Sunday, March 7, 2010

Auburn KD Shamrock 5K

Wow!! It has really been a long time since I have raced. The KD Shamrock 5K was a good way to shake the cobwebs loose before the ING Atlanta Marathon at the end of the month. I had to sign up for something to get me motivated to train hard and consistently.

My wife was a KD and 2 of our babysitters for our twins are KDs. As you would suspect, there were a lot of 18-24 year old participating in this race. It was also very, very cold for this race, and I was ill-prepared. The built-in briefs in the running shorts provide little warmth. I met up with a friend of mine, Adam, that was running in his first race ever. I signed up on the day of the race, as there was only a $2 penalty for late registration, and I thought I could manage that. It was well organized and got through the line quickly.

The race went through a scenic route around downtown Auburn, with great views of Jordan-Hare Stadium, Samford Hall, Toomer's Corner, and the new basketball arena under construction. The start and finish corrals, timing, and results were well managed, as always, by the local running club, AORTA. The route was quite hilly and offer numerous challenges for such a short course of a 5K.

I was really pleased with my results, considering the hiatus. I finished second in my age group, although there weren't a large number of runners over 30. Here is a link to the results, in case any one out there is looking for their own time in this event.

Monday, March 1, 2010

New Military Working Dog Kennel

Now, I know there is no excuse for the long absence since my last post, but I wanted fill you in on a part of my life that has been all consuming for the last 6 months. About 18 months ago, a tornado passed through Ft. Benning, Georgia. The tornado damaged several building, including the existing home of one of the main clearing houses for military working dogs (MWD) that are deployed overseas, including Iraq and Afghanistan. This project was already planned but was accelerated because of their damaged facility. We worked non-stop to get them a new facility constructed, working almost every weekend...Saturdays and Sunday. Here is a look at what we did from September 1st-February 9th.

We took a previously developed, and then abandoned, 2 acre lot that was mostly a dumping ground of concrete, asphalt, and scrap metal.
We built a 7000 square foot kennel building with 25 interior/exterior kennel runs, a 2500 square foot administration building with a vet exam room, and a 500 square foot storage building for the training area obstacles.
Here is a look at a little more of the finished product. The dogs that will be housed here are deployed 4-5 times before retirement and are out there on patrol saving American lives consistently. It was really rewarding to hear some of their stories and know that we were doing a small part at facilitating their success.
Here is a look at the whole complex and buildings. These dogs work as bomb dogs, drug dogs, military police dogs, and combat dogs. They go through rigorous and specialize training and can be worth over $40,000 at the conclusion of their training.
This was really a state of the art facility with just about every amenity for the dogs to be comfortable and well treated. We understand from the Kennel Master that PETA has even been invited to the complex to view what we built.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

Eddie Vedder Solo Tour

A couple weeks ago, I had a friend attend the Eddie Vedder solo tour concert in Nashville, Tennessee at the Ryman Auditorium. He was a pretty big Pearl Jam fan in high school. I can still remember him wearing out the Ten album on tape in his Honda CRX. There was a 2 to 3 month period where "Black" was on a looped repeat, and that was it. Even from an obviously biased fan, I knew that he would be able to give an honest, objective evaluation of the performance. He reported back that is it was an unbelievable show. Now, he was seeing it at the Ryman Auditorium, probably the second greatest acoustics venues in the world next to the Mormon Tabernacle. That factor, as well, might have slanted his glowing reviews, but, none the less, I took a gamble.

I got on eBay 4 days before the concert to be held on 6/23 in Atlanta at the new Cobb Energy Centre and started to bid. I lucked out and got two tickets for a grand total of $34. The face value on each ticket was $75. We planned our trip and headed up to Atlanta after work last Tuesday for the show. The Cobb Energy Centre is very nice, and it should be at a $145 million price tag. It is also the new home of the Atlanta Ballet and Atlanta Opera. We were in the center section of the upper, Grand Tier. The seating layout looked to be patron-friendly for a venue that size.

We missed most of the opening act, Liam Finn, with the drive up and grabbing dinner beforehand. We got to our seats not long before Eddie went on stage. He opened up with several cover songs before settling into Pearl Jam classics and Into the Wild Soundtrack songs. He was in a very good mood and bantering back and forth with the crowd in dialogue. He was encouraging the crowd to sing along, always getting roars when the house lights would flash on. Most of the second set was sung with Liam Finn giving accompaniment on the guitar and vocals. At the end of the second set, I can only describe what he did with the song "Arc" was ART (search it on YouTube). Finally, he came back out with Liam and Eliza-Jane Barnes for a hard-hitting version of "Hard Sun." Here is the set list from the evening. It was one of the better concerts I've been to in a long time.

Walking the Cow (Daniel Johnston cover)
Trouble (Cat Stevens cover)
Brain Damage (Pink Floyd cover)/Sometimes
I Am Mine
Dead Man
Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town
I Am a Patriot (Steve Van Zandt cover)
Far Behind
No Ceiling
Growin' Up (Bruce Springsteen cover)
Picture in a Frame (Tom Waits cover)
You've Got to Hide Your Love Away (Beatles cover)
Let My Love Open the Door (The Who cover)

Set 2:
Soon Forget
Society (w/Liam Finn)
Throw Your Arms Around Me (Hunters & Collectors cover w/Liam Finn)
The Golden State (w/Eliza-Jane Barnes)
Believe You Me (Bad Radio cover)/Wishlist
Forever Young (Bob Dylan cover)

Hard Sun (w/Liam Finn & Eliza-Jane Barnes)

photos from

Monday, June 22, 2009

Blazing Saddles Century Ride

I have found my next challenge. I signed up for the Blazing Saddles Century Ride on Saturday, July 25th. It is a group ride through several rural towns along the Georgia and Alabama border. The rides vary in length according to the rider's skill level. There are 25, 48, 75, and 100 mile courses. I have decided to do the full 100 mile, Century, ride. This will be my first Century ride I've attempted. I have slowly started pushing myself on the bike to get accustomed to being in the saddle that long. It will probably take a little less than 6 hours to complete.

The ride is pretty inexpensive compared to most at $30. The race begins 8 A.M. at the Heard County Middle School in Franklin, Georgia. Showers will be available before and after the ride, and they are opening up the gymnasium for "indoor camping" Friday night. Course SAG vehicle will be on-hand to provide any needed assistance, and they are also providing a goodie bag with custom sock (see image below) and free food.

They 100 mile route goes to little spots on the map with names like, Roosterville, Stoney Point, Tyrus, Omaha, Lime, Frolona, and Centralhatchee. I used to love driving through little towns like these with not much more than a couple buildings clustered together to call a "downtown." It should make for a fun ride. Hopefully, the heat will not be too oppressive with the event held at the end of July, although, I will not hold my breath.

image from

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

West Point Lake Triathlon Photos

Below are some photos from this last weekend's West Point Lake Triathlon that my wife took. As I have mentioned before, I did the Olympic, or International, distance. They also had a sprint distance competition going on simultaneously. It was a hard day, and it was the sorest I had been following an event since the Country Music Marathon...but I did it.
The swim was 1.5K, or .93 miles. It was very hard to pick a good line. I probably swam more like 1.5 miles with all the zig-zagging.
Coming out of T1 onto the bike leg of the event. I felt pretty good and was in & out of the transition area in 1:17.
I felt good on the bike. I averaged more like 19.5 mph, but this was cut down to 17.9 officially because my chain popped off twice.
"Now, where do I park this thing?"
Lost in a see of aluminum, rubber, and carbon. I had a very good T2, getting in and out in :47 seconds.
The run was pretty tough. I only stopped to walk for a second while getting some water near the half-way point. It was a pretty flat run, except for one big hill at about mile 4.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

West Point Lake Triathlon 2009 Results

The results from today's West Point Lake Triathlon are in. Here are the results for the Olympic/International Distance and the one for the Sprint Distance. I will have more reviews and photos to share from this race, but I wanted to go ahead and let people know these are available.

graphics from