About This Blog

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

Sunday, September 28, 2014


As a consequence perusing online dating services in my somewhat younger and far more single days, I became aware of a band called Blue October. Seeing that numerous girls with cute profile pictures cited them as favorite bands, I did some reading on the ever-reliable Internet and learned they hailed from just up the road in Houston. So I downloaded some of their tracks and found they had a sound into which I could get, accompanying cute girl or no.

Fast-forward to 2006, and, in August of that year, the album Foiled was released. In short time, I heard the single "Hate Me" playing on one of the Internet radio stations I streamed regularly, so I headed to the now-defunct Borders to buy the album. I am so glad I did.

Earlier that same year I met this cute girl who turned out not to be into Blue October but was into triathlon. When we began dating in late-November, Foiled became increasingly popular on some mainstream radio stations (from what I could tell—I don't really listen to contemporary, commercial radio), and Blue October became more of a regular rotation on my playlists, including Foiled but older albums, as well, which contained those first tracks I nabbed. I found the words & music to be adequate contemporaries to my go-to band, The Cure.

Now, in 2014, 8+ years since its release, Foiled is again in regular—and frequent—rotation for albums to which I listen, and I continue to find new means of appreciating assorted aspects of the album. At present, it's the drum tracks on the first three songs; they strike me as subtly beautiful.

Lyrically, the bookends of the album, "You Make Me Smile" & "Eighteenth Floor Balcony" are nothing short of sublime. Both remind me of the early days of dating that cute triathlete, especially our first road trip together to see some friends in Dallas: Hearing Texas tunes tick by Texas miles, reaching out into the literal & figurative darkness to discover the other was doing the same. Holding hands. Falling in love. Getting married. Buying a house. Having a kid. And now a second.

Thank you, Blue October, for making Foiled, Foiled Again, and so many albums since. Though I have yet to see you in concert (something always seems to come up when the band is even remotely in the neighborhood—and Texas is a big neighborhood), I continue to enjoy your tunes, including the live tracks on Foiled Again & the acoustic awesomenesss of Ugly Side. My only real gripe is that every album contains at least one F-bomb on it, barring me from using it as background music throughout the instructional day. However, the language is but one technique used to get the raw emotion poured into every song—"like children to the playground"—and I wouldn't want it any other way.

And to you, fair reader, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


A few days ago, I made up my training plan for this year's San Antonio Marathon, since I'm again pacing the 4-hour finishers. Because I knew that meant a lot of long runs, oftentimes alone, I dusted off & charged up my iPod Shuffle for those runs. Tonight, I ran with music for the first time in months...maybe even a year or more. It was nice.

The playlists I make up for the Shuffle are largely comprised of high-energy, high-tempo tunes to help tick by the miles. Tonight's playlist included Tupac Shakur's "Holler if You Hear Me," a tune that has helped propel me to some pretty stellar run splits. Tonight was not necessarily one of those nights. Granted, my splits were faster than what they had been as of late, but not the ±7:00 I used to run.

In less than a week's time, Suunto is set to release its newest watch in the Ambit GPS line, the Ambit 3. Among features desired from this watch is one of cadence. It's just one more metric in an already impressive lineup of those offered by the Ambit series, including the seemingly outdated, no-longer-being-updated original Ambit (now referred to as the Ambit 1) with which I run. In addition to cadence, the Ambit 3 will offer updating & uploading via mobile devices, as well as the ability to update the firmware; again, the Ambit 1 is set with an update from over a year ago. While I would love, love, love to have one of the Ambit 3s, it's just not in the budget. Besides, the Shuffle and its high-tempo playlist helps with cadence. It's what I used before I even ran with GPS.

So, I keep on running with an older iPod Shuffle and an older Suunto Ambit. The miles still go by, and I still feel better than I would if just sitting on the sofa, doing nothing. Tonight's run was definitely one of those runs, and I've a feeling there will be many more of those as the distance required in marathon prep continues to mount. I can't wait.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, August 11, 2014


Tonight, at open house for The Boy at his daycare, I was alerted to the to-be-confirmed news that actor, comedian, cyclist, and wonderful human being Robin Williams had died. It was a momentary distraction from the ordinary. And, perhaps, that's exactly why I am having such a difficult time processing the death of this man.

At the time of my writing this, social media & media outlets alike are abuzz with news & tributes to Mr. Williams. Me, I've withheld from posting anything beyond tweeting this clip from Disney's Aladdin:

While I did enjoy Aladdin—and many of Williams's other comedic efforts—it was his dramatic roles that really resonated with me. Williams's character of John Keating in 1989's Dead Poets Society served as not only motivation to get me through high school but also as what a teacher could & should be to his students. I have attempted to model my own teaching practices and approach to curriculum in a similar fashion—and I told him as much when we met at the expo for the Lance Armstrong Foundation's Ride for the Roses (now known as the LiveStrong Cycling Challenge). He was kind enough to sign a DVD of DPS and pose for a picture.

Whatever the cause of death (most reports mention suicide) is irrelevant. A candle has been extinguished, leaving only its wispy smoke in the form of memories millions have of Williams's myriad performances, which spanned the whole of human emotion over the course of decades.

The earliest role in which I can remember Williams was that of wayward alien Mork from the television series Mork & Mindy. At the conclusion of each episode of the show, Mork would muse with off-screen presence & fellow alien Orson of the oddities observed in human existence. Of the "tributes" making the rounds on social media tonight cites one such exchange:

Because I was barely a kindergardener when the show aired, I cannot vouch for its authenticity, but such is of little importance. What is of import is its substance—aye, there's the rub—to not spend quite so much time looking out for number one; rather, keep an out on numbers two on down. Don't doom yourself to a life of loneliness. But don't just talk to others; talk with them. Speak. Listen. Learn. Live.

One of the more visually delicious films in which Williams starred was 1998's What Dreams May Come, a film, tragically ironic enough, which focused on the loss of loved ones, including through suicide. The title of the film stems from the famous "To Be or Not to Be" speech from Act 3, Scene 1 of Hamlet. A larger excerpt of that speech is with what I will close:
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
Thanks for reading.

Saturday, August 02, 2014


I happened upon this story in Business Insider regarding Samuel L. Jackson's "one request" for The Avengers—a request which was, apparently, denied and, apparently, news worthy.

But that's not what gave me cause to take to the keyboard and hack out this bit. Rather, it was his purported request to George Lucas for his (Jackson's) character of Mace Windu to have a purple lightsaber. From the article:

While filming Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones, Jackson requested a purple lightsaber for his character Jedi Master Mace Windu so he could find himself in a big action-sequence of around 300 lightsabers.
Jackson recounted that George Lucas originally tried to tell him lightsabers only came in three colors but eventually relented.
One of the areas of focus I have enjoyed teaching in high school English is that of archetypes. In a manner of speaking, it is literally my job to teach Star Wars. Well, part of my job, anyway. The part that's really awesome.

The reason the Jackson request resonates with me is because I had presumed (and taught) that Windu wielded a purple lightsaber because of his character. It would make movie sense for Mace Windu, a Jedi Master, to burnish a blue lightsaber, especially in consideration of his line from Episode II when he tells Emperor Supreme Chancellor Palpatine that Jedi "are keepers of the peace—not warriors."

Green, in case you don't recall from your own high school English studies (or fail to recognize what happens in nature during springtime), represents rebirth and a community with nature, but that's not important for this discussion. What is important are the colors blue & red, the other common colors Lucas indicated as options for lightsaber color.

For a Jedi, red would be right out. After all, it's the only color we've seen Sith lords use, and, by the time Episode II rolls around, we've seen darths Vader & Maul. By the time the film ends, we've also seen Count Duku's; also, red. The Sith's use of red goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway: Red denotes anger, passion, war. Mars (the planet) has a red hue to it, matching it up perfectly with Mars the god. God of war, at that. On the other end of the lightsaber spectrum is blue. In archetypes, blue is oft-associated with peace, serenity, cooling, and other such pleasantness. Naturally, blue is far more appropriate for a Jedi and is likely why we see so many Jedi use blue for their glowing blades.

Mace Windu is an interesting character. Admittedly, I've not read Shatterpoint, the novel focusing on his character and his unique abilities, although I am somewhat aware of those abilities, as they are mentioned in the novel of Episode III. Also mentioned is Windu's fighting style, Vaapad, named after a creature which "attacks its prey with whipping strikes" (Stover, 328). Windu definitely does this when fighting Palpatine. Stover (author of the novel for Episode III) goes on:
Vaapad is as aggressive and powerful as its namesake, but its power comes at great risk: immersion in Vaapad opens the gates that restrain one's inner darkness. To use Vaapad, a Jedi must allow himself to enjoy the fight; he must give himself over to the thrill of battle. The rush of winning. Vaapad is a path that leads through the penumbra of the dark side. 
Mace Windu created this style, and he was its only living master. (Stover, 330)
How Stover discussed Windu's fighting style is what led me to conclude that Mace Windu's lightsaber is purple because of Windu's position as Vaapad's "only living master." Windu was the only Jedi Master able to master the extraordinary discipline necessary to walk the thin line separating the two sides of the Force, light and dark. If the light side of the Force (Jedi) often opt for a blue lightsaber blade, and the dark side of the Force (Sith) stick with red, the line separating them (Vaapad) would be a combination of the two.

Thus, Windu's lightsaber is purple.

It could reasonably be argued that Stover came up with the whole Vaapad line after the fact as a means of rationalizing Windu's blade, but Lucas is no dummy when it comes to archetypes—and the Episode III novel is based on Lucas's story & screenplay. Further, Lucas's writing and directing is purported to have been widely influenced by the work of Joseph Campbell, a man whose Hero with a Thousand Faces brought archetypes to the masses—and that was before Star Wars. I am without certain whether or not Samuel L. Jackson ever read Campbell's work directly, though he, for certain, had seen Star Wars.

Lucas and Jackson can say whatever they wish—and people can and will believe what they wish—when it comes to why Mace Windu's lightsaber blade is purple. But consider this: When it was announced that Samuel L. Jackson was going to play a Jedi in the Star Wars prequels, one running joke was spun off of Jackson's role in Pulp Fiction, where Windu would muse, ala Jules: Which lightsaber is mine? It's the one that says bad ass mother[expletive]!

While there were no closeups of the Windu lightsaber in film to show BAMF engraved on the hilt, the Master Replicas model does not sport such engraving—I know, because I have it. But, knowing what I do of both archetypes and Vaapad, such engraving would be superfluous. The purple blade says it all.

Works Cited

Acuna, Kirsten. "Samuel L. Jackson Had Only One Request for 'The Avengers'—And He Was Denied." Business Insider. 31 July 2014. Web. .

Stover, Matthew. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. New York: Lucas Books, 2005.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


"I ran. I ran until my legs pumped battery acid. And then I ran some more."

The above is from Fight Club. Not the book by Chuck Palahniuk—although many attribute it to him—but the screenplay of the film, which, incidentally, was written by Jim Uhls.

Regardless of who wrote the line, it's a memorable & oft-quoted one, especially by those in the running and/or triathlon community, and, until tonight, I had not been one to invoke such sentiments. But now I am.

Today was an exhausting day on all fronts. The morning and bulk of the afternoon was spent writing as part of Abydos (formerly known as NJWPT, or New Jersey Writing Project Texas) training, where I wrote about all series of subjects for close to seven hours with little reprieve—and I loved it, in spite of my preconceived notions—and then headed to the track at Clemens for a track workout.

On tap was 4x400-meter efforts, with a 200-meter active recovery thrown in. After the 4x400 (from lane 8) warm-up, it was straight into the effort, which went fairly well for the first three. I was hitting negative splits but then hit  wall of sorts. Perhaps the heat, perhaps the humidity, perhaps the whole of the day just finally got to me, and each 400 began to have time added to it. Worst yet, I found myself walking nearly half of the active recovery. But I persevered and managed to shave a precious second off of my final 400. Even if it wasn't faster than the first 400, it was still rewarding to see somewhat of a drop in time. And I still managed to eek out another 4x400 cool-down from lane 8.

On the (short—Clemens is, like, maybe a mile from the house) bike ride back home, and the subsequent ride up to the kid's daycare, I found myself somewhat recovered. Yeah, I was exhausted, physically & mentally, but I felt in a fashion not recognized for some time, now, that I was ready for more. If more was physical activity, it wouldn't be fast or pretty, but it would be tackled. If more was something mental—like, say, a blog or some other form of writing—well, you see how that's going.

In spite of my feelings of invincibility, I'm going to go a tad easy on me tomorrow. I'll rise at the normal time to walk the dog, but I'll not do more afterwards, nor will I ride to the Abydos training. Instead, I'll take the car and head up to New Braunfels for a swim. Maybe do some core work after that, but we'll see how things go. In any event, I'm getting back into punishing myself and asking, "Please sir, may I have some more?"

And I like it. A lot.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


We like to think of wicked as being something far away or otherwise distanced from ourselves and our lives. But wickedness comes down to what we do between breakfast and bedtime.

The above is a gross botching of a couple of lines from either Wicked or Son of a Witch, both by Gregory Maguire. It's been a while since I've read either, though I hope to remedy that in the very near future. Something else I hope to will remedy in the near future is being wicked.

In 2011, I finished my second Ironman race, shaving almost an hour off of what I had done two years prior. The day after, my wife & I learned that we were pregnant, and we were beginning a whole new chapter in & definition of endurance.

The combination of having a newborn, finishing graduate school, and working took a heavy toll on exercise. Additionally, given increased levels of stress from the aforementioned factors—and with no exercise with which to combat said stress—my diet suffered. I began consuming increasing volumes of junk food (Reese's peanut butter cups are were at the top of the list), losing sleep and gaining weight.

Three years later, the trend has somewhat slowed, but I still—in my opinion—take in too much junk food (Nestle's new Butterfinger peanut butter cups have not helped matters any) and have not made as wise of choices as someone of my age and education should. In short, I have grown wicked. And I need to stop.

Cold turkey is not a likely option, given its repeated failures in recent times. Rather, as with any race prep, it will need to be tapered. Making more conscious decisions about what I put into my body, I know, will allow me to get more (positivity) out of myself, physically and mentally.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, June 23, 2014


Gear, kit, equipment—whatever you wish to call it—plays an important role in sport. Granted, there are some who pay entirely too much attention to their kit, but to completely gloss over what gear one uses when training and/or racing would be a mistake. So, I thought I would give a rundown of what I used this past weekend at the Gator Bait Triathlon to win my age group. Yes, a 2:30:01 finish for an olympic distance race is nothing to write home about, but, because I occasionally get asked by friends & others what I use or recommend, I will write about it here.

While Speedo definitely has the lion's share of the swim market, I am most keen on Tyr. They make a quality product and have kept a fun edge to their marketing. Further, they are huge sponsors of multisport at every level, especially Ironman.

At present, I use a customized version of their Remix goggles in white & orange, with blue & mirrored blue lenses. From my experience, the blue lenses work well in a wide variety of lighting & water conditions – pool & open water.

For a suit, I opted to use my original tri suit, a one-piece DeSoto. I don't know the exact model of it, but DeSoto's stuff is certainly top-notch in comfort & quality. The suit I wore, for example, is nearly ten years old, and still races as well as the day I bought it.

Cannondale is my bike of choice and not just because my name is literally all over the bike. 

Both their road & TT/tri frames are well-designed, expertly crafted, and near bomb proof. There are many new designs & builds out there, but I am simply not interested. What I have (a 2009 Slice 3 equipped with a mix of Campagnolo Chorus & Centaur components, with Vision aerobars) continues to work well for me, so, even if money were no object, it is doubtful I would switch from what's comfortable & what works. On the bike, however, there are a few contact points that some don't pay much attention to until it matters – and oftentimes it's too late. Those points are saddles & pedals, and I have tried a lot of both. Ask anyone who's known & ridden with me over the years.

For saddles, I have settled on Cobb Cycling. As I mentioned yesterday in my Gator Bait race report, John Cobb did my first serious bike fit way back in 2001, and I have felt I could trust him & his experience. And, because Cobb Cycling offers a 90-day comfort guarantee, there's really little to lose in terms of finding what works. Models I like are the HC170 and the 55 JOF; the latter now calls both my road & tri bikes home.

Look won the bolt pattern war way back in the late 90s & early 2000s, but it's another brand of French pedals I prefer: Time; specifically, their Xpresso 6 road pedal. This pedal provides ease of entry & exit with sufficient float to be comfortable for dozens of miles at time. The Xpresso system is a huge improvement over the previous iClic series in both cleat retention & cleat wear. It fits the 3-bolt pattern found on nearly all road shoes, although it may be special order from most shops.

Shoes used are Nike's T-Speed from way back-a-long-time-ago. They have held up remarkably well over the years and continue to be comfortable, so there's no immediate plan to replace them.

Helmets & Eyewear
While I am a member of their "Bro" program, I can say with certainty that Rudy Project makes the most awesome of eyewear & helmets. Their stuff has protected my noggin & eyeballs continuously since early 2008 and off & on before that. 

My all time favorite sunglasses from them were the Tayo, but, alas, mine died on a ride one day. Since, I have gone through several a lot of different models, recently settling on the Rydon with multilaser blue lenses. Just as with the swim goggles, the blue seems to work well in a variety of lighting conditions. For night riding, though, I use transparent.

For helmets, I train with the Airstorm but race with the long-extinct Syton. Above all, it's comfortable, fitting my oddly-shaped head well but also seems to provide the all-important aero benefits of an aero helmet.

I've been through a lot of running shoes the past ten years, and my favorites tend to be Brooks. Their excellent fit, subsequent comfort, and environmental policies (I still think the Green Silence was their & the best running shoe, ever) keep me coming back to them when it comes time to replace whatever shoe I have recently worn out.

On Saturday, I raced with the original Pure Connect. Training goes between the PureFlow2, Ghost 6, and PureGrit 2 for trail. Occasionally, I will switch in a pair of Newton Gravity2, which are nice, but, again, how Brooks treats its customers & its planet are what keep me coming back. However, because Brooks likes to radically change things from year-to-year (including what works), I may be prone to gravitating more towards something else.

On the nutrition front, my needs are simple:
As with pedals, I use somewhat of an outlier in the field of timing & tracking equipment and that brand is Suunto

It's a Finnish brand (suunto is purportedly Finnish for "direction"), and the models I use (t6d [pictured above] & Ambit, both of which are discontinued & replaced) are both designed & made in Finland. As with my computer & communication devices, Suunto's approach to design & function is similar and, put simply, just works. And it works well. 

True, I would like to replace my Ambit with one of the newer Ambit 2 (having access to multisport mode while racing would be sweet, as would the cadence feature for running), but I'm afraid my budget just doesn't permit it. Besides, when racing at the olympic distance, all I really need is the chronograph – and even that becomes somewhat moot when I've made visual contact with someone. As Tristan & I used to muse, "Target acquired."

That about sums up the gear that I use & what works for me. For you, it could be something entirely different, so find what works for you. After all, it is your race.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Several years have passed since I last filed a race report and that is because several years have passed since I have raced. At least full-on triathlon kind of racing. Sure, there's been the occasional 5k, but nothing on par with a solid effort for more than 20-ish minutes. That streak of silence in racing came to a close on Saturday with the Gator Bait Triathlon.

Curiously enough, the Gator Bait was the last triathlon I did, during summer of 2011, when Nicholle dashed up to Colorado for the weekend. That was interesting, in I dropped her off at the airport en route to Boerne Lake. For the 2014 edition, I made the whole trip solo, though what it took to get to that point was very much a team effort. But more on that in a bit.

Get Ready
Friday was a busy, rather blessed day—or the morning was, anyway.

The bulk of the day was spent at EdCampSA, a unique take on professional development for teachers. Although I had read about them and followed some of the goings on of various EdCamps, I had never partaken in one, so, when one was scheduled to take place, I took advantage of it and went. Glad I did, too.

While there & during a lull in the conversation on flipped classrooms, I, like so many others, decided to check my email. In it, I noticed a donation had been made to my fund raising campaign for the 2014 National MS Society Bike MS: Ride to the River. While nice, it was the size of the donation that caused my eyebrows to raise, my heart rate to accelerate, and me to excuse myself from the room. I do not know if I am at liberty to say from whom the donation was, but at nearly $3,000 (yes, three thousand dollars), I am truly blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life.

The rest of EdCampSA crept by, with a highlight coming in the form of plans to hang out with a high school buddy (Carl), probably going to a movie and maybe grabbing something from Earth Burger.

Once The Boy had been collected from daycare, it was home to ready dinner (eggplant parmisan for them; traditional pre-race meal for me: baked sweet potato topped with brown sugar, tofu [fakin' bacon was substituted, since we were out of tofu], and a fried egg), pack the transition bag, and get the bike in race shape. This is where things started to go south.

Right after fastening the Slice in the work stand, Nicholle called to say she was on the way home. While she told me a bit about her afternoon, the work stand fell over, Slice & all. Fortunately, the only damage was the rear brake lever got twisted a bit out of place, so a quick twist back in place was all it took to fix it. Whew.

As I was twisting the brake lever back in place, I noticed The Boy shoving a few 1" drywall screws into his mouth. It was obvious I would not be able to get anything done outside. So, all screws fished out of his mouth (with none swallowed), the Slice was removed from the work stand, and The Boy & I went inside to pack my transition bag. This was far more productive, and the Slice was polished up after the bedtime routine had come to a close.

Race Day
The alarm sounded at 3:52 AM on Saturday morning, and I was up, ready to get moving. I stayed quiet to allow Nicholle & The Boy to stay asleep; no way did I expect them to be roused so early to go all the way out to Boerne Lake for my little race.

A breakfast of waffles topped with honey took care of hunger cravings. Pre-race hydration was made ready (water [x2], pre-race mix [1 tsp salt, mixed with 20 oz. of Gatorade G2 & water in an 800mL bottle], iced coffee), had me out the door & rolling by 4:35. Boerne Lake is quite a drive from Schertz.

The absence of traffic at that early of an hour had me parked by 5:15, giving me time to spare before transition opened. Perfect.

Once transition opened, I set up my space, made a few new friends, stretched, and went for a mile or so run prior to the athlete meeting & race start. I had not felt as nervous before the start of the race since my first open water tri all the way back in 2005.

Like Lemmings
Redemption Racing uses time trial starts for their races, and had us self-seed ourselves by what we thought our 100 meter swim times were. I was mid-pack when I realized I still had my wedding ring on, and I did not want a repeat of what happened at Ironman Texas in 2011, when I lost the ring in Lake Woodlands in the opening meters of the swim. Lucky me, I found a kind soul in transition who was able to put the ring in my bag. On the downside, I lost my place in line.

After re-seeding myself towards the back, my goggles began to fog, so I again dashed out of line to get some lake water in them (I've never felt comfortable about spitting in them like so many triathletes and/or swimmers do) to find myself with an un-fogged view of the very back of the line. I was literally the last person to enter the water and start the swim.

Swim (32:03)
The 1500 meter swim was a counter-clockwise, triangular-shaped course, taking us almost to the other side of the lake. Water temperature was purported to be 77°, making it wetsuit legal; some actual rejoiced, ferreting their wetsuits out of transition bags. I was shocked that some even thought to pack one, let alone bring it along with them to a race in south Texas in mid-to-late June. But, whatevs; I knew I was set with just my racesuit (one piece DeSoto number—my first tri suit, also from way back in 2005), swim cap, and Tyr Remix goggles.

A few steps in, and I lost my balance, slipping a bit. However, once I dove into the water, and completely immersed myself to begin the swimming, it was like being home again; this had happened before, and it would all happen again.

Almost immediately, I was in a steady swim rhythm, as I began to pick off those who did not want to let me regain my place in line. Sighting of the buoys was actually easier than it had ever been (blue lenses are a wonderful thing, regardless of the light conditions), so I was able to hold a pretty steady line for the bulk of the course. My only hesitation was after the last turn, checking to ensure I had turned at the right spot and not cut the course. It would be just my luck to have such a fantastic swim only to get disqualified.

The official time for my swim is clocked at 32:03, although I had it logged as 30:58, from the time I was told "Go!" to the time I exited the water & began the dash up the boat ramp to T1. But, again: Whatevs. I felt great.

Bike (1:11:16)
Traditionally, cycling was my strength. When I entered triathlon, there were few other newbies who could touch my bike splits. Cycling is probably the one area where I felt I was weakest, logging pathetically few miles over the past few years, especially in comparison to what I once did and was able to do. Still, the split was decent, and I felt at home & comfortable the whole time. Much of this I attribute to the use of a Cobb Cycling 55 JOF saddle.

For the record, I am not sponsored by, nor do I receive special consideration from John Cobb or Cobb Cycling. However, I have known John since 2001 (he did my first real fit on a bike) and have always held his expertise in the highest of regards. Saddles of his design have found a home atop my bikes since at least 2010, so when I needed a new place to park my butt, I needed to do little looking before settling on a Cobb.

The 55 JOF has received mixed reviews from shops & those who have tried it, but I was sold on it almost immediately. Granted, it did take quite a bit of tweaking on the Slice (no easy task, thanks to the impossibly ridiculous design Cannondale put into the seat clamp) to dial in what I think was an optimal position, but, once dialed in, business could be taken care of. I found myself fidgeting around far less, and in an A-1 powerful position the whole leg of the bike at Gator Bait, including the grind up Heartbreak Hill, an impossibly-steep climb.

On the way back down the hill, my front wheel hit a rock in the road, causing a bit of wobble at 40+ MPH, so I had to slow down & fight to regain control & not crash. Hurray for bike handling skills & muscle memory! Really, about the only issues I seemed to have on the bike were primarily with secondary equipment:

  1. Forgot to have the Suunto t6d search for the speed sensor, so I had no clue how fast I was going at any given point
  2. I fumbled a lot more with the straps on my shoes (still rocking the Nikes) coming into T2 than I ever had, but this is probably due to my being out of practice

As a consequence of #2, I entered T2 a little less gracefully than planned, but I arrived in one piece and with a decent bike split, too.

Run (44:21)
When I last raced Gator Bait, the run was primarily an off-road run on the non-lake side of the dam. Apparently, many folk complained, and the course was changed.

The 2014 edition featured a 2-loop run along the dam before venturing into the park, following some of the disc golf course, before dumping finishers by the pavilion. While my run was decent (although I did not think so at the time), I much prefer the off-road run, instead of the 2-loops of the dam. It kinda got crowded.

Because there were no mile markers to be seen after mile 2, I had no idea what my splits were. I didn't feel like I was in a good place or a good rhythm, but, as it turned out, it wasn't too bad, since my mile average figured out to be 7:30. With a bit more training, track work, and better diet, I could probably shave another 10 sec/mi off of that time. Possibly more.  Still, it was a good enough finish.

Yeah, You Know It
After crossing the finish line, I learned that my 2:30:01 (official) time had slotted me into a third place finish for my age group. And, since I was the last person to start and was not passed by anyone on course, I knew I would be able to stay there. Then the awards ceremony happened.

When my age group was finally reached, the third place name wasn't me. I guessed someone else had somehow nipped me, but such was not the case. Rather, out of the fix folks in my age group listed on the results page, I ranked #1; not only did I finish my first triathlon in three years but I also won my age group. Nice.

Thank Yous
Needless to say, there are many, many thanks to go out.

At the top of the list is my wife, Nicholle. Without her, I would likely still not be involved in triathlon, let alone still racing with as much motivation as I have. She's been patient & supportive when I go to swim or bike or run, which has been a lot more as of late.

Of course, The Boy is a great deal of motivation, as well. He's growing up with triathlon being a central part of his life & routine, and his smile and the energy with which he throws himself into "swimming," "biking," and running around the house helps me HTFU when the going gets tough. Naturally, I don't use that particular phrase around him.

Other thank yous go out to...
  • Greg & Bicycle Heaven for getting the Slice race ready after a year of sitting idle in the garage.
  • City of Boerne Police & Kendall County Sheriff for keeping an eye out for athletes while on course, intersections blocked, and traffic under control.
  • Redemption Racing for putting on yet another quality race. True, some vegetarian friendly offerings for post-race fueling would be awesome, but I'm in the habit of bringing what I need with me to pretty much everywhere I go, so races are no different. 
  • The Emily's Place Coffee Shop running group for giving me something to look forward to each weekend, as well as someone to run with.
And the list could go on but would probably wind up sounding like an infomercial or paid post, and that was not the purpose here. Another time, perhaps.
Thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


It's 2315, and I should be in bed.


But I'm not.

While not in the same vein, I, like Public Enemy so many years prior, got so much trouble on my mind. Am I in the right job? Have I made the best choices for the future of my family? Why haven't I heard anything from that interview this past April? Last communique from them three weeks past said no decision had yet been made. Should I email again? 

Was pursuing a master's in instructional technology the best route to take? Should I have listened to Terry ten years ago and got myself to a law school? Why, in this allegedly great nation, is it so hard for those stuck in the middle to get ahead?

All of the above resonate with me, keeping me awake when I should be in bed. Asleep. It makes me feel worthless. 

But I'm not. At least, I don't think so.

I'm married to my best friend—who just so happens to also be the most beautiful woman in the world. Together, we have a modest, comfortable home. With a yard. And a dog. And, together, my wife & I brought a life into the world in the form of a Calvin-esque boy who is more perfect than we ever could possibly have hoped. And he calls me "Daddy," not seeing my faults.

Why, then, can I not see myself through the eyes of a toddler, recognizing what successes I have, rather than the failures over which I seemingly obsess. Human nature? Meh.

So, it's now 2330. The Smiths' "Asleep" pours out, gently, soothingly, hauntingly from my media player. Maybe I should try harder to go to sleep, being less afraid of failures and more hopeful for the future, even if it isn't what it used to be. 

Thanks for reading.


My first race in three years is less than forty-eight hours away, and I am tapered.

This week started out quite horribly, unable to sleep Sunday night after an intense night running 800s on the track. Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday were borderline pathetic, with virtually no energy to spare into anything; actually, Wednesday wasn't bad. But, I managed to get in 20-ish minutes of yoga Wednesday night and awoke today feeling very refreshed.

A short swim in New Braunfels, followed by 25 minutes hard & 20 minutes easy of spin in Schertz constituted bonafide workouts to now. I'd like to get in a few mile repeats on the track later, but I'm not sure if that will happen. The house is in desperate need of cleaning; packet pickup is in roughly two hours; The Boy needs to be picked up inside of four hours. Given travel time to/from packet pickup, I just don't see it becoming reality. But that could just be me being pessimistic. Then again, I am just sitting here, typing a blog entry, rather than cleaning. My past accomplishments today of swim, spin, and/or lawn mowing won't get the house cleaned, just as my past accomplishments in triathlon won't get me across the finish line on Saturday—certainly not accomplishments from three years ago.

So, effort has been exerted, and I now find myself tapering from that effort, relaxed & ready to race. But first, the house needs to get cleaned. 

Thanks for reading.

Friday, June 13, 2014


Today is a planned rest day. It's also a necessitated rest day after all of the action & excitement of yesterday's triple workout, sandwiched in between taking care of The Boy and attending restaurant openings.

The Boy is off at school, and I am tending to some writing & reading before getting onto a few jobs around the house. If all goes well, there will be some yoga involved. :)

Tomorrow, it's back to training, prepping for next weekend's Gator Bait triathlon. It's my first race in three years, so I'm a tad nervous—not to mention behind the curve in terms of swimming & cycling, the latter being something at which I once excelled. Even my running has suffered, but, rather than this turn into a whine festival, I'll leave it be. It is a rest day, after all.

Enjoy your weekend, then, and thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Tonight was the soft opening of Earth Burger, San Antonio's Texas's first vegetarian fast-food restaurant. And it was awesome.

A quick selfie before venturing inside

Earth Burger was conceived of and developed by the same crew that brought Green Vegetarian Cuisine to San Antonio, but was crowdfunded via a month-long Kickstarter campaign. Earth Burger reached its goal three days shy of its deadline, with a modest contribution made by us. It wasn't a lot, but it was sufficient to get some free grub & our name up on a plaque that'll be posted in the restaurant.

Sketchy Future

Granted, the soft opening was WAY past The Boy's bedtime (he let us know, too, with a minor meltdown), but, in all, I felt it went well. There were many people who came to grab some grub  (grilled chick'n wrap is the absolute best fast food option, ever—and the chia lemonade makes for a great chaser), including friends we'd not seen and/or with whom we'd not visited in years. In spite of the aforementioned minor meltdown, I felt the launch of Earth Burger went fantastically well. 

The grand opening will take place on Friday, July 4th. If you're in the area, I highly suggest it. The food, the people are so choice.


It seemed like a good idea at the time.

In retrospect after the afternoon's run, however, I think I wound up biting off more than I could chew. After all, it's been a few years since I've tackled workouts this engaging, let alone more than one in a single day.

But tackle it I did: Three intense workouts in a single day. A triathlon, of sorts, though with an hour or so with drive-time factored into transition.

Swim. Bike. Run. But not necessarily in that order.

After readying amazing meals for The Boy (I don't even like avocado, and I was envious of what he would get for nom-noms), I made my way to the gym for the 8:30 spin class.

Grilled avocado & scrambled eggs for (The Boy's) breakfast.

Because the spin room is used for other functions, summer spin sessions are shortened to 45 minutes. Jacqi, the instructor (and probably the best I've had in my 10+ years of synchronized suffering), is not deterred and simple ups the ante for the class, getting in a higher quality workout in less time. Needless to say, I must channel my inner Jens Voigt & his mantra at various points of the class. But it works. Not sure what happened with my HR from ~19 minutes until almost the end.

I'm fairly certain there were sundry intervals worked in that should have caused fluctuations, but it is what it is. The average of 143, however, sounds fairly accurate.

Following the cool-down stretch off the spin bike, I made my way north to New Braunfels (the Schertz recreation center [dba YMCA] still lacks a pool, in spite of voters approving one via bond measure four years ago) for a swim. I wasn't sure what to expect out of myself, so I had just planned to do a distance swim of 500–1000 meters, but that got extended to 2000 continuous meters, coupled with a 4x75-meter cool-down. Woot.

Homeward bound & into the kitchen for some nutrition.

Ready to get juiced.

Nicholle & I bought a juicer some years back, but it's seen precious little service since The Boy was born, due in large part to a fair amount of cleanup that follows making juice. However, because today was a play day (of sorts)—and because all of the week's major cooking was done the day before—I grabbed some veggies (carrots [3], celery [2], beet [1], sweet potato [1], ginger [1]), juice 'em, & mixed it with some veggie protein powder for a super between workouts meal.

After that settled and the kitchen was again clean, it was out for a trail run.

A little less than a mile from my front door is some superb off-road running that follows the bed of the Cibolo Creek. A year or so ago, I was running the creek once or twice a week, attempting to follow it all the way to the highway, though unsuccessful every time due to the trail disappearing from sight; either submerged or overgrown in assorted areas. Then, the rains came, and the dry creek bed was dry no more. In spite of recent rains, I ventured out to see what I could see, run what I could run.

That, like the triple workouts from today, seemed like a good idea at the time. The Ambit showed an average temperature of around 94°, with a peak of 97.3°, but it seemed a fair deal warmer. A lot warmer, actually, and the lone bottle I brought with me proved inadequate after barely 30 minutes in. 

The portions of trail that are not the creek bed itself are a hybrid of jeep road & trails cut out by deer, coyotes, and whatever other critters call the creek bed home. The aforementioned rains have cause quite a bit of overgrowth in many of the areas, so I had a hard time following the upper reachers and wound up along the roadside more often than I would like. Unfortunately, on the return, I missed my drop-in point and wound up following 1518 all the way back into Schertz proper. This displeased—and overheated—me substantially. Consequently, there was much walking involved. Robbed of the cooling shade of the trees & roughage dotting the creek bed, it was the best I could do to keep my heart rate down, seeing  how my bottle was almost entirely depleted by this point.

Despite my trail run having less trail and less run that I would have liked, I felt it was a good workout—for heat acclimation, if nothing more—and that I managed to squeeze in three (3!) workouts today made me most happy. 

Now, it's time go get ready for the evening's festivities of the soft opening of Earth Burger. Good thing I only juiced for lunch, saving room for all those awesome nom-noms. 

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, June 01, 2014


Despite my intentions at the onset of 2014, this blog has failed to produce much outside of silence. However, its author is awake; the writing is resurrected. No promises on its awesomeness, but thanks for reading. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Nearly all audibles have excused themselves from the house today. My wife is off to church, so the soft whir of the refrigerator's cooling unit is all that interrupts the rapid inhale-exhale of a two year-old toddler, asleep on my lap. Wiped exhausted from a virus terrorizing his tummy, he slumbers, dreaming of choo-choos, clutching a Cookie Monster doll, the brilliant blue of which sits mutely envious of the azure of my boy's lidded eyes.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


As I hope to be up just past 4:00 tomorrow morning, I need to make this brief and get to bed, pronto.

Over the past few days, I've been toying around with a redesign of off242.com, the personal site/domain I've had since the late-90s, used primarily for experimenting in digital design. This go-around is making more use of CSS and stripping down the heavy code & content on the site. The new off242.com is to promote & showcase me. It's still a work in progress and will likely continue to be so for the next several weeks and/or months. Providing you didn't link to this blog from that site, pop on over there and take a look-see. Then, if you've some kudos or constructive criticism for me, drop a line and let me hear it.

With all that out of the way, I'm off to pack my swim bag and hit the hay. Yesterday morning's swim has me all jazzed about being back in the water. I hope to make this into a once or twice a week habit and maybe start getting back into some semblance of shape.

See you on deck, and thanks for reading.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Thereat once more he moved about, and clomb
Ev'n to the highest he could climb, and saw,
Straining his eye beneath an arch of hand,
Or thought he saw, the speck that bare the King,
Down that long water opening on the deep
Somewhere far off, pass on and on, and go
From less to less and vanish into light.
And the new sun rose bringing the new year.

from Idylls of the King: The Passing of Arthur
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Granted, the new year is now a dozen days done, but the quote from Tennyson is one of hope, and it is with hope that 2014 is entered.

The previous year was not a very good one. Problems at home and abroad kept me from enjoying very much of anything until the year had all but expired. All was not dark throughout 2013, but if ever there was a year where a mulligan was to be taken, this was the year. So much could have been done differently with no less results that it seems worth a shot. Alas, no such thing is to happen, so losses are cut and onward I tread: Fitness lost, weight gained, but family & sanity both in tact.

Sundry experts have spouted that the making of new year's resolutions is not a healthy endeavor. However, I have made a few, including the resurrection of this blog if, for nothing more than to get me writing again, for it is yet one more thing I have fallen out of the habit of doing, and I aim to do better. At this. At being active. At being a better husband, father, son, brother, nephew, cousin, friend.

Words now fail me, likely having headed for the haven of a bed with the promise of sleep. Not for too long, for the alarm will rouse me in six or so hours' time, but long enough, I hope, to recharge and be ready for the rising of a new sun on a new day in a new(ish) year. 

Thanks for reading.