After 35 years of life, I have a few things to say.

Monthly Archives: January 2015

Raleigh Rock & Roll Marathon - 4/12/15

Raleigh Rock & Roll Marathon – 4/12/15

Today was the first day of our 12 week Half-Marathon training.  The plan actually started yesterday, but since Mondays are “rest” days, today was the official start of this adventure.  Two miles was all that was required today, so it was a quick trip to the gym to knock it out and then head to the hot tub.  The weather was perfect for outside running, but since I need to work on pacing myself, the treadmill will be my best friend for awhile.  Not to worry though because tomorrow is going to be nice too, and I plan to get the bike back on the road for the first time this year.  I hope to see the trees passing me by at 16 mph during lunch tomorrow, while the wind blows through my beard.  🙂

My wife and I signed up for the Raleigh Rock & Roll Marathon many many months ago when we were feeling, ummm, for lack of a better word, I’ll just say crazy.  We were on a high from doing some other races and thought that signing up so far in advance would give us plenty of time to get ready for it.  Well, as the high wore off and other priorities took over, so did training.  You know how that goes.  Anyways, awhile back, we decided that we bit off a little bit more than we could chew, so we opted to training for the half marathon instead.  Now that we are 12 weeks from the event, it’s time to get busy training.  On top of starting to run again, I have also joined my wife in eating low carb, hoping to trim down a little bit before April.  Cycling will help with that as well, so the plan is in place.  Now for the execution, that’s the hard part, at least for me.

The particular running plan we chose has rest days on Mondays and Fridays, run days of Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays (long run), and Sundays (recovery).  Wednesdays, as well as some Fridays, and an option on Sundays, are cross train days.  I will probably be cycling 2 to 3 times a week also, sometimes on run days and sometimes on CT days.  With all this and also eating better should help prepare us to run/jog/walk/crawl/finish our first half marathon.  The best part is that it is a Rock & Roll event, so there will be bands playing at every mile. Smash Mouth is the headliner, so I assume they will be at the Start/Finish Line.  There is no shame for us to have downgraded to a half marathon, even though we signed up and paid for the full 26.2 miles.  It was only $10 less to sign up for the half, so we will only lose $20 total, and that’s well worth it if it means we survive to the finish line.  Our future may have a full marathon in it some day, but not this year.  We are too busy of a family at this point in our lives to commit to the rigorous training schedule required for 26.2 miles.  Maybe after we retire, who knows.  For now, the half is the goal, and for me at least, it is a major challenge, and I look forward to conquering it in Rock & Rock style.  Wish me, and both of us, luck on this new adventure.


Simon A.


My new adventure!!!

My new adventure!!!

Yesterday was my first ukulele lesson at the music store.  My brother-in-law and I went there a little early and tested out the current stock of acoustic guitars while we were waiting for the lesson to start.  I found the 2 that I had been looking at on my previous visit.  They were both calling my name and I had a very hard time choosing between them.  Both of them felt like good matches for me, but in the end, I decided to go with the Epiphone over the Fender.  There were just a few differences, and those differences helped me make my choice.  The neck on the Fender had a glossy finish, whereas the Epiphone had a smooth polished finish.  My thumb slid back and forth better on the Epiphone.  Although I loved the natural wood colors of the Fender, the Sunburst paint job of the Epiphone looked even better in my eyes.  I know that color is not the most important attribute, and it wasn’t in my case either.  I really liked the sound quality of the Epiphone, as well as the on-board tuner and pre-amp.  The strings on both were really low, so that was not a deciding factor, but there was enough positives for me to make my choice.  As you can see the from the picture, it fits me well and I do believe I will enjoy it for years and years.  I’ve already started practicing with it. If anyone has any pointers for a very beginner, drop me a line.  I can use all the help I can get.

The ukulele lesson was ok, but the guitar shopping was the highlight of the trip, if you can’t tell already.  Ha Ha.

Hope to be playing around the campfire this summer.

Simon A.

My new passion

My new passion

“So far so good.” I say to myself when I think about how the year is going thus far.  It’s true that it’s only been a week, but I feel that I am sticking to my guns very well.  Like I said in my last post, these are not resolutions for the new year, but rather ongoing changes in my life that I want to continue to improve upon.  I am merely using the new year as a starting line to amplify my efforts and focus into making these changes stick this time.  It’s true that some of my personal goals are for me only and will remain that way, but there are a few I can share.  Like most people probably agree, being in better shape is preferable than not, so I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I discovered something totally new that will change the world and make this journey successful for me.  What I do know is that last year when I exercised and rode my bike a lot more, I was in better shape.  So one could conclude that if I did that again, I could better myself back to that person I was.  The problem is that all that stuff takes up so much time.  I have different priorities this year.  I don’t want to be gone every Saturday for 6 hours riding a century.  Sure, once in awhile is fine, but some Saturdays I want to hike, or camp, watch movies or play guitar.  I want to do so many things that there is no time to dedicate to one thing to hard and I prefer it that way.  So there is my dilemma.  I must juggle all the things I want to do, and at the same time, enjoy the benefits of each activity to the fullest.

I’ve heard that it takes just a few weeks to form a habit, so that is what I am trying to do.  So far, I am doing a great job of eating better, both in what I am eating, and also in quantity control.  I am starting to decrease my carb intake, while increasing my vegetables and lean proteins.  I am also cutting way down on coffee and soda, which in turn drops my sugar intake in parallel.  These changes, combined with gym workouts and running are making a difference.  I don’t feel like I have to kill it at the gym to make progress as long as i am consistent and don’t kill it at the buffet.  Smart food in small proportions coupled with smart exercise seems to be better than eating what I want coupled with killing it at the gym to compensate for the bad choices I made earlier.  It takes so much less energy, the results are better and healthier, and I have more time for myself and my family to do more of the things I want to do and learn.

I want to use this surplus of energy and time to form better habits in other areas of my life as well.  I want to become more musical, and that doesn’t mean I put on my headphones and try to listen to every song every made.  What I want is to learn, re-produce, and and then create my own.  Ukulele and guitar are my new passions.  Once I learn to play a bit, I want to learn to play some existing songs that others can recognize.  Then eventually I would like to create my own songs.  I’m not interested in becoming famous for it, but I think it is magical when someone can pick up a guitar and just play, and even better when they can just start putting words to it on the fly.  During this process, I also will need to learn to sing.  My wife says I have the low range covered, but the mid range and definitely the high registers need some work.  Being in better health and fitness will help that as well since I need more air in my lungs to be able to sing better.  Anyways, creating lyrics is a hope.  Right now, I guess you could say that I can write a little poetry, so putting it to music is the natural next step.

This year is going great so far.  There is a world of new possibilities in front of me and my new habits are going to help me explore and enjoy many more of them.  Even the company my wife and I work for just merged with another company, creating a new name, a new brand, and a world of new possibilities and opportunities to explore.  Life is good and 2015 is going to be the best year yet, and I am going to make sure of it.  I don’t care if it’s 7 degrees outside….. LOL.  🙂

Until next time, take care of yourself and the ones you love.

Simon A.

Like most of the rest of the world, I stayed up last night to bring in the new year with my family.  We watched movies, lit candles, ate lots of snacks, and had a great time.  Not a whole lot of things will change for me on this Day 1 of 2015, since the changes in my life have been ongoing for some time.  Unlike last year, when I was focused on fitness and getting in shape, this year, and the months leading up to it, have been focused on other things.  I have seen a lot of my family this year, even though we are living 800 miles away.  We even took a vacation to NYC together with my parents, which was wonderful.  We traded holidays, where my parents flew to us on Thanksgiving, and we flew to them for Christmas.  We got to see my brother and his wife, and their son, who is growing up so fast.  We took my wife to see the family farm and some family she had never met.  We got to see my birth family again, and even visited my birth dad’s grave for the first time, a man I never got to meet.

There are many children on my wife’s family tree, and they are all growing up so fast.  My step-daughter is the oldest of the bunch, and she is getting prepared for life on her own in a few years, and then the rest will follow, one after the other, year after year.  It’s amazing to watch them grow up and mature, but part of me wishes they could stay young forever.

Also recently, my wife and I joined a singing group.  I had a great deal of anxiety about singing in public, but it turned out to be one of the best things for me.  I have yet to do a solo, which I am sure they all appreciate, but something amazing happened on our first night there.  I fell back in love with learning an instrument.   All it took was one minute of holding a ukulele.  Now I have my own ukulele that I am practicing on, and I also have been looking at purchasing my first guitar.  Right now, one of my 3 guitar-playing Brother-in-laws has in-trusted me with holding onto his guitars for him, and in exchange, I get to play them.  So far, progress it slow, but my fingers are slowly getting used to the strings.  I can’t wait to be able to play well enough to do some songs.  Once I buy my own guitar, we can play together.

I still have a goal of getting in better shape, biking and running more, getting to the gym more often and regularly, but I am not going to beat myself up about it.  Learning from the past, that approach doesn’t work for me.  I will do what makes me happy, and wherever that leads me will be the right move I feel.  This year, I will go with the flow of happiness.  Hope you all can do the same.

Oh yeah, and I plan to blog more, for me, and for you.  🙂

Happy New Year to all of you.

Simon A.