Dancing spring chickens, or Harold’s adventure in the oven

This spring is so busy! I mean usually spring is pretty busy anyway but this year, holy crap! We’ve got end of the semester projects and finals, research grant deadlines, moving to a new place, European vacation planning, half marathons, triathlons and several other things I’m sure I’m forgetting. It’s during busy times like this that I’m glad we can take the time to enjoy naming a chicken and making him dance before lathering him up in butter, stuffing some garlic in his butt and tossing him in the oven for his nap on a bed of veggies. He ended up being delicious by the way.


Amanda dancing with the delicious Harold

During our chicken downtime lately I’ve been spending a lot of time coding. I have one last project to finish up for my embedded systems class. We have a full color touchscreen to interface with the microcontroller and we have to make a video game with it. During my late nights coding Amanda has been training for her triathlons and enjoyed a girl’s night in with Lisa one night which consisted of plenty of Budlight lime and I can only assume hair braiding and pillow fights. (That’s what girls do right?)


The aftermath of the girl’s night in

I was working very hard on the microcontroller project last week when we thought the due date was last Friday. Turns out none of my friend group listened when the professor said everyone could have a 1 week extension on the project so once we found that out we took a a couple days off which was nice because Amanda had her Beaver Dam triathlon on the nastiest coldest wettest day. Here she is looking super speedy πŸ™‚

wpid-20150425_080810.jpg Indy was there with me to cheer Amanda on. Indy’s reaction and thought process every time Amanda passed us went something like this


repeat this 6 times with extended periods of sulking and you have Indy’s triathlon experience.

wpid-20150425_105734.jpgAmanda ran across the finish line with Indy though which both of them really enjoyed. I think Indy about pulled Amanda off her feet when I gave her the leash but I’ll let her tell you more about the race.

Afterward warming up and getting dry but beer was calling our name so we went back out in the cold and rain for Brewgaloo in downtown Raleigh. Local beer brewers had booths lined all up and down Fayetteville Street where you could get pints or small taster pours. I’m pretty sure we really enjoyed ourselves but the details are a little hazy to be honest πŸ˜‰

wpid-20150425_184425.jpgThat’s about all for now. Hope your week is off to a great start!

13.1, Run and Done!

Well, the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon is over. I finished my first ever half marathon and Amanda got a new personal best time on her run! We went to the expo on Friday and bought some new running gear. The only picture we got was me getting a little overly friendly with balloon running man. I don’t think he minded though.



On race day we got up at 4 in the morning. That’s right.. 4. in. the. morning. It wasn’t so bad really, but it made us pretty silly for a while. The adrenaline of race anticipation coupled with a short night’s sleep made us pretty looney.



We were also very cold! It was pretty windy and we were dressed for running in the sun, not standing around for two hours in the dark so we hopped into a hotel lobby to warm up and wait for the race to start.




I had planned to take it pretty slow at the start, like 11 or 12 minute miles until I warmed up and could tell how I was going to feel for the run but instead I was amped up and excited and feeling good so I took off at around 10 minute miles which is more my typical pace for short runs. I was able to keep that pace going for quite a few miles so I was feeling good about hitting my target time.

A lot of the race is a blur. I was mostly focusing on good running form since I was still worried about my ankle and concentrating on breathing good and maintaining a steady pace so half the time I didn’t really know what street I was on but I do remember the music. The first band was playing Last Dance with Mary Jane. A short while later the marching band blared their horns down at the runners from a bridge over the street. Scattered cheerleaders and other bands and a really cool drum group later in the race.

One thing I wasn’t prepared for is how much the spectators cheering affected me.Β I remember the girl at the water station in mile 6 who said “I see you Steve! Keep it up!” She was the first one who called me by name and at first I was all paranoid like who are you? how do you know my name? Then I realized it was printed on my bib and felt kinda silly.

A little after mile 10 my foot started hurting. I had run the whole thing so far so I wasn’t about to stop. As I kept pushing on the pain in my foot got worse. To make matters worse, spectators were pretty sparse near the end until you got real close to the finish. I was nearly reduced to power walking status about half a mile from the finish when I heard Amanda yell “Go Steve!” She came out to run with me for a minute and cheered me on and yelled to the spectators “This is Steve!” so then they all started cheering for me and I got a fresh burst of energy that carried me to the finish. I couldn’t stop smiling and in most of the pictures I’m sportin a big delirious smile and look something like this:

If I end up buying the pictures maybe I’ll post one, but maybe not since I look kinda like a doofus πŸ™‚

In the end I finished in 2 hours and 25 minutes when my target time was 2 hours and 30 minutes so I’m pretty happy about that. I never knew Michelob Ultra could taste as sweet as it did. Here we are enjoying our finisher beers! I felt super accomplished and proud to have finished and to have run the whole thing!


Remember to hydrate kids!


And then redehydrate! We went out to celebrate at Cowfish for burgushi and cocktails. We had a sushi foll with rare filet mignon on top that was really delicious. Β Amanda had a refreshing citrusy vodka drink.


But I had a bourbon drink. It also had some citrus undertones but the show stealer was the candied bacon. As you took a bite you first tasted bourbon dripping from the bacon, then a sweet candy flavor and finally finished off with bacony goodness. I highly recommend it if you have an opportunity πŸ˜€



My foot is still hurting unfortunately. I did get it checked out and hopefully it will be better in a few more days but as of now walking more than very short distances is a bit tough. Next race will be easier though πŸ™‚

Race day approacheth

So the Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon is on Sunday. This will once again be the longest I’ve ever run which is exciting and terrifying. At least during this run if I collapse then someone will be there to save me.

I’m actually feeling decent about the run except that my ankle has been hurting for a week or so after playing some basketball. I don’t even like basketball, there’s a reason I haven’t played in two decades. My first shot said a lot about how great I am at basketball and it turns out may have been foreshadowing how I’m going to get stuck a couple miles into the race.


Let’s hope I can keep moving and don’t need someone to come knock me loose with a water bottle like the poor basketball ended up needing.

I’m planning my fueling out a little better to avoid the delirious state I found myself in at the end of my ten mile run so hopefully I’ll be aware of where I am and what I’m doing toward the end of the race.

Truth be told I’m a little anxious, a little nervous, a little worried, a little yes I realize those are all just synonyms, and I’m a lot excited! I’ve been training for this for… I guess about 10 weeks. I’ve stuck to my training plan pretty well except for the swine flu week *shudders* and I didn’t do much of my taper because of my ankle hurting.

I just hope our neighborhood dentist mascot makes it out to cheer the racers on. He really brightened my day earlier this week and if I can be half as happy as him at the end of the race then I’ll be doing well πŸ™‚

wpid-20150406_122357.jpgActually I’m pretty sure he’s miserable inside there but putting on a smile for the rest of the world…. which come to think of it might be the case for me after 13.1 miles too. On a more positive note, if I pass out, fall and break my teeth out then he can fix me up πŸ˜€

Anyone else racing this weekend?

Hoppy Easter

Happy Easter everyone!

Just checking in quickly today. Amanda and I are up in Virginia today to see my 3 month old nephew Blake. He’s a very cute baby which is good because some babies look like lizards. We’re not sure why he’s so cute and if you had seen my older brother you would wonder too. Pretty sure he got all his looks from his mom although balancing coffee cups on his head is likely from his dad.

wpid-20150405_093046.jpg wpid-20150405_093030.jpg

Before we went up, it was nice enough outside to get some ice cream so we took Indy along. She LOVES ice cream and hasn’t had any since last summer. She knew too, as soon as we came out with the ice cream she got very excited and reached up to sniff the bowl. We got her a peanut butter and vanilla bean combination, two of her favorites.



Indy’s reaction to the new nephew is pretty entertaining. She is a little scared of the tiny person but also seems very concerned when he cries and is constantly checking on him to see what’s wrong. Then when someone takes the baby elsewhere she sniffs the spot where he was to investigate. The jury’s still out but I think she’s ok with him.

That’s about all for now. Amanda is on a jelly bean craze. She ate all of them out of the Easter basket and has requested we stop for more on the way home so I guess I know what we’ll be snacking on πŸ™‚

Dog days and dog years

Hi everyone! Another weekend has come and gone and I’ve run the farthest that I’ve ever run again. Nine miles yesterday! I have a 10 mile run next week and then two weeks of relative rest until race day!

This post is mostly about Indy though so let’s get to the important stuff πŸ™‚

wpid-20150315_152226.jpgIndy has really developed a love for people furniture but she also can really tell the comfy stuff from the not-so-comfy stuff. For instance she really doesn’t like the basement couch even though it comes with a matching chair. On an unrelated note, anyone want to buy wonderfully comfortable matching couch and chair?

That picture of Indy was from Thursday or Friday I think. Afterwards we decided to go out for sushi at a place we’ve recently discovered in northish Raleigh called Kai sushi and sake bar. They have a three roll special for $24 which is not a bad price at all and they have some unique rolls that they served to us on this excellent fish dish.

wpid-20150320_200158.jpgThis weekend was Indy’s birthday. She’s four years old now, making her around 28 in dog years. She still hasn’t settled down and found a man but that’s ok. She can live her life the way she wants to as long as she’s happy.We went for a long run/walk. She went about 5 miles with Amanda before they turned around and I continued on my for 9 miles. I hurt something in my leg around mile 7.5 and had to take my first ice bath when I got back. Amanda was very amused at my reaction although I didn’t see what was so funny about it.

We seared a steak for Indy as a special birthday treat. You can see her enjoying it below. If I had a premium subscription to upload videos you could see her inhale the whole thing at the end but alas, poor graduate students can’t afford such luxuries, especially after splurging on a better dinner for the dog than ourselves.

wpid-screenshot_2015-03-23-16-41-41.png wpid-screenshot_2015-03-23-16-40-07.png

After her long walk and delicious dinner she couldn’t fight off the cuddles. I don’t think she would have anyway πŸ™‚

wpid-20150322_221621.jpgI added another picture with me in it too but the angle and lighting aren’t half as good as the first one. Also Indy looks slightly more depressed…. or maybe has a stomach ache from eating a steak whole. Next time we’ll cut it up some for her πŸ™‚

wpid-20150322_221632.jpgUntil next time!