First and foremost; Christmas was pretty good to me!
Jenny and Brian got me (combined as my bday gift also) the truck box I've been hemming and hawing over for the past year or so. I've yet to pick it out, though Brian and I went to Lowes last weekend and looked at what they had at the store. I think I've decided on a nice Craftsman box that has a better interior then the Kobalts at Lowes with some extra small storage areas and even some trays included. Thanks guys! I can't wait to get it and mount up some lockable fork mount brackets to it so I'll finally be able to secure my bikes to the truck AND have a bunch of extra storage space!
My parents got me a bunch of cool stuff including a few bottles of my favorite wine ("Sangre del Toro" or "The Blood of the Bull"), some emergency survival type gear (following a day of mis-information that appeared to leave them believing I was lost somewhere out in the cold during our super storm back in December) and some workout gear. A cold gear under armour top and fleece are both very welcome to my collection while a pair of Salomon 3/4 running tights offer a bit more versatility to my running options. Finally a pair of REI gaitors worked wonders for keeping the snow and mud out of my shoes during my two exploration runs out in Promised Land State Park a few minutes from the folks place in NEPA.
Better yet, the seem at the crotch of the 3/4 tights started ripping open after 3 runs. When I returned them to REI under warranty they didn't have any more so I got a credit which I used online to buy the same newly clearanced pair of tights for $20 less AND a $20 packable wind/water resistant Sierra Designs jacket. Sweet!
Aimee and I had discussed her buying me a fork for my mountain bike a while back and we'd decided that could be my xmas present from her. She, at some point decided she'd rather have something to give me christmas morning and since the fork won't be in till likely late February, pushed the fork back to be my birthday gift. Christmas morning I was surprised to find a new Garmin 305 with my name on it!
I'd been batting around the idea of getting a garmin for quite a long time but just had never really been willing to spend the money on it (I'm getting much more frugal as I age here). I took it, along with my new gaitors and trail knickers out for a test run that afternoon and again before coming home and found it to be pretty great. Running trails which I didn't know and had no reasonable idea of mileage, the garmin was very helpful. Further use has helped me to dial my mileage and pace information on my usual run reviews plus allow me to better monitor my pace while I'm out there. The elevation data is good too, mostly showing me how little elevation change I actually get in my runs.
I think it helps to motivate me in my quest to log more miles this year and gives me a bit more perspective as to exactly where I am in relation to surrounding areas (I get relatively lost running on trails) on my trail workouts. It's also got the heart rate monitor which so far has NOT told me I'm dead or my heart is going to explode soon. A big step up from my 4 year old Timex HR monitor. So far I'd have to say I like my garmin even more then I imagined I would!
While I'm at it, my folks got me a trainer (basic Ascent Fluid) for my Birthday which I got last weekend. I set it up and threw the cross bike on it (since that was at home and available) though the trainer doesn't have resistance adjustments so the trainer riding will generally likely be on a geared bike. It's also a bit loud for my far from sound proof wooden frame town home but hopefully a vibration dampening pad and smooth road tires (as opposed to my cross knobbies) should help me out there.
I picked up a set of Darren recommended Forte GT2 Kevlar tires for my winter riding for $11 per at performance bikes. So far they're pretty decent and the extra volume of the 28's lets me run them soft enough that they're not as bone jarring as I was afraid of. Hopefuly this will translate into some extra riding this winter and spring as I don't have to worry as much about flats.
SO far I've started off the year right for my running. Ramping up my mileage for the February 14th marathon has me steadily increasing my weekly mileage up to around 40 miles this week with a long run planned for the weekend of around 20 miles. The last 2 weekends I ran the marathon course, though poor night and morning before nutrition (read: alcohol and coffee) left me feeling a little worse then I would have liked later on, I think overall I should be in decent shape. Better yet I should be easily able to knock off over 20 minutes from my previous and only marathon.
So far my 2010 mileage is just over 90 so I'm well on my way to increasing my annual mileage so long as I can keep up the consistency.
Bull Run Run initial registration opens in 3 days! Can't wait!