A Better Castaway Companion

Did you hear that!?! If you just heard a huge sigh of relief loud enough to be heard from the Netherlands, that would be me successfully putting a cap on one of the busiest two months I have experienced in a looooong time. The Annual Halloween Cookout is officially in the books (all the decorations are officially dried out, packed and stowed away), the 4 scheduled Half Marathon medals are hanging on the wall, the new well is awaiting final health inspection and as of Wednesday night, my presentation to the local Peoria Camera Club was given. Whew, that blurb sure doesn’t sound as difficult as it was to get all those checked off the to-do list. All of those tasks had been outlined in previous posts, with the exception of the presentation. The president of the Camera Club (Julie) attended my presentation to the local Audubon Society Chapter earlier in the year (link here).  After that talk she offered up the opportunity to come and speak to the camera club.  Honored to be considered, I quickly accepted and began fretting about it almost immediately.  At the Audubon speech, I was in a room full of better birders and likely better photographers.  In the new setting I was among a room full of better photographers and likely better birders.  Definitely more comfortable in the former being a self-learned photographer.  When Julie reached out with the October date, my heart skipped a beat and immediately went to work revamping the Birding Texas Gulf Coast talk to focus on the photography aspects.  Apprehension remained up until the point the lights went down and the slide show started.  Ended up running out of time to get through all the bird detail (due to favoring camera setup, field philosophies etc), but the audience seemed to enjoy the talk and received a lot of good comments afterward.  Also got to talk to a few of them later thanks to a chance decision afterward to catch a bite to eat at the same place.  Again, extremely honored to have the chance to present my craft to them and to meet a wonderful group of similar enthusiasts.  Huge appreciation to Julie for making all that happen.

While preparing for this speech, I noticed a picture was included of a bird I had not featured on the blog yet – and by definition, one that did not have the official check by it on the bird list.  This seemed like the perfect time to remedy that!

Wilson's Warbler found at The Valley Nature Birding Center, Weslaco Texas January 1st, 2018

Hit the Jump to find out what this new addition is!

Continue reading A Better Castaway Companion

A Thrashing Surprise

Decided to give my loyal readers a break from all the running posts – and by “deciding” I mean bowing to the crap load of hate emails and phone calls I have received from those of you that believe the only running distance worth completing begins with a 0 and ends with a 0 with a single period between them.  The good news is we can turn this post into a win win.  First off, I spare you the last remaining run post and instead feature another catch while on our Texas Gulf Coast Birding Trip back in December 2017 – on the 30th to be exact so just a few days from the current year.  This makes this an extremely fresh post based on my normal wildlife recollections.  Recently  I was offered the opportunity to speak at our local camera club.  Their president saw my speech to the local Audubon Society and thought the camera club would enjoy it as well.  This has added to the overall whirlwind of activities that has been consuming me over the last two months (if you have been reading my posts, you are well aware of how I’ve been struggling to get posts out).  With the completion of the season’s last scheduled half marathon trail run past Saturday (yeah) this is the final task on my to-do list ahead of my favorite day Halloween.  The win on my part is this post allows me to pad my bird count by an extra tick before speech – yep, this is another new bird!

Long-Billed Thrasher found at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, December 2017

Hit the jump to find out what this mystery species is!

Continue reading A Thrashing Surprise

Daddle Daddle Do

Getting tired of the run posts yet?  If so, my apologies for this one and well, likely the next one too.  The good news, is when that next post is done the official running season should be done.  That is if a trail race doesn’t catch my eye in the next couple of months.  The great thing about being trained up for the 4 half marathons that closed the standard race season  is you are pretty much ready to go if anything at that distance comes along.  Will probably cycle back to maintain mode for training and start working more on getting the body fully recovered from another grueling year pounding pavement and new for this year.. the dirt.  Guessing if you read the previous post, you are wondering how the final piece of the 2 race event went.

WhiskeyDaddle Half Marathon Daddle Deluxe Oct 7th, 2018

That pretty much gives it away – successfully finished the back half of the challenge.  I forgot to point out that the 5K actually gave a really nice and classy looking long sleeve tech shirt very similar in design to the pull over they gave for last year’s half.  This race is on the expensive side when you sign up for the double event.  It has the absolute worst after race party outside of the typically much much lower budget trail events. Basically provided water, a few bagged snacks, a loose cookie and a banana.  Really bummed this year they were not giving out the free Whiskey samples like they did last year (yum).  I can get over the weak food offerings thanks to their incredible medals.  They are just slightly smaller than last year’s barrel version (link here), but still nice and heavy.

WhiskeyDaddle Half Marathon Daddle Deluxe Oct 7th, 2018

Hit the jump to see if I survived another half marathon!

Continue reading Daddle Daddle Do

One Shot Down

Welcome to the Run Recollection Month as I’ve decided to call it.  Already cranked out three race posts this month – figured might as well go for a whole month full of sweat hehehe.  Today’s featured run (also in chronological order if you are keeping track) was the second running of the WhiskeyDaddle.  It used to be called the Peoria Marathon, but they decided to take on a theme based on the Peoria whiskey heritage as well as pump up the overall festive element of a race that was starting to lose its luster.  The event now spreads across two days with race distances to meet any level.

Whiskey Daddle 5K - The Shot, Peoria IL Oct 6th, 2018

On Saturday, they hold The Shot.  This is the shortest distance for the two days coming in at 5K or for you non-runners out there, 3.1 miles.  As a general rule, I usually do not run races that take me less time to run that it does to get myself out of bed and ready to toe the line.  If you see me participating in a 5K, there is usually some other reason – in this situation it was to feed my inner medal whore.  That’s right, if I double up the race (for a hefty price of course), they give me an EXTRA medal.  Now that is what I am talking about.  This is similar to the Illini Marathon which also gives out three medals for completing two races.  This year, like with the Illini (link here), opted for the 5K + the Half Marathon or the Daddle Deluxe as they called it.  That’s the Shot (5K) plus the Bottle (Half).

Whiskey Daddle 5K - The Shot, Peoria IL Oct 6th, 2018

hit the jump to see how the warm up race turned out!

Continue reading One Shot Down

No Chucks for Moonlight Run

Things are finally humming here at LifeIntrigued.  With almost all of the stressors that were queued up for September and October finally behind me, the blog can get some badly needed love.  Just have a big speech coming up (will talk about that more when we get closer to the date) and a few other odds and ends to get cleaned up and I’ll finally be able to sit back, relax and breathe a huge sigh of relief.  One of those big stressors just got completed yesterday.  It also had a running theme and the reason I am pushing so hard to get current all my competed runs that have been sitting on my desk since July.  Sticking with the chronological order, going with a run that took place after the IVS Half from last post.

Moonlight Miles Half Marathon, Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield IL September 2018

Now this run holds a special place in my heart… err, make that my stomach.  It is also the race that gets my wife the most concerned – that may be rightfully so.  The race is held 6 days after the IVS half on a Saturday night.  The race started out as a prediction race in the same vein as the Screaming Pumpkin race (link here).  In fact, so similar in that it also started out as a Marathon distance with relay options and held ..wait for it .. in an old cemetery.  It was a natural fit for our seasoned Pumpkin relay team.  Unfortunately, they backed off the prediction element, but added a half and quarter marathon to accommodate the shorter distance runners so they wouldn’t have to partner up.  Last year Ryan and Sung were able participate with  me, much to the relief of my wife (link here).   She is responsible for a dog competition event that weekend and has been unable to travel down to the run.  This is also the reason this race brings the biggest concern.  Why? Well, for two years in a row I’ve left a bit of myself there.. and not talking about sweat.  Something about this race ends up getting to me around the 9 mile mark that ultimately causes me to be seriously sick after the race – like throwing up sick.

Moonlight Miles Half Marathon, Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield IL September 2018

Hit the jump to find out how the race turned out!

Continue reading No Chucks for Moonlight Run

Might As Well Do It for a Medal

For far too many Sundays over the course of a year, my running friends (Ryan, Sung) and I pound the pavement in Springdale Cemetery.  Non-runners always seem a bit shocked when they learn a portion of my weekends are spent with the dead.  Springdale has been a friend for runners for a long time.  Their crumbled roads provide the perfect terrain for those of us who prefer the hill races.  One loop is a quarter marathon and includes three massive hills that will  make your lungs burn and your legs scream uncle.  This all started when we discovered two races that call this course their home.  The Screaming Pumpkin is no longer held (link here), but the IVS Half Marathon is still running strong – and by strong I mean still being held.  The participation has always been light, but that is likely due to how tough this course is.

IVs Half Marathon 2018, Springdale Cemetery

The IVS Half is a two loop adventure through the cemetery.  That adds up to 6 … count them .. 6 impressive hill traversals and that doesn’t include the smaller rolling hills that make up the rest of the course.    After spending so much time there training, we consider the cemetery our home course.  There isn’t a turn, pothole or uneven surface we haven’t committed to memory.  Figured since we run it so often, why not get a medal for it!

IVs Half Marathon 2018, Springdale Cemetery

Hit the jump to see how the race turned out!

Continue reading Might As Well Do It for a Medal

Bix Cold Nixed

I cannot believe how far I’ve fallen behind on my running posts.  The Halloween event was all consuming for the last two months, but I’ve had run posts queued up since July!  There’s only one way to deal with this embarrassing output – hunker down and get’r done.  On the bright side of things, I should have zero problems with blog fodder this month (or next).  So let’s start at the front of the FIFO queue.

Bix 7 Race 2018, Davenport IA

Yep, it’s another BIX 7 in the books.  If you are counting, that should now be 16 consecutive Bix 7 runs and also marks the 16th anniversary of my decision to take up running.  I mentioned this in last year’s post, but as a quick reminder, this whole crazy running thing start with a realization that my martial arts devotion was coming to a close.  The time between injury and recovery was getting too thin for my highly physical dojo.  That is when Linda made me aware of this hilly bastard from her hometown in Davenport, IA.  Ever since then, Linda and I have been lining up to conquer Brady Street hill

Bix 7 Race 2018, Davenport IA

Hit the jump to see how the race turned out!

Continue reading Bix Cold Nixed