Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Rested instead of running. Instead of drinking. Tall pints of icy adult beverages calling. Thunderstorms rolling behind my eyes. Uninspired at work. Uninspired at play. Restless. Anxious.  Want something, but no idea what. Just something else. At least the aches from Crossfit are better. Measuring my life through a series of small victories.

Monday, November 18, 2013


May have over-done it, tonight. The over-head squats didn't feel right. Then the run felt wrong. Now, several hours later, I'm feeling an old wound (that kept me out of River Roux) threaten to flair up again. Scalding shower. Ibuprofen. Some extra rest. Hoping it fends off any potential damage. Otherwise I'll be sidelined for two weeks. Leaving only six weeks before the Long Beach Half Marathon. Ugh!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Out And About

Sunday.Again. Weekend never long enough. Ever. Almost always regret not doing enough On one level or another. Need at least three days in order to unwind and get organized. But that rarely happens.

Was supposed to see Thor, with Liam. If you can imagine, he wouldn't get off the computer in time, couldn't find his glasses, and we had to skip it. Rolled to Nana's, instead. Helped Dad tweak his new PC. Went and picked up Grandma. Hung out with her and Nana and the dogs for a while. If she were not physically weak, G'Ma would be fine. Her grip strength is still there. He wits ares still there. She's very cognizant and mentally alert. But her body continues to wind down, despite the strength of her spirit.

After some time with them, went to pick up Meg from Uncle D's house. She & Alex had spent the afternoon decorating the driveway with My Little Ponies and decorations.Great work by both girls who never cease to amaze us with their creativity, beauty, and awesomeness. If only they'd stay 11 forever!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lots Of Meh

Spent the majority of today thinking about food, shopping for food, or preparing food. But in the end it wasn't worth my time, effort, or money. And it was all my fault.

Started with the collards from Thursday's Biloxi Farmer's Market. Couldn't get them tender enough. Couldn't cook out enough of the bitterness. Couldn't get any flavor into them. Nothing worse than an unfulfilled craving despite efforts to fill it!

Second fail was the Paleo Chicken Francese. Made it before. Was much better. Burned it this time. The crust was too thick and not very tasty. But it was very disappointing. And yet another unfulfilled craving at the expense of significant effort.

Zucchini & squash noodles are easy. Actually managed to get them right. But they're hard to get wrong. A minor success but the cheapest and easiest creation in the meal.

Only other dish that worked was a break from my Paleo regimen: mac n cheese! But it was only a limited success. Tried a country recipe with some surprising ingredients including dry mustard, sour cream, and worcestershire sauce. But it wasn't decadent or breath taking. And while it didn't get thrown out, it didn't live up to expectations nor was it worth the cards.

Better luck next time, Caveman. You cannot win 'em all.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Day 15 & Crossfit

NoShaveVember. Let it grow! Day 15. Haven't shaved this month. And it is starting to get scratchtastic. Not too bad if you don't mind looking like a nerdy 1970s G.I. Joe action figure, without the muscles or kung fu grip. But Decemeber can't come soon enough.

Hit up Crossfit after work. One of the things that keeps me motivated is thinking, "That's impossible!" then doing it!

Case in point: hand stand pushups. Never done a single one in my life. But did more than thirty of them tonight! The actual meat of the workout included five rounds of this:

  • 5 Hand stand pushups
  • 12 alternating kettlebell swings
  • 12 butterfly situps
  • 60 single unders on the jump rope
Nobody else was able to do all of the hand stands. (Probably did 15 just warming up!) And went home feeling fantastic. Though the "butterfly" situps were brutal and (for some unknown reason) my rounds included 15 of them, instead of just twelve. Gonna be sore tomorrow. Looking forward to it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

It Is No Accident

"It is no accident that you
found this note.

This is to remind you that
God loves you.

He wants to be your Savior.
If he is not read Romans 10:13.

Have a good day."

After a long, entertaining adventure in Bay St Louis, this note found me in a gas station restroom.

My first Icy Pints event. Mockingbird Cafe. Jaci asked me to join them. Running through unfamiliar territory. Pacing Cheri. Peggy. Dark, unlit streets. Decent breeze on the beach leg. Girls tricked me, though. Only did 2 miles. Good pace. Just short.

Couple of beers later, we're splitting burgers and the ASPCA girls stop handing out their fliers and decide to hang with us. So many conversations melding across half a dozen people. Dogs and running and more food and veggie burger and that girl's name is Megan while my daughter's name is Meg and we should all do NOLA but still haven't found a room for Seaside and the band is playing her favorite song and WHOOP WHOOP and put away the trash and out of the damn blue, "Jaci lost her keys." Which resulted in an unproductive hour-long manhunt for keys. Her frantically texting people who had left. We're combing the parking lot. She's calling her estranged-husband who is watching their kids. We're searching everyone's table and pockets and tailgates. She's crying. Her coworkers still looking. Cheri ordering another round. Peggy trying to call her down. And I get on the phone with Charles, "I'll take her home, Charles. I have to leave. Please, you stay home with the kids, I'll drop her off. It is on my way." What's he going to do, decline? So she cries her way to my car, leaving hers behind. We navigate back to her house, not too west of mine, talking about work and training and plans and woes and getting too old too fast in this sad crazy world where we discover ourselves too too late.

Then Jaci is gone. Just me. And the moon. And a nearly empty gas tank. Fortunately there is a station. With a clean restroom for my surprisingly full bladder. And it is no accident that I find that note. God loves me. And I love God, back.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Days To Recover

Aside from a complete inability to lift my arms, due to overwhelming soreness, Saturday turned out to be quite an adventure.

Started with a prolonged trip to Long Beach. Neg & Molly in town. Pictures of that girl NEVER do her hair any justice. It's the most beautiful shade of red I've ever seen in person. If there were such a thing as a hair model, she's be a world-traveling fashionista as hers is without equal. If only in my eyes:?

First stop, the Farmer's Market. Picked up some grass fed pot roast, local sweet potatoes, milk, butter, a homemade soda (CHEATDAY!) and some hand-made hot tamales (for Mom.)

Next leg of the show? Best Buy. Pick up a replacement computer and speakers for Dad. Little Dell unit. And Logitech audio. And (shudder) Walmart for sundries that I couldn't find at the Farmer's Market. Carrots, garlic, beef broth, an onion, and ibuprofen. Unfortunately Dad's new computer had a VDI port for video and he was using a DVI cable for the old one. Didn't have a replacement cable or an adapter, so it is off to a different Walmart (sigh) in Pass Christian. After that, setup was quick and easy. Had Dad online again within an hour. Hopefully Mom won't crap this one up with spy/spam/malware. Though she is quite gifted at it.

Concluded the day by prep'ing my veggies for some Crock Pot, Pot Roast tomorrow, then watching UFC. Though just moving and cutting everything was a challenge. Terrrrrribly sore from Crossfit yesterday. Definitely need two days to recover. Maybe even three.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Fit On Friday

Fought off the funk in less than 24 hours! Just in time to return to the gym for my toughest workout to date.

Started with 500m of rowing. (First time I've ever rowed in my life.) Then some running drills (high knees, buttkickers, side runs.) And finally some hamstring and shoulder stretches.

Got the blood flowing with "back squats." 5 sets of 3 reps. 75lbs. 95lbs. 115lbs. 135lbs. And 135lbs. (More PRs for me.)

Then the rough stuff. Sprints and kettlebell swings. And these are FULL swings. All the way up, elbows by the ears.

200m sprint + 50 swings
400m sprint + 40 swings
600m sprint + 30 swings
800m sprint + 20 swings

I finished in second (out of four guys) in 21:15. First place was 21:14. Beat by one swing. Because I took too long recovering from the long run.

Gonna sleep well tonight!

Thursday, November 07, 2013

From Grim To Sick

Mood improves and health takes a bad turn. Fighting off some kind of cold. Usual symptoms: sore throat, sneezing excessively, and elevated temperature. Wanted to stay in bed. Sleep until noon. Avoid daylight and duties. But that ain't happening. Work and woes, my best friends. Neither fever nor snot can keep them at bay. Hopefully (HOPEFULLY!) Your Humble Narrator can pull through quickly. Usually do. Benefits of being healthy. Or as healthy as a full time, middle-aged computer dork can be.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

A Smidge Better

Second week of Crossfit. Getting cleaner on the power lifting techniques. Good run to start things off. And my mood is better. A smidge better.

Today's Workout Of the Day (WOD) concluded with: 12 Shoulder To Overheads (getting the weight from your shoulders, up over your head, anyway you can) then 9 box dips, and finally 6 wall ball squats. Five sets of those, as quickly as possible. I came in third: 9:54.

Not bad for an old geek. Especially such a newbie to Crossfit.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

A Dark Tuesday

Maybe the change of weather. Maybe the time shifting. Maybe the lack of sunlight. Maybe the lack of any serious goals. Don't effing know what has taken hold. But I'm a mental train wreck.

No desire or drive. Completely NOT in the mood to train. Only in the mood to drink large volumes of adult beverages. Which I don't do. So I'm constantly craving it. Not sure what I'm going to do. Or what I really CAN do. Other than push through and force myself to resume training. Nothing else is remotely acceptable.

On top of my dark mood, I think I blew an audition for a talent show at work. Tried something new: stand up comedy. Didn't feel right. My timing wasn't right. And I blanked out one of the bits. Even if I did pass the audition, I'll probably bow out. I was only standing in front of a couple of judges doing my thing. What happens when I'm live in front of hundreds? I don't want to make a fool of myself.

Probably notch it up as a learning lesson. Another check mark on the bucket list.  And on to other opportunities begging for my attention.

Monday, November 04, 2013

On A Monday

Never a dull moment in these parts. I certainly live in interesting times.

  • Liam sick this morning. Stayed home, without any electronics. Took a nap on the sofa. Him and Molly Dog snoozing on a cool Autumn Monday.
  • A pair of drives in a RAID 5 array die, taking a bit of data with them. Of course finding the actual problem (versus the symptoms) took a while. Fixing it took even longer. You'd think the folks who get paid to work on SQL would be able to offer advice on fixing problems. You'd have thought wrong. It was pretty much a tag team shotgun fight with me & KV versus SQL & the array.
  • Pulled my right hamstring while reaching down for a napkin. Bothered me for hours. Hoping it won't interfere with my training tomorrow. Whole bunch of hurt, just for a napkin.
  • Cindy's neck acting up. God Willing she graduates in like 49 days.
  • Meg officially the busiest 11yr old on Earth with music and art and theater claiming parts of her days.
  • GH flying home from an interesting trip. AE still struggling just to make ends meet while just one paycheck from the street. AG starting a new relationship. Lightning alone. All these relationships spinning madly through the ether. Never slowing. Sometimes good. Sometimes bad. Sometimes both. Sometimes neither.
  • A project unexpectedly gains traction. Perhaps the worm has turned and my perseverance and mostly-charity-work will pay off in the long run. One way or another, I'm eager to know.
  • Last minute reboot of the Citrix systems before I wander to bed. 
The rest is rust and stardust. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween 2013

Storm clouds on the horizon as Meg & Liam started their BVMS Chamber performance at Dallard's this afternoon. Halloween night and everyone gathers for some light string music. 

Cindy & Kim. Nana. Jason, Morgan & Sara. And, just passing through, Work Wife Greg all made appearances.

Due to their musical placement in the chamber, it was a bit of a strain to get one picture with them both in it. Meg is a violinist, on the far left. Liam on the double bass. Far right. Liam's back in my skeleton pullover. Meg in an homage to My Little Pony. Clicking the image will enlarge it. They're circled. But barely in focus.

Afterwards, Meg & Cindy went to Gigi's for Trick Or Treating. Liam & I went home. He had to write a paper for Journalism and I had to wait on the one knock at our door. 

But the highlight of our night was the Chamber performance with two Young McDougals. Proud of them both. Each beautiful. And unique. Two separate, incredible kids. Rapidly approaching adulthood. Different paces. Different paths. Different pieces of me. Of their mother. And we're all blessed to have them in our lives. Even on Halloween.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Crossfit Portside - Day One

Up at 0500. New sweatshop at 0600.But if I'm going to have a serious 2014 season, I have to seriously improve. And get well outside of my comfort zone. So, I have a new trainer: Sara Carter. Certified Crossfit Trainer. Former collegiate women's basketball coach. And now: IronNerd Coach.

Fantastic workout. Just awkward techniques, on my part. Not used to jutting my ass out. Not used to landing on my heels. Or keeping such a rigid stance. Sara kept repeating the instructions. I kept trying. Sometimes I'd get it almost right. Most of the time I got it wrong. But we both kept at it.

My first session started with some interesting warmups: K. Farris Jumping Jacks, wall spiders, PNF squat stretches, and Burgener Warm-Ups. Then (don't laugh) snatch drills. Followed by the main event, As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP) supersets of: 3 power cleans, 6 burpees, and 9 air squats inside of three minutes. Five times. With one minute rest between each go.

Pushed through 11 total supersets. 33 power cleans, 66 burpees, and 99 air squats. In 19 minutes. Wish I had snapped a picture of the puddle of sweat.

Didn't feel it, until after lunch. Interested to see how I do in the morning. And then there is next time.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Another graduating class at work today. Yearly event. 50 brave souls getting doused in Diversity. I asked to give an introduction to the commencement speaker. Brought my own broken board. From 2010. Told them the bad news: their euphoria eventually wears off, they could eventually slip back into their old manners and roles and moods. But there's good news: they could break more boards. Different ones. At work. In their community. At home. With friends. With family. Or just personal boards. I showed them my latest one: an Ironman Finisher's Medal. And I challenged them to come back one day,to show me their own broken board.

I hope they do it. I hope they challenge themselves. Expand their horizons and try to help reconnect the frayed threads of this crazy world of ours. I barely recognize Jon From 2010. Would he recognize me?

And the distance keeps on growing. Hopefully it grows for them. For all of us. Diverse. But united. Out of many, one.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

All The Nothing

Nearly Friday. Cindy playing Taxi Cab Mom for Meg's second day of performances. "It's getting easier," says Red. Meanwhile, Liam's voice cracking. The fine blonde hair on his legs turning dark. And course. He had a rough day at school, he says. I didn't pry for details. Bank account dipped into the red unexpectedly. Four lives on mostly one check extracts a hard toll. Hard not to get mad. But it is what it is.Lifted at the gym to compensate. Still trying to find a Crossfit coach. Still trying to find a running coach.  Planning 2014. And 2015.

 I could burn a week of vacation and still not tie up all my loose ends.

"There's never enough time  to do all the nothing you want." -Bill Watterson

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mid way through

Mid way through the week and there's no sign of applying the brakes.

  • My feet have got to be bruised. Somewhere. On some level. When I rub my toes, on the bottom, the bones ache. And despite multiple showers on Saturday and showers each night, my feet still look dirty. As if they're tattooed with mud.
  • Biked another 20 miles. Felt good.Ramping up for a 72 mile ride in two weeks.
  • Liam read his English paper for his class. His guy friends talking about the appearance of his moustache. How long before he shaves for the first time?
  • Meg finally has a day off. Poor Red. Her only day off this week.
  • Cindy's picture with Kris finally shows up. Hands to yourself, Whistler!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

An Unvacation Day

Meg's play (Godspell) technically opened today. I chauffeured her around from the performing arts school (where they performed their first show before a live audience) to the Long Beach Middle School (where they did their first road show.) And that construed most of my vacation day.

Some other highlights of my unvaction.

  • First day without Ibuprofen. Probably because I ran out? Main complaint today: my back.
  • Quick nap on the sofa resulted in a gnarly cramp in my neck.
  • Visited my parents and proceeded to watch their computer fail to boot up for almost an hour. We had the system for nearly two months without any problems. Once my parents get their hands on it, it cannot make it two weeks without getting crapped up and/or dying.
  • Trailed Uncle Earl to a car repair shopped that he didn't end up using.
  • Liam's English teacher asked him about writing a paper to get a grant from MS Power.
  • I should add "plumber" to my resume since I apparently have toilet-repair skills.
  • I need another day off just to do the things I didn't do today.
And it is back to the office tomorrow...

Monday, October 21, 2013

On A Monday

Here's how my day goes down:

  • Wake up to the most amazing series of cramps, in my hands and forearms. Still walking funny. More Ibuprofen for breakfast.
  • Driving through the neighborhood, on the way to work, and a squirrel blurs at the edge of my vision. Something goes crunch under a tire. Young couple on their morning walk. The girl covers her mouth. In my rear view mirror, a half crushed smear of brown. Its front legs twitching. As if trying to crawl.
  • Get to the office. One of my PCs is black. Eight years old, anyway. Windows XP. Not really NEEDED to do my job. But very helpful. When it isn't dead. Later it will turn out to be a bad power supply.
  • Fire up the other system: 488 emails. And the day is just starting. Another hundred or two hundred emails will climb on top of the mound. Almost faster than I can clear them out. Takes nearly six hours before I whittle it down closer to one hundred. That's what passes as manageable these days.
  • After hours, a trip to the gym. 19 miles on the bike. 45 minutes and 48 seconds. Lots of sweat. Reminds me: I'm alive.
And a quiet house lulls me to sleep. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ironman Augusta - 2013

Of course I didn't sleep right. Maybe five hours. At best. Drams of T1 & T2. Dreams of self motivation. Dreams of not accepting defeat. Anyway. Up at four thirty to finish packing. (No, I didn't pack the night before due to lack of focus and excitement.) On the road by five thirty. Crowded into a bus and shuttled to the transition by six thirty.

Then I'm effectively alone. No team members near. Just me and me. Felt great. No nerves. An odd sense of calm and focus. Took my time. Everything in the right place. Minimized chaos. Maximized escape velocity. With only a minute to spare before it closed, I removed my glasses (effectively rendering me blind) and cleared out of transition.

A long, blurry walk to the swim start. Plenty of time to collect my thoughts. The plan? Relax. Breathe. Enjoy. Don't burn out. Don't burn out. Don't burn out. And above all else: stick to the plan! (Famous last words?)

My age group was the single largest. Over 460 men aged 40-44. All of us in white caps. Zooming into the first picture there are two bridges beyond my toes. The second, barely visible, bridge is the HALFWAY point in the swim. Thankfully, the weather went from cold to perfect very quickly, and as we gathered to enter the water, I knew it would be a good day.

Some early luck. J.G. found me wandering and helped me (remember, I'm just about blind!) drop of my gear bag then shuffled me to the right line. Hugged Tish. Hugged Lisa. And (big bonus!) Jack Gazzo found me right before the point of no return. I get lumped in with Jack, Ryker, and Chris Kirby. All of us fired up and ready to start.

Jack had a plan. A great plan! With such a large group, we wouldn't start in the front. We'd hold back, wait 10 or 20 seconds for the brutes to clear out, then enter the water behind the egg beater. Not only that, but literally at the last minute, Jack decides we should sit on the floating dock, OPPOSITE the first line of guys. When the horn sounds, a hundred men jump off one side of the dock. The whole thing is violently rocked from their inertia, like a giant teeter totter strung across the Savannah river. Those of us sitting down slide down gracefully into the water. Those others standing in the middle are virtually thrown through the air and land with a half-bellyflop to start their mile long swim. And that is how almost five hundred of us entered the water at 8:12A.

The brain does strange things during moments of excitement and stress. Time unhinges. Distances compress. I barely remember the first half mile. It is a blur of elbows and me thinking, "Wow! I'm passing people soooo fast!" That first half mile took like nineteen seconds, in my mind. Then reality crept into the equation. Everytime I tried to sight my way down the course, I'd get an eyeball full of beautiful, burning sunlight. If I tried to angle towards more open water, it would be a fist fight. And if I slowed down, Jack Gazzo was behind me, punching me in the foot in a silent suggestion of hurrying up! Where the first half was over quickly, the second half took an hour. I kept thinking: "Where is the red buoy? I'm ready to get out!" And finally, after only 27 minutes (three minutes ahead of my goal,) we were out, sprawling in front of "strippers" who pulled off our suits, then racing into transition! (And the guy punching me in the foot for a mile? It wasn't Jack! No idea who it was, but he was chasing me the whole way...)

T1 was cool except for the huuuuge gap between the water and my bike. But that is what happens when there are 3500 folks in a race. Could I have rushed through? Sure. Did I breathe, take it easy, and enjoy it? Yup! So I thought it was a nice, smooth transition. And then I was onto the bike for at least three hours.

By ten miles into the course, I was clocking an average of 20MPH. Lots of race adrenaline and my legs were still super fresh. But I knew I couldn't keep pushing myself. Not for another 44 miles. So I stuck with the plan: Relax. Breathe. Enjoy. (Plus I made sure to nail my fuel plan: alternating between gel and half a Stinger waffle every twenty minutes.)

Overall, I was very well prepared (thanks to weeks of listening to Luke!) had a great ride. I was passing people left and right. Some folks passed me. I said, "Good morning!" often. I grabbed bananas on the fly. Cruised up a four kilometer hill. Didn't have a flat. Didn't throw a chain. And before I knew it, we were cruising back into Augusta, where I finished before my 3hr goal.

T2 also blurred. Found my spot, racked the bike, swapped shoes, swapped the helmet for a visor and dashed out. Before I knew it, I was one kilometer into the run, clocking just under six minutes. Ahead of pace! Had to slow down! Relax. Breathe. Enjoy.

So I settled into my decidedly slow pace and tried to survive. By now, it was noon. No clouds. And long gaps without shade or water. Again, the brain gets weird and mine kept telling me: slow down! Even though I wasn't tired or winded. Mainly just hot. The crowd helped, though. People cheering. People holding up signs. Volunteers by the hundreds with water and oranges and more bananas. Despite my turtle pace, I was passing people and almost (almost!) happy. After eight miles, though, something started feeling going sideways and a toe on my left foot (next to my pinky toe) felt like it was bleeding. Don't ask why I thought that. I know it wasn't real. Still, on two occasions I came to a complete stop, pulled off my shoe, pulls off my sock, and made sure my foot was okay. And it was. Thankfully. Anyway, my goal was two hours and thirty minutes. I ended up running a half marathon in about two hours and forty minutes. Could have done better (should have done better!) but I stuck to my plan and didn't gas out. If nothing else, I can say I didn't bonk on my first Ironman.

My goal for the whole race was six hours and thirty minutes. Even with a wonky rear derailer on the bike, a rubbing brake, and two stops on the run, I still finished in 6:11:31.

I crossed the line, bowed my head to receive my medal, and somebody said, "Jon McDougal, you are an Ironman..." To which I responded, "After all of that, damn right I am!" People laughed. Somebody patted me on the back. And there was a photographer there to capture the moment.

Overall, I loved it. Having done more than a dozen other events, this was one of the best. Especially for my first Ironman. I am definitely going back. I am definitely doing other Ironman events. And I'm definitely going to train harder and smarter next season.

I also loved having so many people from my team up there: Luke, Eddie, Jack, Lisa, Kristen, Onnie, David B, David S, J.G., Tish, Gini, Alice, Chris, April, the Kirby's, and like 50 other.

And a special note of thanks & admiration to Luke Davidson for MONTHS of patience, suggestions, and guidance in getting me to Ironman Augusta. I never would have or could have done it without his encouragement and the examples he set for me. He beat me, this time. But we're already planning our next BIG adventure...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Worked from home while Cindy took a day-trip to Jackson. Yet another printing outage. My own account locked out. A missing lunch order. Security theater on display by the AF Base. Gigi's car woes. Pruning down hundreds of work emails. The same with hundreds of backlogged personal emails. Trying to catch up on these journal entries. Fitness plans falling through. Texts. Instant Messages. The agony of sifting signal from the noise of Facebook growing to a crescendo. And all the while, two beautiful growing young kids loom over my shoulders. All compressed into just one sitting.

Tired tired tired of being a nerd.

But it pays the bills.

And I have miles to go before I sleep.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pub Run - 08/13/13

Ran in the rain. Supposedly cooled the raw temperature down to 77. But with heat and steam rising off the streets plus the humidity, it still felt closer to 107. Only did 5K because we didn't know if the weather would clear up, or get worse. Thought we had a good pace. Like 8:15/mile. Ended up being 9:15/mile instead.

Drank my dinner. Took of some of my recent edge. Not enough. But better than nothing. Sobriety is greatly over-rated, but I self-exempt myself after three rounds. Or four.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Anger Issues

We let this stuff build up behind our eyes. Perceived slights. Placing blame. Resentment. A glacial crawl of weight growing, growing, growing heavier on our chest. We don't address our issues. We suffer them in private silence. Maybe we don't know how to voice our differences. Maybe we're scared. But we stuff it down. On top of everything else haunting us.

The vast majority of us are living like literal gods in comparison to the rest of the world. With our air conditioned, internet connected homes and our access to clean water and a reliable power grid. But we take up mental spears. And pierce those we claim to love the most. For even the smallest offenses. Real or perceived. And slowly, oh so slowly, we change. We stop doing small, meaningful things. Stop helping. Stop praising. And it all turns into one long, drawn out conflict. Usually, over nothing.

At the end of the day, we just want to be happy. You should be happy. Let me be happy. Why can't we be happy together. Help each other to get there. Meet in the middle. Cooperate. Compromise. Support the other's goals.

Instead, it is anger issues. And stray thoughts of self-medicating. Over-compensating. Negativity. And resentment. Nothing productive. Or supportive.

Round and round.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Mighty Meg

My Mighty Meg. Such a radiant, seething fireball of beauty and awesomeness. She is the blood in my heart. And fills me with unmeasurable happiness. So, a couple of new milestones for her today.

Last week she auditioned and this week she joined up with Wings for their next production, in October. She started rehearsing today and came home with really cool songs and all her lines. Following in her mother's and grandmother's shoes, there. A long time to go, but she already sounds great. If it were up to Meg, they could do the play in weeks, not months.

And we went ahead and gave her a phone of her own. Middle School and all. Just a flip phone. Mostly for calling if she needs something, or touching base with texts. She's already been sending me messages and has her own blend of ringtones.

How long until she has her own star in Hollywood?

She'll need Daddy manage her webpresence! (Yeah, right...)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Pass Christian Ride - 08/10/13

Up at five. Out by five thirty. Over to Pass Christian War Memorial Park. On the line, ready to roll midway through six.

All manner of friends and fiends joining for their own version of the ride. Different paces. Different paces. How many of us? Fifty? Sixty? Not sure anybody counted. Big group. Bigger each time we do it.

Nice morning. Clear skies. Light traffic. No personal injuries. (This time!) Better fueled. More focused. Smoother pace.

Stayed in the lead pack for the better part of two hours. Me, Luke, Ryker, and a couple of others. Feeling stronger. More confident. Less sore. Getting accustomed to the bike and the new angles.
Due north, from the park. Up to the interstate. Across the hills of Cunningham Road. Further north for extra miles. Then a spin back south. Almost to the tracks. And due west, to the bridge. Across that monster. Still leading the way. Not sure who, if anyone is in front of me as we finally hit the last stretch in Bay St Louis.

After two hours, the final piece of the ride is a long, mostly straight, mostly flat cruise along the beach, ending at the Silver Slipper Casino.

Started losing steam when the first bit of headwind found us. Maybe it was mental. (Probably.) Could have been physical. Needed a break by the casino. Training app crashed. Restarted and made the journey back to Pass Christian. Considerably slower. Lost 20% of my pace on that portion. But finished it without puking, crying, or quitting.

Three hours. Fifty one, fifty two, fifty something miles.

Great way to start the day.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

July Rewind 2013

Heat Wave Classic. 17th Anniversary with Cindy. Summer starts. Hurricane season. The heat begins to visit.
  • Swim: 3.5 miles
  • Bike: 111 miles
  • Run: 13 miles
  • Strength Training: 10 hours
  • Calories burned: 24836

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

My Girls

Days drag. Days fly. Yesterday Meg turned 11. The day before she was born. Last week I'd just gotten married. Last month I met Cindy in a faraway land. And here we are, two hundred years later, trying to figure out, once again, who sleeps where, and when. They play dirty though. My girls team up on me. "But I love you," says the little one. "She's not ALWAYS going to be this way," says the bigger one. And what chance does Daddy have against such concrete logic? What's the use in making two of them unhappy when I should just cave in. Again. And that's our usual dance. But they're happy. And sometimes I have my moments. Won't always be this way, she says. Be nice, she says. My girls.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Pub Run - 08\06\13

Approaching one hundred degrees in the shade. Ran 5K. Breathing in road dust and napalm. Finish in a literal puddle of my own sweat. Toweling off in the muted restroom of Irish Coast Pub. A nerd and his odd obsession. Mostly a social craving. Maybe something to be said about a nagging pseudo-addiction. Run then beer then camaraderie. Not sure which calls the loudest. Probably the booze. Self medicating. Anger issues. No resolution. Just take the edge off of them for a week at most. At least a day. Or three.

Summer in South MS tests the soul. In multiple ways.

Monday, August 05, 2013


Training yesterday wiped me out. Swim was hot.  Bike ride was beyond hot. Approaching painful. Ambient temperature in the shade was 109. With the heat index. Temperature on the road was nearly 115. We intended a two hour ride. But 45 minutes into it, we'd burned 75% of our water and could barely catch our breath. Drenched in sweat. Panting like an old hound dog. We settled for an hour. That turned out to be the worst training event of the year. So far.

Rethinking training. Simply cannot bike late like that in the future. One hour felt like three. The resulting dehydration was severe. And the whole process was likely more destructive than productive.

Maybe try three hours on the training after work. And stick with EARLY rides on the weekend. Swim indoors. Early morning runs before work.

But training in the late afternoon heat isn't going to fly much longer. Augusta or no Augusta. Hard to go to a race if you're dead from heat exhaustion.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Liam At 14

Hopefully a good day for my son, Liam. Had his buddy Bryce over last night. Received a new HTC One phone. (Swwwweeeet!) Golf shirts. Golf shoes. Money. Friends and family swung by. And favorite meal for dinner.

School starts soon enough. Music. Studies. The usual litany of woes a teen has to suffer. Learning to drive soon. Maybe a job in the future? Growing up all too fast. Can we slow down just a bit here?

Pictured below, left to right, Tolar, Liam, Alex, and Meg. In the background, Darren, Amy, Cindy, and Gigi.

And after the break, a video?

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Here's August

What a day. Brutal heat. Swapped out a robotic arm. Wrestled with four different techs, with four different accents, on a super-prolonged Citrix issue. Nearly 11 hours at the office. G'Ma in the hospital after five unexpected ulcers cause massive bloodloss. Liam's new phone. My new Nexus. Cindy's migraine. Missed my THREE workouts. A coworker gets sent home. "Wepons!" Chinese food. And boom, here's August.
What. A. Day.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Widening Gyre

Burned out on the job. Contemplating a long vacation. Burning out on training. Tired of being tired. Cindy growing increasingly frantic as she crowds towards graduation. Stress making her physically ill. Along with the rest of us in her wake. Meg growing with each second. Embarrassed when I hear she has to shave her legs tonight. She's trying out for a theatre group next month. Liam's fourteenth birthday nearing. Next year he'll be driving. Maybe working a little part time gig. On his way to college soon.

My kids, becoming teens. Then adults.

All too soon.

Everyone moving in their own directions. Our orbits expand. An invisible, glacial pace.

Turning and turning in my ever widening gyre. The runner cannot hear what he is running from. Threads unravel. The center never holds.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Click the image. Look closely.

See that tag? Uncle Ted, yo! First sign of trouble.

Notice the equine, yet? In the passenger's seat.

Yep. That's a horse, riding shotgun.

Summer in South Mississippi.

Monday, July 22, 2013


Odd thing about bruises. They remind you of your stupidity at the oddest time. Even when you don't stare at them, they make themselves known. And then there is the constant cracking and flexing of road rash on an also-bruised kneecap. A keen eye will observe three areas of impact. It hurts worse than it looks. Especially when you're trying to watch a show and your daughter decides to poke one of them. We both jump at my reaction. Me from the surprise of pain. Her from the surprise of my yelp. A good laugh for both of us.

Then a run. Five kilometers through the jungle-like humidity of a post-thunderstorm South Mississippi. Felt good. Despite the rivulets of sweat. Should have done more. Trying not to over-do it, though. Short run today. Running drills Wednesday. Long run Friday. Ten weeks until Augusta. It all hinges on my run. In the meanwhile, it just: recover from these bruises.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fueling For A New Week

Long swim today. After a major squall blew through. Tons of newbies. First open water for some. All of us huddled under the pavilion. Wind blasting the rain sideways. Temperature dropped to seventy. Or less. Twenty or so minutes of Nature's abuse, then we hit the water. Full distance for me. For Augusta. Felt good. Just boring. Oddly surreal, swimming in a rainstorm. The lake slightly warm. Cold drops on my arms. Goggles all foggy. Swimming among ghosts.

Came home, grabbed The Boy, and went shopping. Supplies for dinner. Cooked a batch of homemade spaghetti sauce. Complete with grass-fed ground beef. Side of squash + zucchini. Good stuff. Surprised that something I make tastes so good. Went overboard with the fresh oregano, though. Waaaay overboard.

Fueling up for a new week of training.

Near the two month point.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Quick FIx

Didn't leave work until 7P. Dragon slaying is tough stuff. Builds an awful appetite. Came home and needed a quick fix. Ended up with something terribly easy and delicious.

Sauteed a thin-sliced onion in some coconut oil. Threw in some minced garlic. Let that soften up and added half a box of baby spinach. Grabbed a low-carb wrap. Handful of rotisserie chicken. Couple of slices of fresh cheddar from the farmers market. And voila!

Not exactly Paleo, but still super nummy. Didn't  need salsa or sauce or any additional seasoning. 

Actually ate two servings. And there's a happy belly in the house, now.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Neighborhood Run 07/16/13

Another late evening run through the neighborhood. Slightly cooler. Still drenched in sweat. Felt comfortable. 5.7 miles. 54:57. 885 calories. Should have done another half mile. But ended close to the house, on a good note. And significantly less dog-ified, too.

Ten weeks out from Augusta. Got half the distance under my belt. Without any concerns. Just keep pushing my curve. Celebrate the series of small victories. Anyway, feeling much better about the race, now. Slowly and surely, I'll get there.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

To Do List

A day of rest. Almost. Still managed to bang out some things on my To Do List. Chore list for the kids. Laundry. Dishes. Plumbing parts & top soil from Lowes. Working with Liam to mow the grass. And a dash over to Mexican food with Bride & Kids for dinner. All's well that ends well in my book.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Long Beach Hill Repeats

Heat index of 98 degrees. Not a cloud to be found. And yet Jon takes it upon himself to train, outside, after a long day slaying digital dragons. And not just normal training. Oh, no. Something brand new: hill repeats! Which (as it sounds) means attacking a specific set of hills. Over and over.

Forty minutes of that. Nearly 12 miles. Chain popped up. A dog thought about gnawing. And rivulets of sweat flowing freely.

Good training. Along with Eddie, Dr. Jim, Nikki James, and David Sullivan. Hoping to continue through to Augusta. 14 weeks. Practically right around the corner.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

NOLA Visit

Ran this morning. With Luke. Before work. Learning experience there. Terribly hot. Think my system has developed an intolerance for Gu. At least while running. Sat in my stomach like a gnarly little brick. Had to throttle back. And only did 5 miles. Instead of six. Good workout though.

Drove into NOLA, after. Work-related. Check out some potential hardware. Backup to disk. Instead of to tape. Vendor ran a touch late. His client ran later. Met in the bottom of the French Quarter. Obscure sammich shop. Sample of cane-sugar beer. Spinach and artichoke dip. Super delicious pobody. Some kind of slow-cooked pork with garlic and jalapenos all-but-melted into it.

Interesting product. Not sure if we'll take the leap. Or not. Trying to align the moon & stars.

Sweltering on the way in. Mid-90s. Deluge on the way out. High 70s. Three hours of road time. Then office hours.Oh, the lonely life of a wayward geek.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sickness & Health

In three years, only one ailment keeps resurfacing. Sinus infection. 

From the pool. Or lake. Doesn't matter. (Though the lake seems worse.) Pretty simple symptoms: face full of cement. Sometimes burning sensation in the face. Voice turns froggy. And then the sneezing. Fortunately that's the usual extent of it.

Some prescription Claritin and real Sudafed (ie: pseudo ephedrine) knock it out in two days. But, of course, prescriptions run out. And then it is time to dance with Med Analysis, to get more.

Some odd news during today's visit. Should be good. But didn't sit well. Seems Your Humble Narrator has lost more weight. Below 180lbs. First time since the mid-90s. Wasn't actively trying. 185 seemed right. Now that's history. Gotta find a balance point sometime soon. Have either train less or eat more. So that's a no brainer. 

And training is only going to get harder. As Augusta approaches. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Mood getting better. Except when things piss me off. Two examples: 1) The Crossfit folks using the entire six lanes of the lap pool for their crossfitting. Which means there are no open lanes for Jon to do his laps. 2) One of the locals at the office came to tell me about his woes. Twice. We logged in as him. Couldn't duplicate the problem. I showed him, right there in front of him, what to do and how it works. He went back to his office, and called me. Went to another guy's office, and called me. Then emailed me, after-hours. Twice. Finally, he figures out what he was doing wrong the entire time, and everything works like it is supposed to. Which I could claim to possess some magical powers that resolved his woes, but his wounds were all self inflicted.

Since I couldn't swim, I ran tonight. Nearly 10P and I'm dashing through the neighborhood. No socks. Reflectors, from Father's Day, catching headlights. Better than the last couple of runs. But not back up to full speed, yet. Felt good.

I like improvements.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Woolmarket Ride

Post-work ride from the Woolmarket Community Center. The 11 Mile Loop. Trying to chase down Eddie Holmes. Glued to him for six miles. Then fell off.

Have to keep tackling those hills. Get in better shape for Augusta. It won't be flat. And there's nearly sixty miles of them. Thankfully, Your Humble Narrator has plenty of time to work on it.

Feeling better, now. The sweat and physicality and focus cleared some of the cobwebs. Some. Maybe I needed a few days off. To collect my thoughts. Come to grips with my concerns. Fears. I dunno. But I smiled on the ride home. And sang. And felt good. First time in a while. Hope it lasts.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Lots Of Meh

Up with the kiddos. Get Liam to Golf Camp. Work from home to keep an eye on Meg. Lunch time dash to retrieve Liam and food. Then more working from home. Until 5P. And a crushing wave of tiredness descends upon Your Humble Narrator. 

Lots of Meh behind my eyes. About training. About working. About everything in between. Another attack of, "Why do I bother?" With a side order of doubt. And concern for future plans. Race in just over 100 days. Cindy graduates in just over six months. Liam starts driving in just over a year. Meg breaks into her teens in less than two. Holding it all together, one day at a time.

Ended the night craving something hardy for dinner. Manly. Something to sooth my inner carnivore. Thought a Philly cheesesteak would suffice. Favorite place ended up closed. Over to Plan B: Irish Coast Pub. Taunting me with its cider on tap. But I resisted. For whatever stupid reason I've conjured to tell myself not to drink any more. Stuck with a corned beef sammich. White cheese. Bacon. SPICY mustard. Side of eggplant fries. Super double delicious. It sufficed. And then some. 

Needed that little taste of private peace.Maybe it will last long enough.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day 2013

Father's Day 2013. Slept until eight. Some cool, homemade cards waiting for me. And clever nighttime running gear. Good day to be a father. Proud of what I helped create. But still didn't feel perky for most of the morning. General lack of energy. Lack of motivation. One of those, "Why am I doing this?" kind of days.

Didn't go to the lake. Too far. Too much time. Didn't feel like biking. Such oppressive heat. And Luke wasn't riding. Hit the pool, instead. Bored silly. Wanted 2400 meters. Ran low on time. Stopped at 1600. Just not feeling it.

Dinner at Robert's. Father-in-law. With Darren's family. Brother-in-law. Good to see everyone. Good prayer about appreciating the efforts of fathers. Great food. (I ate three burgers!) Cindy made a delicious pineapple rollup. And fun for Liam & Tolar afterwards, sniping cans with Robert's scoped pellet gun.

Should be happier. Not. Can't put my finger on it.Yet. Probably just a mood. Will see.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

May Rewind 2013

Bit late getting this one into place. (June has been busy already.) May was somewhat dull. Training a bit down. But first Olympic of the year. Kids wrapping up school. Cindy wrapping up another semester. Lions. Tigers. And bears. Oh my.

  • Swim: 9 miles
  • Bike: 90 miles
  • Run: 15 miles
  • Strength Training: 6 hours
  • Calories burned: 15710
  • Friday, June 14, 2013

    Friday Night

    Waiting until nearly 10p to run. Beat the heat. First time without socks. (Don't ask why I think these little changes make me faster somehow.) 7K to start. Wary of blisters. One of my best solo runs in ages! The dark computer gods smiling down upon me. Cold shower after. Barely feel its bite. Chocolate milk with dark chocolate covered almonds to recover. And an episode of Madmen. With the dog snoring by my feet. A miniature grizzly bear growling in her sleep. That's Friday for Humble Narrator.

    Thursday, June 13, 2013

    If I Slept

    If I slept, it wasn't long. Four hours? Tops. Or maybe I was just dreaming that I was awake. Tossing. Turning. Trying to get comfortable. Looking for a cold spot on the sweltering sheets. The uncomfortable pillows. Whatever happened, I feel hungover. Tired. Achy. Brain hurts. Eyes hurt. And a big fist behind my eyes eager to punch its way free.

    I never really know if I slept or I'm sleeping now.

    Wednesday, June 12, 2013

    Fitness & Food

    After thirteen hours on Monday and eleven hours on Monday, I get to wrestle with one hundred large worth of new servers. Unbox. Stack. Rack. Power. Network. Load 'em up. Almost a dozen of them. Some weighing 75lbs each.

    Post work is dedicated to fitness. Start with strength training. (New weights this week!) And end with 1500 meters in the pool. Just thirty laps in the fading sunlight. Nothing challenging. But terribly boring. Need some tunes to do the longer distances. Otherwise my brain goes numb around thirty laps and there's little benefit in staying after that.

    Once I get home: time to cook. Tonight's adventure is Jon's Spin Greek. Homemade coleslaw, with Italian Vinaigrette instead of mayo. Lamb sliders, hand formed with sauteed garlic & onions in the mix. I put them on some flat bread then topped them with Greek yogurt. And finally, the appetizer (which didn't we didn't get to sample until the main dish was ready:) baked spinach & feta with sun dried tomatoes on a quartered piece of flatbread.

    Thought it turned out nicely. The lamb (which cooks down like crazy!) was a touch over-done and under-flavored. Should have hand-made some bread for them. But the coleslaw was a huge hit with Cindy. And the appetizer was OH YEAH! good. 

    For a professional nerd, Your Humble Narrator does a fairly good job in the kitchen. Maybe he missed his calling? Or maybe his self-image is a bit skewed...