Travel & Family

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

View from my cabana room at the Hollywood Roosevelt

Trip to Hollywood!

It has been a pretty long month since finishing my first half marathon and it seems like that I’ve either been traveling or just had a super busy schedule every weekend since then.  

Even though I could hardly walk the next morning after the KC Marathon, I boarded a flight for LAX to attend a lodging conference.  I’ve been to LA several times before however this one was a bit more unique considering that the conference was held at the famous historic Hotel Roosevelt in the heart of Hollywood.

I somehow lucked out and got a cabana room near the pool for the conference and that made for some interesting people watching from my patio and it was just a nice place to relax as well.   Overall the hotel was very cool experience and it was interesting to get to check out all of the history behind it.  

If you ever get a chance to make it out there, I highly recommend the restaurant onsite 25 degrees.  We actually ate there 3 times during our stay and they’ve got some amazing burgers and breakfast.  Get the #3 on the burger menu and you won’t be disappointed.   I definitely enjoyed my time in LA and also made some time to head down to Santa Monica for a morning and I forgot how much I love the beach.   Standing on the end of the pier just staring out over the water is really a relaxing moment and really gives you some perspective on where you life is at and the direction you’d like to go.  At least it did for me anyway.

This was actually a pretty cool experience overall as I highly doubt that I ever personally stay in the Hotel Roosevelt again.  Would I recommend it to others?   If you’re up for paying top dollar, then I’d say at least do it for a night for a chance to check out the property and the history behind it.  If you do go, be sure to get out and go check out all the craziness that Hollywood Blvd has to offer, you won’t be disappointed.

Kansas City Chiefs vs Cleveland Browns – October 27th, 2014

You’re probably wondering why I named this post “Travel & Family”?  While I spent a ton of time traveling over the last few weeks one of the big things that have occurred to me is that regardless of anything you’re family will always be there for you.  They’re my constant in my life and I know that no matter what they’ll always be there for me.

My dad has been a big Cleveland Browns fan for the longest time and so this year for his birthday my brother and I decided to pick-up some tickets since they were actually coming to KC.  It was a pretty cold morning, but we were able to get out to Arrowhead early and do some good tailgating and just spend some quality time together.  It actually was a really good game and I was hoping that the Browns my pull it off just for Dad’s sake of being there, but it didn’t actually happen.   Regardless we had great seats for the game and Kyle and I were able to have a great time with our dad and that’s all that really matters. 

Chiefs vs Browns - October 27th, 2013

I actually spent the rest of the month constantly busy and actually just got back from a 5 day trip to Minnesota earlier this week.  Things are settling down a bit now and I’m looking forward to some stuff coming up.  We’ve experience some change at our house over the last few weeks and I truly believe sometimes that change does everyone some good one way or another.  Sometimes you just need to hit the reset button and start things over.   So as I’ve said before I’m exciting for a lot of things coming up in the future and everything that I currently have as well.  I’m blessed to have an amazing family and friends that’ll always be there for me no matter what.  Whatever you do, don’t ever lose sight of the fact that your family should always be the first priority in your life and if you can remember that then rest of it will work itself out in the end.

 More Music for You!

Anyone that knows me will tell you that I think the 90s are the greatest decade that ever existed and that’s because they were.  So I thought I’d do a bit of a throwback for some music today.    I’m a huge alternative music fan, especially from the 90s and I’m a big Pearl Jam fan.  This is probably my favorite song from the album Ten and it’s a great live version of the song from the Pearl Jam “Twenty” film. I hope you enjoy it as much as I always do!

Pearl Jam – Release 

KC Half Marathon 2013 Conquered!

Kansas City Half 2013 Finish!I wanted to actually write this post much sooner, but I spent most of the week traveling to California last week (more on that later).   I am happy to say that I was able to successfully complete my first half marathon in the 2013 Kansas City Marathon!  It was truly a fantastic experience for me considering after I finished my first 10K last June this felt like that it would be a huge hill to climb, but I did it!   

Since completing the race this has done so much for my confidence all around in so many aspects of my life and my plans for the future.  If you’re interested take a look at the race synopsis below and see how it all transpired on what was a very cold October Saturday morning for a run!

My 2013 Kansas City Half Marathon Experience

If you had a chance to read any of my previous posts before this you’ll know that I was facing some pretty severe IT band pain issues during the last 4 weeks of my half training.  As a result of this I really wasn’t expecting much out of this event and I told myself that I’d just feel damn lucky to complete this thing.

Friday before the race the weather was horrid with the temps being in the 40s and raining all day long.  After a tasty Salty Iguana lunch I traveled down the Crown Center to visit the health expo and pickup up my official race packet.  More importantly I was able to also pickup some kinesio tape and some Under Armor running gloves.  

Luckily, I have an extremely smart wife that’s an amazing physical therapist and was able to do some really great kinesio taping techniques on my knees that I’m pretty sure allowed me to survive and finish this race.  Granted I was a bit skeptical as to how well this stuff really worked and it looked a bit strange as well, but hey I was willing to try anything to get me through this race.  Well it clearly made a difference and I’m grateful that she was able to help me out as she really saved me with this!

Race Morning – Saturday October 19th, 2013

Actually I was able to sleep better than I thought I would the night before especially with all that tape all over my legs and knees.  My alarm went off promptly at 4:30 AM and I was up and ready to go and surprisingly my nerves weren’t bad at all.  After getting dressed I had an energy bar and some core power chocolate protein milk (good stuff) for an extra boost.   After that I stepped outside briefly and was a bit in shock of just how cold it actually was, 32 degrees to be exact.   I knew it was going to be a cold morning, but I was ready to go.

I’d actually been planning to run with a friend of mine here in Kansas City and we met that morning and planned to start the race and run together.  However, during the pre-race hoopla of gear checks, waiting in line for the bathroom, etc we actually got separated and I couldn’t find him.  So I was on my own now standing in a very crowded starting corral not really knowing what to expect from this thing.  

Here We Go – Start of the Race to Mile 3

Kansas City Half Marathon 2013So I was on my own completely for all 13.1 miles it looked like as I was pretty sure Aaron was somewhere ahead of me in the starting corral and there was slim chance that I was going to run him down anyway.  So 7:05 am rolled around and the waves started going and it was just a matter of time before I was off.   One of my training crutches up to this point has been my music while I run. However I’d actually made a commitment to not listen to my headphones or music during this one as I really wanted to experience all aspects of the race.  

Finally after standing in the cold for what seemed like forever all morning it was time go and I think officially the temp on my phone said 33 degrees when I started running.    I decided to take it easy on the start and see how the first few miles when as I knew I had a long ways to go and the unknown of what would happen with my IT band.   Miles 1 and 2 went by particularly slow and I’ll be honest it was colder than hell and my body really wasn’t warming up as fast as I thought that it would.  

After mile 2 I started warming up a bit and feeling pretty good, so it was time to pick up the pace and get moving.   Lucky for me this was the start of a nice little hill climb near Liberty Memorial and the course was still pretty crowded during this.  I broke off from the pack and ran on some of the sidewalks with some of the other runners and this really allowed me to get in a good pacing rythymn.  I kept a good pace and made it through this fairly moderate elevation climb.   As I made it through this, my apprehension about my IT band was lingering as it usually struck me around mile 4 or 5, but I had keep moving.

Miles 4 – 9 Westport &  The Plaza Area

By miles 4 & 5 my wife had made me a believer in this kinesio taping stuff, I had some mild pain but nothing terrible and I was actually starting to pick up the pace and the confidence was really starting to grow.   I hit the halfway point somewhere in Westport at some where around 59 minutes I believe and I was really starting to hit my stride about then.  

Also, a big shout out to everyone on the course that came out to support all of the runners, I know I appreciated the enthusiasm and words of encouragement along the way.    The live music on the course was also greatly appreciated on a cold morning as it really gave me a boost along the course.  

After the halfway point I pushed through the rest of the plaza area and down a torn up 47th St towards the course split for the half and full marathons.  I was so happy to see the course split sign as I keep panicking on occasion throughout that run that I’d miss the split and continue on the full marathon course!   We made the official split at Troost and I was still feeling great while starting to run some negative splits.

Miles 9 – The Finish!

ClarkeFinish-KCHalf2Oddly enough I never dreamed after the last month of training that I’d had that I’d be doing this well so far in.  I knew after checking pace starting on mile 9 I was going to have to really push it to hit my initial goal of finishing in less than 2 hours.  I still had 4 miles to go though and I decided not to push it and just try to maintain my current pace.  Several of my running friends always told me about hitting the wall at some point on these last 4 miles and I was ready for it, but it never came.  Strangely enough the IT band pain was just slight to moderate and I was able to just keep pushing.   Heading up The Paseo I hit mile 11 and I could feel the finish getting closer and just keep moving and finally hit 18th St and the 12 mile mark.    During the last mile I saw some great motivational signs from some spectators on the course and enjoy a bit of humor by a group of guys running in banana costumes near me.   

Finally I saw the sign that said half a mile to go and soon made the turn on the Grand Blvd towards the finish.  Looking down Grand I told myself that sure does look a hell of a lot further than a half a mile to me, but there was no turning back now.  The crowd was great and I find just one more burst of speed in me and was able to make up some more time as I finally crossed the finish line where I’d started just 13.1 miles earlier.

This was a huge goal that I’d set for myself last summer and I was so proud of myself for finishing and happy I was able to not have any significant pain during the run.  My official time was actually 2:06:48, so I didn’t hit my goal for under 2 hours but considering my last month of training was pretty much shot, I was really happy with this.   The best part of all was that my wife and daughter were able to make it down to see my after I’d finished.  

Great First Half Marathon Experience

Other than the cold weather which wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, I had a fantastic overall experience at the Kansas City Marathon.  Huge thanks to everyone that organizes, volunteers, and works this event as it takes a huge team to do this and I thought everyone did a great job.  It was was a very cold morning and once again I’d like to say thanks to everyone in the crowd that came out to support all of the runners.  I thought it was great and it made me proud to be from the Kansas City area.   

So after running 13.1 miles what could be better than some beer and barbecue!  I made my way home and decided to stop and have some Danny Edwards BLVD BBQ for some ribs, fries, and a Boulevard Pale Ale that really hit the spot.

So What’s Next?

I’m going to take a bit of time off and then start working some training to see if I can’t get rid of these IT band issues permanently and then start working towards what I think will be a pretty active running season for my wife and I in 2014.  Just a couple targets on my list are the Hospital Hill Half and the Kansas City Half again definitely.   

If you’ve got some dreams and goals whatever they are, don’t just sit around and think about it, get up and go after them!  This is just another goal achieved for me and I’ve got so many more to go.

Just 2 Days Out from the KC Half!

Well got my final confirmation email today for the Kansas City Half Marathon this Saturday.  Not gonna lie, I’m starting to get a bit nervous at this point, but what can you do.  

This damn IT band injury over the last month has really hampered my training, so I’m by no means as prepared for this as I thought I’d be.  So not only do I have to worry about that,  I’m sure that I’ll be dealing with some rather significant pain throughout the race.  However, I’ll just push through it and do my best as I’m not backing down now.  Actually went and got a massage yesterday with some IT bands and I’m feeling really good physically a the moment and I’m hoping that transpires to Saturday.  If you’re looking for an amazing massage here in the KC area, check out Krista.  

Right now the weather looks great for Saturday (a bit chilly starting out) and it should be a great day for running and barbecue, so I’m looking forward to crush this goal and move on to the rest of 2013 and 2014.  So many changes already happening right now with more to come for myself, family, and friends!   I’ll be sure to do a follow-up posts on the results of the race on Saturday and we’ll see if I hit my goals.  

What goals did you have for 2013?  The good news is that you’ve still got about 75 days to make them happen so get on it!

More Music for You

Dave Hause – Damascus

I actually discovered Dave Hause at a small Gaslight Anthem show at the Bottleneck  in Lawrence, Kansas about a year or so ago.   Not much to say other than the fact that the guy is just a hard working true rock and roll musician that puts out amazing music.  He just released his new record Devour that’s fantastic and Damascus is my favorite track, so check it out if you get a minute.

Running, Life, and More

So really I did have a plan to keep things updated on here a little better than I actually have since my last post earlier this summer.   Unfortunately life has somewhat gotten in the way of  those plans or at least I tell myself that it has.   Actually, it’s been a bit more of just a lack of effort on my part to just sit down and dedicate some time to writing each week regardless of what it’s about.  I’ve never been the best writer by any means, but honestly who gives a shit because the only way you’ll ever grow is to get out and do something that makes you uncomfortable.   So if you think I’m a horrible writer, well luckily for you I don’t plan on writing any books anytime soon.

Reflections on Why I Started Running

This year has been on of the more stressful years of my life for many reasons and to be brutally honest my new found passion for running has been one of the best cures for that.  A few days back I was trying to pinpoint the moment that pushed me to get into running, but that defining moment just wasn’t there.  For me more than anything I think is was the unknown of if I could actually do something new that was out of my comfort zone that would inspire me to maybe take some more chances in other areas of my life as well.  At this point I can’t even describe what it’s done for my overall mood, motivation, and health in general.  It really has become one of the new found passions in my life and I love the fact more than anything that it’s also  something my wife enjoys and we can share in it as a healthy stress relieving activity.

Half Marathon Training is Progressing with Some Hardship

So right now I’m around 21 days from my first half marathon and I”m starting to get a bit nervous.    A couple of weeks back I ran the Plaza 10K and with it began the painful journey of IT Band Syndrome.   If you’ve never experienced it, basically it feels as though some one has stuck an ice pick into the side of your knee.   There are all kinds of conflicting treatments out there, but there really isn’t one solid fix.   Pretty much the best options are stretching and strengthening several areas of the key muscles associated.  So I’m currently doing everything I can to try and get the pain to go away long enough to complete the damn race.  Believe it or not I’m not even concerned about completing the race distance as I am doing it pain free.  Regardless this is my last race of the year and for just to have started running in January I’m pretty proud of what I’ve accomplished thus far.  So far the Hospital Hill 10KPlaza 10K, and soon the Kansas City Half Marathon.   Those far surpassed anything I expected to accomplish when I started all of this.  I’ve got 3 weeks to go and I’m going to bust my ass to make this next run my best so far.

Outside of running, life is really good at the moment.  I’m becoming quite the handyman at home with several home improvement projects across the board that have been a great learning experience.  I really do enjoy absorbing and learning as much new stuff as possible and I’m definitely doing that.   In addition to that I’ve got some other really exciting stuff that I’m working on over the last 3 months of 2013 and into 2014 and I’m really looking forward to everything the future has to bring me.   I can’t stress enough that if you want something, get off your ass, shut the tv off, and go get it!

Music Recommendations

I decided that on every personal post I write that it would be fun to throw in a music recommendation of some of my favorite stuff.   To start things off I thought I’d feature some stuff from Chuck Ragan, an artist I literally discovered a little over a week ago.   If you’re not familiar with him or his music, basically he’s a folk rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist.   Regardless of what you’re into, this is great music and I’m a  fan already.  Check out one of my favorites below:

“Nomad By Fate” – Chuck Ragan

Invest in Yourself

I’ve been looking to get my personal blog/site active again over the last few months, but other projects just keep getting in the way.  Finally tonight after putting it off for everything else all the time I sat down and decided to just  start writing.  

I really have no idea where the direct of this will go but I needed something that was my personal space again to articulate my thoughts whatever I feel the urge to write about.   The topics here will be wide ranging as I have a passion for internet marketing, technology, business, my family, entrepreneurship,  great craft beers, running and the list goes on.  Most likely a good portion of the topics here will be web related, I’ll probably surprise you every now and then as well, so get ready!

Investing in Yourself

This past weekend I completed my first ever 10K as I ran the annual Hospital Hill Run here in Kansas City.   It may not be much to most, but it is a relatively difficult 10K run with some beautiful look at downtown Kansas City area along they way. My wife and I both ran it together and the overall sense of accomplishment I felt afterwards was something I’ve not experienced in a long time.

Late last fall/winter I decided to issue a challenge to myself to jump into something that was completely foreign to me and pushed me out of my comfort zone.  For no apparent reason at all I decided I’d like to jump into running as a hobby and start training for my first 10K.   I hadn’t done any distance running for close to 20 years and wasn’t really that fond of it back then.  One night over Christmas after spending a few hours reading running shoe reviews on Zappos, I ordered the most outlandish bright orange pair of Nike Zoom Elites that I could find and the rest is history.  Next,  I signed up and paid for the 10K and made the commitment to start training January 1st.    I won’t lie, secretly I was dreading the idea of all of this mostly because it was pushing me in a different direction that made me uncomfortable.  The first couple of weeks were hell, but after that I really started to enjoy my nightly date with my Sole treadmill as I began to push myself more and more each day.  Before I knew this guy that hadn’t done any major distance running was consistently running 3 – 4 miles each night and feeling better than I had in a hell of a long time.    Winter slowly went away and I was able to actually start running outside daily and I found myself enjoying running more and more.   June 1st was finally here and I found myself standing with my wife in the middle of Crown Center with 9,000 other runners getting ready to tackle something that had seemed like such a huge obstacle just months earlier.   I had set a personal goal to run the race in under one hour and 57:44 later I was crossing the finish line thankful for a truly rewarding experience the race brought to me both mentally and physically.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

The race was an obstacle that challenged me to do something I’d never done.  I could of made excuses on why I couldn’t do it, but I made the choice to commit to something that made me a bit uncomfortable.   I think we should all step into the unknown every now and again,  as that’s what ultimately helps to define who were are.  It’s so easy to become comfortable with where you’re at in life, but I challenge you to try something new and invest in yourself.  I don’t care what it is; take up a new hobby, look into a career change, read a book, go back to school, or hell even run a race!  No matter what it is, just keep pushing yourself to grow as a person with new experiences and goals.  

I’m a guy that that has spent more than his fair share of time being “comfortable” and the last 6 – 8 months has opened my eyes to a lot of things.  I’m already getting ready to start training for my first half marathon this fall and some more exciting stuff in the works for the coming months!

Don’t Forget to Smile Once in Awhile

Finally, most importantly don’t forget to take the time to actually enjoy life, be happy and smile. Cherish your time with loved ones, and treat each day like they’re might not be a tomorrow.  I think we all take for granted the time  that we have here, because their really is never a guarantee of how much any of us have.  

Life is too short to be unhappy, so figure out what it is that makes you happy and what it will take you to get there!