Monday Morning Musings for August Ninth, Twenty Ten. A smattering of thoughts that alone don't constitute a blog post but together end up here on Monday morning.
- Like the wood planks? It's a new flavor and feel and something I think goes well with my "watercolor" photo above. I just can't get enough of this picture. Someday soon, I'm going to get it on canvas. Marjie told me last night that Sam's Club is now putting pictures on canvas so it may be sooner than later! This picture wasn't altered in any way at all. That's what my Canon did with it on the trail! The shoe is the most recent version of the Brooks Cascadia, if you're wondering and I was on the Buckeye Trail at West Branch State Park in southern Portage County.
- Another weekend passed and another weekend in uniform. I took over as Executive Officer (XO) of a new command that I joined effective August 1st. For the non-military types in the audience, the XO of a command is 2nd in command, under the Commanding Officer (CO). My new command is joint, meaning that it’s not just the Navy but also the Army, Air Force, and Marines, although no Marines are currently in our unit. It’s a very active group with half of the unit currently mobilized to Iraq or Afghanistan, en route, or having just returned. Everyone else is slated to go within the next year or so. So far, so good at the new command. I was welcomed well and really hit it off well with everyone. I’m really looking forward to this leadership opportunity to lead sailors and soldiers and the nearly vertical learning curve that goes with it!
- I can't hardly stand it...4 days until my next 50,000 IU of Vitamin D. Bring it on!!! Can I just hook up an IV and strap the bag to my waist so I can heal overnight? That seems way more efficient to me.
- Dad? Who's Dad? That's what it feels like this morning. Although last week I spent every evening (except for Friday) at Vacation Bible School with my girls, I don't feel like I've seen them in nearly 2 weeks. More travel looms on the horizon, too. And before August ends, they'll be back in school. The juggling act continues, for sure. To be a dad, a husband, a Monday-Friday government worker, a Navy officer (often in the evenings or whenever the e-mail inbox demands it), and a local running/trail-running/ultra-running advocate...wow, it's just not easy. Oh yea, the monthly Western Reserve Trail Running Newsletter needs to go out, too. Well, that'll have to wait right now. Joyous evenings do kick off for me this week, though, as Katherine's soccer season has started and I love to sit at the field and watch her play..practices, games, whenever. I want to be there. Madeline enjoys it, too.
- I haven't talked much about our Debt Snowball and pursuit of being debt-free. Rest assured, we have not given up and continue down that road. An update for you: since January 1st of this year when we kicked it off, we have paid down over $27,000 in debt. All but one credit card is paid off which will be paid off before August 2010 is closed out along with Marjie's 2006 Honda back in the Spring. In November, Marjie and I will celebrate 18 years. In those 18 years, never once have we been without a credit card or a car payment. I'd say this is cause for celebration! After this card is gone, only my car and our house debt remains. Even better, this change we instituted at Christmas 2009 has removed a gigantic stress in our lives...that being the stress of money. Living by a budget and being accountable to that budget and to each other has been huge. Had we not done this, we'd still be pinching pennies, have no debt paid down (and actually be more IN debt because we've had one big car expense and a dishwasher go out on us), and still be living in the fog of U.S consumer debt. We are so thankful for our friends who have "mentored" us and provided the example to follow! It's not magic, folks. It's simple. Budget, cash only, teamwork. That basically sums it up.
- I think there are two kinds of race reports: One is those that are basically in bullet-point format and hit the highlights. Then those are those that draw you in, make you think you are actually on the trail, and are unable to turn or click away until you virtually cross the finish line with the writer. Those are easy to write, I have found. Basically, all you need is quiet, alone time, fingers infused with a certain level of caffeine, and then just type away your thoughts and hold nothing back. Here is one of those reports. Star Blackford, a veteran 100-mile finisher and good friend of mine, ran last week's Burning River 100 in a most unconventional way and her report is nothing short of perfection in my eyes. She worried it was too long but I promise you, it is not. Here it is. Enjoy the ride!
- I had an absolutely wonderful meal in the very "high end" area of Bexley in Columbus on Saturday night. Bexley is real close to the Columbus Int'l Airport and home to Capital University. My last visit to Aladdin's last month just north of The Ohio State University was not good at all so I was a bit iffy about returning to another one. This time, I simply asked for a suggestion and took it from the waitress and oh how glad I was. It was a sampler meal of sorts for a whoppin' $7.95. It was THE best meal, ever at Aladdin's. Grilled chicken mishwi and beef kafta (char-grilled lean ground beef mixed with onion, parsley, herbs and spices) on seasoned white rice with vermicelli; mixed greens salad topped with Lebanese Salata; sides of falaffel and hummus/pita bread. All natural and healthy and oh so good!
- Are you a local runner and starting to plan 2011, yet? There is a new 50-miler in Ohio and I am the volunteer coordinator for it. It is called the Tar Hollow 50 and will be on May 21, 2011. If you look at surrounding events (ie: Mohican 100), it is perfectly placed on the calendar. If you're only a bit curious, check it out here. This year, don't miss next month's YUT-C 50K...or 25K at Mill Creek Park...one of our area's gems and a good old school ultra...cheap on the wallet, high on the race swag and support, and a gorgeous course around lakes and waterfalls and over rocks, roots, and Monkey Hills. November has the Bobcat Trail Marathon and December the inaugural Bigfoot 50K and 3-person relay at Salt Fork State Park. I'll see you at all 3! (volunteering OR running!)
- Off to the pool! The swim lanes await, along with turning off my military brain and engaging my civilian government-worker brain. The Monday after a Navy weekend is NEVER easy! Are Mondays ever easy, regardless?!
Have a great week, everyone, and Happy Trails!