Tuesday, February 28, 2006


I’ve said in the past something along the lines of “whatever trouble comes your way, be bigger than the trouble.”  I used the same trail of thought while training for the marathon—be bigger than the race, train to be bigger than 26.2, then it’s just a run.

Ok, so I stole it from that great non-self help book that says “That which is in you is greater than that which is in the world.”

Now it turns out Ann Landers is going around stealing MY ill gotten goods!


“Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life, and when it comes, hold your head high, look it squarely in the eye, and say ‘I will be bigger than you.  You cannot defeat me.’”—Ann Landers


Damn, dirty, thief.

That’s not even her real name.

Friday, February 17, 2006


So far the weekend looks dreary.  For paintball wet is ok.  Cold is even ok, for that matter.  Rain is not so much ok.  In fact, rain is pretty much bad.

If I don’t get my cross training in I guess I’ll just run.  Plus it’ll be a good weekend to get the bike cleaned and tuned up.

Blech.  Running in the rain… 2 crappy tastes that taste crappy together.  Like cod liver oil and dirt clods (I imagine).

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Cross Training and other stuff

I’m heading out to play paintball this weekend and next.  I expect to do a little running and/or biking tomorrow depending on whether or not the light holds through the end of the day.  I’ve got a hot date with my baby’s mama, so I may not actually be doing any exercising (minds out of the gutter) and may simply be spending an evening at home.

Paintball, however, counts 100% towards my cross training quota.  Activities involved include sprinting, standing very still, springing some more, diving over bushes, getting shot, and shooting the other guy.  And just for the record, paintballs don’t hurt.  Getting shot by a paintball hurts, but only if you can’t manage to make the other guy miss.


I can’t wait for the days to get longer so that I can actually get an hour’s worth of riding/running in after work.  These not-quite-early fakey evenings are really beginning to bug me.  It’s daylight at 5:30 when you leave the office, but night time by the time you get to your car 10 minutes later.  Stupid weather.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Sport Junkie

It's done.
Sports commentary blather will go here in order to avoid burying my actual running and training update(s) and progress toward various goals.
I hope it doesn't bore you senseless.

Coming Soon!!!

I’ve noticed that since the marathon my “running blog” has become more of a sports commentary spot.  This is mostly because I’m not running much since the marathon because, well, I hate running—hence the URL of the blog.


Since I still have a few goals I want to knock down in the running world—one being the elusive 25:00 5k, another being a triathlon—I’m not going to abandon the running blog.  In fact, I’ve been brainstorming a way to improve it, and I think I have one.


Now that you’re all on the edge of your proverbial seats, I’ll tell you what I came up with later.

Stupid Soccer

This is one of the many reasons I hate soccer.

I was willing to get excited about soccer in Houston.  I was willing to give it a go.  Hell, if I can run a marathon and hate every step of training I can at least go to a soccer game.

But NOOOOOO!!  I don’t get my Houston 1836 because apparently Texas History doesn’t belong to Texans anymore.  Stupid tree hugging, cheeto munching, pot smoking, Frisbee golf playing, pant wetting, belly achers.  “Oh, I’m offended”.  Sucks to be you.


Maybe I’ll go get some gear—hat, shirt, pants, whatever—and wear them to the home opener anyway proudly displaying what my soccer team’s name SHOULD be if the front office wasn’t a bunch of spineless worms.


Or maybe I just won’t give a crap. 


Yea, that sounds like a better plan.  I just won’t give a crap.


Take that, Houston Yet To Be Named Soccer Team.  Plumbing and the US System of Measurement won me back to real sports.  No more soccer, crapping in holes, or meters for me.  The rest of the world can have all that stuff.  I’ll take baseball (and football), flushing toilets, and feet.


And most of both of the Olympics, but that’s a special circumstance.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Cross Country Skiing

I love my DVR.  I get to watch every second of Olympic coverage.
Speaking of which, the 30k men's cross country was FLAT OUT AWESOME.  If you didn't find that exciting, you don't have a pulse.
Also, watching that Dutch chick (Wust) fly around the speed skating track was totally cool.  I don't care who you are, that's just plain exciting.
I love the Olympics.  Wow.

Ice Skating is NOT a sport

If there was any doubt before now, the whole Michelle Kwan flap should clear up any misconceptions that this beauty pageant on skates is really a sport.  Is it hard?  Yes.  Is it a sport?  No.  Quit trying to convince me that these people are athletes.  They’re not.  They may be doing something athletic, but as long as they are merely performing some stupid ice skating “routine”, they’re not athletes any more than Puff Daddy is an athlete when he performs.

Consider the following:

You bust off a 15:00 5k a solid minute ahead of the next finisher.  The judges say your form was bad, so they give the next guy the victory.

Stupid, stupid, stupid Olympic committee.  I’ve been saying it for years and they just insist on keeping ice skating in the damn Olympics.


Don’t get me wrong, I love the Winter Olympics—more so than the summer Olympics.  But I hate ice skating on a fundamental level.  Nothing more than a beauty pageant.  Bah.


Mad props to Princess Michelle for dropping out of the competition and giving the spot she didn’t earn to the first standby, though.  It’s a shame the kid didn’t get to go to the opening ceremony…  not that Princess Michelle gives a crap.


In personal athletic news:


I’ve been pain free for almost 2 days now.  I’m going to give it another day or two, then hit the roads on the bike.  Maybe I’ll even run a bit.  I won’t be opening it all the way up just yet, but I’ll certainly be probing to see what the limits are going to be.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Special people

A very, very close friend of mine got married this past weekend.  Actually, 2 friends of mine got married this past weekend, to each other.

I’m not much of a public speaker, so I didn’t bother to give a toast or anything.  She knows how special a person she is.  He knows what I think of him.

But just in case they don’t (despite the fact that neither of them will be reading this) this is what I would have said:


We all know Mel and Carl.  We all know the relationship they have.  We all know how well they fit together and how perfect she is for him and how perfect he is for her.  But what you may not know—wouldn’t be able to know—is how I see these fine folks. 

Melanie’s the kind of person that would pour out the last bit of herself to help someone else.  She’s the type of person who would drive across town on the day of her own wedding rehearsal to give a ride to her mom even though it meant that all of you folks wound up being early to her wedding rehearsal.  She’s the kind of person who, when asked by a friend, would clean out the litter boxes of 4—yes, 4—cats while he was off asking his girlfriend to become his fiancée.  Then, after being the only person to accept the request to come and take care of the filthy little monsters for a full week, had the gall to apologize because she just dumped the litter and refilled the pans instead of merely scooping the filth out.  It was probably the cleanest litter those cats have ever used.  And, as if her ticket to heaven wasn’t already punched, she goes and gives a LitterMaid as a wedding present.  She’s the kind of person who, when she knows you’re having a really rough week and your wife is suffering from morning sickness and you’re suffering from your wife’s morning sickness, will come over and do the dishes (without being asked) because you’re just worn down, worn out, and simply don’t have the energy to care.  She may be leaving a pile of dishes at home, but that’s why she’s bringing her new dishwasher home today.  She’s the kind of person you can share a unique language with.  And when I tip my glass to her and say “you’re a very, very special person” she knows exactly what I mean, even if most everybody doesn’t.

And then there’s Carl.  I don’t have as much to say about him as Mel because I haven’t known him as long.  However, as long as I’ve known him there’s never been an emotion that he’s easily expressed, a simple answer he hasn’t extended to a 45 minute explanation, or a simple process he hasn’t managed to rework into a 4 week project.  But more importantly he’s steady.  That may not sound all fantastic, but it’s a remarkable trait.  You know what you’re getting with Carl.  He is simply, and complicatedly, Carl.  I’m almost certain that if I am ever wrong, Carl will tell me so, and I can trust his judgment.  I am equally certain that if I am right, Carl will back me come hell or high water.  Now, when the canoe comes to rescue us from high water he may insist on building a dock before getting in, but that’s just Carl.

And that’s the remarkable thing about these two.  Carl is smooth and steady.  Mel has a tendency to be a little emotional.  Carl is very much “do”, Mel is very much “feel”.  If they were a sandwich they’d be peanut butter and jelly.  They’re made for each other.  Someone like Melanie deserves the best.  Someone like Carl deserves the best.  Congratulations, you two.  You found it in each other.  I can say from personal experience—and I suspect folks who’ve been doing the “married thing” longer than I have will back me on this—that it only gets better. 

To being married, to two very special people, to every next day being better than the last.







Don’t know how I did it, but I did.


There’s a small cluster of muscles right along the spine that are on the inside.  It’s not the lower back muscles.  These are closer to the kidneys and on the inside—you can’t feel them through the skin.  There’s the skin, a layer of muscles, then there are some core muscles under those. 

Why do I know this?  Because 3 years ago I thought I had a kidney stone, but after getting x-rays done it turned out that I had simply pulled one of these stupid muscles.  How’d I do it?  I don’t know, but I’ve done it again (or I have a kidney stone).


It’s weird.  It’s not a set of muscles you need to move, they do other stuff.  Voluntary stuff, I think.  But if I put myself in just the wrong position, POW!!!   I know it.  And it hurts.  Unfortunately the wrong position is just about anything turning or bending or stretching or squeezing with the abdominals—kind of the stuff you do on a bike or running or swimming or showering or brushing your teeth or putting on your shoes or walking.


I don’t care what these muscles do, quite frankly.  They hurt like hell, though.  And I can’t do hardly anything strenuous because… well, the pain hurts.  That’s why it’s called pain.  And it hurts in a place that can’t be massaged or rubbed or heated because it’s on the inside.


This sucks.


Conversations between me and my doctor in the spring go something like this:

Me:  Can I ride the MS150 like this?

Doc:  The MS150?

Me:  A 2 day bike ride from Houston to Austin to support the National MS society

Doc:  I know what a MS150 is.

Me:  Well?

Doc:   …   um, I don’t think you can’t ride it.  Physically, it’s probably doable.  It’s not advisable, though.

Me:  Would you?

Doc:  Ride a MS150?  No.  Not with a (insert malady here).  But I wouldn’t do it healthy, either.

Me:  Would I?

Doc:  I’m guessing, probably.

Me:  Will it kill me?

Doc:  Probably not.

Me:  I’ll take that as doctor’s permission.  Thanks.


It was a conversation like this that had riding the MS150 back in 2003 with an upper respiratory infection.  Fun, eh?


A word to the wise, kids:  take your allergy medicine.  Upper Respiratory Infections are yucky.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Surfside Marathon/Half Marathon

I'm going to run the Surfside Marathon.
Yup.  I've decided.
AWWW!!!!  They've maxxed out.  Damn.
I guess I'm not going to run it.
I'll just have to feign disappointment.

A couple of quick things

General Physical Fitness Stuff

  1. I’m not going to be “ready” for the MS150 in April, May, or October. I’ll be able to do it, but I won’t be physically strong enough to do it the way I want to this year.
  2. I’m probably not going to pull off a triathlon this year.

These things aren’t a problem, mind you. I just know they’re true. I’ve got too much going on that is more important to me than any of the above. There are only so many days in a week and so many hours in a day. But like I said, that’s no problem. I’ll retool the goals and get at those.

One thing I did read from earlier in the year was that I intended to hit the ground at the marathon at a lithe and nimble 185 lbs. The closest I got was 190-195 and on race day I was closer to 200lbs. I think I’m going to renew that goal. If I can get down to that weight, I’m almost certainly going to be physically ready to run a marathon (not that I intend to, mind you), pull off a triathlon, or bust out a MS150 or 3.

Almost certainly I’ll be able to get that sub-25:00 5k under my belt. And since Holden’s (link at the right) shooting for the same goal I can claim him as bona-fide competition. Of course, he’s a helluva lot closer to hitting that mark than I am. My best time EVER is still 2:00 off the pace, and that’s a lot of ground to make up.

However, therein lies the quandary. I’ve never been able to control my weight in the past solely with diet. You see, I really like food—with gravy, and ranch dressing, and… oh so close to lunch right now…..

Add to that a pregnant woman in the house and food is going to become an even tougher foe than before. I’ve needed physical activity—and lots of it—to trim my big fat butt down to a manageable size. The good thing is that I actually enjoy the physical activity. I was actually seen on occasion chopping wood in my back yard and I didn’t even have a fireplace! (But that’s another story.) However, with all the other stuff I have going on right now, I don’t really have time to get in the physical activity necessary to trim down my big ass, much less trim down my big times on 5k runs. What to do, what to do? That is an answer I’ve got to come up with.

Rainy Days

It looks like the weather for the Frost Bike back on January 29 was actually pretty good for riding. Not great, but pretty good for a January ride. 2 years ago the Frost Bike was perfect marathon weather. Unfortunately for bikers perfect weather at 5mph running is absolutely horrific at 15mph riding. It was cold. Damn cold.

But that wasn’t the worst weather on a bike that I’ve faced.

In 2004, 2 weeks after the Houston MS150 and just in time for the Dallas ride, a cold front decides to enter north Texas on the same day as the MS150. Temperatures dropped from the high 60s/low 70s to the mid to high 50s overnight. Of course, with cold fronts comes rain. Sheets and sheets of rain were falling at the Frito Lays facility where the launch for the ride was set up. The weather broke for about 20minutes, but that was all the peace we had. Wind, rain, and cold were the rules of the day. By the time the first 10 miles were under our belts our fingers were numb, our toes were numb, and our socks were soaked. When it wasn’t raining from above, we were getting sprayed from the wet pavement below. There was no drafting off the bikes in front of you because if you got too close there was a facefull of tire spray loaded with road grime ready for you to swallow. Plus it’s not exactly safe to ride close to someone when your brakes aren’t working at 100%.

All along the route riders were abandoning their bikes at rest stops because the SAG wagons didn’t have room to take the people AND bikes. Trucks followed along the route to pick up the bikes and reunite riders with their bikes later. By lunchtime most everybody had dropped out of the day 1 route. Those who stayed on congregated in little groups of 10 to 15 riders and soldiered through. Occasionally a SAG wagon would actually pull up alongside the group and actually invite riders to get off their bikes. They’d turn on the loudspeaker and say something to the effect of “We have cocoa” or “It’s warm and dry in here”. I wasn’t having it. I was on a mission. My aunt told me before the Houston ride that she wished she could still ride a bike (she has MS) and the only thing going through my mind north of Dallas was “My aunt can’t and I can, so I will”.

1500 riders started and only 250 crossed the finish line on day 1. That was a hard ride.

About an hour and a half after the finish the sun came out for about 2 hours until night fall. Day 2, on the other hand, was everything Day 1 wasn’t.

Oddly enough, just thinking about it makes me want to get out there and ride.