Balm By Buck

Balm By Buck
Style your hair and moisturize your skin with natural products, not chemicals. Click the image to get to my Etsy shop.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Beating the heat


Hello from in the Ohio River! A family member recently got a condo on the Ohio River so we went down last week to relax and unplug for a couple days.  It was a LOT of fun and the kids, especially Summer, loved the water.  It was a warm weekend, and the water was pretty warm as well.
Love this photo of Dawn and the kids. <3

I actually took last weekend off of running as well!  I have had some plantar fasciitis issues so wanted to let that rest some and see how I felt coming back.  I did get in some miles this week and foot is feeling ok.  I have to finish the Great Virtual Run Across Tennessee and then I plan on taking a break from running for a few weeks.  I have some projects plants around the house. 
My brother Marcus is back from Hong Kong for the summer.  He had to quarantine for a couple weeks and once he did that he was free to be out and about (whatever that is nowadays).  Anyway, he came up to visit Summer last week and they had a tea party in the backyard with a tea set he bought.  Summer LOVED it and they chatted about fun stuff kids like to chat about. 

My sister also visited for the first time since the pandemic broke.  She has been at home with my parents now that she is out of college.  Not many jobs out there hiring for fashion design right now, so she is enjoying a little break before starting her career.  The kids loved having her visit as well.   Ice cream has been a nice treat after these hot days. 
 
It has been great being at home again.  I love doing the Augmented Reality forecasts from the backyard. The gear you see is all I use when doing the forecasts from the backyard. But I wish the grass was a little greener because we NEED some rain.  Not much on the way for us this weekend. 
Hot weekend on the way! Today we will have some morning clouds and patchy fog then mostly sunny skies by the afternoon with high temps around 90. Humidity will be a little lower today, but remaining cooler. The lower humidity will allow overnight temps to dip into the upper 60s with mainly clear skies. Saturday will be mostly sunny and we warm to around 93 with humidity slowly going up. Nearly all models keeping most of Ohio dry on Saturday with a very slim chance of a few pop-up showers/storms to the south, so let's drop that chance of rain to 10%. We will be muggier and hotter on Sunday, 94, so leaving the 30% chance of rain popping up. 
An approaching cold front will park over the region early next week and help to trigger a little more rain later Monday and Tuesday. We still stay in the 90s for the first half of next week with high humidity, so we will have decent ingredients for storms to pop. We really could use the rain and the latest drought monitor has 59% of Ohio in abnormally dry conditions and 3% of the state in moderate drought conditions. Those numbers will be going up if we don't get some good rain soon. Have a good one!

Best,
Andrew Buck Michael

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Hilltop USA 5k, July 4th, outdoor fun, & heatwave ending

We all did it!  We all did the Hilltop USA 5k!  Evan rode in the stroller, but this was the first 5k for Summer and Dawn.  They walked it and I walked the first mile with them to warm up then ran my 3.1 miles, new PR (20:14), then walked the last couple laps with them again.  We did it in Strongsville while visiting the in-laws since my mother-in-law had her birthday on the 4th.  It was exactly 8 times around their block for the 5k.  Summer was nervous the night before, but I talked with her to pump her up and let her know after the first lap then it is only 7 more and then she can keep counting down.
We had a lot of fun while up there and spent most of the weekend on the back patio.  We also went to 808 Shaved Ice.  Evan and I shared, but we all loved our cool treat. 
Sunday morning I ran 15 miles on the trails at Hinckley Reservation and it was a beautiful morning.  I have not ran since. I have been dealing with some plantar fasciitis.  I HATE not running, but I have been doing other workouts to try to stay active.  I may go out for a short run today and just take it nice and easy.  Maybe a bike ride would be smarter because that would probably be the best, but I feel it is just not enough of a workout for the same amount of time I get while the kids sleep. 
One last running thing... I did break 1,000 mile mark for the first half of the year.  I am hoping to rest up and then start tackling the second half of the year. It would be pretty cool to run 2020 miles in 2020.  The most I have ever ran was 1152 miles in 2017.  I should easily be able to surpass that this year... KNOCKS ON WOOD.
Summer has been very interested in fishing lately.  Still has not be able to catch one, but we only get a short window while Evan is taking his morning nap.  I want to go back and try some different bait with her.  We have been staying cool as best as possible and Evan loves playing in the water.  The bigger the splashes the bigger the giggles. We hit 97 yesterday for the 9th straight day in the 90s.
The pattern rolls on! Hot, muggy, with sunshine before pop-up rain. Today we will see a slightly lower chance of rain compared to Tuesday, but still a slight chance of pop-up spotty showers and storms. We look to continue our stretch of highs in the 90s for a 10th straight day today with 95 expected. 90s expected Thursday and Friday as well. Humidity will also make it feel 95-100 for the next few days. Our chance of rain will be spotty again Thursday then a better chance for more showers and storms Friday into early Saturday as a cold front moves through. Most of the rain Saturday will be early then we dry out with highs in the mid-upper 80s for Saturday and Sunday. Sunday looks dry most of the day then more isolated rain possible later in the day with a weak disturbance. 90s look to be back by the middle of next week. Have a good one!

Best,
Andrew Buck Michael

Monday, June 29, 2020

Run Streak Day 100, fishing, zoo visit, & HOT weather on the way.

Well... I did it.  I have done a run streak before, but I topped it.  A run streak involves running at least 1 mile every single day.  The longest streak before yesterday was 71 days a couple winters ago.  I like to do them when times are tough and motivation is low for running.  Winter is a good time because there is no decision on whether I would run that day.  The decision is made, so get out there and run.  On March 20th this year my motivation was low because my upcoming 50k (31 mile) race was cancelled 18 hours before the start because of COVID-19.  So I decided to start a running streak.  I was not sure how long it was going to last, but I told myself as long as the stay at home order was in effect. 

Most of the miles were solo in my neighborhood with about 150 of them with the kids in the stroller.  I did a few runs with a couple friends as well, like Mike, Carl, and Gary.  I am ending it at 100 though.  My feet could use a bit of a break and time off. During the streak I racked up 680 miles including one 100k day, two 50k runs, and a few full marathons.  

One of those runs was on day 99 with Gary.  He was attempting his first 100 mile run and I joined him as a pacer for the first 26 mile of the day.  I LOVE early morning runs because it gets me home earlier with the kids, so when he asked me if I wanted to start at 5AM I signed up! Anyway... I am wrapping things up with the non-stop running.  I want to do some more summer fun stuff with the kids... 

Like Thursday... I took Summer fishing.  She had been practicing casting lately and she was getting very good at it.  The fish were biting so fast that she was not able to get the line set before the bait was already gone.  I did catch a bluegill to show her how to do it, but we are going to go out again soon so she can catch her first fish. 

We then went on a bike ride and run together.  She rode her bike 1.5 miles!  She was still on training wheels, but said she was ready to take them off.  
We took them off the next day and still not there quite yet, but working on it learning to ride with no training wheels.  Instead the kids enjoyed playing on Evan's push car.
 
Not for long because we went to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on Friday.  We got a 10AM entrance time and the zoo trip went very well.  Most of the zoo was very open and not congested, but a few areas were a little snug, like the gorillas and lions.  We kept our distance and had a great trip.

Summer loved getting photos of the animals. We really miss going to the zoo on a regular basis.
Get ready for a hot, humid week ahead with generally dry weather. Today we have a stationary front right across Central Ohio and that front is slowly going to shift to the south and west. So we have had a few spotty showers along that front this morning and the rain is moving to the south. The front will park from Indianapolis down to Cincinnati and across Kentucky for the coming days. Some rain will fire up near that front and to the south of it. So any rain for Ohio will mainly be to the south and west for the coming day and leaving Central Ohio generally dry. It will also allow for more sun for Central Ohio with some afternoon clouds as we warm up into the upper 80s for the start of the week and then lower 90s for later this week. Same goes for the upcoming holiday weekend with the heat and humidity remaining and we may see a few spotty showers or storms develop, but generally staying dry next weekend as well with no major player to trigger any widespread rain. You will likely need to water the plants unless you are lucky enough to get some rain this week. Have a good one!

Best,
Andrew Buck Michael

Monday, June 22, 2020

Dam fun with the kids, Shawnee State Forest, & Father's Day

Hello! Hope you all are staying well and healthy. Been a busy week. I had to drop off a bulk order delivery of Balm By Buck last week so I took the kids to the Hoover Reservoir on the way home.  We ran across the dam.  I made some dam jokes, but they didn't get any of my dam jokes.  Lots of dam people out and some of the dam steps were even closed.  They thought it was cool to see all the dam water and even a couple dam fishermen.
I did a post about the 63 mile day where I ran the Columbus Running Company's Find Your Limit Virtual Mile Challenge.  I had to run one mile every 15 minutes from 6AM until 9PM to see who could last the entire time.  6 of us made it to the end without dropping out and they sent a thank you card so I made that into a finishers award with my other race medals.  It is interesting that some of the most challenging races and events that I have done have the smallest awards. I wanted something to hang up for the memories of the event.
I am back to work now, but the backyard is looking 100% with the flowers coming into full bloom.   Kinda wish I was still doing augmented reality forecasts from the backyard.
I took the kids running last week on Thursday and I had to stop to get a photo of the distance storms.  The tops of the storms were getting caught in strong winds in the upper part of the atmosphere and fanning out.  Really cool.
I also had a "run" Friday morning with Mugsy.  Our station is a sponsor for Lifeline of Ohio's Dash for Donation 5k virtual run. So I got together with Mugsy for a fun promo shoot. Then I went home and had lunch with the family before my wife and kids went up to Cleveland for the night because Dawn was getting together with one of her best friends.  I stayed home, packed up my running gear, and went to bed early for a big Saturday run.
My friend, Mike, picked me up at 4:30AM and we went down to Shawnee State Forest.  Here is the sunrise from Picnic Point.  If you look carefully at the bottom, the valley was filled with fog and we were up above the clouds and fog to see the sun.  We stopped here then went to the trail head for the start of our run.
Here is the start of the backpack trail.  I heard good things about this park, but I REALLY fell in love with this state park and it is likely my new favorite.  It is one of the most remote parks in the state, but they offer some things that you can't find anywhere else. Time to hit the trails! We were tackling the south loop and wilderness trail.
No fog over the lake.  One last stop at a "restroom" because we were not going to find any more while out in the woods. 
Lots of very scenic areas along the way.  This is one of the stream crossings.  The block stones at the bottom were blasted out of the hills decades ago and used as erosion mitigation now. Some of those stones were used to build skyscrapers in Cincinnati. Lots of hills were left though for some ups and downs on the trails.  Some of the climbs were very steep, more than a 20% grade.
Alright, this is something that won me over with Shawnee.  Almost all of their campsites have cisterns.  So they truck in city water and fill up these reservoirs that are gravity fed to these spigots.  So you had a fresh supply of clean water for drinking. 

One spot that did not have a cistern was campsite 6.  It is one of the most remote campsites in the state.  No cistern water, just a beautiful hemlock grove next to a stream that flows nearly all year long.  We didn't stay here long, but had one more ridge to cross then down to the next stream. We cut off of the backpack trail and went out on the wilderness trail.  The new trail does not allow motorized vehicles or any mechanical devices to clear the trail.  So the woods, as nature intended, with only hand tools allowed to be used to clear any downed trees. 
We stopped at the next stream to filter some of the stream water for our packs.  At this point we were running for about 4 hours.  It was nice to get a 10-15 minute break.  Then off into the wilderness with a fresh supply of clean water.
We stayed on the wilderness trail for about 5 miles before it connected with the Buckeye Trail and then the trails headed back to the main backpacking trail.
This spot is the most remote section of trail or wilderness you can find in Ohio.  Miles away from civilization.  And with it being a protected wilderness area there are no vehicles allowed in these locations.  It made us wonder how you would get rescued if there was an emergency.  Cell signal on the entire south route is basically nothing, so you couldn't necessarily call if you needed help anyway.  This is one reason why going as a team was smart on these remote trails.
Most of the time we were running in a green tunnel, but we occasionally would come to a clearing on the ridges to get a view of the other ridges in the distance.  I did get a little dehydrated for 90 minutes on the run.  I was not taking in enough water or Tailwind during the later part of the wilderness trail.  So from the cistern on the wilderness trail until campsite 7 I had high heartrate and some discomfort.  The downside is that there are some big climbs from the valleys to the ridges and that would spike my heartrate.  I had to add some pauses and played catch-up with hydration. It didn't help that temps were approaching 90 and we were exposed to the sun part of the time. I eventually got more fluids in and back to normal.  Which was nice because, from campsite 7 to the end, the trail was a nice, generally downhill, rolling single track back to the finish.  We ended up with just over 32 miles and and 6,000+ feet of climbing in about 9 hours. Part of that was bushwhacking and going around/over/under downed trees. Fun day!  I got home about 30 minutes after my family returned too, so timing was perfect for a Saturday long run in the woods. I wore compression shorts to avoid chafing, but I do have a little on my thighs.  Run 30+ miles and that happens. Didn't notice it while I was running, otherwise I would have used some Balm By Buck during the run.
The kids had a blast hanging out with grammy and papa. I handled story-time Saturday night and mom handled brushing the teeth.  Love this photo with Dawn and the kids. She is such an amazing mom to the kids. 
Yesterday was Father's Day and we had a great day hanging around the house. Summer painted the banner for me. I got some new running shoes, an awesome coffee mug, and a watering can for the garden because my old one dried out and cracked. 
We spent the day in the backyard.  We filled up the kid's pool and I ran 1.5 miles of loops in the backyard to try and loosen up a little then jumped into the pool.  Lots of splashing and fun before family nap time.  Then back outside to grill out some burgers. Then we took buckets and used the pool water on the garden and flowers.  The ground has some pretty large cracks from the lack of recent rain.  Fun day all around spending time with the family and staying cool since we hit 93°F yesterday.
Grab that rain gear for this morning! We have some showers moving through and even a few rumbles of thunder with some pockets of downpours. So a wet start to the morning for most of Central Ohio then the rain breaks up later this morning. That will leave us with a partly cloudy, warm, and humid afternoon with just a slight chance for rain during the second half of the day with highs in the mid 80s. Tonight more rain is expected to move into the area and we will see a very similar day on Tuesday as Monday. Main chance for the scattered rain on Tuesday will be the morning then a lower chance for spotty rain later in the day. A cold front will kick through later Tuesday and drop our humidity and temps for the middle of the week. We could still see a couple spotty showers or storms on Wednesday and Thursday, but those will mainly be the afternoon isolated pop-up variety with highs around 80. Humidity starts climbing again on Friday with partly cloudy skies and highs in the mid 80s. Back to upper 80s, higher humidity, and scattered pop-up rain for the weekend. Have a good one!

Best,
Andrew Buck Michael

Monday, June 15, 2020

Backyard garden update


GOOOOOD morning!  I have been spending a LOT of time in the backyard with the family lately.  Summer and I even camped out.  Fun times.  We even went out and looked at the stars and she said she has never looked at the stars before.  
    
The garden is doing pretty well.  The first photo is the onion, lettuce, and pea bed.  I got new topsoil and compost, but the onions do not seem to like the soil as much a my old soil.  Not sure why.  Peas are doing great and we just walk out there and pick them and eat the while we are running around the backyard.

Strawberry bed is doing well.  I have already pinned down 11 new runners and look forward to filling in the bare spots better this year.  I was not great at pinning them down the past few years so I am going to be better this year.  I took old hangers and bent them into U pins and tied on some yard to see it and pull it later this year when the roots are set.  Plus then I can cut the daughter plant off of the mother plant.  I also have a yellow cherry tomato plant in the corner because it was so bare.  Hopefully next year it is all strawberries.  The berries have been decent this year, but not enough for my liking, considering it is a full bed and only for berries.
    
Tomatoes and peppers are doing well.  Tomatoes took off quick with the heat the past few weeks.  Peppers take a little longer.  Both are full of blooms.  The front of the peppers has some cilantro planted, but not sprouted yet.  
    
Behind the back fence is the vine plants. The biggest plants are the cucumbers.  The melons are smaller and need more heat to get going.  I had a deer or some critter eat the plant all the way to the ground and killing a few plants.  I had to plant new ones and I am using milk jugs with the bottom and top cut off to allow the plants to get bigger.  Once they get large enough, past the succulent size, then they should be fine.  Excited to see how these do this year.  I also used some of the new soil back here because the soil was not great last year. 
Still been running lately.  I went for a run/hike last Thursday and I was not used to hiking in a certain pair of running shoes and my neuroma started to flare up then. I flared up more this weekend and was very painful on Saturday.  Sunday I wore more cushioned shoes and it didn't flare up until later into the run. But we had fun and did 5 miles in the stroller yesterday with sandwiches and snacks.  
We are still watching a big area of low pressure spinning to our southeast and that will trigger more isolated light rain showers today. It also kept our temperatures very comfortable over the weekend and we will slowly start warming up this week. So today, mostly to partly cloudy with a few spotty showers and highs in the upper 70s. More showers possible to the south and east today. Tonight the low pressure moves a little farther away so we start warming up and drying out more for the middle of the week. Overnight temps this week will be around 60 for the start of the week and warm to around 70 by the end of the week. Tuesday should be dry with sun & a few clouds and highs near 80. We slowly warm each day and we are back into the upper 80s for high temps by the end of the week with sun & a few clouds most of the week. By Friday we could see a few pop-up showers, 20% chance. A slightly better chance for more showers popping up for the weekend, 30% chance, with highs near 90 and humidity climbing. Fitting since Summer officially arrives Saturday. Have a good one!

Best,
Andrew Buck Michael

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