About This Blog

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

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).


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