Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bad Boys, Bad Boys...PART II

Thursday, April 26, 2012  at 9:12 AM
I thought you would enjoy a quick update on my run in with the LAW!  Remember, I sent an email to the chief of police in Buchanan, MI about being pulled over for riding 2-abreast and it being perfectly legal.  I received a reply from one of the deputies as follows [If you can't read the emails, just click on the picture to make it larger...]:

He TOTALLY missed it!  I copied the exact law and a link to it in my original email, and he fully misread the law.  It plainly states that you can legally ride NO MORE THAN 2-abreast.  So, I did my best to be kind and respectful in a reply email as follows:

On Monday, I got an email from Chief Marx saying:

So all you Michiganders can now thank me for helping the Buchanan Police Department understand the laws of this state.  Feel free to ride 2-abreast in Buchanan or anywhere in the state!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pioneer Spring Run Off Race Report

Tuesday, April 24, 2012  at 7:37 AM
Despite the lack of speed work and running in general, I am proud to report that I felt like I had a decent 5k race at the Pioneer Spring Run Off!  It's funny that I have only run one other 5k race, and the first was with Jennifer at her pace.  That was several years ago, and here's a picture of what we looked like then...

This was my first 5k by myself, so I wasn't sure exactly how hard to go out or conserve.  I figured that it was only 3.1 miles, so it would be retarded to "save" something.  But, before I go into details about the race, I have to give mad props to by buddy, Jonathan DeWeber!  This guy has been fully transformed in the last few months.  He has last 60 pounds!  Not only that, but he's picked up running and is a lean, mean, running machine!  Good grief!  The crazy thing is that you wouldn't see it unless you trained with him, but he has this fierce competitiveness inside that he has a hard time holding back.  He actually trained for this race and put the effort in, and it paid off for sure.  We did several runs together, and here's how the race played out for us.

Our goal was to run sub-23 minutes for the 5k, so we decided to go out quick and then see how we felt.  We lined up somewhere closer to the front, because we figured we would be some of the faster runners.  The race started, and we easily got caught in the fray of people going out way too fast.

We were running somewhere in the 6:20's for at least the first half mile or so.  I could see Jon's competitive spirit really working on him as he would surge every time someone would pass us.  I kept giving updates on our pace until we settled into where we wanted to be, in the 7:20 range.  The course was a pretty flat course that was two loops around campus.
Lovely heel-striking, eh?
Both of us were feeling pretty good after the first loop, and we were holding our pace very well.  Our plan was to throw in a little kick at the last quarter mile, and if one of us was feeling better to just go for it.  Well, when the kick came, Jon had more!!  So, with a "Keep it up, man," he took off.  I watched him finish and then followed 26 seconds later.

The course ended up being 3.23 miles, so my time was 23:32 averaging 7:17's.  That means that for an ACTUAL 5k, my time would have been 22:34!  That made me pretty happy!  Seriously, I would like to go sub-20 at some point this year.  That will require some actual speed training, but I think it is possible.

After sticking around to see another friend, Joshua Bennett, finish strong, Jenn and I went home.
Joshua finishing strong!  What a stud.
Probably 30 minutes later, I got a text from Jon saying, "You got 3rd place!"  What?  That's crazy!  I said, "That means you got second!  Grab my medal for me!"  He came over a few minutes later and we were stoked to be age-group winners.

Here's how that worked.  Normally, the 25-29 age group is full of speed demons, but not at a university where you're getting your masters and the majority are undergrads!  Hah!  It pays to pick your races carefully.  So, we both scored medals and had a blast doing it.

A special thanks to Jennifer for braving the cold just to be such an awesome support and photographer.  You're the best, Babe!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bad Boys, Bad Boys!

Friday, April 20, 2012  at 1:15 PM
Amidst the packing, finishing papers to complete the last few classes of my masters degree and trying to find a house, I've really been enjoying spending some quality time on the bike.  Recently, there have been several friends that have gotten into cycling, and it's just great to be able to have people to ride with.  My rides haven't been that long, yet, but I've been pumping out the 30 milers pretty frequently.  I've got a 50+ scheduled for Tuesday, and I think I'll be riding the Steelhead 70.3 course.  (Beth, Kevin, and Matty O, Erika, and guys know that one pretty well, right?)  I haven't been doing too much running or swimming, but I've been LOVING the riding!!!  Speaking of running, I'm running a 5k on Sunday, and I know it's gonna hurt!  I haven't been doing the speed work that I should have, so I'll probably be pretty slow.

Now, normally, I would consider myself a cautious, courteous, careful cyclist out on these car-covered roads.  I do my best to obey all the rules of the road, and I'm not a renegade.  But, here's what happened on my ride with Donnie Keele this past Wednesday...

Donnie had never ridden more than 18 miles, and he had been asking to ride a longer ride of 30 or so.  So, we headed out on a big loop that went through several smaller towns.  Upon entering Buchanan, MI, the road goes from single lanes into a 4-lane city street that is undivided other than the double yellow lines.  As we entered the city, we noticed a police car sitting with the windows down and the engine turned off just monitoring what was going on.  I didn't think much of it, and we kept riding.  Now, because there were two lanes going our direction, we were riding side-by-side.  About a mile after seeing the police car, we hear, not a siren, no lights, but a double tap on the horn!  We quickly pulled over and watched the officer park and walk over to us.  Here is how the conversation played out (more or less).

  • Me: "Hey!  How ya doing today?"
  • Officer: "Oh, doing good, how about you?"
  • Me: "Well, it's a terrific day to be out exercising."
  • Officer: "Do you know why I pulled you over today?"
  • Me & Donnie: "No"
  • Officer: "Where are you from?"
  • Me: "Berrien Springs, MI"
  • Officer: "Well, they have the same rules as we do down here.  You CAN'T ride side-by-side.  Did you know that?"
  • Me: "No, I didn't realize that."
  • Officer: "You have to obey all the same rules as cars do.  That's why you are allowed to use these streets."
  • Me:  "Right, like stopping at stop signs, signaling when turning, obeying traffic lights..."
  • Officer: "And if you ride at night, you have to have a light on your bike.  And, you must ALWAYS ride as close to the right hand side of the road as possible."
  • Me: "Thanks.  I try my best to obey all those rules."
  • Officer: "Do you have any ID on you?"
  • Me: "No, all I have is my phone."
  • Officer: "What is your name, address, etc."
  • Me: "..."
  • Officer: "Now I'm just giving you a warning, but if I catch you again, you WILL get a ticket."
  • Me: "Thank you for serving and protecting me and keeping me safe.  Thanks for doing your job."

We rode off, and I can't say that we weren't a little frustrated at the power trip that we had just been a part of.  Well, the ride was awesome, and Donnie did great for his first big ride.  He's actually a pretty strong rider.  When we got home, Donnie hopped on the computer to do a little research and came up with this interesting Michigan Bike Law:

That's pretty simple, isn't it?  "MORE THAN 2 ABREAST"  We weren't doing ANYTHING wrong!!!  I felt a little "athletically profiled."  It's a good thing we weren't wearing hoodies... (I'm playin'!)

Then, upon further investigation, I stumbled about this little addition to the puzzle:

So not only were we not in the wrong with riding side-by-side, but we also were correct in using the full lane of the 4-lane road.  It was very frustrating!!!

Donnie and I thought about it a bit, and we decided to take a little action.  We printed off these laws that we had found on the website and drove to Buchanan.  Here was the pre-game video right before we left:

Once we got to the Police station, we parked and walked to the front door.  Now, this is where this story gets a little lame.  The front door was locked, and no one was around.  It was very anti-climactic.  We stood there trying to figure out what we should do, and I decided that a courteous email to the police chief might be the next best thing.  So, an email it was.
Buchanan, MI Police Station
I emailed the full story and links to the appropriate laws to the Police Chief.  I wonder if I will get a response.  I'll keep you posted...  Have you been stopped by the Po-Po while riding your bike?  Just so you know, I did break the speed limit on this ride, but I didn't get pulled over for that!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Are you ready?

Wednesday, April 04, 2012  at 7:39 PM
So I know that I was a jerk in my last post without telling you the news that we got about our future.  I thought it deserved a special post since it's such a big deal for us.  Thanks for not sending me all hate comments! (Although you almost didn't get a chance because I forgot have the comments turned on.  Thanks for letting me know Kevin!)  So here's the scoop!

I got an email from one of the three ministerial directors for the Georgia-Cumberland Conference that said that we would be interviewing in Buford, Ga.  Where is that, you ask?  Let me show you...
Click the map to see it enlarged!
Basically, it's a really cool suburb of Atlanta that has all the benefits of being in a city, but it doesn't have a lot of the negatives like incredible traffic!  It still has quite a bit, but it's not horrible.  It is the growing community that includes the Mall of Georgia which is a very large and very nice mall.  It's a very "White" community which is quite rare in Atlanta.  Buford is right next to Lake Lanier that can't touch lake Michigan, but it is a nice place for enjoying the water/beach.  It even has a triathlon that I'm planning on doing called the Summer Sizzler.  We are really excited to be placed in Buford, and I think it's going to be a terrific place to live!  By the way, my parents live in Calhoun, Ga which is up I-75 to the top left of the map.  It's about and hour and 45 minutes away.  Now, before I tell you all about the church, I have to tell you something that is unbelievable for any blogger.

Many of you follow Colleen over at Irondiva.  If you don't follow her, you really should!  She writes a super cool blog and is a super strong triathlete.  Anyway, if you do follow her, then you know that she is in the process of moving to Atlanta.  I've known that for awhile, but Atlanta is really big, so I didn't know where in ATL she would end up.  She and Tom, her husband, went through the ringer with house offers and home inspections.  The last I had heard, she was looking for a house in Marietta which is a suburb in northwest Atlanta. (see map)  When I knew where Jennifer and I were going to be moving, I shot her an email to tell her, and this is what she wrote back.
As you can see from the map, Suwanee is the next city down from Buford!  Isn't that crazy?  7 miles away?  Who would have thought?  Now I know that most people that aren't into the blogging thing won't understand, but those that do blog totally get the fact that you can make and have some of the best friends ever from people that you've never met or talked to before.  It's hard to explain that you can meet someone for the first time and know them and naturally click!  It's happened several times to me with people I've met through my blog.  So, when Colleen called me the next day, we just talked like we knew each other.  It wasn't awkward at all, and it felt like I was just talking with a friend.  Needless to say, Jenn and I are so excited to meet the Kingerys.  How cool is it that we all can do some training together?

But there is more, because we still had an interview with our new church.  On Monday, Jenn and I met with the church board of the Buford Family Seventh-day Adventist Church.  It's a long name, right?  Check out their website to get an idea of how chill they are.  The church was a plant from the Auburn, Ga SDA church about three years ago.  Three families started it with their passion to reach people and focus on Jesus and His grace.  The church began with just those families and now has about 90 members attending weekly.  In three years, it has really grown!  They have a desire to keep it simple and not get weighed down with the differences and issues that are so prevalent in Christianity.  So after an hour and a half of intense questions about who I am what I believe about pastoring, we were UNANIMOUSLY accepted as their pastor!  Yay!  I wasn't really worried, but it always makes you feel wanted to hear that good news!  Our first Sabbath is May 19.  Anyone want to take a weekend vacation to come and visit?  I'm pretty sure the services will be recorded, so I might include a link to them now and again.  The church doesn't have an office, so that means I'll be working a lot from home which is really sweet!  If you can't tell, I'm FREAKING stoked about our future and where we will be.  There is no doubt in my mind that God is leading us to Buford and to this church, and it really feels good to be walking in His will.

So now you know!  Sorry for the wait, and I hope you thought it was worth it.  I know that this post was a lot of reading and less picture viewing.  Let me just give you another teaser and say that the next post will most likely include a bunch of pictures of the next step in our moving process!! ;)  Thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Monthly Recap

Sunday, April 01, 2012  at 1:08 PM
Isn't it amazing how crazy life gets sometimes?  That's how the Smith home has been recently.  From writing papers and finishing assignments so I can graduate, to baby dedications, to job interviews, to house hunting...WE'VE BEEN BUSY!

So, here is a recap blog about what's been happening with the Smiths over the last several weeks.

Brynlie's Baby Dedication:
A couple weekends ago, Jenn and I drove down to Chattanooga to go to my niece's baby dedication.  It was held at the visitor center at the VW plant there in Chatt-town.  It really is a cool spot with tons of trails and places to hike.

Enterprise South Nature Park 03182011 02
The service went well, and Jenn and I even sang a song together.  Nope, I don't have any pictures or video of that, although I know you all would like to hear us singing!  :)

That same weekend, Jenn and I went to see her parents to celebrate her mom's birthday.  Check out the sweet medal hanger that I found for her on  I think she really liked it and now has something to hang her triathlon medals on!
Kathy, mother-in-law, with her B-day present
While we were down there, we wanted to see the damage from the crazy tornados that keep ripping through Chattanooga.  This last one was less than two miles from my sister and brother-in-law's house.  My brother-in-law, Jason, is also a Police Officer/Chaplain for the Chattanooga Police.  He was on the scene shortly after the tornado came through, and he took some video of the area as well as a life-flight helicopter picking someone up.  The damage was INCREDIBLE!  
If you didn't know, I love playing golf!  I'm not all that great at it, but I sure have a lot of fun.  My dad and I never pass up an opportunity to hit the links, so we took the chance and played 9 holes on Sunday a couple weekends ago.  It was perfect weather, and a whole lot of fun.  We played at a course that I'd never played before, but I had my best round of the year (out of three) and shot a 45.  

I also got to go with my buddies, Donnie Keele and Jonathon DeWebber a couple weeks ago.  We had a lot of fun although it was REALLY ugly!  Want to see a nasty-lookin', bail-out-at-the-end swing?  Have a look...
Although we've been super busy, we've been taking advantage of getting out and riding a bunch.  We've been struggling with flats recently, although I think we've figured out the problem.  Jenn had two flats in back to back days, but it was due to her tire bead separating from the sidewall.  The wire bead was poking the tube! On my last ride with Ryan Hodgins, I snagged a piece of glass that cut the tire and of course tube.  Luckily, the tire held for the last 20 miles of our 35 mile ride.  We had a lot of fun, and it was great to break him into his furthest distance and past the 30-mile barrier.  He hadn't ridden more than 22 miles before.

Any News?
Yes, I've got a bunch of news about our future and what will happen after graduation!  We're so happy and stoked, and there are so many blessings that have happened in the last weeks.  But, I'm gonna leave you hanging for another post that I'll give you later this week.  Am I a jerk or what?  :)