Sunday, December 25, 2011

Now bring us a figgy pudding!

I would like to take a moment to wish all you you a very Blessed and Merry Christmas!!!

Very early this morning, Dad, Heidi, Sarah, Krist, Sean and I attended Midnight Mass at Immaculate Conception in Tres Pinos for the first time in a very long time. It was a beautiful experience simply to be in the presence of my sisters in a place that has a tremendous place in the history of our family.

Christmas dinner is coming in a bit, so there will be photos to come, hopefully. God bless us all!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Happy Advent

Well, campers, I'm still here. The news:
  • It is cold, well, for CA. We had 26F yesterday, and 24F this morning. Brrr.
  • The kids are huge. Joseph and Leo are reading more and more all the time. Their weekly preschool teacher thinks that Joseph is reading at the 2nd grade level. Wow!
  • Sarah (sister) is about 8 months pregnant with Child#1. The planned name will remain the surprise to you all.
  • The new windows we had in the house are working quite well. We had a 32F differential between the coldest part of the house and outside this morning. Yay!
  • I am in week #3 of training for the Napa Valley Marathon. I missed the registration window for Big Sur by 2 hours back in August. So, I signed up for Napa Valley. I plan on running 10 miles after mass today.
  • Speaking of Mass, I like the revised translation for the Mass. Our pastor has had us use the repsonses since mid summer, but hearing the new prayers is wonderful. A bit clunky at first, but we will get there. I plan on a larger post later.
More posts, more pictures coming along sometime soon.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

I'm still here, are you?

I have not posted for awhile for several reasons: not enough hours in the day, spending too much of my online time either on Facebook or The Loop, but chief among them is that the prime reader of this blog passed away. I was contemplating not continuing Wheezes, as she was a great supporter and lover of the pictures that I used to post. In fact, she would often give me a hard time when I would seen her, and too much time had passed between photo posts.

So, Wheezes is still here, it is harvest, so I'm not sure about how many more posts you'll see in the near future, but oh well. The kids are getting BIG! Oliver is going to be our little bruiser. Leo and Joseph are reading (amazing!). Alie is doing ok, and I've taken the lab manager job at Blossom Hill (back to where I started).

Happy Harvest!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Photos for friends

Some of you may be wondering, "Where are all of these kid pictures Donald keeps promising???". Well, here are some to keep you interested.
From Oliver's 1st birthday party (L to R: Joseph, Oliver, and Leo):

The birthday boy + cake...
Uh oh, kids just got up from nap, more photos to follow, again...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Big Sur Race Report

I know that there have been scores of readers waiting with baited breath for this RR, so here it is, and what a doozy. On Friday, I got off of work early to go to the expo. I spent about an hour or so there; long enough to get my bib, tag, etc. I got a great deal on a new watch, swung by the RW booth where I got to briefly meet Tish Hamilton, Susan, and Bart Yasso. Forgot to get an autograph, whoops...

On Saturday, I got to take my last little shakedown run; 2.5 miles. It went really well, and then all H3!! broke loose. I get home and DW says that Boy#3 is congested and not feeling well. Boys #1 and 2 started getting sick, so between chasing/caring for kids, doing dinner, and so forth, I went to bed at midnight. Ugh.

I got up at 2:30am so I could get to Monterey and the bus (definately regretting the decision to not go for a hotel). The upshot to the drive was I got to listen to the Beatification Mass for John Paul II. JP2 was a big inspiration for me growing up, and I was very happy to listen to the ceremonies from Rome.

I eventually got on the bus, and was transported to the magical place that is Marathon Village. Yes, we were in a parking lot at 4am in Carmel. Let’s say that the most popular place was the Safeway near the staging area. I got to the official, sanctioned staging area soon enough, and munched my bagel and coffee.

We got the orders to go to the starting corrals, and I soon found myself at the back of Corral A. Since I had put down my ultimate goal of sub-4:00, I was in Corral A for possibly the only time in my running career. I chatted up a nice lady in the corral with me, and before we knew it we were off!

Mile 1: 10:10, a little slow, but a nice warmup. Up the first hill.

Miles 2-10: Magnificent. Up and down the hills of the Carmel Highlands, and out to Big Sur. it was clear, sunny, cool, just gorgeous! I even logged a 7:47 mile at one point. I was chatting with a few people, life was good. On pace for a 3:50ish finish.

Mile 11: Started to slow a bit, I took this a sign that I need to switch to an energy conservation mode, took GU, tucked in. (10:25)

Miles 12-13: not bad, but feeling tired. Hit the 13.1 turnaround mark at 1:57, still on pace for a sub four.

Miles 14-15: Not bad, feeling slower, but the miles are manageable 10:15, 10:26.

Miles 16-26.2: WALL! Noooooo! What is this thing??? I go to a walk to try to regroup. I started running again at mile 17, and did a run/walk mix to get to the finish.

Low point was at mile 23, in the middle of the Highlands; I stopped at a bridge, strectched my calves (they were like rocks), and leaned over the bridge. I decided that even though I felt horrible, I was going to finish this mess. I have done fence work on the ranch with a full pack on for six or seven miles, had trained for this race, and I was going to finish, even if I had to drag my inert carcass over the line. Resume the walk/jog.

Miles 24 and 25 were through Point Lobos State Reserve. if you are ever in the Monterey Bay Area, you must go there. It was just gorgeous, sunny, the water was sapphire blue and calm. It motivated me to run most of this stretch.

I got out of Pt. Lobos, and made it to the finish. The last 20 yards, I put my hands up in the air, closed my eyes, and went for it. Official time: 5:00:31. Dad was waiting for me at the finish line. Dad is not the most demonstrative person going, so hearing him say, “I’m proud of you,” made me very happy.

I went into his race with a few goals: I met two of them (finishing and beating my time of 5:27 from 2007). I did not beat the 3:59 of my friend, but I will have more chances. There is no point in going into some the mean, dark places my mind went for awhile. Mike probably would have smiled, told me not to worry, and ask if I wanted a beer. While I was on that bridge in the Highlands, I decided that this was not my last marathon. In fact, I want to do Big Sur agian next year. There are a couple of pikermis (half-marathons) in the area between now and then.

There are a couple of things that went wrong: 1) trying to do 26.2 miles on 2 hours sleep is not a good idea, 2) I should have gotten more than 1-17.5 miler as a long run, 3) I really need to drop about 20#. At any rate, it was a beautiful day on the Pacific Coast, and I will do better next time.

A couple of photos:
At about mile 8, don’t I look happy?

Finish line in sight, thank heavens!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tomorrow is the day!

In less than 24 hours, I will toe the line at the Big Sur Marathon. I am confident that I will finish the course, and do well. I went to the Expo in Monterey yesterday after work, and picked up my bib (number), timing tag, and other paraphenalia. I was a good little Donald and only got a couple of small items: a new watch ($12-amazing deal) and a copy of Going Long, a compilation of long essays from Runner's World magazine. I also met Bart Yasso and Tish Hamilton, both writers for RW. Both are really nice folks. Can you believe that Tish is doing the Boston to Big Sur Challenge. She ran the Boston Marathon 13 days ago, and is running the BSIM tomorrow.

My training did not go exactly as planned. My longest run was a 17.5 miler two weeks ago, but the backbone of my training was a lot of 8-10 mile runs, and even more 4-6 milers. When I did the 17.5 miler, I knew that I could run at least 20, but I didn't want to push it only two weeks out.

The goals:
"A" goal: Sub 4 hours, you know why.
"B" goal: Beat my 2005 SF marathon PR of 4:27.
"C" goal: Beat my 2007 BSIM debacle of ~5:25.

I'll be sure to post a race report either tomorrow evening or Monday. I hope you all have a great weekend.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

*tap, tap* Is this thing on?

So it has been a lot longer than I really like to pass between posts. I think that may be a theme for this blog. Apologies for those of you who still look at this from time to time. I think that all three of this blogs "followers" live within one mile of me.

At any rate, it is March in Cienega. The vineyard is being pruned, and as always, the mad rush to finish before budbreak is on. We have had a pretty mild and wet winter, but along the way, we have had the usual frost and a small snowfall.

The family is ok. Leo and Joseph are three (and ten months). Oliver will turn the big ONE this coming Friday. Sadly, that is the day we will lay Alie's grandfather to rest (see previous post).

Lent is here. This is the latest start to Lent in recent memory, with Easter coming on 24 April. I've given up Facebook, and am looking to read several books that have been on the shelf for far. I'm looking to re-read and finish Jesus of Nazareth, especially as Pope Benedict released the second installment (covering Holy Week) this past week. Perhaps the Holy Week book can be a Holy Week/Easter season read.

Running took a dive this week, especially with getting to watch the boys with Alie out of town.

I hope this is the beginning of more productive blogging, and that this finds all of you in the ether well.

Look below for a new Oliver photo (this one taken just before Christmas):

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Prayer Request-URGENT

Please offer prayers for Alie's grandfather, Dr. Jack Blackmon. He has suffered a massive heart attack, and will likely not survive the week. Pray for Alie and her family.

St. Joseph, patron of fathers, pray for us.
St. Joseph, patron of a happy death, pray for us.

***UPDATE: Jack passed away around 3am on Thursday (3/10) morning. Rest in peace, Jack.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Marathon training starts tomorrow

My 16 weeks of fun starts tomorrow. Marathon training. I got in an interesting long run this afternoon. I ran from the church (Tres Pinots) to the San Benito River Bridge. Total: 9 miles, 1 hour, 25 min. Here we go!