2014 Year In Review

I haven’t blogged a whole lot this year, but it’s Year in Review time!

2014 was a very good year, my first full year as an Oregonian (which I can call myself now) and 2015 is going to start with a bang, but I’ll get to that later.


Well, fitness kind of took a back seat this year, but that’s something Lisa and I are working very hard to fix.  Since before Thanksgiving we’ve ramped our workout routine back to 4-5 days a week and are being better about what we eat.  Summer was a blur with planning and executing the wedding and things got set aside.  I’ve “lost” about 10 pounds over the course of the year, but in reality I’ve yo-yo’d up and down by a good 30 pounds several times.  Right now the better exercise routine has stabilized that and I’ve held the same weight for a couple months but it’s not moving down again quite yet.  Hopefully that will come in the new year, and not in a resolution type way, more in a “change of schedule” type way.


Well, we didn’t have a lot going on race wise this year, especially in the second half of the year but we still managed to complete three more half marathons.  January 1st saw us ringing in the New Year with another 5K, this time in Portland.  The Portland “First Run” which starts at midnight just like the Tanglewood race and then circles the waterfront and crosses a couple bridges in true Portland fashion. In March I participated in a much beloved Portland institution, the Shamrock run.  Lisa wasn’t able to join me for this one, but I was itching for a medium sized race, longer than a 5K but less than a half.  I originally signed up for the 15K (9Miles) but ended up dropping to the 8K(five miles).  It was great fun and I hope both of us can do it in 2015.  Our last organized races of the season were a 3 in 62 days set of Half Marathons designed to qualify Lisa for the Half Fanatics.  We started with the Oregon Spring Half on May 3rd.  This was an interesting race for both good and bad reasons.  On doctors orders I wasn’t allowed to run long distances for this race, so I devised a run/walk method to allow me to complete the race safely.  Lisa and I ran together for the first mile, and then after than she took off while I walked 2 miles before my next running mile.  About 3/4 of the race (mile 8 or so) I was absolutely sapped of energy. I tried to run my run miles and I just couldn’t.  I managed to finish the race with my slowest time ever (getting passed in the last 1/4 mile by a woman with a cane who was BOOKING it!) and then only to get home and discover I had a fever! I didn’t know I was sick before the race. Also, Lisa PR’d this race!  Next was the Vancouver USA Half on June 15th.  This was a fun race and a great course.  Unfortunately I cramped up yet again at around mile 11 and we had to run/walk/limp/shuffle to the finish.  We finished with the July 4th Sauvies Island half that I watched Lisa at last year.  For this race I can say, well we finished.  We ran really well for the first 6 miles or so and then a couple walk breaks stretched into walking a mile stretched into walking all the way to the finish.  We were both crashing hard, but we made sure to finish.  We may be crazy half marathon runners, but 2 races within 2 weeks was too much for us to handle.


I picked up a new hobby this year, homebrewing beer! I’ve made 4 batches and the first 3 turned out pretty good.  Still waiting on the 4th one, but so far it’s not looking promising.  We’ll see how it goes.  I got a Mr Beer kit from my sister in law for Christmas and then Lisa immediately encouraged me to jump in with both feet and I started brewing away.  She’s biased, but she likes my homemade beer.  It’s a lot of fun and I get to geek out with all my food science stuff.  I joined a homebrew club as well where I can share that geekiness with others! It’s great.  I’ll actually do some writing for the club next year, but whether that will inspire me to start blogging again, or rather eat up all my writing time is yet to be determined.


Lisa and I didn’t do as much traveling this year, but we had a couple good memorable trips.  We went to San Francisco to visit some of her friends who live down there and that was a whole lot of fun.  So much good food and cool sites to visit.  Lisa says San Fran is the only place other than Portland she’d ever want to live.  We also made our second trip to Seattle for a friends graduation.  We only got in one hike this year, but it was a good one.  We drove down to Molalla and hiked up to the top of Table Rock.  It was an interesting and challenging climb, but the reward was an amazing vista in all directions.  Sadly it was too hazy from the wild fires to see very far, but we could faintly make out Mt Hood and Mt St Helens.  We went out to the coast for a couple days after the wedding (see below) and that was great and relaxing.  As much as you love having your family in town, a week surrounded by 100 people all vying for your attention is pretty insane! Weddings are great but they can be a lot of work!


Well, of course the big thing this year is Lisa and I got married! We tied the knot on August, 23rd and my whole family made it out from the East coast which was a great thing!  She moved into my apartment in SE Portland and now we have a cute, little (emphasis on little!) house together.  Things are great and it helps us stay motivated with our exercise and eating now that we are spending more time together.


Well, as I promised 2015 is starting with a bang! In, oh, about 36 hours from right now Lisa and I will be headed to Disney for our honeymoon! We’re super excited and we both need some time to “unplug” so it will be great.  We’re spending 3 days at the Parks and then a 4 night Disney cruise to the Bahamas, so the other great thing (as it dips well below freezing tonight) is that we’re going somewhere warm! We are taking workout clothes with us, and along with a lot of walking at the Parks we’re hoping to get in some kind of workout while we’re on the ship.  Elliptical, swimming, something like that.  We’re going on a nature hike and then kayaking while we’re on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, so that will be a decent day’s work.


Vancouver USA Half Marathon – Vancouver, WA – June 15, 2014

Last Sunday was Lisa and I’s second in a series of three half marathons this summer. (I never got around to blogging about the Oregon Spring Half on May 3.  I’ll get that soon).  Vancouver represented a new state for both of us as well as a city we spend a lot of time in.  I work there, Lisa’s parents live there, we are getting married there.  The other fun thing about this race is it included a beer festival at the finish!


A nice shirt and a beer mug for the festival were the swag for this race! Pretty exciting!

Lisa’s cousin Karadee as well as Karadee’s sister Zandra and Zandra’s husband Mike were running this race as well.  We managed to find them at the start and while Zandra and Mike were planning a much faster pace than us, Karadee was right where we were planning to be and so we promised to stay together as best we could.  It worked out really well.  We stayed together most of the way and also hung around with the 2:45 pacer (a fellow Half Fanatic!) most of the way as well.  Our goal for this race was merely to finish and enjoy the race.  No PRs for this one, at least not for Lisa and I.  Karadee and Zandra both PR’d!

The race started at Esther Short park in downtown Vancouver and wound it’s way through downtown, through Officers Row of Fort Vancouver (which was awesome!) and then up the only major hill of the course but it was a doozy! A mile and a half slog up the hill of death.  Then we careened down the hill through a couple parks and then along the waterfront and back through Fort Vancouver to finish back in Esther Short park.  It was a really nice course, even with the hill of death.  We all stayed together until about mile 8 when Karadee just caught some kind of groove or second wind and she took off! We cheered her on as she pulled away.  At about mile 11 my calves started cramping up (again!) and we had to stop and walk a bit.  Tried to run again but only made it another 1/4 mile or so before they cramped up again.  The only complaint I could have about this race is the late stage water stops had run out of gatorade.  I doubled up the water and even ate a second Gu for the sodium and potassium but it wasn’t enough to help.  We had to walk until mile 13 and then we just had one corner to turn for the finish, so we jogged it out to the finish.  I cramped up again immediately but I was able to keep going just until the finish.


We finished! HUGE medals! Very nice.

After the race we grabbed some much needed food and gatorade and then walked to the car to change clothes and get our beer mugs.  We headed back to the beer festival for some beer and food!  We didn’t realize until too late that the gear check tag from the bottom of the bib got us a free beer from the beer sponser Heathen Brewing in Vancouver.  Oh well.  But we had our free tokens to get some samples.  We had enough tokens to get two samplers (one token each) and then one full beer pour (4 tokens) with our dinner.  I sampled a NW Red Ale from McMenamins, a Saison from Heathen and then got a full pour of Kiwanas Cream ale from Pelican Brewing.  Lisa tried a Porter from Heathen, another one I don’t remember that she just liked the name, and then got a full pour of Irish Stout from Breakside.

10419484_10152171479252543_4023595224265889456_nBeer fest selfie!

It did suck to cramp up towards the end, for like the 4th race in a row no less, but we finished and we made it.  We had a great time and got to spend most of the race with Karadee which was really fun and made the miles FLY by.

Up next is the Foot Traffic Flat on July 4th, which I spectated last year, but this year I get to run it.  This will be the 3rd race in well under 90 days to qualify Lisa for the half fanatics, but after this race we are going to take a break from halfs for a while.  The training has been grueling and trying to fit it in among work, school, church and wedding planning has been daunting.  For the rest of this year and probably all of next year we are going to concentrate on shorter races, mostly 5Ks but some 10Ks and one 15K (Shamrock).  We’ll set different goals, like go for time and work on speed.  Both of us would love to nail a sub 30 minute 5K.

On to the next!

2014 Shamrock Run 8K – Portland, OR – March 16, 2014

The Shamrock Run is a Portland institution.  The race has been run for at least 35 years based on some of the shirts I saw, I’m not sure exactly what anniversary this year was, but it’s been around for a while.  An announced attendance of 35,000 runners puts it on par with a Disney or Rock and Roll series race.  Thankfully unlike the half marathons we weren’t all hitting the road at the same time.  The Shamrock is comprised of 3 races, a 15K (9 miles) an 8K (5 miles) and a 5K.  According to the announcer there were 11,000 for the 15K, 8,000 for the 8K and 12,000 for the 5K run, plus several thousand for the 5K walk and 500 or so for the kids dash.  It was quite a crowd.

I was originally signed up for the 15K but thanks to nasty weather and another round of knee ailments I wasn’t able to get my training up to where I felt comfortable trying for 9 miles when the most Lisa and I had done recently was just under 5.  Since all of the races cost the same I was able to drop down to the 8K rather easily, no transfer fee although no refund for a shorter distance either.  Part of the reason I wanted to run the 15K was both for the challenge, and also $42 is an awful lot to spend on a 5K.  It needed to be worth it to me.  Lisa was unable to join me for this one due to church obligations and so I was running this one solo.

Based on the success of taking the Max train into downtown for our New Years run, I decided to do the same thing for this race and let me tell you, that took so much stress away.  Downtown is bad enough to try to navigate and park much less when there are roads closed and 40,000+ people milling about.  The Max was a great decision!

My Garmin decided to die before the race even started, so I don’t have my own route map from the GPS, but here is the official race route map from the race website.  The majority of the race was along the waterfront and then up into the Northwest Industrial district.  Not very scenic on the way out, but on the way back we were greeted with a vista of downtown and the Fremont Bridge. On the way back we cut through the Pearl and then down Broadway back to the waterfront running through the heart of downtown and past the Pioneer Square.  It was a great way to end a race.



Since my Garmin wasn’t working I had no idea what my time or pace was.  I missed Mile 1 and was really beginning to question how far we had been when I saw the marker for Mile 2.  We reached the turn around and the water stop and suddenly we were halfway done! When I reached the finish the clock said 1:20 but they started us with a “release and hold” system, not exactly like corrals, but close.  They let a certain amount of people go and then stopped us to let those people spread out and head out before letting the next batch go.  But, we had to wait for an extended period of time while we waited for an Amtrak train that was crossing our path up ahead.  The gentleman behind me mentioned something about how long the wait was and that it had been 15 minutes since the original start.  I figured I had run something around 1:05, which I would have been perfectly happy with.  As it turned out, when I looked up my official time it was just barely over an hour, in fact it was one hour, one minute and one second.  1:01:01 was my official time. I’m very pleased with this time considering what my training regimen has been lately (non-existent).

After the race I got my free beer and my free cup of smoked salmon chowder (which was incredible!!) hopped on the Max to come home and no muss, no fuss I was home and taking a shower less than an hour after I finished.  I could get used to this.

2014 Shamrock Run – Been there, done that, got the T-shirt!


  • About Me

    I am a recent graduate in Food Science (NC State, 2009) and I work for a major food manufacturing company. I love food, but I can no longer eat anything that crosses my path. About 24 months ago I begin a serious struggle to get my obesity under control and reduce my chances of developing Type II diabetes. Since September of '09 I have lost 50 pounds and I still have a long ways to go. I've started eating better and exercising more, including taking up running.