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.