Friday, April 29, 2011

Crawfish Season

One of the great things about spring time is that it is also crawfish season. The best time to get crawfish is from February till around June. After June, they become too large and the shells are hard.

Crawfish boils are a great way to get people together for a gathering. You can find just your friends having them or even charities having large scale boils. One example is the Craws for a Cause event in Little Rock. Here are $45.0o ticket gets you all you can eat and drink.

We had a crawfish boil at work today. We normally have a monthly lunch and this one by far my favorite.

Washing the crawfish down before boiling

Sausage, potatoes, onions, lemons, mushrooms, and corn are some other items you can add to the pot.

Cooking up the crawfish.

My own destruction. I'm full now! I just have to wait one more week until another crawfish boil.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Change the Weekend Plans

Weekend plans can change in hurry sometimes. On Wednesday, I found out that the Spillway Triathlon that I was supposed to race in had been canceled. They canceled it due to storm damage/debris along the race course. Also, the volunteers were from Teen Challenge. The Teen Challenge facility was hit by a tornado this week, so the race could not put together volunteers on a short notice. The race director was gracious enough to allow you to roll your registration amount into any of the other races that DLT manages. Since, I have a couple more in mind for this year I appreciate this.

So onto to the new plans! I now plan to race in the Toad Suck 10k and participate in the Tour de Toad. The TS 10k is here in Conway, so I'll just have a short distance to travel for this race. I hope to beat my time from last year. My running is feeling pretty strong, so I'll just have to wait and see. The weather is also looking pretty reasonable for the race also. It will probably be in the 60s at the start with no rain.

The Tour de Toad is a bicycle tour that goes West of Conway. You can either do a 33 or 46 mile route. I'll do the 46 mile route. This will be a great training ride and also a chance to meet other riders from the area or elsewhere. I'm sure it will be a casual ride which will be nice. Hopefully the rain hold off for this or it rains Saturday night. Rain will cancel this event.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wild Weather and iPhone Tracking

Wild Weather
Well it has been wild weather here the past two days. It started Monday afternoon when severe storms fired up in SW Arkansas and began to hit Conway around 5:00pm. I was just getting home when the first sirens when off in Conway. Between 5 - 8, we had the sirens sound 4 times. There was never a tornado touchdown, but the storms were rotating. Two of the storms passed directly over my house. You would see the weatherman on TV identifying streets and I was within a mile of those streets.

On Tuesday, they were predicting more severe weather. Even the Angel of Doom (Jim Cantore) was making an appearance in Arkansas. Jim Cantore is from the Weather Channel and ususally heads to places that have the most extreme storms. Tuesday was not as bad. The sirens went off only once.

During this time, I was glued to the TV watching the weather. You have four choices to watch like Channel 4, 7, 11, or 16. I would flip back and forth between them. I would have to say the best coverage is probably channel 4, then 16, 11, and finally channel 7. I actually thought 7 was by far the worst. They also don't have HD. All of the others had a clearer crisper picture and if you are going to be watching the boring weather it better be in HD.

iPhone Tracking
Recently on the news, there were reports that Apple was tracking your iPhone. Basically, whenever, you backup your phone the backup file is stored on your computer. Inside this file is information that details areas where your iPhone has been. Now these are not exact locations, but they do show a general area on where you've been. Apple says they are not using the data, but still the data is there. The website iPhone Tracker has a program that will displays this data on a map. Below you will see the places that I've been since Nov of 2010. You must have the iOS4 to have this data. Also, this program on only works on Macs right now.

The picture above is from Oct/Nov 2010 - thru today. You can see the places I've been to or traveled thru. It shows my trip from Conway to Jacksonville, FL clearly. However, it does do not show real clearly is when I went from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh or St. Louis to Conway. It does show some points on the St. Louis trip, but not all. If I had a zoomed in picture of Atlanta, you would see that all the points are from the airport.

Here is a closer point on the NE.

Above is the NYC area. The Long Island dots show when I was surveying in the area, but does not have a detailed route.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Weekend Ride - Willam Junction Lollipop Clockwise

This weekend I went on my longest ride of the year. It was the first chance that I was able to do a ride of over 2.5 hrs. The ride I went on is a hilly route with a couple of good climbs and an area which is flatter. I call it the Williams Junction Lollipop because Williams Junction is the furthest spot away on this trip. I took the route in a clockwise direction. From my house, the route is 60 miles.

The ride starts off in Conway and heads south towards Bigelow on Hwy 60 to Hwy 113. The ride on this part is generally a rolling to a couple of short flat sections. Traffic on this section is probably a medium level for roads out here. The pavement is also pretty good.

After leaving Bigelow, you continue south on 113 till it meets with 300. This is where the first "climb" beings up into the Wye Mountain area. There are a couple of short downhills after climbing, but it is mainly up hill even past Hwy 300. After the 113/300 intersection, you continue south on 113 where you come to a section of big rollers. The road is straight, but you can see the road go up and go down thru a section. After completing this, you then drop down for a fast descent, but not to hard towards Lake Maumelle and Hwy 10. The Wye Mt. section is not very busy with traffic and the pavement is good. There is not a whole lot of shoulder here, so you are generally on the right side of the road.

Once 113 runs into Hwy 10, you are heading west. This section is a uneventful. About halfway heading west on Hwy 10, you start beginning a climb into Thornburg. At Williams Junction, is where you really begin to start climbing. This also where you head North on Hwy 9/10. Once you reach Thornburg, you have one short downhill then uphill before the very fast decent towards Perryville. Once at the bottom, the route is fast and flat. The Hwy 9/10 section generally has good pavement in Perry County, but it is mainly chip seal in Pulaski County on Hwy 10 west. There is a shoulder and the road is wide. Sections of the Hwy 9/10 North are 3 laned. The traffic is generally medium to low.

The final section is to head east on Hwy 60 after arriving in Perryville. This will take you to Houston where you continue to head east on Bethel Rd. You can continue to take Hwy 60 also. This section of road is flat and fast also. The pavement between Houston and Perryville is new blacktop and nice. The traffic is pretty low on Hwy 60 to Houston.

Bethel Road comes out on Hwy 60 where you continue back into Conway returning on the same section you started. Again it is contains small rollers and generally has some traffic.

Overall, I really enjoy this route. This is the second time I've completed this route going clockwise. I've also completed it going the other direction also. It is a route with a good mixture of terrain and is also a good longer distance ride without being too long. The traffic and road surface conditions also make it for a nice route.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Adventures in Cycling - Chasing Dogs

Riding out on the open roads away from the city is a great thing about living in Conway. It usually pretty peaceful and quiet. Two things that you have to worry about are cars(as usual) and dogs. Yesterday I had some dogs challenge me.

I was cycling down Old Military Rd and cresting the last hill before the downhill towards Lollie Rd when a large dog came from the right. I was unprepared for this and had him next to me before I started the downhill. It actually took me a little longer to get away from him than I would have thought. This dog had some speed. I was able to get away and head downhill towards Lollie Rd.

I was doing an out and back, so I knew that he may be there again on the climb back over the hill. This time I prepared myself. Flicking water at dogs will keep them back off of you, so I went ahead and got my bottle ready to prepare myself. Well, just as reach half up the hill, the dog decided to call his friends and now there were 8. At that point, I start flicking water while trying to go as fast uphill as possible. I planned my attack/defense perfectly and was able to get clear of the pack of dogs in no time. I wish I had a camera attached to my back because it was pretty funny looking back seeing the pack of dogs trying to chase me down.

So if you are riding down Old Military, be careful because these dogs may be out looking for you. This was actually the first time I had run into dogs down this road, so maybe it was a one time adventure.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

3rd Degree Black Belt Testing

Yesterday, I tested for my 3rd degree black belt. It was an amazing testing for myself and others. We had the privelge of watching a 5th degree test for 6th and many others test from white to 3rd degree. It was a great to see so many people from out of state to come down and support our testing in Arkansas. Here are some videos from my testing.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Testing for my 3rd Dan Black Belt

This weekend I will be testing for my 3rd degree (dan) black belt. I have been a 2nd dan since August of 2009. As you advance, the timing between testing becomes longer and the testings require more work and knowledge. It also requires plenty of patience. Each of the black belt certificates that we get have our numbered, my black belt was numbered around 1400. My first dan was numbered around 600, and finally my 2nd dan was in the 300 range.

The testing will require me to do (4) forms, 4-5 drills that simulate fighting and defending, 4 or 5 drills of intercept kicks, 5 or more kicking drills, 1-30 self defense, and finally 2 sparring matches between 1-2 minutes each.

During this time between testing, the best way to help it go by faster is teaching. Teaching a class allows you to give back the knowledge that you have been learning and learned to the students in the organization. While you are patiently waiting to test, you are helping others progress in the organization. We always encourage others to begin help teaching as soon as possible. The thirst for knowledge and the giving back is one of the best ways to prevent boredom.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cyclist Hit In Conway (Be Careful While Riding & Driving)

Looking at the local newspaper website here in Conway, a cyclist was hit on Tuesday.

According to LaTresha Woodruff, public information officer for the Conway Police Department, the "victim entered traffic from the sidewalk, drove between two vehicles and struck the side of a truck. Woodruff said his condition was not known".

I hope he recovers well. Everyone, drivers and cyclist need to be careful out there. Everyone should be obeying the laws of the road and be respectful of each other.

I do find it interesting to read through the comment section on people's opinion of cyclists. It's amazing how quickly the debate can turn ugly. There are some people who really detest cyclists. Comments/Article click here

The War on Happy Meals

San Fransisco was the first and now New York City is now trying to the rid the world of Happy Meals (or giving away of toys with meals over 500 cal, high fat, and high salt content). Article here.

Maybe they are right Happy Meals are evil. As you approach McDonald's with your kids in the car you are suddenly transported inside the store where you've purchased the happy meals for your kids and a big mac, large fry, large coke for yourself. You didn't make the decision yourself. You were abducted by the Happy Meal! This doesn't happen all the time, but it happens enough that you and your kids are starting to get fat because of these abductions. Your only solution now is to rid the world of the Happy Meal by going to your local congressman to eliminate the Happy Meal. Your plan works and now the Happy Meal has been eliminated, but have your food choices improved? Unknown to everyone the actually solution to all of this was to use a special word that would have prevented all this from happening NO!!!

I was listening to Dave Ramsey one day and his opening segment was about a women suing McDonald's because here kids got fat from eating to much of it. His response was tell them NO! NO is complete sentence. I don't have any kids, but I do know how to use the world NO! I'm sure they'll cry and complain, but hey sometimes the world isn't fair.

People know how to make responsible choices and they know what's good and bad for them. You just need to own up and say NO most of the time to food that is probably not that good for you or your kids. They can do without one more toy from the happy meal.

Now to fight my next battle the war against broccoli. I will defeat you.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Weekend

Well last weekend was a busy weekend and it started off Saturday morning.

Capital City Classic/Taekwondo
This is a 10k run at two rivers park in Little Rock. This is my third year in a row to run in this race. The race falls at a great time of year with generally being cool in the morning. The course is flat and fast. I woke in the morning and felt good. I started off the race fast and comfortable finishing my first mile in 7:09. I was holding 7:10 until about mile 4 and then I started to cramp. This was the first time that I have cramped for a race and it was going so well! I pushed thru the last two miles in 7:30 to 7:45 times and finished with a 45:52. This race also has good post race food and beverages. They have pizza, the usually fruit and bagels, and beer. Not many races in Arkansas that you find free beer after the race.

Not only did I cramp, my 310XT decided to lose satellite reception also. I went back home to see if I could fix it and nothing worked. I checked the Garmin forums to see what actions I could take and none of those worked. So today, I'll call and see what they can do for me. I hear their customer service is great, so I'm hoping everything goes well.

After the race, I had to quickly head back to Conway to go to a marital arts class. I'm testing for my 3rd degree black belt on April 16th, so I knew I had to participate in this class to get some more training in. The class went well and I was able to work on my self defense which is where I'm needing the most work.

Sunday Long Workout
Sunday I had a planned swim/bike/run with a friend. We were going to work on our transitions and just get a general feel for all three events in one day. It is less than one month away from my first triathlon of the year, so this would be a good chance to work on some things. The swim was at Hendrix and I swam a 500 warm-up followed by a 25 minute swim (1750yds). We then got on the bike and headed out for a 36 mile ride. The first 18 miles were a warm up and then back into Conway was a TT effort. Again, about 9 miles into the TT effort I started to cramp. Ugg, I need to really focus on the nutrition because I have never cramped. I get myself back to Conway and decided to try the run and that turned into a 15 minute run/walk and I was glad to be done. Overall, I was glad for the training experience and I need to figure why I've cramped twice this past weekend. I'm glad I still have a month to figure things out.