Monday, February 27, 2017

Killing Time in Rainy Phoenix

Holly signed up for The Lost Dutchman Marathon months before the event was to take place. We were excited to have an opportunity to leave the usual frigid conditions of Northern Illinois for the sun and warmth of the southwest. As luck would have it, we left record highs in Chicagoland for unseasonal rain and cooler temps in Phoenix.

We landed on a Friday night and headed toward Tempe. Our first stop was a brewery! Huss was only two miles from the hotel in a fairly new looking industrial park. To get there we took local roads and we were really surprised how the nice suburban area our hotel was in quickly turned into a questionable area. We took the highway back. Huss was great! 20 beers on tap with a bright and cheery tap room. The taps were balanced between dark beers and light with all ranges of IBU.

We woke up the next morning to full-on rain. We met our friends Stan and Pam for breakfast and had a conversation over what to do for the day. After too many Google searches of "things to do in Phoenix" and Holiday Inn Express coffees we decided just to drive to downtown Phoenix and figure it out. Our waypoint was Heritage Square: the oldest part of the city. On the way there we drove by Chase Field - where the Diamondbacks Baseball team plays. We went in so Stan could visit the gift shop and found out a tour of the park would start soon. We decided this would be a good way to occupy ourselves. For $7 each we spent 75 minutes touring the park including the club suites, press room, visitor's locker and, and the home team dugout.

For lunch we headed to Tempe's Four Peaks Brewery. What seemed like an off-the-path location was actually the neighborhood's most popular dining location. The very large former creamery was packed with tables and patrons. We enjoyed our lunches and the beers (you can get them at the airport from their pub in the terminal).

Picture found on the internet

We had to head to Apache Junction to pick up Holly's bib. Afterwards we met up with friends Michael, Lee, and Laura at 12 West Brewing in Gilbert. 12 West was in a semi-circle shaped aluminum roofed building - like something you'd see on Gomer Pyle. The space was also home to a pizza place, test kitchen, beauty shop, wood carver, and paper store. The beer was very good and the pizzas next door looked great.

The next day was the marathon. What a nasty weather day. We'll save those details for Holly's report. As part of the race experience runners could pay a few dollars to have showers in the Lost Dutchman State Park. While the runners were cleaning up Dave got a few minutes of full blue sky with desert scenery.

Once our runners were ready we started our 4+ hour journey north to The Grand Canyon.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

2017 Charleston Marathon Race Report and Video

Dave took care of the pre and post race fun of the Charleston weekend so now on to the race report.

The runners: Michael, Stan, Alex, Julie, Jessica and myself decided we would drive to the start location while our race chasers: Dave, Pam, Mike and Jan would drive right to their first cheer spot. This worked out well as the start area was a bit chaotic and I think it would have taken them a while to get out of there. Weather appeared to be pretty good, sunny but not very cool so that had us a bit concerned. The girls waited in the longest line for the bathroom ever while the guys “patiently” waited. We finally made our way to the start and only had a few minutes to wait before the National Anthem played and we were off and running.

We planned to take it easy and just have some fun today. The course in the beginning was great. We ran along the water, Battery Park and then ran ALL the way along King St. The race did a great job of having cheer stations throughout the course. Unfortunately after we left the downtown area of King St. (Around mile 5 or 6) the course stopped being scenic. In fact it got pretty boring. I think we rank by every industrial park and by every house in North Charleston via a series of left and right turns and out and backs. They never ended!

We still had a good time and made the best of it. We were all doing pretty well, but it was getting quite warm! We were all feeling it and we slowed down the pace to compensate. We did see an alligator on the course, well off the course thankfully but that was neat to see. Our race chasers did a superb job of tracking us down and kept us fueled with snacks, drinks and even a special “energy” drink toward the end.

We did have one more scenic section before Mile 25 but overall the course was really boring and all the turns were awful. I also did not feel well towards the end. Too much water and my electrolytes were all out of whack. Thanks to my friends for sticking with me and getting me to the finish line. I felt fine as soon as I had some salty chips at the end. I wasn’t used to running in the heat since it’s still so cold here at home.

The finish area was a nice party atmosphere with beer and shrimp and grits. It would be a fun place to hang out after the race and celebrate. We were all ready to go back to the hotel and get showers and go have some big burgers! While I enjoyed Charleston and I had fun running with friends, I wouldn’t rush back to run this one again. Good organization and the medal was cute, but the course leaves a lot to be desired.

Dave's Comments

The course was stupid. It wrapped around itself about 900 times and there were many traffic choke-points. We hit all of our spectating goals up through mile 9. Miles 10-14 were down a peninsula that seemed to only have two entry points: one was a total traffic choke and another about a mile north by the shipyard. Google maps satitle view confirmed streets and parking lots to cut through. We headed north and found those roads and lots were now a big field of grass. #thanksgoogle. The four of us had a 6 mile (one hour) break. There wasn't much in the area but we did have porta-potties to use near the free clinic. Chasing from that point on was fine except for the fact that our runners split into two groups which messed with the timing of making certain planned stops. We almost didn't see our runners finish because a freight train was stopped on the tracks blocking the finish area. We made it with about 5 minutes to spare.



Monday, February 6, 2017

Charity of the Month: The COPD Foundation

Charity of the Month is a way Team Tizzel is helping to support some very worthy organizations. As part of this program, we will dedicate a post to a charity that we will sponsor through the month by donating Holly's training run money.

Unfortunately we skipped picking a charity in January. The main reason for this was no organization really jumped at us. We'll catch up with a double-month soon.

December: In December we supported Toys for Tots with a $125 donation and a really fun shopping spree at Wal-Mart. Our hope was to give kids a little bit of joy for Christmas. Toys for Tots takes donations all year so feel free to visit them.

February Charity of the Month:

COPD Foundation

Occasionally some of our charity picks are selected based on wishes of family or friends that have recently passed away. This month's is unfortunately one of those months. Holly's first manager when she came out of her sales training program passed away. Bob picked Holly up from the airport the day she moved to Chicago (Dave moved out a few months later). He was and still is Holly’s favorite boss. He taught her how to sell and was a huge reason she loves her job as much as she does. He would probably be shocked at how things have changed but also at how some things have stayed the same. She will always be grateful for the guidance and patience he showed Holly early in her career. He was a brilliant engineer, a great friend and quite the character. He truly was one of a kind. His obituary will give you an idea of the kind of guy he was.

He will be missed by many.

From the COPD website: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis. This disease is characterized by increasing breathlessness.

Many people mistake their increased breathlessness and coughing as a normal part of aging. In the early stages of the disease, you may not notice the symptoms. COPD can develop for years without noticeable shortness of breath. You begin to see the symptoms in the more developed stages of the disease.

Many other conditions may influence the onset of COPD including inhalation of fumes, chemicals and dust found in many work environments. Genetics can also play a role in an individual’s development of COPD—even if the person has never smoked or has ever been exposed to strong lung irritants in the workplace.

Find out how you can help

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Charleston the Non-Running Stuff

A few weeks ago we went to Charleston, SC so Holly could run the city's marathon. With the race being held on Dr. King's Weekend we were able to stretch the trip out over the holiday.

Borrowed from the web

We landed Friday morning and had an hour to kill before the race expo opened (which was near the airport). We hit Wal-Mart for supplies and browsed a few nearby outlet stores. We were delighted to see the outlets were on a street named after Darrius Rucker. Our friends Stan, Pam, and Michael met us at the expo before making our way downtown. After dropping the car off at the hotel we headed on a non-scenic route to the Waterfront Park area for lunch. We chose Fleet Landing based on using iPhone maps scanning for seaside dining. We chose well! Great food, sandwiches, beer (Hi-Wire Bed of Nails Brown), and an outdoor table with temps in the low 70's. We had views of Castle Pinckney and Fort Sumter in the distance.

Castle Pinckney
Fort Sumter

After lunch we walked Waterfront Park to The Battery at the tip of the peninsula before turning up King Street to take in the real estate. This was the oldest part of the city with a mixture of colonial and antebellum homes that were restored so well they looked as if they could have been built last year.

A few of us ended up at the Barony Tavern in the Renaissance Hotel for a beer. It's worth checking out for its strange taxidermy displays (according to their website the restaurant is now closed). We headed back to the hotel before walking a few hundred feet to our pre-race day dinner location: Vincent Chicco's. They were able to accommodate our table of ten with top-notch service and excellent food.

The waitress at the Barony Tavern gave us the tip of check out JohnKing, a bar near our hotel. It was the post-race rendezvous point for our group after the marathon. This was a great place to go for burgers, gourmet fries, and some incredible mac & cheese. We all decided we needed a place with a better beer menu so we went up the street to Charleston Beer Works. The place was packed due to the football playoffs so they sat us at a picnic table in the beer garden. It was a tad bit too cold for us out there. To make matters worse our waitress screwed up our beer flights so our drinks were a bit of a mystery. The final stop of the night was The Silver Dollar. The historic bar had just opened for the evening so we were able to comfortably spread out at the bar and enjoy some conversation.

The next morning we had brunch plans with Julie and Alex at Magnolia's, but before dining we took a carriage tour. In Charleston horse carriage tours are pretty popular. The several companies operating tours are pretty well controlled by the city so there are only 20 carriages out at a time, and the route is assigned to the coach at time of departure. Our hour long tour took us to the west side of the city. This is the least scenic of the three routes, but we still had a great overview of the city and got to see the inspiration for Tara from Gone with the Wind.

Magnolia's was one of those great dining experiences. The four of us shared the fried green tomato appetizer and then moved on to entrees of Parmesan crusted fish or shrimp and grits. Next time we are in Charleston we will book a dinner here. After lunch we browsed the craft vendors at nearby Charleston Market. This was followed by a drink on Henry's rooftop bar while we waited for some of our party to meet up. A few of us headed to The Griffon, a dank old bar.

We had declared Sunday date night. We decided to walk to our destinations and we were surprised how quiet it seemed for a tourist town. We started with a cocktail at 5Church. They transformed an old church into an amazing looking restaurant and bar. Dinner was at Poogan's Porch. Our meal was good, but not great. Both entrees were slightly overcooked. On the plus side the restaurant was cute and the service was very good.

Our final morning was spent touring the Old Slave Mart and taking a quick walk through St. Phillip's Cemetary. The Slave Mart was a building where slaves were sold up until 1865. Very powerful exhibits about the process of trafficking and the economics behind the system. The museum had several audio files of former slaves that were recorded in the 30's.

For lunch we headed back to Fleet Landing to enjoy a few more minutes by the water. It ended up being a good choice. The she crab soup and shrimp and grits were excellent. We had time for one more beer so we stopped in Craftsmen Kitchen. The beer list was massive, but well organized by style.

We'll definitely return to Charleston. There are plenty of places for a great meal and still a lot of historical sites to see.