Jun 27, 2014

Five Things About Me

It is finally Friday. Just as Indiana Jones always grabs his hat at the last possible second from that falling rock / wall / door / Nazi, I'm here with my Friday Five. This week is a learning week. And this week, you can't afford to not read the list. What is so important about this list? Have I solved world hunger? Nope. Am I proving string theory in a 5 bullet point list? Not this week. Did I find Waldo? Yes, but that's not this week either. Will this list make you rich and successful? Maybe, if applied correctly. This week's topic is

Five Things About Me

See, I told you it was important. This list is all about me. You may be thinking much like Frau Blucher, And who are you, you, you, you, you. You, you, you, you, you. You?

1. I am a ginger.

I know, I'm starting off with a shocker. I am a redhead. I love being a redhead. I enjoy it. I'll make jokes about not having a soul or a shadow, burning when thinking about the sun too hard, being the redheaded step child or playing connect the dots with my freckles. On a side note, the last may or may not have happened. Alcohol also may or may not have been involved. Just saying.

2. I am a programmer by day, teacher by night.

Ok, so it's not sexy billionaire company CEO and crime fighter (I'm looking at you Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne), but it's not a bad pairing either. I work as a senior software engineer for my "day job" (though it has a tendency to spill over beyond the "day" at times). Right now, I'm the UI guy, so basically, I make it pretty. I also adjunct a computer science course ever semester in the evenings. I love programming but I also love to teach. It can be very rewarding if at the end of the final, even one student says thank you or that they enjoyed the course. In fact, I actually got several this evening after finishing up a 6 week summer class, so it was a very rewarding 6 weeks, as hard as it was.

3. I HATED running growing up.

I may love running now, but I am not one of those stories where, I ran in high school, stopped for a while then picked it back up. Nope. I very much did not like it. I did not like it, Sam-I-Am. Unless it was part of a sport, such as running the bases, I did not want anything to do with running. Heck, even as part of a sport, it was more of I would tolerate the running or notice it less when enjoying the game. I dreaded the mile run every year in gym class as part of the physical fitness test. I certainly didn't go out on a run for fun. But just before I reached 30, I found a love of running. And now past the 30 mark, my running years have begun. I feel good before, during and after. I don't dread going for a run (maybe the early morning occasionally) and I actually enjoy being out on a run. I have to attribute a ton of my success and enjoyment to Jeff Galloway and his Run Walk Run plan. Without it, I don't think I'd have the love I have right now.

4. I am a brother of Kappa Kappa Psi.

Kappa Kappa Psi is the National Honorary Band Fraternity. It centers around service to the band, leadership, brotherhood and "that music is a universal language and truly the greatest of the arts". Kappa Kappa Psi was a large part of college for me and is still a large part of me. It gave me a lot for memories, friends and experiences I'll always remember and cherrish. I was a refounding father of my chapter at Bloomsburg University. That means I helped colonize the Zeta Alpha chapter at our university and go through the process becoming a full chapter. I served as president of my chapter, vice president for the Northeast District and am a life member of the fraternity. I love music and love my brothers. The fraternity is even how I first met my wife, at a district convention when I was running for office. I have so many connections I've made and each of them special. I even recently discovered that another runner I know on twitter (I'm looking at you, Christina) is a brother. 

5. I am a geek.

I know what you're thinking, I'm starting AND ending with a shocker. But, let's be honest, if you want to know about me, that is me. I'm a geek. Not a little bit of a geek, but very much so I think. But again, I am proud to be so. Let's see, beyond the afore mentioned proclivity to programming (and therefore love of computers)... I love any gadget. I love to read. I play video games. I love Disney, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Rooster Teeth, Red vs Blue, superheros, TMNT, Harry Potter, LoTR, and the Sword of Truth (just to name a few credentials). My interests are diverse and I wouldn't have it any other way. Normal is a little boring for me.

Linking Up

Want to learn more about me? Well, I was tagged recently for a Liebster award, so that post will be coming. You'll just have to wait patiently. But while you're waiting, why not go learning about some other people? In fact, I bet on this link up, you could go jump around and read about a lot of different people.

Check here for some links out to others sharing, starting with our three lovely hosts: Courtney @ Eat Pray Run, DCCynthia @ You Signed Up for What?! and Mar @ Mar on the Run. Check their blogs. I enjoy them and you may too. I will add some others, usually randomly, as I read them to share the love. Go visit and keep reading!

Our hosts:

Mar @ Mar on the Run

Courtney @ Eat Pray Run, DC

Cynthia @ You Signed Up for What?!

Some other good reads, pulled from the link up

Kristen @ Run Away With Me

Aly @ Disney Runs in the Family

Jennifer @ Run Jenny Run

Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner

Jun 20, 2014

Five Unconventional Ways to Beat the Heat

TGIF. I'm so happy it's Friday. It's been one of those weeks that has just felt long. Not even bad really, just long. This week's Friday Five linkup looks towards the summer time. Summer time means sunshine, lollipops and rainbows everything that's wonderful is what I feel a-when we're together, brighter than a lucky penny... sorry, I broke out into song.

Summer time means heat, or at least here in Virginia it does. So we're going to look at how to beat that heat. Oh sure, we could talk about keeping the sweat back with a Bondi Band or keeping hydrated with Nuun, but where's the fun in that? Let's look at alternative methods to beat the heat. This week's topic is

Five (Unconventional) Ways to Beat the Heat

1. Get a job in a restaurant in the kitchen

But how can a job in a kitchen help me beat the heat, you ask. Well, I'll tell you. From my days as a short order cook I can tell you if you hang over a very large stove, ovens and a fryer long enough, that hot humid air will feel like a relief. The heat is no longer heat. You're welcome.

It also comes with an added job perk: access to a walk in freezer (varies by location). Need to cool down? Even if you've spent several hours in a Frosty the Snowman costume dancing and playing with little kids while Santa gets the easy chair up front, the walk in freezer can be your best friend. I may know this from experience. I may also have pictures of Frosty working behind the bar with a bottle of Captain Morgan. Just saying.

Already gainfully employed and don't want to leave your job to earn minimum wage next to the teenager working the fryer? Don't worry, I have you covered. 

2. Visit the equator for a week

Since we're talking ways to make the heat seem relatively cooler by comparison, and since you're so gainfully employed, why not take a vacation to the equator? Enjoy those scorching temperatures and humidity for a while, come back home and enjoy the just 90 degree temperatures. Ahhh... refreshing.

But you're only talking about methods that make me hotter to feel colder, you say. Do you just want to be cooler, therefore beating the heating?

3. Move to Alaska

Yes Alaska. Also acceptable: northern Canada or Siberia. Why Alaska you may ask? Well, let's just have a look at the average monthly temperatures for Anchorage, shall we? With the average high at a balmy 65°F in July, what better way to beat the heat than change the definition of "heat". You also get two added benefits: some beautiful scenery and late night running still in daylight. Just check out Kristen's adventures over on Run Away With Me for a little sampling of those two.

Beautiful mountaintops
This is what Kristen sees on her runs.
Seriously, she took this picture.

Ok, ok. You don't want a new job, you don't want to take a tropical vacation and for some reason you don't want to move to Alaska. Fine, if you don't want to have any fun, I still have two more ways for you to beat the heat.

4. Swear off AC, wait several years

Will this work for me? Why wait years? Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?

Yes it will work, you need to be willing to play the long game, and not at all, they could be carried.

So, here's how it works. Give up all AC. Invest in some ceiling and oscillating fans, drive with your windows down and even find a way to not work in that cushy office with temperature control. Then wait. Or more specifically, live like this for a couple of summer and then bam! The heat won't bother you as much. You'll adjust to the normally unbearable heat, your blood will thin and you'll no longer think about needing to beat the heat. You will be the heat. After that, you can work on being the ball.

Still not satisfied? Well good thing this is the Friday Five and not the Friday Four, because I have one more option for you.

5. Hibernate until winter

It's simple really. Stock up, eat a bunch of ice cream and popsicles then take a nice several month long "nap" until it's winter and you emerge to the cooler temperatures. Hibernation works to avoid the winter cold, so why not do it in reverse? If you work it right, you can even look into a timeshare with a bear, then you don't even need to worry about having someone to wake you up. You and your bear buddy can help each other out. You scratch his back, he mauls yours. 

Linking Up

Looking for more ways to beat the heat? Maybe you want something a little more conventional (read: boring)? Well then why don't you hop on by to the link up and see what others are saying.

Check here for some links out to others sharing, starting with our three lovely hosts: Courtney @ Eat Pray Run, DCCynthia @ You Signed Up for What?! and Mar @ Mar on the Run. Check their blogs. I enjoy them and you may too. I will add some others, usually randomly, as I read them to share the love. Go visit and keep reading!

Our hosts:

Mar @ Mar on the Run

Courtney @ Eat Pray Run, DC

Cynthia @ You Signed Up for What?!

Some other good reads, pulled from the link up

Heather @ Divas Run for Bling

M @ RunEatWriteRun

Cristina @ Crazy Mama Runner

Jun 15, 2014

Runnerbox - a Father's Day Gift (and mini-review)

I just needed to share a great Father's Day gift I received. My wife and daughter surprised me with a Runnerbox.

What is a Runnerbox? It's a small box full of healthy awesomeness. For a more well-rounded description, let's look at theirs direct from their site:
RunnerBox is a subscription based box full of products and discounts which have been hand-picked to enhance your active lifestyle. Runnerbox has everything from gels, chews, protein shakes/supplements, nutrition bars, energy boosters, healthy snacks, personal care, and other running accessories! Many products will be brand new to the market while others will be tried and true favorites. With so many new products claiming to be the next best thing – leave the trials and testing to us – we’ll search out the finest and send them right to your doorstep!

The small little box I got was packed full of awesome products. There was a variety of healthy snacks, energy items and helpful little products. Care to see for yourself?
Runnerbox: the Goods

First, there are the snacks. I have dried cherries, a nut, seed & dried fruit mix, key lime granola, honey almond protein cookie bites, a fruit & no-nut bar and a 'Lip Smackingly Good' Smooch pouch. Second were the more energy / running items, including Honey Stinger organic energy chews, a Sport Beans quick energy as well as Sport Beans protein recovery crisps, Fluid Performance sports drinks mix and a new sample of nuun flavor to try. Lastly, there were too other helpful little products, first are blister shield powder and and fun multifunctional 'seemless wear', that looks like a nice sweat wicking material that can be worn all sorts of ways: headband, scarf, wristband...

Overall, I can simply review Runnerbox as amazing. There's so much packed in there. So much to try. I can't wait to try some of the snacks. I really need more healthy alternatives, so this will be a great way to check them out. Having the other energy options to check out will be nice too. What I have works for me, but always good to branch out. One I definitely want to try are Sport Beans. One of my runner friends uses them, so I'm interested to see how they are.

They offer a variety of options in how to get them, ranging from a one time gift box, race survival kit, a bimonthly year long subscription or even a perpetual subscription. They also have a gluten free option. You get whatever the monthly mix is, with different things to try each time. Check out their shop for all the choices.

All in all, Runnerbox was a fantastic gift. Get one for any runner in your life. They even have a Cyclebox and Tribox.

Jun 13, 2014

Five Songs from my McFly Day

McFly Day
This week's Friday Five linkup couldn't come soon enough. in the words (and post) of T-Rex Runner, "I am a very bad blogger". I say this in that I've just not posted this week at all. I want to try and write three times a week, usually get two, but this week will be just this one. Oddly enough, how running goes sometimes for me too, but I digress.

This week is a free Friday, which means write about anything you want to. I was letting ideas percolate in my head as I drove from work, where I code to class, where I teach how to code, when Billy Idol came onto the radio. This song inspired me to share a playlist that the song, Mony Mony, can be found on. This is my McFly Day mix. There will me more explanation following the list, but McFly Day is a tradition from the Chris Moyles Show, where they would play Star Girl by McFly. I keep this alive with my playlist of fun songs, great for playing on a Friday (or any day for that matter). So, this week's topic is

Five Songs from my McFly Day

1. It's Not Unusual - Tom Jones

How can you help from snapping right after the first notes start hitting? And if your anything like me, how can you do anything but immediately see Alfonso jumping into the Carlton Dance. Every Friday, it talks all I have to not do it myself at my desk.

2. I Believe in a Thing Called Love - The Darkness

A song I can't help but jam out to, sing a little falsetto to try and keep with it, yelling out the singing with the windows down. No? Just me? Oh...

3. Don't Let Me Go - Shrek the Musical

See #2. This will be both figurative (operating coherently) and literally (I must keep up my training, which includes running).

4. Zero to Hero - Hercules

You didn't think I'd leave Disney off of here, did you? Nothing like some muses to get the blood flowing. Great and appropriate song to run to as well. So double bonus there.

5. Bow Chicka Wow Wow Wow - Jeff Williams feat Jason Saldana & Lamar Hall

For me, this song is number one on the list of importance (after Star Girl of course), however I bumped it down because some may think it a little more inappropriate, as you may be able to guess from the title. The song comes from the [fantastic] web series Red vs Blue, now in its 12th season. It's a fun song sung as by the character Tucker that is just catchy. Even my wife finds herself liking the song (and others) more and more. Its catchy and even she can't deny it. It even has a great groove.

So you promised more explanation..

So, as I mentioned, McFly Day is a tradition that Chris Moyles would play McFly's Star Girl every Friday on The Chris Moyles Show on BBC Radio 1. It was always a fun sing-a-long sort of time. I took this to making my own playlist in that style. It of course starts with Star Girl and then spans so many genres. I love music and appreciate almost any style. I listen to hard rock, classic rock, pop, jazz, blues, country, polka, Disney and show tunes. Don't believe me? Just check my numerous off the wall playlists on Spotify.

Some other tracks that didn't quite make the five list: Honky Tonk Badonkadonk (Trace Adkins), Party Rock Anthem (LMFAO), Before We Fall in Love (Damato), I've Heard It Both Ways (Psych: The Musical), Paradise By the Dashboard Light (Meat Loaf), Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen), #SELFIE (The Chainsmokers), Not That Polite (Chris Moyles and Olly Murs) and I'll Make a Man Out of You (Mulan). See? I wasn't kidding. ALL over the place.

Wanna see what McFly Day is all about? Feel free to give the playlist a try. Not every song may be to your liking, but it makes for an enjoyable day of listening. And you don't even need to go anywhere, because it's right here!

Linking Up

Check here for some links out to others sharing, staring with our three lovely hosts: Courtney @ Eat Pray Run, DCCynthia @ You Signed Up for What?! and Mar @ Mar on the Run. Check their blogs. I enjoy them and you may too. I will add some others, usually randomly, as I read them to share the love. Go visit and keep reading!

Our hosts:

Mar on the Run - MCM Mama Runs guest post - Randomness Exposed

Eat Pray Run, DC - Five Steps to Avoid Post Big Event Blues

You Signed Up for What?! I'm Free!

Some other good reads, pulled from the link up

Running on Lentils - Five Things I Learned from 10K Training

Running Escapades - Five Races I'd Love to Run

alyrunsalot17 - Top Five World Cup Games to Watch

Jun 6, 2014

This Summer I Will... - Friday Five

It's that time of the week, Friday Five linkup. This week's Friday Five was one of the more open ended topics. It covered a list of things you'll do. I thought of making it all goals, but that wasn't as much fun. I decided to include some things that are going to happen, some of which are very exciting and some of which are things I will be working around living through (see #3). This week's topic is

This Summer I Will ...

This Summer I Will...

1... see my daughter earn her first "ornament"

This summer, thanks to the lovely folks at Potomac River Running, my 2 1/2 year old daughter will get to run her first race. Not only that, during this children's fun run, all the kids get a bib and medal, which my daughter lovingly refers to as "daddy's ornaments". I'm excited because many times she says "I have to run in da race like dad". Now she'll get her first chance.

2... have a 4th member added to our family

This July, we'll be having our second child. I say "we" but let's be honest, my wife is doing the bulk of the work on the "having". I can't wait to see who they'll be. My daughter has been obsessed with babies for a while (trust me, her daycare teachers say so too), so I'll think she'll be good with the role of big sister.

3... run on much less sleep 

See #2. This will be both figurative (operating coherently) and literally (I must keep up my training, which includes running).

4... buy a jogger stroller

As mentioned in #1, my daughter asks to come run with me some days. To help include her, we've been looking into investing in a jogger stroller. We've been watching the requisite Craigslist and eBay for one of the higher end brands (such as Bob) at a more affordable price level. None have really been in our price range, so we'll go with more mid range and a better price. When #2 occurs, it will also help keep #3 on track while giving mom some time with just the little one. Keeping #3 on track will help with #5...

5... lose 20 pounds

This is my initial goal for the end of the summer. I actually don't know summer's actually "end" date without looking it up, so it might not be exactly the summer. However recently I've started making good progress in my weight loss. I want to keep this up and keep going strong. I will stay strong. I will put my WeightWatchers point counting and run walk training to good use as a power tag team. My long term goal is more than this, but this would be a huge accomplishment, getting me back to where I was last time I lost weight which was leading into my wedding. Of course, that's not the end goal, but the first check mark.

A Note on Kids Running in Northern Virgina

Mighty Miles
Are you in the NoVa area? Do you have a young'n who wants to run? Maybe they have the bling fever too? Well, it's not too late. First, I would like to direct you to Potomac River Running's Mighty Mile. This is a kids race series, with a mile run (in several age waves) for kids 6 - 14, a half mile for 4-5 and even a tot trot for those younger. There are 2 more dates coming: 6/29 in Fairfax and 9/7 in Leesburg. It's all about the kids. They even get swag in the form of a t-shirt and finisher's medal.

In addition, you can check out the PR Races page for their full schedule of races they're involved in. They are a part of a lot of really good ones. Many have a kids fun run associated with them. Some, like the Firecracker 5K that I'll be at (per #1), has a fun run where the kids run "a couple hundred yards", get a bib and finisher medal AND there's even an inflatable obstacle course to play on and face painting afterwards. Sounds awesome, doesn't it? Jealous of the inflatables too? I thought so. Plus, this race will have me.

Linking Up

Check here for some links out to others sharing, staring with our three lovely hosts: CourtneyCynthia and Mar. Check their posts (Eat Pray Run DC, You Signed Up for What?! and Mar on the Run to see the full set of links). I will add some others, usually randomly, as I read them to share the love. Go visit and keep reading!

Our hosts:

Mar on the Run

Eat Pray Run, DC

You Signed Up for What?!

Some other good reads, pulled from the link up

Run Jenny Run

Running Muffin

Grab Your Kicks


Image Credit: Mighty Miles - Potomac River Running