This month started off with a surprise announcement from by boss at work that my presence was needed at the jobsite to help do an inspection of the structural elements being erected. Of course, the job site was in Texas, so it involved a bit of traveling. What was supposed to be a day-and-a-half trip, turned into a week! I did get some valuable experience solving problems in the field and got to know a bunch of the guys actually building the stuff I helped design! It was pretty neat. I even managed to keep up with my running training while I was there and put in about 25 miles that week! Running in south Texas in June was a new experience for me, and put a whole new meaning to the phrase "sweating buckets". Yikes. My claim to fame for the trip was that I managed to go that whole week living off of what was in my backpack, as I vowed before-hand to follow the Manager-Tools recommendation and fly without checking in a bag! And it wasn't so bad! I had to wash a few sets of clothes in the bathtub while I was there, but I did it!
The Greenville, TX Power Generating Station. Greenville is located about 40 miles south of Andrew's new home in San Antonio, and is pretty close to as far South in the Continental US as you can go.
One of my babies for the project was the design of the foundation that supported this Tank. It's called the fire water tank, and holds the water used throughout the plant in case of a fire (which given the heat of Texas, I'm surprised the atmosphere doesn't ignite)
I even jetted into downtown San Antonio for a nice meal and to visit the Alamo, which was pretty sweet! They unfortunately closed 10 minutes before I got there, but I got to see the outside, and had to climb the wall to see the inside. Pretty neat history, and boy am I glad I wasn't there.
I finally got home, and made plans to drive up to Minnesota where Naomi and I were planning on watching Naomi's sister Becca and her husband Taber run their first Marathon in Duluth. Because of an unfortunate injury, Taber ended up not being able to run it, and offered to let me run it in his place (don't tell the race organizers we did that) So with one week's notice, I got to run a Marathon! It turned out to be one of the most fun races I've ever done. Duluth is an absolutely beautiful place, and we ran the entire race along the north shore of Lake Superior finishing in down town Duluth. I ran with Becca the entire length of the race (I think we finished less than a second apart) who lead a perfect pace for us, and totally rocked it at the end. It goes down in my books as one of the coolest running moments I've ever seen when Becca, who was so tired (weren't we all) at the end she could hardly speak, broke out in a sprint for the last 200 yards and passed a dozen people before crossing the end! It was all I could do to try to talk my poor legs into keeping up with her!
This is the aura of simultaneous buffness and insanity in the faces of two people about to run a maddening amount of miles.
The moving river of sweaty bodies! There was a fairly high attrition rate due to the unexpected high heat of the day, but it was still packed.
I carried Becca's tiny little Elf camera during the race and was the designated race photographer. Needless to say I had some fun with it! Oh, and the only reason I'm still smiling and goofing off is that we'd only hit mile three or so.
At the end of the race with the greatest wife in the entire world! Brooklyn was a little cranky at this point, but you've got to hand it to her, it was a really hot day. In the background you can see Lake Superior, where Becca and I jumped in after the race was over. It was freezing cold, and felt wonderful. I am now a firm believer in taking ice baths after a long run like this, as it cut down on the amount of time that I was sore after the race.
June turned out to be a pretty awesome month! I liked the fact that in the space of just one week, I managed to go on a run in one of the most Southern places in the continental US, then go and do another run in one of the most northern places!
This month had us (yet again) traveling! I finally accumulated enough vacation time at work to take some time off, and we flew out west for a Family Reunion. We spent the 4th of July weekend in Boise, ID spending time with our awesome Smith Family. It was a blast! We played games, met new nieces and nephews, floated the Boise river, watched fire works, and so on. It was a great time, and I loved seeing all my family.
-A 55 mile bike ride with my Dad. We rode down Legacy highway to his office out by the airport, then I went on a little tour of Downtown Salt Lake City. I went around Temple Square, The University of Utah, and the state capital. Riding down Beck Street into North Salt Lake is to date one of my favorite hills to ride down!
-A spur-of-the-moment midnight hike up to the peak of Mt. Timpanogos with my cousin Eric. Well, technically it wasn't midnight, we started at 3:00 AM and made it to the peak just after sunrise. To prove how buff Eric is, he dragged me up that mountain (a 9 mile trail to the peak) in just over 2 ½ hours, and we made it down to the bottom in just under 1 ½ hrs. It is my favorite hike in the entire world, and I loved every second of it!
It's a little snowy up at 11,000 ft . . . even in July!Can you get a view like this in Chicago?! I think not.
-I got to go on a run with Jake, who taught me the meaning of the word fast. To preface this item, just 6 months ago I went on a run with Jake around the neighborhood, and we had to stop and walk several times (he had just gotten home from his mission, and as every missionary knows, you're not usually at your peak-physical shape when you return home). But he's obviously worked his rear off, because he did the four mile route at a cool 7 min/mile pace (which is smoking fast) and I simply couldn't keep up with him, he totally smoked me! It was pretty sweet. Rock on Jake!
-We got to have a Wii party at Josh & Erin's house! Nothing is more fun than playing wii sports and laughing your head off at 12:00 at night, then staying up until 4:00 AM playing random games with Josh! It was awesome. Every vacation needs an all-nighter playing video games. It's pretty much a must.
-we got to attend my cousin Andrew's wedding. He married an awesome girl, and I know they're in for some fun times. Andrew definitely followed the Smith/Hanks family tradition of marrying someone much cooler than ourselves. It was a great wedding, and I'm very proud of him.
I'm sure I've left something off this list, but I've had a blast none the less!
We've had a fun last couple of months, and again, my apologies for being so silent on the ol' blog. I forgot to mention that, in addition to traveling to a bunch of random places and being super busy, our computer actually blew up and quit working. It wasn't until just before we left Utah that I was able to get it fixed (I've got a warranty on the laptop, but it's at a computer store in Kaysville . . . I didn't think of that when we moved to Chicago. . .) Also, at the same time, my cell phone died, and it took me a few weeks to save up the dough to purchase a new one. So without a computer to access the internet, and a cell phone, I was pretty close to being completely electronically incognito. It was annoyingly relaxing. But all is well now! I've got a working computer and sweet Palm Centro! I'm back in business!
On a random note, I've started training full swing for the Chicago Marathon which is coming up in mid-October. I have a bit more of a warning than I did for the Duluth Marathon, so I've decided to do some good training so I don't die at mile 17! I've been doing pretty well, and am really enjoying getting out and putting in more and more miles. Running is very relaxing (cathartic even . . .) and I really enjoy going out and exploring the area around us. I've also begun keeping better track of my training through an on-line training journal called http://www.runningahead.com/. It's got a cool little widget that allows me to post my workouts and weekly totals on the side of the blog. So please take a look at it on the right side of our blog, and chew me out if I start slacking off and the miles go down . . . a person training needs all the motivation they can get!
To end off my thoughts, here are some shots of Brooklyn for anyone who hasn't seen her in the last little while. I may be a biased observer, but she really is the most adorable thing on the entire planet.