About This Blog

As time permits, in-depth musings on myriad subjects will be posted. Abbreviated adages will be announced via Twitter.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Mind Games

All this trouble over a bucket. A "brain bucket", that is, and for the past week, I've been worrying my pretty little head over the best options for my pretty little head.

See, N--- got me this new Rudy Project helmet for Christmas, complete with USAT decals & whatnot, and it is super-duper sweet. Trouble is, I've been running Oakley eyewear the past eight or so months, and, being the brand snob that I am, I just cannot mix and match the two...at least, not on the road. Further, sweet as the new RP helmet is, its color scheme doesn't match up too well with the rest of my gear, save the shoes I use for triathlon. To get around these dilemmas, I've been pricing Rudy Project eyewear and helmets, but I'm having a hard time justifying the additional costs involved for the former, to say nothing of finding something that satisfies my seemingly high standards. e-Rudy. om does have some nice closeout deals on both, but I'm not sold on those products' ability to please me; I don't want to settle.

To address the first issue (cost), I'm essentially screwed: Stick with Oakley, and I'll need to look at not only a new helmet (~$120+, depending on make/model), but also the cost of an additional lens for the Radar -- which I have only now learned how to replace. Should I opt for Rudy Project, I'm looking at a new helmet ($60 for a closeout special) and new casual glasses ($135 and up, depending on materials). Either manufacturer would require a new helmet for TT, but Oakley gives me more options, especially for looks.

Yes, when it comes to gear, looks are important: If you feel fast, you are fast. But, even if you aren't fast, you should at least look good. The RP lid does go well with my Sidi tri shoes, and the RP Freeon shades look good with everything I have, with the possible exception of my new running shoes; the Oakley Radar matches them perfectly.

Looking at the clock in the upper left of my screen, I see that I've been working on this post for over an hour -- nearly two. This is really <expletive> sad that I'm spending so much time & energy (to say nothing of potential money) on such a trivial issue. What I think I'm going to do is stick with Oakley. I already have both the sport and casual glasses, both of which are not only to my liking, but the former is also of my own design. The RP lid will be relegated to commuter duties, for which it is well-suited (nicer visor, bug liner, ├╝ber-comfy fit), and I'll go with something along the lines of a Bell Sweep for road cycling...maybe even an XC model, too -- if I can get my arse out on my MTB more than once or twice a year.

With that said, I bid you a pleasant morning (even if it is 4:53 in the morning), and I go off to read Joyce and sip on some green tea. I do hope I'm not getting sick.

Stay warm. Happy New Year, and thanks for reading.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Rock, Rock On

Since February 10th, I have run 801.934 miles; a little over 400 miles of that was in preparation for the last 26.2, better known as the Wellstone Dallas White Rock Marathon.

My second marathon in my relatively short career as a runner (and I use the term loosely; despite my low mileage for the year, I still consider myself a cyclist), White Rock was also the second marathon for which I trained this year. After the debacle of Tri101, I refocused my training efforts on the San Antonio Marathon, but an injury sidelined me, and I did not think I would be able to be ready for it. So, White Rock it was to be, as a few folks from Steele were also running it. Misery, after all, does love its company.

Come race day, I was, indeed, miserable. The same injury that sidelined me from San Antonio continued to nag at me, though became somewhat migratory, moving from the lower ab area to the glutes, then to the hamstrings and knee area, before settling, in all places, in my neck & shoulder. Truly, I am at a loss for explaining any of it. I just suffered through the pain...probably better than what I did the weather.

The final email from the organizers of the Rock said to plan for "hot and humid" weather on race day. Come Sunday morning, it was anything but hot, anything but humid. Temperatures hovered in the low 40s and radar showed thundershowers scattered all over the Dallas metroplex. Joy.

With a slight change in apparel for the race, N--- & I headed off for the AA Center (um, that's American Airlines Center...where the Stars play) and the start of our respective races (she was running the half, again as a training run for the Houston Half). I did decide to don my SportKilt (worn with tri shorts this time -- I learned my lesson on traditional Scottish styles [use your imagination] at the SkirtChaser 5k), and I'm glad I did, for the kilt helped shield my legs from the bitter cold. Movement was not at all inhibited, and commentary from racers & spectators alike helped keep me motivated. However, I was not the most uniquely dressed runner on the course: A group of relay runners were wearing identical "Stewie" costumes, confirming that runners are a truly unique breed.

Okay, the nitty gritty.

My cohorts from work all finished within their target times, and I did too: My official finish time was 3:28:55 (hours:minutes:seconds), a new personal record, bettering my time from San Antonio 2007, by nearly three minutes. It wasn't quite the 3:20:00-ish finish I was shooting for, but for that, I blame my myriad injuries and my less-than-smart decision to chuck my gloves before making it to the lake. In reviewing my splits, I can see how my times started going down within a mile or two of confronting the whipping, chilling winds of White Rock Lake. I somewhat recovered the last few miles of the marathon, but by then, it was too late; my target time was shot. All the same, I am happy, for two reasons: 1) I set a new PR; 2) I can quit running so #(*& much and start riding my bikes again.

The 2007 competitive season is more or less at an end, so I can start thinking about 2008. In all honesty, I don't think I'll be racing much, but, as I am considering a run at IMAZ in 2009, a few key races will be necessary for fitness tests only. Up for consideration are at least two HIM distance triathlons, Tour de Gruene, San Antoino Marathon (now the "San Antonio Rock and Roll Marathon"), and the SunMart 50k trail race. Already set in stone are the Texas Independence Day Relay and Beach to Bay Relay Marathon. Providing I can keep constant with training for all three disciplines through the year (running will not be a problem, save continued injury), I should be in good shape for my sub-12 finish goal for IMAZ a year from April. If not...well, stay tuned to find out how all that goes.

For the "Thank Yous", it's the usual cast of characters, with a few new faces: D--- & K--- for inspiring me to "tri" and run in the first place; N--- for unbelievable support that would make even a pro envious; the R---s, for wonderful accommodations & hospitality; the Steele crew for keeping my psyched about the race as training dragged on; and, of course, my own family, both locally and in Dallas. The latter made the weekend every bit as memorable as crossing the finish line.

Winding down what will likely be the final posting for this year (unless I get SEVERELY bored during the winter holidays), I wish you a happy holiday season and thank you for reading.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Born Again?

I was ready to up & quit today.

Because Tri101 was canceled, I've been busting my bum the past few months to ready myself for the White Rock Marathon on December 9th. As a result, my swim & bike became virtually non-existent, save the occasional commute to work, and I literally could not tell morning from night when out for a run. This, joined with a nagging leg injury (got an appointment with a PT Friday next to try & remedy that -- just in time for the marathon!), had me in something resembling a pissy mood toward endurance sport training, be it marathon and even triathlon. I had doubts of formally setting my sights on Arizona in 2009.

Had doubts.

After a conversation with a fellow runner at school this morning, I got to thinking about things. Yeah, I'm fast. Not as fast as I could be, but I'm no pro (tri)athlete with an unlimited budget of resources. I'm just me: a high school English teacher with no one to answer to other than myself. While it does hurt the pocketbook when paying for stuff (race fees, bike parts, technical clothing -- and the list goes on), it is quite liberating when it comes to accounting for race results.

I skipped last night's scheduled 14-mile run due to the aforementioned nagging leg injury and a general will to not want to run for two hours in the dark. I did, however, make it out tonight for a light, 6-mile trek up & down the Parkway. While on this trek, I again became energized on making a good run at White Rock next weekend, even if I will have to drive back from Dallas by myself (N--- has been summoned to another training the following week; she flies out of Dallas that afternoon; merd). As for IMAZ, it's still up in the air. I've some time before registration opens, plus by not taking the crash-course method to training that has been so common to my marathon training these past two years, I think I can avoid the burnout. Then again, I'm also counting on some mad encouragement from my buddy D---, himself an Ironman.

For now, though, I'm going to take the snoozing kitty atop my lap into the bedroom, cuddle up and go to sleep. Thanks for reading, faithful readers -- and yes, I now know there are more than one of you. And so, a parting note: Like you, dear readers, I've encountered innumerable people in life, and some have been exceedingly dishonest. Unless mentioning someone by some semblance of a name (N---, D---, etc.), don't presume I'm talking about you.

Whatever your reason for reading, thanks for doing so.

Monday, November 19, 2007

@$#*% Weather

I'm not completely sure what to say here, other than that I felt strongly inclined to post something.

Training for White Rock, for all intents & purposes, is going swell. The long runs I've had the past two weekends all went extremely well (due, in large part, to the uber-supportive efforts of N---), as have the weekday runs; my track workout last Thursday felt great in spite of the monotony of running nine miles on a track. And then the weekend and its @$#*% weather arrived.

Saturday wasn't quite so bad, with slightly damp streets and an overcast sky. I sat down to begin CMC and wound up not moving for the duration of the day. Good news: I made it a little over 1/3 of the way through the reading & annotation of said book.

Sunday morning sucked even worse, as the streets were very wet, and the threat of rain hung in the air like the stench of a really wretched fart. (yeah, it seems I'm stretching in my figurative language, but, work with me here) Were it not for the breath of fresh air that is N---, the day would have been a total loss. She & I did some shopping for baking ingredients for Thursday's feast and then made it out for a few miles on the Parkway (despite my protests for an alternate route). Afterwards, it was more reading & annotating before an evening of Battlestar Galactica (newer series -- I'm really enjoying the parallels with a post September 11 world; too bad the ones who really need to see & understand it have probably never heard of it because it airs on Sci-Fi, not Fox) and eating sushi. Great way to spend the one year mark with the woman I love.

Despite the warm fuzzies brought on by having had N--- as part of my life the past year, this morning started out not so well: fog. Lots of it. It's still here, as a matter of fact, though not quite in the pea soup flavor of similes past; that was this morning. All that means for me is more reading & annotating of CMC (yea!) and no 23-mile run. I'm half-tempted to check the gym schedule for spin classes and some treadmill/pool time, but that would require packing a bag, a couple of changes of clothes, and a lot more effort than I am willing to invest at the moment. Methinks I'll just curl up with CMC and do some of that reading/annotating.

Thank you for reading. Annotating, of course, was optional. Should I not make it back here by Thursday, have a happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Thor's Day

And, indeed, did the hammer fall.

I picked up my commuter bike from Bike Heaven last night, and it turned out far better than I had hoped. True, the walk-out price exceeded what I had hoped, let alone budgeted, for, but its maiden voyage this morning made up for it. I'll post pics up here when I get around to it.

After work, I had a six mile hill run on the schedule, so I headed out on the Parkway for my usual 6.25 mile excursion. By the time I crossed Savannah (roughly two-mile mark), I had a good idea I was going to beat last week's time. I had no clue I would beat it by nearly a minute: 42:39 was the final time, which betters last week's mark by 58 seconds; my average pace was 6:49/mi. Rock, rock on.

Despite my still-going-strong endorphin high, I do find myself pretty exhausted from the day, from the week, so I'm going to wrap this up and do up tomorrow's PowerPoop presentation before turning in. Breakfast is still at 5:30, and I find myself tempted to ride the bike over to the usual spot in the AM, as it's now equipped with lights & shiznit. Guess the boss was right: I am an exercise junkie. Just try to get an apology out of me for that, too.

Run hard. Pedal harder. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Rest for the Weary

Since healing from my track-induced glute injury, I've missed a singular workout. That was last Thursday, when, after riding home from work, I realized I was a little tired and needed a power nap before going on the day's scheduled 8-mile hill workout. I lied down around 5:30 in the evening and didn't arise from slumber until 5:00 the next morning. Guess I was more than a little tired.

After two days' rest, I am back on track. A relaxed-pace 10-mile jaunt with N--- yesterday morning was incredible, as the air was cool and my body felt grateful for the extra rest day during the week. Chores & such occupied the rest of my day, but I did manage to get to bed at a decent hour. The time change helped, too, and I was off & running by 7:00 this morning, this time at a little quicker clip, and with twice the distance to cover.

Living where I do is nice. I have innumerable routes I can run or bike, right out of my front door, with little-to-no traffic, and over varying terrain. Today was rolling-to-hilly, once I got off 78...five or so miles in. Despite my having the accursed iPod strapped to my arm (I ditched it at 17 miles, courtesy of N--- and the best darned support one could hope for), I did find myself lost in thought, especially over what happened yesterday in New York. Even though I wouldn't have known Ryan Shay from anyone, I do feel a deep loss for not only the running community, but also -- and especially -- for his wife. That she has such a close group of friend and fellow runners comes as small consolation; I pray she makes it through this peacefully.

On such a somber note, I believe I will sign off. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Double, Double Toil and Trouble

So, it's been a couple of weeks since my last post, and here's an update of how things are going.
  • First semi-long run was last weekend: 18+ miles out in the Hill Country, with no injuries or other maladies to speak of. Post-run rub-downs, btw, rock.
  • Figured out what (most likely) has been causing my pain when running track: I'm too much of a cyclist. That is to say, when going into a corner, I lean too much into the corner, instead of adjusting my stride/stance/whatever. Still working on a good resolution, but not many track workouts left on the schedule before White Rock.
  • Air has a bit of briskness about it, as Fall, Texas style, has officially moved in. Runs have felt great, but it does make it extremely difficult to get out of a cozily warm bed in the mornings.
  • I have been doing rather well with sticking to my schedule, but for a missed long run this past Sunday. See above comment regarding cozily warm beds.
And here we are with today: a double: Three miles easy in the morning; 12 hard(er) this evening. The morning run went well, with the pace picked up the last 3/4 miles or so, as I spotted another runner on the Parkway I was curious if I could catch; I did. Scared her, too. Runners and their headphones are more than just a nuisance & safety hazard on crowded courses (or MTB trails -- another story for another time), they're a safety hazard to themselves. This person was unable to hear my footfalls and/or breathing until I was virtually upon her, and she caught a glimpse of me out of the corner of her eye. Needless to say, her heart rate was well in the anaerobic range. Being the cordial runner I am (I will say 'hello', smile, and wave to others I encounter, even if they don't reciprocate), I apologized and continued my run.

Tonight's run was able to begin before night, as I was able to slip off campus more than an hour ahead of schedule (had a sub, since I was reviewing apps for NHS). After taking care of my license plate issue, I made it home, changed, and was running at exactly four PM. Hypocrite that I am, I had my iPod firmly strapped to my arm, earbuds in place (but with the volume adjusted to allow me to hear anything that might creep up on me), for I felt I needed the tunes to keep me focused on pace, instead of running the risk of running too fast (not likely) or too slowly. Even though I know my splits weren't even, I managed to average my target pace for White Rock: 7:58. Sweet.

N--- called a short while ago to let me know the editor of The Onion would be on "Fair Game" tonight to promote the new book, Our Dumb World -- an atlas of sorts. Despite my fondness for the rag, I don't think I can keep my eyes open much longer. Last night was a late night (couldn't get to sleep: too psyched about my new PB for the Parkway -- 43:37!), and today's runs have totally taken their toll. With a faculty meeting on tap for first thing in the morning, I'll need all the rest I can get to guarantee my lazy bum is out of bed by 5:30, running by 5:45...in the morning.

Sorry to have rambled on for so long, but bad habits are hard to break. Regardless, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Talk about a bittersweet beginning to the day: I wake up with the thought that today is the day N--- returns from Las Vegas (been there since Sunday afternoon for a work convention), get dressed & stretched for my run, start a load of laundry, and then step outside to be greeted by wet streets and light rain. I get the feeling Mother Nature is somehow upset with me and is bent on foiling my runs with whatever she can throw at me.

Knowing that I don't like running in the rain (premature wear on shoes) and am hesitant to ride in the rain (for while I do enjoy riding in the rain, I don't enjoy the 90-minute post-ride bike cleanings to avoid damage to the drivetrain), she's been throwing a lot of rain at me this year. A lot. No clue as to what the area's rain fall for 2007 is to date, but I'm willing to wager it is well above average. And to think, I was lamenting how much dust & dryness there was in my backyard last night whilst mowing. Heh, at least I got (most) of the leaves mulched up before the wetness returned.

So, now what? I can't head to the gym, for I started a load of laundry before walking out the door, and I sure as heck am not going to run in place in my living room for an hour. As has been par for the course this year, I guess I'll do nothing; nothing resembling exercise, that is N--- tells me she is in need of an alarm clock, so perhaps I'll begin poking around at what's out there.

Alright, enough of the personal stuff. Time for me to head on over to RadioShack.com to begin my shopping. Sorry to have bored you this morning, but thanks for reading.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Leaf Me Alone

Not much to report tonight, but to say that I am still on track for White Rock. My leg did me some grief this evening whilst mowing (more to mulch the leaves than to trim the grass; we've not had substantial rain in a while, though you'll hear nary a complaint from me) but is otherwise fine.

I'm off to stretch for a bit before bed, as I'm to be up early for an 8-mile "As You Feel" run. This morning's 6-mile "easy" pace run was every bit that, so I am a-o-k with focus and cadence. Providing I can continue long(er) runs with little-to-no pain, I should be geared up for a strong finish in Dallas in a couple of months. The more I think about it, the happier I am that I decided not to run San Antonio again. I'm still tempted to do the half, but methinks I'd rather volunteer at the RTR water station. Heaven knows the group has helped get me going with my running the past couple of years; 'tis the least I could do to return the favor.

Hark, have we not heard the chimes at 9:30? Probably not, but I do hear "Pictures of You" coming to a close, indicating that if I time my stretching & reading just right, I should be ready to doze off by the time "The Same Deep Water as You" cues up. Having said that, I am off to bed. Good night, and thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Not Half Bad

It's 11 o'clock on a school night, and I should be in bed. Obviously, I am not.

Since returning from an extended session at Borders this evening (reading, grading, and drinking my fill of green tea), I've been doing all I could to pretend the new week is not almost upon me. I did some shopping for Halloween costumes (ordered stuff, too! Buyer's remorse will hit me hard tomorrow morning, I'm sure), with only an undershirt remaining for procurement, and listening to all the Gwen Stefani music N--- picked up the other night at CD Exchange. Talented, sure, but she's just really not my thing. I'm left wondering, though, if G--- still has that late-90s crush on her he once had.

Dang. I just noticed I ordered the wrong #%! thing for my costume; the pants would be entirely too short. A just-dispatched email should take care of thing, but only if it gets there before the order can be placed. Sure hope karatedepot.com can remedy my mistake.

Big news for the weekend? N--- & I both ran the Helotes Half this past Saturday. N--- was shooting for a finish time of two hours, while I jokingly indicated my goal finish was October 13th. Somehow, I managed to get motoring at a good pace and finish in 1:39:39. Not too shabby for someone who A) hasn't been training; B) is still nursing an injury to the right glute. Yeah, that thing. It's STILL there. Fortunately, the longer runs seem to be doing it some good, as long as I keep my stride steady and remember to stretch properly before & after. Massage sessions with Rio Massage haven't been hurting much, either. :)

Given my still-somewhat-injured status and recent costume purchases, I will likely wait until mid-November to register for White Rock. At this rate, though, it looks like a go, kilt & all. The decision for the kilt, too, will be made in mid-November, with the Skirt-chase Run serving as the, well, dress rehearsal.

Right. My writing is getting a tad rich in the cheese department, so I'm going to cut out. After all, it is 11:25, and I'm supposed to be waking up in six hours for a six-mile run. I'll pop back in tomorrow or the next day to let you know how that goes...went...whatever.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Running on Empty

"Wire, main office...tell them I said, 'Ow.' Got it!"

In the span of some 12 hours, I managed to log some 21+ miles: 8.4 miles after a 25-mile bike with D--- after work last night, and then a 12.something mile run this morning (part 1 of the previously mentioned dual workout planned for today). My glute was hurting something fierce for most of the run, but it was the last three or so miles that really did me in: I had no nutrition with me, save the Nuun-flavored water in my bottle. Well, at least I had that.

So, I limped in, making my final average 8:27/mi, something I was not happy about. I know I was moving at a much more brisk pace than that for the bulk of the run. However, between the heat and the humidity, I literally had nothing left but an empty tank. Still, I did manage to finish my run in time for work.

And now, here I am, counting my blessings that tomorrow is a rest day and that I do not have to race the Helotes Half on Saturday; it can be just a long, slow run with N--- and however many other people turn out. Despite tomorrow being a non-running day, though, I do still need to be up early for breakfast with "the boys." I'm starting to get a better grip on the whole blog thing, so, hopefully, I'll be reporting back in again and soon. Today was a busy day, with much to talk about. However, something far more important requires my attention: sleep. Be sure to get some for yourself. If anyone gives you any grief about, just tell them that you said it was okay.

Look for a recap of the Helotes Half sometime Sunday evening. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

On a Roll for the Rock

Brief post, as I've higher priority things requiring my attention tonight, the least of which being lunch for the week: Poblano peppers stuffed with brown rice & Boca meat, served with a side of steamed vegetables. It's good to be a quasi-vegetarian.

I'm back on track for a running program, using the same one that D--- sent me last year for San Antonio, again modified for White Rock (the program was initially tweaked for SA, but had to be scrapped when I ran too hard on a track workout and tweaked something in my glutes). My right leg still isn't firing 100%, but I cannot just stand still, watching everyone else have all the fun. The last two runs I've done have produced noticeable sensations in my leg, but nothing to keep me from continuing to move. Two big tests this week: a dual on Thursday and the Helotes Half on Saturday. Based on how I feel after those two (or one, if it hurts that badly on Thursday), I'll get myself signed up for White Rock this weekend. Ah, peer pressure: Do we ever out-grow it?

With that rhetorical thought, I'm going to bow out. Check back for regular updates (honest!) on how training for the White Rock Marathon (a distance I do respect & appreciate, D---) goes along. Light a candle for the fast healing of my leg, and, as always, thanks for reading.//d

Monday, October 01, 2007

Racin' the Ranch

"Gee, imagine if I would have trained."

The above thought seems to have echoed countlessly this season: Austin Half Marathon; PlayTri Half-Iron; yesterday's Stonebridge Ranch Olympic tri. In Austin, I set a new PB for half marathon (94 minutes & change), while at SBR, I finished 27th OA and 3rd in my age group. I suppose it's not a bad exit for someone leaving the uber-competitive 30-34 AG and entering the soon-to-be-uber-competitive 35-39. But, I digress. Here's the break-down of the race.

Swim - 34:26.2
Despite getting conked on the head half-way through the first loop (2-loop course of 750m/loop), I felt fine through the swim. Perhaps because I was just happy to swim in a lake, again, but considering I've not done regular swim workouts in better than a month, I suppose my finishing 8th in my AG wasn't too shabby; I'm not sure how I finished in my wave, as all males, 49 and under, began together. I just don't feel the need to compare my swim time to everyone else's. Bike times , on the other hand, are another story, but we'll get to that in a tic.

Once we exited the water, it was an awfully long haul to T1, and I was unsure of where to hit the watch. I guess it was supposed to be right out of the water; I hit my split once entering the transition area. Whatever. It was after I exited T1 that the real fun began, anyway.

Bike - 1:05:38
Boo-yah. The wind was a real bear for the whole course, and I really fought it on the crosswinds, courtesy of the Zipp 404's deep rim. However, the lightness of the rear wheel really made up for it, as the 6.something-mile course was particularly hilly...at least for Dallas standards. Still, the 404s gripped the road rather well, allowing me to soar my way to a 2nd best bike split for my AG; 10th for all Age Groupers.

T2 transition was hairy -- really hairy. Unable to remember how much space was available before the dismount line, I opted to leave my feet in my shoes, clipping out to swing over once I hit the line. However, my left foot felt a tad too slippery on the pedal, so I opted to just dismount a lot more casually. How was I to know I was in contention for a medal?

Run - 47:23.6
I was very leery about doing the race because of the run. I'd injured myself a couple of weeks prior, training for the SA Marathon. As such, I'd done very little running since, with most of my race preparations coming from stretching. Going into it, I felt a burning sensation in my lung for the first few miles, finally getting into my stride after the turn-around and getting passed by a couple of relayers. With less than two miles to go, my cramping was gone, so I kicked it into high gear, passing the aforementioned relayers. In the final stretch before the finish line, I heard N--- should it, "Kick it!"...and my right leg promptly cramped.

I more or less limped across the finish line, collected my consolation prize and found N--- and her family, as well as D--- and K---. (K--- had done the sprint [as had N---] and finished admirably in her AG; N--- just ruled in hers, especially in the run: she looked so fluid.)

The End?
Thus went my last scheduled race of the season. Running San Antonio is definitely out, though White Rock remains a possibility. If I can find a way to get over this whole injury thing and get back on an aggressive running schedule, I'm fairly certain I can be ready to run a pretty strong marathon -- possibly beating my foundation of 3:31:08. Qualifying, I know, is a pipe dream, but I still think it'd be fun to run a race where so many of my co-workers will be. Besides, I've my SportKilt to really break in on a long run, and, as someone mentioned in transition after yesterday's race, it'd be hilarious.

As usual, I've a whole slew of people to thank, but one in particular stands out, and that is N---. Without her, I don't think I'd have the proper focus and/or attitude in my life, so thank you. Naturally, a huge thanks to Bicycle Heaven for setting me up with the wheels for the race, as well as the bike, transition bag, and other tidbits that make me feel like a supported athlete (as opposed to...oh, just go watch 'Grease'). Special thanks, as well, to N---'s parents for the room & board during the whirlwind trip to Dallas; brunch was the least of ways I could have said 'thank you.' Finally, a special thanks to my own mom & dad, without whom I never would have known a bicycle can go that fast. That Raleigh Capri put me on the fast track all those years ago. I do not think I will ever forget that bike, even though it cost less than the pedals alone on my current rig.

The 2008 season will be pretty nonexistent, as I the present plan for my finances doesn't permit for it. Then again, I said the same thing about this time last year, so who knows. Regardless, look for my ramblings here and there, and, as always, thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

All for Naught?

The weather here has finally begun to cooperate. True, that means it's hotter 'n blazes out there, but at least there is no rain. That means regular, consistent runs & rides, not to mention a clean bike. I still get drenched, though; the humidity is awful.

I decided to read an email I received yesterday from the group putting on the Tri101 race this November. My delay was caused by thinking it was just another piece of hype from the group, touting something or other, but I was wrong...way wrong. It seems that the Tri101 race in The Woodlands won't even happen.

Apparently, there are some issues with getting the appropriate permits, safety something or other, or whatever the excuse was. What it comes down to, though, is that someone dropped the ball. A big ball, too, with the potential for great things. After posting the news in one thread of the 101 section of SlowTwitch, I see the same post another thread, with many comments, all forecasting doom for the 101 series; The Woodlands is the second cancellation this season. As The Woodlands venue was the championships, that certainly does not bode well for the organizers, now or for future events.

So, here I sit, debating whether or not I should go do a track workout. Yeah, I need the exercise, but I've just kind of lost my motivation...at least for triathlon. Stonebridge is still a month-and-a-half out, but that's only an Olympic distance race, and I know I'd have no trouble with it, even if it were to begin in an hour. Well, maybe not quite that short. I'm still in the SA area, and Stonebridge is all the way up in Dallas. I'd definitely miss my wave start time.

Right, I'm rambling. I need to go silence my alarm clock (guess I hit the wrong button when I reset it this morning) and get ready for another glorious day at work, readying my classroom and myself for the beginnings of the 07-08 school year. I've my own gripes about some stuff on that, but I'll save that rant for another time. For now, I need to run, 101 or not. Thanks for reading.//d

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Home from the Holiday

Just a quick post to let all my avid reader know that I successfully returned from California, unscathed, untamed...just in case she didn't know that already, seeing as how we were on the return flight together after spending the previous six days soaking up the sun, enjoying August without triple-digit temperatures.

And, now that I am home, with my bikes, the weather, as if on cue, is scheduled to turn to <expletive>. I simply cannot win. Of course, it is just a forecast and is about as reliable and true-to-its-word as my ex, so, for all I know, come Saturday, I could be fully immersed in 100+ degree sunshine, pedaling my bicycle along, stupid grin on my face, all the better with which to catch the hordes of bugs infesting the countryside. Gosh, it's good to be home.

Speaking of, I am, and need to go in order to get things squared away after nearly a week. More to come on the goings on & my adventures in the Land of Fruits & Nuts. Thanks for reading.//d

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Splintered

I seem to open my entries with the same lamentation of it being too long since my previous posting. This was not the intent, as I had intended to post something in the wake of doping & suspicions thereof that made up this year's Tour de Farce (wow, just noticed that only an "n" is missing to make 'farce' an anagram of 'France'; what a coincidence), but decided better of it. I've just been too bitter over the state of cycling -- professionally & personally -- to say anything on the subject.

Personally? Yes, well, in addition to not having ridden half of the miles I should have been able to ride during my summer hiatus (bloody weather), my main road bike had to go & break its fork. While I could bemoan the cheapness (of manufacturer -- certainly not of price) of a certain carbon fork manufacturer that also dabbles in baseball bats and so on, I will instead count my blessings that the cracks in the fork's epoxy were noticed when driving to a ride and not actually on a ride.

Here's where it gets (more) depressing: My ride (a no-frills Sandvik titanium frame loaded with Campy Chorus) has a 1" headtube, which makes matching forks a difficult thing to find...at least those within the price range I have set. A Ritchey fork was about all that was available, but was not full carbon; it sported aluminum dropouts and an aluminum steertube. The former I could tolerate, but the latter would have just added too much weight to an already less-than-svelte bike. With as little as I've been riding, I need all the help I can get, so adding weight to the bike was certainly not to my liking. Fortunately, though, a friend had a 1" fork (with a carbon steertube!) lying in his garage, and offered it to me, so it's going on the ti rig this week. After that, the bike will be posted on Craig's List for an amount that will hopefully afford me a new Chorus gruppo.

I really shouldn't be here writing this, right now. I should be just about to turn off the access road onto Retama Parkway on my Wednesday morning run. However, the long run got cut a lot short because, quite simply, I felt horrible. Extremely winded, sore quads, and my shins hurt like heck. I'm still not completely sold on the shoes I've been running in for the past few weeks, as I seem to have suffered through more shortened runs since their purchase. True, they feel great on my feet, but for the rest of me...I think I might just have to go back to Waveriders. Good, solid shoe, even if it is pricey.

Phone's ringing.

Okay, back, but I think it's time to wrap this up before it becomes a session about how expensive sports are ($200 for a fork [which I technically didn't have to pay, but you get the idea], $3000 retail for the new bike, $90 for new shoes, and $70 for a new watch [yeah, there were some that cost a little less, but, for whatever reason, I really like Nike watches]). Besides, I need to shower and would like to get some breakfast before I head off to my final day of GT training. As always, thanks for reading. See you in-line at the cashier.//d

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Le Tour

For almost a week, now, the 2007 Tour de France has been winding its way across Europe. For the first time in about a decade, too, I've not really cared. Sure, I've checked on who's won stages, but "Tour Fever" has not taken me over, latching me to my computer screen or pop by a friend's house to watch a stage unfold. With so many big names not racing, including 2006 winner (at least as seen on TV) Floyd Landis, it's hard to not get excited. The real reason, I feel, has more to do with the reason for the absence of Landis, et al.: doping.

I've no intentions of launching into a tirade about how doping has ruined cycling, for I don't truly feel that...at least not on a personal basis. For me, cycling has always been more personal: a means of escape that feels like flying. In college, I scheduled my classes to allow for a 2-3 hour bike ride in between or would ride before classes, allowing for not only optimal parking, but also an exhilarating way to begin the day. I mentally wrote many of my essays while biking the hills of Boerne and Helotes.

But then came the scandals, beginning (for me, anyway) with Tyler Hamilton and the 2004 Olympics & Vuelte. Follow that up a couple of years later with Puerto, and things got downright nasty, including an additional implication of Hamilton, and culminating in the ousting of several 06 TdF pre-race favorites. But Floyd saved the day and resparked America's interest in the big bike ride...until doping tests revealed (or at least suggested -- I'm still undecided) he may not have legitimately earned the maillot jaune.

With the winners of the past eight years not invited (at least, according to what I've read) to this year's Tour, what's the point in following it?

This:


photo: AFP

This picture effectively captures what cycling is going through right now: something so awesome (and Vinokourov is that), battered and bruised, struggling to carry on. I particularly like the arm of a T-Mobile rider (former teammate?) offering a hand of support & encouragement.

So, while I'm still not fully psyched about the Tour, I am every bit as excited as ever about cycling. True, cyclists can be a bit elitist (all right, downright arrogant), but you get that in every form of sport. In cycling it just might be a tad more justified. Here's to hoping for a strong, dope-free finish for this year's Tour...and for cycling as a whole.

</soapbox>

Thanks for reading.//dhs

Monday, July 09, 2007

Monday Musings

Ah, the last Monday of summer school. 'Twas anything but bad, unless you count the lawnmower crapping out on me this afternoon, again leaving me with a partially-trimmed front yard, making it look as though the mower of said lawn quit, mid-mowing, to use the restroom and never came back. If only I could tell them that the mower is not in the restroom; rather, he is making an entry on his blog.

Weekend weather was half and half: Saturday sucked, Sunday rocked. N--- & I made it out for a little run in the morning, followed by a swim, which, in turn, was followed up by an afternoon of vegging out: Simpsons, sushi, and sorbet. It's good to be a triathlete. It's better to be in love.

A quick peek at lawnmowers from the local yocals makes me think I'll be waiting a bit to purchase a new one, given the uncertainty of what's happening with my house. Should I stay, I'll use some of my summer school money for a new one, else I just keep limping by with what I have. Hopefully, the weather will back off and keep the grass & weeds from growing so #(^*% quickly, but I'm not holding my breath. But maybe I should be.

Ye olde computer clocke reads 4:17, so methinks I'll throw a bag together and head over to the gym to lift & swim. I'm still sucking in the water, and Tri 101 is only getting closer, so I need all the help I can get.

Off I go. Thanks for reading.//d

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Straight Sevens on Saturday

I guess the best way to keep me posting to this Blog is to have me trapped indoors. What's this, three consecutive days, now?

Once again, the rain kept me (and N---) from playing outside today (I feel bad for her, having to scrap her massive training day twice, in the same week, on account of the weather), and, with water aerobics classes starting so early on Saturdays, I was unable to get in a swim before needing to be home for today's Harry Potter-thon, where me and a few friends will, for whatever reason sounded logical at the time, attempt to watch all four of the current Harry Potter DVDs. It's going to be a long day. I mean, Dan did IM CdL in less time.

The home theater is all warmed up (courtesy of Tori Amos's latest), snacks are set, and the butterbeer needs only to be brewed together. T--- just called to say she & K--- are on the way, and N--- should be here before too long. Guess I'll head into the kitchen and finish up the butterbeer and get the pizzas started.

Weather looks like it's going to continue to suck for the foreseeable future, so check back soon for yet another update. Thanks for reading.//d

Friday, July 06, 2007

Overcast

It rained again this morning. It's been spotty, too, since I woke up and consumed some eggs & such for breakfast, meaning today is pretty-much a shot day for outdoor training, yard work, or anything else I wanted to do outside...except SeaWorld.

A---, M---, and the nephews are in town, so we're heading off to see the sharks and that big whale that does tricks. Hopefully, it'll take my mind off the poopy weather, and the sharks can get my mojo for swimming going, again. I tell ya, the past few times I've been in the pool, I just haven't felt it.

The tea kettle is letting me know my water is ready, so I'm bugging out now. Hope everyone else's day is going better than mine. If not, meet me in the shark tank in an hour.

Thanks for reading...d

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Weathering the Storms

It's been raining here for what seems like a month, and I have to say, I'm sick of it. Really.

Alas, the first original post since PlayTri last April (technical difficulties; sorry), and I choose to open it by #(%*& about the weather, when that's only background to everything that's been going on since said triathlon. Where to begin?

Crookshanks. No, not Hermione's cat from the Harry Potter series, but my own fuzzy feline, has moved on. She somehow contracted a fairly common virus called feline infectious paritonitis (FIP), which, when it does what it's supposed to, starves a cat to death. Unfortunately, Crookshanks's strain did what it was supposed to. Poor girl dropped over a pound in a matter of weeks by not being able to keep anything, food or water, down. To make matters worse, fleas seized upon her in her sickened state (they later made themselves at home in my home, but more on that in a bit). She became too weak to fight on, but remained chipper right up to the end. It's been nearly two months, but I still miss seeing her trot across the lawn whenever I pull into the drive on my bike. I even miss her near-incessant whining. I don't, however, miss her fleas.

Fleas have to be the most difficult pest to rid one's home of. After six weeks and $200+ in expenses, I think I've finally rid my home of the little buggers; rather, I've not seen a living one here in a couple of weeks. Sevin Dust is definitely the bomb when it comes to that sort of thing. Raid flea foggers are not.

Backtracking to the same weekend that Crookshanks was put to sleep, N--- & I went down to Corpus Christi to run the Beach to Bay relay marathon. Granted, we weren't on the same team, but that didn't keep us from having a grand time while we were down by the beach. N--- ran the leg before mine, so I got to see her trucking into the chute to hand off to her teammate. What a stellar runner.

I'd a hard time getting to my hand-off person, but once I did, I motored on, using the angst I had inside of me over Crookshanks to motor through the 4.4 miles in 29'04", averaging 6:35/mi. Considering my leg was the bridge, even I was impressed with my time. Since then, though, my training has gone more or less down the toilet. Enter worst weather I've suffered through in several years.

Tri 101 is still a few months away, so I remain optimistic about being ready for it, despite my lagging behind on training. I'm finally coming to the "acceptance" phase of things and will begin adapting my training schedule to make full use of the gym and its amenities to accommodate the lousy weather.

Kind of a blah post, I know, but I felt compelled to type in some stuff tonight, in light of the poopy swim I had this evening. There just seems to be so little gas in the tank, literally & figuratively speaking, due in small part to the weather I seem to be unable to shut up about. So, I guess I'll just shut up all together. Besides, I still need to finish The Once and Future King.

I'll be more coherent next time, I promise. And, now that this thing is back up & running at 100%, updates should be a little more frequent. As always, thanks for reading.//d

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Survivalism

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

That thought ran through my head quite a bit today when I queried myself as to why I had signed up to do a half-iron distance race so early in the season. In reality, though, I didn't directly sign up to do the race; rather, N--- transferred her registration over to me when it became clear that spreading her time between the three sports, work, and school wasn't working too well. Judging by today's results, I didn't do such a stellar job, either...and I didn't have school to think about. I am a slacker.

Over all, though, my participation in the Playtri Triathlon Festival was a success. My goal was to survive (er...finish), using the race as a baseline for how much work was to be done between now and Tri 101 in November. Needless to say, I have much to do. Read on to find out why.

Swim - 37:12 (88th OA)
Omigosh, was the water ever cold. From the previous days' events, there were several people who DNF-d (did not finish), due, according to rumor, to the frigid temperature of the water. But, I had my trusty wetsuit and I managed to stay warm enough to somehow negotiate 1800 meters of choppy water in Lake Carolyn, navigating a series of barely-perceptible buoys, trying to make around the assorted bends and back to shore.

Bike - 2:48:41 (26th OA)
Omigosh, was it ever windy. Despite the fact that the course was essentially pancake flat, and on relatively well-paved roads, this was the toughest bike leg of a race I've done. Strong winds from literally every direction caused me to fight to keep the bike upright and going in a straight line. Psychologically, doing three loops of the same, blisteringly windy course took its toll on me by the mid-way point of lap two. Physically, my left leg began bothering me again on the second lap, but I was able to work through it with greater success than the same problem experienced at Gulfman last year. I'm thinking that a pedal change might be in order...Speedplay is seeming to be the most viable option, given the amount of available float.

But, speaking of equipment changes, I've decided that for long-course races, the Louis Garneau Chrono (or, the first generation of said helmet) is not the best of choices. Were it not for the consequence of instant disqualification, I'd have ripped the thing from my head by mile 30; it was that bad.

I tried something new coming into T2: dismounting with the shoes still clipped in. But for the problem of getting my left foot free of the shoe before the dismount line, and some crazy dismounting from a guy on my left, it was, for the most part, a success. I think with a bit more practice, I'll have it down.

Run - 1:54:05 (43rd OA)
Omigosh, was I ever tired by the time I hit the run. I'd my own little group of groupies at the race today (N--- was there the whole time, wonderful woman that she is -- she even gave me pirate socks as a good luck gift! what a gal, while D--- & K--- made it by for the run and the post-race pigout festival at Snuffer's), and they all commented on how good/comfortable I looked on the run. Based on how I actually felt, though, nothing could have been farther from the truth.

Because I had to fight the bike so much on the bike leg (as opposed to fighting the bike on the swim?), my shoulders were extremely tight. My cardio also felt way off, so I just ran with it, doing the best that I could. It was an interesting course (part of it went past an out-of-sight shooting range, so all were treated to the comforting, incessant sounds of gunfire; one runner remarked that it reminded him of being in Iraq), much of which was on concrete trailing, making for a hard-on-the-body run. It took every ounce of being I had to keep from abandoning after the first loop, but I made it through.

Summing It All Up
Swim - 37:12 (88)
T1 - 3:24
Bike - 2:48:41 (26)
T2 - 1:57
Run - 1:54:05 (43)
Total - 5:25:21
Placings - 34th OA / 8th AG

It was most likely due to my lack of preparation, but this was probably the toughest race I've ever done -- tougher even than Buffalo Springs. However, it was a good learning experience for me. A few examples:

  • Don't use the Chrono helmet on long-course races
  • In strong winds, it's best to use a less-deep front wheel (but I'd still like to use the 404s for Tri 101 in November, M--- & B---)
  • One bottle is not really enough
  • Nuun hydration tablets rock...but use only half of one per bottle
  • Time pedals + me + long-course triathlon = possible need for new pedal system (not a word, M---)
  • I have the most awesome, supportive group of friends anyone could ever ask for; thank you, all

For most of the day, it's been difficult to move. As a precautionary measure, I called in sick to work, and N--- made an appointment for me to get a massage before we head back home. But first, I need sleep. Disintegration is cued up on the iPod, so I will now bid you all a good evening and head off to slumber. As always, thanks for reading.//d

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Case of the Mondays

Was this ever a Monday.

Blame it on the weather or what-have-you, but today was pretty-much a let-down. Nothing terribly great came of today, for I'd no energy to do much of anything but make it through the work day and plop down in front of the tele to watch a movie, Office Space. I needed something to reflect my mood and cheer me up, and the flick certainly did the trick.

I found myself somewhat inspired & motivated afterwards, but only enough to come in and type up most of tomorrow's Gatsby quiz for chapters 5 & 6. I still need to finish refreshing myself on 6 & 7 but will tend to that after I conclude this entry.

Training is beginning to wind down, as PlayTri is less than two weeks out. I don't feel ready for a strong showing, but, this is intended to only test my fitness and show how much stronger I need to be before Tri101 in November. Since I won't actually be fast, I will at least look fast; new tri gear from Speedo and Sugoi looks sharp. Now I just need to find a place to get a massage.

Goodness, this is a disjointed post, isn't it?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Breaking & Entering

Although Easter is still several weeks ago, today is a good Friday:

1) Spring Break has finally arrived & begun
2) My income tax refund finally made it in
3) I am now registered for Tri101 in The Woodlands this November.

Dear God, what have I done?

Now that I am registered for such a long-distance race, I suppose I should start training. Fortunately, I do have a schedule worked out, and it is (so far) a workable one...at least until swim season begins next year. But, that's a whole bunch of months away.

For now, I will stick with what I worked out during TAKS last month and see how that fairs me for PlayTri next month. So far, it's working, as my run & swim are both doing well. And, for having been off the bike for so long, I think I did pretty well on last Saturday's outings with the LBS and SAW. I hope to increase the mileage over Spring Break and through the summer, allowing me to really have a great racing season.

I've a 10-mile run to do in the morning, so it's off to bed with me. Thanks for reading.//d

Monday, February 19, 2007

Holy Half-Marathons, Batman!

Good gravy, was it cold this morning.

While not exactly alone in the dark, there was no one around me I knew. Still, as at triathlon races, you just can't help but make friends with everyone else who is there to suffer along with you. True, I didn't get any names, but I did meet a trio of guys who were decked out with 625x HRMs, complete with foot pods. We chatted about the 625's accuracy, training in general, and so on, and I felt justified in not running with my 625x, opting, instead, for a Nike Speed Triax 100 Super watch. Yes, the 625x would have given me every one of my splits (I missed several), but the times (most likely) would have been off. All the same, I felt free on the run. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Just for the half, more than 6,000 people signed up, so you can imagine the confusion when the gun went off at 7:00 AM. I missed the first mile split, hit the 2-mile, and missed every split again until mile 4...or was it 5? I dunno, but I was moving at a good clip until the full and half distances split. From there, it was one challenging hill after another. One guy completely deflated after seeing the climb we had to go up at mile 11; he uttered an expletive before dying.

Despite my lack of training (due in large part to injury), I still managed to finish the half -- and in pretty good time, too. According to my watch, my finishing time was 1:35:19; official time was 1:35:18, placing me 200th over all. N--- finished her half a few minutes later, crossing at 1:39 and change -- a new PB for her, too. The girl rocks.

If all goes well, I'll run the full Austin marathon next year. In the likely event the course remains the same, I know I've some serious training to do -- those hills are killers! Until then, it's focus, focus, focus on triathlon; PlayTri is just over two months away. I'll do my best to keep you, my avid readers, abreast of how training progresses, as well as if I'm ever able to get back out on my bike. Thanks for reading.//d

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Waiting Game

Tonight, I had the single worst restaurant experience of my entire life.

So, we're in Austin for the marathon. Me, N---, several of her regular running buddies, and two of my VPs from work are there, too. We all decide to meet for dinner, and Ms. S--- wants to go to this Italian chain restaurant with a location close to the hotel where she's staying (I'm crashing at B---'s house, which is also close to this restaurant), and it's close to where N--- and her friends are, so we agree. Table for nine.

I get to the restaurant right after talking with Mr. S---, the other VP, and reserve the table; 50-minute wait. No problem, as no one else is there; by the time they make it, we're down to 40 minutes. Still, no problem. We sit at the bar (which is mercifully smoke-free [thank you, Austin]), have some beverages and wait. And wait. And wait some more.

After 45 minutes, I go to check on the table and am told it will be another 45 minutes. The gang is still cool with this (some had ordered salads & appetizers), so we wait. And wait. And wait some more.

Every 15 minutes, I go to check on the table, and we finally get one -- after an hour and forty minute wait and much complaining on several peoples' parts. But, the fun doesn't stop there.

Once seated, we're given the obligatory bread and order our food (we'd plenty of time to look at the menu during our stay at the bar). I opted for the customized pasta bit, which proved to be a huge mistake -- almost as huge of a mistake as going to this restaurant in the first place.

The food arrives after we'd been at the restaurant for 125 minutes and an acquaintance of one of the VPs went to complain to management. My food was not present but made it to the table a very short while later. It was cold.

I'm usually keen on cold pasta, but the pasta was not thoroughly cooked, which made for inedible grub. Not only that, but the broccoli was cold and the chef went a little crazy with the olive oil dressing, too. If that weren't bad enough, I found odd pieces of other pasta types mixed in (not sure if they were cooked -- I didn't eat them), as well as some other things I was unable to describe.

Most everyone else had edible food, but I refused mine and refused to pay. After everyone made their way back to their respective hotels, I headed next door to a steak house for a baked sweet potato. I ate it at the bar, racked up a staggering $2.45 bill for one amazing spud, and am now back at B---'s, waiting for sleep to hit me. Guess I'm still a little worked up over yet another bad experience with a chain restaurant. I just hope I have enough energy to make it through the 13.1 miles in the 90-minute time slot N--- has set for me (actually, she's only told me she is certain I could do it in 90; I just want to see if I can).

Ah...

Guess I needed to think about sleep, as I now feel its familiar touch upon my eyelids. Sweet dreams to you all. I'll pop back in tomorrow with a post-race report. Thanks for reading.//d

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Veggin' Out

I have successfully navigated another Saturday without accomplishing squat, as related to work -- unless you count actually thinking about work enough to load up the laptop in Buckbeak for transport over to S--- & K----'s. Eh, I wouldn't either. What I will do, though, is whip out the lesson plans for E2 & E3, once I finish this blog post. So, let's get crackin'.

I'm a lot concerned about my health. No, I'm not dying, although I did feel like it during my run this morning. A little over three miles into what was supposed to be a 15+ mile outing, I began to feel light-headed...almost as though I were about to pass out or fall asleep. I stopped, tried to collect my thoughts and decided to head back at a light trot; not even a mile later, I bonked again. Staggering back to the main road, I resumed a jog (I was not going to let some heavy-set woman in lime-green Spandex run up the hill whilst I walked) and managed to get it back up to a decently-paced run within the next half-mile and finish just under an 8-minute pace. As far as runs go, the pace & distance were decent, but I clocked in ten miles short of what I had set out to do. Still, it gave me some time to contemplate the future.

The district swim meet was yesterday evening at PAC, and both teams did well. The girls' team from Steele took first (woohoo!) and Coach went in the water. In a way, I'm glad I didn't, yet it did hurt a bit to not be included in the frivolity...as though I have no place there. And to be honest, I'm not sure if I do.

Personal free time and training have taken a heavy hit since beginning the program last September, but, since I wasn't really racing, it didn't matter so much. Besides, I had an awesome finish in the SA marathon. However, with swim competitions so frequently, plus Saturday practices, and the less-than-ideal nutritional situation surrounding swim meets, the effects are more than evident -- which disheartens me, as I would really like to see the program (and other "non-traditional sports", as a football coach called it) succeed. One of my juniors, who was at the meet to cheer on his girlfriend, even asked me if I would consider coaching cross country and/or the mile in track next year. I told M--- I'd considered it but would have to see what pans out.

The remainder of my day was spent getting out-bid on a pair of speakers (again) for the rear DTS outputs on my receiver and getting Buckbeak looking sharp; now that it's clean again, it is certain to rain. I am now back over with the pups, roasting some vegetables in the oven for dinner; fish & brown rice are in the steamer. N--- is on her way over but is currently stuck in traffic, meaning I have a bit of time to get started on the next week's lesson plans. Of course, there is a Wii in the living room, and a round of tennis could be nice...


Tune in next time to find out what I did...providing I don't wait six months to post again and forget what I said last time. Whatever happens, thanks for reading.//d

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Back in the Dog House

Seems like the only times I was really willing to make a post here is when it ices over an inch thick or when S--- & K--- go on a cruise and ask me to dog sit. As it was sunny &amp; 65° today, you can probably guess which one it is.

I've just arrived for another round of dog & house sitting, but I'm finding myself in a rather non-jovial mood -- quite contrary to what I'm typically like when here, as the droolsome threesome are quite good at rousing the spirits. Heck, there was even a (stray?) pup waiting for me when I parked the car; pretty dog & extremely playful.

But, here I sit, perplexed at the range of emotions stewing within.

When I returned home from a casual run with a co-worker (too gorgeous of a day to just do nothing, and a light run was right up my alley), I was welcomed by a phone call letting me know my grandmother had been taken to the hospital because of a low blood count. I'm presuming red blood cell, but mum didn't clarify. To make matters worse, the one time Cingular's service decides to crap out on me was when talking with mum, so I missed much of what she was said and had to resort to using a land-line. How archaic.

In trying to cope with the hospitalization and the potential outcomes of such, I tried calling N--- but got voicemail. I attempted to leave a message but couldn't articulate much of anything, let alone what was going on. So, I showered, left, and grabbed a bite to eat (sushi, rather than the pizza initially craved, was such a good choice) on my way over to the dogs. Wait. That didn't quite come out right.

Whatever.

I called back and left another message, doing something I've not asked of anyone in...years: I asked N--- to say a prayer for my grandmother. N--- doesn't even know her (she just met my family a few days ago [all of whom were completely enamored by her -- they love her!]), but it just felt like something I should do. Besides, it was all I could get out, and even after I asked this of her, I again lost my ability to speak. Good thing N--- knows me well enough to know I know how to speak.

Which leaves me in a ponderous state about many things. N---, of course, is one of them (In reflecting on the time [and events of that time {everything, indeed, happens for a reason}] that has passed since meeting her, I'm really feeling...peaceful about things; I like how things are progressing, as well as the rate at which they are.), as is the subject of (organized) religion, my stance on said subject, will I have to move and when...too many things to think about, so I don't think I'm going to.

The upcoming weekend will be a busy one, but one that I hope to be productive. Of course, the direction I have planned could very easily be changed by what happens with my grandmother, but I will hold course & have faith as best I can that everything will be all right.

This was a weird one, I know, so for tonight, more than any time in recent memory, thanks for reading.//d

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Dash Likes

Hola, Amigos.

Yeah, it's been a while since I've rapped at ya, but two 007 got off to an interesting start.

I broke down and signed on with Dish Network through AT&T last December, and it's turned out to be a huge [expletive] mistake. Not only was there seldom anything decent on the however-many-hundred channels I received, but DN also tried to sneak in a few charges everyone who "helped" me through the setup process neglected to mention. I was not pleased and let the eight or so collective reps from AT&T & DN know as much. Guess that means I'll be mooching off Heaven for the grand tours again this year.

But life is not a pile of poo.

After several injuries that sidelined me the past few weeks, I managed an incredible 9-mile run tonight in just over an hour. Yes, the legs are a little sore, but it's nothing a bit of (or a bit more) stretching won't cure. At least I hope.

To cure my stank, though, I'm going to need a shower, so that's-a where I'm-a gonna dash off to. More updates will come, as I'm house-and-dog-sitting for S--- & K--- again this weekend; they're going on another flippin' cruise, if you can believe it -- but more on that later.

Thanks for reading.//d

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ice, Ice, Baby

For the second day in a row, school has been canceled. As a kid, I know I would have been ecstatic about having school canceled (and was, when it snowed in 1984, and we received two days off for it), but, now, I'd rather brave the elements, teach my stuff, and not have to worry about make-up days in a couple of months. I was actually disappointed when I received the call yesterday afternoon, thinking that it wouldn't be as bad as what forecasters had predicted -- after all, how often are they right? The pictures at right were what greeted me this morning when I stepped outside. Ice was everywhere.


Sixteen-inch long icicles dripping from the rooftops, a blanket of slipperiness over the stones by the workshop, and layer of ice half-an-inch thick over the chainlink fence -- which proved quite effective in keeping the gates shut. So, here I am, at home, again. Crookshanks can't decide if she's an indoor or outdoor cat (she'll go outside for ten minutes, come inside, then want to go back outside ten minutes later; like a fool, I oblige her), which makes getting anything done inside somewhat complicated.



According to the assorted weather outlets, today is the last of the worst, and I really do hope so. I'm anxious to get rolling and running again, and hope to be able to make it to Dallas this weekend to visit my new nephew, as well as visit some friends. For now, it's house cleaning time before trying to make my way to the gym. I just hope the mercury cooperates.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year

A new year is again upon us, and I cannot help but wonder what the #%)(* happened to the old one. Wasn't it just New Year's, 2006?

Regardless, 2007 is here, and I enter the year in a somewhat somber state of mind. The racing schedule is uncertain for a number of reasons, with the exception of the Austin marathon. That's still on for February 17th.

Time again escapes me, so I'll cut this off now. Until later in the year...or next, considering how quickly 2006 rocketed by. Once again, thanks for reading.//d