Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Fall Is Going to Kill You

We joined a new gym in Riverside. It’s closer, cheaper, and without religious overtones/undertones. It’s also pretty bare bones. It has no extras and limited space. I don’t mind it but MJ might decide we need to go back to the Y. I hit the new gym for the first time last Sunday evening right before dusk. Since it’s less than a mile away I ran there. I did my chest and triceps, doing my best to work around the lack of equipment variety that I’m used to. When I was done I started to run back home. Running there was easy; running home wasn’t, for several reasons. First, I was exhausted. Second, the sun had gone down. Third, the sidewalk was jagged. And finally, gravity is constant. I was pushing myself to get home quickly. I figured it’s less than a mile, so I could tough it out. No one told my legs because they failed to pick up my foot high enough to clear a literal bump in the road and it was dark so I couldn’t see anything. This is where gravity took over. Walking on two legs instead of four has paid massive evolutionary dividends over the past 2 million years for us Homo sapiens. Unfortunately, we had to give up a whole bunch of balance and agility. My foot caught the crack in the sidewalk and I began to fall. As time slowed down I thought, “No big deal. I’ll tuck and roll into the fall when my hands hit the pavement just like I’ve done since I was five years old.” I didn't account for the fatigue in my arms, and when my hands hit the pavement my they failed me almost completely. All I could do was marginally slow my fall as my head sped towards the cement. I thought, more phlegmatically than one would expect, that I was going to certainly smash my bottom front teeth out and most likely shatter my chin. It didn’t occur to me that it was 8:30 Sunday night, I was dressed in a black shirt with dark gray shorts, and nobody would find me until Monday morning. But the universe’s sense of humor isn’t quite that dark so I missed the cement sidewalk and the concrete plant pot holding the pine tree, AND nobody saw me do it. I escaped with a slightly skinned hand and still made it home in less than nine minutes.

Unlike the Boss, I Wasn't Born to Run

You can’t get in shape in a week. JSG and EJG signed up for a race but due to scheduling conflicts JSG couldn’t run. I agreed to fill in and then promptly forgot about the race. Fast forward a month to six weeks later and I was reminded about the race – this was last Friday I think. I did my best over the week. I did weights. I did cardio. I even lost four pounds. It was all for naught. I had assumed the beach race was a 5k, and what happens when we assume? Exactly, it wasn’t a 5k it was a 5 mile. Five kilometers is easy, it’s fun. Five miles isn’t fun, it’s long and grueling. Pluto is a something like five and a half miles from the sun. This wasn’t a race I was looking forward to.

We got to the beach an hour before the race, got a good parking spot, and headed to the pavilion. We got there early enough for me to warm up properly. I felt great, and then the race started. I saw MJ, CJG, and LMJ about ¼ of a mile after the start so I was fresh enough to mug for the camera. If they had been ½ of a mile out the pictures wouldn’t have looked so good. I was already starting to feel like crap. I hit the one mile marker at 11 plus minutes and knew that I had a minimum of 44 minutes of hell ahead. My very first race was 5 miles and I finished in less than 50 minutes, but I was in better shape for that race. There were people frolicking on the beach with their dogs, and I wished I had a dog sized heart, because my human sized heart seemed to have a hitch in its giddy up. The worst part is that the race was a straight half way out and half way back so I couldn’t even quit because I had to get back whether I was in the race or not. I also wanted to run a decent time for JSG and 59 minutes plus isn’t a decent time for a 5 mile race.

The best part is that I have force fed my workouts into my schedule, and sometimes LMJ is just going to have to come along for the ride, but this has produced issues of its own that deserve their own post.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Just A Journal Entry

It’s September 11th, and exactly six years ago I watched planes crash into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and a field somewhere in Pennsylvania. I was at Merrill Lynch, and we had televisions everywhere so we could watch CNBC all day. I got to work, and I hadn’t even sat down yet when my boss Kristopher told me somebody had crashed a plane into one of the towers. I remember looking at a TV and seeing the smoke billowing out of the hole. I thought it had been a Cessna or some other small plane because unless you were in New York you couldn’t get a good perspective of how large those two buildings were. I guess it was about ten minutes later when the second jet hit, and I remember thinking that it was just stupid that someone would crash a jet into a building, like it was a bad joke. My brain wouldn’t process the irrationality of the event until someone turned up the volume on the televisions, and I heard what had happened. Then the plane hit the Pentagon and I started feeling helpless, which quickly turned into anger. I don’t like feeling helpless. A girl I worked with – I call her a girl because she was twenty-one, ditzy, and out of college for about eight minutes – was on the verge of breaking down completely and I was trying to console her when she told me her entire family (mom, dad, and 3 or 4 siblings) worked in Washington. This got me thinking about my friends in Washington and New York, so I rushed outside to get a decent signal for my phone. It was an absolutely gorgeous day in Jacksonville. For some reason I remember it being crisp – which can’t be right, this is Florida – everything seemed vibrant and it was silent outside the office. Of course I couldn’t get through, so I was stuck doing nothing and knowing nothing. I couldn’t even cal MJ. I don’t really remember anything else from the rest of the day.

I can’t believe it’s six years later. There are little kids who were born that day who are starting first grade. I wonder if being born on September 11, 2001 will be a big deal for them. Is it a big deal for people who were born on December 7, 1941 or is it just a quirk? I have bitter-sweet feelings about how nothing has really changed in my day-to-day life. I haven’t bought any war bonds, I don’t really do a good job at conserving energy, and the biggest problem in my life right now is that the Jaguars can’t put the ball in the endzone. On one hand it bothers me that we didn’t really learn anything; it didn’t make us a better people. On the other hand 9/11 was the all encompassing grand triumph for al Qaeda and we barely noticed. We may not be the best we can be, but we’re much better than they are.

Monday, September 10, 2007

No Birkenstocks Either!

Guess who's bored on a Monday conference call again?

I'm starting to realize that I was given a daughter because the chances of me raising an aggressive alpha male son are in the high 90's, and I'm not sure the world needs more. I'm much more likely to produce Uday or Kusay Hussein than James Taylor. MJ and I were in the local megamart Saturday, and I saw a most likely very nice father and his most likely very nice son shopping. The little boy, who looked to be around six years old, was wearing blue Crocs. You know, the plastic faux clogs with a strap in the back. What's the strap for; are they training clogs? I was disproportionately offended, and I thought, not if he were my son. Daddy, can I have some Crocs? No son, you're not a bitch. Why wasn't he wearing sneakers? When I was kid -- and I still am -- sneakers were my shoe of choice because I could run fastest in my kicks. When did hauling as much ass as possible as constantly as possible stop being a prepubescent American boy's main focus? When did casual comfort become something a little boy cared about? When did it become okay for American dads to let their sons be little bitches? Dads have certain responsibilities, and the main one is to make sure our children are as confident as possible about who they are. Keep our daughters off the pole and our sons out of the bath house. If my son were gay then he would be gay. He still would not get any Crocs from me. If he wanted to bedazzle his Nike's, well just make sure they catch the light right when you cross the finish line. Crocs just don't scream, "Do your best!", they whine, "My feet hurt. I'm tired", which is fine for nurses, chefs, teachers, and any other professionals who spend their time at work on their feet. They're not supposed to be spending their time wondering if they're faster than their peers; little kids, especially boys, are.