Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve Run

This wasn't an organized event, it was just my friend Diana and I out to get in one last run for the year and enjoy the good weather.

Afterwards, I went home and was all ready for a lazy evening of watching TV, when Diana called and Mai called and told me due to some last minute juggling, we were going over to Mai and Charles' for New Years. :) It was a fun evening, we played some games, had the TV on in the background, and welcomed in 2008!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dallas World Aquarium

My parents and I visited the Dallas World Aquarium today, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. The aquarium packs a lot of animals and exhibits into the space they have. What I liked was the layout - the walkway meandered from the top to the bottom, which generally gave you two or three vantage points for most of the displays.

Originally uploaded by klbarrus
View from the top at the Dallas Aquarium.

Originally uploaded by klbarrus

I live in Florida and have only seen this many flamingoes at parks. ;)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Work Bike Club

It was another gorgeous day and we had higher than usual attendance for today's Lake Sylvan ride. Only two people were missing, Jessica and Andy, and they aren't regular attendees like the rest of us.

Lake Sylvan
Originally uploaded by klbarrus
View from a dock inside the park

Work Bike Club
Originally uploaded by klbarrus
Hector, Asa, Terri-Lynn, Bill, Tomasz, me, Marilyn, Francis, Eugene

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Nintendo Wii

My friends Mai and Charles had a small party at their house, a small well-kept home with a large side/back yard. It is always interesting for me to see how other people decorate their homes, since mine is so plain. Their home is very colorful, with nearly every nook and cranny displaying pictures, art, or souvenirs from various trips. Diana and Travis also attended, along with two other teachers (Diana, Mai, and Charles all teach at the same middle school) - so we were a very learned group indeed!

The big hit of the evening was the Nintendo Wii that Charles recently bought. We took turns playing tennis, golf, bowling, a weird cow racing game, a target shooting game, a bubble bursting game, Super Mario Galaxy, and it was all a total blast. There is something really fun about mimicking the motions of a sport (i.e. the arm swing of throwing a golf club or swinging a tennis racket) for a video game. I'm not sure it would be that much fun playing the computer, since half of the fun was watching the others, but the control mechanism is definitely innovative.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Japanese Guests

It was a busy couple of days, because the running club's Japanese guests were in town for the OUC Half Marathon. They arrived Wednesday, and we had dinner at Anthony's Pizza near Lake Eola. They looked very tired from the trip, which was understandable since they arrived just hours before. Two families brought their kids, who were nearly asleep by the end of the meal.

I'm not sure what they all did on Thursday, but on Friday I took the day off work to spend some time with them and help out. The day started early in the morning, when the Japanese runners and a few of us from the Orlando Club met up for an easy run around downtown. After that, the group vote was to visit Disney's Animal Kingdom (I suspect the kids had a major say!) so we carpooled over to the park.

It was overcast so many of the animals were out and visible - really good timing for a trip. Most of us rode Mt. Everest, a roller coaster that was under construction the last time I visited. This was a great coaster, with a few surprises along the ride! After that the club had our carb loading dinner at Buca Di Beppo's.

The OUC Half Marathon was Saturday morning, and I was happy with how I did. The visitors were scheduled for more sight-seeing in the afternoon so I had the time to myself, to zip home and run a few errands. That evening was the running club's Christmas party, where we had dinner, gift exchanges, musical entertainment, and so on.

On Sunday, the group wanted to visit Islands of Adventure, so I got to use my season pass. One of the Japanese, Hiroki Zaizen, arrived a bit early so we got to talking. I hadn't really spoken with him before because on Friday he went off on his own to Kennedy Space Center instead of Animal Kingdom. Well Hiroki showed up with an Ironman bag (those small black ones with the ropes, the ones they put your finishing goodies in) so we got to talking about triathlon. I showed him my CDA keychain and he wanted to hear all about the race... which was funny since this guy was the IM expert! It turns out he has done most of the Asia/Pacific ones (IM Japan, IM Korea, IM Malaysia, IM Austrialia) and qualified for Hawaii several times! I looked up his latest Hawaii result from 2006 and he finished 449th overall at 10:10:48. Absolutely mind-boggling!! He said his goal is to go 9:30 (!).

It was fascinating talking to him about the international scene, from how tricky it is to handle travel arrangements to the challenge of getting into an event. As annoying as it is having to sign up a year in advance, within one hour from when registration goes live before the event fills - all that applies to international triathletes as well. He said he tried and failed to get into several US Ironmans just because they fill so quick, including IM Florida 2008. I told him if he gets into IMFL 2009, he can come out early and stay with me. :)

We had a good time at Universal Studios as well, especially on the water rides.