About This Blog

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

Sunday, August 12, 2012

It's August?

Yeah, so old Time, it is a flying, and the month of August is nearly half-way done. What's worse is that I've returned to work on a mostly full time basis, already; contract time starts this Thursday.

Really, there's not much to report. I did finally break down and go see the SA Orthopedic Group about my ankle, which is kind of good. On the plus side, it is "only" severely sprained; no broken or fractured bones to be found. However, I was told not to run for 3-4 weeks; cross training (swim, bike, row) still OK. Physical therapy was supposed to have begun, but I have been unable to get in touch with Humana to see if my benefits cover that. A follow-up appointment is scheduled for Tuesday morning, so we'll see if all that PT was even necessary. Keep your fingers crossed; I am aching to go for a run.

Elsewhere, I've been busy with what was supposed to be a quick presentation on tips & tricks of School World, the software used by the district for updating Web sites. The bulk got knocked out in a "meh"-level Prezi, but then I got the bright idea to make up some videos for folk to refer back to later in the school year. Yeah, one week and who knows how many hours later, I think they're mostly done. All that remains to be done is get Scott to upload them to the district's YouTube channel and incorporate the links in Prezi. Then, I'll need to go back and make a few tweaks to Prezi. Good thing I've still a week until I have to present.

Kai continues to grow cuter every day. His personality is really starting to shine through in his smile, his laugh, and those beautiful blue eyes he got from his mother. Tired as I am, life is pretty darned good.

It's horribly late, and I need to go check on those file uploads in the other room. Go get some rest, yourself, and thanks for reading.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Official Version

Went to see the experts at San Antonio Orthopedic Group (seriously, these folks are awesome) and have learned that the left ankle is "severely sprained" and that I am to refrain from running for ~4 weeks. Cross training is OK, though, which is good. :)

I go back on 14 August for a follow-up. In the interim, I am to pursue physical therapy and wear an ankle stabilizer. Fortunately, TSAOG was able to direct me to Academy for a $15 stabilizer instead of paying $90 for the one they sold. No wonder insurance is so dang high.

So that's the latest. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday Ride

This morning's ride almost didn't happen, but I am so glad it did.

Sadly, my circa 2002 Bicycle Heaven jersey is no more, and I was more than ten minutes late getting out the door due to said jersey (had it on & was almost rolling before noticing the zipper had exploded). After hammering it out to Walter's in hopes of making the rumored start time of 8:00 (got there at 8:04), I discovered that no one was quite ready; it was another ten or so minutes before we were rolling. Once as a group, we got going at a pretty quick pace in order to meet up with another cyclist on the other side of 10. However, due to the later start, I knew I would not be able to go on with them, so I peeled off early to head back in. Fifteen or so minutes after that, I caught sight of another cyclist ahead, though, because of this cyclist's mad cycling skills, it would be a long time before I could actually catch him (and when I did, it was out of his stopping for a traffic light).

Turned out the cyclist was Tony, with whom I'd not ridden in a month, and I kind of had him pegged when I got within 20 seconds of him. As do many others, Tony is fit to his bike in a specific manner and has a distinct cadence: EXTREMELY smooth (seriously: power generators could take lessons in stroke mechanics from this guy). Once I knew it was him, I felt better about not bridging the gap as quickly as I thought I would. Of course, had it not been for the aforementioned traffic light, I don't know if I ever would have caught him. Because of that smooth (and strong!) cadence, Tony is an extremely efficient rider. If only we could all be so awesome.

So, in spite of the demise of one of my favorite kits, it was a great day's ride, thanks to the group from Walter's house, and the unexpected treat of riding in with Tony.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ten Days Since

It's been roughly ten days since the now-infamous and every bit as painful rolling of the left ankle during a track workout, and, while the swelling has almost completely subsided, the pain persists. Activity on it this week has been moderate to high, with rowing, cycling, and even a couple of runs in to get the blood flowing down yonder. And, with the exception of this morning's run, everything had been favorable.

Wednesday, I opted for a treadmill run, just to see how things would go. In all, running on the injured ankle went well: I could manage up to a 7:30/mile without discomfort, although kicking the incline up beyond 2.5 did produce some noticeably uncomfortable pressure. This outing clocked in at three miles, done in one mile intervals, with ~30 seconds rest in between each mile. A 45-mile ride Thursday morning loosened me up even more, and a 90-minute massage yesterday should have sealed the deal for a solid run this morning.

On tap was just a Parkway run with Josh, who was home on leave from an overseas deployment. We headed out around 0600, with Kai in the Bob, but, after just under two miles, I had to turn around, eventually even having to walk it back in. What was different was that the pain had migrated from outside of the ankle to the inside, just above the arch.

After another stretch session, the rest of the day was spent resting, more or less, although an epsom salt soak would probably be a good idea. At this hour, though, it's not likely to happen; I'm tired.

Sunday is a planned ~2-hour outing on the bike, at a moderate-to-quickish pace; we'll see how well that goes based on the weekly trip to the grocer, as well as how well I can sleep tonight. Then, if the swelling is still substantial on par with the pain, I'll call up Doc Jacobs to try for an appointment. Time, however, is fast running out, as we report back, officially, on the 16th. Here's hoping I can get in on Wednesday.

Regardless, as the pain remains present, I will refrain from running, opting, instead, to row and cycle/spin...maybe even lift. By mid-August, I need to be able to go out and hammer out 8-10 miles at a good pace in order to be on track for pacing San Antonio in November. From there, I will evaluate what to do about Austin. The long, two-a-days are not likely to happen, due to swim season kicking up in September, but an alternate approach to training should be able to remedy that.

Wow, this was quite the post for what was supposed to be tried to run today; hurt. More to come regarding NBC's epic failure at Internet streaming and other musings on my mind. Until then, enjoy the spectacle that is the modern Olympic games. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Six Months

Six months ago, Kai made his debut in the world. After a rocky start (he spent his first week in the world in the NICU due to an infection), Kai is making all sorts of progress as babies are wont to do. 

It's occurred to me that I've not chronicled his birth, blogged about him incessantly as new parents have a tendency to do, and I suppose I'm OK with that. After all, I'm his father, not his PR agent. 

Still, in the coming days, weeks, months, however long it takes, I intend on writing an entry or two or six about Kai's entrance into the world, for he came with a bang, not with a whimper. And life has never been more exciting.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

One Week Later

A week ago, I rolled my ankle during a track workout. The cause is still a mystery, but I'm really leaning towards the "seized muscle" theory.

Now, one week later, my cankle has more or less subsided, and the left ankle has some definition to it. No doubt, there is still some serious swelling ("There's still a lot of fluid in there," Nicholle observed this evening), but a near-full range of motion and near-painless walking is now possible. Additionally, I'm able to row and spin without incident. Curiously enough, spinning seemed to really aid in loosening things up, which strengthens the notion I had toward the cause of the roll being a seized ankle. The short of it is that it looks like I'm recovering nicely. Whether or not I can actually run -- at distance, at pace -- is a matter I'll not explore for several more days...maybe even a full week or more.

Elsewhere in the nation, in the world, people are really hurting, really dealing with pain and worse. Yeah, the pain in my ankle is a lot more immediate, but it certainly pales in comparison to what so many others are going through. I do thank you for reading, but I'll also thank you for thinking about those who hurt and who may be in need of something you may be uniquely qualified to give, even (or especially) if it's something as trivial and/or intangible as time.

More to come, but another time. For now, again, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Gettin' Swollen

Schraub had been telling me about these killer track workouts he'd been doing with this guy, who happens to be a stupid-fast runner. Yesterday, I got an invite to join them at my alma mater's track for what should have been a delightful afternoon run.

After introductions, etc. were made, and we all got in the requisite, 2-mile warm-up, the workout was explained as a ladder, of sorts: 1600 meters @ intense effort, followed by 1000 meters tempo, followed by 200 meters cool-down. The next set would be 1200 meters intense, 1000 tempo, 200 cool-down, and so on until the main set was just a 400-meter sprint.

Since Frost, the coach, was so much faster of a runner than us, we were advised to see where he was when we began the final lap of the main set. For me, this was the beginning of lap three. As I rounded the corner towards the 100-meter mark, I turned my head to see where he was. I knew I had about another 50 meters to go before I should turn around, but, because I turned my head while on a corner, I must have drifted toward the inside, and my left foot planted on the concrete, causing my ankle to roll. At a 6:20/mi (~9.4mph) pace. As one would expect, I hit the ground, rolled, griping in pain.

In spite of the pain, I managed to get to my feet and limp beneath the bleachers to get pressure off the foot and get myself out of the intense heat. Sitting there, I felt spasms in my left calf, which kind of made me start to think that the calf itself had seized up, causing a misstep, and the subsequent roll. Regardless, I knew the workout was over, and I should get home. After all, I still needed to vacuum before picking up Kai from daycare.

Fortunately, I had ridden my bike to the track, instead of running. By the time I arrived home, the whole of my left foot had swollen exponentially, and was going to require much ice and ibuprofen to bring down the swelling. Application of the ice caused intense spasms in the calf, so compression socks were used to try to alleviate that. They seemed to do the trick, too, because, in spite of the swelling and soreness when pressure is applied to the foot, I can still limp/hobble around effectively enough to continue tending to my chores & such. Unfortunately, it does mean that running for the foreseeable future is questionable, as is cycling. Hopefully, the swelling will subside some in the next day or two, and I can at least get on a spin bike or the trainer. If not, I suppose there's the pool and a pull buoy, providing the legs can't even kick. The more I think about it, though, the more I think that giving up the membership to monthly massages was a bad idea, physically; fiscally, not so much so. Such is life.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Depressed. Depression. Stressed. Distracted. Fraught. Rage. Fear. Sweat. Sleep. Sleeplessness. Insomnia. Prostrate. Strict. Shortness of breath. Scattered. Disjointed. Cannot unplug. Excess. Accelerated. Winding. Crash. Escape. Inevitable. Unsure. Uncertain. Confused. Alone. Overcrowded. Cornered. Needed.

Block Head

I have writer's block. 

Yup. That's about it.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Prayers for Rain

Last night was a restless night for me.

Over dinner, which was consumed far later than usual, I felt the urge to write for the next round of the research paper due this weekend for my graduate course. Yet, by the time I could sit down in front of a computer, whatever inspiration my have been there had left the building; I didn't write Jack and just stared at the monitors for nearly two hours.

The next six saw me fall in and out of sleep. The feeling with which I awoke is the same as when rain is coming: It can be seen on the horizon. The atmospheric pressure weighs on you, yet the rain won't come. And all that is desired is for it to storm so hard, even Lear would be frightened.

According to Weather.com, that relief is to come around nine this morning. Whether or not inspiration will strike me, like the proverbial bolt from the blue, is not even on the radar. Keep your fingers crossed that it does. I really need to redeem myself after that atrocity I submitted for the first assignment.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Getting (a) Fit

"The blackness of it was so extreme that it was almost impossible to tell how close you were standing to it."
- Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Some intermittent tweets & Facebook posts sparked more curiosity about what it was I will be driving that I thought I would post more, here, rather than limit it to contemporary social media.

Yesterday, Buckbeak, my 2004 Saturn LW300 "lifestyle support vehicle," was traded in to Gillman Honda towards the purchase of a 2012 Honda Fit. After sundry repairs and interminable "check engine" light, it was decided that we needed something more reliable, something that was a better fit, into the family life I share with Nicholle, Kai, and Marzipan. Naturally, the Fit was the perfect fit.

Prior to the purchase of Nicholle's car in 2010, we had looked at the Fit but opted for the superior fuel economy of the Insight; it was, after all, going to be her commuter car. However, for the limited driving needed by moi, the Fit proved to be ideal, as we weren't wanting to tackle any larger (second) car payments than necessary.

So, after three (yes, 3) hours at the dealership, haggling over finances, trade-in, and the like, I inked the deal on the Fit you see here. As of yet, it lacks a name, but feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments section below. And, if you find yourself in want of a new Honda, drop a line to Gillman (210/651-5533), and ask for Mark Wright. He'll do you right…and, hopefully, in less than three hours.

Enjoy the show, and thanks for reading.

full frontal

front angle

rear angle

car seat + people

car seat + stuff

more space for more stuff

the cabin

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im badge

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Since I can remember, I've had a thing for timepieces -- watches. This fascination/borderline obsession served as a motivator through college: A Seiko Kinetic was a gift to myself when I completed my first semester at college following my divorce, with the agreement that it would be replaced a few years later by a Tag Heuer, as a graduation present. Somewhere before graduation, I rediscovered cycling, and a Tag never found its way to my wrist. My garage, however, sports seven bicycles, four of which are mine.

The Seiko recently gave up the ghost (again: it had been sent in for repair maybe three times in the fourteen years since its purchase), but that is not the reason for my quasi conundrum. No, I am somewhat perplexed over which sports watch to use for the foreseeable future.

When N & I began dating, I ditched my Polar 625x in favor of a simple chronograph from Nike, the Speed Triax 100. Because I was partial to color schemes and inverted displays (light text on a dark background), I had one custom-made through Nike's iD program. That watch got me through countless races, from 5ks all the way up to Ironman Coeur d'Alene in 2009, and it continues to tick along, following a battery replacement -- which took more than a month for Nike's authorized service center to complete, despite it being sent in during the "off season" for running.

In addition to the Nike, I have used a few of Timex's Ironman watches. A titanium-banded 75-lap model was received as a gift, but its start/lap-split button is problematic to press, which typically results in a  double-split being recorded -- highly undesirable during a race, marathons in particular. The other model is the Sleek 150 tap-screen model, which I used to run Austin in 2011, as well as the inaugural Ironman Texas. Both of those races went very well, and I really liked the watch. However, one week after IMTX, without any notice, the battery died. Had it died just before or during IMTX, I know my race would not have gone as well, and my time would not likely have been anywhere close to the ~1-hour PR I set for that distance. Interestingly, R's Timex watch died the night before, much to his dislike; not sure if that contributed to his off-time, but it certainly could not have helped.

Still, there are some nifty features of the Sleek 150 I like: Touch-screen lap-split (takes some getting used to, but is trés nifty in a foot race) and the +/- desired pacer helps with staying on a desired pace (the Nike has a similar feature, but does not allow for a +/- margin of "wiggle room" as the Timex does) are two, but its band design is a tad stiff, and the location of the extra start/lap-split button on the side begs for accidental depression during intense track or swim sessions. Yes, that did happen quite a bit in the 18 months I used it off & on. However, what has caused the greatest dilemma for me, watch-wise, though, is the Suunto brand of sport watches.

In the latter part of 2010, I picked up a t3d "wrist computer," which tracks heart rate and can also track speed & distance through the use of sensors for the foot & bike. Very nice, especially when paired with the sensors, but the upper & lower displays are kind of small and, consequently, hard to read -- even for me. The t3d got me through some pretty tough workouts, especially when training alone, but I opted for a straight chronograph (the aforementioned Timex Sleek 150) for racing IMTX; the pacing feature and easier-to-read display were of greater import to me than was knowing heart rate during such a long day.

Following IMTX and the death of the Sleek 150 (for the record, I did have the battery replaced, but it battery compartment did not seal properly and leaked the first time I swam with it), I picked up a Suunto t6d -- another "wrist computer" but with a larger face & display, eliminating the issues I had with the t3d -- which I have used since July. Actually, the original unit had to be exchanged due to battery issues (ate through CR2032s bi-weekly; fortunately, the Suunto line of wrist computers are user serviceable, including battery replacement -- and without leaking!), but the replacement has been a regular feature on my wrist since late-August. But here's why I am flustered over what to use: There's something about the t6d I just don't like. Really, I think it's just the color (mine is the Black Flame color scheme, which is black with yellow accents), even if it does have the inverted display that I like, but there could be more. So, for the purpose of decision making, here is a list of likes & dislikes for the watches I am considering for the remainder of & upcoming season:

Make & Model Likes Dislikes
Nike Speed Triax 100
  • Angled display makes for easy reading on-the-run
  • Inverted display
  • Black w/ red accents = Awesomesauce!
  • Pace feature
  • 5x independent interval timer
  • Audible mode selection
  • Unique band available exclusively through Nike -- and Nike's not making watches anymore
  • No low-battery indicator
  • Battery not user-serviceable
  • Band design discolors after exposure to chlorine (it clears up after a few weeks, but, if swimming regularly, will stay discolored, essentially negating cool factor of black w/ red accent awesomeness)
Timex Sleek 150
  • Large, easy-to-read display
  • Tap-screen for start/lap-split
  • Pace feature w/ +/- "wiggle room"
  • Multiple, independent interval timers w/ messages
  • Night mode
  • Somewhat user-serviceable battery (though no promise the battery compartment will re-seal properly)
  • Stiff band
  • Unique band makes replacement all but impossible
  • Display rather basic; very utilitarian
  • No low-battery indicator
  • Start/lap-split button & touch-face easily triggered, even on accident, giving false splits
Suunto t6d
  • Large-ish, entirely customizable display
  • Inverted, very clean-looking display
  • Low battery indicator
  • User-serviceable band & battery (band available through Amazon; battery, CVS, etc.)
  • Outstanding, easily-accessible customer service (and the @SuuntoUSA Twitter feed puts out some great tweets about all sorts of fitness-related stuff)
  • Heart-rate, speed/distance, when desired, through use of peripherals
  • Night mode
  • 2x interval timer
  • Lockable buttons
  • Not made in China (the t6d's made Finland, and it shows with its robustness)
  • Atrocious color scheme -- although I was able to swap the band with something more neutral, which helps…but only a bit
  • Inverted display not as bright as Nike's; difficult to read through tinted swim goggles or during night runs, even with backlight
  • Backlight "pulses" in chronograph mode, which is annoying when running
  • Interval timer not independent of chronograph; cannot be set/activated when already in timing
  • It's a lot of machine; sometimes, it's good to just go work out without all of the peripherals
  • Über-expensive to replace, made in Finland or not

The above table may seem excessive, but it's helping me with the decision process. And, I know that color is a silly thing to fuss over when it comes to choosing a watch, but, when a color clashes so horribly with every piece of clothing & kit (including sunglasses), it becomes somewhat of a deal breaker. As for why I chose the Black Flame model, as opposed the more desired Red Fusion or even Black Smoke, it came down to both the display (again, I like inverted displays) and price; the Black Flame was on closeout from the now-defucnt Suuntowatches.com, so it was quite a bit cheaper.

And, now, the cheaper man may be paying twice...although I won't go to the extreme of buying another t6d, even if it does sync up with Movescount.com, a superb online training log (although there is no weight tracking feature, which Slowtwitch's log has). Of course, I do own the Nike, already, but the limited service options are quite the detractor. Same goes with the Timex, although that one would require an additional purchase, and money's not exactly as heavy-flowing, now that the baby has arrived. Really, I think I just want a reliable time piece that looks nice. The Suunto, for the most part, does all of that; I just wish I could do something about the color.

There is great hope that future posts should not be as absurdly inane as this one, so I really mean it this time: Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

(Sort of) Off the Grid

Image and video hosting by TinyPicI should have done this a long time ago.

Tonight, I deactivated my Facebook profile. It was a long time coming, but the decision was somewhat spur-of-the-moment. And as of right now, I have no regrets.

It remains to be seen if I opt to back in, but it's looking not likely. For as little time as I have in the day, I need to stop spending so much of it in a virtual club with virtual friends, while what exists in the real world disintegrates.

So, I'm off the grid, or at least out of the 'book. Twitter will remain active, as will email. Thanks for reading, and I hope to see more of you...but only in the real world.