Category Archives: 13in13

10k Training Run – Week 5


It was pretty cold and it took most of the first mile to get everything loose. I had a terrible 4th mile again. Everything goes bad once I cross the 3 mile mark and I don’t know why. Weirder is that it only lasts a mile. When I get across the 4-mile mark I settle back into a groove and sally forth.

It’s odd.


That was fun. I got there early for some of Adam’s patented Teaching at the Table for an overview of the turn mechanics. Listening to the talk around the table reinforced the “gotta know your lore” principle and I while I was out of my depth on that front I still had fun and I think the night came off okay. The guys didn’t hold my rookie status against me and were patient and supportive of my n00b ass. Plus there was beer and snacks.

Adam put together a fun series of episodes complete with multi-level maps. The boats were especially cool. It’s fun to just hang out around the table. The “poker night” vibe is a big part of the appeal for me. I’ll do it again. I mean, I bought my own dice and everything so it would be silly to just play once.

sheetanddice boats


I haven’t played a tabletop RPG in probably 25 years. Maybe more, I forget. I know we played a lot of Marvel Super Heroes and some TMNT, but that was really it for me on the table top stuff. I had a good year-and-change playing WoW which I enjoyed but eventually moved on from.
Tonight I’m heading back to the table for a D’n’D game that Adam runs. It’s one of the things on my list of hobbies for 2013 so I’m going in with an eye to have some fun. I will be totally lost mechanics-wise but Adam assures me he can “teach at the table”. Wish him luck. I’m also planning to roll low on the ABV scale with my beverage of choice so I don’t become total dead weight for the group.
My preparation so far has been around getting a miniature painted. I figure that if I’m going to be a crap player my avatar should at least be cool. I went with Friar Stone, Traveling Monk. The beard and the bald head made the choice easy for me. I like painting the miniatures. His name is Karl Wythers.

PrimeAndShadow Browns LeftSideIncomplete
FinishedFront BacksideComplete LeftSideComplete

I’ve made some good progress since I started painting the little dudes (and I recognize that I have a ways to go). These are some NXTLVL versions of the same model. Ridiculous, right? This was the first time I did any highlighting. Even with my sloppy application it made a positive difference. I’ll tighten up on the next one.

Tonight should be fun. I’ll let you know how it goes.

10k Training, 2nd Group Run


2nd group run was tough. I’m not used to this many miles in a week yet so I’m trying to be easy with it. I’ve got a (relatively) strong 2- or 3-mile pace but longer than that I will end up hurting myself if I try to go hard. My plan this week was to start out slower and then hit a good pace groove in the middle. I never got there. I blew myself out badly on that hill there in the third mile and never recovered. I’m not discouraged because I know it’s early days on the training and I’ll end up being fine. (I still spent a couple of hours being disappointed in my pace, though)

10k training, Day 1.


1st Monument Av 10k training team group run. It was no-joke cold out there.

Got caught up in the front group at the start of the run so I went out faster than I probably should have. There were also two really obnoxious hills in the mix. Gravity remains, as ever, my enemy.

Despite my crying about it, it felt great to get back out and run again. This is an aggressive schedule and I’m looking forward to getting after it.

MTB rides out at Hilbert (1/27/2013)


(click on that image for the full ride stats, via Ethan)

I finally got a chance to give my new clipless MTB pedals a spin this weekend out at Camp Hilbert in Goochland. These trails drain really well and the recent rain and snow didn’t leave much in the way of soft ground. And really, it was too cold for soft ground and the trail ruts I did see were frozen in. I got a text from Ethan on Saturday night looking to ride in the morning. I happened to be at a party at the time so my enthusiasm for an early start was low. Very low. I got it together in the morning enough to get out to the trailhead. I was hoping to enlist a couple of the other MTB-ers in our group but it was too short notice. I was going to be suffering alone. I’m a big, slow chicken on the trails and I spent the morning huffing through the frigid woods. It was great.

Except for going over my handlebars inside the first mile. I took a bad line on an approach to a u-ditch (I call them “whoop-de-doos”) and just ate shit before I even got into it. It hurt. It took me a solid minute to get up and get back on the bike. I want to say it was mostly assessing any injuries (nothing more than some bruises and a scrape) but I’ll admit to getting spooked by the crash and then reluctant to get back on. Once I got rolling again I had another slack run at a u-ditch where I didn’t commit fully and instead spent time worrying about being able to get my foot out of the pedal to break a fall. I ended up climbing out of that ditch. If I’d just hammered the damn thing I’d have been fine. I relied on that lesson the rest of the ride and didn’t some close to missing a line or bailing unnecessarily the rest of the morning.

The only way I’m going to stop worrying about being clipped in is to spend more time riding clipped in. I’m looking forward to it.

13 for 13

I was chatting Adam before Christmas about a woodworking class he’d taken. We have a running gag between us about all of the hobbies we try to keep up with and he jokingly asked if I was trying to get a 10th. I said I was going for a dozen. The idea of coming up with a dozen hobbies stuck in my head and I naturally rounded it up to 13 (for 2013, duh). It seems like every couple of years I get Big Eyes about all of the things I want to get done in the new year.

Here is the long list with some comment on my choices. They aren’t all brand new but rather represent a firm list of things I want to give an honest effort to in the year to come. It should provide great fodder for this old blog, too, so please stay tuned.

  • Running
  • 2012 was the first really big running year for me in a long time. I got to the point that I really liked it so I’m sticking with it this year. I’ve got a decent calendar of events and I’m actually looking forward to the training. It’s almost like practice. I don’t mind practice.

  • MTB
  • I’m a big chicken on the mountain bike for two reasons: first because I don’t have a lot of experience. The other is that I’m terrified of falling off of my bike on the trail. Our Sunday Rides group got out for a handful of trail rides and I caught the bug. I brought my MTB to the shop for a tune up for the first time in, er, forever and I replaced my platform pedals with clipless jams and shoes. It’s a big step for me. Best case, I’ll get out for a (semi-?)monthly trail ride and get through 2013 with my collarbone intact. Worst case? Let’s not focus on that.

  • Hiking
  • I like being outside and I want to pass that along to my kids. An easy way to do that, I hope, will be with hikes. I got them this great book for Christmas. We have easy access to a lot of hiking options and I’m looking forward to getting out with the gang.

  • Meditation
  • I’ve got more that a couple of these hobbies aimed at my body and I want to spend some time this year working on my mind. I’ve been using Mindfulness in Plain English as a guide. I’ve actually started this one but I want to spend some more time with it before I talk about it.

  • Facebook
  • Back in the old days I used to try to get in to all of the social networks (when it seemed like there was a new one every other week) just to see what sorts of things they were doing differently. I wasn’t able to get into Facebook at the time because I didn’t have a .edu email address. By the time they had opened up it wasn’t new anymore so I wasn’t interested. My “I’m not on Facebook” card was the “I’m vegan/don’t watch tv/eat Paleo” card that makes you want to punch your friends because the won’t shut up about it. It was great. Now I’m on Facebook for a couple of reasons. I really did miss out on some social things that I would have enjoyed because I wasn’t on Facebook. Also, I have a newly-minted teenager in my house so a working knowledge of Facebook has become a parenting tool. It’s fine so far. I think I’m doing it right. If you know me, hit me up. I’ll be your Friend.

  • Woodworking
  • My Uncle Bruce, who died a few years back, was a very talented carpenter. He built buildings and could make delicate palm-sized pieces, too. I learned a ton from the guy from when he would come help us work on our house, and then later from working out at his house when he was too sick to do some stuff. I think I have a knack for making so I want to put a good effort into woodworking projects this year and I’m going to start with a class at our local Woodcraft store. It’s going to be good.

  • Gundam
  • It’s probably more accurate to say that Gundam is a series of movies and tv shows about flying battle suits. My interest isn’t in watching anything, though. I like building the models based on the flying battle suits. And it definitely qualifies as making stuff, however tangentially, because I start with a pile of sprues and I finish with a cool-looking robot toy. They can get crazy-complex (and expensive) but I’m not at that level yet.

  • Smoking Meats
  • I can’t have all of these hobbies be about health. I’m not that kind of guy. I am, however, the kind of guy that enjoys smoked meats. I’m going to learn how to do it. My grill game is pretty tight. My burgers are juicy with a nice crust, my beer can chickens are moist and delicious, my steaks are rare but hot. My smoker knowledge is minimal but it’s going to be awesome. I’ve been assured that it’s way easier than you’d think. We’ll see.

  • Weight Lifting
  • I’m probably well past the age where I can get maximum muscle mass, and that’s okay. I plan to make a run at finding out for sure this year. I’m going to use Starting Strength as a guide and then see how it goes. Ideally, I’ll use weight training as a supplement to my riding and running but we’ll have to see how it plays out.

  • Computer Repair
  • I happened upon a modern-but-wrecked Windows 7 pc a couple of months back. I think it’s sound from a software sense but there are some significant hardware problems. I started on this one back in December but some funding hiccups as well as some ordering-the-wrong-part-like-a-dumbass hiccups have delayed further progress. As long as I’ve got the manual as a guide, I feel relatively comfortable inside a computer.

  • a Windows 7 Certification
  • In an effort to grow professionally, I’m going to get a Windows certification. We’re going to be upgrading from XP here at the office and I want to have a good handle on the OS overall. My XP knowledge, such as it is, comes from using it. I think some official training could be a useful thing. This one can’t get started until the computer repair portion of this list is accomplished.

  • Gardening
  • We run a Square Foot Garden setup in our back yard. We were gung-ho the first couple of years but lately have slacked on it as the summer wears on. I’m making a public commitment right now (which will likely necessitate a public apology later) to stick with the damn thing and eat even more home grown vegetables this year.

  • Table Top Games!
  • I’m going to sit in on a couple of Adam‘s tabletop RPG sessions this year and see what that’s about. It’s been 25(?) years since I’ve done that and it could be fun. We’ll see how it goes. One fun distinct advantage to doing this as a grown up is the fact that there will be beer there. I’m a fan of beer.

    And that’s the list. I’ll see you all around.