Where's Waldo Wednesday - 7/4/2013-7/15/2013

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Where's Waldo Wednesday - The point of the week where more is behind than ahead and the weekend, and thus playtime, is the bright light at the end of the tunnel.  Why did I call it Where's Waldo Wednesday?  No particular reason really...other than I like alliteration and it is fun to say.  Try saying it five times fast!

A weekly (more like biweekly) series of what's new around here and other ramblings like things I found interesting on the internet this week or cool runs I did, kind of like a weekly synopsis.  Originally, I was going to do this on Sunday and call it Sunday Synopsis but then I couldn't decide between Sunday Synopsis and Sunday Summary...so I did the only logical thing and decided to write it on Wednesday?

Apparently not.  Can it be?  A Where's Waldo Wednesday that is actually published on Wednesday?  This week's edition encompasses the first-ish week of July!  While I fully intended to publish this post last Wednesday, I didn't get around to, which makes this version of Where's Waldo Wednesday like most others: a two-fer.

The Week's Happenings

Last Tuesday marked the beginning of the second summer session and with it an increased strain on my time training and blogging.  I suppose it was going to happen eventually.  Last Two Wednesdays ago was a rough evening with the end of my MacBook Pro via a glass of Airborne.  When it rains it pours I suppose (pun intended).  The night did end on a high note when I was notified that I won a pair of Recon Jet glasses.  The unfortunate spillage meant we were headed north on I-81 bright and early Thursday morning with the Tyson's Apple Store as our destination.  Unfortunately, they told me what I already knew which was that the cost of repairing my current MacBook Pro (including the MB, RAM, and HD) was equivalent to purchasing a new computer.  My real problem is that I wasn't ready to part with my MacBook Pro.  Although it was slowing down, it was still a phenomenal computer that I planned on using for the next 2+ years.  When I was discussing my options with Michelle, I arrived at the conclusion that I have an issue viewing computers as disposable objects that are traded up every 2-4 years.  I guess I look around at other electronics I own, aside from my phone, and compare their lives and wonder why do we replace computers so often?  For instance, my Canon Digital Rebel XT I've had since 2005 and it works like a champ!  Additionally, I think the move to digital media, specifically digital photos compared to printed photos, in combination with this trading-up of computers causes a loss of valuable media.  I digress.

1. Quality Family Time!  I try to look for the bright side in situations and this particular computer *incident* meant I would be home for my dad's birthday.  A bonus was that I was able to see both my Nanny (mom's Mom) and my grandmother and grandfather (dad's parents).  To say that I'm fortunate is a massive understatement.  I have been privileged to live near both sets of grandparents for most of my life but relocating after graduation and eventually moving back to Blacksburg means I don't see them as often.  I try to make the most of every opportunity I have to spend time with them.  They're all such an inspiration.  On Saturday evening, we all headed out to dinner at Tyson's to celebrate my dad's birthday.  The company and food were both phenomenal!

Michelle and I at Tysons.

My Dad's sisters called him to sing Happy Birthday via FaceTime!  Pretty awesome that FaceTime now works over cell network.

My dad and grandma.

My Nanny and Grandpa.

My mom and dad.

2. Paddleboarding on Claytor Lake!  Last Monday was my last "free" day and I wanted to get out on the paddleboard while I had the opportunity.  I packed up my car early Monday morning and made the short jaunt down I-81 to Claytor Lake.  During our trip back to Blacksburg on Sunday afternoon, Michelle checked out the weather for the following morning, which didn't look promising after 10AM but I figured I Could squeeze in a quick paddle. I figured wrong.  I arrived at Claytor Lake a little before 9 and was out on water about 10 minutes after arriving but within a half hour the clouds over the lake turned dark and I decided being the tallest object on a calm lake was NOT a good idea and bailed.  It was nice to be out on the water but the 30 minutes on the water hardly justified the hour drive (total).  However, the park attendant allowed me to use my day entry fee ($3) toward the annual pass for the park, which is good for a year from the purchase date.  We now have incentive to get down there as often as possible!

The paddleboard with the TS4 and Gorillapod setup.

I brought the TS4 and Gorillapod with me to put together a little film and was happy with what I ended up with considering I only paddled for a half hour:

I used a piece of rope to secure the camera and Gorillapod to the paddleboard in case I took a spill, which almost happened as you can see in the video.  The Gorillapod's legs fit perfectly into the paddleboard carrying handle and provided a really secure setup but I eventually moved it further forward on the board for a different perspective, which worked out better because I wasn't straddling the assembly.  It would be interesting to compare the quality of video that I was able to capture vs. a GoPro, I'm not sure a GoPro would do anything more for me aside from being a more condensed package.

Panasonic TS4 on a Gorillapod on the paddleboard.

3. Running in Jefferson National Forest  I've mentioned in several earlier posts that this spring I fell in love with running in Jefferson National Park, specifically the Pandapas Pond day use area just down the road on 460.  I took my camera with me on a run last week and stopped every so often when I came across a neat mushroom.  I was playing with getting closeup shots and was happy with how some of them came out.

Poverty Creek trail (left) is my favorite trail to run on (because it's flat) and is by far where I do the most miles in Pandapas.  These yellow guys (right) were somewhere along the Royale trail on my way up to the forest road (see the run details below).

I try to avoid the fire road (left) because...well...there are tons of awesome trails to use instead but sometimes it's nice to use it to connect trails. The entrance to the Queen Anne trail (right).

This guy was really neat.  I have no idea whether any of them are poisonous but they were pretty.

This one was really massive as you can see in comparison to my hand...and I don't have carny hands.

Possibly my favorite of the bunch.

This is my usual turn around spot on Poverty Creek, which is exactly 3 miles from the upper parking lot and is usually about mid-shin to knee deep...so an ideal place to turn around.  Unfortunately, I got some moisture on the lens of the camera between this photo and the next couple. 

Pandapas Pond.

Run Details:

4.  Back to NoVA  On Friday morning after class, Michelle and I headed north toward Sterling...again...but this time for my sister's Bridal shower...well Michelle was headed north for the bridal shower and I was driving.  Shortly after arriving we knocked out a quick 4 mile run in Algonkian Park.  We've been on a streak of running together and it's been awesome!  It was like all of sudden something clicked and we figured out how to run comfortably together.  I think she's gotten a lot stronger since she began training for the Hokie Half with her friend Shannon...and maybe I've become more patient...maybe.  

I realized on the drive there that I had left my Garmin but we were able to use my phone, until it died, to keep track of our run.  We did the first few miles of the North Face 50 course.  It's amazing how much you miss when you run it in the dark.  Michelle and I ran into this guy (or gal) within the first half mile of our run.  We approached apprehensively, especially with the start of the DC 50 miler, where a runner was taken out by a deer within the first few hundred feet of the race, fresh in my mind.

Michelle is pointing to a deer just over her shoulder.

I think this face is becoming a standard Michelle "this better not go on the blog" face.

When we ran the course it was ~15 miles to Great Falls but our route included a lollipop that I think accounts for the discrepancy with this sign.

Notice the gate in the left of the photo above and the concrete that at one point was in the ground keeping it up.

Thankfully there was a bridge across this section of the creek because it would not be crossable (safely) without it.

My phone died just before the end of the run.  It's interesting to compare the accuracy of the phone vs. the Garmin data from early June.  The phone appears to be more accurate or at least have less noise.

Garmin 310XT data from the North Face 50 miler in June.

5.  Registered for North Face ECS 50k San Francisco, CA  On Sunday evening, I registered for the North Face Endurance Challenge Championship Race in San Francisco on December 7, specifically the 50k.  I'm really excited about running this race and think it'll help me find motivation when I'm having a difficult time getting out the door for a run.  Look for a post in the next week or so with more details about the run!

Interesting Internet Findings

Not too much this week in terms of videos but I did mention this video to a few folks so here it is:
  1. Impala Antelope vs. Car  This video is pretty wild.  I'm not sure what I would do if I were the folks in the car when the impala jumped in.
  2. Is Chris Froome racing clean?  I thought this was an interesting read about the likelihood that he is comparing past times on a climbs and his this year as well as residual levels compared to other elite riders.  Read it HERE
  3. Tragedy at Great Falls  When Michelle and I returned from our run on Friday afternoon, my mom let us know about this.  Really sad.  Link to rescue effort and story via Outside Magazine HERE

That's all for this edition of Where's Waldo Wednesday.  Michelle and I will finally have a weekend here in Blacksburg this upcoming weekend, which will nice to relax and not travel.


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