Brock Rogers

It's all fun and games until you misplace a semi-colon.

Credit CardsTo the person who stole my debit cart information:

Hi. Yea, I know we really don’t know each other, but I thought I would write you anyway.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. You, after all, know a bit about me, like the numbers on the debit card that, up until about 9:00 AM this morning, was attached to my checking account. I know that you came about this information illegally. But, beyond that, we are strangers.

I can infer some things about you, though. Say, for instance, that after you managed to discover my account information, you tried to buy groceries. That would suggest that you needed the food for yourself, or quite possibly your family. I guess I could have understood that. I’ve never been in that situation, where stealing would be the difference between the people I love eating or not, so I wouldn’t have been too quick to judge. Don’t get me wrong, it still wouldn’t have made it right, but I guess I would have got it.

But you didn’t try to buy groceries, did you. Nope. Movie tickets. From various sellers across the nation. Perhaps your family was starved for entertainment?

Well, it didn’t work out, did it? My bank’s processor blocked each attempt. Given that I live in none of California, New York, Maryland, or Florida, you didn’t make it all that hard for them. They were able to block all the attempts at the pre-authorized state and prevent you from dancing the Fandango with my money.

So, what did it cost me really? $10 for a new card. In all fairness, the old one had started to not be swipe-able on occasion, and I was planning on getting a replacement one soon anyway. Half a day of productivity while I got it sorted out; I’ll just work a few hours longer the rest of the week. The inconvenience of not being able to use my money until the pre-authorizations drop back off of the account; that should happen tomorrow, maybe the next. It really didn’t cost me anything. That’s probably why I’m not even angry about it.

Honestly, I feel sorry for you.

One of the characteristics my parents installed in me, and in my brothers, was hard work. It wasn’t a lecture lesson; there were no ‘you will work hard’ speeches. Mom and Dad worked hard, and I guess it just never occurred to us to be anything but hard workers. It’s just how it was. The pride in a job well done was reward enough for the hard work.

I worry that you will never feel that.

I doubt that I’ll ever know who you are, or if you will ever have to answer for the attempted theft of my money. I don’t even care. I just hope that, someday down the road, you’ll do something really awesome, and really work hard and earn it legally. Then you’ll turn around and see the thing you’ve done, and know that feeling of pride in a job well done.

If you do, you’ll never want to steal anything again.

Ohio Hills Folk Festival 5KSo, I’m 99 days out from the Columbus Marathon, one for each of Jay-Z’s problems, and decided to run my second ‘on a whim’ race in two weeks, the Ohio Hills Folk Festival 5K. Hard to not run a race that’s less than a 15-minute drive from the house.

The race didn’t start until 9:00 AM, so by the time that the gun when off, it was getting close to 80°. Combine that with some pretty high humidity, and the course zapped my energy pretty quick. The first mile out I completed in 7:40, which I am pleased with, given that it’s just under my current 5K PR pace and the mile included a .35 mile, 2.5% grade climb as the path went out of Quaker City.

Around two miles of the run were out in the country, which was a really nice change of scenery. Mile two was all out among the hay fields, and the road turned from sealed to loose gravel. That, combined with the rising temperatures slowed me down significantly; I huffed and puffed through a 8:16 second mile. I was able to pick the pace up just slightly for the last 1.1 miles, but only to a 8:12 pace. Overall, I finished in 24:57, just over a minute slower than last week’s time, but that was good enough for 2nd in my age group. First in my group was just 13 seconds ahead of me, but I just couldn’t catch him, despite chasing him the whole second half of the course.

So, two races in two weeks. That’s the first time I’ve done that since taking up running again. The legs are tired. Seeing as how both races were last-minute, “Hey, I’m going to do that!” races, I’ve decided to lay out the events I’m going to run between now and Columbus and stick to only running those races. Otherwise, I’ll end up running every weekend and will be too tired to train properly on my long runs. I’m going to run the Flamingo Run 5K  in August and the Pumpkin Run 5K in September. I’m going to run the News & Sentinel Half Marathon in August as well, but I’m going to work that in to be the long run for the week. Hoping to finish the half at 9:00 per mile. That would be a huge improvement over my Ogden Half time, but it also looks like a much flatter course. (29th Street Hill was demoralizing.) We’ll see where I am when we get there.


Don’t forget that I’m a Children’s Champion for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon, and I’m trying to raise $1,000. Anything you could donate would be awesome. (Go to http://10t.co/brockcm14 to donate, or download a mail-in form.)

FlagsHope everyone is having a safe and happy 4th of July weekend. More fireworks!

I took Saturday morning to head down to Marietta to run in the Mercer’s Military Benefit 5K Run/Walk at Indian Acres Park. It was a first year event with all the proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior Project.

I started off the day by tripping over my shoe lace and skinning my knee. Good way to warm up. It’s my own fault; my toe caught in the loop of my lace. Lesson learned. Tuck in your shoe laces before you start running.

It was a small race, with only 50 or so of us there, but it was a really nice little event. The course was almost entirely on the bike path that runs along the banks of the Muskingum River. The difference between the lowest and highest points was only about 30 feet, so it was flat and fast.

So fast, in fact, that I was able to knock almost 30 seconds off of my previous best 5K pace, finishing up at 23:52.

Had a chance to talk to the race director, Brian of ZkFitness, and he said that they planned on having the race again next year. Fun little event that I definitely want to go back to next year.

That’s my racing for this month. Looking at possibly three more before the Columbus Marathon: the Debbie Green 5K and the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon, both in August, and the Pumpkin Run in September.

So, a while back, I stumbled on someone doing a ‘Faces Everywhere‘ project. (I’ve since also seen it titled as ‘Faces in Places‘ as well.) It’s based on the phenomenon of pareidolia which, due to the way that our brains work, causes us to see a rabbit in the clouds, a man in the moon, and strange messages in Beatles songs when we play them backwards.

Anyway, Faces Everywhere are pictures taken of common objects that seem to have facial features, because we’re all really good at making things that are not faces into faces. I hadn’t heard of the idea before, and started looking around to see if I could find a few, and here’s what I come up with. Enjoy. (Clicking on the image will bring up a nice little image carousel, designed for your viewing pleasure.)

(or “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Run”)

Brock Rogers Color Me Au-Some 5KI stood there in complete disbelief. My throat felt dry; my palms felt slightly sweaty; I’m not even sure I was blinking.

This couldn’t be happening. I tried again to plug my headphones into my cell phone’s jack, and yet again it didn’t go all the way in. I pushed a little harder: nothing. A bit more. I took it all the way out and blew into the jack like it was 1987 and that little black phone was a Nintendo cartridge (although I’m not entirely sure what I thought that was going to do), and still the plug stopped short about a quarter of an inch. No, no, no, no, NO! Next thing I know I’m standing over the phone aiming a hammer at the point that would jam that puppy home for sure. Thank goodness for a moment of clarity that prevented me swinging that beast.

A little background. It was Friday, and I was getting ready for a little shake out run before the Color Me Au-Some 5K Color Run today. Having just finished up the Ogden Half Marathon and not quite ready to start training for Columbus Marathon, I had a few weeks of down time and felt like pushing my pace a bit, running a fun 5K, maybe even setting a personal record in the mean time. The last couple weeks of training had felt great, legs had been rested, and when I woke up on Friday, I felt like nothing could stop me from a PR in Wheeling.

And then, the Headphone Jack Incident.

There are runners that never look at a watch when they are running and just listen to their body to set the pace. Others check their time by the mile. And then there’s me: ear buds in the ears, cell phone in the running belt, an update every minute with current pace, split pace, overall pace, total distance, and total time. Music is specifically chosen for a consistent beats per minute that closely matches my running cadence. Yea, I’m That Guy. I’m fine with being That Guy. I run for me, and that’s the way I like it. I like the feedback, and it’s basically the only time I ever listen to music.

So, there I stood, feeling lost, alone. There was no way I could get the headphone jack fixed in 24 hours. I would have to tackle the 3.1 miles all by my lonesome. No music. No pace feedback. I went out for my shake out run discouraged. In ten minutes I had went from knowing I was just a day away from the best run of my life to not knowing how I would even get through it. Running is therapeutic though, and by the end, I felt pretty good again. Or, at least like I was only missing one shoe instead of both.

Wheeling Suspension BridgeI arrived in Wheeling this morning about an hour before the race. I like to get to races early, get my packet picked up, and have plenty of time to get warmed up. After going through my usual routine, I felt good. Really good, actually. “You were just being silly,” I told myself as I stood waiting for the race to start. “You don’t need the constant feedback or the music. You’ve worked hard. You have this. Let’s go set a PR.”

Ready. Set. Blast.

I was shocked by how many people were at this event. It was, indeed, Au-Some. A friend that works for the Augusta Levy Learning Center (the group that put on the race as a fund-raiser) told me that they had over 800 pre-register, and they had around 200 extra show up today. There were people everywhere. It made for a pretty slow first quarter of a mile, but we spread out soon enough and I was feeling great. As I started getting closer to where I knew the first mile post had to be I started guessing at my pace. It felt fast enough, felt right, but I just didn’t know. I really started missing that almost constant feedback. We rounded a corner and I saw the first mile mark. The clock said 8:00. That’ll work; a little slower than I need to average, but I can make up those seconds now that I have some room.

Wait, that doesn’t say 8:00. It says 9:00. 9:00? Really, are you kidding me, 9:00?!? [1] I did some quick math and guessed that, in order to PR, I’d have to run around a 7:20 pace for the next 2.1 miles. “I can’t do that,” I told myself. “No way. I knew I needed my headphones! I would have known earlier how off the pace I was.” Just like that, 1/3 of the way into the run, my chance at a PR was gone. All this was running through my mind in the block an a half between the mile mark and the top of the Wheeling Suspension Bridge. Still feeling a bit sorry of myself, I started looking around.

Sunny. 65 degrees. Very slight breeze. Running across the Wheeling Suspension Bridge, looking down on the Ohio River. Half-covered in dried, pink paint. Running in a race to help raise money that goes to help others, a race to which I was able to donate a door prize. Suddenly, I realized just how unimportant that 9:00 on that clock was. I love the run, so let’s just run.

Across the bridge, down the island, and around Wheeling Island Stadium. Next thing I know, I’m coming up to the two mile mark. I heard the lady there say, “…and 55 seconds.” Did she say 17:55? That’d be OK. Not quite the pace I wanted to run, but a decent recovery after a bad start, and who cares about that time on the clock anyway. I’m running. “16 minutes.”

She just said 16. I just ran a seven minute mile. Quick math: If I run the last 1.1 miles in less than 8:24, I’m would still PR.

I took inventory. I was pretty gassed at this point; 7:00 isn’t my usual mile pace. I still had to run back up the suspension bridge; I never realized how steep that bridge is. I knew I still wasn’t going to set a personal record, but I felt way different about it at mile 2. At least I came back strong. And I love the run. Just run.

Back up the island, back up the bridge, and back down the hill into downtown Wheeling. My legs were burning, my lungs felt like pin cushions, and I was smiling like the Cheshire Cat as I turned and headed toward the finish line. Once I could read the time on the clock, it said 24:00. My PR for a 5K is 24:24.

I think I can get there in 23 seconds. Let’s go, legs.

I’m not speeding up. Come on, legs. I know you hurt, but everything else hurts, too, and I need you right now. Get on the hop, we got some running still to do. Legs?

LEGS!

I crossed the line at 24:32. The legs had nothing left to give. The tank was completely empty. No PR. Missed it by 8 seconds. It didn’t take me 8 seconds to get to the start line, right? I wasn’t that far back. No way.

(Before you read the next part, go ahead and start the video. Listen to the music; let it breathe. Then read on below.)

Just checked the results. Chip time: 24:21.

PR, baby. PR.

I guessed at the mile 1 mark that I needed to be close to a 7:20 pace to give myself a shot at a PR, and I told myself it wasn’t possible. Then I messed around and ran a 7:21 pace for the rest of the race, and improved my PR by 3 seconds. Without headsets, and without pace updates every minute. All I did was look around and love the run.

I now have a week of recovery planned before I start training for Columbus. [2] And, in the interest of full disclosure, there is a bluetooth headset on the way to replace the wired one that will no longer work, but it’s more for the music than it is the pace updates. I’ll still set the app to tell me the paces so that I can train effectively, but just not quite so often.

For those who helped put on the Color Me Au-Some 5K today, outstanding work. It was an absolute blast. Well organized, especially considering it was a first year event. I’m stained the wrong color in several places, including a blue wrist, a pink stomach, and a green armpit, but I can’t wait until next year.


1. OK, let me clarify something here. There may be those of you who’s goal is to be able to run a 9:00 pace over a 5K. There’s nothing wrong with running at a pace of 9:00, just like there isn’t anything wrong with running a 12:00, 15:00, or even a 30:00 pace.  I’m far from the fastest runner in the world, and doubt there will ever be a race that I win, but there isn’t anything wrong with that, either. The only person I try to beat when I’m running is me. A pace of 9:00 per mile isn’t a bad thing, it’s just that a 9:00 pace wasn’t in my plan for this race.Go Back

2. Don’t forget that I’m a Children’s Champion for the Columbus Marathon, and I’m trying to raise money for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital. If you would like to help out and donate to the hospital, you can over on my fund-raising page. Go Back

So, I’m officially signed up now for my first marathon, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon. October 19th, 2014.

When I was considering signing up, I did some Googling and came across a quote attributed to Susan Sidoriak: “I dare you to train for a marathon, and not have it change your life.” That’s the type of quote that you come back to at 3:28 AM, or at least I did. My eyes popped open, and I was suddenly, fully, and completely awake.

I’m going to do this.

One of the really cool things about the Columbus Marathon is that the primary beneficiary is the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, a partnership that began just two years/marathons ago. Since then more that $2 Million has been raised for the hospital.

Along the route, Children’s patients are staked out; 24 of the miles have a Miracle Mile Patient from the hospital to offer encouragement, 1 Encore Mile for past Miracle Mile Patients, and 1 Angel Mile to, as their website puts it, “honor, remember and celebrate the angels of Nationwide Children’s who have already finished their race.”

That’s also the kind of thing you come back to at 3:28 AM.

After signing up, I found out that they have these things called “Children’s Champions,” in short, a way for Columbus Marathon participants to help raise money for the hospital by collection donations.

Yea, I’m doing that, too.

So, here we go. 140 days left in the countdown, and I want to raise $1,000 for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and I need help doing it. If giving a donation is something that you can do, even if it’s just a couple bucks, it would be amazing. The link is right down there.

I’m not sure it’s enough to just get the chance to change me; I want to try to help change someone else’s life, too. The donations go directly to the hospital, and they go there now, months before the actual marathon, to help those who need it.

See you out there.

Donate to Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Brock at the start of the Ogden Half MarathonSo, I’m one day removed from running the Ogden, my first half marathon, and I am surprised but pleased by how little my legs hurt. They are tired, but I feel like if I really had to run today I could, but in the interest of recovery I am going to take the day off and go for a light run tomorrow.

My chip time was 2:04:29, which I’m pretty pleased with, considering that I though I would be more in the 2:10:00 range. I was also slightly faster on the second half (1:01:25) than I was on the first half (1:03:04). (Seriously, go see me cross the finish line strong.)

The climb up 29th Street hill to Bethlehem was rough, but not as bad as I expected it to be from the point of physically being able to run up it; the significantly shorter climb up to McColloch’s Leap near the end of the race was much more taxing.

29th Street posed a very different challenge, though: climbing up the same hill for 20 minutes was mentally exhausting. I had driven up the hill the day before to get an idea of how long was, but I still wasn’t ready for just how long it was. After about five minutes I started thinking that the top must just be right around the next turn, even though I knew it wasn’t. It never felt like that sucker was never going to end.

Ogden Half Marathon Classic ResultsThanks to everyone that helped out with the race, both officially and unofficially. The police officers that were along the course did a fantastic job keeping car traffic flowing as good as could be expected, and keeping all the runners and walkers safe, and not just from the traffic; almost every officer I passed along the way offered encouragement, asked how things were going, waved, made eye contact, or something to just check and make sure everything was OK. It was also cool to see the groups of people along the route that were not associated with the race offering free water, a spray down from their hose, encouragement, or what have you.

To the young man dressed as Captain America near the bottom of the hill up to McColloch’s Leap, you were right: high-fiving your shield did indeed provide me with a little extra strength, and helped me get over the hill. Thanks for being there.

All in all, though, a great experience, and a race I want to run again next year.

Today, I walked into the place where I’ve worked for the last 13 odd years and I handed them a piece of paper in an envelope. The envelope said nothing; the paper said that, as of April 25th, I wouldn’t be working for them any more.

Granted, over the last year or so, I haven’t really spent that much time working for them, just a day or two a week, but there was always that option to say, “Hey, I’m ready to come back full-time.” I could have went back to five days, and this four-and-a-half-year experiment of running my own business could have just come to an end. But 10T Web Design continues to grow, and the ‘day job’ continues to be less of a requirement.

Trying to juggle between the two is all about to end. The jump into the 100% self-employed me is two short weeks away. It’s a bit terrifying, really, but there will never be a better time than now. Even the handful of hours I spend working for someone else’s business is now getting in the way of growing my own. Time to check out.

It’s been a tough decision; I’m going to miss a lot of things about that place, the people most of all. It’s by far the longest I’ve worked at any one place; in over a decade, I’ve met a lot of great people, some of which have been around the entire time. I can’t imagine how different my experience would have been if I hadn’t genuinely enjoyed being around all of them, co-workers and customers alike. (If any of you are reading this, thanks.)

Anyway, enough sappy stuff. Let’s do this. Time to go. Buy the ticket, take the ride.

Or something like that.

Ever feel like The Man is creeping on your cell phone? These days, it seems like it’s more than just a fleeting chance. The people over at Scottevest have come up with a pretty good solution: a pocket-sized Faraday cage.

If this thing is really a Faraday cage, sticking your cell phone into it would cause it to loose contact with all signals. No 4G, no 3G, no GPS, not even Wi-Fi. Your phone would be 100% not reachable by anyone, friend friend or foe.

And it doesn’t just work on your cell phone, either. Stick your credit card in one, and no one will be able to skim your information using the RFID.

There has been some concern that this thing might not work, but if it really is a Faraday cage, then it works. I would have no reason to believe that it isn’t a true Faraday cage, as they are neither expensive or difficult to make.

Just in time for the zombie apocalypse, learn how to open a can of food using just some concrete and your hands. Just be careful you don’t cut yourself.

Countdown to Columbus

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I'm trying to raise $1,000 for Nationwide Children's Hospital, and I need your help! Donate online or download a donation form.

Running

Upcoming Races
8/2/14 - Flamingo Run 5K
Cambridge, Ohio

8/16/14 - News & Sentinel Half Marathon
Parkersburg, West Virginia

9/27/14 - Pumpkin Run 5K
Barnesville, Ohio

10/19/14 - Columbus Marathon
Columbus, Ohio

PRs

5K - 23:55
@ 2014 Mercer's Military Benefit 5K
Wheeling, West Virginia

Half - 2:04:29
@ 2014 Ogden Half Marathon Classic
Wheeling, West Virginia

Home Brewing

Enjoying:
Hard Cider
Enjoying:
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

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