Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The More Things Change The More They Stay The Same

I got stuck in the office all day today so nothing happened that was worth writing about. Since I was at work I wasn’t at the gym or running. I still can’t breathe, and since I have to write about something, I looked back at what I had written during this week last year. A lot has changed during the past year and a lot has remained the same. On March 31st last year I was whining about being stuck in my office. That’s not the least bit familiar. However, the exercise posts for that week, while similar in that I wrote about not getting to the gym, were about the pain of lifting weights: deadlifts and squats and whatnot. I had completely forgotten about that crap. I wonder if it will ever make it back into my routine or if it’s going to fade away with the rest of my youth. I honestly don’t miss them. Running is so much simpler and less painful. I also wrote a post this week last year about politicians ruining education with stupid top down policies written by evil people with ulterior motives. This year it’s Jeb Bush and John Thrasher. Last year it was Bill Gates and Barack Obama. It reminds me of a Joe Pesci line from My Cousin Vinny: Well, it’s either me or it’s them, but one way or another you’re getting f**ked. I honestly wish I knew what it was like to have faith in an elected official or at least not hold them – all of them – in bitter contempt. I don’t know which would be worse, but I know at least one of the following is the truth: they’re either all criminally incompetent and are trying their best or they’re all just criminals and are not trying at all.
Wow, that became a really negative post. On a high note, there’s an extended trailer for The Expendables online

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Not Where I Was But Not Square One

Discretion and business were the better part of valor this morning. My body told me to hold off a little bit so I did. I still can’t breathe. I went into the office early and got some paperwork done instead. Today was a beautiful and I felt antsy all day. I really wanted to get some exercise. MJ got home early and we all went to Starbucks. She went to get some grading done. LMJ and I went to walk around Memorial Park. Grammy went for some free coffee. LMJ and I walked up to the statue and I read the plaque for the first time ever. I’ve lived here for almost 30 years. I’ve lived within two miles of the statue for more than 25 of those 30 years. The park is dedicated to the memory of the veterans of World War I. You learn something every day. The time outside pushed me over the edge, and when we got home I went for a short run. Welcome back heat. Welcome back sunburn. Welcome back dehydration. I ran exceedingly slow and it was still a bit of a struggle. I ran 90 seconds slower per mile than I’ve been running. I’m proud of myself for keeping my ego in check and not trying to speed up. It was a good thing too. I sprinted the last hundred yards as I finished and then spent the next five minutes hacking like a mustard gas victim with tuberculosis. I feel like I want to stick a pipe cleaner down my throat and into my lungs to clean all the garbage out. I don’t know if it was a good idea to get out there today or not, but I’m glad I did – regretting things we don’t do more than things we do. The cold and inactivity have taken their toll on my body though. I only ran 3 miles but I can already tell that I’m going to be sore tomorrow. Oh well, nothing to do but burn through it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Swim. Bike. Run

I think I’m done with the cold to allergies transition. My energy is back but my snot production is still at wartime levels. I’m going to try to exercise tomorrow. My backpack arrived and it’s awesome. I went way overboard, but I couldn’t resist the price. People have climbed Mt. Everest with smaller backpacks. It’s definitely bigger than anything I’ve seen someone riding a bike wear. I don’t care. I’ve got a lot of stuff to carry. I’m going to start riding my bike to the gym: triathlon training, gas savings, I already bought the locks, cool backpack. I’m going to need to carry my running stuff that doesn’t overlap with riding my bike, all my swim stuff, my drinks, my energy gels, and possibly my shower stuff, depending on how pretty I want to be and if I want to take a shower at the Y when I’m just going to have to jump right back on my bike for the ride home. Tomorrow is going to be the first time that I’ve done all three phases in the same day. I should probably ease back into things but I’m not going to. I’m excited. I guess it’s going to wind up being 5 miles on the bike, 500 hundred yards in the pool, and 5 miles running. I’m not really adding that much to the routine. 5 miles on my bike is nothing. I may extend the trip home, depending on how I feel. I want to run outside tomorrow so I can see the true stats on my watch, but I don’t think I will. The pollen count is just too high. I think NOAA has it at infinity. The air is absolutely disgusting. I hope it rains tonight and sticks most of it to the ground. If it rains and I can get out early enough, before it dries, the plants won’t have a chance to fill the air up again.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Getting Carried Away

I’m sick as a dog

My allergies have replaced

My cold. I can’t breathe.

However, this picture illustrates a new exercise program guaranteed to get results quickly. For the low, low price of a case of Heineken a week, I will let you chase my daughter around. Resistance training? We got that. She weighs about 30lbs. and she’s getting bigger every day. Cardio? We got that. She’ll run all day long if you’re up for it and even if you’re not.

Hold on, I’m getting a message from Corporate. NO WAY! THERE IS NO WAY WE CAN DO THIS! If you act now – operators are standing by – you can start this program for just a 12-pack of Heineken. Folks, I’m going out of business here to get you fit. I’ve done my part. The rest is up to you.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Obligatory Filler

I just hit the wall so there’s a really good chance that this post isn’t going to make any sense. I hate being sick. I was feeling better and then BAM! I felt a wave of fatigue wash over me. The baby girl isn’t ready for bed. The kitchen isn’t clean. There’s basketball to watch, and I’m totally spent. I don’t care if any of that stuff gets done. LMJ can stay up and watch television all night as far as I’m concerned. We’ve got enough saved on the DVR to keep her entertained until tomorrow morning. As long as I’m in bed by 9pm (it’s 8:45 right now) I don’t care.

With the exception of the runny nose and coughing, I had a really good day. I got a load of laundry done. I read the baby girl some stories. I watched the first four episodes of The Sopranos, and I finished it all off with a steak dinner. The steak wasn’t as good as it was last week but it was still a steak so it was pretty good.

I haven’t exercised since last Monday and I’m starting to freak out. Did I mention how much I hate being sick? It’s not so much that I’m missing the actual exercise, which I am. It’s that this bacteria or virus or whatever is taking me backwards. I’m not just missing a week of gains. I’m having what amounts to a three week setback. I’m feeling better than I was two days ago, but that doesn’t mean anything. It’s almost April and the end of July will be here before I know it. I tried to rationalize the lost week with the excuse that my tricked out backpack isn’t here yet so I couldn’t get started on my new regimen with bike riding mixed in. It’s all crap. I blew up during the River Run and I’m determined not to have that happen in my triathlon. There’s no place to rest in the ocean so I better be ready.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Florida Senate Bill 6, I'm In Jim

A letter to the editor in the Times-Union got me on board with Senate Bill 6. Actually, it was the way the writer ended the letter.

If this bill is such a good idea, then have elected officials link their pay to the economic well-being of their constituents.

If foreclosures rise, unemployment increases or incomes drop, let that be reflected in the pay of elected officials.

If they can't fix the problems, then they should be held accountable beyond simply losing an election - after all teachers can be fired, too.

As Thrasher said, it's "about having the best and brightest."



I’m willing to sacrifice public education and teachers – sorry everyone – in the short term because this new random accountability will fix government.

We’ll break government responsibilities – federal, state, and municipal – into three big categories: Economics, Education, and Security. Elected officials will have their salaries and eligibility to run for re-election tied to each category. Mr. Brock has already provided the framework for the economic section. I would only add a GDP standard: 5% growth a year and a bonus is available, 2 years out of 4 with less than that and the official isn’t eligible to run for re-election.

Senator Thrasher has outlined the education portion, but with the amendment that a third of his salary and career is now dependent on how public school students do on the FCAT, so no matter how many kids get vouchered into private schools, whoever is left will be the determining factor.

The third piece is security and Florida might not be the best place for a politician. There needs to be a 5% drop in violent crime every year. Convictions and prison sentences are not factors. The only factor is man’s inhumanity towards man, and it needs to be trending towards zero.

I'm willing to bet that this would push public education to the top of the priority list since it's the only thing that has historically fixed all of these problems.

This isn’t to punish the politicians; it’s to reward the true statesmen.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

You Can Call Me Grace

I fell down – hard. I tried to step over a stroller, which was lying on the ground, and didn’t. The world slowed down. I tried to free my foot to catch myself but I couldn’t. I think I tried to grab a chair on the way down because one was knocked over when I got up. I remember hitting the ground but don’t remember falling. I didn’t hit my head but I did bang up my whole right side. I don’t know how I landed on my knee and my hip but they both hurt. I know I braced myself on the way down with my right hand because that hurts too. All kinds of thoughts rushed through my mind when I came to my senses. Again, I didn’t hit my head but I don’t know how else to describe the different modes of my brain other than to say I came to my senses when I started “thinking” again. I know I didn’t hit my head because it doesn’t hurt and there’s no crater in the floor. I thought about how lucky I was not to have injured myself. I thought about how it never hurt this much to fall down when I was a kid, and it was a lot easier to get back up. I thought about how I need to lose some weight so there just isn’t as much mass colliding with the ground the next time I fall. I thought about how weird adrenaline is. I thought about getting a med-alert bracelet, and how difficult it would be for Grammy to have to lift my broken carcass off the floor, especially with LMJ giving both of us directions. If I had the med-alert bracelet the ambulance would come automatically and the paramedics could hoist my bloated behind off the ground. Mostly, I thought about how lucky I was that I didn’t spill any of my pizza. Bones heal, sauce on the floor is gone forever.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

You Will Respect My Authora-TIE

We started going to My Gym last June so LMJ could start learning how to socialize with other kids. Spending the large majority of her time with only Grammy and me wouldn’t serve her well when she finally went to school. She started out not acknowledging that other kids existed. They were poltergeists that flitted around the ether annoyingly but didn’t affect her playing. Sometime in the fall she moved on to considering the other kids like they were chimps, and that they would be much better suited in cages. She was also reluctant to do anything new with the coaches. There was a period of stagnation and I didn’t enjoy going as much. Part of it had to do with kids not progressing in straight predictable lines. Part of it had to do with some of the coaches we were familiar and comfortable with moving on to bigger and better things and being replaced with some off-brand scrubs. And part of it had to do with the Thursday day night class being a little rowdier than we needed - *cough, cough* bad parents *cough, cough*. Switching to the Monday class solved the last two problems. LMJ solved the last problem by coming out of her shell a little bit. She now says hello to other kids, and last week she not only bounced on the trampoline with another little one, she joined another little one who was already bouncing. Unfortunately (perhaps), she may have come out of her shell a little too much. To be blunt, she’s bossy. The other day there were kids who were significantly older than she is playing at the park, and she spent more than a little bit of time and effort yelling at them that there’s no yelling in the park. They paid her no mind, most likely because they couldn’t understand her. She was yelling in German. She went from shrinking violet to Der F├╝hrer in about a week.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

People Getting Bent Out of Shape

I don’t know if I have a cold or if my allergies are acting up. I have a sore throat but I’m not stuffed up and I’m not achy. I spent the day in my office so I didn’t get a chance to exercise so I have to write about other stuff. What’s taking up space in my brain right now is that people are willing to de-friend (un-friend) friends on Facebook because of healthcare bill related status updates. On the one hand, if you’re looking to cut ties with someone this is as good a reason as any. On the other hand, I don’t understand how someone’s opinion of someone else can be significantly affected by differing opinions on something the federal government does. If someone comments either way on Facebook I think they’re talking out of their backside. No one knows if the bill is good or not, but the cadology underscores a bigger problem in America. I figure that roughly 10% of the voting populace chooses who to vote for based on the candidates’ merits for the seats they’re running for. What I mean is that for 45% of voting Americans there is almost nothing that Barack Obama can do to lose their votes or a Republican can do to win them and the inverse is true for another 45%. I’m at the point of “Tool Up Or Shut Up”. If you’re not willing to kill your neighbor and his family or sacrifice yourself and your family then it’s just not that important to you. At least that’s how I live my life. Healthcare reform? Eh. Estate Tax repeal? Eh. Gay Marriage? I wish I was a divorce attorney. All this comes from a jaded cynicism like the world has never seen. George W. Bush was the worst POTUS since Grant, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Obama pushes him for that top (bottom) spot. I still get to run and spend time with my daughter so it doesn’t really matter to me what the government does. When my time with LMJ in infringed upon then it will be time to lock ‘n load.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Here’s a question: is reading a magazine in a store with zero intention of buying it stealing? I picked up a running magazine in Publix because it had three articles that I found interesting. One was on running barefoot, which was just a novelty to me. I can’t realistically run barefoot where I run. The ghetto ain’t a meadow (Nipsey!!) The second one was about pre-run stretching, also a novelty to me because I don’t do it. I don’t have time to warm up, stretch, and then run. I ease into my runs, my first mile routinely being my slowest, so that’s my warm up. The third article made me wish I had a photographic memory and made me wonder whether a magazine is the paper and ink or the information. I thought about buying it, but they were asking $4.99 for a 75 page mag that was 40% ads. Is you crazy?!? I’m not paying that, so I tried to memorize a twelve page article with charts, and I’m a little bit pissed that I’ve forgotten a lot of it. Since I was in Publix there wasn’t the weird and awkward pressure like there is in a convenience store, but I was still rationalizing about how much money I spend in the grocery store so I was justified in not buying the magazine, and how I was being environmentally responsible by not buying it. I wished I had a scanner or an unlimited data plan because I would have been emailing myself the whole magazine – minus the ads. The article I wanted was about specifically training for a 5k. Some of it was stuff that I’d heard before – time based training instead of distance based – but I’d never thought about training specifically for a 5k road race. It had a great training schedule, which I’ve forgotten, and so I’ll have to go back to Publix tomorrow with a note pad. I guess it’s not a moral question for me as much as it is a philosophical one. I learn something new about myself everyday.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I’m exceedingly tired, and it’s not for anything approaching the concept of a good idea. I got out of bed to write my post last night and didn’t go back to bed until almost 1 am. Getting out of bed to write my post wasn’t the dumb idea. Getting sucked into Reign Of Fire was. The movie is dumb. It’s about dragons destroying civilization. It sucked when I first saw it on HBO however long ago that was and it sucked last night. I don’t know why I didn’t just go back to bed. I don’t know why I was breaking down Matthew McConaughey’s dragon killing strategies or the ridiculous amount of food a planet full of dragons that flit around like ten ton hummingbirds spraying “natural napalm” everywhere would need. I don’t know why I was offended when McConaughey beat Christian Bale in a fight. When the movie finally ended I asked myself what the hell I was doing. I slept in until almost 8 this morning but I didn’t sleep well so it didn’t really matter. I spent the morning doing laundry and getting the house straightened for my parents who were nice enough to bring some bagels and scones. I tried to take an early nap but LMJ also slept in this morning and wasn’t in the mood for a nap, and if she isn’t going to sleep then no one in the house is going to sleep. I wished that I had some absinthe to settle her down. After an extremely shortened nap, we made the Herculean effort to drive all the way to 5 Points to see EJG and JSG sing in a free Gilbert & Sullivan Chorale. LMJ always amazes me with how well behaved she is, although she may have been a bit rude during the Pirates Of Penzance portion. She asked her mother if she was sure they were real pirates. I guess it was a legitimate question; LMJ knows pirates – and funny. We all had fun, and I’m always blown away by real live people that can actually sing. (Un)Fortunately, tomorrow is Monday and I can get some rest at work.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Bright Sunshiny Day

Busy busy day today. We started with a bad night of sleep and getting up before the sun. The plan was to go to Panera for breakfast, which we haven’t done in a while. I’ve been making bagel runs for the past month or so, but today we dined in. It was great, as always. I had the sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich on an asiago bagel. After breakfast I was tricked into going to Target. I’m looking for a new backpack, and MJ thought I could save some money. I couldn’t. The Land’s End backpack is superior in every way to the Target backpacks, including price. Instead I bought another bike lock. I treat bike locks like they were paper napkins, but I’m determined to keep this one for a very long time. The lock and backpack are so I can start riding my bike around. It’s a part of my training that I’ve completely ignored. After the fortnight in Target, we went home and I started cleaning up the yard. I spent half an hour setting up some stupid leaf blower/sucker that was much more trouble than it was worth. I think the rake was invented two days after farming and 10 thousand years later it’s still the best tool to clear leaves. Grammy and I filled up about ten lawn bags. Then I had to run to the gas station because not only was the lawnmower out of gas, the gas can was empty. It was a massive headache, but I’ve finished the yard work for the year so I’m happy. Grammy went to Publix and brought home some New York strips. I cooked them on the grill and they were friggin’ awesome. A little bit of kosher salt, it’s just that simple. We ate like a pride of lions, gorging ourselves on meat, and drove out to Mochi for dessert. By the time we got home it was way past the baby girl’s bedtime, and all I could do is wonder where the hell the day went. It was a good day, and I’m really glad spring is here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Turtle With A Weight Problem

Slow and steady wins the race. I’ve been mentioning my weight loss periodically because it’s the only way I can stay positive about it. I have to remind myself of where I started so that I can see the forest for the trees. I think I’m like everyone trying to lose weight. I expect it to fall off in a steady predictable manner, and most importantly, quickly. Every week I challenge myself to lose ten pounds, which is ridiculous. That’s what people weighing 450 pounds lose on The Biggest Loser. I’m not one of them. I’m not morbidly obese and I’m not on a fat farm. Real life doesn’t work like that. I’ve also mentioned that if I was on that show I’d be an awful contestant. They’d have to change the name of the show to Jillian Michaels Biggest Sexual Harasser. Anyway, the incremental, snail’s pace my body fat has been taking has been nothing but frustrating. I run ten miles, I eat like a rabbit, and I lose a half pound. Fortunately, there are mornings like this morning. I stepped on the scale and broke through an arbitrary benchmark. It’s not even a round number. It’s a number that stuck in my head because it’s what I weighed when I got married. I’m in a lot better shape and I look a lot better than I did then, but it’s a weird number and it made me feel good about myself. It also means that I’ve lost thirteen pounds since the beginning of the year. Back in January I expected to lose a pound a day and to have been done with the weight loss a month ago. Like I said, I’m not on a fat farm and I’m not in a NFL training camp. Those expectations are absolutely ridiculous and I know that they’re ridiculous when I first expect them, but it’s like my Spanish professor used to say when someone asked him about a word, phrase or idiom: it’s not logical, it’s psychological. It sounded cooler when he said it Spanish.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rough Exercise Week

I hadn’t exercised since my late recovery run on Sunday. I just couldn’t get my schedule situated. I forced in a short run this morning and I’m glad I did. I could already tell the difference. I’m not as fit as I was last week. The difference wasn’t huge and it was compounded by the heat – 60 degrees is not 40 degrees – but I struggled more than I thought I would. I’m going to try to fit in a long run this weekend, heat or no heat. I don’t want to slack off in my training just because I don’t have any races coming up in the near future. I’m thinking about entering some, maybe one a month, just so I have a carrot. I’m glad my new tracking software displays my weekly and monthly mileage a lot more prominently than my old software does. I’m still 90 seconds a mile faster than I was at this time last year and I haven’t put on any post race fat. I’m still losing weight despite not having a chance to exercise much this week. Looking at it from this glass half full perspective, I’ve managed this “slide” week pretty well. I’m still not acclimated to DST, but next week can’t be anywhere near as difficult as this week has been. Plus, my schedule isn’t as full next week. I don’t have a board meeting and I don’t have any pre-sunrise client meetings. There shouldn’t be anything standing in my way of getting to the gym next Monday morning. I think I might get my bike set up this weekend and start riding to the Y. They’ve got a bike rack. That way I can ease into cycling time, which I’m not really looking forward to. I’m afraid of the traffic, but people ride bikes all over the place so I might as well do the Nike thing. It’ll save gas if nothing else, and I’ll be able to look down my nose at all you size 15 carbon footprinters.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Celtic Pride

It’s St. Paddy’s day, and I’m lazy
The green beer has made everything hazy
But I refuse to slow down
Till passed out on the ground
Blah blah blah, blah blah blah, blah daisy.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A DST Bump In The Road

I’m blaming today on daylight savings time. I’m not acclimated yet. I was all set to run long this morning. I was out the door. Then I turned on my watch and it told me the battery needed to be charged. These are the little details that are caused by an abrupt schedule switch. I swear it has everything to do with DST. I got plenty of sleep the past two nights but I’m just not sharp. I’m really bummed because I was looking forward to running ten miles, but I’m not running them if I can’t keep track of them. I probably should have, after all the exercise is the thing and not the numbers, but I wasn’t willing to. That threw my entire day off schedule. It was like falling dominoes. I’ve been dragging ever since. I could have gone to the gym but my motivation had been sapped and it wasn’t until I was taking a shower and getting ready to go into the office that they gym even entered my mind. Technically, I got to work early because I skipped my run, but my biorhythm was off so I wasn’t as productive as I should have been. Yesterday, MJ offhandedly mentioned that Tuesdays after DST kicks in is when she has the hardest time. I didn’t really think anything of it as we sat in a DST caused traffic jam on our way to My Gym. I was out in front of the malaise wave or I thought I was. Now my workout schedule is messed up for the week and I’m going to have to get a run in on Saturday. I don’t want to run on Saturday. I want to go to the beach on Saturday and stare at the sea. Oh well, there’s nothing to do but make the best of it. I can run tomorrow if the weather holds up. If it doesn’t I can go swimming, if I can remember my swim trunks.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Non Sequiturs For Christ

When Jesus stepped inside the cage of life to take on the cross, human legs did not kicked his out from under him. It was not human hands that broke his arm during the arm bar of adversity. It was not a human fist that knocked him to the mat for our sins. It was not a human that kept him inside the triangle choke of suffering. It was not the fighter’s sent by Satan to tap him out that beat him.

God gave him strength while on his back being pounded in the face by the elbows of sin. Those same hands that formed the universe.

This made the early part of my day. After getting to work before the sun came up, I was dragging more than a little bit. I found myself staring out the window with my brain not working, and decided to take a break. One of the blogs I read put together his list of top 10 UFC sponsors that make him embarrassed to be an MMA fan. He has a problem with the low brow advertising towards what he feels is a high brow audience. I don’t know how high brow the MMA audience is, me included, since the basic premise of the sport is that there aren’t very many rules and the rules that do exist are only there so it won’t be illegal to show it on television. F**kin liberals. Anyway, the above quote is taken verbatim from number three on the list, a company named Jesus Didn’t Tap. I guess Jesus didn’t grammar check either. This is a real company. It’s not an internet hoax or skit. They sell a lot of crap too. I see retards people at the gym wearing their t-shirts. “The arm bar of adversity” made me chuckle. “The triangle choke of suffering” had me squealing like a dolphin as I tried not to disturb my coworkers and have them wondering what I was doing. I’m sure a few of them would have been offended because I’m sure a few of them wear Jesus Didn’t Tap stuff. Who the hell saw this “paragraph” and thought it was a good idea? Grammar issues aside, what does it mean? I’m not a theologian or a biblical scholar, but I’m pretty sure Jesus was executed. I don’t think he lost a fight. God gave him strength while on his back being pounded in the face by the elbows of sin. Those same hands that formed the universe. What is a non sequitur, Alex?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

It Got Late Early

It’s 9:30 at night and I’m just sitting down to write. The time change coupled with a busy weekend is killing me. I’m beyond tired. It’s not the mimosa and 14 beers I had this morning with my ma’s birthday brunch. I slept those off. I didn’t really have 14 but beer in the morning is a wonderful thing. If Jacksonville had decent public transportation I’d walk around with a permanent three beer buzz. The River Run and birthday brunch were a blast, and I would do them every weekend if I could, but it’s Sunday night and I’m worn out. What’s worse is that I have a 7am meeting tomorrow. At least I’m going to make a little bit of money. I did really take a nap this afternoon, but it was a catch up nap because I didn’t take one yesterday after I finished the race. I woke up from the nap still tired and shocked that it was so late – daylight savings time. I moped around for a bit until MJ suggested we get out of the house for some exercise. We thought about going to the track but chose the duck pond instead. We had a lot of old bread. LMJ was the only one who got any exercise feeding the ducks, even the ducks were too lazy to swim over and get the bread. It was cool and windy and my mood wasn’t improving. Once again Pablo MJ had the idea of taking LMJ for a walk in the stroller while I went for a short run. I did my little three mile along the river thing and the run really improved my mood. I needed to do get the lactic acid from yesterday moving anyway and the endorphin rush was a bonus. I put a load of laundry in the dryer. My clothes for tomorrow are already ironed. I’m focused and ready to start training for next year’s River Run. It’s going to be a good week.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

It Gets Hot Today?!?

Well, I have mixed feelings about today’s River Run. On a positive note I finished six minutes faster than I did last year and had a fun, comfortable race. Everything else was further evidence of a cosmic conspiracy against me. It hasn’t been warm in three months, until today. The sun came out at about mile three and forced me to slow down after mile six. I passed the mile six marker at 58 minutes and some change, and I had to back off the gas. I could tell that I was getting overheated. It took me almost forty minutes to finish the last 3.3 miles, killing my race. That’s better than killing me, but I didn’t feel that way at the time. One of the reasons I got overheated was that I was wearing an ear covering headband to keep my ear buds in. I’m growing to hate my Shuffle. Not only was it a contributing factor to me blowing up, it stopped working right after mile six. I don’t know what causes it – probably sweat – but sometimes when I’m exercising it will spontaneously pause a song to tell me the title and artist, repeatedly. This is beyond frustrating, especially if an Iron Maiden song is playing because then it gives me the unwanted, already known information in Portuguese. I kid you not. I know Maiden is huge in Brazil, but so what. They’re English. As I was ripping off my headband and looking for a storm drain and congratulating myself for choosing shorts with pockets, I saw a guy on the side of the road messing with the mandatory ghetto ass timing chip every runner was forced to wear. I looked down at my shoes and saw that I had lost my chip, so I don’t have an official time for this year. I screamed a curse word. I shouldn’t complain too much. Everything went perfectly two weeks ago. Expecting this race to go perfectly was being greedy. I have a new personal best, and I had a lot of fun participating in something that’s special about Jacksonville – in a good way.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Not So Calm Before The Storm

Run comfortably, run safely, have fun. That’s what I’m telling myself as we approach race time. I went to the fairgrounds to pick up my packet this afternoon and started getting all amped up and nervous, like I had a shot at winning this thing. I had to calm myself down. I had to remind myself that I can run this distance comfortably and that I can cruise and still beat my time from last year, but there is no chance of me finishing in the money so I shouldn’t sweat it. I looked up last year’s results and more than 300 people finished in less than an hour. I can finish in less than 90 minutes but it would take an effort. I don’t know if I want to do that. I pushed myself last year and absolutely hated the last three miles. I’m getting too old for that shit. 95 minutes is reasonable. It’s almost ten minutes faster than last year and it’s allowing the process to work. I’m out there to have fun and improve, so that’s the goal. The expo was exciting, which was part of the problem. There were tons of people, all excited to be there. There were vendors giving away a bunch of SWAG. The shirts this year are awesome. They’re not just cotton t-shirts like they’ve been in the past. They’re actual running shirts. They’re neon green, water wicking, multi-layered, Lycra and polyester t-shirts. I don’t know if Adidas gave them a break on the price or if they wanted everyone running to wear theirs during the race because it will look fantastic on television. I’m wearing mine. MJ is worried that if everyone does wear the same shirt she won’t be able to spot me running in time to get any good photos. I’m not worried because I always find them, and I don’t care so much about the pictures. I’m all ready. My bib is safety pinned to my shirt. My chip is on my shoe. All that’s left is a good night’s sleep and a good breakfast, and hopefully a 30 degree drop in the temperature.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Steve Jobs Never Killed Anyone With An iPhone

After a nightmarish two weeks I’m back up and running on my Lenovo T61, the notebook of champions. They replaced the motherboard after reimaging the hard drive. For all intents and purposes I got a brand new computer. I’ve almost got it set up the way it was before the crash, but I didn’t have to go through two years of trial and error get it that way. There are still some tweeks that I need to get right, like I can’t remember what my screen resolution used to be. It came back to me at the highest setting possible, but I needed a magnifying glass to see what’s written. I’ve been playing with it but I can’t get it quite right. I’m happy MJ had a computer I could use and I thank her for letting me use it, but I am thrilled to be off that thing. My cursor doesn’t jump around willy nilly. Web pages load in a timely fashion. Programs open up without any drama. It’s been a very good two days from a tech standpoint. I also got a brand new phone. It’s a Samsung something or other. It’s friggin’ awesome. It’s made out of Kevlar and Justice. It’s durable, which is the main reason I got it. My last phone, a Razor, replaced a phone that I dropped that had replaced a phone that I dropped. I had my Razor maybe two days before I dropped it on my cement driveway. The screen hadn’t worked properly in ages. My new phone is designed specifically for klutzes people who are hard on their phones. It’s got the camera, the camcorder, the push to talk, the GPS, and a whole bunch of other 3G stuff, but it can also stop a bullet at close range. The word around the campfire is that R. Lee Ermey used this model of phone to kill fifty Taliban last week. He (allegedly) dropped it in a sock, walked into a cave in Afghanistan, and let some terrorists know what’s up. HOORAH!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Is Hooters Open Yet?

Isn’t this the way it always is? In the excitement of getting my computer back I skipped my morning trip to the gym and got to work before 8am – with nothing to do. I didn’t come totally unprepared. I knew my tech guy was driving up from Orlando so I brought a book. Unfortunately for me, I only had about 70 pages to go, and about 65 of those 70 pages were the climax so they went quickly. Now it’s 9:20 and I have absolutely nothing to do. I’m writing this with a pen on a legal pad. I’m about a hundred words in and my hand is already starting to cramp up. I’d go downstairs and buy a newspaper but I’d get angry if there wasn’t something interesting I wanted to read, and I don’t want to waste 75 cents or whatever a newspaper costs these days. The interweb has obliterated print media. I could walk across the street and get a Starbucks, but I don’t want a coffee right now. I’m still caffeinated up by my home brewed, and with the spring weather it’s not cold enough for a hot coffee and not hot enough for an iced coffee. I’m not hungry. I’m just bored out of my mind. I’d talk to other people in my office but they all suck. Where the hell is Tom? Writing longhand takes up so much space. I don’t know if I’m even going to get 250 words on a page. Not to mention this looks like it was written by the Unabomber if he had Parkinson’s. My desk is clean. That’s how much there isn’t to do here. I can get cable television in my office. I can lease a plasma from Lincoln. If the cable guy was here today he’d get to go home early. I’d order the “Hook Me Up” plan. I wouldn’t let him leave until there weren’t any channels I didn’t get. I’d be watching Elisabeth Hasselbeck scream at Whoopi Goldberg in Farsi on the Iranian broadcast of The View. This is so bad that I want to do my job, which brings us back to square one: I can’t do my job without a computer.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I Think I'm Done

I got nothing. Nothing interesting happened to me today. The high point, or at least the most noteworthy point, of my day was having a conversation in the sauna with a bunch of guys about exercise and nutrition. I guess that’s a good thing considering that MJ is having some kind of relapse and I’m still feeling good. She doesn’t think she’s contagious anymore, unless she has strep throat. That would suck. Grammy also feels like she’s relapsing. I hope everyone is just a little bit tired and after a good night’s rest will feel better in the morning. I don’t need to get sick right now. Even LMJ’s nose is running, which I don’t feel is a big deal because she’s a toddler and toddlers make snot. It’s what they’re here for. I suppose another high point of my day is that my tech guy is bringing me my, hopefully working, computer tomorrow. I don’t know what I will do with a computer that doesn’t have a cursor with a will of its own. I’m curious to find out if they were able to figure out what was wrong or if they just ripped the guts out and started from scratch. Unfortunately, the one document that I forgot to back up was my four page list of user ID’s and passwords. I’m going to have a lot of fun spending the next two days trying to piece all of those together. Does the fact that the best part of my day was hanging out sweating with a bunch of naked guys mean I’m getting old? I’m wondering if I should just tap out now and change my name to Murray. I can start trying to send back soup at sandwich shops because it’s not hot. I already write about my aches and pains every day. I occasionally complain about things not being as good as they were 20 years ago. Yeah, I quit. I’m just going to be an old man from now on.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Persephone Has Left Hades

It’s March 8th and it’s the first day of spring – and my Ma’s birthday. I love the change of seasons. I can always tell when the seasons actually change, as opposed to unseasonably cold or warm weather, because there are new smells in the air. I walked out of the YMCA after my workout and could tell it was spring. No one is going to miss the winter we just had. It was way too cold for way too long. I wouldn’t mind if the weather was like this every day, clear and in the 40’s for a good morning run and in the 60’s by noon. If the weather is like this next Saturday, that’ll be great. I think it was overcast and a little warm for last year’s River Run. I ran three miles this morning just to keep the blood flowing, but I struggled more than I thought I would. That’s what happens when assume things. I don’t know why I didn’t run particularly well, which is a problem. It might have been because I’m fighting off the family cold, because I didn’t warm up properly, because the temperature spiked a little bit, or I assumed it was going to be easy. Running is never easy. I thought about pushing myself and doing an extra couple of miles since I have all week to recover, but I’m trying to let discretion be the better part of valor. I’m proud of myself for just dealing with my “bad” performance. It’s only bad because my brain tells me so. I got my work in. I didn’t hurt myself. It’s time to move on to tomorrow. I made a whole bunch of mistakes during the week preceding last year’s race, and I don’t want to repeat them. I’m not changing up my training or my diet. I’m sticking to the schedule, which has worked great, and I’m expecting good results Saturday.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Very Strong Finish To The Weekend

Today was a good lazy Sunday. I spent today fighting the good fight against infection. I tried to keep my hands clean. If I needed to wipe my eyes I tried to do it with the inside of my shirt. I spent a fair amount of time outside. I didn’t run because today is a rest day. I had a lot of fun playing with LMJ, even though she’s walking around covered in a glaze of snot. My health be damned if it’s going to interfere with family fun time. We learned how to play Ring Around the Rosey. It was a big hit with the baby girl, with the spinning around and falling down and all. Mommy and LMJ got started early on a nap while I ate lunch and watched the first half an hour of The Spy Who Loved Me. It’s got to be one of the cheesiest movies ever filmed. It’s also one of my favorites. I won’t seek it out but if it finds me I’m going to watch. It was the first James Bond I ever saw. I remember it came on the NBC Sunday Night Movie in 1979 or 1980 and I got to stay up and watch it for some reason. That’s why it has a special place in my heart. Barbara Bach is also an extremely underrated Bond Girl. After I finished my lunch I joined my two girls for a Sunday afternoon nap. Sunday afternoon naps should be prescribed by doctors, talk about a wonder drug. No one wakes up from a Sunday afternoon nap and thinks, “Man I wish I hadn’t done that”. Someone might regret sleeping through the beginning of a football game or their wedding, but nobody doesn’t like the nap. We had pot roast for dinner, and finished the day with a family constitutional through the neighborhood and along the river. I’ve got no complaints.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I Need To Get Some Surgical Masks

MJ, Grammy, and LMJ all have colds. They’re stuffed up. They don’t have any energy, basically the first part of a Nyquil commercial. I’m determined not to get sick, at least not until next Saturday afternoon. I was worried during the first part of my run this morning. I hadn’t planned on running at all but I couldn’t tell if my runny nose was just the run of the mill mucous that I produce or the beginnings of a cold. I always get hyper-aware of how I feel if someone around me has a cold. My plan to stave off infection is to sweat it out. I felt like I was struggling during the first two miles. It went away after that but I thought it might be the fatigue. I ran down to the Y and back again. It’s the same run I’ve been doing this week but starting at home instead of the gym. I thought I ran the exact same route, but somewhere I picked up an extra 2/10ths of a mile. I ran fast too. I made really great time even though I ran through the Riverside Arts Market and people wouldn’t get out of my way. I’m getting more and more excited about the River Run every day. I’ve trained harder for this race than I have any other race I’ve run. I’ve shaved two minutes off my mile pace. I’m running ten miles regularly, and more importantly, comfortably. I’ve figured out how to handle bridges. I’m actually looking forward to the Hart Bridge. I’m in the best shape I’ve been in since before LMJ was born. I ran great last Saturday. I ran better today. If I can stay healthy I’m almost certain to beat my goal. If I can’t stay healthy I’m going to freak out. I would have to wait a whole year to try again. That would suck.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A New Era Of Impudence

MJ’s post has inspired me to make fun of my daughter. She’s going through a defiant phase and it’s inspired some funny phrases that MJ wrote about. There was a full on Morrissey episode earlier this week that I would have written about, but it came too late in the day as I had already posted. I don’t remember exactly what the situation was but it was late in the afternoon, the curtains were drawn, she was still in her pajamas, she was crying about something, and saying she liked being sad and didn’t want to stop crying. Since there are no more after school specials – or all after school specials, depending on how one feels about Oprah and Dr. Phil – I guess this story is going to have to be told on Lifetime. I have no idea who’s going to play LMJ in “My Two Year Old is Depressed”, but if they won’t let me play me then I think Idris Elba would do a good job. MJ will be played by Alison Brie, and since we’re in a fantasy world, I’ll have a computer that works. It was very hard for me not to laugh at the little girl in the pink fairy pajamas and pink booty slippers wandering into the kitchen crying about how being sad made her happy, and wanting drown her sorrows in rice crispies and milk. We also had a funny moment in the van today. We had just gotten home from Publix, and I was trying to get her out of the van. She wanted to play in the van. She had been begging for some chicken nuggets for about three hours, including the ¾ mile trip home, so I told her she wasn’t going to have any chicken nuggets unless she got out of the van. She flashed a look that was her mother and said, “Yes, my am”. She said it very matter of fact like she could conjure some up right there in the glove compartment. The only thing that made it funny and didn’t lead to baby’s first beating is that she got out of the van without another word.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Another Day

I have to start paying attention to what I eat for breakfast. I thought I was being super healthy this morning when I chose to have a bowl of shredded wheat. I couldn’t have my normal egg sandwich because MJ hogged the last English muffin we were out of bread, so a big bowl of Colon Blow seemed like a good substitute. It’s chock full of fiber and vitamins. I hydrated and headed to the gym. I did 550 yards in the pool and ran 5.5 miles, the same routine as yesterday plus an extra 50 yards in the pool. I’m determined to be a dolphin before July. I took it easy on the run. I ran hard yesterday and didn’t want to risk hurting myself nine days before the River Run. I only wanted to burn some calories. I did a lot better than I expected, running only four minutes slower than yesterday. I’m happy with my consistency. I got back to the Y, sat down and my eyes went wonky. If I let myself get dehydrated or over-fatigued my vision gets weird for about twenty minutes and then clears up like nothing ever happened. Within an hour, the mother of headache’s granddad attacks my skull. They’re not migraines. They only happen in very specific situations, and water and Tylenol clear them up. If I take some drugs before the headache gets going I can almost avoid the whole thing, only leaving a headache echo. I thought that I had just pushed myself too hard, but then I remembered that I didn’t fuel up like I normally do. Frosted Mini-Wheats just don’t get it done like an egg sandwich. The situation was compounded by my running out of Gatorade, so I was another hundred calories short. Once again, my chronic CBS (Cheap Bastard Syndrome) caused me some pain. I could have stopped and bought a sports drink at Publix or out of the machine at the Y, but that’s my $1.49 or $3.50. I get to rest tomorrow, so the chances of me hurting myself are somewhat reduced. TGIF.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Till It Bleeds

I think I crossed into new and unexplored levels of disgusting this morning. After a lackluster performance in the pool I ran 5.5 miles – decent time considering it was post swimming. Normally we just call that Wednesday, but instead of running on the dreadmill I ran outside. As much as I’m ready for spring, I love the cool weather for running and want to take advantage of as much of it as I can. I wore a tank top, which was a mistake for a couple of reasons. The first is that it was cold and the wind was blowing along the river. The second is the inspiration for this post. I got road rash in an interesting place. Don’t worry, it’s PG. The shirt I was wearing is almost four years old. It’s strictly a workout shirt. I imagine I wear (wore) this shirt once every ten days. That adds up over four years. It’s held up great, especially considering that it’s an Old Navy shirt that cost $9.99. The problem is that it may have held up too well. After four years of sweat drenching, washing, and drying, the arm pit area has acquired the texture of steel wool. I won’t get into the nicotine stain yellow discoloration that I ignore. After about 4 ½ miles I started to feel a burning on my side just below my armpit and the inside of my arm. I thought it was my iPod armband and I kept adjusting it during the last mile of my run. It wasn’t until I got back to the Y and took my shirt off that I figured out what was scraping off my skin. I couldn’t believe how gross that was. My horror was only intensified when I saw that I was bleeding. I think I have to retire the shirt and head back to Old Navy. As much of a cheap bastard as I am, I have to accept that getting four years out of a $10 shirt is a bargain.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Maybe The Germans Should Run Everything

There’s a piece in this morning’s New York Times about how Alexander Hamilton and James Madison made some deals to establish the federal government’s fiscal position as it pertains to the states’ debts, and how something similar needs to happen in the European Union but it’s not. Just like it was 200 years ago in the US, certain members of the EU don’t feel other members of EU are pulling their own weight and those certain members shouldn’t be saddled with additional financial responsibility of backstopping those other members’ bad decisions. Specifically, the Prussians (Germany, Holland, Finland, and Switzerland) don’t want to help the Catholics (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain) secure their debt.
The EU was a dumb idea from the outset. 21st century Europe is not 18th century America. A 3,000 year history of hatred isn’t a small factor. Yet putting aside those differences is the basis for the whole thing. These aren’t differences between naturalist English farmers/lawyers from Massachusetts and naturalist English farmers/lawyers from Virginia. Not everyone is even on the same alphabet, let alone the same page.
I’m sure that the Germans have a 3, 5, 10, 50, 100, and 1,000 year plan to dominate control purify help Europe achieve political, fiscal, and cultural unity.


This is the solution Garmin sent me to fix their software

Dear Garmin Customer,
Thank you for contacting Garmin International.

We'll export all of your existing data, remove the data files themselves, and then re-import the data:
1. Please open Training Center, go to the 'File' menu and select 'Backup ""...'
2. This will allow you to save your backup to a convenient location. For this, I suggest saving it to your computer's desktop.
3. Close Training Center.
4. Go to your Start menu, and click on 'Computer.'
5. Double-click on 'Local Disk(C:).'
6. If you see an 'ProgramData' folder, double-click on it. Otherwise, follow these steps to view any hidden files:
a. Click on the 'Organize' menu in the upper-left area of the window, and select 'Folder and Search Options.'
b. Next, click on the 'View' tab.
c. Find the 'Hidden files and folders' section, click on 'Show hidden files and folders,' and then click on 'OK.'
You should now see a 'ProgramData' folder in the window. Double-click this folder to view the contents.
7. Now you should see a 'GARMIN' folder. Double-click this folder.
8. Inside, there will be a 'Training Center' folder. Right-click the folder and then choose 'Cut.'
9. Right-click anywhere on your computer's desktop (the background picture), and choose 'Paste.'
10. Once the data is moved to your desktop, try starting Training Center. It should open without an error. Set up a new account, and then we can import the original data.
11. Go to the 'File' menu, and select 'Restore...'
12. In the window that appears, select the backup file you saved in step 2. This will import all of your original data.
13. Once this is done, try importing any new history from your GPS.

Great! Only a 13 step process to fix a bug in their software that's not much more than a glorified spreadsheet. I'm going with the 3rd party program that avid runners use and is free. Thanks though.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Technical Difficulties

I’m not having a good year when it comes to my technology. I’ve written about my computer’s demise and having to use MJ’s abacus. I’ve written about my iPod dying. It’s just a dead battery but replacing the battery is as expensive as replacing the whole device. I got a Shuffle for Christmas, but that’s just a straight up scam by Apple. Microsoft takes unending ridicule for putting out subpar products and deservedly so, but the Shuffle is every bit as crappy as anything Microsoft puts out. I’ve had a series of problems with my Shuffle since day one. The earphones are poorly designed. The controls have never worked. After my bitching about it on here, EJG and JSG generously gave me an adapter that was good for about fifty miles, but unfortunately has fallen apart. I’m not Usain Bolt. I’m not fighting MMA. I run ten minute miles in sunny weather on flat ground. Why do I have to spend $100 on earphones just to be active? My newest gremlin is in my watch software. Garmin asked me to update the tracking program – which everyone in the running community says is worthless – only to have it stop working. I plug in my watch, my data – part of it anyway – transfers, I close the program, and I get an error message that tells me I need to email Garmin a bunch of technical tl/dr. All my data from the date of the update forward is erased for some reason when the program closes. If I can’t track my stuff then there’s no reason to do any of it. I emailed the crap they asked for last Thursday. I haven’t gotten a response from Garmin, not even an automated “we got your email” email, and my email tells me it went through. Nice customer service. It’s not like Garmin is some dude working out of his garage. They’re the personal GPS industry leader. If you have a GPS in your car, factory or after market, Garmin probably made it. Why don’t they know how their watch works? Can the apocalypse hurry up and get here so I won’t have to deal with any of this anymore, please?