Tag Archives: running

iPeaked-getting the xmas spirit

Christmas stuff starts to show up earlier every year with Santa joining us for the Thanksgiving feast.  The catalogs and e-ads start stuffing our mailboxes and as we run orsanta and turkey bike around town the blow up Santa compressors fill the air with the sounds of the season?  We have relocated to Chapel Hill North Carolina so the anticipation of snow and the related snow activities associated with the season is lacking.  Then again it’s only the first week of December and maybe it’s too early to have that festive feeling.  Christmas parties, Christmas lists from the grandkids, greeting cards, and biking/running with cool people who glow with the holiday spirit all year start to at least get us to the first Ho (as in Ho, Ho, Ho!).  But every year there seems to be a turning point that adds the last 2 Ho’s and transform us into the magical world of Christmas.  It could be a phone call from family or friend, a donation to a deserving cause or person, a kind word, a TV show, a song, an old family decoration, a special Facebook posting, finding a “I don’t want anything else” Benji dog, or an amazing smile from my wife.  What will it be this year?

Last Saturday my wife and I decided to venture to Raleigh for WinterFest, a holiday celebration complete with skating, kids sliding on man-made snow and all sorts ofcarolers entertainment and holiday crafts.  It’s held on Fayetteville Street, the road in front of the State Capitol adorned with holiday decorations and lights that turn the night into dayadd another Ho.  We listen to costumed carolers, watch: Santa promise to fulfill dreams, novice skaters testing their fall techniques, merry-go-round riders, and as always lots of food and drink consumption.  It’s an entertaining night but the final Ho to get me into Christmas has not yet thumped me in the head.

We enter the craft area for $22 bucks and walk the aisles with booths peddling everything show signfrom nerve body scans to bird houses emblazoned with your favorite school logo.  A little disappointed but as we come around a corner “what to my wondering eyes should appear,” but two young ladies manning the welcome booth in elf costumes doing a Christmas danceyeehaw!  They are obviously having a great time and they add the last Ho to the Christmas spirit thing.  They graciously let me record their Rockette like jig and now I’ll share it with you.  This is what the“Joy to the World” thing is all about.  These ladies definitely peaked and rocked, so watch and enjoy the seasonHo-Ho-Ho!

iPeaked-home for thanksgiving

Ran both Monday and Tuesday since Wednesday would be a travel day.  Not just any Wednesday‒the Wednesday before Thanksgiving which is documented as the worse travel day of the year especially for driving.  That’s why this nitwit chose this day for an 11 hour odyssey from Chapel Hill North Carolina to Albany NY up the I-95 corridor.  You just have to adjust your travel standards to the suck level and anything higher is gravy.  After pricing airline tickets to Albany, $1000, driving alongside the worse drivers in the world seemed doable.  I dusted off the Garmin and plugged it in the GPS site to update the 3 year old maps‒discontinued device, but will gladly update your maps for $89.  I’ve got a problem when the update costs more than I paid for the GPS‒no “reconfiguring” on this trip, paper MapQuest directions will work.  Note: My wife and I are very smart people, but direction challenged so a paper or electronic aid is needed for the journey since memory and roads have changed in the last 12 years.

Wednesday, 7am and with Starbucks and luggage on board we’re off.  Rocking with dusted off “oldie but goodie” CD’s we fly by our first exit and add 11 miles to our trip going in a bigphoto coffee mugs circle but it’s early in the trip so we just mildly blame each other for the screw-up and continue north.  We happily cruise with Elvis, Alan Jackson, Joe Cocker, and the Beatles up 85 to connect with the dreaded I-95 in Virginia‒ “this isn’t bad at all”.  The world changes as we hit Richmond, Virginia with gale force winds and every other car and truck in the world joining our trek north. My death grip on the wheel continues as we merge into 6 stopped lanes of traffic and crawl around Washington at between 10 and 20 miles/hour with frustrated morons weaving for position but getting nowhere, like watching Jackass 2.  Then the tolls for bridges, tunnels, and just for the hell of it‒$6, $4, $10…Home seems closer as we enter New Jersey and our roller coaster pace continues as traffic surges to 80 and back to 20 then to a stop and then surges again.  When traffic backs up I always picture a huge pileup or a vindictive flagman screwin up the works, but as we enter each surge to normal speed there is no apparent reason for the stops except for way too many vehicles and badder than bad drivers.  Think about your last visit to the mall and imagine all of them driving‒SCAREY.  All of the Wednesday before driving warnings have come to fruition, but home is closer. photo of traffic

Finally the New York State Thruway and we stop for our last Starbucks and to empty the gallon of Starbucks that got us here.  The 11 hour caffeine aided trip is approaching 14 hours, a bit late to wake my sister.  We google the Marriot on our iphone to try and reserve a room‒$204.  I don’t think so!  My wife calls and asks if they have a lot of vacancies-“Yeah, it’s pretty dead here lots of rooms!”  Bingo!  “We’re only going to be passing through.  Can you give us a better price?”  $99, sold!  A couple beers and burgers at the bar and we’re ready for a few hours of sleep.  The caffeine kept us alert during our trip and continues its affect as I stare at the ceiling tiles in our bargain room.  Up early and off to my sisters for love and a little abuse.  Finally home for T day!

So was it worth the hassle‒you bet.  Getting together with my family is an amazing experience with b-busting and love blended to a perfect mix.  They are all my heroes and anyone who experiences our get-together s hear a lot of jaw dropping life war stories that are a combination of fact and made-up crap.  Generations of family all in the same house full of beer, bullshit, and love‒iPeaked.  I’d do that Wednesday drive anytime to be part of this party.  The weekend passes too quick with lots of food and drink so now I better get back to serious biking and running with new fun memories to occupy my mind.

iPeaked-xmas suggestions

Holy crap!  It’s not even turkey day and the decorations are everywhere.  Guess it’s time to think about those gifts for your favorite weekend warrior and iPeaked has some ideas.me holding a $20  It’s all about the perfect gift that will make them “jump higher and run faster”.  Most of our fitness loved ones are fairly cheap so I’ve limited these recommendations to under 20 bucks since your jock giftee is probably not going to break the bank on your present.  Let’s get those credit cards smoking now so we don’t have to get it in the butt with the last minute express shipping charges.  DISCLAIMERAs per my earlier post, I’m very much in favor of buying goods made in the USA.  Problem!!!  The goods we need (maybe want more than need) are not always available through USA manufacturers.  My rule is if a quality USA product is available, I’m all over it.  If not I still purchase but also make sure I let the retailer know that I would prefer to purchase made in USA products.


1. Books: There are tons of running books, but many read like sleep inducing textbooks.  I’m a tad A.D.D so the following books held my attention and should be put at the top of your gift list.  (summaries from the publishers).  These are also great as audiobooks or downloaded to your e-reader.

a. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.  I couldn’t put this book down and was as good as any James Bond.

born to run book cover

click for preview or purchase

b. Once a Runner: Inspired by the author’s experience as a collegiate champion, the story focuses on Quenton Cassidy, a competitive runner at fictional Southeastern University whose lifelong dream is to run a four-minute mile.  Just a good story whether you’re a runner or not.

once a runner

click to preview or purchase

c. Shit my Dad SaysA son’s chronicling of all the ridiculous crap his dad says.  Not about running or biking but one of the funniest, laugh out loud books I’ve ever read.  Click here for preview or purchase.

d. I’m Dreaming of a Black ChristmasIn this book Lewis lets loose on all things Yule: from how the holiday is celebrated to the traditions that drive him nuts; from being cast as Ebenezer Scrooge in a tour of A Christmas Carol to celebrating the holiday with his ex-wife during their short-lived (and disastrous) marriage.”  Again not about exercise, but Lewis Black is one of the funniest comedians in the world.  Click here for preview or purchase

2. Music:  Anything that gets you pumped and puts a smile on your face.  For me that’s music by Alan Jackson, Kid Rock, Tina Turner, and the Beatles.  The neat thing about music is that you can buy or get free stuff anywhere.

3. A running log(traditional or electronic): Make sure it has space for weekly entries (time, content…), pace charts, and running tips.  If it is a printed log, it should be bound so you can lay it flat to easily enter content and electronic versions should have apps that let you select dates and time without writing out the entries (popup calendars and automatic pace calculators).  This one is by my favorite running legend and trainer, Jeff Galloway.

Click to preview or purchase

4. A subscription to Runners World or Bicycling (hard copy or e-edition). Magazines always have deals to the point of approaching free, so go to their web sites and see the deals.  Runners World  Bicycling

Beer: The reason we run.  There really isn’t a bad beer except the ones with artificial flavor.  It is a sacrilege to add chocolate or pumpkin flavoring to beer although non‒flavored green food coloring is acceptable on St. Pat’s day.  In addition to this being a great gift, USA breweries rule!  My favorites are brewed in Asheville, North Carolina: Cedric’s or Highland Gaelic Ale.

6. Break the bank!!!!  I said this would be under $20, but if your active giftee has been really, really good, consider these: GPS for your runs and bike treks.  These are amazing technological toys enabling you to instantaneously track pace, speed, distance, and tons more.  All can be uploaded to track your run and ride through life.  I use the Garmin 405 (a little over $200) for running and the Garmin Edge 200 ($149), but Nike and others have similar products.  Garmin

7. The best gift-passing on the link to iPeaked: http://ipeaked.com