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After being on vacation for a week it's hard to find something interesting to photograph at home.

This may be hard to explain but I've always liked being in different parts of the country and noticing the sports teams everyone follows. Where I live this display would be full of Chicago Bears items. 

Today we rode the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls.  Everyone gets a blue poncho because the falls kick up so much mist it's like you're in a rainstorm. Shortly after we got off the boat there was an actual rain storm and we were glad to have the ponchos. 
We didn't make any plans for today other than moving from Toronto to Niagara Falls. It's a short drive so we decided to go a bit out of the way to see a drive through animal park. It turned out to be really neat, the animals walk around freely while you are in the safety of your car. This giraffe crossed the road right in front of us. A female lion walked right behind our car too.
Today we took a double decker bus tour around the city which included a boat ride out onto the lake which is a great place for a skyline photo. 
We spent the majority of the day at the Toronto Zoo. The big deal there is the Giant Pandas. 

We saw a lot of stuff today so it's tough to choose only one photo. I have some self timer photos of all of us on my camera that I'll probably post later. For now I'm limited to posting from my phone so here is a shot from Graffiti Alley. If I was on a real computer I would provide a link to some info about graffiti alley in Toronto but for now you'll have to do a google search if you're interested.

Today we saw the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles 13 - 5. It was the Blue Jays eleventh straight win. After the game we went up the CN tower. I'm not sure how to adjust the dates from the app. This is Sundays post. (update: I'm back home and have fixed the dates.)

Our hotel is right by the airport. Some people might not like it but I think it's pretty cool. Also... This is my first attempt at posting from the blogger app on my phone.

We rented a van for our drive to Toronto and for some reason our teenage daughter is horrified of being seen in a van.  She's pretty knowledgeable about makes and models of cars, more so than I am actually.  When she heard we were getting a Quest she said, "that's the one that looks like a hearse".

I'm signed up to run the Bix7 at the end of July and for four Thursdays before the race they have the course open at 6pm.  I normally do my long runs on the weekend but we are leaving for Toronto on Saturday so I needed to get a long one in before we left.  This is a seven mile course that starts with a 1/3 mile hill.  

I was really in to Instagram when I first got my iPhone.  I haven't used it a long time but this shot kind of reminded me of the Instagram days.  My photos are still there @matnic17 if you're an Instagrammer.

This is one of those things that's been around my entire life and I kind of take it for granted.  I decided I should have a photo of it.  This park also used to have a drinking fountain shaped liked a lion's head.  You had to put your head inside the lions mouth to get a drink.  It's gone now.  I wish I had a photo of it.

I ran a 5K today called the Hercules Hustle which was part of a Greek Cultural Fest.  Before the race they had a kids race which the guy with the microphone said was going to be four laps around the cones Mario Kart style.  If you haven't played Mario Kart, it's a racing game where you can throw shells or drop banana peals to make your opponents spin out.  I don't think Mr. Announcer meant for it to be this way but if you have young boys racing around a slippery track this is what happens.

My race went well.  As I write this I don't know my official time but I think it was 27:05 which is way faster than I thought I would be able to go today.  My main goal is the half marathon so I've been running everything at 11ish per mile and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to run a 9:00 mile but I did and felt pretty good.  I'm going to start adding some speed work once a week and hopefully this fall I will be ready to make another attempt at a sub 25 minute 5K.  

Just playing around with Oggl again.

I've been wanting a pelican shot.  I guess this counts even though it's in horrible light.

I didn't do a self portrat on Monday so here's one for Wednesday.

Logan was really young when we got this cat.  The kind of young where he was overly aggressive with animals so they tended to avoid him.  He must be growing up because she came to him and laid in his lap.

The Hosta-Ferry dropped off several plants at our house today while we were at work.  Tonight I dug the holes and Nicole planted them.

Today was day 2 of the softball tournament.  My sister asked me to get a team photo for the girls.

My niece (the catcher) played softball nearby today so I went out and took some photos.  I like this one because in the seats behind home plate you can see my sister (catcher's mom), the pitchers mom, the pitchers grandma, my grandma (catcher's great-grandma) and my wife (catcher's aunt).  Also the pitcher is the daughter of one of my friends that I have known since kindergarten.  Lastly, check out how the chain link fence lines up exactly with my wife's sunglasses.  She is the one on the far right.

Yesterday, Erin wrote about feeling a midway slump.  I feel it too.
I know you have time to check out one other blog today so go visit Erin.
The cool thing about her 365 is that she was pregnant at the start of the year.  It's worth going back to the first few months to see her Tummy Tuesday posts.  

Pass the Red Vines please.

Before I explain these photos I have been doing a terrible job at keeping up on regular shout outs.  So let's do one today.  Check out Thea from Australia.  She is doing two 365 projects at the same time.  First, there is a different nature photo every day for "365 Days in Nature" and then she is also doing Fat Mum Slims Photo A Day which includes a prompt to follow each day.  For example, today's prompt is "after dark".  I highly recommend a visit to her page The Happy Shutterbug.

Here's the deal on my photos.  Right after lunch this trailer came detached from the truck that was pulling it down the street and it flew through the yard.  It finally stopped when it hit the flag pole, which broke off about half way up.

I thought I would write about my running schedule for any that are interested.

June 15 - Hercules Hustle 5K - East Moline, IL - I haven't raced since last November so this one is just to get me going again.

July 4 - Genesis Firecracker 10K - East Moline, IL - I have never ran an official 10K, so I'm sure to get a PR.  It should also help me decide on a goal pace for my half marathon.

July 27 - Bix7 - Davenport, IA - This is the biggest race in the area and for me I enjoy saying that I ran against professional runners even though the Kenyan's are finished before I hit the turn around.

August 10 - Strides for Students 5K - Morrison, IL - This race is being put on as part of a 20 year class reunion.  My 20 year class reunion was held 21 years after we graduated and didn't have bathrooms available.  If a class is putting on a 5K as part of their reunion weekend I have to support it.

September 8 - Clinton Half Marathon - Clinton, IA - I had previously written on here that I was going to do a half marathon in Chicago but plans have changed.  I'm doing one closer to home instead and I think having six or seven more weeks to train will be good for me.

September 21 - Harvest Hammer 5K - Morrison, IL - This is an important race to me for many reasons.  In 2010 it was the first race I ever ran.  In 2011 I ran it in 25:26 which still stands as my fastest 5K and in 2012 it was the first race I ran after recovering from a torn ACL. 

October 26 - Lagomarcino's Cocoa Beano 5K- Moline, IL - I kind of have a love hate with this race.  There are things that I like about it and things that I don't but this will be the fourth year for the race and I ran the other three so I want to keep the streak alive.   

I'll probably do some more later in the fall/winter but this is as far as I have planned out.

I was hoping for a shot of a white pelican.  I did see some but had to settle for photos of a blue heron and purple martin.

I've been using Photoshop CS3, but today I downloaded a 30 day trial of CS6 and this is my first creation with it.

Adobe recently announced that it will no longer sell boxed versions of Photoshop and is switching to a subscription based service.  A lot of people are upset about it, calling it nothing more than a way for Adobe charge more for their product.  I'm actually all for the change.  Under the previous system if I wanted to have the latest greatest Photoshop, my only choice was to spend $700 to buy CS6.  Under the new plan I can get a year of Photoshop for $240.  Over the course of three years, I'll pay $720 but I'm always updated.  New features are available immediately.  Under the old plan the updates would cost around $150 and come out every 18 months which means three years of the old plan would cost around $900 to stay updated.  Eventually $240 a year becomes more expensive than keeping up with the $150 updates but I'm OK with that.  I'm drinking the Kool-Aid.  Is anyone else?

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