Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Running My First Half-Marathon

Running in a long distance race is something I wanted to try for some time. I figured I was not getting any younger so I signed up for the 2013 Portland Half-Marathon. Originally, I was interested in running either the Half or Full Marathon in 2012. I attended a Team in Training event at a local pub (I live in Portland, OR after all) in the spring of 2012. I was motivated by the presentation to run except I was not enthused about having to raise $1,500 in order to get free training and have my entry fee paid. I didn't like the idea of hitting people up for money so I could run in a race. Yes, the money goes to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society which is a reputable organization but something just didn't feel right to me about it. If I didn't reach my fund raising goal then I would be on the hook for the difference. I was also technically unemployed at the time. It had only been a few months since we moved to Portland. The only income I had was working as an extra on the TV show Grimm that is filmed here in Portland. ...Fast forward on to early November of 2012 when I received an email promoting the Portland Marathon. I thought long and hard about signing up for the Full Marathon but considering that the only running event that I had done prior to registering was one 5 K the previous July I eventually decided to go with the Half-Marathon.

Hawthorne Bridge where I started & finished many of my training runs
I will not go blow by blow covering the last year of training but I will go over some of the things that worked well and didn't go well. Hopefully, someone who is thinking about running can learn from my experiences.  I didn't actually train for the whole year but I stayed in shape until the training began in late July. Before training started my normal exercise routine included riding my bike to work 5 days a week (most weeks - 3.5 miles one way), participating in my H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training) exercise  class at work twice a week, and then running (no longer than 3-4 miles) or lifting weights on alternate days. I was working out usually 6 days a week. When I started training for the Half-Marathon I actually worked out fewer days per week since I ran just 4 days a week. It was nice building in the rest days. I plan on incorporating more rest days as part of my exercise plan post half-marathon.

This little fella snuck up on me one morning while I was stretching after a run.
Before I get into my list of what went well what didn't including some observations about the race I'll start off with some numbers being the analytical nerd I can be at times.

Half-Marathon by the numbers (I kept a log  of my training and expenses which I recommend):
  • I started training on 7/29 with the race day being on 10/6.
  • In 10 weeks of training I ran 182 miles.
  • The average temperature when I ran was 60 degrees. I usually started at 6:30 am. 
  • The hottest temperature I ran in was 78 degrees on August 17th. I ran at 2 pm in the afternoon on a Saturday. Alethea and I were out late the night before :-).
  • The coldest temperature I ran in was 47 degrees on 9/19 and on 10/6 the day of the event.
  • I participated in 9 Yoga classes at work spread throughout the training which really helped.
  • Only ran indoors twice on a treadmill due to weather (8/29 and 9/30). I did get rained on during runs but on these two days it was pouring or lightening during the time I could run so I ran indoors at the on site company gym.
  • Total amount of money spent was $315.47. This included entry fee, shoes, socks, hydration belt, Muscle Milk, Ultima Replenisher, and a reflective running vest. 
  • Results: I finished in 2:06:34. I placed 617 out of 2,406 Half Marathon participants. I was 317 out of 734 men who entered. In my age group of 35-39 males I was 63 out of 113. My pace was 9:40 per mile. There were also 6,947 Full Marathon participants running at the same time.

Next I will list out what worked and what didn't work. I'll focus more on the training here. I'll highlight the actual race later on.

What worked?
  • Hydration Belt. This thing worked very well during long runs. I only wore it on runs that were going to be more than a hour in duration.
  • Sticking to a training schedule. I did a lot of research before starting my training. Alethea checked out some library books and I made notes from multiple sources before started. I ended up going with a running plan from Marathon Rookie ( Only time I deviated from the schedule was when I ran a 5 K a couple weeks in to my training on a Sunday following a long run day. I then took off two days in a row instead of one. I still ended up running the amount of miles I was scheduled to run for that week. 
  • Experimentation. Once I started training I experimented quite often with little things like diet, clothes, shoes, iPhone Apps, music, stretches, etc. I would try slightly different things as I went along because one key thing I read over and over was the statement nothing new on race day!
  • Nothing new on race day. I adhered to this principle and I know that it helped. I almost switched running apps the day of the race because Run Keeper didn't have a way to set it to run a half marathon but the Nike app did. I didn't want a technical malfunction so I stuck with the Run Keeper app. The app turned out to be off by over a half mile. I had read they were usually off by a percent or two. It said I was done 8 tenths of a mile before the race was over.
  • Long runs. Yeah, I know this is part of the training program but these are what I enjoyed the most. I think it was probably because these were not on work days. On most long runs I had routes to myself and could just relax, listen to music or a podcast, and just run. I even decided to skip going to watch my alma mater (Tennessee) play Oregon in football on 9/14 because I wanted to get in my 12 mile long run versus altering my schedule to watch Tennessee get whipped while spending a few hundred dollars for the privilege of doing so.
  • Alternating between running shoes. When I bought my running shoes at Fit Right NW the salesperson mention doing this. I thought it was a gimmick to sell more shoes but it actually worked and helped me break in a new pair while using shoes I was already used to.

What didn't work?
  • Having a significant bike wreck  four weeks before I started training. I had a nasty spill on 7/3 while riding my bike on the way to purchase new running shoes of all things. I hit some unused rail tracks at the wrong angle in NW Portland and ended up on the pavement. I developed a nasty bruise on my hip and rear end. I was still in pain on 7/29 when I started training. I even occasionally felt the bruise in my rear on some of my long runs toward the end of my training.
  • Nipple Chaffing. I experienced nipple chaffing for the first time. I purchased some Body Glide  and began to use it. It definitely worked. 
  • Underestimated how long it would take me to complete the half-marathon when I signed up. During registration I put down it would take 3 hours to complete the run. I therefor was put in the slowest corral for runners. Only the walkers were behind me. I pretty much passed runners who planned to run at a slower pace for most of the first 10 miles. I had no idea when I registered what I would run. Once I started doing long runs I realized I was doing much better than I had anticipated. Keep in mind I am a complete novice. I also didn't learn until after it was too late that I could have adjusted my corral assignment until August 1st. In the future I plan on being more realistic with my times now that I have a baseline.
  • Weather. The weather cooperated a great deal and I think I picked a good time of year to train and run. However, I got rained on at least 4 times when the hourly forecast said 0% chance of rain. Only twice did I absolutely get soaked. My iPhone was drenched on one of those runs but it didn't damage it. I  wore my water proof arm band on long runs from that point on. 
  • Giving blood 5 weeks into training. I donated blood at work on an off day for training and ended up passing out. I later learned during a biometric screening at work that since my pulse was so low (it was 53 when measured….60 is actually considered low) this makes me more likely to have issues.
  • Violating the nothing new on race day principle by trying to run much faster during the final mile of the race. I'll go into details later for this one.

The Half-Marathon
All in all race day went remarkably well. It was actually somewhat anti-climatic. Physically, I felt fine. My training had me reducing mileage starting two weeks out from race day. The last week of training had me going on short 3 mile runs, a  2 mile walk, and some extra rest days leading up to the race. On the morning of the event I got up at 4:30 am  and ate a bowl of yogurt and granola along with two 8 oz servings of Muscle Milk. I had plenty of time for this to settle on my stomach before leaving at 6 am. Alethea drove me down to the base of the Hawthorne Bridge on the east side. I climbed up the stairs and then jogged a little over half a mile to the corral area. I spent several minutes performing the normal stretches that I do and even did some extra jogging. I walked over to my corral area for slow runners :-). I then proceeded to take off my hooded sweatshirt and place it in the clothing check bag and dropped it off in the UPS delivery van for my area. I then got in line for the porta potties. The line was actually quite long. I waited 10 minutes in line. I then discovered a coffee shop within our corral area that was open so I went inside to stay warm since it was another 10 minutes before the scheduled start. It was surprisingly cool. I probably should have worn my thin liner gloves but decided not too.

Looking toward the East Side of the Willamette River about 45 minutes before the race - Can you spot Mt. Hood?
Now for the race itself. A couple minutes before the 7 am start time we all sang the national anthem which was pretty neat. This new tradition started within the last couple years when the scheduled singer didn't  show. The announcer got on the microphone and had the crowd sing it instead. After the national anthem the corrals started to release. I was back in corral F. It took a little over 17 minutes to actually start the race from the time the first corral started. It was very crowded. There were 9,000 combined Full and; Half-Marathon participants.  Once I got up to the start line which wasn't exactly marked as well as I thought I hit start on my iPhone Run Keeper app and started to run. Oddly enough a lot of people were walking at the start. I don't think they knew they had passed the start line for a couple blocks at least. After that it was just running.

The starting line for both the Full and Half-Marathon is under the blue banner
Now that the running actually started I just relaxed and ran. It was so noisy at first with all the cheering, bands, and other groups I actually couldn't hear my music or the pace I was running from my phone. The first funny thing I saw was that people were lined up to use the porta potties only a mile into the race. I guess they weren't able to go before due to the long lines. I shouldn't be too critical of the people using the porta potties. One minor mistake I made was hydrating a little too much. I stopped to get water at the first two aid stations even though they were before I would normally drink during my long runs. This eventually caught up with me. Between miles  8 and 9 I actually had to pee which never happened during my training runs. I stopped and very quickly visited a porta potty that didn't have a line. Many of the porta potties had lines throughout the race.

Now that I was properly relieved it was nothing but more running to the finish line. I did see or experiencing a few interesting things before the end of the race. I was running behind a woman around mile 9 who pulled over to the side and started throwing up. A little bit after that I came across a bunch of people dressed up as pirates singing pirate songs. I even got a high five from one of the pirates. One other amusing thing I saw was that at one of the aid stations the volunteers had sticks with Vaseline on them. You are supposed to scoop some of the Vaseline off and rub it on you were you might be chaffing. A woman right in front of me scooped up some Vaseline and proceeded to lick it off her finger before quickly realizing it wasn't an energy gel as she probably thought it was. The guy running next to her started laughing and made fun of her for learning a lesson of not trying something new during race day!

The only thing bad thing that happened was started on mile 12.  I had the bright idea of trying to run as fast I could until I finished. I was feeling great and figured since I had only 1.11 miles to go after several weeks of training why not leave anything in the tank? Within a few hundred meters I was already feeling a little out of gas so I backed off a little bit but not too much. I ended up crossing the finish line with no issues. Unfortunately, starting the next day my quads became really tight despite all the stretching I did after the race and throughout the remainder of the day. This is what I get for doing something new on race day. I didn't experience any injuries including tightness in my quads during my training. I didn't even get so much as a blister.

The last half mile of the race involved a few twists and turns to the finish line and the next thing you know I had completed the race. I was so relieved and excited. Immediately, within a few steps after crossing the finish line the volunteers put a space blanket around me and put my finishers medal around my neck and pointed me over to the recovery area. I had done it! I then proceeded to start my recovery with some chocolate milk,  Ultima Replenisher,  bananas, and oranges in addition to some stretching. They even had some Reece's Cups as snacks too! I only ate one :-). I picked up my finishers t-shirt and met Alethea outside of the secured area at the reunion spot.

Me after completing my 1st Half-Marathon

After thinking about this for over a year, working out regularly throughout the winter and spring, and 10 weeks of formal training I was done! I felt a great sense of accomplishment. I thoroughly enjoyed the process. It was a lot of hard work but worth it. The next morning after it was over I felt like I did when I finished graduate school. I  now had a bunch of time on my hand but no definite firm goal to pursue.

What I learned
I can say what I learned was really something I knew all along. I reinforced the notion that if you set a specific goal, make a plan, jump in and start doing something while learning along the way then you can accomplish just about anything. I plan to build off this and use this to achieve goals in other areas of my life. 

My finisher medal for the Half-Marathon
What's next or will I run a full marathon?
What's next for me is some rest and recovery. I've spent the week after the half-marathon sleeping in and taking it easy. I rode the bus to work the first day back to work after the half-marathon due to how tight my quads were. I am back on my bike now which I think has helped. I'm already researching Full-Marathons to run in. I definitely think I can do it although I know it will not be easy. I am researching ones in scenic places like Hawaii, New Zealand, and Europe. I'm also looking at the Rock 'n' Roll in Nashville. More than likely I'll probably go with the Portland Full-Marathon. Portland is my home turf plus it helps that I am familiar with at least half of the course :-). 

Alethea's reward to me for finishing the Half-Marathon
Before I conclude I would like to say a special thanks to my wife Alethea for being there during my training. I am grateful for her support and understanding especially since we moved half way through my training. Alethea writes about her new job and our new housing situation in this blog post which can be found here. I am also so glad she let me use one of her massage gift certificates the day after the race. I went to the North Portland Wellness Center for a 60 minute Swedish Deep Tissue Massage that felt great.

That's all for now. Hope everyone is doing well. Let me know if you have any questions or comments related to this post about my first half-marathon.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Two Weeks in Alaska, Just What The Doctor Ordered

Updated this post to clean up some formatting issues and I included links to pictures & videos. The links are located at the bottom. I meant to just update the post but when experimenting with editing pictures from my iPhone it reverted it back to a Draft, so I apologize if you get this twice :-).

Now that we have been back from vacation for just over a month I figured it was about time to write a post about our trip to Alaska. This post will be a little different in that I will be writing it on my iPad & iPhone. I've wanted to write a post on these devices to see if it was something I could do without the aide of a keyboard. The next time we travel for an extended period time I would like to go as light as possible. I only took my iPad & iPhone on our trip. I could easily made it with just my iPhone. All the pics & videos I took we're with my iPhone 4s. Maybe typing on an iPad screen will improve my spelling & grammar....nah :)

Before I go any further I want to say a big thank you to my wife Alethea.. She did an outstanding job in planning our trip to Alaska. She essentially planned all the details from transportation to accommodations to all the miscellaneous activities. Everything went very smoothly. For this trip I really didn't do much other than give feedback and help make decisions which is easy compared to doing all the grunt work. Thank you very much Alethea!

Alaska is a place I've wanted to go to for quit some time. I enjoy the outdoors & nature related trips as much as anything else. From what I recall I came home from work not too long after Alethea had hip surgery back in January & stated that I wanted to go on vacation. Not a 4 day mini-vacation but an actual trip somewhere. The places I wanted to go were either Alaska or to Europe. My Europe destinations were Munich, Vienna, & anything exciting in between. I think I was at least thinking about Hawaii too because I was riding my bike to work when it was 20 something degrees at 5 am in the morning & thinking anywhere sunny & tropical would be nice. In the end Alaska won out primarily because it is relatively close to us in Portland & Europe is still expensive despite their financial difficulties. 

Our trip to Alaska can be broken to two parts. The first would be the cruise we took to get there and then the second part would be post cruise activities. I'll first write about the cruise portion of our trip.

As I mentioned we essentially took a cruise to get to Alaska. I say essentially because we did take a short slightly over a hour long flight from Portland to Vancouver, Canada where we started the cruise portion of our trip. Originally, I wanted to take the Amtrak train to Vancouver but it was going to take I believe 9 hours and be pretty pricey. We've taken the train ride in segments from Portland to Seattle and then from Seattle to Vancouver in the past. We decided to go up to Vancouver a full day before our cruise left. We wanted to spend a day sightseeing before the cruise. We had both been there in 2010 & really enjoyed it. This time around it wasn't quit as nice as I remembered it. We encountered a lot more homeless people that appeared to be strung out on drugs of some sort.. We didn't have any issues with them but at the same time I felt a little uncomfortable which was disappointing. Vancouver has plenty of nice places but looking back I would have skipped this part of the trip if I would have known it would be this bad. 

Luckily for us Vancouver was about the only disappointment with our trip. From Vancouver we took a 7 night cruise to Seward, Alaska on the Holland America ship the Ms Zaandam. Our ship wasn't a massive 3,000 person ship. It held about 1,400 passengers. We had sailed with Holland America in the past. We find that they are a good value and fit for the way we like to travel. I used to be somewhat apprehensive when it came to the idea of cruising but now I like being pampered for a week. It's nice to have someone else do the cooking & cleaning for a little bit. I do like Holland America for its relaxed policy for bringing alcohol on board and for having self service laundry machines. These thing may sound trivial but they make a difference. 

The cruise itself was very enjoyable. As soon as we checked in I felt at ease especially since the night before we stayed at a very basic hostel above a pub in downtown Vancouver. Soon as we checked in we ate lunch in the dinning room and basically pigged out for the rest of the trip. I much prefer the dinning room versus buffet dining. I like to take my time and enjoy the meal versus fighting the crowds. 

I will not do a complete blow by blow of our cruise stops but will highlight what I enjoyed. Our cruise stops in order were Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, & Glacier Bay National Park (technically not a stop). We did have two sea days thrown into the mix too. In Ketchikan & Skagway we pretty much did our own thing & walked around town checking things out & seeing what we wanted to see. 

Juneau was probably my favorite part of the cruise. In Juneau we arranged on our own a whale watching trip. The whale watching company picked us up right from our ship and we went out on a 3 hour tour of Auk Bay. We saw sea lions & more importantly hump back whales. Seeing these massive animals up close is impressive. The closest we saw one was from about a 100 feet away. The scenery of the surrounding bay was also spectacular. After our whale watch trip we went back to the cruise ship and packed ourselves a lunch before taking the public bus out to Mendenhall Glacier which is a few miles outside of Juneau. The glacier is massive. Once we were done with the glacier we hopped back on the public bus and eventually made back into town. In town we did a self walking tour that included the state capital where Sarah Palin once worked. We finished the evening off with a sampler of local Alaskan beers before walking back to the ship.

My second favorite part of the cruise trip was visiting Margerie Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park. We essentially spent a full down cruising through Glacier Bay National Park on our way to Margerie Glacier. It was cold & wet but it provided terrific views of the massive glacier. It was the only time on our trip to Alaska that I had all of my warm weather gear on which included my gloves & rain proof pants. 

After Glacier Bay we came to the end of our cruise unfortunately. We disembarked in Seward, Alaska. We had planned to go on a glacier hike outside of Seward but our operator cancelled the hike because there was too much snow! Many parts of Alaska experienced more snow than usual this last past winter. The tour company was just opening up for the summer and had not taken anyone out yet. I was disappointed because it would be the only opportunity I would have to hike on a glacier. Instead we decided to take an earlier bus up to Anchorage.

We spent two nights in Anchorage. We spent quite a bit of time visiting local breweries or places that sold local Alaskan beer. We did visit the Anchorage Museum which was better than I expected. The highlight for me was when we rented bikes & rode the Tony Knowles bike trail. The trail starts downtown & winds its way along the coast and airport before going up a pretty decent hill. I believe it was 11 miles one way. On the way back we even saw a bull moose from a distance. He was eating and didn't pay us any attention. 

Next up after Anchorage was the final destination of our Alaska trip and that was Denali National Park. To begin this part of the adventure we got up at 5 am and drove 2 hours north to Talkeetna. In Talkeetna we had planned on taking a prop plane up to Denali, the tallest mountain in North America. The weather did not cooperate with us for a while. Our 9 am flight wasn't going out due to weather. We were postponed to two other flights throughout the morning that ended up being cancelled as well. We ended up walking around town. We visited a museum, a local brewery, & grabbed a bite to eat. We were then going to get a refund for our flight when the weather cleared and we were able to go on the first afternoon flight that made it to Denali. Our flight was a hour long and included some amazing scenery. We flew over the largest glaciers that I have ever seen and even caught a brief pic of the summit of Denali. It was definitely worth the all day wait. 

Once our amazing flight experience was over we drove another 2 hours north to Denali National Park. We stayed in a cute little hostel a few miles from the park entrance called the Denali Mountain Morning Hostel. We spent two full days touring the park. We decided to book the 8 hour shuttle buses on consecutive days mainly in case the weather was bad. The first day when departed at 7:30 am while the next day we left at noon. I am glad we did both days because we saw the park in different ways each day. We saw plenty of wild life including elk, moose, grizzly bears, foxes, & Dall sheep. In addition to the shuttle bus tour we even got to see some Alaskan Sled Dogs at a kennel near the park entrance. I would say out of the whole trip the thing I enjoyed most was the time spent in Denali. The wildlife viewing was great and so was the beautiful mountain scenery. 

Unfortunately, after Denali we had to start our trek back to Portland. We did have a nice trip back to Anchorage. We took our time driving down from Denali. We even got to see Denali from the ground for the first time. We never saw the summit while in the park. On the way back to Anchorage we stopped in Wasilla at a local pub restaurant. We also stopped at the Iditarod race headquarters where we got pick up a 19 year old Alaskan Sled Dog puppy whose mother actually raced in this winter's race while pregnant with the pup! We eventually made it back to Anchorage, turned in our rental car, and took the public bus to the airport where we took an overnight flight to Seattle and eventually Portland.

All in all it was a great trip. It was nice to have a two week break from work. I enjoyed being spoiled on the cruise on the front half of our trip and thoroughly enjoyed our flight up to Denali and the two full days in the park. Alaska is a neat place that is definitely different than the lower 48 states. 

Hope you enjoyed my post about our trip to Alaska. It felt a little weird pecking away on a iPad but I think it went pretty smooth. We'll see how it looks once I hit the publish button. I composed the entire post on my iPad & added the photos from my iPhone. No laptop or Microsoft product was used in the production of this post :)

What's next for us? Well since we've been back we have been on the go. I even went on a 28 mile bike ride the day I got back! Alethea's family visited us for a week a couple weeks after we got back. I've been busy with work for the most part. We should keep pretty busy the rest of the summer now that we're in the dry season. I really enjoy the summer months here in Northwest. Anyway, enough rambling for now. Hope everyone is having a great summer!

Link to high light album of Alaska trip - Alaska Highlight Album
Link to every pic I took in Alaska on my Shutterfly Alaska Trip share site. 
Link to all my videos including the ones I took in Alaska. They are sorted by date so the Alaska ones will show up here. Click here for my YouTube channel - Greg's YouTube Channel

Monday, May 6, 2013

That's What She Said

Interesting blog post title isn't? I partially stole this from Michael Scott on the TV show The Office (one of my favorite shows). I'll explain the title a little further down.

I've been wanting to write another post for quite some time. It has been on my To Do List but it keeps getting passed by for other more urgent activities like cleaning the chain on my bike :-). I think the biggest stumbling block for putting together a new post has been contnet. I've thought about a chronological post highlighting what I've been up to since the last time I posted around Thankskgiving. I quickly decided that since Alethea has already done an excellent job of doing this with her blog (Alethea's Excellent Adventures) that I would incorporate her posts with some notes that I've jotted down. Am I taking the easy way out? I am sure am with this post. She is also a much better writer than I am.

The major event for Alethea and I over the last several months has been her hip surgey. Alethea had surgey for a torn labrum back in mid-January. We're not a 100% sure when or how she injured her hip but we believe it happened shortly before we moved to Portland in January of 2012. Alethea has written these posts listed below detailing the surgey and her recovery.

Hip Op
Going Under
The Patient
One Month Post-Op
Two Month Post-Op
Three Month Post-Op

The surgey went very smoothly and the recovery has gone pretty much as expected as it relates to the hip. Alethea's has had some tendinitis in the hip and some issues with her knees that arose during physical therapy part of her recovery that she is working her way through. 

Alethea shortly after arriving home post hip surgery in January

Once Alethea progressed enough post surgey we decided to take advantage of an opportunity for a trip back to Nashville. We had planned on traveling back to Tennessee for the holidays but postponed our travels since Alethea was on a waiting list for her surgey. We wanted her to have it as soon as possible. In March we ventured to Nashville for a little over a week. The good news was that we got to visit with family and friends. The bad news was that I came down with a nasty cold that prevented me from getting out much the second half of the week limiting my ability to socialize. It also made it a little more challenging that I was working while in Tennessee. My job allows me to work remotely but since it is based out in Portland I worked West Coast hours (10 am to 7 pm) on most days. I was glad we got to spend a little time with Eric Speich's mother Peggy who recently passed away after a long illness. Alethea wrote a post about our trip back home in March which can be found at here Nashville the Next Beervana?

Playing with the goats in Tennessee back in March

In April, Alethea and I decided to go for a weekend trip to Eugene, Oregon. Neither one of us had ever been to Eugene during our time in Oregon. Alethea had some Amtrak reward points that were about to expire so picked a location that we could get to by train, that we hadn't been too before, that we could transport around with our bikes once we got there, and that it involves beer! Eugene made perfect sense. It was fun to get out and explore with our bikes. I rode just over 41 miles in three days. Alethea did a great job on her bike considering it was only three months post hip surgery. It was cool and little rainy at time but enjoyable. Alethea's post that summarizes this adventures can be found here Beers & Bikes: A Weekend Getaway to Eugene. Eugene reminded me somewhat of Knoxivlle. It is close to the same size and is essentially a collge town with the University of Oregon located there.

Alethea in front of Autzen Stadium in Eugene, OR

This brings us in until the end of April. On the 23rd of April Alethea had nasal surgery to address sinus issues that she has been having for some time. The surgey itself went smoothly but the recovery has been rather challenging. Alethea wrote about the surgery and the recovery in this recent blog post A Pain in the... Sinus? Hopefully, before too long she will be back to close to 100% and will reap the benefits of the surgery in the very near future.

Recovering from recent nasal surgery

Well this has been a good summary of what we've been up over the last several months. Most of my days involve work, exercising, and bicycling around town. I've been making progress on many of the goals that I set out for myself of the begining of the year by following Dan Miller's recomendation of setting goals in seven areas of your life. I need to work on some of the areas more intently but overall I am doing pretty good. 

Laurelhurst Park on a warm spring day. This park is about a half mile from where we live.
What's next for us? That is easy and something I am anxously counting down the days too. We'll be going to Alaska for two weeks at the end of May. As of the time I'm writing this only 20 days until we leave! It should be a little easier to get some content for my next post :-). Alaska is somewhere I have wanted to go.

St. John's bridge in Portland from Cathedral Park during one of our spring outings recently

As far as future blog post go, they'll probably look a little different in both format and length. I've loaded the Blogger apps on my iPhone and iPad. I plan on wiriting future posts on these devices especially my iPad which I purchased a little over a month go. So far, I really like my iPad. Future post will probably shorter since I'll be assembling without the use of keyboard or mouse :-). We'll see how that goes.

Next stop...Alaska!