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New distance record

Michele and I set a new distance record in our marathon training. This morning we ran 16 miles! That's even more of a milestone for me. I hurt my knee back in August and had to take a couple of weeks off running. When I started again, I had to ramp up to the distance I was at before, and today I'm caught up with our training plan.

The marathon is on January 13th at Disney World. If you're familiar with the parks, take a look at the course map. The race goes through all of the Disney parks. I run pretty slow, so I think I'll finish in maybe a little under five hours. But I don't particularly care about my time. If I can finish the race, that's good enough for me!
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New car, finally!

Finally, the MINI arrived, and we picked it up this morning. Michele took some pictures at the dealership. I spent almost two hours there, mainly learning about the car from the salesman. With all the options I ordered (navigation, iPod integration, satellite and HD radio, bluetooth), it's going to take some time before I can operate any of it quickly. It's sure fun to drive!
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MINI is on the way

My MINI is on the way from England. It was finished at the factory last Monday, and yesterday left the port of Southampton, UK on a ship called the Liberty (the image shows the ship's current location). It's still going to be a while -- the ship is scheduled to get to Charleston on July 14th, after making stops in New York and Baltimore. So I'm guessing I'll be picking up the car at my local dealer sometime in late July.

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MINI update

I just found out from the car dealer yesterday that my car is now "in production." That was pretty exciting for a brief while, until I realized all that meant was that the order could no longer be changed and that they'd be scheduling the production date sometime.

MINI is geared toward custom orders, so there's a web site where you can track your order. There's also an automated phone system you can call and get even more up-to-date information. When I called it this evening, it said the car would be finished next Monday (6/25)!

Of course, that finished car will be in Oxford, England, so it will take a while to get to my local dealership. I'm told there are ways once you get the VIN number of tracking the ship it's on as it crosses the Atlantic. I will totally be doing that.
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New car (eventually)

I've been planning to get a MINI Cooper S for months now, and I finally put a deposit down and placed an order this morning. The picture you see is from the MINI web site, where you build the car you want. Mine should look just like the picture.

The MINI is unlike any other car I've ever seen. For starters, they redesigned things for the 2007 model year, but didn't actually introduce that car (in the US, at least) until February of 2007. On top of that, not all the options were available. If you wanted things like automatic transmission, the navigation system, or satellite radio, you had to wait varying lengths of time until cars with those options would start being produced. What's holding me up is the Sirius radio, which is not going to be built into the cars until July.

Most people are concerned with how small the MINI is, but for me it's an upgrade from my 1999 Miata. The backseat is small, but at least there's a backseat. And the trunk (they call it the boot, since the car is made in England) has a whole lot more room than the Miata.

The car should be at my dealership sometime in late July or August. You can expect many, many more pictures then.
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Winter Park Road Race

Last Saturday, Michele and I ran in the Winter Park Road Race 10k (6.2 miles). I ran a little faster than normal, which is typical for a race (having a bunch of people running with you makes you speed up a bit). I finished in just under an hour and was pretty proud of myself. That is, until I checked out the rest of the finishers. I finished about 80th of 120 in my age bracket (30-35). The top finisher in my age group finished in 34 minutes, which means he ran about twice as fast as I did!

But then I got to thinking that, really, most of the people in my age range were asleep Saturday morning while I was running. I think particularly in a 10k (as opposed to a 5k), a lot of the participants are athletes. So now I'm telling myself that I was really competing against athletes, so I didn't do that bad. Maybe I'm wrong, but don't shatter my reality.

And a special note for johnmcelroy ... the course took us by Lake Maitland, where I saw the UF Crew team putting in their boats in. I would've yelled out a "Go Gators!" but I'm pretty sure I would've collapsed.
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Snow Patrol

I caught the Snow Patrol show at Hard Rock Live on Tuesday night. They were the musical guest on Saturday Night Live this past weekend as well. I've listened to their albums, and they're even better live.

This was the first concert that I've been to (other than a festival) to have more than one opening band: Silversun Pickups and OK Go (click the links for a picture of each). A friend turned me on to Silversun Pickups a while back; they're awesome. OK Go is a little too pop music for my tastes, but I was impressed by their performance. That's probably not saying much, though, because my expectations were pretty low.

I think I like Hard Rock Live better than the House of Blues. It might have something to do with how incredibly easy it is to get drinks at the concerts there. There are three bars inside, and even waitresses serving the balcony area.
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100 miles

Michele and I ran nine miles today, and now my Garmin Forerunner which keeps track of how far I've run has logged over 100 miles since I got it in late January. It's a portable GPS receiver you wear on your wrist that's designed for running or biking.

We've been slowly increasing our long runs on Saturday by about half a mile each week, but I think we're going to hold steady at nine miles for a while. Both of us were completely beat after this run, which was the longest either of us had ever run.

Next weekend, we're running in the Winter Park Road Race 10k, which is about 6.2 miles. I'm not sure why all the races are measured in kilometers when we don't measure anything else in this country using the metric system.
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Michele and I have been doing a lot of running lately. Last fall, I got started running a few 5k races with some friends at work. That's only about 3 miles, so it wasn't very difficult. I'm not a fast runner by any means, though. I run about a 10 minute mile.

Around the end of November, Michele signed us up for several more races. The longest was the Outback 12k on February 24. Twelve kilometers is 7.45 miles, which was much farther than I had run at the time (about 5 miles). So we made a 12-week training schedule (that was how many weeks we had until the race) where we ran a few times a week, and on the weekend ran a long run that gradually worked up to 12k.

There's always a photographer at the finish line of these races who wants to later sell you a picture. As you can see from my picture, after running 12k at 3PM (as luck would have it, it was a little warm that weekend) I'm about to drop dead. I've got a picture of Michele, too, but she doesn't exactly enjoy the way she looked finishing the race so I didn't post it.

Our next goal, which is quite ambitious, is to run the Disney marathon next year. I think they do that in January or February. We're still continuing our weekly runs, and we're up to 8.5 miles now. That's a long way from 26 miles, but you've got to start somewhere.
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(more) Death Cab for Cutie

I caught another Death Cab for Cutie show last night. They were in Orlando again, this time at the UCF arena. It was a great show, but I think I liked the last one more because Hard Rock Live is a better venue.

Speaking of Hard Rock Live, I got tickets this weekend to see Snow Patrol there in March. I just looked online and saw that OK Go is opening. Maybe they'll bring their treadmills.