Saturday, January 24, 2015

Restaurant review time

How many of you can spell restaurant without thinking about it?  Yeah, I have to think about that "au" every time.
So, I thought I would write a short restaurant review.  It has absolutely nothing to do with running other than food is fuel for running.
Karen and I usually go out for dinner on Friday's.  It's our date night and we've been doing it for literally decades.  We're not big fans of chain restaurants.  We prefer our local ones that have one or maybe just a few locations.  We do have our favorites but if a new place opens up, we're game to try it.
Over the years we've found a lot of really good places to eat....and some not so good places.  It's all part of the fun.
Anyway, a new restaurant opened up in Ogden.  I saw a post of fb from a friend who had visited and I thought we'd give it a try.
Blue Lemon just opened their fifth location in our fair city.  I checked out their menu online and it sounded good.
It's basically a cafe style place.  You stand in line to order your food at the counter.  Once you've ordered, you're given a electronic locator so a server can find you.  They bring your food out to you once it's ready.
So what did we have?  Well, I had the chipotle BBQ sandwich on wheat and Karen had the fish tacos.  We also ordered a basket of sweet potato fries.
Mine - The flavor was good, although I would have liked a bit more meat.  The veggies, lettuce, tomatoes, were fresh.

Karen's - her fish tacos had a combination of shrimp, cod, and salmon, as well as the usual veggies.  She liked the flavor, but wished the fish had been a bit warmer.  There was some concern on her part about the spicyness given the description on the menu, but that was not an issue.  The best thing she liked about the tacos was that the fish was grilled, not fried.
Sweet potato fries - These did leave a lot to be desired.  While the sauce was good, think a smokey, chipotle tasting fry sauce, the potatoes were a soggy mess from being undercooked.  Karen even came across one that was somewhat raw.  Not good at all.
Cost - About $35 for two meals, a basket of fries and two sodas.  We both thought the price was a bit steep for the amount of food and the atmosphere.  We've paid about the same for food just as good in a nicer atmosphere.
So, what was our overall impression?  When ever we go to a new place, we ultimately ask each other, "would we come back?"  Well, we both agreed that we would like to try something different on the menu next time, so we'll be back.  They do have a breakfast menu and some of those items looked like they would be good to try.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

2015 Is Looking Good

Well, my running schedule for 2015 is shaping up nicely.  A fair number of races like usual and throwing in a few adventure runs as well.  So, here it be:
Jan. 31 - Kahtoola Snowshoe 25K
This will be the fifth time I've done this race and the third time for the 25K.  Last year I actually podiumed.  First time I've ever managed that.  Let's see if I can do it again.
Feb. 21 - Antelope Canyon 55K
This is a new race for me.  A bunch of HUMR's are going down there, so it should be a pretty good party.  Not to mention a run in warmer weather and dirt.  Yay for dirt!
Mar. 20-21 - Antelope Island Buffalo Run
My big event for the year.  Not running it, but running it.  Numbers are up from last year so I'm thinking there could be 700 out there on race day.  This being the 10th year, we'll have a live classic rock band, locally made finisher mugs and hopefully even more homebrew.  Guess I'd better get busy on that.
Mar. 28 - Pickled Feet 6 Hour
I've never run this one but it's been on my list.  Up in Boise, it'll be fun to get together with the Boise crew.  I have a goal for this race in terms of miles, but I'm not stating it here.
Apr. 24 - Salt Flats 100
I'm one for three at this race.  Last year I dropped at 80 miles when an epic 500 year storm hit the course.  Yeah, I have some unfinished business here.  All of my training and racing year to date is focused on this one.
April 2 - June 4 - Ogden Citizen Trail Series
This is a new race series that I'm trying to get started here in Ogden.  Weekly, every Thursday evening at 7pm.  5K/10K ish.  Cheap entry fees, no shirts, just a good time racing on the local trails.  Stay tuned for more info.
Early May sometime - Zion Traverse
Not sure of the exact date yet, but looking early.
May 23 - Timp Trail Marathon
One of my local favorites.  Always a good time and usually a muddy mess.
Jun. 27 - Logan Peak Trail Run
Another of my local favorites.  Awesome scenery, tough, runs like a 50K.
Jul. 24-26 - Speedgoat
I swore off the Speedgoat 50K a couple of years ago.  My thinking was that this race always beat me up and I never ran a decent time.  Well, Karl went and added the uphill mile the day before and the quadbanger on Sunday.  So what did I do?  Signed up for all three.  Sometimes I'm not real bright.
August is kind of up in the air right now.  Not entirely sure I'll go run El Vaquero Loco again, although I love that race.  I might be doing some pacing at Tushar Mountains too.  Or maybe I just stay home and concentrate on training for my key race the next month.
Sep. 11 - Wasatch 100
THE RACE for the year.  Guaranteed entry for me this year.  I've put in my time and have my six finishes.  No more lottery for me.  Yay!  This is the key race for me for the year.  All of my training will culminate here.  After last year's 29:40 finish, I'm fired up to go faster this year.  Hopefully the trail running gods are kind and let me do that.
Sep. 25 - Bear 100
I imagine I'll be pacing someone here.  I love to go help crew and pace at this race.
Nov. 7 - Good Water Rim 25K/50K
This is a new race I'm putting on down near Castledale, UT.  Very cool trail right on the edge of a canyon.
Nov. 14 - Antelope Island 50K/Mountain View Trail Half Marathon
My fall races on the island.  Always a good time.
I have some other adventure runs on the agenda, I'm just not sure when at this time.  These include Kings Peak, finally, Teton circumnavigation, and the Wind Rivers.  Hopefully I can make all of those.
That's it.  Lots on the agenda.  I'm sure I'll see all sorts of you local runners out there on the trails and at races.
I'm already planning 2016.  That year looks to be epic.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Do something different

Well, it's 2:00am.  I'm wide awake and can't get back to sleep.  I knew the minute I woke up to go to the bathroom that there wouldn't be anymore sleep.  That's happened a lot lately.  My brain is firing away with thoughts coming thick and fast, work, running, family, friends, more work, more running, more family, more friends.  It doesn't end unless I can shut things down.  Usually I just get up and play some mind numbing game like solitaire on my phone.  That tends to get my brain on a single task and shut down all the wildly firing synapses.  Usually that works pretty well.  Tonight I decided that I wouldn't do that just yet.
As I lay in bed with my deluge of random thoughts (anyone with ADD will understand), one that kept going through my head was to do something different this time.  I always play something different.  I always write about running on this blog (it is titled Jim's Running Adventures, duh) something different.  I tend to keep thoughts and things that bother me to my self and not really share with others, conflict avoidance and all something different.  Quit writing in this blog and go back to something different.
I'm a lousy writer.  I'm an Engineer by training and demeanor.  That means that my writing is technical, dry, boring.  I don't have a way with prose.  I have a couple of friends that I'm envious of because they.can.write.  They can put it out there, make a point, be both funny and profound.  I wish I could do that.  Not because I want everyone to think I'm an awesome writer but because I want to be able to better express my thoughts, both in writing and verbally.  I just have a hard time with that.  Usually I know what I want to say.  I go over it and over it in my head.  It's all so logical and makes sense, at least to me.  Instead, what comes out tends to be verbal garbage that makes very little sense unless it involves numbers or how to make or fix something.  It's incredibly frustrating to me and I know it is to my wife.  So I'm trying to do something different.  Maybe I can.
So, in my effort to indeed do something different, here are my thoughts.  Because of my Engineering demeanor, I have to put them in an organized list.  I'm not necessarily anal about things like that, but it does help to organize my thoughts somewhat.
Thought #1 - I want to cut this short and go back to bed.  I'm lazy like that.
Thought #2 - My job.  What the hell.  I've been in my current position for the past 15 months.  My title is Project Manager, but it's not really that much of a project management role.  It's a contract position.  That means it's temporary, pays hourly rather than salary, and I have to buy my own benefits.  I was hoping that perhaps it would turn into a direct position, but it's looking as though that won't be the case.  In fact I may be out of a job again in the next couple of months.  That sucks...again.  I've been applying for position after position over the past two years.  I've had countless interviews.  Many that I thought went very well for positions that I thought would ideally suit my strengths, training, work history, etc.  Nothing has come all.
Thought #3 - Not being able to find a job makes me feel like a loser.  I left a perfectly good job at ATK for a position that I thought would be that "something different".  Different line of work, different industry.  Well, that ended after a couple of years.  What am I doing wrong?  Why won't people hire me when I'm clearly the best candidate for the position?  Am I too old?  Do people think I'm over qualified?  Yes, I have been told that.  Do people think that because of my experience that they can't afford me?  I've been told that as well.  Obviously my current approach to job hunting is not something different.  But what?  Do I get some training and change careers?  Or get some training to enhance my current skills?  I.....don't.....know.  Why can't someone just give me the answer?  I'm always hearing that to get a job these days you have to "network".  Hell, I know huge numbers of people through my running.  So to all of you that I know (or don't know because I'm lousy at remembering names), check out my LinkedIn profile.  Maybe you need someone with my skills.  Maybe you know someone that's looking for someone like me.  Who knows?  Can't hurt to ask.
The thing is, I need to figure out what I want out of my work life.  Do I want the corporate job?  It pays a wage, benefits, vacation time, etc.  There's a lot to be said for that.  I have no illusions about job security.  I never have over the past 30 years.  I've always figured you make your own job security through education, training, job skills.  Yeah, how's that working out for you now Jim?  It's not, I thought so.
Thought #4 - I want to cut this short and go back to bed.  I'm lazy like that.
Thought #5 - I'm running out of writing steam and want to call it a something different.
Thought #6 - Maybe I should do something different on the job front and buy a business.  I do have my race directing business that's been pretty successful so far.  Trouble is, I can't quit my day job and do it full time.  Something about paying bills.
Thought #7 - Maybe I should grow the business I have now.  I've kind of been trying but these days the race field is getting really crowded.   I love directing the races I do.  I love watching people crossing the finish line.  I love having people come back year after year because they like my events.  I don't want to start any new events unless I know they can be financially successful.  Making money, that's kind of the point of having a business.  Must.banish.negative.thoughts. I would like to find some races to buy.  Trouble is, I have no idea how to go about that.  Ideas anyone?
Thought #8 - This one is going to take some effort to write.  Many different thoughts here.  What to say, how to say it, do I put myself out there, how much do I put myself out there, by writing this will I open myself up to ridicule?  Will family that reads this be upset or concerned (don't be, I'm not airing dirty laundry)?  By nature I'm a pretty private person with my personal life.  My lovely wife obviously knows me and I can open up to her.  I have a very, very few close friends that I feel safe with and can open up to.  Other than that, I put on my happy face and go about my business.  The good thing is, my happy face is pretty genuine.  I'm a happy, optimistic kind of guy.  To me, the glass is usually have full....of good beer and a solid adventure run in a beautiful place, or playing with my grandkids and spending time with my family.  That stuff makes me extremely happy.  And the only reason it's not full is that I've already drank half of it and I'm working on the rest.  I'm stalling, trying to gather some thoughts for the next push.
I hesitate to write the next few sentences because I didn't let my friend know, but one of my very close friends is going through a difficult period in her life.  I spent some time with her just listening and being supportive.  One of the main things she kept coming back to was that she had to be true to herself and not live a lie.  Yes, it may hurt a few people for awhile, but in the long run things will be better.  I'm stalling some more, trying to gather thoughts in a coherent manner.
Anyway, what she said caused me to start thinking more deeply about my life than I have in a long time.  Maybe that's why I couldn't get back to sleep.  Am I living a lie?  Am I being true to myself?  Is that selfish?  Should I be selfish?  Good grief, my hands are shaking as I write this, it's hard.  Maybe I'm just cold, we do turn the thermostat down to 58F at night.  More later on being true.
As I get older and get beyond middle age and into old age (holy crap!), I often wonder about a legacy.  For the vast, vast majority of us, we will be forgotten within two generations of our death.  How's that for a happy thought at 3am?  I know very little about my great grandparents.  What do I want my great grandkids to remember about their great grandpa.  What do I want my grandkids to know and remember about me?  Here's what I think I want to be known for.  I have no illusions about being remembered more than two generations past my death.  I have done nothing that remarkable in my life except raise two wonderful children that I love more than life itself and somehow manage to remain married to most wonderful woman I have ever met.  Yeah, I haven't done anything profound enough to change the world or make it a better place for humanity.  So, I want to be known first for being kind and thoughtful in word and deed.  There's a lot to be said for keeping your mouth shut and your thoughts to yourself, especially if it's negative.  I know a lot of people are of the opinion to just say what's on their mind regardless of the consequences.  Instead, say a kind word, do a kind deed.  I have a somewhat hard time with this.  It's not that I'm evil, it's just that I tend to hesitate to offer that helping hand, or that kind word.  My plan to do something different is to do more.
Second, I want to be known for being fun to be around.  Life is hard enough and short enough to not have fun.  I want to be able to make fun of myself, I want to have fun with my life.
Third, I want to be known as a loving husband, father and grandfather.  To me, there isn't anything much more important than that.
Fourth, I want to be known for being that friend that people can rely on.  To lend a helping hand, offer a shoulder or ear, drink a beer with, just have some fun adventures.  I deeply treasure my close friends, and I really need to tell them that.  I grew up moving around every few years, and I've moved around quite a bit during my adulthood.  As a result I never really developed very many close friendships.  Now that I've hopefully moved for the last time, I feel like I'm putting down some roots.  Some of those roots are the friends that I now have.  So do I tell those that I consider my close friends that they are indeed my close friends?  There's a danger in that they may not feel the same way.  My initial thought is to not say anything.  Why open myself up to possible rejection.  Still, I think it needs to be done.  Hopefully I can grow a pair and do it.  So many more thoughts here.  Do I write them down and share, or hold them close like I always have.
Fifth, I want to be known that even someone as ordinary and unremarkable as me can accomplish some pretty hardcore shit.  To be truthful, that just flames my ego :-)  I'm not into death defying things, I'm scared of heights (I've got a pilot's license, go figure), and the possibility of severe injury or death scares me too.  Pain hurts.
Thought #9 - More on being true.  Karen and I had a conversation last night about why do we remain married to each other.  The obvious answer was that we both love each other.  But what exactly does that mean?  Obviously this topic has been written about for centuries, but it's different when it's personal.  So, am I being true to myself when I say that I'm married because I love my wife?  I've thought about this a fair amount over the past several days and I came to the conclusion that, yes, I am indeed being true to myself.  I would rather be with her than anyone else I can possibly think of.  Yes, we both have our faults that annoy the hell out of the other, but when it comes down to it, yep, she's the one.  So in the "do something different" category here, I plan on doing the same thing I have been doing because it's working.  Yay!  Something's working!
Thought #10 - Holy crap, this is becoming a book, no one is going to read this thing through, too damn boring.
Thought #11 - My train of thought just left the station and I'm still on the platform.
Thought #12 - Oh yeah, here it is.  Nothing like a senior moment.  There are a few reasons I'm writing all of this crap down.  I can't sleep because all of these thoughts are in my head.  Perhaps by vomiting them up, I can get some relief in my brain.  For some time I've wanted to try and write something a bit more profound than just the usual running garbage.  Dry race reports and adventure run reports with a  few scenery pictures thrown in.  All designed to show just how awesome a runner I am and the awesome adventures I have.  And I have to admit, I am kind of looking forward to reading any comments once I post this.  Once again, it's an ego thing.
Thought #13 - One of the other "do something different" things is to ask more for help.  I really enjoy helping out, but I have a very strong tendency to just do things myself.  I was raised that you should be able to help yourself and help others as well.  As a result, I tend to not ask for help, it's hard for me to admit that I need some help.  When offered, I tend to reject help, I can do it myself.  It's not really an ego thing, just a personality trait I have.  Or maybe it is an ego thing.  I don't know.
Ok, now I'm running out of steam and thoughts.  That's probably a good thing.  Last thought, it's after 4am, the alarm is set for 5am because I am at the gym at 5:30am, do I stay up or hit the sack for a short nap.  Ok, staying up, maybe I'll check Facebook.  Wait, wait, wait, one more thought.  I'll probably have a crap ton more thoughts after I post this, or wish I had worded things differently.  Oh well, it's posted.