Sunday, November 27, 2011

South America part 2

I stayed over a weekend on one trip and decided to walk up a hill near the hotel to the Hard Rock Cafe in Belo Horizonte.  The road up was desolate (so I worried about being kidnapped :-)).  I wasn't and the view at the top was incredible.  Here are some pics from my walk.

View from the hotel.
The tower in the upper left corner is the Hard Rock Cafe, I walked up the road on the right.

Right outside the hotel
Left turn outside the hotel. It's safe, right?

Walking up the dirt path

It was a steep hill

Belo Horizonte is a big city

I think that two tone building about in the middle is my hotel

After visiting the Hard Rock cafe I made a loop through part of town.  I'll show those pictures in the next installment.

South America part 1

I'll be heading back to Brazil in the very near future.  One reason I like to blog is so I can re-read old posts.  I went to look for posts on going to Brazil and didn't find any.  My previous trips were all before I started blogging I guess.  I'll try to capture some of my thoughts and pictures here so I don't lose them.

I had a couple trips with other people and didn't really have to pay much attention to anything.  I also traveled by myself a couple times and that's when things were interesting (and a little scary, at least in my mind).  Flying through Sao Paulo, I had to switch planes on very little sleep, and had to figure out which bus to board (to get driven to the connecting flight) when all the announcements were in Portuguese and English with an accent so strong I couldn't understand it.  I resorted to approaching the announcer, saying "no Portuguese", showing him my ticket and having him shake his head no.  This repeated for many flight announcements until the announcer finally looked my way and gave me a nod.

Once I landed, I had a driver waiting for me.  He didn't know English and I don't know Portuguese.  He knew where to take me and I was so tired, I couldn't stay awake.  After a quick nap on then ride, then a quick shower at the hotel, the driver took me to the company I was working with.  Along the way, the driver drove like a bat out of hell (just like everyone else), weaving in and out of traffic, hoping off the highway and cutting through low income neighborhoods with bars on the windows, graffiti on the walls, and laundry hanging on the porch/roof.  Then we would hop back on the next highway only to hop back off for another "short cut".  On each short cut, I felt like I was being kidnapped.  Probably because of watching too many movies (but also because my company gave me a phone number to call if something happened).  Anyway, I made it to work, then had the same thing happen on the way back to the hotel.  After three days of being "kidnapped", I finally got use to it.

View on the highway

same ramp

short cut

another short cut

yep, I have no idea where I am

At first I was too nervous to go walk around at night.  After a couple days I thought it was crazy to stay in since I was staying in the safe part of the city so I went for a walk.  I felt like everyone was watching me until someone stopped me to ask for directions in Portuguese.  That is when I knew I was ok and ventured out a lot more and started running.

More when I find more pictures.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  Visiting family, eating well, watching football. and relaxing.  As someone pointed out on a blog I read (can't remember which one), there are no gifts involved which takes away some of the busyness and stress of Christmas leaving more time to relax.

The last few years we have had Thanksgiving at our house which has been nice not to have to travel.  This year we traveled to Rockford since one of my brother-in-laws and his family flew in from Arizona.  We hadn't seen them for quite a while so this was nice.  When we come to Rockford and stay at my parents house, I get to sleep in my old room which is always nice.  I grew up in a small neighborhood with only 13 houses and every time I come home, I think of my childhood friends and what house they use to live in.  Back then, we didn't have Xbox, Ipods, cell phones or even cable TV, so we played outside, a lot.  We would often be out all day and come home when we got hungry.  The neighborhood has changed over the years.  The corn field we used to play in across the street, and pick corn for the farmer in the summer, is now full of duplexes and small businesses.  All my friend's parents have moved away except for three. The road leading to the neighbor hood is now four lanes instead of a two lane country road.  My parents street even has a stop light!  It's still nice to be home.

I'm in charge of grilling the bird.  My dad taught me a super easy way to do it that turns out great every time.  All you need is a Weber grill, side racks to hold the charcoal, a turkey rack, 12-14 pound turkey, olive oil and Lowrey season salt.  Rub the oil on the bird then coat liberally with season salt.  After the coals are hot, put the bird on the grill uncovered.  Add 5-10 pieces of charcoal every 45 minutes or so and loosely cover the turkey with aluminum foil when adding the first set of coals. Then cook until the thickest part is 165F (about 15-20 minutes per pound).  Perfect every time.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Running Music

I desperately need to refresh some of my running music.  It has become worse than stale, does that make it mold?  Anyway, what are your favorite couple (or more) songs that when they come on you smile (or at least stop frowning) and often replay them?

I'll give you a few of mine (in no particular order).

Florence and the Machines - Dog Days Are Over. Not sure why I like this song, but it is catchy.

Nickelback - Feelin' Way Too Damn Good.  I like when this song comes on during a good run that feels like something has got to go wrong because 10 miles shouldn't feel this good.  I know that's not the song is about, but when I'm out running 10 miles, I'm not doing that :-).

Disturbed - Indestructible. This is the only song I have from them, but when I'm struggling on a long run, this hits the spot.

Smashing Pumpkins - Bullet With Butterfly Wings.  The world is a vamire is enough said.

Pearl Jam - World Wide Suicide. I love Pearl Jam, this one has a good beat for running, but many others do too.

I love music, so any non-running suggestions are welcome too.  Oh, and if I did one of those tell me about yourself posts, I like music would be one of the items :-).

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


While out riding today, I started thinking about time.  It also seems like I could get so much more done if there were say, 26 hours in a day.  I was thinking I could get the sleep I should, get in all the workouts I want, and do better about getting chores done around the house.  I chuckled to myself at that last one then made the list of what I would probably really do with two extra hours a day.  I would probably stay up later reading blogs, add napping into my daily routine, and up my chore procrastination to a new level :-).  Anyway, what would you do with two extra hours of time per day?

I managed to get three runs in before work this week!  I was up and ready to go on a run Friday morning too, but decided to give myself the day off after getting six workouts in over the previous three days.  Don't add me to your fantasy early morning running team just yet, the weather is getting nasty :-).  I also got back to the pool for the first time in 6+ weeks and my shoulders hurt :-(.  I'm going to have to nurse them along if I'm going to stay in triathlons.  It's either that our surgery according to my ortho (made me think about this old post).

Here are a few pics from my ride.

light, chilly rain but I was outside instead of on the trainer.

Huge old fallen tree that I couldn't get a good picture of.

Have a great week!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I was riding out on some perfect single track Saturday and came across this.
Big tree own in the middle of a bunch of brush
As I approached, I wasn't sure what I was going to do. Then I thought about it and came up with five alternatives for dealing with obstacles.  You can hit them head on and go right through, go under them, go over them, go around them, or give up and run away.  I walked up to the tree and it was obvious I wasn't going through it, under it or even around it.  I sized it up for a minute, lifted my bike over it, climbed over and continued on a nearly perfect ride.

Here are a few more pics from the ride.  The woods were totally different than last week.  With the canopy down, the undergrowth really greened up in their last hooray before winter.

Love the contrast in this pic
Regarding my obstacle to becoming a morning person, I didn't do so well this week.  After going four for four getting up early the first week, I only went one for four this week.  I made it up Tuesday without issue.  Wednesday was dark, cold and rainy, and I was a quitter.  Thursday I had the volume turned off on my phone alarm and slept right through it.  Friday I was disgusted with myself for missing Wednesday and Thursday and didn't even try to get up (lame I know).

I think I need a goal to help with early morning motivation, so I'm looking for an early season 70.3 to sign up for.  Right now I'm thinking Rev3 Knoxville or Panama City Beach.  Knoxville scares me with four cat 5 climbs and swimming against the current in the river.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Falling In Love

Yep, I have a secret to share.  I'm falling in love with mountain biking, again.  I used to ride off road a lot about 12 years ago, then got away from it for years.  This past month, I haven't touched my road bike and I've gotten out on the single track every weekend.  It really is refreshing.  Instead of cranking out the miles like a diesel engine, you get to maneuver over, under and around obstacles like a Jeep.  Totally different feeling and really enjoyable.  Here are some pics from this past weekend. 

Oh, week 1 of becoming a morning person was a success!
Day 1 - didn't sleep well. Woke up about every hour. Still managed to get up at 5:30 and got a rough 3 miler in.  It was dark and starry outside and 40 degrees.  Felt groggy and tired mid- afternoon. Felt drained like I did during peak NOLA training, but I did it!
Day 2 - Slept much better. Got up at 5:30 and ran 3 miles and felt good.  Dark and starry and 50 degrees.  Felt good all day.
Day 3 - Arrived in Cleveland the night before and had a late business dinner.  Lousy night sleep, but got up at 6:30 and ran 3 and a half miles on a crappy route.
Day 4 - Managed to get a 35 minute run in before the meetings started back up.  Felt good.
Day 5 and 6 were the weekend.

On to week 2.......