Summertime in Jamaica

Last week six of us headed south to Jamaica for a week on the beach at the Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton, about a half our outside of Montego Bay. For Kay and I it was a welcomed summer vacation, for the others is was the last chance to get away before school started. We booked through Vacation Express and were on the last Sun Wing charter direct from Nashville.

The Grand Palladium is the largest resort in Montego Bay and it has a lot to offer. There are two ‘sides’ to the resort, the Jamaica side which is more for families and the Lady Hamilton which is more for adults or couples. They’re connected by an enormous pool, with swim up bar, and main building that has resturants, shops, casino, disco, and common areas. The resturaunts will fit any pallet with two buffets and a sports bar that’s open 22 hours a day.

In addition to the main pool there’s an adult only pool with a bar that’s open till 10:30pm and another pool with a Spa and ‘lazy river’ that’s shaded. If you’d rather be on the beach there’s three to choose from. I’d recommend Sunset Beach as it has the most shade. It’s in a cove and is where the included water sports (snorkeling, kayaking, paddel boats, wind surfing, catamaran) are located. It also has ‘the jerk hut’, which you need to visit at least once and The Poseidon resturaunt.

You really have everything you need at the resort but if you want to go on an excursion that’s ‘no problem mon’. We took a taxi to Negril for an afternoon and stopped by Margaritaville, did some shopping, got to see a still working light house that’s a few hundered years old and visited Rick’s Cafe. Rick’s is known to be a good place to see the sunset, on the day we were there it cloudy. But you will have some entertainment from the locals cliff diving.

Our other trip was to Dunn’s River Falls, the most visited attraction in Ocho Rios if not the whole Island. It is a must if you’re there for any length of time but before booking ask when the cruise ships doc. If your schedule allows avoid a day when they’re in port, lines will be shorter and you’ll have more time on the falls.

The other days were spent at the resort on the beach. I did get Parmy Olson’s ‘We are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency’ to pass the time. It was a interesting read. We sprinkled in a little volleyball and tennis, but no running. Some others in the group did a little but walking was enough for Kay and I. And yes it is a big place so be prepared to take a stroll if you need to get somewhere.

We had a great time and would recommend the resort if you’re looking for a place to hang out in Jamaica.

Purity’s Moosic City 5K/10K Run

This weekend was the Purity Moosic City 5k/10k Run at Metro Center in Nashville, TN. I haven’t ran much since the Predators 5K a few weeks ago and didn’t know what to think about signing up for the 10K. If there was a benefit to having 3 hockey games last week it was decent training. The first mile wasn’t good but it got better after that. I finished at just over an hour, 1:04 I think. I can’t remember the last time I went for a solid hour without stopping at anything let along running. Hockey is a little different even though games will go an hour we’re only on the ice for a minute at a time.

Kay has run this a number of times but it was my first. Course was flat and the weather was good, not to hot and not to cold with a breeze. The best part was the ice cream sandwiches after the finish, excellent!!

Hoping I can give it a go next year.

On the slopes in Utah

This year’s trip was to Utah visiting Powder Mountain and Snowbasin. The week before I was able to stop in at Solitude and Alta for a few days. Weather was excellent and the snow was great. The last time I was at Powder Mountain it was 2010 and the Olympics were going on. This years trip had a interesting twist as the night before I took a puck to the foot just above the ankle. That would make things interesting.

I’d only been to Solitude and Alta once before which was more than a few years ago. I didn’t really know what to expect coming back since there hadn’t been much snow. As luck would have it snow was on the way and the first day we’d have to go up Little Cottonwood Canyon since Big Cotton Canyon was closed till 9:00am, and we didn’t want to wait. In hindsight going to Solitude was the right choice, great snow and no lift lines. I doubt we waited 30 seconds for a chair all day, Alta was a different story. At Alta the wait was a minimum of 10 minutes. Not sure if it was a Friday thing or just that more people go there. Regardless both places were excellent and the long Alta runs made up for the wait, most of the time.

The puck to the ankle would put time at Snowbasin and Powder Mountain to three days instead of the planned four. Day one at Snowbasin was excellent. The ankle held up pretty well even though the boot fitting the evening before was questionable, just strapping it tight was painful. I kept the day short and finished heading down Dan’s Run, not the best choice of runs. It hadn’t been groomed and there were a few moguls which made for more pounding on the foot than I’d like. The experience there is second to none, first class. It might be a hour outside of Salt Lake City but it’s worth the drive.

Day two at Powder Mountain was just as expected, accept for the early exit. Two years ago when we were there we skied two days and I remembered a number of runs. It was an overcast day and a little cooler, only in the 20’s but that made for good snow. With it a little colder we stopped for a break around 11:30 at the Hidden Lake Lodge. The ankle was really bothering me as continued pressure when turning was taking it’s toll. After the break I left the group and headed down to the main lodge and was going to call it quits. The “Powder Keg”, as it’s called, is small bar on the main floor and was very busy. I took a seat at the bar had a beer and hung out till about 2:00. Not sure if it was the beer, tight quarters, or feeling a little better but I headed back out for a run to see how the foot would hold up. I headed down to the Timberline lift and things felt ok. At the top of Timberline I headed over to the Sunrise tow bar and still felt decent, but knew there wouldn’t be much more. Sunrise takes you by Dr. C and Clair’s Run a couple blues that don’t get much action since you have to back track a little to get to them. I saw very few people head over there in the morning and thought if that was going to be it I’d like to see what one of them was like. Heading down Clair’s Run it didn’t take long to see fresh corduroy, that was pleasantly unexpected. Back down at the Hidden Lake Express lift I decided that was going to be it. I headed back to the main Lodge to catch up with a few others that were at the Powder Keg for a beer and a little music.

Day three would be an off day for me. It turned out to be the best weather yet, sunny and 40 and the guys reported near perfect conditions at Powder Mountain. Lucky for me weather for the next day was to be similar.

Day four weather was excellent. Back to Snowbasin for a second time the sun was shining and it was around 40 at the base. Snow held up pretty well mid mountain and above, below it got kind of mushy. The ankle held up with only one spill, not expecting the steepness on a black run … which I try to avoid in general. Finished the day with a few passes on Dan’s Run, it had been groomed this time, and a few beers with the guys at the base Lodge.

Another great trip and perfect timing for weather and snow. Hope next year is the same!

Nashville Predators 5K

Preds 5K 2012

Saturday (2/4) was the Predators 5K here in Nashville. Kay has run it a few times but this year was my first, my first time for this race and my first 5K too. Weather was overcast and a little wet but otherwise a good morning for a 30 minute run with a couple thousand hockey fans. The course started at the Bridgestone Arena looped through the Gulch, up to Music Row and then back down to the Arena for the finish. Hilly but at least the last mile was downhill.

Running has never been my thing but it did feel good to get out there. There are more races coming up and with friends running marathons not sure I can continue to sit on the sidelines. But marathons are a long way away!!!….. I’ll stick with 5K’s.

Codecademy in 2012

I’ve never been one to have New Year resolutions but coding has always been something I wish I was better at. I’m not a programmer but have to deal with code at the $DAYJOB. Being able to read and write (sometimes) is very helpful so when I heard Codecademy created an initiative called Codeyear it seemed like a good opportunity to dig in a little deeper. So far the Javascript lessons have been interesting, some simple and some not so. The way it’s going I might have to break out some books or other resources… and maybe that’s the point ..but I’m hopeful it’s something I can keep up with.

If you’re looking to get more into coding give it a shot. As it stands now I’m one of 300,000 + who are trying, so you’re not alone!