Our January trip to the Denver Zoo

Given the unseasonably warm weather (60 degrees at some points yesterday!), Sara and I decided to take a trip to the Denver Zoo to look at some wild animals in captivity. I had only been to the zoo two times before yesterday, once for Zoo Lights and once when I ran through during the Colfax Marathon half marathon.

Here are my five favorite photos from our day. All photos taken with 5D Mark II and 70-200 f4L lens.

A lion cub and his aunt
A lion cub and its aunt
King of the city
King of the city
One of the primates
One of the primates
A leopard lazing around
A leopard lazing around
A giraffe thoughtfully chewing
A giraffe thoughtfully chewing

Here’s a sign that you’ve got a running problem



When Saucony decided to discontinue their Virrata line of running shoes, I panicked and started stockpiling their shoes. The Virrata and Virrata 2 shoes have been my go-to running shoe for the past three years now; since they tend to wear through pretty quickly, I’ve already wore through five pairs. Luckily, Sierra Trading Post clearanced these out like crazy last fall, so I was able to buy their inventory for my size at 70% off ($30 EACH!) Since I’m starting to get more mileage out of these shoes now (I’m at ~360 miles on my current pair, which will soon be retired to snow/mud running duty) so these three should take me through at least 2017. After that, I’ll have to look at new neutral, zero-drop shoes.

My Newtons that I alternate with (Distance III) have been good to me and I’ve enjoyed running in them. So even though I’m only 1/2-1/3 of the way through the lifespan of my current pair, I pounced on the 2015 Distance IV model when it got listed as clearance at Zappos to make room for the 2016 Distance V. I didn’t get the deal of the century like I did with the Virratas, but I still did pretty well for myself getting them 40% off. I’m pretty happy since Newtons aren’t cheap shoes to begin with.

My 2016 racing calendar

My tentative race calendar for 2016:

  • Surf City half marathon (Huntington Beach, Calif), February
  • Spring Prairie Dog half marathon (Arvada, Colo), April
  • Summer Open sprint triathlon (Longmont, Colo), May
  • Tri on the Plains sprint triathlon (Sterling, Colo) OR Lake to Lake olympic triathlon (Loveland, Colo), June
  • Calgary 70.3 triathlon (Calgary, AB, Canada), July

I will sit out the BolderBoulder and the Denver Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon this year. They’re both really fun events, but I am starting to get large crowd-fatigue and I probably shouldn’t spend money on the entry fees anyways, considering our big trip to Canada.

I may pepper in another local Arvada 5K or 10K in the spring. I have no fall races planned so far. I would like to travel for another marathon (the Twin Cities or Marine Corp Marathon have both piqued my interest.) The idea of training for and running another marathon sounds great nine months away from the reality of doing it, so we will see. Another fall option is traveling to a half marathon (Sara’s cousins have floated the idea of the Yosemite half marathon.) But barring traveling to a race, I am content finding a local non-Rock ‘n’ Roll fall half marathon or sprint triathlon.

Here’s to staying healthy all year!

My (unimpressive) ancestry

I received an Ancestry.com DNA testing kit for Christmas last year. As soon as I got home from my in-law’s (that was still a little weird to type out, by the way!) on December 26, I provided my DNA sample by spitting into the provided tube and I shipped off my testing kit back to the Ancestry.com folks in Utah.

Providing my DNA sample
Providing my DNA sample. Boy my hair was long.

They received the sample only two days later, and a week after that, they started testing my DNA. I was extremely impatient and anxious to see my results; do I have an exciting or intriguing ethnic makeup that I was previously unaware of? Japanese ancestry from their occupation of Taiwan? Dutch ancestry from their colonial period in Taiwan during the 1600s? Mongol blood from their rampage across China? Something even cooler than that?

I finally received my results on Tuesday afternoon while I was at a brewery in Boulder with a friend visiting from out of town, Arjun. I announced, “Hey, you’ll be the first time find out my full ethnic makeup!” and opened my results.

With trembling fingers, I clumsily clicked on my results. With baited breath, the page loaded and I saw….

My genetic makeup, according to Ancestry
My genetic makeup, according to Ancestry
They're so specific about my origins!
They’re so specific about my origins!

What? That’s it? Try as I might, there was nowhere to see additional details or a more comprehensive look at my East Asian ancestry. And the reason for that, my friends, is because that information simply doesn’t exist on the site.

So after money spent and lots of time spent waiting, I am East Asian. I could’ve told you that I am ethnically East Asian. Any dummy off the street can take a 2 second look at me and tell you that. Hell, you don’t even have to look at me to figure out that I have East Asian ancestry…just say “Hey Billy, his last name is Wang. Take a wild guess at his ethnicity!” This was a giant crock of shit.

I mean look at this…people with African or European get much more detailed regional breakdowns. Asians get three giant swaths of land to define our DNA: East, Central and South. It could be worse though…North, Central and South America are all lumped into the same giant genetic classification.

Africans and Caucasians get a nice breakdown of their ethnic origins...
Africans and Europeans get a nice breakdown of their ethnic origins…

I guess maybe my expectations were higher than what would realistically be delivered, given the limitations of Ancestry’s Asian DNA pool. They should probably put that disclaimer on their website somewhere. I wonder how other DNA testing sites like 23andme, YourFamilyTree, National Geographic and others would have done comparatively.

I guess it’s not all bad though…after I got over the fact that I wouldn’t get any further details, the 9% Polynesian was kind of intriguing and opened the door to lots of questions. Does the Polynesian come from my mom’s side or dad’s side? How many generations back? There might be a good chance that one or more of my ancestors was a Taiwanese aboriginal. These questioned fueled some research (a term I am using very loosely here) into the Out-of-Taiwan migration model that suggests the Taiwanese were the original Austronesians that migrated to the Philippines, Indonesia and the Pacific islands. I have just began to broach this topic, so hopefully I can learn more about this soon.

So as upset as I initially was about my DNA results, it wasn’t a total bust. I have something to learn about now and my family has a small conversation piece. If I find out anything good, I’ll be sure to post an update!