my donation page. You know tomorrow is a my birthday, in fact many of you may be reading this on my birthday. Do you know what would be a great birthday gift? That's right, a donation to the Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis.

Now for some pictures from the day. Disclaimer: They are not in order. It was late and I was really more focused on my glass of wine! Cheers.

Nigel did not finish because he got off course :-)

Proud Nora with her first race ribbon.

Nora finishing and getting her ribbon.


They're off!

Post race bare foot jog.

That girl beat me last year...not this year missy!

Coming through the trees to the home stretch.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


This past Friday night was a huge surprise. Robin and I had been invited by some friends to go to the Illinois game on Saturday, and were planning on leaving early in the morning. My parents agreed to watch Nora and Nigel over night so they thought that they would kill two birds with one stone and have us all over for dinner to celebrate my up coming birthday. (They will be out of town on my actual birthday weekend.) I was looking forward to a quiet night. That was not to be the case.

After about a half an hour there were visitors at my parents door. Our good friends Josh, Adrianne, Claire and Eve showed up along with Josh's parents, Jerry and Vicki. To say I was surprised is an understatement. Shock is a better description. The dinner and company was fantastic. This was my first ever surprise party. It was worth the wait.

The next morning was a big day for all of us. Josh, Adrianne, Robin and I made our way to Champaign for the game while my parents prepared to take Nora to her basketball clinic and then both Nora and Nigel to the zoo.

The U of I game was a lot of fun. Josh and Adrianne made sure that both Robin and I had the appropriate apparel. In fact, at one point I was even seen wearing a U of I snuggie. Can you believe that? I did break out in Maize and Blue hives shortly there after. The game was a bit of a bummer. U of I lost. There are some who believe that I, due to my recent luck at Michigan games, may be a jinx.

Meanwhile, Nora had a blast a her clinic. She is really enjoying leaning how to play the game. I am looking forward to watching her play next week. After the clinic Grandma and Grandpa took them to the Peoria zoo. They recently opened an Africa exhibit. I have heard lots a great things about it and the kids say they delivered. They both had a blast and want us to take them back.

As you know I usually add photographic evidence for all of these events, however, Blogger is not cooperating tonight. Sorry.

On an unrelated note, only 18 more days to go until the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis. I am about half way to my goal of $1000. I would love you help to make it the rest of the way.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Strange Feeling

I did not go for a run tonight. I have been doing a lot of training recently in order to get ready for the Turkey Trot and the Jingle Bell. Today I just did not have it in me. At the moment that I made the decision I felt it was the right choice. I was unmotivated and positive I would get nothing out of it. Now, however, I am having some version of buyers remorse. Hanging out with the family, helping with the kids homework, and having general quality time recharged me. I miss my run. On the plus side I am feeling pretty good about the training thus far. Knock on wood, I am going to do well in both races. Speaking of...the Turkey Trot is a week from Saturday and the Jingle Bell is in three weeks. Still plenty of time to support the cause!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

State of the Brewin'

As pointed out by cousin Adrian there has been little to no mention of my home brewing as of late. There is a very good reason for that. I have not been brewing. I am both distraught and very thirsty. Normally I do not do much brewing in the summer as the hours of boiling water tends to heat up the house. However, since the start of the fall season I have not yet got into the groove. I am in need of inspiration.

I want to make my Honey Wheat again and either a stout or porter. My biggest road block has been having both the ingredients and or access to them at the same time as I have the time to brew. Oh what to do. I shall ponder this over a cup of coffee.
If you have any suggestions throw them at me. Do not forget to check out my Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis pag. I am still the top fund raiser but want to do more.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Technical Difficulties

It has been a rough couple of days. It all began on Saturday.

Nora had her first day of basketball. For girls her age they do not have teams and play games. They just focus on practicing the fundamentals of the game. She was a bit nervous on the way over, but as soon as she saw a classmate her spirits lifted. She had a blast and has shown marked improvement since the Father/Daughter clinic we attended in the spring. I would love to show you pictures, but that leads into our first technical issue.

Our camera seems to have taken a turn for the worse. I was preparing to focus in on Nora for a good action shot of her driving to the hoop for a lay-up when the viewer went black. The screen showed an error message. Error messages are rarely good.

Later in the day Nora and I were doing a little raking. We decided to split up and tackle the job from separate fronts. I was giving the lawn a final mow and sucking up a few leaves as well. While I was doing that Nora was scooping leaves up, putting them in the wheelbarrow, and hauling them to the street. I cannot stress enough how big of a help Nora was. WOW! During this I was listening to my mp3 player with my headphones. After I finished my area Nora and I teamed up. We both wanted to listen to music, so I went in and got my docking station with speakers. I set the speakers up in the bed of my truck, unplugged my headphones and plugged in my mp3 player. The tunes were blasting and Nora and I were back to work. After a hard day of raking Nora and I had some recycling to do. We climbed into the truck and off we went. Have I mentioned what a huge help Nora is?

The next morning I got up and prepared to go on my run. Gotta have tunes for my run. Unfortunately I could not find my earphones. I borrowed Robin's and off I went. Upon my arrival home the headphones location dawned on me. I recycled them. Technical difficulty number 2.

Let's move to Monday. To say I had a bad day at work would be an understatement. I made a pretty big mistake, and was beating myself up a bit. Robin suggested that I grill burgers. Grilling usually puts me in a good mood. Thanks to my Dad we have a Big Green Egg. The thing is amazing and I love it. Prior to starting the coals I needed to move it back into position after having moved it to get leaves up. While I was moving it I had an issue. It tipped, the wheels shot out from under it, and it came crashing down on the edge of the cement stoop. Ceramic and cement do not mix. It shattered. I was about as crushed as it was. There are several parts not broken and we may be able to get replacement parts, but... Wow what a bad run of days.

Hey, you know what would make me feel better? Clicking on this highlighted underlined link and supporting me in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis.

Come back tomorrow for an update on my state of homebrewing.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It Was A Sign

I have what I feel to be very sound advice:

If your cat, first thing in the morning, pukes into your heat vent; go back to bed. The day is not going to get much better. You will get in multiple arguments with muttonheads, and that never ends well. Your boss will treat you as a pack mule, and your lunch will be interrupted at least 37 times. Trust me, you do not need this. Go back to bed.

On the bright side, all days do come to an end. Mine will have a good ending and is off to a great start.

We just returned from the parent/teacher conference for Nora. Turns out Nora is her own toughest critic. She judges the quality of her work and efforts more harshly than does her teacher. Even better, she loves school. Mrs. Rayburn is very pleased with her spelling and reading level, and loves how willing Nora is to participate in class. Could not be more proud.

To finish off the night we are going to dine on homemade chicken fingers, hash browns and peas and carrots. As for the evenings culture we will be viewing Transformers 2: The Rise of the Fallen. The jury is still out as to the libation of choice, but rest assured there will be one.

So, in summary, cat pukes in vent...go back to bed and skip to outstanding review of child followed by dinner and a movie.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rolling Now

I got it going on now. I am managing to blog on a fairly consistent basis again and I have risen to my rightful place as the top individual fund raiser for the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis. (Click here to support a winner.) Thank you very much to those who supported me last year and have continued to do so this year.

Speaking of running, I seem to be in a bit of a groove there as well. I am following a training program that combines speed work and mileage in order to obtain your personal best in a 5K. I am using it to get ready for the Turkey Trot 4 mile run on Nov 22nd. The top 2 finishers in each age group win a turkey and a trophy. Now I love Thanksgiving turkey, but can you imagine how much better a major award turkey would taste? I have a real shot this year.

Staying on the athletic front, Nora has a big day this coming Saturday. That will be her first day of park district basketball. For girls her age they do a series of clinics every Saturday through Dec as opposed to trying to play games. They will teach and stress the fundamentals so the kids have a better skill level and understanding of the game. I am sure that will make the games next year a bit more enjoyable. Nora is very excited and I cannot wait to watch.

Oh, one final thing...

"V" was awesome!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tonight They Arrive.

I am pretty excited about a television program that is making a second coming tonight.

As you may remember in about 1985 NBC televised a mini-series called "V". It told the story of an alien invasion by a race that looked like humans and brought the promise of hope and a new golden age. However, beneath their human like exterior was the skin of a reptile and the cold blood to match. Once the Visitors true intentions were revealed the battle for Earth was on.

My brother and I and all of our friends loved it. In fact, that Halloween he and I both dressed as Visitors. Thanks again Mom for making some pretty awesome costumes.

Tonight, thanks to ABC, the Visitors return. I cannot wait to watch it. I can only imagine how much better it will be visually than back in the '80s. I have a few chilled New Castles and am ready for some serious T.V. watching.

During a commercial break why don't you head on over to my Jingle Bell Arthritis Run/Walk donation page. I am currently #4 among the top fund raisers. We can do better!

Monday, November 2, 2009

What A Weekend

I am warning you in advance. I have a week of blogging under my belt and am feeling sufficiently warmed up. This could get a bit wordy.

We had one very eventful weekend in the Robinson household. There was a great dinner with good friends and old folks, illness, tailgating and football, begging for candy and all finished off with cake and ice cream.

It all started on Friday, as most weekends do. The Yoders were kind enough to include us in a monthly dinner they have with his parents, Jerry and Vicki and good fiends of his parents, Jerry and Linda. Adrianne greeted us with her usual spread of fantastic appetizers and Josh warmly welcomed us with a beer and a glass of wine. The eight of us enjoyed nice conversation while Josh slaved in the kitchen over sea bass, fresh green beans, and orzo. The fish had a macadamia crust and Josh made a mango chutney sauce for it as well. Everything was delicious. I was fairly certain I had had my fill until Josh brought out the two person skillet cookies. I maned up and ate my share and a bit of Robins as well. There was only one draw back to the ended. Oh, yeah, and Robin got sick.

Most of the food and drink we had was fairly rich. Robin and rich food is not a great mix. Unfortunately, it all tasted so great that she just could not say no. Her stomach decided to spend most of the day on Saturday reminding her of the bad mix. Lesson learned?

On Saturday I bailed on the family and went to the U of I/Michigan game in Champaign with my Dad. This was part of our continuing tour of the Big Ten. The Yoders were going as well and Jerry & Vicki were taking the RV. Tailgating heaven awaited. There were about 18 of us there, 10 Wolvierine fans and 8 Illini fans. Once again there was a great spread of food including several varieties of brats, burgers, soups, you name it and it was there. We all had a nice time with plenty of friendly banter between the rival fans. You all know the final score so I am going to forgo the pain of actually typing it out.

While my Dad and I were on the way home Nora and Nigel were getting ready for a big night of trick or treating. They were getting together with cousins Pete and Sofie. Once the transformations were complete Pipi Longstockings (Nora), Bumblebee (Nigel), Optimus Prime (Pete) and a witch (Sofie) hit the town in search of candy. Based on the bags I saw once I got home I would say they were successful.

On Sunday we all gathered at the Bressner's to celebrate cousin Alex's birthday. What better way to end a weekend filled with great friends, food, football and candy than with cake and ice cream.

What a weekend.