Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sweet Weekend

We had a really good weekend here in the Robinson house. Would you like to hear about it?


Well, tough!

Friday was the Eureka Davenport Elementary PTO carnival. Robin volunteered to work at two of the game booths. She had a great time shagging balls at the velcro dart ball game and watching little ones jump around in the bounce house. While she was doing that I led/was dragged by the kids around the school so they could play the games.
Each game provided the kids tickets that could be exchanged for prizes at the end of the evening. Nora came away with a birthstone ring and a duck call beak. Nigel got himself a rubber cobra and a complimentary duck call beak. Not a bad haul.
After the carnival, we went home and took in the movie Despicable Me. I am sure you all have seen it, but if you have not, watch it now.

I assume that since you are still reading you have seen the movie.
On to Saturday.

You all know about my race on Saturday. However, I do have one update. I actually finished 7th place overall. That has been my best finish to date.
The rest of the day was spent out at Robin's Grandparents farm. Most of Robin's family gathered to help her Mom go through all of Grandma Bug and Grandpa Bob's stuff. It is time to get that house cleared to prepare it for demo. Robin's parents are planning on building a home on the land and moving out there in Septemberish. The plans are fantastic. I for one am really excited for Jim and Karen. It is going to be great for them to finally have a new home which they designed themselves.
We all worked hard and were beat at the end of the day. In the end we could all pat ourselves on the backs for a job well done. There is a lot left to do, but we got a great start.

Sunday brought the Central Illinois Auto Show. This has been a tradition for the kids and I for the last few years. They have a blast looking at all the new cars and "driving" each of them. In addition to the cars they have plenty of other family friendly activities. This years list included appearances by Dora the Explorer, Diego, Sponge Bob, Ronald McDonald, Spiderman and Thor. As well as a NASCAR demo. I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Racing Season 2011 Has Begun!

I went to a 10k trail race at Black Partridge Park in Metamora this morning. The plan was to help the race director out with pre-race registration and other logistics involving the race. He told me to bring my running clothes just in case. I did and am glad. About 5 minutes before the race I laced up my shoes and grabbed a bib.

The course was fantastic. Mainly single track with a few nice hills, several bends and curves and a handful of well hidden water hazards. I really enjoyed the scenery and the variety of the course.

As for the race itself, I had no real race strategy going in as I did not plan to run. At the start I took off and was near the lead group. I was not too sure that I wanted to hang with that group or just have a laid back run, but before I was really able to make that decision we hit the single track. Once in that area our group split into two groups. The new lead group did not contain me and put some space between themselves and the rest of us rather quickly. I found that I was feeling pretty good and not happy with the pace my group was running. At about the half way point we hit the water station and an open area in the trail. I took advantage of the open space to make my move. I passed a handful of runners and settled into a quicker, but more comfortable pace for me. With about 1 mile left I caught part of the lead group. They had slowed and I was not able to find a way around them, so I fell in behind them and waited to hit the home stretch which would be in an open field. Once we emerged from the woods I kicked into high gear and left the guys behind.

I ended up with a time of 54:09 and in 8th place overall. As the race director said, "Not too shabby considering no warm up and a bloody knee!"

Oh, did I not mention the bloody knee? I have a history of falling on the trails. I have even earned a nickname, "Sir-Trips-Alot". Todays crash was due to indecision. As I approached a steep downhill I could not decide whether to run down slowly and in control or to enjoy some free speed. As you cannot do both at once gravity made the decision for me. I did a nice 4-point slide on my hands knees before scrambling to my feet and back up the hill. No one had the pleasure of watching my crash, but everyone got to see the result at the finish.

All in all a good day.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Peanut Butter M&M's

My day began with thoughts of Peanut Butter M&M's. The satisfying crunch of the candy shell as it gives way to the creamy peanut butter that is nestled inside a layer of sweet milk chocolate. I could not wait to get to work!

It all began yesterday when I caught a glimpse of this perfect candy in the vending machine at work. I needed to have those Peanut Butter M&M's. I pulled out my wallet only to find a $5 bill, and I just will not break a fiver for the vending machine. I like to credit my will power for this, but the reality is that I am just too cheap. To me, a single $5 is greater than (5) $1's. Breaking a fin to feed the vending machine is unfathomable. Life is much better with the $5 in my wallet, but I digress. Back to the M&M's.

I went home thinking about creamy peanut butter, silky milk chocolate, a crispy candy shell, and my plan to make them mine. The plan was simple enough, grab a dollar, get a good nights sleep, and get to work where my delicious snack awaits.

Everything on the home front went off without a hitch. I woke up well rested, my craving still in full effect, found a dollar, ate a good (but not too filling) breakfast, and headed out the door.

By the time I got to work I could barely contain myself. The wait had nearly spanned 15 hours. Sprinting into the break room, dollar in outstretched hand, I was hit with a ton of bricks. There was indeed one pack of my glorious snack left, but it was behind and empty slot! Curses! It is already well established that I am far too cheap to spend the money for an empty slot just to get to the silky, creamy, crunchy goodness. What was I to do? My day was shot.

At that point I really should have just gone home. Who could blame a person that had just been denied the treasure of the Peanut Butter M&M's for not wanting to do anything but curl up in the fetal position and suck ones thumb? Against my better judgement I decided to power through the day. Nothing went right from there on out.

I was 3 hours behind all day, missed my morning snack, had my lunch delayed by an hour, and nearly dropped my phone in the toilet. That was just a sample. I shall not bore you with the details. Let me assure you, the day did not go well. Just when I thought things could not get worse, they did.

Shortly after 1 p.m., when the second shift comes in, I heard a series of loud bangs and thumps in the break room. They were the tell tale sounds of someone taking on the vending machine. No doubt someone had seen MY Peanut Butter M&M's and taken on the challenge of the empty space. Based on the speed and the violence associated with the vending machine battle I knew my M&M's were lost. No crispy shell. No silky milk chocolate. No creamy peanut butter.

Mercifully, 3 o'clock made its way onto the clock signaling the end of my day. I gathered up my coffee cup, lunch box and made my way to the door. I took one longing glance at the vending machine and what did I see but MY bag of Peanut Butter M&M's. The scoundrel that had tried to fight the vending machine had lost. Now all that stood between me and the snack that I had been craving for 24 hours was a mere $.65. The day was saved.

I would describe the joy that was found in the consumption of the M&M's, but some things are better left to the imagination.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Holy Frustration Batman!

I know I have only been running for a fairly short time, but it has been long enough for me to be completely hooked. When I do not get my runs in I get a little bit grumpy. Lately I have been grumpy.

What has been causing the grump factor? A nagging IT band injury. It has left me able to only run every other day. Every other day! That should be plenty you say. No, it is not. I am trying to get ready to run the U of I half marathon on April 30th. But Chris, you can already run 13.1 miles without too much difficulty. I know, but I cannot run 13.1 miles at or near a 7 min/mile pace. Thus the grumpitude.

The bigger issue here is the loss of the therapeutic benefit of running. Unwinding after work with a nice run keeps me sane. Well, sane-ish. We gotta keep it realistic here. How sane is a guy that cannot wait to run on a trail for 8 hrs, but I am getting ahead of myself here. Running keeps me centered, makes me happy and keeps me healthy. I miss it and want this injury to go the way of the dodo bird.

Much to my displeasure I am doing the right thing. Strengthening the supportive muscles, stretching the offending ligament, and resting. Big ole BOOOO to the resting. I just need to remind myself that rest today will allow for more and better runs down the road. Gotta look at the big picture here.

In the meantime....