It has been many years since Cindy and I made the trek to the Cooper River Bridge Run (CRBR) in Charleston, SC.  Although the race has always been fun, past memories of a logistical nightmare to get 40,000+ runners across a bridge and to a finish line 6 miles away kind of kept us from putting this high on the list of things for us to do.  Well, after running the best run large race I have ever participated in, this one is right back on the calendar of fun, kid-free weekend events.  The weather in Charleston in early April could rival the best weather most anywhere and the food, fun and relaxed atmosphere that Charleston offers makes the draw the much more enticing.  We will be back.  Most everyone seen in the pictures above live within a few houses of ours in Baxter.  It was quite fun seeing them out of our normal setting.

It should be noted that Cindy ran her Personal Best time of 49:50 as did I at 39.27.  The bridge/hill isn’t too bad (150 up over 1 mile) and the wind this year was a factor going up and coming down the bridge (headwind).  King’s Street always lasts forever but the finish was much closer to Market Street than I ever remembered.  The only slightly-difficult logistics were regrouping at the ONE Chik-fil-a cow (there were FOUR of them) and getting to the buses which seemed further away than I remembered in the past.  Hanks, the rooftop bar and the beach at Wild Dunes were all their usual greats…as was the impromptu Publix sub we had on Saturday mid-afternoon.

A slideshow of the pictures can be found by clicking this link.

As always, all of our pictures can be found via Flickr at this link.

Details on my running for the few that may be interested are here.

THE MASTERS! April 2011

A few weeks back Dad sends me an email at work.  Normally personal emails to my work addressed are reserved for somber topics or possible gentle reminders from Cindy.  Something more urgent than what typically waits for me to pick it up when I get home.  You see, my work only allows me to receive emails from the bank email vs. web-based email clients like my beloved Gmail.  Something about too risky to allow good corporate stewards access to the dangers of the internet and their dreaded mail tools.  Ah, so much for all the convenience offered by having everything enabled via the World Wide Web.  But I have digressed.  This email was different.  It posed an important question.  “Would you be interested in going to The Masters with me?  I have come into 2 tickets for the practice round and Par 3 Tourney on Wednesday.”  I hesitated for about a half of a second, maybe less, and jumped at the chance.  It would be my 5th trip down to what I believe may be heaven.  When I think of heaven, I see the Masters.  The 13th green.  Maybe the panoramic view from the 9th green.  The 2nd shot into the 10th green.  Definitely the pimiento cheese sandwiches (still $1.50).

A 6:40am on Wednesday morning I hit the road to meet Dad.  At 9:03, after one brief gas stop, I arrived at the free parking across the street from entrance 6a.  Dad and I spoke via cell phone and he confirmed he was only 15 minutes or so behind me.  We would meet at gate 9 as soon as we both could get there.  I walked towards the gate with offers for $2.50 badge holders increasing to $5 as you got closer being thrown at me.  I kept my eyes peeled for dad.  15 minutes later I see the distractingly burnt (as in bad food, overcooked meat, or a worn out old skin) orange shirt of a Tennessee fan out of the corner of my eye.  I know this kind of team pride after the year the Vols fans only exists in a few people, even fewer in the state of Georgia.  It was him so I took off in a jog to catch him.  The cost of missing my dad while I waited at 6a and we agreed to meet at gate 9 was about a mile walk.  We turned back to 6a and entered God’s Country.  Or maybe God’s Country with a propensity for heavy duty fertilizer but we aren’t going there.

We walked in with thousands, and stopped by the driving range for a quick peek.  Then we caught Phil Mickelson, Fred Couples, Rory McIlroy, Stewart Cink, Tiger, Camillo Villegas and others on the back nine before enjoying the Pimiento Cheese, Egg Salad, Sweet Tea sandwiches over lunch.  Amen Corner then off to quickly run through the front 9 before soaking in the Par 3 tourney.  After the Par 3 tourney we hit the gift shop where any known item could be, and had been branded with a Masters Logo.  2 hours back to Fort Mill for dinner with the family.  A great day!

It is difficult to describe the uniqueness and beauty of this place.  I won’t try more than 3 bullets:

  • Food costs nearly the same that it did 20 years ago – truly an inflation-free environment.
  • The grounds are pristine and nearly every flower bud in the joint has been groomed to bloom on Sunday’s round.
  • Process excellence in every form of the word is show here.  The men’s bathroom with 50 people in line took 2 minutes to get to a stall.  Truly impressive organization here.

Thanks again to my dad and his friend Steve for the opportunity to get back to the greatest major golf tournament ever.  It is a special, special place that only being there can explain the beauty of the place.

Click here for a slide show of our day.

Click here for all of our pictures via Flickr.



Spring In My Step – March 2011

I can’t remember a more beautiful spring in the Charlotte/Fort Mill area.  Maybe it was a long winter?  The house has been opened up for weeks which maybe is making me appreciate the sounds and smells of Spring more?  The lack of the sounds of air conditioners running or maybe the lack of the drain from my wallet as they run?  All likely contributors to the greatness of this spring.

What have we been doing this spring you ask?  Glad you asked.  Springfest in Baxter followed “Beertopia” in Baxter (we didn’t make this event) which followed St. Patrick’s day in Baxter.  March was clearly the month of “fests” in Baxter.  At Springfest Will and Stewart got to show off their abilities in Tae Kwon Do and march in the parade.  Baxter loves a parade.  Never in a million years would I have predicted they would take to Tae Kwon Do like they have.  For that matter, I never really thought of me supporting it.  The idea of teaching kids to kick and hit things…hmmm.  But the real lessons are in respect for the instructor, self-discipline and self-confidence.  Their instructor is pretty amazing as she does cool things like rewarding kids for having good relationships with siblings and parents at home.  All upside.  I know I’ve written about this here before but it still impresses.  I’ll lay off the topic for the next update.  Maybe.

Will also took a step closer to being confirmed later this Spring.  The Reconciliation box is checked.  This means you meet with the priest, Father John, and you ask for penance via confession.  Will wouldn’t divulge the details of his conversation but the outcome of it was he needed to discretely thank his sister for being a great sister and let her know he’s sorry for sometimes not treating her so well.  I think I can put the pieces together on what he talked to the Priest about now.  The amazing part of this process leading to his first Communion and Confirmation is that I have learned all along the way with him.  The other amazing thing is listening to Will rattle off the various prayers he’s had to learn.  Hail Marys, The Prayer of Contrition, The Our Father, etc.  He’s a smart cookie.  He’s also very interested in it all which is so cool.  Maybe our contribution to the Catholic Church?  Father Will?

Anyways – enjoy the photos of our spring so far.  Next up will be an update from our Cooper River Bridge Run and the trip Dad and I took to the Masters…might even have some camping pictures if I can remember to bring the camera.

Click here for a Slide Show of our Springtime in Fort Mill.

Click here to see all of our pictures via Flickr.