Monday, July 21, 2014

M-Cubed for 7.21.2014

M-Cubed (Monday Morning Musings) for July Twenty-First, Two Thousand Fourteen...a random smattering of thoughts that end up here on Monday morning.

- If you missed my "Day 30" post of my running streak, here is the link. Today is Day 33...let's roll!

- Ever heard of the show "American Ninja Warrior?" It's not a gimmick or some silly reality show, it's a physical competition where athletes in a few cities attempt an obstacle course, then there are semi-finals, then finals, then all of the finalists from the cities head to one big final. It's ridiculously difficult and no American has ever finished at the final. Tonight is another final in one of the cities but last Monday night, the first woman finished the course in a final...never been done before and you've GOT to watch! By the end, my hands were sweating! By the way, each city's course is different. They change it up each time. Without further delay, here is Kacy Catanzaro's destruction of the course...simply incredible.

- Can you believe that band camps, football practices, etc. are about to fire up already? Yea...this summer is cruising right along.

- I had a pretty cool opportunity this past Friday. From 1991-2001, I was a Navy Nuclear Mechanic. I got out for 6 years then came back and now am a commissioned Navy Supply Corps Officer. Well, a current nuclear-trained sailor who has been serving on instructor duty who is from my area tracked me down and asked me if I'd re-enlist him while he was on leave in the area. He is at his 10-year point and re-enlisting for 5 more years. In the Navy, all enlisted personnel who re-enlist must do so by raising their hand and taking the oath of enlistment again from a Naval Officer. On Friday, we met at the local Camp Manatoc where he once was an Eagle Scout and with family looking on and recording the occasion, I gave him the oath at the giant flagpole in our white uniforms. Afterwards, we all walked a short distance to the outdoor chapel where he read his father's only poem, who passed a few years back. It was really moving and I was honored to be present for not just that but this sailor's recommitment to serving his country. Awesome all the way around!

- Ever heard of Casting Crowns? The Grammy and Dove Award winning band was in town at the historic Akron Civic Theater on Thursday night. I took my daughter and we enjoyed a fantastic evening with the rest of the sold out crowd in downtown Akron. Simply awesome. So glad I have the opportunity to share evenings like that with her. Plus, the "Crowns" have been a major part of my life through their music so they hold a spot in my story like none other. Thankful for the chance to hear and see them LIVE. (this is our view from our seats at the Akron Civic Theater)

- I continue to rack my brain on racing this fall. While it's only been a month since the Highlands Sky 40 Mile Trail Run, it feels like an eternity ago and without much on the schedule at all, I'm floundering a bit. I still have a race on the schedule in late August (see schedule at top of blog) but I haven't registered yet. It's an "easy" 50K within 30min of my home. Not much else after that except for YUT-C in September. I scrubbed the 50 miler previously planned for November and booked a hotel for June 2015 in southern Wisconsin (wink wink!)...besides that, not much else activity. I can't exactly tell you why, but racing just isn't appealing to me at the moment...or even pinning on a bib and joining the masses on the trail. Just the pure run of each day seems to be calling me out.

- Yesterday, we had the opportunity as a family to head down to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (sans trail running shoes) along with my niece and nephew from Colorado. I took my Nikon 5100 with me with the hope of capturing some great photos of the few waterfalls we'd visit. Here are my favorites of the day below. If you want any, just click on them to view the high resolution version then save it. I'm guessing a few might be great screen-savers or lock screens/backgrounds for your smart phone. After our hike, we enjoyed roasted corn on the cob and fresh-squeezed lemonade at Szalay's farm market.
Brandywine Falls

Top of Brandywine Falls

Blue Hen Falls (my favorite of the day)

My girl :)

- Back in February 2013 soon after picking up the iPhone 5, I ordered this Tune Belt armband for carrying my iPhone on the run. I have worn it on every single run since then except for during pouring rain. From hot and humid to 5 degree runs, it has traveled with me. It has also taken the beating of constantly getting tugged on and pulled at during the run as I take more and more photos. I ordered myself a new one a few days ago from Amazon and wanted to share it with you because for what you get, I haven't been able to find another one that competes. After visiting the local running store last week and seeing them for $30-$40 (Amphipod brand), bulky and with a zipper, I had to stick with what I know. These Tune Belt bands are $19.95 retail (and $15 on Amazon), fit very close to the body so they don't bounce one bit, and they don't snag technical clothing. Many of the elastic bands out there snag the shirt fabric but this super soft band for the past year and a half has held up and never been a problem.  I did share this whole report with the local store and hopefully they'll consider selling them. From a quality and price point perspective, you just can't beat it. FYI: They even have options depending on what case you keep on your phone...e.g. no case, thin case, Otter Box, etc. I chose the thin case was so it'll be a perfect/precise fit. Here's the main Tune Belt site. I recommend you purchase from Amazon, though, since Tune Belt is the actual seller there, too, and you'll save 25%.

- To close today, a quote from last weekend's winner of the famed Hardrock 100...a "graduate level" 100-miler out west. Have a great week, everyone!

"The real victory isn't the act of smashing through the tape and crossing the finish line; it's not seeing your name first on the list or standing on the highest step on the podium. None of that can make your legs shake with fear and excitement.

Victory, the real victory, is what is deep down inside each one of us. It's what we can’t believe will ever happen despite all the training and will on our part, and yet it is what finally happens. Despite all the thinking and brandishing of calculators, after so many hours of preparation, after so many days of training, of telling ourselves that we can win, or simply finish the race, it is as if something in our unconscious is constantly telling us that it is impossible, that it would be too wonderful, too brilliant, too incredible for it to become reality. That what we want to achieve is only a dream. And when you cross the line, when you look behind and see that it is for real, that you are flesh and blood, and that what seemed possible only in dreams has become real, you realize that that is the real victory.

Winning isn't about finishing in first place. It isn't about beating the others. It is about overcoming yourself. Overcoming your body, your limitations, and your fears. Winning means surpassing yourself and turning your dreams into reality."

-Kilian Jornet, Run or Die

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