7 Minute Miles

Post Holiday Visit to Welch Village

Posted Sunday, December 28th, 2008 07:49 pm GMT -5 in Skiing at 7:49 PM

We finally made it out for our first ski day of the year with a visit to Welch Village this morning. We started at 9AM with sunny skies and decent temps that kept rising all morning. Tickets were $45 for adults and $40 for kids, but you could get a $10 per ticket gift certificate if you turned in your tickets within four hours of purchase (which we did).

Crowds got bigger as the morning went on, but lines never got very long. We mostly skied on the east end of the area, hitting runs like Dan’s Dive, Dud’s Dream and Pete’s Pike. I also took one run on Chicken (for old time’s sake) and was surprised to find the steep, shaded run with very little ice.

We took a morning break at Madd Jaxx for hot chocolate and cheese curds before heading back to the west side and the main chalet around noon. It was more crowded on that side of the area, but still reasonable for this time of year.

The near-mythical “back bowl” was still not open, but I heard patrol talking about how there is a lot of snow back there and that the new chairlift is being stress-tested for a possible 12/31 opening (season-ticket holder access only for the first month).

Welch Village holds a lot of special memories for me from my high school racing days and is still my favorite near-metro area. Skiing in Minnesota will back later this season to report on the new runs and bring you more photos in our photo gallery.

Wild Lose 3-2 in OT to Calgary

Posted Thursday, December 18th, 2008 12:57 am GMT -5 in Hockey at 12:57 AM

This game was at least fun to watch:

  • Gabby was sluggish and noticeably holding back his effort, but still was a big factor.
  • The reaction from the crowd when he hit the ice was mixed from where we sat – boos mixed in with cheers.
  • I’ve always felt Boogaard is more of a liability than an asset, but tonight he was awesome. A great hit and a great punch.
  • It’s really fun taking people to games that have never been to the X before.
  • The Wild seemed to be in control most of the time, but still have trouble winning battles along the boards and showing any break-out speed. Is there a need for better conditioning?
  • Another current weakness: holding the zone at the blue line.
  • The game winning goal by Bertuzzi was amazing, despite causing us to lose the extra point.
  • The Wild emailed warming house members a coupon for 25% off at the Hockey Lodge, so I bought a new soft helmet hat that will cover my ears when I need to shovel again later this week.

Just checked the calendar and I don’t have tickets to another game under March. So sad.

Too Many Races?

Posted Wednesday, December 17th, 2008 12:47 am GMT -5 in Running at 12:47 AM

With today’s announcement regarding the Stillwater Marathon, has the Minnesota racing scene passed the saturation point? Combined with the new Get in Gear half marathon and the inaugural Minneapolis Marathon, there are a lot of options for runners to consider in this down economy.

Let’s look at the Get in Gear changes. The 10K has usually been my first race of the year and has often been the first real outdoor run of the year too. While the addition of a half might make me train earlier, I don’t want to give up the 30+ years of tradition with the 10K race. Too bad the organizers couldn’t keep the Saturday schedule the same and add the half marathon as a Sunday event on the same weekend, allowing people to run both.

Looking at May and June, we now have the following major regional races:

There are just too many events all bunched up together. I know it gets hot here in the summer, but how about moving some of these longer runs so we have one marathon per month? It’s not really smart to run a marathon a month, but it’s impossible to run three on the same day. If they were spaced out, at least you could pick and choose which ones you wanted to do each year.

It will be interesting to see how these all shake out. None of the new events have released their course maps yet, but I do see that the Minneapolis event is promoting itself as iPod-friendly. Each will have to find something to differentiate themselves and persuade the limited number of runners to pick them in this crowded field of inaugural and established events.

Which events will you pick?

2008 BTAA at the Walker

Posted Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 11:52 pm GMT -5 in Art,Pop Culture at 11:52 PM

Colleen and I went to the Walker Art Center on Sunday to celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary by watching a favorite of ours, the annual British Television Advertising Awards.

The 2008 edition had a number of ads that we liked a lot, but here is my favorite (semi-NSFW):

Many of the ads are funny, but as always, the PSA’s were hard hitting:

The best commercial of the year was a let-down, as we’ve seen it before many times. One other weird thing happened – during the show, the cane of a person sitting behind me slipped and hit me square on the back of my head. It scared me more than anything, but it was one of those canes with a brass duck head, so the impact was more than just a love tap. Ouch!

Wild Need to Show Some Fight

Posted Sunday, December 14th, 2008 01:02 am GMT -5 in Hockey at 1:02 AM

With a 1-5 start to December (and the start of the Koivu captain curse), the Wild have plummeted down the Western Conference standings. While it’s too early to abandon all hope, it would be nice to see a little more fight from the guys. Sunday’s game against the Ducks could get ugly if we don’t see some urgency to return to the win column. Like Miettinen said after the 3-1 loss to the Kings, there is more wrong right now than just the lack of scoring.

Hockey in Minnesota will be live tweeting the Ducks game tomorrow (@hockeymn) and will be at the next home game versus Calgary on Wednesday.

Hopefully the Wild bring us some holiday cheer sooner rather than later…

Just in Time for Holiday Shopping

Posted Saturday, December 13th, 2008 11:12 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping at 11:12 PM

I’ve been a member of the Amazon Associates program for a long time. I publish special links to items in their online store and when people follow those links and buy something, I get a small commission from the sale. This has never been a big revenue source on any of my sites, but it was easy to set up, so why not.

A few weeks ago, I found out that Amazon started offering a new feature called aStores. Associate members can basically build their own custom store: custom look and feel, hand-picked items and a localized shopping cart.

I’ve built a new aStore I’m calling the DK Depot. It’s linked from the banners on this site and all of my MN sports sites (golfing.mn, hockey.mn, run.mn and skiing.mn). There are sections for each of those sports, along with areas of interest such as iPods, laptops, music, movies and cameras. All of the items listed are things I either own, have used or would like to buy.

Visit the DK Depot today for all of your last minute holiday shopping. Cheers!

Keeping it Local – Our Christmas Tree

Posted Sunday, December 7th, 2008 01:34 pm GMT -5 in Family,Personal at 1:34 PM

I will always be a real tree kind of guy, and I like to support local businesses and growers when we buy our Christmas tree each year. Getting a painted tree from Home Depot that maybe came from North Carolina isn’t my idea of a good deal. As they say, it costs money because it saves money – or something like that…

I’ve mentioned them here before, but Lilydale Garden Center has been my local favorite ever since we moved into this house eight years ago. The staff is great and they always have a good selection – all year long, really.

We’ve had smaller trees the past few years, so we decided to go big this year. This 10-foot Canaan Fir needed to be clipped on top in order to fit in our living room. I also need to head to Target to buy new lights – pretty sure I don’t have enough to cover a tree this big.

Best. Tree. Ever.

Boogie Needs A Goal

Posted Saturday, December 6th, 2008 01:16 pm GMT -5 in Hockey at 1:16 PM

If he gets more ice time with Koivu (and the refs don’t screw him over), it won’t be long…

Addicted to Facebook

Posted Thursday, December 4th, 2008 04:56 pm GMT -5 in Family,Personal,Technology at 4:56 PM

I swore I wouldn’t join Facebook – I already spend way too much time online between my job and my hobbies, I told myself. My wife became a member after she went back to grad school. Then a race I ran this fall posted pictures only viewable by Facebook members. On November 10th, I broke down and signed up.

As a web developer, Facebook seems really well done to me. I’m still not that familiar with all aspects of it (or some of the history), but it’s been a blast getting back in touch with a bunch of people I would have never connected with using just Twitter, LinkedIn and my blogs. Seems miles ahead of MySpace, too.

What amazes me the most about Facebook, though, is how much complexity there is beneath the surface. I can’t imagine how much time and thought went into programming this thing. I don’t know what it used to be like, but I find the performance and implementation of features to be very strong. Uploading and sharing photos, in particular, is stellar.

If you’ve been dragging your feet about joining Facebook, all I can say is jump in, the water’s fine…

Goalie Niklas Backstrom

Posted Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008 11:44 am GMT -5 in Hockey at 11:44 AM

Here’s to better days ahead for Nik (and a new contract)…


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Personal Records & Mileage

  • Mile - 6:10
  • 5K - 21:42
  • 10K - 44:40
  • Half - 1:38:40
  • Full - 3:43:32
  • 50K - 7:37:00
  • 2018 Mileage: 53.8

Upcoming Races

  • Get in Gear 10K - 4/28

Upcoming Sporting Events

  • Monster Jam - 4/7
  • Twins vs. Houston - 4/9
  • Supercross - 4/14
  • Twins vs. Reds - 4/27
  • Twins vs. Detroit - 5/21
  • Twins vs. Cleveland - 6/3
  • Tapemark - 6/8-10
  • Twins vs. Boston - 6/20
  • Summer X Games - 7/19-22
  • Twins vs. Cleveland - 7/30
  • Twins vs. Pittsburgh - 8/15

Upcoming Concerts

  • Cloud Cult - 4/7, Orchestra Hall
  • Trampled by Turtles - 5/4, Palace
  • Kenny Chesney - 5/5, USBS
  • Caroline Smith - 5/17, Cedar
  • I Love the 90s - 5/18, Mystic Lake
  • David Byrne - 5/17, Orpheum
  • David Byrne - 5/18, Orpheum
  • Trampled by Turtles - 7/7, Bayfront
  • Jack White - 8/6, Armory
  • Beyonce & Jay Z - 8/8, USBS
  • Pearl Jam - 8/18, Wrigley Field
  • Pearl Jam - 8/20, Wrigley Field
  • Taylor Swift - 8/31 & 9/1, USBS
  • Leon Bridges - 9/20, Palace
  • Ed Sheeran - 10/20, USBS