About This Blog

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

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


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


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


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


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.