Friday, April 08, 2016

Trophy Life

Had this noble idea about getting CrossFitters to compete in a triathlon (via 3-person-relay) against other local boxes. You know, one group of athletes getting exposed to another, and each influencing the other. Set it up with Run-N-Tri. Made it an official category at Traditions. You know, lots of work.

Then, one at a time, Your Humble Narrator attempted to contact somewhere around thirty boxes. From Mobile, AL, to Slidell, LA, and everything in between. Surprisingly difficult to get in touch with some of the owners. A couple of phone numbers were disconnected. Others did not ever (EVER!) answer. Some folks did not bother to return messages. (EVER!) Left with about eighteen gyms that said they were interested and asked me to send them more information. Of those eighteen, exactly NONE responded to emails. However, three did decide to sign up for the race.

Ended up spending all day working on some unique trophies for the winners. Supposed to resemble the props used for box jumps at CrossFit. First attempt at making anything like that. Cindy contributed the lettering. (She's acrafty like that.) Good bit of fun. Learning experience. Bonding time. And we got it done together.

Hopefully the winners like it. Gonna do things MUCH different, next year. If there is a next year...

Thursday, April 07, 2016

What's Cooking

Two days of resumes and interviews and little (if any) training. It was dull. You don't need, or want, details. Too much stress. Mostly in the form of doubt and uncertainty. Not to mention the air conditioner, an ancient beast from the 20th century, is coughing its guts across the yard. The medical bills to revive it will not be pleasant.

Cooked to distract myself. Pork tenderloin. In my magnificent new (as of Christmas) pressure cooker. Rubbed it down with some spices and let the machine do its magic. Less than an hour later: perfection. Where has this thing been all my life? Seriously. Where?


Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Corks & Cleavage

Cindy's 49th birthday again. Bottle of wine. Couple of cards. Bag of her favorite chocolates. Could have gone a lot better for her. She should have received better presents. She should have stayed home from work. Gone for a spa day! She should not have needed to deal with my recent issues. But she accepted the situation for what it was and we'll make it up to her... down the road... somehow...

After work, she wanted to go somewhere quiet and try something new. We headed over to Corks & Cleaver, in downtown Gulfport.  We wanted to go on MY birthday, a couple of weeks ago, but that didn't happen. So we picked up some BBQ wings for the kids and went off, on our own.

Sat inside, out of the setting sun. Pleasantly rural/rustic decor . Comfortable seating. Good service. Cindy had an almost-glass of white wine. And some Mystery Romp for Your Humble Narrator. We wanted more but the price and the drink portions did not excite us. Couldn't agree on appetizers but some of them looked awesome. Uncertainty versus the price was the likely villain. Cindy had a smoked salmon BLT which she thoroughly enjoyed. My hamburger was very flavorful and cooked perfectly. Wanted a bit more, though. 1/3 of a pound didn't quite fill me. The fries were just average.  But the dessert (a dark chocolate and cheese cake invention) rocked!

Not sure if we'll go back there, or not. Corks & Cleaver was a nice treat. Maybe my belly is too big and my wallet too small.  But the end result didn't entirely satisfy us. We'll have to play a return trip by ear.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Driven Solo

Liam: Can I drive to the Quick Stop?
Me: Sure. Here are the keys.
Liam: Really?!?!?
Me: Yes. Just don't wreck. And take the back way.
Liam: Whoa...

And that is the first time he has ever driven solo.

Fortunately there were no wrecks. Except the one in my head during the long delay before he returned.

Thus it begins.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Tradition's Triathlon 2016 - Race Rehearsal

Several of my plans have gone somewhat sideways, this year. Adventures in employment a couple of weeks ago. Crippled by a sneeze three days ago. Very unlikely to hit a new personal record, next week, but at this point just being able to walk with a minimum of pain is glorious.

Today was the last official day of The Road to Tradition's 2016 and came in the form of a race rehearsal. Once last chance to check our theories and dial in the numerous variables.

Swim went fairly well. Definitely helped loosen up my back. Then the bike went VERY well. No pain or even soreness. None. The run was cut a bit short because the course has an off-road element and the trail was virtually a mud course after all the recent rain.

All in all, a good, productive rehearsal. Finishing won't be a problem. Just a matter of timing. May have to settle for new records at the NEXT ones...

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Interviews & Tamales

Cindy & Liam made the trek to Columbus, MS, last night. MMeg stayed home with me. In case my back didn't get any better. Rained on all of us, even though we were four hours apart. Their trip went smoothly, otherwise.

Liam had to schedule the visit to interview with The MS School of Math & Science. He made it past the application phase and was invited up for the next one. First, they had some essay for him to write, on the spot. He said he KILLED it. Then he had some standardized math and/or science tests to take. He said he KILLED it. Then he had to do an interview with staff and alumni. Cindy was on the phone with me as he walked out, and she said he was all smiles. So we took that to be a good sign. Overall, they had a great trip. And Liam feels he did very well. By my guestimate, he has a 90% chance to get accepted. Good grade, great ACT, lots of extracurricular activities, and a rockstar personality. Oh yeah, they're gonna want him there!

Meanwhile, my back decided to stop having muscle spasms and walking was possible today. Meg & Molly went with me to visit the Farmer's Market in Long Beach for groceries and then pick up some lunch. Molly met some friends. Meg had a quesadilla that somehow ended up across the front of her shirt. And Your Humble Narrator reveled in his freedom from the sofa by scarfing down some of the finest tamales on the Gulf Coast.

Good time for everyone involved. But now we have to wait a week to hear from MSMS... ...and learn of Liam's fate.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Just A Sneeze

This would be funnier if it were a joke. It isn't. And actually, it isn't funny.


The event which completely wrecked my back and has kept me on the sofa (thank God for Netflix!) the past two days was: just a sneeze. Pick up the keys, turn to take Liam to school, and a mundane... ACHOO! But nature didn't take its natural course and the muscles along the left side of my spine immediately locked up like a vice along with my ability to breath for several long seconds.

Oddly enough, things didn't initially seem disastrous. Driving didn't hurt. Even did mobility work on the foam roller and the Voodoo floss without any significant woe. But after getting home, making some calls, and doing some clicking clack, the spasms started. Freshly and brutal. Couldn't moved. Couldn't breathe. Jaw clenched during unstoppable moans. And they kept hitting me. While walking. While sitting. While doing anything other than reclining on the sofa. Watching Netflix.

On a good note, my binginity has been broken because it is apparently impossible to stop watching Daredevil (Season 2.)  And Archer (Season 6) has also kept me company these many pain-filled hours. Never binged before. Only took a pinched nerve to change that.

Fortunately the last spasm hit was at lunch time, today. None since. Plenty of residual aches. And my range of motion is still limited. But there is positive progress. Slow, but positive.

And that's my life for the past two days. Cindy and Liam headed to MSMS, for his interview, on their own. Left me to my wounded fate, with Meg in charge of getting medical attention in the event of a turn for the worst. Let's hope it doesn't come to that. Not over just a sneeze...

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Fifteen Trillion Little Insects

Structure and plans and goals maintain a semblance of order in the crowded room behind my eyes. Something to work towards. A means to measure my personal progress.

When just one thing goes sideways, there's a profound, subconscious impact. Having to reorganize my thoughts. My life. And the lives of everyone around me. The orderly world erupts in static and chaos. Like kicking an ant pile. Fifteen trillion little insects dashing and buzzing in different directions without any structure. or rhyme or reason. And that's just ONE plan crumbling to pieces. 

This week, three have fallen through. THREE! The first triathlon of the season was cancelled. (Again...) And then two separate CrossFit certification were cancelled, with no ETA. Training wasted. Plans scrapped. The world fills with static. The ant pile kicked. And kicked. And kicked again. Topped off with a bright orange mushroom cloud taking shape in the tight confines of my head. 

But, as always, this too shall pass. It is what it is. There will be other races. Other certs. Just have to put the pieces of the new puzzle together. Wherever those pieces may be...

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Reverse Brick

Progress. Slowly. Something of a reverse brick, today. Started with 300 single-under jump ropes. Added banded stretching for The Worst Hamstrings in MS. Ran inside for 2 miles @ 18:24. And hopped on the trainer for 18 miles @ 42:20. Happy with that, despite being inside. Wrapped up with half an hour in the sauna and 15 minutes in the cold dip.

The Knee Recover is on day 32. Feeling better. Less wonky. With the cyst gone, there is an unknown time frame for all the mechanisms in my knee to return to their normal position and function, In the meanwhile, just gotta keep picking up the pace and prep'ing for 2016. Gonna be VERY hard to do better than last year. It can be done. But it won't be easy. Then again, when has EASY ever been a part of Your Humble Narrator's agenda?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Warming Up

The cycles take decades. Sometimes.But everything comes around again. Check the picture. Guy in Green? Your Humble Narrator. Teaching yoga poses to a bunch of avid Crossfitters. 

Creating space. Lengthen. Reach, up. Palms ascending. Stretch. Present your chest. Outward. Breathe in. First from the diaphragm. To the top of the lungs. Get long. Exhale the old stress. Inhale the new intentions. 

Not sure if they're ready for advanced backbends, but we'll see how far these folks want to go down the rabbit hole. Yoga's always trendy!

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Racing Thoughts

Woke up tired. Couldn't sleep. Stupid brain. Wouldn't turn off. Filled to the brim with racing thoughts. Would-be plans for upcoming adventures. Incessant concerns about the plausibility of achieving my goals. Uncertainty. Doubt. So much easier to do things the same way for another 20 plus years. Just accept my role and take the safe path into eventual silence.

Have to try, regardless. Failed before. May fail again. But at the end of this mortal journey, there will be no regrets. My life will have been a long series of: tried it. Rather than a disappointing tale of:never dared to take the risk. 

At least that's the plan...

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

On The Run

Twenty five days after clearing up a few issues with my right knee. Ventured to the gym. First serious attempt at going any significant distance on the knee. Wanted a 30min 5k. Ended up with 31:26. And that was a not so easy effort. Significant sweating and panting involved. But, got it done. And felt some degree of pride in returning real training.

After that, tried a little MetCon. Some push press and chin-up action. But was already gassed Barely finished half of it. Pretty stupid of me to have tried. Far too aggressive. And, lesson learned.
Followed with a half hour of torture in the sauna then a quarter hour in the cold dip. Therapy far easier these days than training. But one step at a time. And I'm on the run again.

Monday, January 04, 2016

First Jam

Monday. Work sinks its teeth into soft soft neckmeat. Temperatures drop. Forecasts say: Nearly freezing by morning. Ran my first mile since The Knee was "fixed." Didn't suck. Quick workout: 100/50, 80/40, 60/30, 40/20 on jumps/situps. Couple of weighted Good Mornings. Helped coach a large class of sweaty Argonauts. The Bride is nearly delusional with fever after her third day of The Crud. And like rude, neo-urban ninjas, Your Humble Narrator & Son are off to Irish Coast Pub for the first jam session of 2016.

Lo and behold, Kidd Maestro leads off the very first song! Diggs joins on the drums. Then Zach tickles his keyboards and crafts some vocals. Just the three of them, with Liam at the helm of the FunkBoat. Few things can exceed the beauty awe of witnessing one of your children unleash their natural talents upon the world.

Despite the long hours and frequent shortages of appreciation for my efforts, in this life, my blessings are numerous. They shall be enjoyed while they last. Until there is silence.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Under Pressure

 A pressure cooker appeared under our tree. Experimental kitchenware. Courtesy of the Jolly Ol Fat Man Himself. The Bride didn't trust it. Thought it would explode. Wanted to send it back. To the North Pole. Your Humble Narrator, however, saw his opportunity to shine!

Grass fed, bone-in shoulder roast from Country Girl's Creamery. Some giant carrots. Purple sweet potatoes (yes, PURPLE!) And an onion from the Biloxi's Farmer's Market. Seared the meat in some coconut oil. Kids pealed cut up the veggies. And away we went! Of course, being the maiden voyage, it didn't go eeeexxxxacctly right the first try. Meaning SOMEBODY only set the timer, and neglected to pressurize Ye Ol Beast. But we got past that without pointing any fingers and it didn't take long before everything was firing on all cylinders.  And THEN away we went...

Normally, when a fine fine McDougal Roast is crafted, it spends eight hours in the crockpot. On this glorious day, the total cooking time was a mere forty minutes. Roughly 10% of the normal endeavor! And it came out every bit as succulent and tasty as the traditional method. Actually, we should have cooked the meat for the first 10 minutes, by itself, and then added the veggies for 30 minutes. The carrots and onions were SUPER tender, but the poor sweet potatoes ended up as mashed potatoes.

The Bride cobbled together some bacon & green beans as well as a batch of rice. Mom brought Dad and a carrot cake. And we all feasted.

Wonderful contraction, this new pressure cooker. New recipes must be discovered! And we're all happy nothing exploded. Except our taste buds. And there're more to come.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Post Polar Bear Plunge

Mobility, warm-up, and strength training in the morning. Followed with some grooming of entirely-too-long nails. Treats for an ailing bride. Took the kids by GameStop for some new hotness. And then the rest of the day was spent working on coaching-related materials. So much to do, but it is slowly coming together, one piece at a time. All new. But all exciting. Hoping 2016 will be a break-out year for Your Humble Narrator. If not, there's always a return to being a pudgy master of ancient geekery.

Friday, January 01, 2016

A Busy 2016


Started off a busy year with a busy day. Despite the weather and a terrible mood. drove by Long Beach to visit my Grandparents. Weird tangle of emotions visiting them "together," for the first time nearly a decade. Today would have marked 96 years for G'Pa. And G'Ma crossed over exactly a year ago. Brought flowers. Couldn't breathe for a while. Finally put them on his grave. Something bothered me about marking her passing with flowers. Next year, one for each of them!

Skipped lunch, picked up Kidd Maestro and headed to our local 3rd Annual Polar Bear Plunge. Couple of dozen folks: Luke, Jack, Onnie, Lisa, Dean, and Rachel, to name a few. Air temperatures in the high 40s. Water temperature in the low 60s. Actually warmer than last year. And good to have a Sherpa with me for a change. Video below as proof of my stupidity.

Afterwards, we grabbed some lunch at The Dock (good sammiches but the water tasted like melted plastic) then went to see a 3D viewing of Star Wars. Better character development than I thought. Less campy. Great special effects but not overwhelming. Couple of loop holes that bothered me, but it was a good start. It pleased more folks than it disappointed, and that has to count as something. 

And here's hoping the rest of the year is as fulfilling!


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mothers Day 2015

Sleeping late these days means 0730. Kids kept to their beds until much later. Card for Cindy. Mani\Pedi Gift Certificate. Hugs and such. Whatever she wants today. Turned out to be a late lunch with her Mom while the rest of us hit the theater to catch a thankfully-uncrowed showing of The Avengers.  (Fairly good flick despite some flimsy plot moments but the effects compensated.) And the  day continues as a long lazy Sunday with Liam playing his new bass and Meg alternating between her ukulele and her violin.

Life. Good.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Enough Adventure

One pint too many last night and paid for it this morning. Most unpleasant swimming 1200 yards without a wetsuit. Then we hopped on the bikes for a HR Zone 2. 17.9MPH but only 124BPM. Then a crazy sweaty ten minute run. All three pieces. Good times with good friends. Approaching 21 weeks until The Main Event. We're probably half way there already. Will build up the rest across the next 4+ months. In the furnace of South Mississippi....


After training and getting lunch, hit the road with Kidd Maestro. Checked out some different jazz bass guitars. First music place had a Fender and a second hand amp at a reasonable price. Second place (actually our favorite) had the same Fender but a bigger selection of guitars and we were able to noticeably hear the difference between some of them. In the end, the owner (a bassist himself) convinced us to pick up an Ibanez  (that Liam absolutely loved) and a new 300W amp. Took it home and it is night and day different than his old bass. Much better sound and far greater range of versatility. So we took it back home and he played for hours, looking forward to the jam session on Monday.

Then an unexpected surprise: Nenna (Kimmer's Wife) had a kidney stone flare up and they decided to head to the ER to get it checked out professionally. They dropped off Ethan and we all hung out for a couple of hours. SUPER sweet little boy. We'd have quick, cute conversations and talk about his favorite cartoons. He decided he wanted to watch Thomas The Tank Enginer, like Liam used to. Then one by one, every except me & Ethan went to sleep. First Meg went to her room. Then Liam went off to his. And finally, Cindy fell asleep on the sofa next to me. Approaching midnight, Kim & Nenna made it out of the ER. Us boys were still awake and able to get everything packed without any drama or concerns.

That's enough adventure for one day, methinks.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Push Pull, Clip Clop

Another day and another round of wrestling with server hardware. Yesterday was bad memory. Today involved adding fiber connections. Push pull, clip clop. All done and hopefully we can migrate some SQL services off of old servers and onto these monsters. Often time easier said than done, when my corporate cohorts in Las Vegas are involved. But we'll see how it goes.

After work, met Kimmer at Rooney's for the usual Friday Night Dance. Couple of pints. BBQ Sammich. Music in the background. Conversation in the foreground. He's a good guy with a heart even bigger than his chest. Fought more battles than I can count and still comes out smiling. A good example for me to follow. And his guidance is always appreciated. Glad to have him down for a couple of weeks. We both need it.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

A Rest Day

9 workouts in 6 days and finally, a rest day.! Very happy to NOT be in the gym or on the road anywhere. 

Not that there is any rest for the wicked. Still had a full load at work: Dealing with vendors. Volunteering for a new Citrix adventure well ahead of the rest of the organization. Extinguishing numerous minor wildfires. And, as pictured, swapping out bad memory in an ESX host. Funny bit, there, after powering off the server, changing the hardware, and restoring power, my email starts blowing up. The Virtualization Dudes in Las Vegas start proclaiming, "Everything dropped offline!" Which quickly spiked by heart rate closer to 200BPM. Until they started laughing the second they answer their hotline. Of course, it was a joke. A naughty nerdy joke. Highlight of my day. 

My short-lived, greatly needed, REST day....

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Mittwoch

Early morning workout: lots of stretching, then deadlifts and (my favorite) toes-to-bar. Only recently starting doing TTBs. They're tricky. And the taller you are, the more difficult they become. So the workout was a super set of 4 x bodyweight deadlifts and 8 x TTBs.

Evening workout: an hour on the bike trainer. Joined by Mister Kim Hall. First time we've worked out together since Augusta. Went about 18 miles in 45 minutes, then walked around the track to cool down our legs and let Kimmer catch his breath. He's still recovering from his adventures, but we agree any day above ground is a good day.

Afterwards, off to Irish Coast for some trivia. Our team, Bitch Please, came in third of three teams. Not a good night. But good times with good folks. We'll extract our revenge, next time.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Cinco De Tired

Another Two A Day. Did Crossfit after work. Shoulders and back and lots of sweat. Then went back to the house and ran. Sorta ran. Paced with Liam through the neighborhood. Went close to three miles. Jogged about a third of that. Tragically funny: after he started getting warmed up, his chest started getting tight. Where? Exact same spot where my chest used to get tight (for decades:) left upper lobe. How does something like THAT get passed along in the genes? Boggles the mind.

No Mexican celebrations, this year. Big meal at work. But nothing at home. Just me and Liam, Cinco De Tired.

Monday, April 27, 2015

For A Monday

Normal nerdy adventures at work, at least for a Monday. Not too much debris lingering from the near-explosion last week. But enough to spin up a figment of a headache and chew up enough energy to make training all-the-more challenging.

What was on the agenda today? Biking! 21.0 miles on the trainer with an angry (ANRGY!) instructor barking at me for just under 54 minutes (23.4MPH average!) Much sweat created. Great workout.

Afterwards, me & Kidd Maestro hit Irish Coast Pub. Ben's birthday. The Pub's birthday, too.  Couple of new musicians, and Liam. He's getting the feel of performing live, winging it, playing from instinct rather than set music. Does my heart good to see him up there, driving the rhythm and improvising with subtle nuances of his own creation. Plan B, we call it. Something to earn him some money and maybe help get him through college. We'd much rather have him playing for a couple of hours to earn $50 than to take food orders all day. He's a great musician and really shines once he lets his guard down and just goes with it. Hopefully we'll look back on these nights and they'll be good memories. They are already, for me.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

On To IMChoo

A good year, thus far: Stronger than ever. Faster than ever. And, knock on wood, healthier than ever.

But everything so far has been a preamble to the ultimate goal for 2015. And it is time to move on to IMChoo training.

The race is 23 weeks from today. Preceded by five months of training in the furnace of South Mississippi. A new training program from Endurance Nation. Strength & conditioning from Coach Sara at Crossfit Portside. Plus lots of stretching, rolling, and sleeping. Stay healthy, stay focused. Do it right.

There have been months of groundwork and preparation and major improvements. But the real journey begins tomorrow.

And doesn't end, until the finish line.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Gulf Coast Youth Symphony - Spring Concert 2015

Liam's been practicing a couple of hours per week for several weeks and we finally get to see the fruit of his late-night labors. The Gulf Coast Youth Symphony had their Spring Concert today. All the grandparents went. Should have taken a picture for posterity. But my brain wasn't firing on all cylinders. As you can imagine, everyone enjoyed it. My favorite was The Barber Of Seville. Liam enjoyed Duke Ellington. Cindy & Meg loved the violin soloist in Praeludium & Allegro. And my Mom could barely control her excitement during Hoe Down. All in all, a great show for the whole family. Proud of that kid. We're all blessed.
















Sunday, March 01, 2015

Seaside Half Marathon - 2015

Actually slept last night. Despite the foreign bed. Despite the pending race. We finished dinner, turned in early, and embraced the resulting silence. Which helped when the alarm started at five o'clock. Then the usual silence as everyone performed their pre-race rituals. Mine included: coffee, vitamins, KT tape, plenty of stretching, and the internal struggle over What To Wear. By six thirty, we were all ready and prepared to walk a block (ha!) to the starting line where 3,997 other racers were huddled in the grey air.


Found several people from The MS Gulf Coast wandering the crowd. IPA folks. Triathlon folks. And all our various handlers. Seeing so many familiar faces among the smiling racers helped take off the edge. The cold was a bit crispy, but everyone was in good spirits. Surprisingly quiet, well mannered. And eager to get started. Somehow, Allison & Nancy vanished, then Robin (fellow Ticking Tri Bomb) ended up next to me. Quick hug. Some chatter about pacing. And when the clock struck seven o'clock, the race gun sounded.

My plan to was to start close to the front, maintain a quickish pace at first, settle into something comfortable once the crowd thinned, and then cruise on the way back. That was the plan. Early into it, we went too fast, closer to minutes than nine. By the time the crowd thinned, nine minute miles were the norm. However my memory of a somewhat flat course was corrected around three miles into it when the rolling hills appeared. Nothing difficult, but they did not help. Nor did the slanting rise in the road at each curve. At the half way point, my watch showed my pace was BELOW the two hour point. Very happy! Much awesomeness. Made the turn, grabbed a gel, and prepared for the return trip.
Return trip did not go very well. By mile eight, my left knee (the one that died last year) began to protest. By nine miles it started to hurt to the point where keeping any reasonable pace was going to damage something. Barely beat my 10 mile pace from last week, but crept after that. Wanted to pick it up more and get it over with. Felt this gnawing desire to "push through the pain." But in the back of my head, ghosts of failed races from 2014 started to resurface.

Ended up slowing enough for Nancy to catch me. She was hurting, too. Her calf. My knee. Partners in pain. We finished the last two miles in shared suffering. Every couple of hundred meters one of us would say, "Almost there." Then we could see the finish line. Then the crowd was cheering. We held hands and raised them high as we crossed the line. Done at last. Her 25th half marathon. (Not sure of mine.) Both of us eager to get this one behind us. Didn't break two hours. Didn't PR. But finished in 2:19:50, which beat last year's time.

Things blurred after that. Drank a 30oz mimosa that didn't touch me. Allison finished her very FIRST marathon and gave us all a tear-filled hug. Returned to the rental house to get some more layers. Which didn't ultimately help. Had a free beer that wasn't great but went down quickly. BBQ was slightly better than last year. And ended up browsing the local stores rather than crash from the uncontrollable shaking that gradually threatened to overcome me.

Eventually, we all recovered our legs, shuffled back to the rental for some real beers, a shower, and a change of clothes. When we had caught our breath and made ourselves presentable, we went BACK out for Lunch #2. Chili dogs from Wild Bill's and a few more beers. Finally, felt warm and right and happy. And the world was beautiful once again.

Anyway. Another half marathon in the books. Not the prettiest. But it is done. And on to the next adventure...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Meg At 13

What to say about Meg at 13? She enters her teen years nearly as tall as her mother, as crazy-talented like her brother, and far more creative than her father. She's moved past pink and My Little Pony and ballet to focus on theater and violin and her artwork. Sure, she gets moody and sometimes dramatic. But she is the music that keeps me moving and always brightens my day in the morning or after work. Thankful to have her in my life and continue to enjoy my time with her while she's still into hugging her Old Man.


Cindy put together Meg's party. All of Meg's favorites: Cane's Chicken, French Onion Dip, small cans of coke, vanilla ice cream, and (of course) cake. On top of putting all those pieces together and straightening the house, Cindy also made some crockpot lasagna that super double delicious.

Joined today by: My parents, my brother & Morgan, Cindy's parents, Cindy's brother plus Aunt Amy, Alex, and Tolar.


So now we have two teenagers. Liam's driving and trying to find his own edges. Meg's approaching high school and still trying her hand at as many different hobbies as possible. There are so many possibilities, for both of them.We're enjoying watching them grow up. It just happens too quickly sometimes. And has its prickly moments. But none of us are ever bored.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Road To Traditions - 02/22/15

 Sunday in South Mississippi finds us training and socializing. Supporting each other. Encouraging those around us. New triathletes. Old friends. Jim worked with the new folks. Going over drills and the fundamentals. Helping to get the beginners more comfortable with their form and the idea of swimming for distance. What most of the folks don't know is that open water is night and day different from the pool. My own experiences were full of struggle on ALL levels. It took me many months to find my own form, talking to myself non-stop in open water: "Be cool. Be cool! BE COOL!" Hopefully this next generation of competitors has a more pleasant experience.

At the same time, the intermediate and more advanced folks swam with Brian Harris. They worked on improving their stroke. Usually trying to maximize their "glide." Reaching. Twisting. Minimizing wasted motion. All tough stuff to master. But Brian knows what he's talking about and knows how to teach people. 

My training started much earlier. Sara Carter showed up and we swam 3 sets of 600 meters. A mile when you put them together. Odd how we both felt tight until 300 meters, then our shoulders finally relaxed. Sara's amazing. Her fourth swim in a decade (or more) and she is already doing a mile. Gonna be fun having HER chasing me down at the race.

After, the swimming clinic, Allen & JG went over transition preparation and fundamentals. Once again: minimize, minimize, minimize. An abundance of secrets and experience shared by those guys. Once the weather is sure to be cooperative, the group will move to the actual race site and we'll put those skills to the test.

Won't be long, now. Then the REAL training begins.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Bay-Waveland Beach 10 Miler 2015

Needed a tough training session leading up to the Seaside Half Marathon next weekend. Signed up for the Bay-Waveland Beach 10 Miler. Along with about 155 friends of mine! Camaraderie, oddly non-cold temps, and a 20 mile per hour head wind. What more does a man need? Oh yeah, we'd run in on a concrete seawall. And there would only be a couple of rest stops. So if we could survive this bad boy, we could survive anything. And since there are few OFFICIAL ten mile races here in the Great State of Mississippi, it was an opportunity for the fast people (which excludes Your Humble Narrator) to get onto the record books if they had a good showing. (Spoiler: many people did!)

Unfortunately, mostly due to my poor planning, things did not go too well for me. Failed to hydrate the night before. Failed get my apparel correct. Did not wrap my right pinky toe correctly. And wore thick socks. As a result of those mistakes and the effort of running into the wind, the five mile midway point during this race felt like the 10 miles point last month in New Orleans. Then my thoughts wandered too far DURING the race and forgot to fuel properly until my tank was already down to fumes. And finally, my right toe abraded so badly that every step after mile six rubbed it raw. Contemplated walking the last three miles. But didn't. Changed my gait into more of a shuffle and managed to finish with a pace faster than this time last year.

Still managed to get into third place on the podium. (My buddy Jack placed first and now owns the fastest 10 mile  race for our age!) A bit awkward to admit, but at forty something, it was the first trophy of my life. Despite the pain and discomfort, finally getting a trophy of my own turned it into a Very Good Day. And overall, my bad personal performance made 55th out of 155 people. Almost the top third. With better planning, that would have been top 25%. But, live and learn. Won't take so many things for granted, next time.

Afterwards, a bunch of folks met at Shaggy's in The Pass. Drinks and food and comparing notes and talking about plans and remembering previous adventures.Typical stuff among the local fitness folks. Good times with good people. What more does a man need?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Road To Traditions - 02/15/15

Another adventurous trip down The Road To Traditions today. Our second such gathering of the year. Maybe twenty participants getting support from two local coaches. Several brand new folks. Some seasoned veterans. And many familiar faces. Always good to be around people smiling and training and helping each other and trying to be healthy. The rest of the Deep South was off doing Mardi Gras, especially D'Iberville & Pass Christian. Lots of beer, King Cake, and Moon Pies. But the rest of us were spending our afternoon swimming laps. Crazy, but true.


Started off swimming solo. Thirty six laps. 1800 meter A mile for AquaNerd. Been trying a new stroke that Dean M. suggested. A radical departure from my form of the last two years. This new one is all about a high turn over with the arms, pulling stronger with forearms, and NOT reaching or gliding. So far, much harder to do and tougher on the cardiovascular system. But this was my third attempt and have gotten up to 500 meter stretches at a time without dying. The real test will be open water swimming. And can AquaNerd maintain the form for 2.2 miles without gassing out. Not long before we find out if it works, or we fall back to the old plan.

Speaking of new, my Crossfit coach, Sara Carter, is making her first attempt at a triathlon this year. She is doing the Road To Tradition with us and has done nothing but impress me, so far. Of course she's already in GREAT shape (owning a gym and all) plus she used to be a sprinter on the swim team, in college. She's been getting in some biking and her quads are already helping push her through workouts that most folks don't try the first year. If she can run and string all three activities together, she'll give me a run for my money!

Doesn't bother me, though. BRING IT!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Ghosts In Their Head

Painful and sad to watch somebody breakdown due to the ghosts in their head. That crippling feeling of helplessness in the face of another person hurting. One moment smiling. The next, no longer able to contain the tears.

"It's okay. It doesn't matter," they feign.

No. It is not okay. You're crying. It matters.

And silence. Awkward, uncomfortable silence. Occasionally broken by sniffling. Then those tense, bitter minutes spent cramming the pain back into its hiding place. Along with the memories. And ancient specters.

"I'm sorry."

Nothing else would matter from me, anyway. Not within my power to do anything. Anything at all. Trying would only make it worse.

These ghosts. The pain they carry. The lies we spin to try to numb ourselves. So many decades later. They still hold power over us.

And despite knowing all of this, we can't bear to let our ghosts go.

They're okay. They don't matter.

And back to pretending neither of us saw that.