Remember the scene in A Christmas Story when mom bundled Randy up so much that he couldn't put his arms down? That was me yesterday. Our trusty meteorologist told me that Saturday morning was going to be about 16 degrees. OK, no biggie. I managed 18, so I'll just have to bundle up. I woke up early, padded down the stairs to get ready and I glanced at the thermometer: 9 degrees. I looked at my running clothes and then I looked at my coffee pot.....
...after 2 cups of coffee, I thought I'd give this running in single digit temps thing a try. Put on the gear, headed out the door and embarked on my frigid journey.
The few people that were out on the road gave me some shocked looks, but it's not like they could identify me. I had quite the ensemble: tights, shorts, wind pants, compression shirt, long sleeve tee, short sleeve tee, wind jacket, hat, and gloves.
After about a mile things began to warm up, 'cept for the toes. I got some great socks for Christmas, but when you have mesh running shoes, that still doesn't help. After about mile 3, though, they were either numb or warm. You know? It wasn't that bad of a run. I had my Shuffle with me and I listened to some podcasts, so that kept my mind off of the fact that my gloves had frost on them. Amazingly, though, they still kept my hands warm! When I got done to stretch out, ice fell from my hat. To make sure I wasn't hallucinating, I shook my head. I was like my own snow machine! Hey, you know what would've helped? Stretching inside the house. Oh well. Pretty proud of myself. It's liked I cracked a barrier. Usually, sub 15 degree temps would have me scurrying to the treadmill. Not anymore! Not as long as I can wear 50% of my winter wardrobe!
*note - after finding the picture above, I laughed at whomever wanted an autographed picture of Randy. What a dork! Now that I've seen it, though, I'd buy the picture, frame it, and put it on the mantle. Yeah, Randy!
Yesterday, I started training for my first HM. What did I do to celebrate? I skipped the 3 mile run. Not only that, but I switched my training schedule to Hal Higdon's schedule. On that one, I can start in late January/early February. I skipped my run because we had just gotten back from Holiday travel and we had to do rearrange at least 3 rooms to accommodate our kids' new loot. My favorite happened to be this: It's Polly Pockets Race to the Mall! And if you've ever tried to assemble it, it should be renamed, "Daddy's Race to the Liquor Cabinet!" Holy Lord. I tried reading the "directions", but the company neglected to put any written directions....just pictures. Also not helping in my quest to construct this monstrosity was a very eager 3 1/2 year old asking every .05 seconds, "when is it going to be done, daddy?" After 2 glasses of wine and 2 glasses of single malt, I gave up. I managed to construct the loop, but then it vaults the poor shopper into oblivion. As of this morning, there is no mall built. Just a wide piece of pink track.
Another Christmas observation: why didn't I invest in the sadistic company that makes those damn twisty tie things that straps down any toy on the market today? I'd have made millions and laughed on Christmas day.
Oh well....I'm going to try to get a longer run in today and get the extra poundage that I've acquired in the last 2 or 3 weeks.
$1 million. That's how much Von Maur took in yesterday when they opened their doors for the first time since the horrific shooting a little over 2 weeks ago. The store's previous best day in Omaha barely cracked $500,000. Good for Von Maur and good for Omaha.
My last post was a lot of me pissing and moaning about stuff that, in the grand scheme of things, really isn't worth pissing and moaning about. I lost site of the really important things.
Many of my out of town friends kid me about living in Omaha. There's nothing to do here, you're in the middle of cornfields, blah blah blah.
That's why I live here. There's such a sense of community in this town. I've always said that even though we're technically a city (750,000+), it's really just one big town. We all have connections to one another.
The generosity of this community has put me in the holiday mood. My family and I are off to Iowa and I'll be running on a treadmill in front of a high-def TV. It's a nice trade-off. Happy Holidays to one and all. I hope that 2008 will bring you prosperity, good health and happiness.
Seems to be the recurring theme in the early part of this week. Everyone is on high stress levels at school right now. My seniors are more concerned with drawing on themselves. My juniors are just lazy. And my sophomores are freaking out about their final (which they should be).
Right now, my seniors are in my crosshairs. Let's start with the them, shall we? They produce a 30 minute TV show every 4 weeks. After a closed door meeting with all of them a couple of weeks ago, they said they were stressed. Normally, I would tell them to deal with it, but I thought I'd lighten the load. Yet another example of me being a giver. As a result, they had 3 weeks to produce a 15 minute show. Where are we at with 1 day left? A mere 3 out of the 8 stories are done. 1 story didn't even get off the ground and the class spent the entire 40 minutes yesterday drawing on each other.
See how much teachers love their kids? I got into the teaching profession later than most and I was shocked to hear the teachers talk about the kids. How could they be so pessimistic, so negative? I thought I'd de-stress by hitting the treadmill last night. Right at about mile 2, some of my kids come down and want to talk about the drama going on. Really? Is this the best time? ARRGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!
OK, I'm done. I love the kids, but they're driving me nuts. Winter break can't come soon enough. And, yes, you WILL here me complain even though I have a 2 week break and summers off! I understand the flip side, so don't preach.
Big project due for my juniors and we're having a "late night". Late Night means I leave the room open so they can get some work done. My holiday gift to them.
After checking on them, I head down to our fitness center.
My favorite treadmill is open!
I start up and, after about 1 mile, I'm feeling pretty good. My trusty iPod mini is actually shuffling songs and not on a 6 song rotation either.
As far as treadmill runs go, I am in the zone. I'm so dangerous, I even raise the incline.
I finish with a decent TM time. My TM times are usually slower. Don't know why that is. Maybe it's a motivation factor.
Check in on my juniors again. No blood. Lots of drama, but no blood. Rumor is that someone will be making a Jimmy John's run later. None for me, thanks. I just ran.
I head over to our gym because it's the final round of a round robin basketball tournament and yours truly is working the game.
Because I work the games, I get free concessions. Does anyone see what's coming next?
Here's my food intake from 5:15pm yesterday to 11am today
1 SuperSoft pretzel with nacho cheese. No salt, though!
2 pieces of Valentino's pizza. For those of you not living in the state of Nebraska, Valentino's is completely irresistible. Those and Runzas. Trust me. I'm convinced that this is why we're consistently in the top 10 for "Fattest States".
2 cinnamon rolls (courtesy of one of my juniors at Late Night)
1 Grande Quad Cafe Americano (mmmmmm.....Friday morning treat)
"ICE STORM 2007!" was what the graphic said on all 4 local newscasts. We were told to expect at least .5 inches of ice with at least 3-5 inches of snow on top of that. If you had listened to our "experts", you'd have expected The Four Horsemen by noon. The result? **pause for drum roll** an icy/slush mix with maybe a 1/2 inch of snow. I'd love to have a gig where I can warn the masses, be wrong, and have no repercussions afterwards. Plus, you'll never hear them say, "Wow, we really blew that one. Sorry about having to rearrange your whole schedule for the day. Our bad."
Why am I telling you this? Because rather than skating/running outside yesterday, I hit the treadmill. Yes, dear readers, my complaining about a lack of decent outdoor running gear has subsided, but the weather has forced me indoors.
Much has been written about treadmills versus outdoor running, so I'm going to throw my one analogy in the ring: I feel like a hamster on a wheel. Not really going anywhere, but I know I'm getting a workout. All that's missing is that upside-down bottle with the metal straw at the end. I'm sure there's a technical term for it, but I'm not a hamster expert. *I'll refrain from the slam dunk Richard Gere reference at this point.* Thank God for my Unsportsmanlike Conduct podcasts and my utter disregard for any coach and/or player in the gym that "needs to get some reps in". The most disconcerting thing about the run? The X-Country coach sidles up to the next treadmill and takes off He's at 9.0, I'm at 7.0. Congrats, you're the fastest hamster.
Finals are coming up for the kids, so the stress level is at a peak. My juniors are freaking out about their movie and my seniors just want to get the last show in. The juniors are in the lead for my admiration. At least they actually care if they finish their project. My seniors have no sense of urgency. It's early for the juniors to be in the lead. Usually that happens when senioritis kicks in.
One more treadmill run tomorrow and then I hope to be back on the road Saturday or Sunday morning. Happy running to all!
Let me just start this off by saying that, by the grace of God, none of my family or friends were involved in the shootings at Westroads. I hope that anyone that reads this entry will pray for all of the victims and their families.
Here is my account. It's from a perspective of an Omaha native, a former TV newser, a dad, a husband, a teacher, and a friend. Quite honestly, I'm posting this for myself. A catharsis, if you will.
I had cafeteria duty when some kids had mentioned that there had been a shooting at Westroads. Quite honestly, I didn't think much of it. I knew that a grenade had been found in the parking lot and I wondered aloud if there was any connection. I knew that when I got back to my office, I'd check things out online. As I walked back to my office, though, I had heard "2 dead...they're saying more.". I knew right then and there that this was NOT your typical "breaking news" story that the local affiliates like to beat us over the head with.
When I got back, I saw on KETV (ABC affiliate) that they were live at 2:45pm in the afternoon. Big story. 2 confirmed dead and others injured at Von Maur. I was stunned. Unfolding was the biggest local news story of my lifetime.
Immediately, I called my wife to check in and hear her voice. Sometimes, she'll go to Von Maur on her lunch break and, with the holidays here, there was an even better chance (in MY mind, at least) that she could be there. She answered the phone. A wave of relief hit me. She tells me that our good friend, who is a Douglas County Sheriff, is on the scene. Later, we find out that he was in the store for about 4 or 5 hours helping out with the investigation. I can't even imagine what the OPD, Fire, Deputy Sheriff, and others are going through. For them to go in there after the fact and/or storm in when it was unknown if the shooter was alive or dead is something I can't even wrap my head around.
For the next few minutes, I made the rounds: called mom, sister, friends, etc. Told them I was OK and that my immediate family was accounted for.
After checking out equipment to students, I watched the OPD news conference. 9 dead, 5 others injured. Nine. In Omaha. In a store that practically everyone has been in. It was like getting sucker punched.
There is only one Von Maur in town and, for all intents and purposes, it's the crown jewel of Westroads. High end stuff, high end customers. Every time that my wife and I go there, we always go up to the third floor to check out the kids clothes that they have. I have a very good idea of where the shooter was. That scares the hell out of me.
My wife and I spent the remainder of the evening watching the extended coverage careful to not have our very inquisitive 3 year old watch the coverage. No new news to report, really. I think we were just trying to make sense of it all. I think that's what the entire community is trying to do. This just does not happen in Omaha, Nebraska. Upon reflection, everyone says that. "It just doesn't happen here." Well, where is it supposed to happen?
Went to bed with the image of a kid holding up a russian rifle and senselessly murdering people who had absolutely nothing to do with him.
How can the employees ever set foot in the store? How can customers? Is this the end of Von Maur in Omaha?
What if this had happened in a WalMart? Coverage would be the same, but I think it would be different. There's a WalMart within spitting distance of everyone and most everyone has been to one of them, but when you have one premiere store such as Von Maur at a central location in the city, there just seems to be more of a connection to it. Hard to explain.
Our 3 year old asks why "the store where we got my coat" is in the news. Not something I wanted to explain.
Almost 24 hours have passed and it still doesn't make any sense. I doubt it'll ever make any sense. I know that this community will come together and try to console one another. It's what we do. It's what we're about. I don't think anyone knows how we'll bounce back from this, just that we will.
After my Thanksgiving run, I kinda took a week off. See, in these hills, a lot of us have been immersed in a state-wide soap opera with our Beloved Nebraska Cornhuskers. Since the Huskers aren't going to any bowl game (thanks, Bill Callahan), so we've been consumed with who our next head coach will be. Turns out it's this guy on the left. Pretty pleased, let me tell you! Gone are the days of having the likes of KU and CU putting up 50+ points on us!
So, I'm back on the road. Did a treadmill run Friday and hit the streets yesterday. I even got some early Christmas presents: warm socks, a hat, and some NEW GLOVES!!!!!!! The socks work, as does the hat. Jury is still out on the gloves. Once we hit 30, we'll give them a test run (pun intended).
I'm committed to the half marathon in May, so I might as well start training for it. I think I need to start cross training although I'm not quite sure what that'll look like. Yoga is a possibility.
Wow, this blog is getting pretty random. I need to have some coherent thoughts soon! Tis all for now.