Look Ma, No Hands

Well kinda…. My mom came down today and as usual wants to clean something at my home.  When I was younger, I used to take offense to this offer as in “My place isn’t clean enough?! How dare you?!”.  Now that I am older and wiser, knock yourself Mama!  Today she wanted to clean my oven.  I don’t really understand why this is necessary.  Nothing has ever exploded in there.  I don’t put anything in it that needs to stay pristine and clean.  It probably has some leftover lasgana splashes, no big deal.  But unbeknownst to her, my oven has a “Clean” setting.  She didn’t trust it and didn’t get to see the finished product before heading home today, so you are getting this boring ass post to prove it works. 

Step 1, turn oven to “Clean” setting.

Step 2, lock oven door.

Step 3, wait 4 hours and 20 minutes.

The oven basically turns into an incinerator and burns any residue into ash.  Here is some on the grate.

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A few wipes with a wet cloth and voila!

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Guess I have no excuse now to keep a clean oven if it’s this easy. Is that what grown ups do?

Christmas Vacation

Since my company was open on Christmas Eve, they offered us “Festive Day”.  I took that as “Sorry-you-have-to-work-today-we-will-try-to-act-like-we-care” Day.  I dubbed it Ugly Christmas Sweater Day.  Bill kinda got the idea.  We’ll try for more participants next year.

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I headed to the parents house on Christmas Day for our usual celebration with my brother’s family. This was my first time seeing my newest niece Kayla.  I am still not a baby person, but I was taken by her cuteness, until she started crying then couldn’t get away fast enough.  She was very good most of the time just hanging out sucking on her knuckles or yours if you were close enough.  Here we are in our matching hats.

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Everyone enjoyed lunch and some Christmas songs by Reagan and Sydney that they had learned from their Christian based schools.  After Sydney’s performance about Baby Jesus’s birthday my Mom announces that her little girl will now sing a song for the group.  I started singing “99 bottles of beer on the wall… 99 bottles of beer”.  I thought my Dad was going to choke he was laughing so hard.

We opened some presents and I got the one thing I’ve been dying to see.  I saved all my community event cotton t-shirts for the past 2 years and had my mom put them together as a quilt.  It’s awesome and will certainly be used!  I already have a whole other tub full of more shirts, so I’ll have to come up with something new for those.  We all laid around for a bit before it was time to head to my cousin’s house for a reunion with my Mom’s side of the family. 

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The day after Christmas was low key and the Fuller ladies just played with the girls and their new toys. Next time I’ll see them, we’ll be swooshing down some slopes in Colorado.

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What Is She Saying?

I spent Thanksgiving with my parents and some extended family in Indy.  We had a great time.  My Dad spent the evening playing Cinderella and cleaning my tile grout while my mom and I were mesmerized by a show called Cake Boss all night.  And her and I slept in til 10:30am today!!  But I woke up to this lovely present from my Mother today.

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The only part of this that intrigues me is 600%.  His arm is 1 inch long.  I can’t find any calculators online to help me determine what his…. shoe size will be when he’s fully grown.  I mean I’m gonna need to know what size shoe to buy him for Christmas.  Hey Mom, once he’s full size, we’ll go back to Sam’s Club for some shopping.

 

Good Genes

After getting cleared from the doctor yesterday, I drove to Ft. Wayne today to celebrate my grandma, Mimi’s 90th birthday.  There is very little that keeps this woman down.  My Mom, along with my Aunt Mae, planned a great afternoon of celebration with Mimi’s friends and family.  We had a DVD playing of pictures from Mimi’s active life.  For as long as I remember, she was always involved in some club, event, or just making up something fun to do with the grandkids.  One of my favorite memories of Mimi is when she came to help me move out of college my Senior year.  We were taking trips up and down the 2 flights of stairs, but Mimi wanted nothing of that.  She just started chucking stuff, like my beloved pillows, off the balcony to the ground.  My pillows were very precious to me and you would have thought she threw my first born down there! 

Happy Birthday Mimi!  I love you!  Here’s to 10 more!

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Pearls of Pink

How fantastic of an event!  I became affiliated with Pink Ribbon Connection 3 years ago as a volunteer.  I stepped up my commitment to the foundation this year and became a chairman of the Nordstrom Fashion Show, Pearls of Pink.  I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but I loved every minute of this role.  All of the models are breast cancer survivors or work in the medical profession of supporting breast cancer patients.  It is such a wonderful and moving event.  I held back tears quite a few time during the show.  Every single person that has a role in this experience is extraordinary. 

The Pink Ribbon Connection offers breast cancer support to survivors and families and, also, provides community awareness about this critical disease.  Nordstrom’s flew in representatives from New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago to put on this fundraiser.  I have very little real connection to this cause, but I do get my knack of volunteerism from my lovely mother Carole, who drove down from Fort Wayne with her best friend to support me and my charity.

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Thank you to my Mom and Betty for supporting this event.  A huge thanks to all the volunteers who help put the show on.  And a gigantic appreciation to all those that spent their hard earned money to attend this fashion show and keep raising awareness for breast cancer research.  I will gladly fill this role again next year and look forward to working with so many wonderful people and survivors.  Here’s video of the lovely fashion show and models.

If anyone needs a pink “Lance” type bracelet to support October’s cause, shoot me an email and I’ll get you one.

Leadville Post-Race

After the race, we went back to the hotel to shower and get ready for the awards “ceremony”.  My brother took a tumble at one point during the race so he brought a bit of the mountain back with him.  When it was my turn to shower, it looked a kid’s sandbox in the tub!  We headed over to a gymnasium near the start line for the ceremony.  The emcee of the night was the original inventor of all these Leadville races.  This guy was funny, but I think he’s fried quite a few brain cells in his day.  Watch the video and you’ll understand.  Top 3 in each age group got a mining pan with a plaque in it.  Brandon and I didn’t come close.  But we did get our finishers mug and happily accepted them!  This video has some extra footage of the top 5 in case you want to see what killer mountain man runners look like.

After the ceremony, I was ready to live it up in Leadville!  I’ve always just passed through town from a hike or skiing, so I was anxious to see what, if any, nightlife there was.  And, there wasn’t much.  We stopped in one bar that had “Cash only” sign. Crap, I was going to buy my bro a beer but couldn’t. Brandon was ready to call it a night, so I tagged along with some fellow runners at the bar. We bar hopped, played shuffle board with some locals and listened to live music.  It was great relaxing end to a hard day.  The family packed up today and we are headed back to Longmont.  Well, it’s been fun Leadville.  Next time I see you, hopefully I’ll be passing through on my way to more leisurely Colorado sport involving snow!

Leadville Trail Marathon 2009

Leadville Race Day – Heavy Half Marathon

The time has come.  15.5 miles up and down a Colorado monster.  From 10,000ft to 13,000 and back.  We woke up at 6:30 am for our 8 o’clock start time.  Our hotel was a few blocks from the start, so we all got dressed and headed over.  This race has just a few hundred runners in it, but they come in all ages, shapes and backgrounds.  It’s quite interesting to observe other human beings that think they should attempt this type of thing.  Here’s me and my brother at the start, plus my stretching coach helping me with my pre-race routine.

Leadville Trail Marathon 2009

Leadville Trail Marathon 2009

The gun went off and we were on our way.  The heavy-halfers and the full marathoners all start out the same, then branch off about a mile up the course.  Brandon ran with me the first mile, then I was off on my own.  I huffed and puffed my way up.  It was mostly walking with running when your body felt like it could.  My GPS was freaking out a bit during my walking spells, so luckily I had written some aid station mileage on my arm so I knew where I was at.  I took some time to video here and there only to notice that as I was getting my video in and out of my pocket, I turned my watch off.  Shit.  It happened around the 1:30 mark, so now I had nothing to tell me where I was at in my goal to reaching the top in 2 hours.  The goal was at the top of this hill, just above the “i” in the snow.  You can also see the dirt switchbacks we had to traverse to get to the top.

Leadville Trail Marathon 2009

Here’s a shot looking another direction.

Leadville Trail Marathon 2009

The big traverse is called Mosquito Pass.  On my way up, the elite marathoners started passing me.  I got to see Anton Krupicka pass me on his way up and down.  I said good job, but after the race he admitted he probably looked a bit disgruntled.  I agreed with him.  This race is brutal for anyone.  I made my way to the top in 2:14.  Took some video and left little time to rest as I was ready to start back down.  The descent is the most fun for me.  Gravity just wants to throw you down, so you have to use control and precise footing.  I was able to run into Brandon on my way down and his way up.  We stopped for a few breaths and were on separate ways.  Once I got down the Pass, all I could feel was happiness and was singing to my tunes and smiling at everyone.  People probably thought I was nuts.  These marathoner’s still had a long way to go and here comes some chick bouncing down like a school girl.  A lot of people smiled back once they saw how good of a time I was having, and I reminded them that they would be smiling once they start down too.  As I passed by aid station B, I got to see Kim and the kids.  Kim snapped this picture of me headed down.  I was acting like I could fly.  I felt like it was possible with the momentum of the hill behind me and the view in front me.  I was having F U N!

Leadville Trail Marathon 2009

With just a few miles left, everyone is pretty spread out but I got to meet 3 interesting fellows on the way down.  One was from Mexico.  He didn’t speak any English but told me if I ever wanted to visit his country, he’d give me his phone number.  He found me at the end of the race and asked to have his picture taken with me.  I’m not a rock star runner, but I’ll take the “celebrity”.  The other guy I met was named Jim Heil.  He and I had been taking turns leading each other and at his final pass past me, he introduced himself.  He was 68 and on his 4th set of legs!  I assume he had some hip replacements in the past.  He did say I had the nicest legs on the course, so I’ll let it slide that he kicked my ass by a few minutes.  Another marathoner ended up passing me before our big turn out of the mining area.  There are pink flags marking the course, but he wasn’t paying attention.  He started heading straight down a street when he needed to go right.  So I started yelling “right…Right…RIGHT!”  Finally he caught on, waved, and headed into town.  His name was Nick Clark and ended up finishing 4th in the marathon race.  At the end, he admitted he was a bit out of it and said thanks for the help.

I cruised into the finish at 3:57:06.  I was pleased!  Not too shabby for a Flatlander.  I finished 115th out of 164 and was 15th in my F30-39 age group.  The winner ran it in 2:16:11!  I made my goal of 4 hours, but my most important goal was to have fun.  And I did.  More fun than I can describe!  I probably could have pushed myself harder at points and cut some time off, but I’d wanted to take in every second of this race and squeeze as much fun out of it as I could.  Here’s me with my finishing time on the wall.

Leadville Trail Marathon 2009

Since Brandon had twice as far to go, I hung around the finish to take in the scene and people.  I was surrounded by some really talented runners.  I introduced myself to the Leadville Marathon winner, Dennis Flanagan and snagged a shot with him!  Met and got pics with runners #1 & #2 of the day, sweet!

Leadville Trail Marathon 2009

As I waited for Brandon, a quick storm rolled in and added some coolness to the otherwise hot sunny day.  It sprinkled for 30 minutes on us, but you could hear the thunder rolling in on the mountains.

Leadville Trail Marathon 2009

Brandon made it down the stretch and crossed the line at 5:55:36.

Leadville Trail Marathon 2009

In my opinion, a job well done by the Fuller Crew.  I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.  Not even the tiniest elephant in the world!  Sounding like a 5th grader, I think it’s so cool that my brother and I have both got to compete in a race together in our home states.  I will say, my state’s are easier, his are more fun!  Thanks for the invite Brandon!  I wouldn’t of wanted to share this with anyone else!  Thanks to Kim, Sydney, and Reagan for giving up their weekends to be with us in Leadville!  I sure enjoyed it and hope you all did too!

Check out Brandon’s story

Check out my video…I inadvertently had the camera on in my shorts pocket, so my battery died towards the end. Didn’t get my finish on video. Lessoned learned for the next race.

Leadville Pre-Race

We drove over to Leadville today to get settle before the big race.  This town sits at just above 10,000ft and looks like a tiny little historic burg.  It’s very peaceful up against the giant mountains. 

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We walked around a bit the headed over to get our packets.  It was in the little sports shop on the main drive.  Brandon goes in first and I follow.  As I pass by Kim, she says quietly, “Tony’s here.”  OMG!  This is the Forest Gump of Colorado.  I have followed a little about this dude since my brother brought him to my attention.  The dude runs and runs.  I think Tony is my brother’s idol.  So we are standing in line with Tony right in front of us.  My brother starts up a conversation.  Tony gets his stuff and is ready to head out.  Ummm… we all know I’m not that shy and just happen to have my camera, so I politely asked for a picture.

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He was really nice, shook my hand, asked my name, and was on his way.  The best comment… my brother asked him what time he wanted to run.  His answer, “Break the course record.”  Jesus.  Can’t you jusy say win?!  Pretty cool that the dude can say that though.  After our celebrity encounter, we headed over to Turquoise Lake for some water fun.  The girls were too excited and stripped down to get in their suits.  I’m old and it was quite cold to me, but the view was beautiful.

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We grabbed some dinner and are ready to chill at the hotel and rest up for the real reason we are here… To not be the Last Ass Over The Pass!