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Labor Day is always surreal to me…

Labor Day is always surreal to me…

Living close to the coast gives me the ability to go whenever I have the time.  I actually should go more than I do, but sometimes life gets in the way.  You never can get enough of the coastal air, the sand, the waves, the water… it’s a cleansing for the soul.

Labor Day always feels surreal to me… you know it is the official end of summer.  You stand on the beach and watch the crowds begin to thin out as they pack up and start their travel back to reality.  They’ll have to wait in eager anticipation for school to end and vacation time to being anew.

It’s always given me a sad feeling, like it’s hard to breathe when you think about the scene unfolding.  Not sure why. It’s like you don’t even want to see it happen… It’s funny, I get the same feeling in the pit of my stomach when I hear Don Henley’s Boys of Summer. I guess I am one of those that wishes summer would never end.  Nostalgic even.

Jimmy Buffett sums it up quite well here:

When The Coast Is Clear

Lyrics to When The Coast Is Clear :They’re closin’ down the hangout
The air is turnin’ cool
They’er shuttin’ off the superslide
The kids are back in school

The tourist traps are empty
Vacancy abounds
Almost like it used to be
Before the circus came to town

That’s when it always happens
Same time every year
I come down to talk to me
When the coast is clear

Hello mister other me
It’s been a long time
We hardly get to have these chats
That in itself’s a crime

So tell me all your troubles
I’ll surely tell you mine
We’ll laugh and smoke and cuss and joke
And have a glass of wine

That’s where it always happens
Same place every year
I come down and talk to me
When the coast is clear

It’s the only place he knows
Where it always happens
Same place every year
I come down and talk to me
When the coast is clear
They’re closin’ down the hangout
The air is turnin’ cool
They’er shuttin’ off the superslide”
The kids are back in school

The tourist traps are empty
Vacancy abounds
Almost like it used to be
Before the circus came to town

That’s when it always happens
Same time every year
I come down to talk to me
When the coast is clear

Hello mister other me
It’s been a long time
We hardly get to have these chats
That in itself’s a crime

So tell me all your troubles
I’ll surely tell you mine
We’ll laugh and smoke and cuss and joke
And have a glass of wine

That’s where it always happens
Same place every year
I come down and talk to me
When the coast is clear

It’s the only place he knows
Where it always happens
Same place every year
I come down and talk to me
When the coast is clear

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Posted by on September 1, 2014 in Just Me, Travel, Writing

 

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I ate breakfast off of a Christmas plate… on Memorial Day

I ate breakfast off of a Christmas plate… on Memorial Day

Yeah, weird title for a blog post, but I’ll get to that… first off, happy Memorial Day and a HUGE thank you to our veterans and active-duty military across the world!

This morning I looked down at my plate and realized I’d been given the green Christmas plate adorned with snowflakes.  This, like most random things, got me thinking… why didn’t this plate get stored away in the attic with the rest of the Christmas decorations and what kind of Mrs Manners rule are we breaking by not climbing the steps and shoving it into a box with it’s kin folk?

Actually, I could care less.  From reading my other posts I’m sure most of you realize I am a free spirit.  Yes, I’ve had the $300 dinners served with precision and enough utensils surrounding the plate for a small family… I’ve also had the meals on cheap Styrofoam plates with matching paper cups.  Does any of it matter?  Not really.

If you looked above the microwave in our kitchen you’d find our fine china.  I’d estimate there is around $3500 worth of it just sitting in two sections of cabinet… why?  Because someone, somewhere said that you had to register for fine china when you got married.  Probably the same person that said, “hmmm, I know they want this awesome grill, but I’m going to buy them a plate.  They’ll love it!”

Why is this reality?  We have used the ‘fine’ china with the platinum rim exactly FOUR times in 14 years.  On the flip side, the Christmas plate is constantly in rotation when, in reality, it should only be used between December 21-25 each year.  I think it had a price tag of $2.99.

Fine china is a leftover virus of a bygone era.  Like herpes and luggage, you keep it forever…

Walk through any store that sells china and you’ll see less and less of it on display.  This is because younger generations are not buying it – that is, unless their parents tell them, “register for it.   You know grandma Johnson will want to buy you a piece of your pattern.”  Seriously?!?  Why not have grandma Johnson buy something on the wedding registry the couple really wants?

From an auctioneer standpoint (which is my occupation) china does not sell well on the resale market.  Some patterns do hold their value, but most do not.  You can always check with Replacements Ltd in Greensboro, NC to see if they will buy your china, but their stock is usually full.  Why?  Because fewer and fewer families are buying/replacing/selling china.

We use Fiesta dinnerware for everyday use.  Very colorful dinnerware that matches my personality… which is probably how the green Christmas plate got mixed in unnoticed.

Thoughts?

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2014 in Just Me, Writing

 

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So you’re running a mud run? Not exactly…

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Yes, there is a mud in the photo above… lots of it, in fact.  When I tell people that I am running a Spartan Race or, in this case, the Warrior Dash, a lot of them say it’s a mud run.  There are a lot of misconceptions between mud runs and OCR (obstacle course racing).  I will do my best to define the two and maybe help some of you differentiate them.

A mud run is typically set up by a group as a fundraiser or another type of run instead of the traditional 5k or 10k road race.  Mud runs may or may not contain obstacles, because the events tend to focus more on muddiness. These events also tend to be less competitive. It’s more of the ‘weekend warrior’ type event where the participants are having a good time getting dirty – usually taking a clean before and a dirty after picture to commemorate the run.  Many times, OCR competitors use mud runs as a training run for more competitive events as the mud runs are closer to home in many cases.

Obstacle course races are different because they are usually set up as timed events with a strict performance standard for the obstacles. In addition, at some races there are penalties when an obstacle is skipped or not completed to standard.  Obstacle races will have tougher obstacles than a typical mud run, such as rope climbs, stone carries or water traverses.  These obstacles require more physically fit competitors.

Mud runs and obstacle course races are fun for those that are tired of the one foot in front of the other road races that have been around for ages.  These runs take participants off the beaten path (literally) and out of the person’s normal comfort zone.

For more information about these races, click one of the links below or Google the terms ‘mud run’ or ‘obstacle course race’ with your state or area to see what is available for you.

Spartan Race – several levels of competition.  Some courses have a Biggest Loser heat…

Tough Mudder – check out the Arctic Enema.  Not for the feint of heart.

Warrior Dash – good entry level racing.  Climbing and mud obstacles on the courses.

Zombie Run – you can run as the survivor or the zombie.  Includes night racing opportunities.

Ultimate Challenge Mud Run – a South Carolina run that has grown from a mud run to a full-fledged OCR event.

GoRuck Challenge – one of the ultimate tests of your fitness… you never know what you’ll get!

There are tons more of these races popping up around the country.  A quick Google search will give you a list of them in your area, state or other parts of the world.  My biggest piece of advice – TRAIN.  Many of the series have emailed workouts where you can get yourself into race-ready shape.  Advice part #2 – eat right.  Nutrition is key to completing the race – you are using your entire body instead of just the movements involved with road racing.  Advice part #3 – hydrate.  Water is your friend and you will see a lot of racers using hydration packs (Geigerrig or Camelbak) on the longer runs.

Enjoy the races… get out of your comfort zone and enjoy the world around you.  Even if you have to get dirty to do it!

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Writing

 

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Spartan Race vs Warrior Dash

Spartan Race vs Warrior Dash

Yesterday, my wife and I ran the Warrior Dash in Huntersville, North Carolina. The reason? I needed something to train for and it was a good entry-level race that she could run… it would be her first run of any kind off-road since cross country in high school (she’s likes to run on the road).  We registered and ran the race… had fun doing so… and will definitely do it again in the future.

Now, you may be wondering why I titled this post as I did.

Well, I am a veteran Spartan racer with four races under my belt including the 2013 Trifecta. For the trifecta I ran the Sprint in Atlanta, the Super in Virginia and the Beast in my home state of South Carolina. In total, for non-Spartan fans, I ran around 24+ miles of obstacle courses in three states.

Websites for reference: Spartan Race Warrior Dash

Now, the comparisons/differences:

Length: about the same. The Warrior Dash was 3.08 miles and the Sprint-level Spartan is 3-4.

Registration: about the same. Warrior is now utilizing iPad checkins and, in the future, will allow you to sign liability waivers on the iPad.

Timing: Spartan is ahead here… you get the timing chip to attach to your shoe. Warrior does not – they have clocks at the start and at various points along the trail (about every mile). The clocks are actual clocks noting the time of day – not elapsed time. Bring a watch (they tell you to do so on their website).

Obstacles: easier on Warrior Dash. For starters, Warrior tells you all of the obstacles in advance (not that you can really train for them). You can view videos and photos of each obstacle so you know what you will encounter in advance. Spartan, on the other hand, does not. After the Spartan pledge and three loud AROOs, you’re off. Literally.

(One note: since Reebok has begun sponsoring the Spartan races, I have noticed there are mile markers on the course. Prior to this the volunteers at water stations couldn’t accurately tell you where you were.)

Level of fitness required for Warrior:  Warrior is entry-level plus (you can get by with a minimal level of fitness – many of the participants were walking from the start). Most of the obstacles were climbing-oriented… walls with boards to assist, inclines with ropes, cargo nets. I didn’t see any real strength obstacles that had to be mastered.  You do need to be able to climb and crawl on your hands and knees, at times.  The course in North Carolina was rolling but there were some places where you had to traverse the wooded areas (with mud).

Level of fitness required for Spartan:  Spartan takes a little more training. In this series you have penalties when you do not complete an obstacle or choose not to attempt one (30 burpees per obstacle). In addition, you may be required to carry objects (atlas stones, logs, sand bags), flip articles (logs, tires), pull objects behind you (concrete blocks on chains), pull objects up (5 gallon bucket of concrete) and climb a 20-30 foot knotted rope.

(side note – on some Spartan Races there is a Biggest Loser heat where anyone of any fitness level can run a shortened version of the race.  No burpee penalties if you decide to skip an obstacle as well).

I will definitely run the Warrior Dash again. We had a blast running the race and actually running a race together! I would like to give you some advice – raise money for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital (information is on the Warrior Dash site)… if you raise the minimum amount you get a hot shower, food, drinks and a separate area to leave your goods during the race! The alternative is the hose… sticking out of a water truck… spraying everyone underneath!

Based on my personality, the Spartan race fits my profile… I really don’t want to know what is next.  I want to know that I have to come up with the ways to make it happen – whether that is me climbing a wall on my own or working with others to build a base for each of us to us as we make the ascent.  I feel Spartan models the challenges we face in life.

OCR – obstacle course racing – is taking off and more and more groups are getting in on the action. I was at Dick’s Sporting Goods and saw where Under Armour is sponsoring Tough Mudder races. I REALLY hope people are not buying new clothes to run these races! There is advice part 2 – where old, comfortable shoes. You get a chance to donate them at the end of the run!

Whatever you do, get out there and get out of your comfort zone! It is no fun being normal.

For those of you that have run OCR, add your thoughts below…

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2014 in Motivation, Running, Writing

 

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Change your circumstances

“Successful people are 100% convinced that they are masters of their own destiny , they’re not creatures of circumstance, they create circumstance, if the circumstances around them suck they change them.” – Jordan Belfort

The decisions you make today are the defining factor in what your circumstances will be down the road. Even though it is not easy, no one is going to do it except YOU.

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” – George Bernard Shaw

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2014 in Motivation, Writing

 

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You are powerful beyond measure!

You are powerful beyond measure. You have the power in you to accomplish anything you truly want… read that again – TRULY want. First off, you have to figure what you truly want… do you want a million dollars? Do you want ten million dollars? Do you want to finish college after being out for a number of years?

Find out what you truly want. You can say all day long, “I want ______.” But is it what you truly want? Is it something that will change your life? Will the newest 60″ flat screen make you a better person or help you to succeed?

I’ve written many times about needs versus wants… We live in a wanting society. We want what our friend – neighbor – family member has. We want their tangibles. We want their lifestyle. We want their happiness.

I guarantee you even the most important person in your life – whether it is the one that is truly important or the one you want to be like – has problems you don’t know about. What is wrong with setting your own course and achieving YOUR goals?

We are not talking about being complacent or stagnant. We are talking about making a plan and working that plan. Steps one to infinity… however many steps it takes to get there. Reward yourself along the way. No one said it had to be a boot camp… celebrate the goals as they are met. Mark them off the list and start making progress to the next one on the list.

No one can stop you except you. Look in the mirror and you will see what is holding you back. When you stop blaming others and start boosting yourself you will see change!

Make it happen!

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2014 in Just Me, Motivation

 

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Comfort Zone? HA… CrossFit here I come!

Ok, last year I vowed to complete the Spartan Race Trifecta… this entailed running a Sprint, Super and Beast all within the 12 month window of opportunity.  Well… I did it, starting with the 2012 Spartan Beast (all 13+ miles of it in South Carolina), followed by the Georgia Spartan Sprint (3+ miles) and ending with the Super Spartan at Wintergreen Resort in Virginia.

This year I am stepping WAY out of the comfort zone and heading for the CrossFit Open beginning in February… it is going to take a LOT of work and a lot of dedication to make up for some of the exercises I have not completed yet.  You know, double unders, muscle ups and many pull-ups.

This is my goal this year… for a glimpse of the 2013 Open workouts click here.  Here’s the deal – we don’t know what is coming!  Just like the Spartan Race courses, there is no roadmap.  You get the workout at 5:00 pm PST on Thursday and you have until Monday at 5:00 PST to complete it to your liking (oh yeah, and videotape it!).

Oh the fun I get myself into!  You can’t stand on the sidelines and Monday morning quarterback everything… 

“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the cornfield.”  Dwight D Eisenhower

 

 

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Posted by on January 21, 2014 in Writing

 

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