I realize it has been a while since I have posted on here. Not that anyone is actually reading these silly blogs, but for those who are, kudos, and thanks! Alright, let's recap the year since I last posted in April 2019.

Ran the Eugene Marathon again

Ok, this was super cool. After training all winter, and training very well, I PRed at the Pear Blossom, finishing in an exciting 1:36. I thought my goal of running under 5:20 was realistic for the Eugene Marathon. Four days before the run, I tweaked my back sitting on my bed. Literally, Wednesday night, I felt a spasm in my back and could not stand. Run was Sunday morning. Panic mode set in. Instead of trying to PR, the goal was to simply finish. By Saturday morning, when the wife and I drove north to Eugene, back was tolerable. I was not laboring anymore. Doing everything from stretching, to Aleeve, to Tiger Balm helped but I still felt like the back could go out at any second if I moved wrong. Sunday morning, woke up and felt. Good. God was on my side for sure. So the exciting part of the Eugene Marathon for me was starting and finishing at Autzen Stadium. I grew up in Autzen watching the Ducks with my dad. So there was a lot of meaning running onto the field to finish the marathon. To me, it was cooler than finishing at Hayward Stadium. Race began at 7:00 and my goal was to maintain a 12 minute split. I figured I could maintain that pace and get in under my goal of 5:20. The first three miles, I really had to fight to maintain that 12 minute pace. The unfortunate part is being that slow you run into a lot of walkers or stragglers, mostly from the half marathon. I had an elderly woman cut in front of me at mile six and I felt a strain on my achilles. The run ran into downtown Eugene at the start and up past 30th avenue, where my kids lived for a time, turnaround at Amazon and came back past South Eugene High and into Skinner Butte Park. This is where we lost the dreadful half marathoners and I was able to just relax. Skinner Butte is shaded and off the roads, so no contending with traffic. A large portion of the marathon occurs in the park. I was great up to mile 21, maintaining my 12 minute split and feeling energized. My back was not bothering me and I was fueling every 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on how I felt. By mile 23, I hit the dreaded wall. I could see and hear Autzen Stadium, but I knew I had more than 3 miles to go. I did a walk/run combo from miles 23 to 25, and then a steady walk to 25.5, heading into Alton Baker Park. With Autzen now in full view, I tried a slow trot toward the stadium. The watch was right around 5:18 and my mileage was 26, so I figured I would come in from west side of the stadium and make my triumph finish at the 50 in a PR time. I was wrong. The route circle through the main entrance and took people around the stadium east to north. Frustrated, I began to walk. I walked from the north to the east side of the entrance (where the visiting teams come in). I mentioned/bemoaned to a younger girl that my watch now said 26.5 miles. Regardless, made my way into the dark tunnel. I ran the 20 yards through darkness and came onto the stadium in all it's glory. The big scoreboard filmed me coming in. I finished in 5:31 minutes (watch time) and 5:32 minutes official time. I didn't hit my goal of 5:20, but I figured had I not slowed at mile 23 and maintained my 12 minute pace, I would have, even if I walked the final .5 mile. It was still a great experience and the medal I received is my favorite to date. 

Wild Rogue Relay - All Family In

Ok, so for the third consecutive year, I was signed up for the WWR. Every year, I think I won't do it again and every year I do it. This year was one of those years where I committed early and was all in. I got ECS to help sponsor a team and pay registration fees for several folks. After being on the Draggin Ass team since 2017, the gal running that team decided against us being on the team after we didn't pay the full team registration, so we formed our own squad. Trent, his family and several friends formed AFI, All Family In. I was in van 1 for the second straight year and I was the first runner, which was cool. I started the event again at Hart-Tish Park on the Applegate Lake at 5:30 a.m. I was trained up, but in the first .5 mile, we have to run through a rocky trail. It's dark and uneven and I ended up slightly tweaking my hamstring. No matter, I PRed in the first mile (7:41) and finished strong. It was supposed to be a six mile run, but my garmin clocked it in at 5.59. Oh well. The day was going to be hot and my first run was over. Now I could relax as the others did their legs. We reached the first exchange point at around 10:30 and got back to Trent's house around 11 to eat and chillax. The forecast was calling for low to mid 90s, and it felt scorching hot when we stepped outside. I was nervous and anxious to get my run over with knowing the 5.75 miles from Merlin to the Hellgate bridge was not shady. It was also going to be the hottest part of the day (close to 4) and I was not at all trained for running in the heat. Van 2 got into Merlin faster than we expected them too and I was off around 3:30 from the church in Merlin. This was my second straight year running this leg, so I knew what to expect. The first two miles were pretty straight and even somewhat downhill before tackling some sharp inclines. You also have a very small shoulder which means contending with speeding cars buzzing past you. I was ok for the first 2.5 miles, but by the time I hit my first hill, the heat started to get to me. I was maintaining just under 10 minutes leading up to that hill, but slowed considerably after that. My team was awesome and had water every .5 miles, which helped stave off the heat. the final mile was downhill and I came in just over an hour, which was fine considering I was pretty wrecked. Ironically, the day cooled considerably as we made our way through Galice and up toward Graves Creek. We finished pretty close to 11 and got the campground at around 2:30 a.m. to attempt to sleep for a couple of hours. I tried to sleep in the front seat of the suburban, but found myself only dozing briefly as cars came in at all hours. I was up for good at 4 and was running again at close to 5. My third and final run was 8+ miles of downhill. Super, right? No. It's downhill on a dusty road, with little sleep and cars passing you and blasting you with dust. You are dealing with potholes, dust and exhaustion. Not to mention, my garmin said 8 miles, but I had yet to see the .5 mile marker. The run itself was 8.2 miles. By the time I saw the .5 mile marker, I was closer to 9 miles. Oh well, that makes up for the shortage in my first two runs. Coughing up dust, exhausted, I sat in the front seat and breathed a sigh of relief. Done. Over the next few hours, two more runners ran more than 20 miles as we made the push into Agness. I had taken off my running shoes and put on my flipflops. Then word came that one of the runners hurt her knee and she would "do the best I can." Which meant, she was going to need help. After running a mile, she said she couldn't go on, which meant Trent, who just ran 7 grueling miles, had to jump in. Though my legs were tired and my body exhausted, I couldn't let Trent run more than he had to. I put my shoes back on and ran a mile up hill. About .25 in, I felt a twinge in my chest. Despite that, I passed several walkers and actually finished in under 11 minutes despite heavy legs and exhaustion. We finished around 2:30 in Gold Beach and met up with the other van in Brookings. Now here is where it gets funny. Trent's son, Tyler, was going to propose to his longtime girlfriend Michelle, who he met at the WWR in 2017 at the finish line. She was the last runner, which meant she was going to run the final five miles from the weigh station into the park where the finish line is. I happened to run this leg in 2017 and I knew that it took the runner into Harris Beach State Park and up a bike path, avoiding Highway 101. As we sat on the edge of 101 waiting for Michelle, I realized she was not coming this way. With that, it was a mad scramble to the park. We actually saw Michelle at mile 4. I knew she had to contend with two hills, so we parked and fast walked into the park. With literally minutes to spare, Tyler came around the bend just as Michelle came around the corner. She was pissed because she hadn't had water the entire run. We followed her into the park and finished. After taking a team photo, Tyler got on his knee and proposed. It was perfect and disaster was averted. I would like to think I played a role in that. 

Crescent City Triathlon 2019

For several years, I wanted to do this event with Meggan. Despite it being a sprint triathlon (500 yard swim, 12 mile bike, 5K run) I thought it would be fun to go back to Meggan's hometown and take part in the annual end of summer event. This year was perfect. Meggan wanted to go to the coast for a weekend and take the kids, so I went ahead and signed us up. She would do the swim (Meggan's a good swimmer) and I would do the bike and run. On August 18, we woke up to overcast conditions (it's Crescent City) and went to Fred Enyart Municipal at 8 a.m. Unbeknowst to me, the event went in waves, fastest to slowest. We were right in the middle, which meant we probably weren't going to take off for at least an hour. Meggan finally dove into the pool after 9:30 and finished in 12 minutes. She past the baton (racing device to me) and I hoped on my bike and made my way toward Pebble Beach. I had my bike tuned up and put new tires on it in July. I go the bike back practically brand new, which meant riding along the coastline was an absolute treat. It didn't feel like a race, it felt like a Sunday bike ride, which I used to do a lot of. I miss riding my bike and forget just how much I love it. I truly love riding. My bike, a Trek 4900, is 13 years old. But it still rides like a champ. I motored the 12 miles in 45 minutes, hoped off and despite some wobbly legs, ran the 5K in a very disappointing 31 minutes. As a co-ed team, we finished in 1 hour, 31 minutes, good enough for second place out of four co-ed teams. This with absolutely no training from Meggan, and minimal bike training from me. We were seven minutes from taking first. Considering some of the elite cyclist came in between 37 and 39 minutes, I was very happy with my bike portion. I can normally finish a 5K in under 28 minutes, so that was crummy. We plan to do this event annually and will be trained up for it in 2020. Maybe we'll even win the thing.

Lexi

I have been considering a dog for quite some time. I wanted a dog to run with, mostly, and hike with and I thought a dog would prompt me to do both more. So in late May, I got Lexi. Lexi is a combo of several breeds. I was told she was pit bull/akita mix. Meggan thinks she's a bulldog and a vet believes she has some boxer in her. Regardless, she's a good dog who has integrated herself into the family nicely. She adores Meggan. The running portion that I was hoping for has been a slow process. She's just now doing better on the leash and not pulling. Of course she's nearly 7 months old. The hope is to take her out for some shorter runs and eventually she'll train with me on Saturdays. She's still a pup, so we have a ways to go. 

ECS Endowment Run

Ok, so this is a point of contention for me, but regardless, I organized my first run this past summer. The run happened on July 20 and consisted of a Half Maraton, 10K and a 5K. I had close to 40 participants. We had finishing t-shirts made, stickers, and in the end, many folks were motivated to continue running. As much as I feel negative about this, there is a light and that light is I was the one who quarterback this event. Pretty cool.

Email eBlasts

About a year ago, we had a monthly subscription to Mail Chimp that we were not utilizing. In essence, we were paying $200 a month for air. When a co-worker suggested we cancel it, I had a better solution. Why not create monthly email blasts. Quick hitting company news that showcased products, capabilities, and announcements. We sent out the first blast in January and the results were positive. Each month, we have sent out a blast and the returns have been great. I create not only infographics, but also press releases and the actual email itself. When our reps came into town in August, this was the hot topic. Why? Lead generation. We are hitting customers who had all but forgotten us. 

First three kids graduated and two married

Yup, you heard that right, I have, officially, three adult children now. My eldest daughter, Victoria, graduated from high school on June 5. On June 10, she became the first of my kids to get married. Around that time, my second son, Markus, came home and with him he brought a girl. On August 23, he announced to me that he was getting married on the 25. Yes, I was stunned. Neither ceremony was at all traditional. They were rushed and completely awkward, but in the end, I believe they did it right. Weddings are expensive. I don't know if my daughter and son will go the distance, but I would say the odds are favorable. The next step will be grandkids. It's just a matter of who will provide me my first grandkid. 

PS4

Since 2016, I have been obessing over the PS4. OBESSING. For those who know me, I have been a closet gamer since I was a kid. I started out with an Atari 2600 playing games on that for hours. Those were days when you had a cartridge you would jam into the console and two joysticks. I actually faked being sick one day so I could go home and play the game "Adventure" for hours. When my mother presented me with a Nintento (NES) on Christmas morning when I was in middle school, I was beyond excited. To this day, that was probably the best xmas gift I ever got. I played on that for hours trying to solve the Mario Brother games and Mike Tyson Punchout. The first game I ever completed was the first Legend of Zelda game. I remember the cartridge was gold and the day I won, I ran through the house like I solved the US deficit. My parents thought I was nuts. I stayed on the latest trends and got a Sega Genesis when it came out in late high school, but it wasn't as fun as the Nintendo. I didn't like the bulky joystick nor the arcade like games. So in college, sitting in a game store, I remember vividly deciding between a Sega Dreamcast the and the new Sony Playstation. The Dreamcast was getting more play on TV and the market leaned toward that because it was a significant upgrade over the Genesis, but the Playstation, which used DVDs instead of cartridges, had more appeal. I went with that and since that day I have been a PS loyalist. I graduated to the PS2 in my mid-20s and bought the PS3 in my late 30s (yes, I am often late to the game when it comes to these things). The PS4 Pro was released in 2016 and my obession began. It was $500, which was wwwwway more than I was willing to spend, considering I had five kids at home. But damn, the graphics were out of this world. I would often go to Best Buy or Target and put a PS4 and some games in a cart and just dream. After being in the market for several years, the price began to drop and after catching up with some major bills, and seeing I had collected some reward points on my credit card, I finally took the plunge. Like a kid in the candy store, I was able to get the PS4 and several games. I love it. I absolutely love it. It exceeds my three-year expectation. All good things come to those who wait. Now, I am reading that a PS5 will be released in mid 2020. But, I know I won't even consider it until it's been released for at least four years.