Getting behind in posting again so will primarily be pictures today but will write a bit on goal setting and challenges. After visiting my first couple countries before I was 20 I set a long term goal to visit 30 countries before I was 30 years old. I missed the mark by 4 or 5 but I continue to explore as much as life will allow. Think I am resetting that goal to 45 by 40, means 2 new ones a year and is tough but attainable. Incorporating other goals into my travels is always fun and they have taken me to many places I would not otherwise have even considered. My current countries visited are displayed below and I am working on how to incorporate a more interactive version of the map soon, found it at http://www.amcharts.com/
Learning to run helped me address a problem, I had gotten fat after college and wanted to run a 5k and also wanted to ride the MS 150, Frisco to Ft. Worth. That first year was 2009 and I could not run a mile non-stop. After a few tries in a week things started to get easier and I decided to increase the goal. Long story short I tried for too much too fast with the intention of going from couch to full marathon in 10 months, needless to say I did not make it. I suffered from Patello-Femoral Syndrome, or runners knee. After seeing a orthopedic and getting sent to the physical therapist I got myself sorted out and was able to finish a half marathon in 2009 but not the full that I hoped for. Fast forward to spring training of 2015 and again I find myself with PFS and again headed back to the therapist. I hope to recover in time to start the mountains in 8 weeks, then so many other things I have planned for the summer. I am not sure if this will work but confirmed the problem formulated a plan and now is time to see if it can possibly work.
Fixing this is similar to fixing problems at work analyze, formulate a plan and then execute, this is often easier said than done but I feel like the act of trying allows us to grow often in ways we did not even consider. I hope getting the knee fixed shows me some things I need to learn and perhaps it will help me work on and learn a bit more patience since I am not good at slowing down. Guess I will think about patience a little more on this mornings bike ride, maybe the beautiful Texas spring will help with some clarity.
Been busy since my last post, set my full marathon PR at Irving so keeping the tradition strong, I have run all 3 of the Irving marathons and think I will continue to do so as long as I live here.
Did some California dreaming when I saw this, one day I will find one for my garage.
The California Tower in the heart of Balboa Park has just reopened for the 100 year anniversary, is a neat way to see Balboa from above.
Out of the water this weekend in urban Las Colinas
Finally, even though we missed last year, we were able to make it back to the Canadian River Hilton for our annual turkey hunt. Took one with a 12 gauge but still no success with my bow, more work to come on that I suppose, patience, more patience.
Enough pictures, time for some PT and biking to prepare for the mountains. Won the Half Dome Cables lottery so looking like Whitney and Yosemite in one weekend, should be a good start for summer. Based on my knee challenge getting to a Boston qualifying time this year is going to be tough, perhaps that goal gets moved to next year and maybe it will be a good challenge for the 2016 Irving marathon, would be nice to qualify so close to home.
Thinking through this weeks post after finishing at the track I was wondering how I will ever increase my speed enough to Boston Qualify. Currently my best half pace is 30 seconds a mile short of the BQ standard, and even hitting the time does not guarantee entry since only the fastest get an entry. This summer I am planning on extensive work at the track but have been finding significant motivation challenges to go to the track since it is hard without a partner and with a goal that seems so unattainable. Despite my having shaved almost a minute off my long distance pace in the last 15 months I still see the magic BQ time as something so difficult to attain.
While working to get my time down I have decided that some significant vertical should be beneficial to trying to increase my fitness to the level needed to qualify. To start I did the Big D Stair climb with sister and friends which was great fun but I was a couple of minutes short of winning my group, was a neat way to climb this tower in Dallas.
In order to focus on uphill and sustained endurance activities, I have picked a series of events in the next few months to fulfill the need to go vertical and think I will start in earnest this weekend with a hill or two in San Diego. The mountains and events I signed up for have very little theme but all seem like they should provide significant training time and increase how prepared I am. I signed up for Go Ruck Ascent, the Pikes Peak Marathon and to climb Mt. Whitney again, with a strong hope to also get in the Half Dome Cables lottery in Yosemite. I am still putting the group together for Whitney so give my a call if you think it may a challenge you would enjoy and we can talk, this will be my third time to climb it. I figure these should all lead up to trying a 50 mile run this fall in the Texas Panhandle and will hopefully assist in my speed and sustained endurance.
With these in mind and the logistics of traveling that much while still spending time in Maine this summer it seems like pretty tight schedule and that I will need to be careful with time out of the office. The cottage needs significant attention so this may be a poor choice but thankfully I have the best next door neighbor to ever live…..Thanks Mom!
With my brother’s family moving this weekend it took some time to sort through everything and a couple of the boxes I found was old travel photos from time living in Italy in college, and visiting Alaska. Such vivid memories came rushing back and I so wish they were digital, so I will find someone to digitize then after which I will post. If anyone knows of a good provider of this service please let me know in the comments or email. In the mean time I took a couple of pics of pics and thought I would post one of my first glacier since that is one of the things that drove me most recently to Patagonia
Off to find some more training opportunities. Best to all.
I will write up a full post once I get home since this is going up from airport in Santiago but in short, for my first time in Patagonia this was amazing experience. The park is beautiful and awe inspiring, the people I met on the way were all very interesting, the food and accommodation all get high praise and the guides we had were among the best I have experienced world wide.
All in all the photos came out okay for another trip across the globe with just a phone for a camera. I have a couple flights to look through them more carefully and see what I want to post and think of the right way to describe this magnificent place. Thinking about coming back in January but would have to make it to Antartica, guess I need to plan a bit more. Also, if anyone knows of any great books about Patagonia I have been looking for my next read and already read Chatwin’s book. I enjoyed it but didn’t really get the meaning and really want to understand more about this part of the world.
Signing off for now ending my first and definitely not last trip almost as far south as a person can go.
The Carnival crowds were collapsing around the hotel in Copacabana beach as I left. Place was an absolute zoo and the streets were all backing up, granted I was still early to the airport just in time for a flight delay pushing my departure until well after midnight.
The transit to El Calafate was a bit brutal and I think my biggest miss was thinking I couldn’t sit down to a steak dinner in Buenos Aires at 3am. As I was arriving at the domestic airport I saw a number of places that looked good that were clearly still serving.
After a run along a beautiful boardwalk was a visit to Los Glaciares National Park which was really neat. As well done as any in the US and likely deals with just as many visitors.
Would likely say glaciers are like life ever moving and making noise then sudden significant changes, a feat of Mother Nature shown in so many different ways.
Below are some pictures since they are certainly better than any words.
Seeing the Perito Moreno Glacier as my introduction to Patagonia was amazing, beautiful country and just a taste of what was to come next after crossing into Chile below the southern ice fields.
On my way to Patagonia I figured was a good stop to see Rio. First time in Brasil and is a wonderful place, friendly people, beautiful weather and scenery and spirit like no other place. As I write I’m waiting for a lift back to the airport and the Carnival street parties are on full swing with drums everywhere and traffic ground to a halt. I came to see the parades and they were so worth it even if I caught the preliminary and not the largest of them. I did see last nights winner who will go again Sunday for the primary event. I also got to see famous beaches, Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf, and some street parties so all in all not bad for a long day.
Having seen so many marathon signs saying “worst parade ever” this just made me think wow this is the best parade ever and that is all that went through my head as I watched the floats and all the dancing. Thinking about the spring celebration that is held before lent in so many places I wondered what some of the differences were? Venice, New Orleans, Sydney, Munich, the celebration is held in so many countries and all are so different. In Germany it’s starkbierziet with strong beers before the fast, in New Orleans Mardi Gras is debauchery, in Italy the celebration and the beautiful masks.
Here to me it’s all about the dance and the energy. Despite my concerns that South America is usually disorganized and chaotic this is anything but. The parades at the Sambadoromo are organized and amazing. The coordination it must take for the thousands of people in each samba school is phenomenal, hundreds of drummers, dancers of every stripe. I would include singers but the crowd fulfills that roll more than the floats often times which is what makes the energy so cool. I understand each Samba school has between 3000 and 5000 people making this the largest show on earth. People in the stands are all singing and dancing the night away in revelry from young to old alike.
This spirit and passion is something akin to the most intense sports fans at the biggest match of their season. The pictures cannot do justice to this place and these people but want to post a few before I leave for the next place.
And on to beaches and tourism.
Not bad for 30 hours…..
I’ve been away a bit recently and sometimes feel the constant rushing is catching up, but then cannot seem to unwind and relax. After a fast weekend of races and fun in Dallas still managed a few hours in Vegas before heading to work in San Diego. For most I imagine this would be a bad way to start a week of meetings and a big work function, for me worked quite well despite the breakneck pace.
Feeling like a sloth when I have nothing going on requires me to stay “full on” whenever I can, then go narcoleptic when the downtime comes, case in point barely stayed awake through dinner on my current overnight flight. For some reason this seems like the best way to pack a full month into a week and I don’t understand why this shouldn’t be the norm for other people as well.
Everyone I know seems to enjoy downtime and many people tell me I should learn how to also stop and smell the roses but it has not worked for me so far. I feel like we could all throw out the TV and just see and experience as much of the world as possible. As someone who has been searching for new challenges for a long time I wonder what’s next? Is another Ironman in order or a mountain or two? IM not booked yet but Go Ruck Ascent is and lottery entry for a couple of our national parks for the summer should work. I will soon be down visiting Patagonia and hiking the W trek in Torres del Paines national park in Chile but what after that?
Sitting on my flight this evening waiting to take off for Rio the person next to me is also going to Carnival, spending a month in Rio compared to my 30+ hours, not sure if that’s just because vacation works differently in Canada or because they slow down more but that gives me pause to think if I’m doing something wrong. They were also surprised to hear I’m traveling solo. This is my forth or fifth multi country solo journey around the world and I think it is also likely my last one.
Guess I will see how it goes but there is something changing as I get older that makes seeing far away places a little less fun, not sharing the experience with family or friends makes for good stories but lacks shared experience.
Thinking about plans for the remainder of the year I need to focus on making sure other people come along on some of these poorly contrived adventures. I’ll start by recruiting for work on the house Maine, any takers for the 4th of July weekend? Let me know, lodging is free if you don’t mind working and we can spend evenings on the beach with a bonfire.
One more time solo is just getting started guess this isn’t a bad way to begin on the roof of my hotel over looking Copacabana beach. Seeing Rio is next.
As I finalize the details of my up coming trip it makes me nervous to think I am trying to cram so much into such a short trip. Guess this is sort of the status quo for how I have traveled but for this one it seems pretty aggressive even for me. Guess the benefit to going solo is if something goes horribly sideways have only myself to blame and to solve any problem that may arise.
Brazil will be my first stop on this trip and will complete my tour of the developing BRIC countries. Seeing Carnival will be amazing but I wonder if the severe drought plaguing Brazil will temper the atmosphere that is supposed to be so amazing. All four BRICs will have been solo trips and the first three were all worth the challenge, whirlwind tour in India, wandering Beijing in China, and across most Russia by train. Just thinking back to some of these made me dig up some pictures from my visits to the other 3 so I went ahead and posted them below since they were all amazing experiences and never made my previous blog entries.
Couple days in India included my last long training run preceding my first marathon in 2010, I do not recommend running 20 miles in the crowded street of Delhi.
Beijing was so amazing despite not much time there I was in awe of the Chinese heritage and history along with the beauty of the country side surrounding the city.
After spending a week by train through China, Mongolia, and Siberia it was nice to reach suburban Moscow.
Getting pretty excited to head off again and will post pictures and stories of Patagonia soon.
As some of you know I try and spend time giving back as often as I can and one of those ways is by serving non-profits both here in North Texas and abroad. As part of that initiative I serve on the board for the Kikulu Foundation. Above is our first communication for the year seeking assistance in funding scholarships in Uganda, please take some time and consider what the impact of $20 a month is too you and what it could mean for a child who otherwise may not get the chance at receiving a quality education. As we know, education and literacy are the paths to a better life, so please assist us if you can in providing some assistance those less fortunate than ourselves.
Plenty of people who spend their whole life in Texas never get out to see it, I do not fall in this category thanks for my father taking us all over by car when we were very young. The “grand canyon” of Texas is Palo Duro Canyon just south of Amarillo and well worth the drive. I would highly encourage anyone with the time and the love of our beautiful state to visit, it is a toss up for me which is better, Palo Duro State Park or Big Bend National Park. This weekend was Palo Duro and was a perfect weekend to visit the panhandle.
The Texas Parks & Wildlife page is a great resource but I need to find some more reviews and information on what the various parks have to offer to pick the next break from mortgage land.
For this years international trip I am headed to Patagonia via Carnival in a few weeks. As always I wait until time is short to work out the details which is always a bad idea but I will never learn. The complexity of each trip is always a fun challenge to sort out so perhaps leaving inadequate time to sort out the details is is part of the fun of planning. As I was gathering my visa documents for entry to Brazil I spent a few late night hours getting all the details together, only at the very last minute to read the requirements of my passport itself. I had read the check list offered at the Consulate of Brazil website at least 10 times and each time glossed over the sentence following good condition US Passport, where it says “with two blank visa/endorsement pages”. Being a regular traveler and having immigration people just stamp wherever has left me without this requirement despite my passport being only halfway through its useful life. In my opinion only having 20 pages for stamps/visas/endorsements does not seem adequate for a 10 year passport, if mine does not make it what about people who travel often?
Learning you have a passport problem when you are less than a month from departure is a bit terrifying knowing everything in the government is deeply bureaucratic and any urgency is ridiculously expensive. After some research and a few phone calls it was comforting to hear that there is a passport office in Dallas, granted you cannot call them directly or schedule an appointment while speaking to a person so they pass you off to the automated system. So far things are looking positive, appointment the next day and not too excessive in the way of fees to have pages added to my passport, but guess I will see how it all works out in the morning. To get normal processing for my Brazil visa via an expedited service, everything will have to come together tomorrow, this contingency is causing my blood pressure to rise since I have already committed to much of the trip via flights and lodging. The last time I had to get some visa’a in short order, the people at AA Passports here in Dallas did a pretty good job so I am hoping for the same again this time and am not really considering driving to Houston on a work day as an alternative but guess thats better than losing the reservations. So in short I am really hoping for extra pages for more stamps, sort of like the mortgage lenders, pray for low rates which seems to be occurring now, so perhaps I can be as lucky as mortgage originators.
To shift to US travel thoughts, I have been a Uber user for about 3 years now and have never had a problem and after this weekend in Orlando am a bigger believer than ever. In Orlando this weekend we stayed off the resort and so since I decided to run the marathon bandit had to figure out a way to get to the start line on time, which as it turns out at the Walt Disney Marathon is 5:30 am. To assure I would arrive on time I scheduled a taxi pickup for the 7 mile trip. This was just in case there was no Uber available when ready to leave the hotel at 3:30 in the morning. Taxi: on time, $44 dollars one way. After the marathon I figured I would either cab it or find an Uber, tried the Uber, no waiting and the trip cost was less than $13.00. I am not sure how the union cab drivers in Florida can possibly get away with charging such an inflated rate. Even with 26,000 runners the available transportation was quick and painless so if the cab drivers get themselves sorted out in the next year I would hope the consumer shows their might and just stops using cabs all together unless they come way down in price to align with Uber.
Some pics from Cape Canaveral, Walt Disney Marathon and the first NCAA Football National Championship