Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Inspiring - 2013

Interesting event at work today. Part diversity, part sustainability, part pep-rally. I volunteered. Twice. First show, I was armed with a laserized badge scanner. Probably scanned 300 people before it was all said and done. So many familiar faces blurring past.

Second show, I was a dancing usher. Mostly usher. Terrible dancer. Another good time. And many more familiar faces.

Two hour event for the entire staff, three times today. Once tomorrow. Several of the top corporate executives visiting. People clocking in on their off days. Now THAT has got to be an expensive pep rally!

Hopefully somebody is as inspired as I am! But I bet they didn't get a free shirt?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Memphis In May 2013 Training - Week 3

Things did not look good for your Humble Narrator. Dark skies. Temperature dropping. Wind. Rain. And the usual excuses lingering behind the eyes. All these negatives coming together to bring training to a grinding halt. But, never let it be said that I didn't at least TRY...

Thankfully (this time) my efforts paid off. Although the ride to Robinwood bordered on frightening, the lake was relatively calm and lightning free. I put in a great (by my standards) swim, just over 30 minutes for 1800 meters (at a slowish pace.)

Then we changed into biking gear and hit the road. Lisa, Christine, and JG, too. Fairly dry, uneventful ride. With the exception of a dark blur that turned into a barky dog. But otherwise uneventful and satisfying. 

Wanted to run. (Right!) The weather, however, conspired against that. The clouds returned and I feared getting a mile down the road when another deluge hit. Soaking my phone. Exposing me to the chance of a lightning strike. Neither of which sounded pleasant. 

So I called it a day. Picked up some chocolate recovery juice on the ride home. And ended my weekend on a quiet note.

Half way to Memphis!

Sunday, April 07, 2013

March Rewind 2013

Looking back at March with some interesting notes. Another birthday. Liam's gold medal. Meg's choir. Whacking out my back. Not as much training as I wanted. But it was a busy month.

  • Swim: 6 miles
  • Bike: 115 miles
  • Run: 20.5 miles
  • Strength Training: 7 hrs
  • Calories burned: 14787

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Tradition Triathlon 2013

The third annual Tradition Triathlon officially kicked off triathlon season, today. Two hundred and ninety nine other crazy folks drive out into some Mississippi backwoods to test their mettle against each other, against nature, and against themselves.

In 2010, I set out on my current journey. My first stop was an "Intro To Triathlons" with Jim Bourque. There I was "the second worst swimmer" he had ever trained. These days, we go to many of the same races, often setup in transition next to each other, and I always try to get a picture of him to remind me of my humble, pitiful roots.

One of the things that made this event quickly stand out for me was the massive number of volunteers. They were EVERYWHERE. So helpful, and so awesome. Cool that I knew several of them from training, too. Gina & the Vegan Mary (pictured,) John H & Shental, Nancy, and Bob Clarke. They kept all of us going, gave wonderful directions, cheered, directed traffic, and plucked off the pesky timing chip at the end.

The event was really well organized and supported. I liked that the transition had reserved spaces based on our numbers. I was able to get 30min of extra sleep knowing that I didn't have to fight for a rack. Bit crowed between racks, though.

Unfortunately, it was crrrrrazy cold this morning. My phone showed 45 degrees when I woke up. So many folks without wet suits. So many who hand't tried the water ahead of time. I waded in the shallows, acclimatizing. Watching them shiver. Their lips trembling. Uncontrollably. I offered tips. But they should have planned ahead.

We could see our breath as we waited in line for the swim. I was number sixty. There was no official USAT and we entered the water maybe two seconds apart. The line moving at a near-jog. Waded up to my chest. Then took the plunge.

Spotted the trouble quickly. Several people flipping over. Onto their back. Not even a third the way into it. One guy doing an odd combination of backstroke and butterfly. "Stand up!" I shout. He looks at me like I'm the one freaking out. Then he stands. Because it is shallow. And he can catch his breath while I swim on. Passed several other folks on their backs. One lady to my left yelling, "Help me!" and reaching for a kayak. Threading my way through a cluster of bad/scared swimmers. I'm worried about getting smacked or dragged down. My technique was shit, though. Too cold to focus on rhythm or form. Created drag with a bad stroke. Didn't reach far enough. Could have done better. Didn't. But I didn't stop to catch my breath. Didn't have to stand up. Felt strong coming out and jogged to the transition.

Bike started great. Powered up the first hill, passing several folks who were NOT ready for it to hit them so soon. Caught Jim during the first mile. Passed him for a little bit. Then he found his legs. By the third mile I couldn't easily pace him. Thankfully no wind. All the awesome thirtysomething women passing me: Jackie, Megan, Kat. I passed a couple of folks. But mostly it was familiar faces passing me. Eddie. JG. Allan. I really need a better bike one of these days. Mine just doesn't slice through the air enough. Or maybe it is my angle of attack. Or, most likely, I'm just not good enough to compete with these folks. But I finished pretty strong. Lost my bearings briefly in transition. But thought I did a great job of getting in and out pretty quickly.

The run was good, for me. Passed Jim and a couple of unfamiliar faces. Didn't get passed too much, which made me happy. Finally settled in behind Crystal. Shouldn't have gotten so comfortable, but her pace was close to mine. Told myself, "If she doesn't stop, I'm not stopping." And tailed her for the better part of two miles. Later, she'd tell me that she heard me behind her and it helped push her. (And she'd finish first in her age group.)

I finished in 1:38:27. A new personal record for me. 60th place out of 300. But only 15th out of 21 in my age group. I didn't get any medals. No awards. Just a bottle of cider from Nancy and some other dull loot. But, I beat all my previous attempts. And I felt good at the end. That's enough for me. It has to be.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Cindy's Birthday 2013

It's funny seeing the other cards Cindy gets this time of year. Her friends overtly commenting about sagging boobs, wrinkles, gray hair, drinking excessively, and chasing younger men. Being her spouse, I don't get such privileges. In fact, I have to walk this crazy line of being too serious and not serious enough. Quite unpleasant, to be honest, but fortunately it only happens once a year.

I usually try to defuse the conflict of aging plus two decades of stale romance by dusting humor over an attempt at classic love notes. The card was a Victorian lady in full royal attire saying, "These Spanx are killing me." And inside I quoted The Bard:
"To me, fair bride, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I eye’d,
Such seems your beauty still."
For good measure, threw in a gift certificate for an hour massage as well as some muted red Rachael Ray stoneware. Combination seemed to work. Either she liked it or Cindy's a far better actress than the media paints her to be. What do those critics know, anyway? Right?

Lunched with the whole family (rare for a weekday! But the kids were off, she was off, and I cut out of work to eat) at Shaggy's, in Biloxi. Kids had some really nummy chicken tenders. I had a pulled pork sammich. And Birthday Girl had some fish tacos that didn't meet her approval. Lack of booze wasn't welcomed. But a necessity. And we didn't notify our server of the occasion because Cindy would have stabbed me in the eye with a salad fork if I had publicly aired mention of her birthday.

Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I have the first triathlon of the season, tomorrow morning. I'll be in bed early. Cindy will be in bed late. Won't be any additional celebrations. But I think she enjoyed everything I put together for her. I tried, at least. If not, her disappointment will have to sit between us, for another year.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

A Brief Chuckle

Massive project at the shop. Tensions get high when we have to bring down the entire gaming floor for twelve hours. Few people in the mood for my particular brand of inappropriate humor. And then some servers unexpectedly arrive moments before lunch. Physical servers, mind you. Old school. Have to rack and stack and power and cable them. Burn down an OS. If I can find a disk. Which I didn't. Or at least not the right one. For nearly three hours. Completely screwed by the wrong .iso image (since it was unlabeled) and my DVD burner (which killed a dozen disks.) Then the configuration dance. And the seemingly endless waltz of update-reboot-update-reboot. By the end of my day, I'd put in 12 hours behind the screens.  Missed my training. Missed a funeral for a coworker. And missed dinner with the family. But, if those servers didn't get built, I didn't get to go home. That's how things play out when the gaming floor is involved.

On the way to the car, a brief chuckle. Obscure little "my family" sticker. Vader as the father. Female storm trooper for the mother. And two young Jedi knights from the Clone Wars' cartoon. First time in hours I had laughed. Needed it. Reminded me: this too shall pass.

Could use more chuckles. And more reminders. All these woes, they too shall pass.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Pub Run - 04/03/13

Me and seven ladies. And the wind. And the threat of rain. Made for an interesting run.

I lead the way. Music in my head. Two miles one way. Two miles back. Felt good. Felt strong. Getting less and less ungodly each week. Even though this is week seventeen.

The usual beers after. The usual talk of work and woes and which races the future holds and who is doing what and when. The closest thing I have to a social life. And I don't many of them know my name. Aside from the bartender.

But it is better than a punch in the mouth.

Until next week.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Spring Reunion 2013

A rare treat brought several of us old friends today  Bryan Hunt came into town, with his girls Abbie & Lanie. Robbie Blue & Pat Wilz showed up. I brought Meg with me.

Started off at Bryan's hotel, playing Munchkins with the whole crew. The girls were especially amazing. Picking up the rules so quickly, helping out everyone, and being so amazingly generous. Completely un-like a couple of boys locked in pre-pubescent combat as they one-up each other. Much much easier to deal with little girls. Was a great time.

After a hard-fought game (Your Humble Narrator won, with the help of Lady Gaga) we went to Long Beach, for dinner. Settled at Harbor View. The girls all coloring and talking at one end. The mens all talking and playing at the other. Pat whipped out a game called Coup. Robbie won, by one coin. And we all enjoyed dinner afterward. With the girls packing in some ice cream and begging not to leave until they spent some more time together.

Ended up playing a completely different card game, back at the hotel lobby. Pretty simple rules with a simple objective. Your Humble Narrator won four out of four games. And then we threw in the towel.

An all around great night. Times like this I wished more of the old gang lived down here. But South Mississippi is an acquired taste. And some of the crew were able to escape with their sanity intact. The rest of us suffer our sanity or wallets, or both. But the rate reunion is a welcomed escape from our individual realities. Hopefully, it won't be so long before the next one.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Curse You, Backlog!

Dropped my phone last weekend. Instantly rendered it completely useless. Lost a couple of weeks of pictures and videos on it. So that bummed me out.

I probably have three dozen entries to post and not enough time or braincells to post them.

I'll try to catch up, soon. But some stuff is lost in the ether. (sigh)