The Road to Farley

The Road to Farley

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bring It On Old Man Winter!

A couple of things happened in the past few days that got me thinking about snow. Don't get me wrong, I have loved loved loved the glorious fall weather we have had for the past month. But, we all know it is there, lurking in the darkness, and I--for one--am ready.

First, I was tasked with purchasing items for a "Trim the Tree" gift basket for my work team to donate to our United Way silent auction. Off I went to Hobby Lobby with the loot contributed by my coworkers. Score! All the Christmas items were 40% off, so $125 went a long way in putting together a pretty huge basket of items to deck your tree. As I wandered up and down the aisles checking out all the new Christmas merchandise, still neatly stacked on the shelves and in pristine condition, it made me excited to pull out my own holiday decorations and get the house looking all cozy for the holidays. Yes, yes, I know we still have two major holidays to get through before Christmas is here. But, I can be excited nonetheless.

Then, beginning on Friday, the news was abuzz with the Nor' easter that was going to hit the east coast with a pre-Halloween snow storm. The Weather Channel reported:
The storm smashed record snowfall totals for October and worsened as it moved north. Communities in western Massachusetts were among the hardest hit. Snowfall totals topped 27 inches in Plainfield, and nearby Windsor had gotten 26 inches by early Sunday.
OK, I'm glad we haven't gotten 27" of snow just yet, but still, the first few snowfalls are always exciting, right?

Being all in the holiday and winter spirit, I tagged along with my niece and her husband, my little nephew, and my sister-in-law to a ski swap at Tyrol Basin in Wisconsin. We were really in search of new boots and skis for my little nephew, who seemingly has grown about a foot in less than a year. (Well, that might be a stretch, but he's clearly bigger than most of the other 4 year olds at preschool.)

They didn't have the right size boots for Carter, but he did come away with a nice helmet complete with iPod compatibility so you don't need to wear earbuds.

Carter and his new ski helmet.
I succumbed to all the fancy new skis, too. New boots and poles:

Big improvement from my circa 1978 boots!
My new skis are still at the ski shop getting the bindings adjusted. As if being asked my height and weight wasn't humiliating enough (usually only my doctor is privy to this classified information), the "child" who was helping me asked if I was over 50. (I guess I should be thankful that it wasn't seemingly evident that I am on the cusp of 50.) I asked, "Why? Is there an old person setting on the bindings?" He looks at me with a bit of sympathy and replies, "Well, actually, there is. We are required to put the setting at a quicker release for anyone over 50, so that if you fall you won't blow out your knee or hip as easily." Oh, well, I say, I want that...sign me up. Sheesh...who knew getting old was so complicated. 

I was pretty loyal to Rossignols back in the day, but the skis are K2. The price was right, so I couldn't pass up a good deal. And, having my niece present as my ski consultant was priceless.

Here's hoping the new winter skis are as successful as the new water ski was this year.

Bottom line: I guess the new washer gets pushed to the back burner for a couple of more months. I know where my priorities lie -- new skis, trip to Vermont, Christmas shopping, 50th birthday party. Woot!! Who needs a fancy new washer??

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

If You Break Down on Your Harley, It's Good to be in Farley...

My cousin Tim had a post on Facebook today about a guy who was out riding his Harley with some buddies a while back, and one of the guys' bikes broke down about 5 miles north of Farley. Some Farleyian stopped and put the bike in the back of his pickup and took him into town. Some other Farleyian offered up some tools, and soon, the guys were back on the road.

One of the guys was so impressed with the friendly people of Farley he wrote a little tune. Click here to find the song -- scroll down a bit until you see the title "If You Break Down on Your Harley, It's Good to be in Farley." It's actually the 7th song. A catchy little tune.

So, yeah, it's good to be in Farley, and it's good to be from Farley.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hold on...just one more comment about my "running" experience

A week ago, I said I had just one more thing to say about the 5K I participated in last Sunday. OK, I lied. I have one final thing to say about that. Today, on NPR, I heard a story about a woman who gave birth just a few hours after completing the Chicago Marathon? WTF? You can read the full story in the Chicago tribune by clicking here.

All I'm saying is that it was bad enough that an 85 year old woman ran a 5K in about half the time it took me to walk it last week. Now, evidently, women who are 39 weeks pregnant are running marathons like it's no big deal. She completed the race in a little over 6 hours. At the pace I walked last week, it would have taken me, oh, about EIGHT HOURS to complete it.

Now, I feel even more like a slug!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Autumn Leaves

It is probably fitting, in some bittersweet way, that famed pianist Roger Williams died yesterday at his Encino, California home. Williams, who played for nine presidents starting with Harry Truman, was likely best known for his 1958 hit "Autumn Leaves." The song was the only instrumental to ever reach No. 1 on the Billboard pop charts. 

This past week reminds me why autumn is my most favorite time of year. We were blessed with glorious weather for the past 8-9 days...the brilliant blue sky, illuminated by a blazing sun, served as the perfect canvas for the trees that erupted into gorgeous gold and orange and red hues all week. The warm days gave way to cool nights, with a sky brightened by a waxing gibbous moon and every star and planet twinkled in the sky like lights on a Christmas tree. If only this weather could continue until March. I think Mother Nature gives us this little weather nirvana as a consolation for the snow and cold that will be upon us shortly.

As you might recall, one of my 2011 blogging goals was to document the seasons in Willow Creek Park. Recall that this was July:

Willow Creek Park - July 2011
And, here is Willow Creek Park earlier this week:

Same spot -- just a little zoomed in
If you were ever planning to film a movie in Iowa with fall scenery, this was the week to do it. As Bailey and I walked the neighborhood, I almost felt like I was on a movie set because it just looked almost too picture perfect. You be the judge.

Corner of Earl Road and Westside Drive

The front of Little Creek Condos

Willow Creek Park near playground
There is a great children's book for this time of year: "Leaf Man" by Lois Ehlert. It goes, in part, like this:
Fall has come, the wind is gusting, and Leaf Man is on the move. Is he drifting east, over the marsh and ducks and geese? Or is he heading west, above the orchards, prairie meadows, and spotted cows? No one's quite sure, but this much is certain: A Leaf Man's got to go where the wind blows.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Last Word on the 5K

The official results are in: 

Especially For You - 5K "Walk" Results
 Even though I signed up for the run, I got lumped in to the results for the walk. I think I must have handed my number to the wrong guy. In any case, it doesn't matter. What this says is that I was 730th overall from all the female walkers (5,130 women) and 91st (out of 514) in my age category (45-49). As I noted yesterday, the time is skewed by 4+ minutes because that's how long it took us to get to the official starting line.

The fastest walker completed the course in 31:12. Should I feel bad that the top two finishers in the 80+ age group had a faster time than me? Hmmmm, I think those broads cheated. We saw quite a number of people cutting across the course. Alledgedly, some 85 year old woman claims to have run the course in 29:59. I think she cheated, too. I have to keep telling myself that, or I'll get really depressed that a grandma can run faster than me. Sheesh...I'm pathetic.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


No, that is not a prisoner number. It was my number in today's Especially for You 5K run/walk in Cedar Rapids. Nearly 16,000 participants signed up for the event...way more than I had imagined. Needless to say, this event was a bit bigger than my initial foray into the race world -- the Farley Kick-off to Summer 2 mile Run/Walk back in June. There were, maybe, about 60-70 participants in that event.

One snafu right off the bat is that they could not find Darcy's registration. Thank God for technology, she had her confirmation on her phone. But, it still seemed a big deal to get her a number and t-shirt. The project manager in the three of us started discussing their implementation planning and contingency planning. Did they adequately assess all of their risks? We think they have some lessons learned. There were still about 50 people in the late registration line with under 15 minutes before race time.

After my months of mentally and physically "preparing" for this day, I have to admit it was almost a bit of a disappointment. (I say preparing with a grain of salt. Admittedly, I was never 100% committed to doing what I really needed to do to run the race.) 16,000 is a lot of humanity, and when they are all lined up along a narrow city street there is not a lot of room to really bust out of the starting line. Granted, my two co-workers Darcy and Tricia and I might not have read all of the instructions. For example, I just realized about 10 minutes ago that the green dot on my race number indicated I was in the "runner" group. All the runners were supposed to line up first at the starting line. We more or less used the visual approach and wandered through the throngs of people until we found people who appeared to look more like runners than walkers. Well, we were far back in the pack away from the runners.

It took a good 4 minutes for us to even make our way to the official starting line. I know this because I started my stopwatch when we got to the starting line and when we finally crossed the finish line there was a 4 minute differential. We need microchips!!

We made a somewhat lame effort to try and run past the walking group by running in and out of the parked cars and up on to the sidewalk and back to the street. We really just found it all a bit annoying. So, we gave up and just walked the rest of the way, which still took some effort to circumnavigate the thousands of kids, seniors, and parents pushing strollers.

At about the halfway mark, there was a whole group of local high school cheerleaders holding up signs and encouraging us to keep going. We pondered whether we would want our high school daughters holding up such signage:
  • Save Second Base!
  • Save the TaTas!
  • Bosom Buddies
  • Save the Boobies!
It was a beautiful fall morning for the race. I admit to cursing the alarm clock when it went off at 6 a.m.

According to my unofficial time, we crossed the finish line at 49 minutes. The race clock showed 53 minutes.

So, my first 5K was a walk and not the run I had anticipated. It's probably for the best...I know I wouldn't have actually run the course in much faster time. I may look for another 5K in the future, but will definitely check out the small towns...16,000 is too much for me. But, it is a great cause, and I'm happy I was able to contribute in even a small way.