About This Blog

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

Friday, December 26, 2008

Why Can't I Ride My Bike?

The winter break was supposed to allow me time to get caught up on training, long bike rides, in particular. However, such has not been the case when it comes to cycling, for every day that I have scheduled a long ride (Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and, now, today), it has been wet. Not the hard rain that can actually be kind of fun to ride in, but just the wet, sloppy stuff that is apparently commonplace in cities the likes of Seattle. Bloody weather.

Tuesday's botched ride was supplemented with a nearly 3-hour ride on the trainer (boy, was that fun & exciting!), while Wednesday's was a spin class, preceded by a 2km swim, so all is not completely lost. Today, though...eh...I guess I'll just wait & see what transpires. Cross your fingers for better weather during the break. Thanks, and thanks for reading.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Christmas

Just returned from the track with N---. Yesterday was her day to hammer out 2x1-mile splits; today was mine. Both days were beautiful, with a hint of winter in the air, but not so nippy so as to mandate winterish apparel.

As N--- & I get ready to open gifts to & from one another, I wanted to wish you all a joyous time of year, regardless of religious affiliations or lack thereof. Peace be with you, and thanks for reading.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Training Wheel

The winter break is finally here...been here, actually, as Friday was the first, official day. However, I've had (and have, tomorrow) swim practice, albeit at not such an ungodly hour, so the day's have been anything but uneventful. Come the end of the week, I was finally over my sickness and ready to resume training. Cue the monkey wrenches.

Plan for Saturday: Ride to swim practice. Ride from JAC to Comal Elementary for the SAW ride, ride home with 70+ miles on the C-dale. Reality: Misty rain <expletive> that completely shot ride potential; I did not want to take another spill in that kind of weather, like I did during the last break. So, I took it easy riding home, earning myself the honor of changing a flat on the side of Pat Booker, at about the half-way point. It looked to be a piece of a broken beer bottle that had lodged itself in my tire, not fully penetrating the tire itself, but applying enough pressure to puncture the tube. Dang it.

Right, so I made it home, went to the post office to take care of my passport (CdA is so close to Canada, it'd be really nice to visit), then off to meet N---, K---, and T--- for lunch at CPK (don't you just love my heave use of initials & acronyms?), before jetting over to Bike Heaven for trainer parts. The new skewer for my aged, yet functional, Tacx Cylclesport Swing made it in a couple of days ago, and I went ahead and ordered a flip-flop (fixed + free hub) wheel for the commuter so I could throw a 10-speed cassette back on the old Mavic wheel for use with the trainer. The commuter is temporarily out of commission (flip-flop wheel should be in by Wednesday, I hope), but my trainer rig is now completely ready to go, trainer-specific tire & all. Thank you to all who helped me get it ready; you should know who you are.

That said, it is now bed time. One more day of swim practice this week and then it's truly holiday time...to the extent that I will not have to interact with the kids. I still have oodles of papers to grade, plus a quiz to write, but everything in due time. Hopefully, I'll be able to find the time before all is due.

Yeah, gonna go before the cheese starts rising above waist level. Stay warm where you are on the trainer, treadmill, or whatever gear you're using to keep moving through the holidays. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Go See This Film

Last night was the San Antonio premiere of an independent documentary regarding the world's addiction to oil:

There were several amazing things about the experience of seeing this film last night. There were some revelations about the oil/gas/automotive conglomerates currently attempting to (and in some cases succeeding in) pulling the wool over American's eyes with our purchasing choices, but one cool, unexpected thing was that the director, Josh Tickell, was in attendance for a Q&A session afterwards. Additionally, it was revealed that San Antonio was a test market for this film.

Austin, yeah (where, surprisingly, the film was met with more objection that last night's debut), Portland, sure, but San Antonio? That's progression. Let's keep the trend going, eh?

Fuel is slated to run its test phase through December 18th but could be held over if enough people go see it. Do the world -- yes, the world -- a favor and go see it. Whether or not you agree with everything that the film has to say is irrelevant, but it is imperative that we agree with the core message: Our dependency on oil, foreign and domestic, must end. This film goes several steps further than to simply point out the obvious; how we can begin to end this dependency is provided to a culture grown accustomed to have the world spoon-fed to us.

It's the weekend. Rather than go see some fabrication of fantastically fake people doing unbelievable things on the big screen, head over to the Bijou Theater @ Crossroads Mall and get yourself a healthy dose of reality (and a spinach Alfredo pizza -- those things are awesome!). Films like Fuel don't come along every day, and their arrival, let alone stay, in a town like San Antonio is even less frequent. Let's start changing that. Then we can move on to changing our fuel, changing our world.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Wasted Week

The week started out good: Good ride Sunday morning at a good pace in fantastic weather. Stretched on Monday. Swam on Tuesday (all 3200 meters, too, also at a good pace). Wednesday, it hit me. Hard.

Let's rewind a bit, just to have full perspective.

I teach high school. Yeah, not the most sanitary of environments. The past few years have been spent building up my immune system to pretty high standards -- successfully so, too. Friday night, I dove into the Schertz Pool as part of the Polar Bear Splash fund raiser...without my wet suit. Yup, just me in a square-cut suit and a pair of goggles. The water temperature was a crisp 43°, while the air was a cool 47°.

Sleep was not hard to come by Friday or Saturday night, but, come Sunday, I could not sleep worth a darned. Same for Monday. And Tuesday. Finally, Wednesday morning, my body had had all that it could take and shut itself down. No getting out of bed for practice; barely making it up and through the day for work. Once home, I fed, took some cold medicine after talking & coaching for wellness by N--- (what a gal), read, and was asleep by 8:00. Practice this morning was rough, but manageable. Same with the school day. And, here we are.

The purpose of this post was more or less to just have a place in which to whine. Yes, CdA is still 6+ months out, and I'm still feeling strong after a good finish at the marathon last month, but...that was last month. This week has just felt...wasted. I feel weighed down by the demands of work (swimming on its own is a full time job, to say nothing with teaching six English classes a day), in that I have virtually no free time. I literally wake up and go straight to work. If I'm lucky, I have about 30 minutes after swim practice at home before I have to head to the school. Typically, I'm there until 4:30 or later (twice this week, it was after 5:30 before I left), before heading home to maybe eat something before it's time to grade papers or read from one of the two novels my two different levels are covering; fortunately, I've read them both so it's mostly review. By then, it's after dark, and, after feeding the cat, I don't feel like doing much else except trying to get some sleep for the day begins all over again in less than ten hours. Being sick on top of all that isn't helping matters much, either.

Breathe.

Time to wrap this thing up before I go off on another rant. I really do like my job, what I do, working with kids, trying to make a difference. Catch me again when I'm a lot less groggy. I'll do my best to be Mr. Sunshine. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Terrible 2s

Most people look to the end of their work day as a good time. For me, that, too, is typically the case. However, for whatever reason, today just plain sucked as soon as I locked up the bike in the garage.

After hurrying inside to change clothes and get going back out the door, I was met with challenge #1: Making a left-hand turn. Traffic, you see, backs up over a quarter of a mile, thanks to this most wonderful construction project on the Parkway, so I stupidly turned right and headed to 78. The challenge continued, due to even greater traffic congestion (all trying to turn left) onto 3009. In order to make it to the usual inspection house, I wound up taking the circuitous route, only to find out the joint quits doing inspections at 5:00. That was challenge #2: Finding a place that would inspect my car as late as it was (5:30). Mission accomplished, and just down the road, too. Once the car was again legal, it was a little further down the road to the folks' house to pick up chili making supplies for the post-Polar Bear shindig at my place this Friday.

I tried to time my arrival at the gym to avoid any aquatics classes, but I was unsuccessful, just as I was unsuccessful at getting to speak with a manager at the gym (raised my rates by $3/mo -- something I do not believe the are permitted to do, as I was a member of a gym absorbed by this golden conglomerate from abroad, and Texas state law is supposed to protect that sort of thing). Finally, after an hour, I got my lane and go going, but leaky goggles (methinks the string on my Swedes needs to be replaced) kept me from getting going well; I was also really tired and unfocused.

So, here I am, at home. Chili fixins are in the kitchen, ready for me to throw them all together, as are six packs of cornbread. After jumping in a freezing-cold pool Friday night, I know I'll be ready for it.

I'm beat, so I'm going to bed. My bad day pales in comparison to the garden variety day of many, especially those overseas, so, with that in mind, I ask you to keep those less fortunate than either or both of us in mind as you find yourself in a meditative state. Thanks, and thanks for reading.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Taking on Toutant

Way back in January of 2001, I did the all-club New Year's Day Ride here in San Antonio. Knowing I would be in no shape to ride 60 or 70 miles after a 3-week holiday hiatus from the bicycle, I signed up for the 40-mile jaunt thinking it a piece of cake. After all, I had taken on the MS150 a few months prior and I had just won a trip to the wind tunnel at Texas A&M, so, truly, how hard could it be for a cyclist of my caliber. Ask a stupid question...

Less than 20 miles into the ride, I was gasping for air, barely able to make it up the first major climb on Scenic Loop. Six or seven miles later, when we hit Toutant Beauregard, I had my first real introduction to hill country climbing. I completely fell off the back of the group and had to even get off my bike by the side of the road. Heck, I may have even cried, disappointed as I was in myself. After suffering up its inclines and turns in the freezing cold (yes, it was actually cold that New Year's Day), I vowed to myself that I would conquer that climb.

Luck was on my side for doing so, too. I had just begun classes at UTSA for my BA and had a nice, long mid-day break for my Tuesday/Thursday class. I used this time to head out on the bicycle and ride Toutant Beauregard. By the time Spring Break hit, I had mastered its first false flat, as well as its two major up-turns: the first is a long, steep incline takes a semi-switchback approach to making its way up, while the second is a shorter climb, but far steeper than the first. After that, it's almost all down hill, all the way back to I10.

I rode up Toutant Beauregard yesterday for the first time in a year or two (the ride I did on Veteran's Day came the opposite direction, a near-suicide-pace descent around its twists & turns -- the opposite in more ways than one) and was amazed at not only how much the area had developed (more houses and even a Starbucks at the corner of TB & 10) but also with what relative ease I made it up the climbs. While it wasn't freezing, it was misitng the whole time, which added to the memorable mystique of one of my favorite rides in the area. The mist did create some doubts for my safety, but everything was just fine on Toutant and the ride back in...at least until I returned to the UTSA parking lot. I went down pretty hard, due to the slick streets, but, again due to the slick streets, injuries to me were minimal: A few scratches & bruises & gashed handlebar tape were the worst of it. My helmet appeared to have survived (still waiting for a callback from Rudy, though), and my sunglasses survived without a scratch, as well; Rudy Project makes some awesome stuff.

The weather appears to be more cooperative today, albeit a bit cooler outside. Today's training has on tap for it a 50-mile ride, followed immediately by a 4-mile run. I'll get to top those off today at noon with a massage. Life, it seems, is pretty good right now. Of course, I'll need to come crashing back to reality immediately thereafter and get grades entered and a test or two (or three? Hmm...LOTF, CMC, and finish the modified vocabulary; yup it'll be a busy day!) after my three days of sluffing off during the Thanksgiving break. Oh well. It's but a three-week haul until the Christmas holidays, so I feel confident I can make it. After all, if Toutant Beauregard posed no problems...

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Post-Marathon

It's been a few days since the Rock & Roll Marathon in SA, and my body has recovered surprisingly well. I mean that in that I have virtually no aches & pains anywhere, save for my left Achilles, but that will likely stretch itself out when I can actually find some time to work out. And finding time to do that has been near-impossible this week.
  • Monday: Massage. I earned it.
  • Tuesday: Hockey game with N---. This was the 2-year anniversary of our first date, also a hockey game. The Rampage continue to lose, but N--- & I are very much the winning team.
  • Wednesday: At work until nearly 6:00. Got home to do more work for the forthcoming Polar Bear Splash, as well as laundry; I leave tomorrow for Corpus. Were it not for the fact that I have to be up for practice in a little over six hours, I'd likely head to the gym to sneak in a swim. Too bad I'm a wuss.
  • Thursday - Saturday: Will be in Corpus Christi for the TISCA swim meet. I plan to take running stuff with me but am unsure if I will be able to find time/locale to run whilst there. I'm not holding my breath for the La Quinta to have a fitness center, either.
And such will be my week after the marathon. I suppose taking some time off after such a major effort is a good thing, but I would like to be able to call the shots on it myself, rather than having my time dictated to me. It makes me feel so...helpless. Using the excuse that June 21 is still so far away won't cut it, either; I want to do well in CdA. Here's to hoping for a winning Super Lotto ticket or something.

With those idiotic thoughts, I bid you a good evening. I'll pop back in after TISCA to share the good news that I have returned to my training plan. Until then, get some work outs in for us both, and thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rock and Roll!

Today was the inaugural San Antonio Rock-n-Roll Marathon. I ran all 26.2 miles of it, establishing a new PR for a marathon, and proving to me that the Nike Free is one of the nicest darned pairs of shoes made. I totally plan on wearing them next year for CdA.

There is much I could say about this weekend's events surrounding the marathon (expo was lame [where were the deals?]; concert started too late for we working types; the Rudy Project SportMask is friggin' awesome -- I honestly forgot I was wearing them -- especially when the black fangs are paired with the Racing Red lens), but I'll leave it at that I felt great throughout the run (with one exception) and that, again, I set a new PR, missing qualifying for Boston by a mere seven minutes. Soon.

Okay, so what's the new PR? Read it & weep:

Yup, that's it. Again, it's no qualifying time (as some guy in Spirit of the Marathon put it, "qualifying times are slanted for women and the elderly"), but it's the best I've been able to eek out since graduating to the full distance two years ago. After all, I went in with no expectations today, other than finishing. I was certainly not disappointed...well, not too badly, anyway; I always feel I could have done better.

But, there's always next year. Will I do the RNR SA, again? If nothing better comes along, sure. Providing the course doesn't change and I can hold steady, I just might be able to qualify next year. However, my attitude towards the marathon could change after Ironman. Ask me again in seven or eight months; I should be able to have an answer for you. As always, thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Want

I'm always wanting more / Anything I haven't got / Everything I want it all / I just can't stop.

So rings true the decade-plus words of Fat Bob, for it seems that I am always wanting more. Ladies & gentlemen of the jury, I present exhibit "A," the Fuji D6:


I first glimpsed this beauty on ST several months back, and, after reading reviews & a video from this year's Interbike, I have reached the horrible conclusion that I cannot live without this bicycle. Never you mind the hefty price tag and the fact that I already have a TT bike, I want one of these. Were I to win Super Lotto, my first stop after the bank would be Joe's Pro Bikes to put one of these on order (size 54, Joe), complete with Hed 3 wheelset and, most likely, a Hed cockpit to match. Oh, and SRAM Red, too.; I've just been dying to give it a spin, and no time like the present to fulfill one's fantasies.

Sadly, that is all the D6 will remain: A fantasy. True, I can totally see myself on one of these, full-on aero, hammering out some course or other, but I can not see spending that kind of coin on a bike that will likely not get more than a couple of thousand miles out of me this next year; post-Ironman, probably even less. Sigh.

On this somber note, I bid you a good evening. Be sure to download your copy of the new Cure album, 4:13 Dream, from Amazon, and thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Back in Black

I finally got out on my bike this past week, and it felt wonderful. That it was a 32-mile leisurely spin with the 2s AM crowd at Starbucks is irrelevant. What matters is that I got to ride my bike and have fun. While others were working, I was playing and having a great time doing so.

Because of the overcast conditions, I opted to wear the SportMask glasses -- something I've not worn much, since obtaining the Exowind. Awesome of a shade the Exowind is, I really enjoyed the near-nothing feel and unparalleled optics of the SportMask; I had, again, fallen in love with them. And that got me to thinking about colour options for CdA: Black & red. A perusal of Rudy's lineup more or less ruled out the Exowinds, for buying yet another set of them (in black) was just beyond my budgetary means, so I got to looking at options for the SportMask. An email to the offices in California, inquiring about buying just a pair of the "fangs" for the the SportMask performance (in black) was met with wonderful coincidence: The rep to whom I spoke just happened to have a pair on his desk that he was willing to ship straight to me for nothing more than the cost of shipping. Score.

N---'s flight wa supposed to land in a little over an hour, but it looks like it's going to be delayed some...closer to ten, maybe. I'm going to fly, so I can let Coach know I likely will not be at practice in the morning, due to my pending late night and already-exhausted state, and then head on out to the airport, regardless. Rest up, and don't forget to stretch -- the marathon's this weekend! See you in the starting chutes. Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Better Than Last Monday

While the data from my flash drive is still gone, today was a much better Monday than last. Nothing particularly special happened today to make it so, but nothing particularly awful happened, either. I'm hearing a lot of flack from students & parents about the college research project, but I'm simply passing the buck to the ST who wanted to spearhead the project; welcome to the big leagues, kid.

Typically, I get thoroughly depressed at this time of year, what with the time change and loosing that extra hour of daylight & all. However, day two of daylight savings time wasn't all that bad. I arrived home a little after five, changed, talked a bit with N---, stretched, and was out the door a short while later. What started out as a painful 6-mile jaunt out & back the Parkway quickly turned into a virtual hammerfest, courtesy of some guy with a baby jogger. For a couple of miles, he set a really good pace, but I guess the hills & weight of the baby jogger got to be too much, and I wound up overtaking him with a little over a mile left. And, now, hear I am: Home. And it's only seven o'clock.

It is, however, time to get some ironing done, for I am way behind on that lovely little chore. Toodles, and thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Gruene with Evny

It's Sunday night, and I am once again stuck wondering where the <expletive> my weekend went. Actually, I kind of know, but it still seems unfair. Being 35 sucks, what with all the responsibilities & stuff.

This weekend was the somethingth-annual Tour de Gruene. Traditionally, Sunday has been race day, with a 2-person team trial on tap for all who dared...and could find a partner. The latter has always proven my undoing, considering where, in the season, the TdG always fell. This year proved to be no exception, but there was the possibility of actually being able to race: A solo TT on Saturday afternoon. The hitch: I proctored the SAT yesterday morning and wound up doing yard work the rest of the day. The good side to that: N--- & I got to spend a lot (more) quality time together, even if it was raking a seemingly never-ending yardful of leaves.

Sunday morning was back to punishing myself, pounding out a hair under 15 miles in a hair under two hours' time; being unable to run more than once a week has been devestating to my training. However, I did feel good this evening, and I even got to swim tonight...for the first time in nearly a month. More musings on the irony of a swim coach not swimming another time. For now, I must find a bed, for practice will, as usual, come early tomorrow morning.

Hope you remembered to set your clocks back last night. Get some rest to gear up for Monday, and thanks for reading.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mon-day

Today sucked.

It was Monday, of course, but that wasn't the worst of it. No, when I arrived at school, my SmartBoard wasn't working, but that still wasn't the worst of it. Rather, after rebooting my machine, the SmartBoard started to work, but my flash drive (the one with all of my school data on it) quit working. As in, all of my data (attendance records, grade book, book checkout for CMC, and so on) is gone. Completely. I am most displeased.

I do hope your Monday was somewhat better than mine. If not, share in the fact that tomorrow is that much closer to Friday, which is that much closer to the Thanksgiving holidays. For that, I am most definitely thankful. Thank you for reading.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Best (SA) Hockey Game Ever

Through three teams and ten years, I've been a fan of San Antonio hockey. S--- has been there, too; it was not uncommon for us to bolt to the Coliseum after work to catch an evening game of either the Iguanas or the Dragons (and again the Iguanas), and, finally, the Rampage. San Antonio hockey has been good to me; it was mine & N---'s first date (a double with S--- & K---, too). Last night's bout with the Iowa Chops (formerly the Stars) failed to disappoint, either. It was, in my opinion, the best San Antonio hockey game ever. But what made it so great? For starters, N--- scored awesome seats on the flex pack tickets she got me/us for my birthday. Then, during the first period intermission, there was this:

video

Yup, S--- got to "dance for [his] dinner," winning a $50 gift card to Boston's Pizza, all for the low, low price of making a fool out of himself in front of the crowd at the AT&T Center and, now, you.

Hockey-wise, the Rampage won the game, 5-1, playing amazingly well. And, while I'm not known for being a fan of the fights at games, last night was an exception; SA & Iowa apparently had it in for each other, and S--- got some great shots using his Crackberry. Too bad we'll have to miss tonight's re-match, since N--- will be in the lab all afternoon. :-\

Fortunately, it's still early in the season, and we've nine tickets remaining in our flex packs. More to come as the season progresses. Hope to see you at a game. Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Woohoo!

No, the title of this post does not mean I got to go to the Nine Inch Nails concert last night (although that would have been so awesome). Rather, I actually peeled myself out of bed this morning with enough time to go for a run. I decided the pace would be quick, so I set a target time to finish in less than 30 minutes. After a mile, I re-set my goal to closer to 28 minutes. Final finish time: 27:59.37. I so rock.

That's it for now. It's now time to get cleaned up and go teach some English. Thanks for reading.//dhs

Monday, October 20, 2008

(N)INcoming

As N--- & I left the Spurs game the other night, I thought I saw mentioning of Nine Inch Nails tickets for sale. When I last checked the tour schedule several months back, SA was not mentioned; Houston would be the closest they were to get, so I didn't pursue ticket inquiries any further. Stupid me: NIN will (again) play the AT&T Center this Thursday. Sadly, I will not make it.

It's just as well. Typically, come Thursday, I'm beat, anyway, and the last thing I'd want to go do is fight 20,000 people who know "Closer" and maybe one or two other songs just to see the band live...again. The image below was taken at the June 2006 show at Verizon, which was an incredible show. That, coupled with another show at the AT&T Center a couple of years prior, are enough to satiate my fondness for the band and its music. Of course, there have been three (THREE!) new albums since that June evening, but I know I'll live. Whether or not you make it to the show, thanks for reading.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

(De)Boom! Skirt Chaser 2k9

A quick blurb about the second run for the day:

The Skirt Chaser 5k was a total blast. The venue was a tad more crowded than last year and, initially, seemed smaller, both in size & locale. However, by the time the gun went off, there was quite the crowd of skirt-clad ladies and several dozen gents to give chase. N--- & I toed up in our respective classes and wound up bettering our time from last year by almost two minutes. My run time was 20'27", itself a new PR for the 5k distance; N--- & I were cheered as we crossed the line together, hand-in-hand, with the announcer commenting, "Hey, you caught yourself a skirt!" When it was all said & done, we found my folks and headed back to the car to find some grub (more grumbling on that another time, but I will say one would do well to avoid Applebee's in New Braunfels; flies buzzing in the restaurant paid better attention to our table than did the server or the manager).

Prior to the race start, N--- & I met Nicole DeBoom, the company founder & race organizer. A pleasant & easily approachable woman, she listened to the concerns N--- & I had emailed to the company a month or two ago over the logo found on Skirt Sports' men's attire, letting us know our emails did not go unnoticed and that Skirt Sports was looking into alternatives. She liked the idea of the tag line, "Mom always told me to watch out for fast women." Remember, kiddos, you read that one here, first.

So, after 23.1 miles today, I find myself rather exhausted. That ten mile recovery run on tap for tomorrow may not be realized, but what is realized is that when one has a companion who not only runs but runs in a skirt, while being chased, and slows down for the chaser to catch her, life is pretty darned good. I've got mine, so go catch your own skirt. Thanks for reading.

Wish

Woohoo -- I made it the whole way of my 20-mile run this morning. Of course, I managed an 8:41 pace for the run, but I'll allot myself the excuse that I'm racing a 5k in a little over six hours' time. That, plus the fact there was a lot of climbing on the run, as evidenced by mapmytri.com's elevation profile:


I did stop about mile 17 to refill the Camelbak at a Shell station. While refilling, I encountered a woman stopping by for breakfast. She queried me on the distance I'd covered (despite the cloud cover, the humidity was extremely high, and I looked like I'd just swum Boerne Lake) and commented that she wished she could do that. I'm unclear on if she meant just run or run 17+ miles, as she was driving a rather large SUV and was no waif herself. Still, when she passed me a mile or two down the road, she rolled down her window and cheered. Even if this person never laces up a pair of shoes to run a 5k, 10k, or whatever distance race, that a chance encounter fostered good feelings (and good will) towards running gives me a warm fuzzy inside. As such, I wish her, and you, well.

Skirt Chaser 5k is tonight, and I've some house work to tend to before heading up to Austin with N--- and my parents (they want to go!). I'll pop back in tonight or tomorrow to let you know how it went. My time last year was 22'06", and that was after a 22-mile run. I'm not necessarily wishing to beat it, but I do hope I can.  Best wishes to you for a wonderful weekend, and thanks for reading.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Photo Finish

Remember that sprint for the finish at last weekend's Longhorn that I thought would make a good picture? It did. Yes, that's me in the back in the Bicycle Heaven kit.

Yeah, that's it for tonight. Long day at the office today, so not much to report, other than I rested and vegged in front of the tele tonight. Busy day on tap for tomorrow, with a 20-mile training run in the morning and the Skirt Chaser 5k in the evening. Providing I've some down time in between, it should make for a good day. I'm looking forward to it.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Weak End

It may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but it certainly wasn't.

Today's training schedule called for an 8-mile run at no particular pace. By the time I made it home from swim practice (parents of a couple of the kiddos were very late picking up their charges from the pool), I needed maximum effort to make it to the bed and collapse. I think I called N--- before I fell asleep and woke up an hour later when Coach called. We discussed the thief in our midst and planned Monday morning's practice before I let her go. Sleep refused to come to me, so I decided to get up and do those eight miles. Barely one mile into the course, I knew running tonight was a bad idea.

So, here I am, having barely accomplished half of tonight's planned run, tired, beaten. Thankfully, tomorrow is a rest day, so I intend to take advantage of it and rest, although stretching is not completely out of the picture. Saturday will be a double-header, with a planned 20-miler in the morning and the Skirt Chaser 5k that evening. Sunday will be a 10-mile recovery run, providing I can still feel my legs, let alone move them. Tune in to find out if I made it and to laugh at my suffering. Happy Friday, and thanks for reading.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Longhorn 70.3

It should go without saying that if, on the day of a race, you have to visit the medical tent before the start of the race, you're in for a rough day. Such was the case for me yesterday at the Ironman Longhorn 70.3 Triathlon, held in Austin.

Earlier in the year, I found myself without sufficient motivation to go out and do anything, so I decided to register for a race so late in the season that I would, in theory, remain constant with my training. It didn't work. What did work was signing up for one race after another, including Ironman Coeur d'Alene -- that was the real ticket. But back to the race at hand.

Despite the fact that Austin is less than an hour's drive from the house, N--- & I thought it best to stay the night in A-town, which wound up being a great dry run for how the morning of CdA should work, in terms of lodging, food, and so on. I was hoping D--- & K--- were going to be able to make it down, but D--- had the great misfortune of being selected for jury duty at the same time his company swamped him with a great deal of work. And I moan & groan about how busy I am.

Before the race began, I did my now-usual stretching routine, and, in the process, managed to lodge a tiny splinter in the palm of my hand. The nails on N---'s fingers were not long enough to get it out, so I had to make the aforementioned trip to the medical tent for a pair of tweezers.  They were without that handy tool, but they did give me a hypodermic needle with which I was able to prick enough of the skin off and dislodge the offending hunk of whatever it was. Minor medical emergency aside, here's how the race went down:

1.2-mile Swim | 34:31
Mine was the fifth wave to go out, originally slated for a 7:41 AM start time. That didn't happen, as a number of athletes & others were delayed by the shuttle service from the Travis County Expo to the race start. Having been slowed down by getting to race starts before, I can't b&m too much, but delaying the start by 20 minutes? Grrr...

At race start, the water registered at 77.5 degrees, making it just barely cool enough for a wetsuit. My wetsuit, though, was lying in my closet, recovering from a mending job of a fingernail tear; breaking in the new Vortex2 will have to wait until open water swims start in the new year. Despite the "cooler" water temperature, I'm glad I left the wetsuit, for I found that while swimming, when I wasn't getting kicked or slapped in the head by my fellow competitors, the feel of the water was pleasantly reminiscent of Canyon Lake and the summers spent playing in the lake until all hours of the day. I felt truly relaxed and focused in the water, which helped set me up for a good bike. So good, in fact, that I was able to sprint up the ramp into T1 and onto the bike while those who finished in front of me were still fumbling to get out of their wetsuits.

56-mile Bike | 2:41:43
A good TT bike will set the owner back several thousand dollars. Those dollars represent quite possibly years in the design process, coupled with countless hours spent in a windtunnel to find-tune every facet of the bicycle for maximum velocity. Why, then, are the number stickers for the bicycle so <expletive> big? Looking at these things makes me think that every aerodynamic advantage designed into the bicycle gets negated by the sticker. Wait, where was I? Oh, yes, the bike leg.

Mounting out of T1 was slick, and the first 20 miles ticked by nearly effortlessly. Then I began to realize the painful truth: I had to pee. Because it was beginning to adversely affect my mental state (I literally felt faint at one point), I did something around mile 32 I'd never done in a race: I stopped & peed. On the side of a road. How redneckish of me. It probably cost me two minutes in up flat time, but the time it saved over the remaining 24 miles of the bike leg was incalculable. It didn't do much to regain my 22.3 average speed for the first hour (the wind was tough, despite the super sweet Zipp 606 wheelset M--- hooked me up with); the remaining time saw me wind up with a 20.8 average, which was respectable, but off the pace for which I was shooting. Next time, I suppose.

13.1-mile Run | 1:50:51
I suck at trail running. For this course, it certainly didn't play to my advantage, as the course was nearly a 50-50 split, with the toughest sections being off road. One section, in particular, was a hill affectionately referred to as "Quadzilla." We got to run it twice. Joy!

Fortunately, the entire run course was staffed by mondo-enthusiastic volunteers, including a group at the base of Quadzilla in superhero costumes, ranging from Batman to Superman to Buzz Lightyear. On the second round, Batman gave me a knuckle pump and said, "Good job," to which I replied, "Thanks, Batman."

"Thanks, Batman"? Did I really just say that? Good thing there was a little less than two miles left in the run; I was surely losing my mind.

Running into the finish chute, I had a good sprint to the finish with the guy in front of me, but he nipped me at the line. However, it felt good to finish with such a rush. I think it would have made a good picture.

Finished: 5:11:50
The Ironman Longhorn 70.3 was the toughest Half course I've raced, but I am thankful for that, for it offered me the opportunity to really push myself, both physically and mentally, while, at the same time, setting a new PR. Will I do the course again next year? Not likely, as continuing training in the early part of swim season is proving too difficult. I need to get this sort of thing out of my system by summer's end...or, at least before morning practices start. Then again, if D--- is up for it next year, I could be easily coerced.

Speaking of, I need to wrap up this long-winded post of mine and head to bed, for morning practice is just a few hours away. To those of you who helped to get me to the starting line and across the finishing line, you have my most heartfelt thanks & gratitude, especially to my personal cheering squad: N---, Mom, & Dad.

My season will wrap up with the SkirtChaser 5k this weekend and the San Antonio Rock-n-Roll Marathon on November 16.  Then, it's nothing but training for CdA. I can't wait, and I'll bet you can't, either. Read all about it here. Thanks for reading.

Monday, September 22, 2008

An Epic Century

Yesterday was the SAW WHC Century. I rode it...and then some.

Despite not having ridden a century in over a year, coupled with the fact that my longest ride the past several months has been somewhere in the upper 60s, I felt obligated to ride to the start. After all, Judson is barely five miles from home, so what kind of cyclist-training-for-an-Ironman would I be if I drove there?

As I pedaled down 78, I misgivings were already in place. However, I felt comfortable about pacing myself with the trusty S725x back on my wrist, ticking my heart rate, the time, and the miles by. The crowd was quite small, but a few familiar faces were present, including Murray, so off we rode a little after 7:30. A couple of the guys were a little squirrelly, gunning it not even 10 miles in, but the ride soon got under relative control, courtesy of Murray & me.

Rather than bore you with a mile-by-mile recounting of the ride and sprints for city limits signs (Murray & I tied at 3/ea), I'll say that this was the longest <expletive> century in the history of centuries. Even had the map been accurate, to say nothing of the occasional wrong turn, we were far over 100 miles for the ride. In fact, S--- crashed at mile 101, and we still had close to 10 miles before we were back at Judson.

 (S---, btw, was okay, but his front wheel & tire were shredded. Fortunately, one of the guys' wife came looking for us in the car and picked up her hubby and S--- to cart them back to the start. Murray & I were on our own to finish.)

When it was all said and done, the odometer on the S725x read 121.7 miles, finished in a ride time of 6:32:52.5. I would stop the counter when we hit a rest stop, as well as when S--- crashed, but, either way you look at it, that is a seriously long day in the saddle. Regardless, it was a learning experience, and here is what I have taken away with me:
  1. Never trust the accuracy of mileage on a map.
  2. Guys you ride 50 or 60 miles with on a regular basis are not necessarily the best of companions for a 100+ mile outing -- especially when your training needs are so different.
  3. Convenience stores no longer carry Yoohoo!
  4. Watch out for those cracks in the pavement that look just wide enough to swallow a bicycle wheel; they are.
  5. I am a bad-<expletive> on the bicycle.
And thus ends today's posting. I've just returned from a massage, and sleep is calling me. Unfortunately, so is my 4:00 AM wakeup call. Whatever time your wakeup call will be, thanks for reading.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Happy Feet

Weird as it sounds, it came to me in a dream. When I awoke for my 10-mile run this morning, I had the notion that I should try running in a pair of Brooks Adrenaline shoes I thought had given up the ghost, following a 12-mile trail run this past July. They were very much alive, as I found myself to be, during the duration of the run. Oh, and I used the Polar, too. Wonderful machine, when used properly.

So, it appears that Nike may just not be my niche. Slick of a product as they may make, I'm getting the impression that it's just not for me -- shoe-wise. Yes, I still love my ID Triax Speed 100, but I think in the lead-up to CdA, I'm going to stick with the Polar. Tomorrow will be the real test of endurance with the watch: The SAW Century, followed by a 4-mile run. Woohoo!

The morning's running late, and I've a yard to mow. Enjoy your weekend, and thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Skipping

There just doesn't seem to be enough time. I missed my second workout in as many days today, and I am most displeased with my apparent lack of effort in the realm of training. Good thing CdA is still many months away. Still, I'd like to not make a habit of this, but I'd also like to find some time to do some things for myself. It seems like all -- and I mean that, literally -- of my time is occupied with work. Take yesterday, for example:
  • 4:00 AM - wake up
  • 4:45 - 6:30 AM - swim practice
  • 7:15 - 8:40 AM - prep for day & open house
  • 8:40 AM - 3:05 PM - teach
  • 3:30 - 5:30 PM - swim practice
  • 6:00 - 9:00 PM - open house
  • 9:30 - 10:45 PM - lesson prep for next day
  • 10:45 PM - sleep
I'm enjoying the living daylights out of working with the swim team, but the additional duties have me swamped. Heck, I've not even had time to call parents about the kids, as the only time I seem to have is before swim practice or just before bedtime, and I seriously doubt parents would want a call at either of those times. I'm whining, aren't I?

Yes, I'm stressed. Still, I feel confident I will overcome this. The first cool front blew in a few days ago, and the pool temperature in the afternoon is already noticeably cooler; it shouldn't be too much longer until we lose afternoon practices. I'll still be without a conference period, but afternoon practices will end at 4:00, leaving me some extra time to tend to my teacherly duties on top of the swim team. Good thing serious IM training doesn't begin until (approximately) the end of the swim season.

Right, I need to go to bed. I'd like to not have a repeat of the past two days where I don't get to bed until some ungodly hour and then rise at an even more obscene hour. That I am just not as young as I used to be has become painfully obvious to this weary one. Get some rest, yourself, and thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Ike-man Commeth

Hurricane Ike started heading for the Gulf of Mexico a week or two ago, and it now looks like it's going to hit Corpus Christi, some 200 miles away from home. You wouldn't know it by visiting the grocery store or looking at the school closure list for tomorrow, though. The aisles containing the staples of necessity, as well as that of bottled water, were stripped all but bare (give you an idea about the health-conciousness of folk in the area: The whole wheat, good-for-you break N--- & I like so much was still available; the cheap <expletive> had been snatched up). Glad I needed but a few things for my weekly trip to the store. Glad I don't work in a grocery store.

As a warm-up to out-running the hurricane, I headed to the track tonight for my scheduled workout of 2x2-mile splits. As sub-varsity football games had been canceled for the weekend, and varsity bumped up 24 hours, my choices were limited. At the home campus, the track is still unuseable, due to the lagging behind installation of artificial turf (so much for June 10th), and the track closest to home was hosting a varsity game of the cross-town rival(?!), so I headed over to the middle school to try out their new track, only to discover they were hosting the 8th grade game. Fortunately, there was a little over two minutes left on the clock. Nearly half-an hour later, the game was over and the fans cleared enough out the way for me to run.

The sensation of running on a track was rejuvenating to me; it'd been several months since I stepped foot on the softened surface and ran timed splits. The sub-9-ounce shoes encompassing my feet helped me tick off the miles at a satisfactory pace (7:19, 7:14, 7:19, 7:12), and now I am back here. Tomorrow should be somewhat of an easy day, given the one o'clock release scheduled, all thanks to the aforementioned hurricane. It still baffles me how stupid people can be over a little wind and rain. We'll see what happens in the next 24-30 hours, which is when Ike is scheduled to make landfall. One thing that won't be happened, for sure, is the Wild West Hammerfest, so my weekend is all but shot. But that's another rant for another time. Despite the fact I don't have swim practice in the morning and that I do have only half-a-day to work, I need to get to bed. Maybe you should, too. So, goodnight, and thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Phelps Effect

It seems like the pool has been overflowing with would-be swimmers these past several weeks. I blame Michael Phelps.

Make no mistake: The man is a phenomenal swimmer. The folks who have been infesting the pool at the gym, though, are not. Myself included, of course, but I'm proud to say that I can cover more than 25 meters (one end of the pool to the other) without getting totally winded and needing to take a 5-minute breather. Tonight, for example, I covered 3,000 meters before I needed to stop. That's not to say I didn't want to, for the left lens of my goggle kept leaking. But, I suffered through the swim, nonetheless. Even with the stopping & fidgeting with the goggles the first couple of hundred meters, I still clocked the 3km at just over an hour. Not too bad for a guy with the hydrodynamics of a cinder block.

I could go on & on about swimming, but, instead, I need to find myself a bed and a pillow. Swim practice will still commence at 4:45 tomorrow morning, which is a little more than six hours away, and I am definitely in need of some beauty sleep. Sleep well, yourselves, and thanks for reading.

Monday, September 08, 2008

It's On

As I'm sure you can tell by your calendar, today was Monday. Not that I had a case there-of, but today signaled the "official" start of my schedule for the San Antonio Rock-n-Roll Marathon, coming up on November 16. Call me a slacker, call me what you will, for most folk have been training for this since June or so. Then again, I have been actively racing long-course triathlon since March or April or something, but...eh, who have I to impress? (well, only one, really, and from what she tells me, she's already impressed <grin>)

It's getting close to ten, and I still need to get cleaned up and ready tomorrow's lessons before crashing. More tomorrow, with some possible big news when it comes to just how much time I've been devoting to the swim program...gotta check with the rule book and the veteran coach. Until then, .: d says to get your beauty sleep and to always, always, email Strong Bad.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Recharging

Today had a 50-mile ride on tap as a follow-up to yesterday's 60-mile outing. It didn't happen.

Instead, I was a bum, enjoying N---'s company and tending to things around the house that had been much-neglected since returning to school. The clothes are now ironed, the lessons are planned, and all is right with the world...except for the part where N--- & I return to our weekday routines and consider ourselves lucky if we get to talk on the phone for five minutes before either or both of us pass out from exhaustion. Sigh. It's only for a little while. But, so is the amount of time I have to sleep, unless I get going, so get going I shall.

Have a great week, and thanks for reading.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Fifteen Seconds

Well, almost.

T---, N---'s sister, spotted this clip on YouTube this past week.



Around 14 seconds, there is a shot of an attractive young lady in a white blouse & pink running skirt, next to some guy in a black shirt & running kilt. That young lady is N---. The guy next to her is me. Yes, we are famous. World-wide. So cool.

The SkirtChaser 5k was a fun race, even if I did do it full Scottish style -- and with 22 miles in my legs from that morning. N--- has already signed us up for the 2008 race (haven't checked the calendar to see what's on tap for that morning, but I'm sure it's something similar; SA is a little over a month out from the day of the SkirtChaser), although she & I both had some comments to make to the title sponsor about its choice of suggestive logos on the guy's apparel. After three business days, there's been no response, but, based on my recent experience with customer service, etc. from some other companies, I'm not exactly surprised. Eh, whatever.

Right, so it's 5:30 on a Saturday morning, and I've been unable to sleep for the past 90-minutes. After tossing & turning for over an hour, I roused & parked myself here to tend to some business and will now excuse myself to tend to some house cleaning prior to my scheduled ride this morning. I'll certainly not set any land-speed records, but it will feel good to just get out & ride with no real agenda but to get in 60 miles...before returning home to clean & grade. Yippee.

Hope you slept well & can have a more relaxing weekend than I. Regardless, thanks for reading.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Settled

Methinks the Great Polar Debate has been settled, courtesy of Polar. You see, I had contacted a rep for the company via Slowtwitch about his thoughts on the possibility of swapping bands & housings of the chrome & green S725x I owned for something more black & red, making the S725x, essentially, look like an S625x...though somehow cooler. This rep didn't think it would be an issue and made some suggestions as to whom I should speak at corporate and so on. I made the call and waited. And waited. A couple of days later, I called back, got somebody in some Asian country or other who was unable to understand my request; he said he would get back to me the next day. He didn't, so I contacted customer service via Internet chat. This rep seemed to understand what I wanted -- so well, in fact, that her response was a definitive "No, we will not swap bands and/or housings." Not that they could not, but that they would not. So much for customer service. All that in mind, I was still thinking about going with the S725x as my training tool of choice, but the color bothered me, as did the attitude of post-sales service. Well, the rep did say they would pass on my comments (a polished chrome bezel on a watch for all-day, outdoor activities?) to R&D, but that does me precisely no good for my current situation. So, the S725x will find its home back in its box, back in my closet, until I can get rid of it on Craigslist or something.

Dang. How much time & energy have I wasted on which <expletive> watch to use for training & racing? A fair amount, to be certain, but certainly not as much as I expended at the gym tonight. Because I "chose" to sleep yesterday evening, I hit the gym tonight to lift & swim. I ran into J---, the ultra-marathon man, on the floor, and we talked for a bit. It's obvious we have completely different training goals in mind, but, for there are still fewer people with whom I would rather run. After 40 minutes or so of lifting (I like the routine I've settled on but have swapped my StairMaster warmup for ~15 minutes of stretching, including some yoga poses), I hit the pool for 1500m of paddle drills, sandwiched between a pair of 750m swims. A 200m cool-down followed all negative splits, and I was done. Three-point-two kilometers in the pool tonight, and the only reasons I stopped were because I had to 1) pee; 2) eat, and Chipolte wasn't going to be open all night. Chicken burritos from that joint never tasted so good.

And now I am at home. A side trip to Borders helped get papers graded and a new book purchased -- Twilight, the first in the series of the same name. The kiddos at school seemed really stoked on it, so I thought I'd give it a shot, since it cost me precisely zilch, courtesy of a gift card from T---, N---'s sister. Thanks. :-D

So, now that it is creeping towards midnight, I will creep into bed and begin turning pages until sleep overtakes me. A 60-mile ride, house work, lots of grading, and a birthday party are all on tap for tomorrow. I hope to be able to spend some down time with N---, too; I've missed her terribly since we've both returned to our respective schools. Sigh.

Thanks for reading.

Early to Bed, Early to Rise

Yesterday was Thursday, and I had planned on going to the gym to lift & swim after swim practice. Instead, I made it home with just enough energy to feed the cat, eat a bowl of cereal, and collapse on my bed. I woke up about 15 minutes ago, in time to get cleaned up and go to breakfast with J--- & J---. I sure hope I get re-adjusted to this routine and don't find my weeks ending in complete & total exhaustion. Perhaps it will be better when we lose the pool due to cooler weather.

In the meantime, I need to go meet for breakfast. Enjoy yours, don't forget to tip your server, and thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Great Polar Debate

...still rages on. Yeah, I know all that stuff last night about signs & all that, but, even after tonight's LSD run with J---, I can't decide if the Polar S725x is the right training tool for me. It seems so excessive, even for me. True, training for IM CdA is a big to-do, but tens of thousands of athletes don't train with an HRM, and they seem to do just fine. Why, oh why, can I not decide something so simple? Why, oh why, did the <expletive> thing not sell on eBay...or Craigslist before that...or ST before that? 

Gads. I still need to get my PPT prepped for tomorrow and make a half-hearted attempt at grading some of my non-AP kids' essays. One never knows just how valuable 50 minutes can be until it is removed from one's day; not having a conference period sucks.

Two bowls of Cocoa Puffs gone, and I'm feeling the effects. Must get PPT knocked out and dish cleaned and teeth brushed. Tomorrow is the last day of morning swim practice this week, and it could not have come too soon. Keep tuning in to find out what's on my wrist: Nike or Polar. Until then, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Sign

For the past two weeks, I've posted the Polar S725x I bought this past March on eBay. Obviously, it didn't sell the first go-round, so I re-posted. Didn't go that time, either. So, I'm taking it as a sign that I'm supposed to use this massive piece of plastic as my training guide up to and through CdA. Really, apart from the color and lack of a real interval/countdown timer (useful for stretching), I've no legitimate complaints for the watch (right, it is freakin' huge -- like Sputnik -- but it does do an awful lot, too). However, a call to Polar has been placed, inquiring swapping the housing & band for something more black-and-red.

Gads, it's after six. I've been up since 3:00, and out of bed since four this morning, tending primarily to swim stuff. Morning practices started today, so that will mean oodles of fun for me through the end of February, 2009. Still, I am looking forward to a good season but will be happy when I have some time to myself on campus and don't have to sacrifice my lunch time to make copies and tend to other swim team business...to say nothing of prepping for my Engrish classes. Speaking of, I need to get tomorrow's warm-up knocked out and then prep myself for a ride. Easy 30 tonight, but I've also papers to grade, post-ride-o, and I do not want to be up quite as late tonight as last. Check back another time for another rousing rendition of a blog entry from yours truly, when I will say, just like always, "Thanks for reading."

Monday, September 01, 2008

08.31.2008

For the past several months, a certain athletic apparel & accessory manufacturer has been doing its darndest to engrain the date of 08.31.2008 into the heads of every person who had had the slightest inkling of running a 10k. I took the bait and signed up for the Nike Human Race 10k, in small part because there was a host city less than an hour from home, but also because I thought it would be fun. Yes, it seemed like a good idea...at the time.

I had forgotten that N--- had her final HOT race that morning, so there was some initial confusion and crossness over my not being there to provide support, but all of that was alleviated once I actually check the start time for the Human Race: 6:30 PM. Yes, PM. In the evening. You know, when it's <expletive> hot in Texas. Even that didn't serve as much of a deterrent, as N--- signed up for the Human Race, and I, in turn, decided to sign up for the HOT Championship. We would both do the two races, roughly 12 hours apart. After all, we had survived TIR this past March -- which, too, seemed like a good idea at the time.

Heart of Texas Championship | 7:00 AM
Yesterday morning started out like so many other Sundays this past summer: Rise at 4:30, load up N---'s bike & gear, head to Fort Sam, watch her race, track her splits, finish at Starbucks. The last day and race of August was almost no exception but for the closing of the most convenient entrance gate, due to construction. One detour later, we were on post, at transition, and set up, ready to race. A smaller field than normal was certainly deceptive, as the men's field in particular was rather loaded: There were some seriously fast people there. The women's field was a bit smaller, but some rather quick ladies were present, as well. Here's how the race went:
  • Swim: 10:34. Had to start waaaaay in the back (#59 out of ~62 competitors), which didn't do much for me, mentally. I just reminded myself that it was a training day, regardless of how competitive I wanted to be.
  • Bike: 41:10. Altered course due to the aforementioned construction on post. It seems like every conceivable place a person can run or ride is undergoing renovations of some sort. That said, it was a great, hilly course. The heaviness of the Sciroccos was a hindrance, seen in my less than quick bike split and slow, 21.5 average speed. Still, I felt good and cornered well. Regardless of the sexiness of the newer Felt frames (and to say nothing about other options, like Aargon's E-114 or Fuji's D6), I still am quite keen on my B2.
  • Run: 22:40. On the return trip from packet pickup yesterday, N--- & I stopped by the outlets in San Marcos, including the Nike outlet. I went in for a couple of pairs of shorts (which I got, and, as a side note, thanks, Lance, for making longer, baggier shorts the style) and maybe a technical tee or two (got one, too). Stupid me went to check out the shoes. Naturally, there was quite the selection, including the Free Everyday, a shoe I had been keen in trying out (did; didn't like it). Next to the Free was the Victory+. I tried this one, too, and liked it so much I bought a pair, despite mental concern over the high support in the back, reminding me of Zoot's running shoes. That mental concern manifested itself in pain, much pain on the run yesterday morning, rubbing both of my Achilles raw -- the right one so much it bled...through the sock...onto the shoe. So much for returns.
When it was all over, I finished my first HOT race in three years with a time of 1:16:22 (1:16:23 by my watch), earning me 2nd place in my age group and 8th place overall. N--- wrapped up her series with a 1st for the series but was defeated in the championships by some newcomer. This new girl was quite fast (#61, she started one minute behind me and passed me on the swim at around 300m [I returned the favor and blew by her on the bike course]), and so was her husband; he was somewhere just above me. Good job to them both, but even better kudos to N--- for clinching the series. Yes, luv, that means that you, too, need to train for something next summer. ;-D

Hotter'n HOT: The Nike Human Race | 6:30 PM
The announcer said some 15,000 people were to be crowding Congress last night, and N--- & I were right in the middle of it all. When the horns sounded, we were more than ready to run and get this stinkin' thing over and done with. True, we (well, more me) were intrigued by the concept, the execution was less than ideal: Starting at the hottest part of the day at one of the hottest times of the year was less than brilliant thinking but to make runners wear their silk-screened race numbers on a short sleeve (re: not sleeveless), low quality (re: heavy) technical t-shirt was just south of idiotic. Impressive of a site as it was to see mile after mile of red-clad runners, many passed out from heat exhaustion, while others stripped themselves of the tee. As I am without the runner's body to get away with running shirtless, I suffered through it all, fully clothed, including the Sport Kilt, and including heavily bandaged feet to protect my raw Achilles area. No blood this time, though, and I will say that the Victory+ is a rather comfortable shoe, despite its fugly colour scheme. Should I decide to run in these for CdA, I will definitely build a pair via Nike iD.

The Next Event
After the run, N--- & I collected our consolation prize (some sort of goofy bracelet; at least the packaging was cool) and headed back to our parking spot at the offices of The Statesman. It was just after sunset when we made it to the car, so we watched the bats take flight and then took flight ourselves, also in search of food. Much to our dismay, Red Robin in San Marcos was shut down, so it was off to IHOP for our second choice, but that place was too <expletive> cold to even make it past the entrance, let alone inside -- what are these restaurants thinking, keeping it so cold? Finally, we settled on McDonald's takeout (yeah, perfect recovery food), ate, showered, and crashed. Sleep seldom feels so good as after a long, hard day of racing.

So, here it is, Labor Day, and I am laboring at keyboard, cat in my lap. Literally, I am bruised, bloodied, and sore, but life is good. N--- & I might try to hit Sea World, if I can get my grading finished, so I'm off to tend to that. Hope the holiday is/was good to you, with the same thoughts for the final four months of 2008. It's been a great run, but I simply cannot wait to see what 2009 is going to be like.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

35 to Go

The first week of school is usually the most exhausting, and this year's proved no exception. With my increased capacities as local tech dude -- now for the whole campus, instead of just the Engrish department, it has become increasingly difficult to find time to work out, let alone get my actual work done. Still, I managed this past week -- and with only minor exhaustion, too. We'll have to see what happens when morning swim workouts start this week.

This past week, I've been gearing both up & down for the upcoming season. The Polar is back on eBay (now with free shipping! check it out!), so I'm hoping to get rid of it before too long. I've also started using a square-cut practice suit, which I find far more comfortable than the jammer style; 3km in the pool isn't quite so bad. While still in the pool, Swedes have indeed made a comeback for me. I think I finally have the adjustment method down, which took but three years to figure out. What a genius I am. The aforementioned aside, what I am most excited about is Rudy's new entry in the sunglass market: The Exowind.

I stumbled upon these on their site a couple of weeks ago before finding them on the B2B portal this past weekend. The order was placed on Sunday afternoon, and they were on my doorstep on Wednesday. I've yet to really try them on a bike ride or run (more on that in a bit), but, thus far, I am totally stoked about these shades. Finally, Rudy Project has crafted a pair of sunglasses that can rival the sadly, long-outdated Tayo. I promised a contact at Rudy a full report after tomorrow's double-header.

The Nike Human Race 10k is scheduled for tomorrow night in Austin. A victim of the hype, I signed up for the race back in July, much to the chagrin of N---, for 08/31 is the same day as the HOT Championship. She & I were both greatly relieved to discover the Nike Human Race doesn't begin until 6:30 PM, so we'll be long finished with the HOT triathlon by then. Yes, we: I, too, am racing a HOT series triathlon, for the first time since my baptism in the series three years ago. Unlike the last HOT race I did, this one won't be at Canyon Lake, but still on post at Fort Sam. Five @#%* loops on the bike...but, at least it's a different course than last time. Regardless, I'm there to watch N--- finish strongly, clinching the crown as the Queen of the Heart of Texas Triathlon 2008. What a gal.

I think my eggs & waffles are getting cold, so it's time for me to end this post and go feed my face before journeying up to A-town for packet pickup (@#%* Nike isn't doing race-day packet pickup, which really sucks for out-of-towners). Check back Monday or Tuesday for a race day report and to read how the Exowinds perform under pressure. A school routine should be nailed down in the next week or so, so regular posts can begin again. Well...regular for me, but I'm sure you're used to that by now. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea

It seems like I've been using a lot of song titles for titles to blog posts as of late -- and by "as of late," I mean in the past couple of months; I realize I've posted precisely squat the past several weeks. Why? Certainly not for lack of anything to say, nor was it anything you, my faithful readers, had said. Rather, the plain and simple lack of time. Here's a run-down on what's been going on in the wonderful world of .: d since the last post:
  • Went to the school to start setting up my classroom. Found out I and the rest of the English department had been relocated to the other side of the school. Only good thing is that we can now say we are all a bunch of "Gs." After 3+ weeks, the room is finally good to go.
  • Dog-sat for N---'s friends in Rio Medina, again. Had a couple of great days of training: 40-mile ride & 4-mile brick at race pace; 60-mile ride at moderate pace; 10-mile long run. I am so enjoying this.
  • Finished my CDL stuff. The wheels on the bus can now go round & round with moi behind the wheel. Bwahahaha!
  • Updated my First Aid & CPR training since I get to play swim coach this year.
  • Turned another year older.
  • Saw the new Star Wars movie, Clone Wars. It was much less than what I was expecting, but it did afford me & M--- the opportunity to get dressed up in Jedi garb and discover that he & I are not as hopeless of dorks as some others in attendance are.
  • Officially began in-service for the school year. The gloves came off on day one, making for a less-than idyllic beginning to the 08-09 year. I just hope the fist can relax some (okay, a lot) between now and June.
  • Playing techno guy for the whole @#%* campus. Most of my mailbox has been filled with messages bearing the subject line "HELP!" I so cannot wait to see what comes next.
Not a whole lot, I suppose, but enough to keep me swamped. I mean, I just did my lesson plans today. Nothing like waiting until the last, possible second. Speaking of, I need to go check how many minutes:seconds are remaining on lunch. The day is growing longer, and N--- & I are growing hungrier. The first day of school is tomorrow, plus there's a SAW meeting tomorrow night, so no telling when I'll pop back in. Oh, and I hope to start posting some training data over on Bicycle Heaven's blog, per a request from M. More on that another time. For now, it's time to eat. Don't forget to wash up, and thanks for reading.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

How Swede It Is

It is indeed triathlon season. I raced last Sunday at the Small Texan (bettered my PR from 2006 with a new one this year by nearly ten minutes!), with N--- her usual awesome support. This morning, it was my turn, as N--- returned to claim her Heart of Texas crown as the fastest female of the lot. I don't recall her time, but she is still dang fast.

After the race, I hopped in the pool to take advantage of access to a 50m pool. A couple of days ago, I made some adjustments to the Swedish-style goggles I had, shortening the nose bridge even more in the hopes of making the lenses fit better. It worked. Even though I managed to eek out a mere 1.5k, the goggles never leaked and were far more comfortable than anything else I've used, save other Swedish goggles. I just hope they continue working that well for at least the next year.

It's bum mode time, again. Since returning from FSH, N--- & I have accomplished little more than
watching Cloverfield and eating ice cream. We're going to continue the trend and watch Juno. Like the shirt says: "Life is good." Hope yours is, too. Thanks for reading.

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning

Today is August 1, 2008, and I officially began my training for Ironman Coeur d'Alene today.

Initially, I was thinking to begin with a 10-mile run, as I've not been running as much, lately. However, my foray into triathlon began with the bicycle, so I thought it only appropriate to begin my training with a ride. Unlike tri-riding, though, this morning's ride was a group effort: I conned D--- into going with me. Yeah, it took a lot of arm twisting and texting to & fro, but the latter was merely to arrange the particulars. Asking a cyclist if s/he wants to go for a ride is like asking an alkie if s/he wants a drink.

The plan is to build base from now until the end of the calendar year, and the plan is, so far, going well. D--- & I managed to get in 45 hilly miles at a casual pace this morning, and I've another 80 planned for tomorrow with SAW. My weekend will wind down with a 3k swim in the pool at Ft. Sam, as N--- has a race, along with a crown to defend. After taking the month of July off for holiday, I'm certain there are some would-be princesses thinking they've got the HOT thing in the bag. My gal has to go put them in their place.

Speaking of, I need to get going so I can meet her for lunch. Now that I'm actually training, I'll try to make a point of poking in every now & again to post how things are proceeding. As always, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Insomnia, Part Something

Sad to say that the only chance I've had to write anything here is this morning, when I'm affected by insomnia. It's not entirely my fault. I've been unable to fall asleep, for each time I nearly drift off, a voice in my head awakens me. It's a voice of panic that I cannot place but disturbs me, still. As long as I'm awake, everything is fine. (One, two: Freddy's coming for you...)

Although it's easy to do -- and I certainly have the time -- I'm not going to write & back-date any entries to outline what's been happening since N--- & I returned from Colorado, so here's a run-down of some of the high points in my life the past 22 days:
  • Drive back from CO was painstakingly long. Saw three bears (sans Goldilocks) crossing Highway 87, in NM. In an incident completely unrelated to the bears, although shortly after sighting them, I scored a serious crack in my windshield. First time for everything.
  • Been on a comic book kick at the movies: Saw both The Hulk and Iron Man on subsequent days. The Dark Knight is on tap for this weekend.
  • Passed four of the six written tests for my CDL. Still need to pass "General Knowledge" and "Pre-trip Inspection" -- you know, just in case I need to do either of those for the big rigs that I will neither be licensed to drive nor have any reason to drive, let alone inspect, pre-trip or otherwise. I love bureaucracy.
  • Ordered new faucets for the bathrooms. No clue as to when I'll have time to install them.
  • Started the assessment gig. Talk about mind-numbing work: Sit in an uncomfortable chair, in a super-frigid room, and assess ~8 essays per day, hand-writing coded comments from an approved list of adjectives. I leave every day with a headache and a strong desire to sleep. Sitting in traffic for half an hour afterwards doesn't help either of them. However, playing outside seems to cure them both.
  • Went to H-town for a couple of Cubs games (that was the big surprise N--- had planned for me; my gal rocks), and tooled around downtown & Memorial Park. The former informed us that the big hotel chain that starts with an "H" and includes brattish, socialite daughters sucks as a place to stay (more another time, maybe), while the latter revealed that Houston has more to offer athletically than San Antonio...at least with regards to running.
  • The Tour is on. The Argyle Army isn't fairing so well at the big dance, either. However, Paris is still a ways off, and they just hit the Alps this week.
  • The new SAW site is now live. Gotta finish the EHCT site, now.
  • Registered for Small Texan this Sunday. Like TIR, I've a feeling this is going to be one of those "It seemed like a good idea at the time" races.
  • Selling the Polar (or trying to -- I just posted it an hour ago). After much debate and additional research, I've come to the conclusion that, while cool, HRMs aren't all that. Yeah, they give data, although it tends to be a bit too much data, taking the fun out of training. Plus, it's not exactly fun to head out training with more electronics on you than the Borg, as a collective. Resistance, apparently, is not futile.
  • Faster-than-planned-pace ride in ridiculously hot temperatures (104°, according to the bank in Marion), made even worse by the fact I assess papers in a meat locker eight hours a day. I feel severely dehydrated. (Hmm...wonder if that's what's triggering the voices?)
The past couple of hours, I've been sorting through some papers that needed to be filed or filtered for shredding (guess where the bulk wound up?) and trying to print out a calendar for planning out IM training. Had to switch over to the inkjet, for the toner cartridge in the laser finally gave out. Too many Sudoku puzzles? ;-p

My alarm's going to go off in a little over an hour, signaling the time to get up, get packed up and head over to the gym for a morning swim session. Yeah, that'll be interesting on two hours' sleep. At least the pool's not shallow, so my chances of drowning are minimal. If you don't hear back from me by...hmm...given my propensity for proliferation in this blog, I'd better not set deadlines. Just keep an eye on the obituaries at mysa.com, if you're morbidly curious. In the meantime, thanks for reading.