Sunday, July 31, 2011


I mentioned before that I had refinished another dresser a few years ago. It's probably my favorite. I still can't believe someone covered this beautiful wood up with white paint.


Here are some before and after photos of two of the projects I've been working on. The first is dining room table and chairs that we picked up from my wife's uncle's estate when we moved him to an assisted living facility. We tried to sell it for $100 at his estate sale, but no one bought it. I thought maybe refinishing it would help increase it's value - but mainly I thought it'd be fun. I refinished a similar dining room set a few years ago for my family. If I'd been doing this set for our family I'd have put another coat of polyurothene on it and I'd have re-upholstered the chairs. But since it's 90 degrees outside with a dew point of 70, I just wanted to get this thing done with.

And here's the dresser I brought back from my parent's place. I'm really happy with how this one turned out. I don't know what kind of wood makes up this "tiger stripe" pattern. All I know if that I like using a light stain on it in order to highlight the pattern. I originally bought single handles to go on the top two drawers, but when I filled in the two holes left from the old knobs, it looked bad, so I went back to knobs. I can't tell you how long that Pizza Pub sticker has been on this dresser. I think I put it on there when I was about my kids' age.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Pretty quiet week, but I’m still here. The remodeling project at home is in full-swing. Luckily, we still had a stove last week. That changed yesterday and we are now without a stove, kitchen sink, and dishwasher. Basically, everything is in the basement except the fridge. Whenever we make a meal it seems like we’re walking up and down the stairs 3 or 4 times because we keep forgetting things. New cabinets arrive on Monday, so hopefully things will be semi-back to normal by next Friday. In an effort to save some money, I (foolishly?) agreed to install the new laminate flooring myself. I did this about 10 years ago in our first house and back then you had to glue all the pieces together. Now everything is click and snap, so it should be easier. The only difference is last time I replaced about 200 square feet, this time it’ll be more like 800 square feet. It’s look great when it’s all done, but right now that seems so far away.

The dining set and dresser are coming along great. I started staining them yesterday and may even be done tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll have some photos to share soon.

As for P90X, I’m still plugging along. Yesterday was the first workout that I missed – mainly because I took the day off from work and was working on the projects mentioned above – but I’ll just rearrange the schedule a little and still get everything in this week. The program does call for either one day off or a day of stretching each week. Maybe I’m looking too hard, but at almost 2 weeks in I can see subtle changes. Two more weeks and I’ll post photos of my progress.

All of these restoration projects have somehow lead me to discover my new favorite TV show, American Restoration on the History Channel. It is amazing the things these guys can restore no matter how rusted and dented they may be. It’s shows like this that make me question my career path. Seriously, I think doing that kind of work would be so much more fun than sitting at a computer all day looking at spreadsheets. Even the work our contractor is doing would be so much more fun and rewarding.

Finally, here’s today’s recommended read regarding the Afton Trail Ultra and the difficulties overcome by race director John Storkamp had to overcome given the state shutdown. Looking at the byline, I don’t think I’ve read anything by Alex Kurt before, but I look forward to seeing more of his stuff in the future.

Quote of the day;

“I never considered canceling the event. Trail running and ultrarunning is not for quitters. We would have had it on a track, in a parking lot, or in my backyard if we had no other choice.” – John Storkamp

Friday, July 22, 2011


As promised, here are a couple of before pictures of me without my shirt.

I know what you’re thinking, “Dang, those look like after pictures.” I know it’s hard to think I can improve upon on this, but I’m going to try.

Yesterday was a yoga day, which led to this email to my buddy Scott; Running makes it easy to think we’re these super-fit athletes that can do anything. Then when we try something new, like yoga, you realize how limited we are with range of motion, flexibility and balance.

Instead of sending in before and after still shots, I think P90X users should send in actual videos from their first and last workouts. Now that would be comical – watching people struggle with seemingly easy movements (and I’m not just talking about the yogo portion of the program). And it’d be impressive to see how people improve over the 90 days. I’ve done the Ab Ripper X workout 3 times now. The first time was a huge struggle, but things went a lot better today – expect for the Oblique V-ups. That is impossible at this point. But I find the challenge kind of fun.

As mentioned in an earlier post, I have some other projects to keep me occupied this summer. Here’s a dining room set that I’m working on refinishing. The table is stripped down and I’m working on the chairs. I should say, I would be working on the chairs is the heat index weren’t 110 degrees all week. If anyone is looking for a new dining room set, let me know. It’s 42” wide and ranges from 28” to 78” long depending on whether you fold down the ends or insert one of three leaves. I’m not sure what color to stain it yet – perhaps I’ll just let the natural color of the wood shine through. Of course, if someone is interested in it, I’ll stain it whatever color they’d like.

And here’s a dresser I plan on refinishing too. I brought it back from my parent’s house. I refinished a similar dresser for them a few years ago and it turned out awesome. I’ll dig those photos up sometime too.

Finally, just for fun, here’s a photo from a recent Twins game. Back row!

Quote of the Day;

"Being an athlete is a state of mind which is not bound by age, performance or place in the running pack.” – Jeff Galloway

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Probably like most runners out there, I’ve gone through numerous running lives over the years. These can be split up by different phases of your life; high school, college, pre-children, etc. Between two of my phases I spent 4 years in the Navy where running took a backseat and I spent more of my time playing basketball and lifting weights. I don’t know if I’d call myself a bodybuilder during those years as my super-fast metabolism wouldn’t let me weigh more than 160 pounds. However, magazines like Muscle & Fitness and Flex replaced my Runner’s World subscription. I can remember stretches during this time where I paid a lot of attention to the foods I ate. I was very disciplined, placing emphasis on how healthy foods were, rather than how they tasted.

I bring all this up mainly as a reminder to myself as I begin this P90X journey. I’m on day 3 so far and the workouts are going pretty well. There’s an issue with trying to do the new exercises correctly, as well as figuring out how much weight to use. However, overall things have started off rather well. I did take some “before” photos, but I haven’t loaded them to the computer yet. I hope to do that for my next post.

While a new set of P90X DVDs runs $140 on their site, I was able to get a set that had not been opened from Amazon for $90. It also includes their nutrition guide. I’ve decided not to follow that – it’s just too hard with family dinners. For right now I’m focusing on cutting out as much crap as possible – especially those times when I find myself digging in the pantry for no other reason than there’s a commercial on TV. And instead of eating all 4 Snackwell cookies in the package, I’ve just been eating one to help curb that sweet tooth. Another change is to only drink alcohol during social settings. No more beer just because we’re grilling out, or wine while reading at night. I’ll see what kind of impact those small changes have to begin with. I can always adjust as I go.

So that’s where I’m at right now. There will definitely be more to follow on this topic.

Quote of the Day;

"If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.” - unknown

Friday, July 15, 2011


Let’s start off by posting a link to another interview. Enjoy.

I have a couple of more race entries to giveaway. These are for the Naked Foot 5K to be held around Lake Nokomis on Saturday August 20th. As the race director told me, “I know barefoot running is quite the polarizing topic in running circles, but our event is all about getting out there and having fun.” The websites says they're not about the 'barefoot movement, but rather the 'movement movement'. And although the title of the event suggest it’s exclusively for barefoot runners, that’s NOT the case - they do not discriminate against those of us the wear shoes. They also mention this is not just another 5K. They have an all-grass 1-mile race, a free kids 1K, games, face painting, er I mean, foot painting, prizes and other healthy living vendors will be there as well. They are also collecting shoes for Soles4Souls. Sounds like a fun new event!

If you’re interested in a free entry leave a comment or shoot me an email or facebook message. I promise I’ll be more patient this time when it comes to selecting the winners.

Okay, I have to close the week with a gripe. At work we have free coffee set up in each wing of the building. The coffee maker has 3 separate burners, so there are 2 pots for regular and 1 for decaf. The decaf pot is rarely used. Typically, in the mornings there are 2 pots in use and then only 1 in the afternoon. All this makes sense. The gripe I have is when people finish off the pot and then place it back on the burner – without turning the burner off. Seriously, either make another pot or at least turn the burner off. If this happened once a month it wouldn’t bother me. But I would bet 3 times a week I end up removing an empty pot from a burner. Anyone else have this problem in the office?

Quote of the Day;

"I always knew that ‘some day’ I would get back into it, it was just a matter of that desire coming back and coinciding with life circumstances that were conducive to running.” - Amy Halseth.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


The problem with shutting down your running when you have a running blog is that things get really boring very quickly.

I’ll try to keep posting so you can learn valuable things about me like this;

Last night it occurred to me that I like fruit and I like ice cream/custard, but I really don’t like fruit in my ice cream/custard. This occurred while eating a very berry cobbler from Culver’s. The very berry cobbler would have been a yummy dessert by itself – same with the custard – but mix them together and it was just okay. The same goes with seafood and pasta for me. I love them separately, but mix them together and I’m not a big fan.

See, this is the kind of quality posts you can expect while I’m not running.

I haven’t run since last Friday and am doing my best to turn into a fat blob before starting my P90X program next week. I figure a nice double butter burger and a very berry cobbler dessert will “help” with my before photos. Given how I haven’t really been able to stick with any sort of routine lately, I have no idea how the P90X program will go. It might turn into P10X, where 10 is the number of days I actually follow through with the program. Actually, I’m kind of looking forward to it, so I’m guessing I’ll stick with it fairly well.

Besides a new workout program starting next week, I have some other transformation projects on my plate. These include a kitchen remodeling, as well as refinishing a couple of pieces of furniture. Hopefully, these projects will keep me busy during my down time – and provide some material for blogging.

Quote of the Day;

"I was never a graceful runner, but then, I never have thought an athletic event should be a beauty show.” – Clarence DeMar

Friday, July 08, 2011


Looking through the results from last year’s Minneapolis 13.1, I only recognized about 2 names. So I wasn’t sure if anyone would jump at the two free entries I had to giveaway or not. Besides, I never know who’s reading this thing – other than me. Anyway, after not getting any responses, I sent out a mass first-come-first-served email. That sparked a little interest and I was able to give them away. Then, of course, readers of my blog started to chime in. I guess the moral of the story is that I need to be more patient. In the future I’ll give people a chance to actually respond before giving away the good. Thanks for your interest.

Friday mornings I typically do group trail run in Hyland Park. This morning I showed up intentionally late. I figure with the shape I’m in, there’s no way I could hang with the group. Instead, I ran the course backwards and met up with them for about the last 2 miles. Given that I couldn’t even keep up with them for that short stretch, I’d say my thinking was right on the money. In the brief time I was with the group one of the guys mentioned that I’d fallen off the face of the earth since running the Grand Canyon. That’s a pretty accurate assessment. That’s basically how I feel about my running right now. Another guy mentioned he was thinking about a little forced break from running in order to recharge his batteries. I like that idea too. Typically, I perform my best when I have a long run-way to build up my base. For me, in the past, this is what winter is all about. Shutting things down, recharging, building back up. That’s where I see things heading right now, it's just that the shutting down process will start earlier in the year. If that’s enough to help heal my knee, then I’m all for it. Of course, one never knows if that’s enough or not.

Quote of the Day;

"I’ve strained my body to the bounds of endurance and running had become a nightmare.” – Herb Elliott, upon his retirement at age 22

Wednesday, July 06, 2011


This is the problem I’ve been having lately; I say one thing and do the opposite. I talk about getting consistent and building off of the previous week and then I proceed to take 3 of the next 4 days off. Granted I had some family commitments that required physical labor, but that’s just an excuse to help get me through the week.

To make matters worse, my knee was bothering me again when I finally laced my shoes again. I ended up struggling through a mile and then walking 3 more. I figure I had the time, I might as well try and burn some calories. For the first time in my life I find myself thinking of exercise as a way to stay fit rather than doing it in order to compete.

Now I’m trying to figure out what kinds of exercise I can do to stay fit and still help my knee recover. Do I break out my bike again, continue running, dust of my roller skis, walk, lift, hit the elliptical, etc.? I broke down and ordered P90X yesterday. I figure if I can’t run it’ll be a good way to gain some strength and burn some calories. Maybe if you’re lucky I’ll post some photos, without my shirt, along the way.

Any readers out there interested in running the Minneapolis 13.1 on August 22nd? I may have the opportunity to giveaway some free entries and I wanted to see if there’s any interest out there. Either leave a comment or send me an email.

Finally, I’ve mentioned my neighbor’s blog before because he takes tons of great photos and has lots of great info on biking. Well, he posted a couple of photos of our daughters at their horseback riding lessons. Mine is the one with the braids in her hair.

Quote of the Day;

"Part of a runner’s training consists of pushing back the limits of the mind, of proving to his doubting intellect that 66 seconds a lap for 12 laps won’t reduce him to another cinder on the track.” – Kenny Moore