Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Summer Christmas

Aside from Florida there aren't too many annual events I look forward to more than Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day means the opening of the Elenbaas cottage for the summer.

Highlights of the weekend:
-Getting incredibly sore from skiing 4 times after 9 months of hibernation
-Elenbaas's beating Steensmas in Bball
-Edging out Derek in golf
-Catching 2 turtles with Erin
-Hanging out with the big family
-"Reacting" diet coke and mentos to about 12 feet. The first try was a bust so two engineers had to design a better feed system. The new design was flawless.

-Lots of games

Monday, May 22, 2006

Jodi's Wedding

Jodi's wedding had all the ingredients for fun:
1) NOT on a summer weekend
2) fun group of friends for dancing and hanging out

3) good music and open bar

4) good food, especially deserts

Natasha ate 6 cupcakes, so I had to eat 7.

Between the wedding and reception we did some wine tasting at St. Julian's

Natasha is wicked strong. She easily smoked all the other women. Here she is beating Erin without even trying after already arm-wrestling 2 others.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Riverbank Run 2006

I ran in the 29th Annual Grand Rapids Riverbank Run on Saturday, my 2nd year in a row of the event. Last year's race was basically the beginning of my long distance running career and I was very happy to run a 2:16:56 25k for an average pace of 8:50 min/mi. This year, however, I was more focused on running as fast as I could instead of just finishing.

If you remember my post on March 25, I declared my goal was to beat my dad's "Elenbaas world record" of 2:11:31. However, I knew in reality I had to beat his record by at least 90 seconds because when he ran they did not have the same timing system. Nowadays you tie a little chip to your shoe and as you cross the start, mid-way point, and finish line the chip registers and your time is recorded. This way my time can determined from the starting line to the finish line. When my dad ran the time started for everyone when the gun went off, and the 1-2 minutes it would take to get to the starting line counted in your overall time. So I knew if I didn't beat his likely actual time of about 2:10:00 there would be a big asterisk over my time.

The run started a little chaotic. We had problems meeting my parents, the Schaafs, and Cindy.

All of the sudden the race was about to start so Darren and I quickly got in the street but way in the back of the pack and we had no idea where Jason was.

Soon the gun went off and it took 3 full minutes to get to the starting line. Once we started running I was annoyed that the pack we were stuck in was running much slower than I wanted to go. So I spent the first 2 miles dodging other runners. Aside from that I was happy that I was feeling pretty good. I was surprised to see my first 3 miles go by at an 8:00 min/mi pace.

The first half of the race whizzed by. I felt good and knew I was running quite a bit ahead of my goal. From miles 8 to 10 I started to feel my legs a bit but I kept pushing the pace and stayed around an 8:10 mile. Mile 11 was my fastest of the course at 7:45 as it was mostly a gradual downhill. Miles 12-14.5 my legs got really heavy and I felt like I was slowing down a lot. At this point, though, I was well ahead of my goal and I was confident that I would get my goal almost no matter what, but I kept running as hard as my legs would let me.

At 14.5 I knew there was only 1 mile left so I gave it my all and ran under the finish banner when the clock read 2:09:48 from when the gun had gone off! That showed without doubt I had the Elenbaas record. My actual time from start to finish was 2:06:46 for an 8:11 min/mile average pace.

Jason had ended up getting in a pack of runners quite a ways ahead of Darren and me at the beginning. I caught up to him at the 5 mile mark and we ran a mile together. At the 6 mile aid station we got separated and he caught up to me again around mile 8. Soon we separated again and I stayed a little ahead for the rest of the race. He crossed the finish line at 2:10:18 for an actual time of 2:08:21.

Darren and I got separated in the first 1/2 mile while we were dodging people and never saw eachother again. He crossed at 2:12:16 for an actual time of 2:09:14.

Erin, both of our moms, and Cindy did the 5k walk while my dad, Marv, Derek, and Melissa all completed the 5k run. Here are their results:

Erin: 53:04
Mom Veldhof: 53:32
Mom Elenbaas: ???
Cindy 53:06
Dad Elenbaas: 28:31
Marv: 28:31
Derek: 27:03
Melissa: 35:33

The weather was cold and nasty but it was a great morning. I had an awesome time and was so glad my wife and family could be there participating and supporting.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Going back a few years

I just figured out how to convert pictures I have in a MS Word document into JPG files that I can post here. Actually, I am just trying out a program that does it for me, so I'm sorry about the poorer quality of pictures but I just thought I'd post some of my favorite old pictures. I have a bunch in MS Word files from when I was putting together the slide show for my wedding.

I loved racing down my grandparent's driveway on their hot wheels. My feet were my brakes.

My long time friend Nick loved to fish. He was such a die-hard that we would practice casting from my swingset.

On a service project in Kentucky with my Dearborn CRC youth group we decided to test our strength and balance. We attempted this dozens of times and were successful at least twice. This time I just barely get my face out of the water (look close)! This back stress coupled with my week's task of carrying all the bags of shingles up to the roof resulted in seriously limited movement the following week.

Here is a sweet picture of me flipping into Chucka Cove in Jamaica on the Elenbaas cruise of 2003.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Red Sox

On Wednesday night I went to a sports bar at 6:30 for dinner expecting to be able to watch the Pistons game 5 against the Bucks as I ate. I forgot, though, that I was in Boston and all they care about are the Boston Red Sox. Every TV in the joint was tuned to the Boston pregame show (still 45 minutes until the first pitch). Plus, every single person in that bar either mentioned, or talked at length about the Sox.

I decided I must witness this obsession first hand and go to a game at Fenway Park. So on Thursday I made the effort to go to a game that many fans make 81 times a year. I drove 5 miles to the subway line that went furthest into the suburbs (where I was doing the testing for work), crammed into a train with hundreds of other Sox fans and took the 90 minute ride to Fenway.

Upon arrival I was happy to scalp a pretty cheap ticket to the always-sold-out game. I then watched warmups for 30 minutes, watched the 3 hour game and then fought my way back to the subway for another crowded 90 minute ride. It was a 6 hour night and quite expensive too.

I'm glad I went and enjoyed the experience but more than anything it really showed me how dedicated those fans are. They love their Sox, who happened to win 7-4.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Erin and I spent an excellent weekend in one of the most historic cities in the US. I'm doing testing at a company just outside Boston all week so we flew out on Saturday and had a nice 3-day weekend to explore.

On Saturday we flew in and spent the afternoon walking the Freedom Trail from the Bunker Hill Monument to Boston Common. It was about 4 miles of historical sites. My memory from walking the Freedom Trail with my family when I was in 7th grade was that it was awful. It was hot and all we wanted to do was swim in the hotel pool. This time Erin and I enjoyed a nice spring afternoon and could go at our leisure. My favorite part was the destroyer we walked on in the navy yard.

Sunday morning I took a great 10 mile run from the Bunker Hill Monument across downtown to the Atlantic Ocean and back. At the end of the run I raced up the 294 steps of the monument in 2:02 for a terrific, clear, morning view of the city.

Later Sunday we went to the Boston science museum and also walked along the Charles River.

The museum was pretty good but a little childish.

The highlight of our weekend was Sunday night. In New York a couple of years ago Erin and I went to the Broadway show Mama Mia.

To my surprise I really enjoyed it. So on Sunday we walked to the theatre district in hopes of getting into the Broadway show Wicked (story of the witches of Oz before Dorothy "dropped in"). We had called earlier and they said there were scattered $45 and $75 seats but no 2 together. When we arrived we found out there were no seats at all...for the rest of the 2 weeks that it was showing! But, they have a 'lottery' for about 20 tickets 2 hours before every show. It just happened to be 2 hours before the next show and so we submitted our names for the lottery (there was only a 1/2 hour window to submit your name). Sure enough, Erin's name got picked out of the 60 or so names and we "won" (still had to pay) 2 seats that were actually very good. The show was even better than Mama Mia and we both loved it.

On Monday we drove up to the north shores and visited a couple of resort towns on the ocean. It was a windy and kind of a nasty day but the shoreline was very picturesque.

On the way back to Boston we stopped in Salem and went to the witch Museum. We both liked the depiction of the 1692 Salem witch trials

and then we drove to see the house of 7 gables.

It was a very enjoyable weekend in Boston.