Monday, December 29, 2014

The 4HB "5K to 50K" 12 Week Program - 2nd Try - Week 7

Week 7 took two weeks. Holidays and what not. Did not adhere to the plan rigidly. Instead, if a WOD (workout of the day) at the gym was harder than the WOD on the program, we went with the gym's prescribed workout.

Several items of note, thus far:
  • Still not sure if this plan could actually get you to 50K. That's 31 miles! And there are very few runs of even HALF that distance in the plan. At least so far. Plus, there's a mental aspect of pushing yourself that far and that long. And there's no discussion at all about fueling before, during, or after long runs. Such knowledge only comes from extensive experimentation. None of which are touched in the program.
  • Despite my reservations, my pace is enormously improved. Averaging around 8:45/mile without significant effort. Pushing the pace drops it right at 8:00/mile. But slow and steady is a better choice!
  • Did a 10K race (Pass to Bay) and had TWO personal records. 6 miles in 53 minutes and 10K (6.2 miles) in 54:24! Previous 6 mile record was 54min and previous 10K (6.2 miles) was right at an hour! Very VERY! happy with those results.
  • Strength and conditioning is a little tricky because my thinking is constantly: don't get hurt, don't get hurt! But after finishing the workout, my thoughts become: should have tried hard, should have done more weight! Frustrating. But the goal IS to remain healthy and injury free.
  • During sprint work, it doesn't even feel like running with my own legs. Feels like somebody else's form. Somebody else's legs. Wow!
2/3rds the way through!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pub Run - 12/16/14

An easy 5K to test the knees and ankles. Multiple slow moments when some shady characters appeared in the distance and the lady runners were behind me. Still managed to finish a few seconds short of 29 minutes. Non-stop would have dropped it into the 27min range. No REAL suffering. Minor pinch in the RIGHT knee. But that is likely due to compensating for the right ankle. Played it smart: slow and steady. Happy with the results. That's enough, for me.

Afterwards, the usual folks at the usual drinking spot, but an unusual meal. Ben, owner of Irish Coast Pub. was kind enough to share a portion of his Mother-In-Law's home-made kimchi. Her being a native Korean who buries her creations in mason jars in the ground for up to a year, it was infreakingcredible stuff. Almost TOO hot. Pushed my personal limits on spice. Nearly crossed into "Oh my God, this hurts!" territory. But beer soothed the pain and it was one of the most challenging meals Your Humble Narrator has had in many moons.

Only in South Mississippi can you run 5K with your friends, then enjoy Korean BBQ tacos in an Irish Pub!

Monday, December 15, 2014

The 4HB "5K to 50K" 12 Week Program - 2nd Try - Week 6

My last attempt at the 4H Challenge was effectively over mid-way into Week 6. And this week proved to be just as challenging! Work and short term injuries colluded to slow my progress and all the previous disappoints briefly flickered before my eyes. But actually turned out fine and were it not for some isolated soreness, things would be great right now. Very happy with the progress and looking forward to the second half of the adventure! Only six more weeks and the final adventure should be the Rock & Roll in New Orleans, in late January.

Here's an overview of Week 6:

  • Monday was an unscheduled rest day, primarily due to work. Didn't help that my posterior felt bruised from a ride the day before!
  • Tuesday was pretty brutal. In the morning was some back squats (3 sets of 5) then a series of power cleans and burpees (21/21, 15/15/ 9/9.) And the evening held a 5 mile run, pacing with Amber. She really pushed it at the end and we averaged right at 9m/mile even with 2 or 3 brief walks.
  • Wednesday was 300 jump ropes, 50 box jumps, 50 hand release push ups, and 50 knees to elbows. I think we started off by practicing push jerks and split jerks, too. (Should NOT have done most of that based on the next day's training.) 
  • Thursday was 10 mile trail run! Notable mainly for actually doing it and for multiple falls, including once rolling my ankle and hearing an obscenely loud POP than still (5 days later) is acutely painful at certain angles of movement. 
  • Friday? Oh yeah, very much a rest day! But soaked in the hot & cold tubs. 
  • Saturday ended up being just a brief (Occam's Protocol) workout with Liam plus some more soaking.
  • Sunday ended up being ANOTHER rest day due to too many projects. And much rest was needed.
Week 7 promises more of the same. But we're half way done, now. Onward and upward!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

One Long Endless Sunday

My weekends are never entirely my own. Not for more than two decades. Fortunately, they keep me entertained. And, truth be known, most of my long training events occur on the weekend. So a busy schedule keeps Your Humble Narrator happy and healthy,

First adventure? Bit of electronic skulduggery at My Parent's House. The "security light" in the back yard recently gave up the ghost. It needed to be replace. Who is going to do it? My 68 year old father? My 66 year old mother? Liam? Nay, nay friends. IronNerd gets to shamble up the slender pole and try his luck.

It unfolds like this: My narrow butt (weighed down with tools and climbing gear) scaling a ladder. My father bracing said ladder and offering advice about securing myself to the pole (God help me!) as well as pseudo-racist electrical instructions ("Black to black, white to white...") for wiring the new light. My son wandering around investigating what's what, shuffling up the ladder to hand me tools, and standing by the breaker box ready to flip the power when Paw Paw Mac yells, so that his father (me!) doesn't get cooked atop a fiberglass ladder from the 80s. Two bungee cords around my waist. And a frayed, ancient rope, too thick to be properly knotted, pretending to bind the ladder to the pole. Not a pleasant process. Much damage done to the blood pressure. Most of the process done one-handed, breath-held, a prayer threatening to come out. With vertigo and an illusion of being far too high commingling in my imagination to obscenely affect gravity in unfamiliar ways. Dad yelling up encouragement. Liam asking how much longer. Dogs swirling frantically. And this is a LOT OF DAMN WORK just to light up a back yard. But eventually, it got done. Then there was much rejoicing and hugs and thanks and reminders of why we moved back: for moments like this.

Second adventure? Getting Liam to drive from the Winn Dixie parking lot to Murky Waters, for lunch. For those not intimately familiar with the route, it is a straight shot with only a couple of stops and two short turns along the way. Much like His Mother / My Bride, Liam likes to make everything much more complicated than it has to be. He thinks there are rules for everything and needs reinforcement that: everything is okay, he is doing well, and (most importantly) we aren't going to die in a fiery explosion if he makes any small mistakes. But, joking aside, we lived, he listens well, and (with lots of positive reinforcement)  he does fine when he relaxes. The resulting lunch was (as usual) in-freaking-credible and the Burnt Ends sammich from Murky Waters is without a doubt one of the top three in the world. Three word review: delicious, delicious, delicious. And that's without washing it down with Mystery Orchid. (Coffee stout + Hard Apple Cider!)

Third adventure? Rescuing Meg after a long volunteer effort at Lynn Meadows. Took Molly as my wingman. (Or is it wingdog?) Slow roll over to the show. Find an illegal parking spot up front. Roll down the window. And wait. Molly sniffing the air. IronNerd tethering his tablet to his cell phone (NERD!) and working on his blog. Oh, the terrible slings and arrows we suffer these days. It's all one long endless Sunday...

...and here comes Meg!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

On The Trail With IronNerd

Last year, Week 6 of the 4HB Challenge signaled a major turning point in my life. For the first time, things felt GREAT during a run. Lighter. Faster. Stronger. Would the program be a game changer? Would my efforts and determination be rewarded? It all felt great going into the halfway point of the training. But the first significantly long run of the Challenge was also my last. After breaking THREE personal records that night, my 2014 season was unofficially over before it began.

Today marked a cautious return to that same training plan. No PR's though. (Not gonna happen again!) Slow and steady on The Tuxachanie Trail. Unfortunately it was a solo event as my wingman (LUKE!) tore up his own knee on a run this past weekend (on the same trail!) And the length of the adventure cost me a vacation day. But it was well worth it.

Several lessons were learned during this adventure:

  • If you are going to do a 15k+ trail run at 1PM, you should eat more than a protein bar for lunch. 
  • Never trust the MS Gulf Coast weather to stay cold for very long. Long sleeve running weather can turn into near-shirtless running weather quicker than you'd imagine.
  • Nature has an evil trick on trails: holes are easily covered with pine straw. (At 3.5 miles into the run, my right foot found one and something popped in my ankle. Walked off the worst of the pain. But it was sore the rest of the way!)
  • The forest isn't full of wildlife like you see in movies. Aside from a lone armadillo sullenly enjoying its lunch, nothing crossed my path or appeared to lurk in the distance. 
  • Last, but more importantly,you should NOT do hundreds of jump ropes and box jumps the night before your trail run!
Anyway... Turned around at the 5 mile marker.  58:47, including a 10min walk after the first 5K. Felt PRETTY good. Significantly under my 10K pace. But glad to be half way into it.

Word of advice. Trail running isn't street running. You get beat up on the trail. Back. Knees. Ankles. Calves. They all suffer. Mightily. So my complaints came as no surprise. Around 6.5 miles, my left ankle started acting up. Fortunately, it wasn't horrible. And left to its own devices, my brain would frequently shutup and my body would pick up the pace.

Walked most of the last mile. Still finished just under two hours. Surprised at my pace towards the end. Was rarely struggling to keep breathing. Wasn't really tired. Mainly just sore in the ankles. But NOT in the knees! Thankful for that.

Overall, fun excursion. The trail was great. The weather held up. And so did IronNerd. Though waking up in the morning might reveal a different story...

Monday, December 08, 2014

The 4HB "5K to 50K" 12 Week Program - 2nd Try - Week 5

Tough week. But stuck as close to the plan as possible. Some of it clobbered me. Some of it was a touch easy. Still getting stronger. And runs are getting easier. Approaching the half way point. Approaching the week that caused me to tap out. Nervous in one moment. Eager in the next. But never bored!

Here's the breakdown of Week 5:

  • Monday - Back Squats (3 sets of 5) then Front Squats & Pull-ups 21/15/9.
  • Tuesday - 5.5 miles in 50 minutes!
  • Wednesday - 5 rounds of 300 single unders on the jump rope + 25 burpess (44:44!)
  • Thursday - 5 rounds of 10 hang power snatches + 30 x 24" box jumps
  • Friday - Didn't go right, with work, and ended up being a rest day
  • Saturday - Light workout with Liam (Occam's Protocol) 
  • Sunday - Scheduled Rest Day
Next week, the 15K revisited!

Thursday, December 04, 2014

IronNerd's Office

My fifth favorite passion (aside from: family, fitness, reading and food:) is technology. Counted among  my many blessings is being able to earn a living by literally playing for hours with all manner of digital geekery.

Today, for example, my day was spent getting a new workstation (far left) online. At one point, my desk had three PCs (with three different versions of Windows) straddling SEVEN screens. All controlled by just a single mouse & keyboard. For bonus Dork Points, my convertible laptop and much-beloved tablet are included in the group photo.

For the techno-curious:

  • Top two monitors (currently) work off my oldest PC, barely visible as a silhouette under the phone. Something like a Dell 520, from 2005. Runs Windows XP. 4GB of RAM. 70GB drive. Usually handles non-corporate adventures and has Office 2007 for helping users running that version. 
  • Bottom four monitors currently work off an oldish Dell XPS system, the silver tower under my tablet. Probably refurbished around 2012. Quad core, 64bit, 8GB RAM, 200GB drive, Windows 7. Monitors the data center, handles all corporate adventures, and has Office 2010. 
  • Currently squatting on the left, under the sad lonely screen, is the New Baby. Sweet little Inspiron with an quad core i7, 16GB of RAM, smoking fast 512GB SSD drive, and (finally) a functional DVD burner. Took me HOURS of updates but it is finally running a fully patched Windows 8.1 with Office 2013. It will replace the Windows XP box and serve as a heavy lifter to do some VM work. Especially a virtualized Windows 10. (Gotta stay ahead of the curve.)
  • The laptop is a Dell XPS One that has stolen my heart. (Typing on it right now.) Also runs Windows 8.1. Also has an SSD. And boots from a cold stop to fully logged in within 5 seconds. Love it, love it, love it! Mainly use it for working remotely, and typing out my rants on Tales From The Eye. Great for watching videos, too!
  • Of course the tablet is a 2nd generation Nexus 7. This thing will completely change your digital life. Only reason to get on my home PCs these days is to play a video game. Almost everything else done on a regular basis is done on the N7. Ultra portable. Ultra functional. This thing is a game changer.
  • Tying all the Windows devices together with screen/keyboard/mouse sharing software: Synergy. Allows me to move across all the screens seamlessly. Could probably run it on the tablet, if needed, since Synergy has a Linux client. 
  • A keen eye will spot my favorite coffee up lurking amid the packets and LCDs. Something old, something new. 
Combine it all together, and you have the modern IronNerd. Welcome to my world.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Ron's Nuts

First present and first Christmas card of the year turned out to be something exciting and unique: Ron's nuts. My buddy, Meinsler, sent some  Pennsylvania Black Walnuts. Straight from his back yard to  my front door. Ron warned that his nuts were unusually hard. They could wreck a normal nut cracker. So he included special instructions for getting into his nuts. Something involving a hammer plus a steel plate. And Ron warned that his nuts had a very distinct taste. They not something you just immediately try to devour. You have to get to know them. Slowly. And take your time with them. They're very special nuts, and Your Humble Narrator is very happy to have a friend willing to share them with him. Plus, Ron beat everyone in the race to share their love with me! And that goes a long way in my book.

So, thanks, Ron! Your nuts were well received at my house! Even the dog has been enjoying a good sniff of them.

Monday, December 01, 2014

The 4HB "5K to 50K" 12 Week Program - 2nd Try - Week 4

Week 4 fell upon the long Thanksgiving Holiday Week. The program is starting to pick up steam. Presenting more challenges. On time and scheduling and recovering. Sticking with it as close as possible. Only a few minor strays and those were close to unavoidable.

Here's the breakdown of Week 4:

  • Monday - 400M sprints in the morning that were terrible because of my efforts to shift to the Pose Method of running. Front Squats and Deadlifts in the afternoon that weren't so bad.
  • Tuesday - Only one workout with the deceptively difficult Hang Squat Cleans & Push Presses. 
  • Wednesday - 5 mile run. Not as bad as the 10K the other week. Fairly slow and easy but still managed just over 10min pace.
  • Thursday - Couldn't really train but did "play football" with Liam & Tolar & Stewart after lunch. But of a workout with the running and jumping. And Your Humble Narrator actually scored three touchowns!
  • Friday - Missed the run (2 x 1mile) but caught the WOD: Power Snatch + 200m rows followed by 600 single-under jumps.
  • Saturday - A "Linda" workout that only got half finished. Gym weights handle differently than Crossfit weights and Saturday's workout was awkward and perhaps a bit excessive. But, got it done.
  • Sunday - Needed to recover. Felt rundown and fought off headaches. 
Still feeling good. Feeling much more comfortable with the weights and workouts than the first attempt. Hoping that is a good sign. Approaching the halfway point. And Week 6 includes a 15K trail run!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Change Of Plans

First change of plans: today becomes a rest day. No training outside. Too cold. Too rainy. Freak arctic front pushing down to our humid shores. Low temperatures are one thing. But sprints in the rain? Not conducive to healthy knees or ankles. So, rest day it is.

Second change of plans: Dad did not need me & Liam to help move the 'fridge. Took off a smidge early. Picked up Kidd Maestro Then, no go. But Liam made the highest school on his Advanced Science test today. So he got to pick dinner. Wanted brisket. Instead, he gets burnt ends! Finest BBQ in South Mississippi. And he finished his sammich first. Of course he didn't have two pints of local brew. But who is counting?

Third change of plans: Work from home. (sigh) Director from the office asks for a favor. Can't really say no. And once more into the breech. Might as well. There's no rest for the weary.

But we had a great meal. And it was good while it lasted 

Life is good.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

An Unexpected PR

The Program. The Program. Haunting all my thoughts. Today it called for some posterior chain work. Back Squats at 80%. Two each minute, for 10 minutes. Then Deadlifts at 90%. One each minute, for 8 minutes.

Started with Coach Aaron and a warmup circuit. Three rounds of: 100m sprint, 10 box overs, 10 kettlebell swings, and 10 ring dips. Then Ollie stretches. Some PVC work. And hamstring stretches with the bands. Cobwebs removed. Ready to work.

Hit the prescribed exercises. 165lbs on the back squats. Bar heavy across sore trapezoids. Focus on breathing. And form. Felt great for 80%. Lots of strength and room to grow. Could have done more. But protecting my spine. Risk adverse these days. No race or reward worth permanent damage.

On to deadlifts and an unexpected PR. Used the lifting straps to take pressure off Frankenthumb. Standard grip. Worked up to something like 265! A record for Your Humble Narrator. And Sara said there was room for at least another forty pounds. But a PR is a PR. More in the future. See above, re: risk aversion.

Very happy. Very excited. Couldn't do these weights last year. Now they're comfortable. Consider that a victory.

Stay healthy, Jon. Stay. Healthy!

Monday, November 03, 2014

The 4HB "5K to 50K" 12 Week Program - Second Attempt

For the newcomers, The 4-Hour Body is a book from Tim Ferris that focuses of maximizing personal improvement with a minimum of time and effort. In it, he offers up a 12 week program to take you from 5K (3.1 miles) to 50K (31 miles) with far less training than you would ever imagine. For additional details, please check out my first post, my initial warnings, my prep work, or my first week of results. Lots and lots of background and insightful information there.

As a reminder/spoiler, my first effort to complete the 4HB 12 Week Program was cut short in the 7th week due to my own over-zealousness. Powered too aggressively through a 15K training run and my knees were ruined for the rest of the season. It was a difficult, painful lesson. Very demoralizing and the low-point of the year.

But now we're back and better than ever! Plenty of strength and health and personal wisdom. Won't be any knee-shattering endurance events, this time. Also incorporating daily stretches, chiro support, and hopefully some yoga days into the program. 

As with last time, the goal is to increase my running speed, quality, and duration. The final week will conclude just before the Rock & Roll Half Marathon in New Orleans. Then we proceed to eventually attempting a full marathon and a full Ironman by the end of 2015. 

So join me again, dear friends. Once more into the breach! And we'll see if Tim Ferris is right, wrong, or something entirely different.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Thoughts Linger

Plunging a toilet clogged by somebody else's... um...  issue...  is a terrible, maddening experience. Trying to avoid looking at the obvious while eagerly anticipating the telltale swirl of success. The odd dance of force plus delicacy required to avoid splashing. Praying no hint of funk slips past the shirt clutched maddening up over your nose. Time dilates. The bowl grows to enormous proportions in your vision. And nearly every beat of your heart brings you closer to either abandoning the effort, puking, or both

But what are you going to do? It must be done. And you're the best resource for it. Will anyone know you did it? Would anyone care you did it, if they knew? Will you get the slightest bit of appreciation or thanks for your efforts? Can any reward be worth the hideously foul effort? Likely, no to all of those.

But you do it. You suffer. You receive nothing. Aside from a place to safely pee. Nobody asks. You don't tell. And other than one or two infrequent readers of your obscure self-therapeutic blog, nobody in your life is aware that you plunged that nasty toilet.

That, my friends, is love.

(Or you have to pee, badly.)

But then a rare moment of clarity: How many people in my life have plunged toilets on account of my issues without my knowing or my thanks or my appreciation?

(How many people in yours?)

Such thoughts linger. Long after the bowl clears.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Jason & Sara McDougal

On a beautiful Autumn day, November 1st, 2014, my brother and his beloved fiance, Sara Earl, were married in a sunset ceremony, in front of dozens of their friends & our family, at Grass Lawn, overlooking the beach. It was my honor and pleasure to be his Best Man. Helping to herd the cats, so to speak. And do my best to keep him calm while avoiding any accidental meetings between the Bride and Groom. (Mission accomplished!) A fun, laid back adventure throughout the whole process. Couldn't ask for better conditions or happier, more attentive people to be involved in the event.

Jason, as you might reasonably imagine, grew nervous as the predestined time approached. The music started playing. Folks standing everywhere. Ever chair filled. We were ensconced in our designated position, talking with Pastor Wayne, when the first hint of panic fell upon him. "Okay, there goes my heat rate." We practiced a couple of deep breaths, pretended to straighten his outfit, had him straighten mine, and the distraction worked. The mothers were seat, and off we went.

Sara was as cool as penguin's bum in winter. Incredibly beautiful and poised even in the light of the pending adventure. It was my honor to bring up the wedding dress and help position it for the photographer. Helped with some of the Bride's Maid's requests. And stole a quick picture before things got hectic. Very proud to have her in the family and I think she is a wonderful influence and parent for my adorable niece, Morgan. Welcome aboard, Sara. We're thrilled to have you!

The service went off without a hitch. Morgan brought the rings straight to me then behaved very professionally. The three of them performed a sand ceremony to unite them as a family. Then the couple performed a rose ceremony and followed up with the more traditional vows and promises and merriment. The wedding party exited. Pictures. More pictures. Finally drinks and food and good times had by all.

One of the highlights of 2014, for me. Thankful to have been a part of it. And looking forward to seeing more of the newest member of the family!

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Previously Unimaginable

If you do not have any sort of background in physical fitness, doing even the shortest triathlon (a Sprint) is a major undertaking. When you're standing at the beginning of that race, it is most likely the single biggest physical challenge of your life. In the back of your head, you know there are bigger races, other distances. But such things are unicorns to you. You may never find them. And at that movement, the thought of finishing a full Ironman event borders on inconceivable.

Four years after starting my first Sprint triathlon, the previously unimaginable has become a reality: Your Humble Narrator is registered for the 2015 Ironman Chattanooga. Full distance event. One year away.

As previously noted, 2014 was a wash for triathlons. But 2015 will see new goals and new training methods. The current plans include:

  • Returning to the 50K training that went TOO well last year.
  • Continuing to stretch very aggressively, including daily exercises and yoga multiple times per week. 
  • Continuing to rehab sore muscles with sauna and cold bath therapy.
  • And focusing on improved running form, most likely adopting the pose method
A year will go by quickly. Thankfully, my base isn't bad. Just need to enhance the good stuff and make positive adjustments to the bad stuff. Eat right. Sleep right. Train right. And get the job in 364 days!

Simple as that.

Friday, September 26, 2014

10Q - Day Two

For the second question, on Day Two, 10Q asked:
Is there something you wish you had done differently this past year?
My answer:
Tough to narrow down the selection! But one of my frequent challenges is waking up early At the house, things do not get done as easily when the family is awake. So my productive time is when they're asleep. But that often isn't until 10P. And on the weekends, even later. If my schedule shifted to the morning, things like running and Crossfit would work better. But hitting that snooze alarm is sooo easy. As turning off the alarm all together. Changing my sleeping to maximize my productivity is high on the priority list. But equally high in difficult. So it keeps getting pushed back. Year after year.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

10Q - Day One

10Q started their second year of questions this week. The sight was inspired by the traditional 10 days of reflection that occur between the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, a period of time that’s long been considered an opportunity to look at where you're at, where you've come from, and where you're heading.

Their first question was:
Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?
After giving it some thought, my answer was:
2014 started with new inspirations and a new, untested training program. Having been a poor runner all my life, the program focused on improving my weaknesses. Halfway into it, a long run was scheduled. 15K. Just over 9 miles. For the first time in (literally) decades, a sense of strength and certainty overcame me. My legs felt powerful. My chest wasn’t struggling for air. And there was no slowing me down. It turned into my fastest training 5K ever (though there were faster ones at official races) but it was also my fastest recorded 10K and my fastest 15K. Everything was glorious and magical and things were going to change for the better! 
Until the next morning. My knees were shot. Especially the left. It felt as if somebody were sliding a knife under my kneecap with each step. Walking was difficult, at best. Training was impossible. And the disappointments were just beginning.   
The new training program had to be canceled. My first triathlon of the season resulted in a significantly slower time than the previous year. My first half Ironman had to be canceled. And every race after that was either canceled, or slower. 2014 turned out to be my worst season since starting. A total disaster. 
The end result was less time with my friends. More feelings of doubt and uncertainty. And a renewed sense of depression that hadn’t been felt in years. It was a huge personal and emotional step backwards. 
The experience was less about physical pain and more about personal disappointment. But perhaps it taught me a lesson about pacing myself. And instilled a new sense of caution. In this world there are different types of mistakes. Good ones that we learn from. And bad ones that we repeat over and over without ever realizing the error of our ways. Hopefully this was a good one. Only time, and next year's racing season, will tell.
One down. Nine more to go. Thank you, 10Q for the adventure. Perhaps a few of my friends will take up your gauntlet, too!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


"We all make choices, but in the end, our choices make us."
-Andrew Ryan, Bioshock

Driving her to school this morning, Meg asks: Do you believe in destiny, Daddy?

My answer ran something along the lines of:  I believe in choices, BabyBear. I don't think we should ever accept to be victims of circumstances. We should work to be products of our decisions. I believe that between what happens to us and what happens next is our choice. The trouble is that good decisions  come from experience while experience often comes from bad decisions. But we shouldn't let fear or anyone else decide our destiny for us. I think we make our own destiny. And where we are now, good or bad, is the result of all our previous choices.

Probably more than a twelve year old needs to hear before 8AM. Blaming the coffee. And reading too much Shakespeare. And being a long-winded nerd.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Disappointing 2014 Triathlon Season

From the highs of finishing Augusta to this. My season is officially over. Total for 2014: one race. Traditions. And didn't improve over last year's pace.

Plenty of training. Plenty of conditioning. Some of the new changes (like cold pool & sauna therapy) appear to have helped. My biking feels stronger. My swimming feels stronger. But after that faithful, record breaking run in February, my knee was never the same. And it is hard to complete a triathlon without running.

New plan? Get back to strength and conditioning. Get back on the 14 week training program. Focus on my running. Do some half marathons. Consider a full marathon. Then train with Jack & Luke for IMKY in 2015.

That's the plan. For now. And we all know how well my plans go...

Monday, September 22, 2014

Maybe Next Year

Beach2Battleship is a no go, this year. Maybe next year. Not comfortable with The Knee Situation While everything is seemingly normal, there's no definitive explanation for the most recent bit of woe. Inflammation? Repetitive stress injury? Bad case of O-L-D? (shrug)

Luke told me, "You've never given your knee a chance to REALLY heal." And looking back, he's right. So pushing through 12 weeks of Half Iron Training would not be a Good Thing (tm.)

So, one more Almost Race in the books for Your Humble Narrator. If they gave medals for Good Intentions, there would be boxes of them in the garage.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ten Books/Authors That Have Inspired Me

My world-wandering friend Alexandria Murray challenged me to list Ten Books that inspired me. Friends and family know books are an addiction of mine. Rarely does a night go by without at least a few pages of reading. Some nights, it is hours of reading. There's a strong chance that Your Humble Narrator suffered from undiagnosed depression when he was a Late Teen, and reading was the only thing that helped him get through those dark, dark days. So this challenge must be taken up!

Unfortunately, picking only ten is impossible. So my list is actually going to be:

Top Ten Books/Authors That Have Inspired Me
  1. Fast Food Nation - Eric Schlosser - McDonald's hasn't received a single dime from me in almost 10yrs because of this book. Not only does it expose the seedy practices of the fast food industry but it elaborates on the war that corporations wage against consumers, wherein our health is sacrificed for corporate profits and their biggest advantage is our ignorance of their profit-driven practices. This changed everything about nutrition and eating for me.
  2. A People's History of the United States - Howard Zinn - Mind blowing. This one started me on my path to uncover other deceptions. So many of our beliefs are founded on myths and the truth is often strangers than fiction and usually difficult to swallow after being fooled so effectively for so many years.
  3. You Are Being Lied To - Russ Kick - A collection of world shattering essays that shed light on soooo many dark places. Dozens of articles and each a gift to curious minds. Where as Zinn discusses our past, Russ Kick deals with the modern world. And the Pandora's Box he opens has scarred me for life.
  4. Man's Search for Meaning - Viktor Frankl - This helped me understand the curse of materialism and the value of creating and maintaining happiness between each of us. 
  5. Getting Things Done - David Allen - Brought structure to my chaos and helped me understand the value of structured, orderly approaches to dealing with most situations.
  6. The Dreams in the Witch House - H.P. Lovecraft - As far as fiction goes, this was the first story from the first author that completely absorbed my attention. Have read every story from Lovecraft and his style of writing continues to have an effect on my own.
  7. *Anything by the "modern poets" - TS Eliot, Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, ee cummings.* - These guys write the way my thoughts naturally unfurl. Reading them is akin to hearing my own voice. For 30 years their works have been behind most of my thoughts. And there's this wild idea haunting me of making a short, black & white movie based on Elliot's The Wasteland.
  8. *Anything by James Howard Kunstler* - Kunstler is an author / speaker  that never ceases to amaze me with his keen insight, equal-opportunity-acidity and ability to cut through the non-stop illusions being played for us by various corporate / political entities.If only this guy would run for POTUS...
  9. *Anything by Leo Babauta* - As close to traditional spiritually as it gets for me, Leo writes articles on dealing with modern issues in this modern dystopia we're navigating. Like Kunstler, Babauta is weekly reading for me and his writing helps reshape Your Humble Narrator on a regular basis.
  10. *Anything by William Gibson* - Back on the topic of actual fiction, Gibson is one of the few (if only) authors that are required in my opinion. His writing style lines up nicely with the Modern Poets and his subject matter (usually dealing with some form of technology) is near and dear to me. Not sure if Gibson ever tours, but meeting him and getting a personal autograph is on my To Do List.
And now to challenge some friends to list their favorites...

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The Biggest Draw

Back at the house. Instead of driving most of the day. Started by dropping the kids off. Meg at the old familiar Middle School. Liam at the High School. Then, despite being off, waded through recently accumulated work-email. (Feel guilty, otherwise.) 

After a bit of that, it was off to Long Beach,  Molly in tow. For the dog: a visit with her friends at Dad's house. For me: lunch with Mom,  G'Ma, and Aunt Susan. Chinese buffet: Chopsticks. Good to catch up with the ladies who raised me. Mom always upbeat. G'Ma stick physically active. Aunt Susan, the original red head, rapidly recovering from ankle surgery, marrying off her daughter (Dana,) and starting her son (Dakota) in college. All of us busy and happy and glad to have each other's company. Back at the house,  Dad gets a call about a new position at work: back to engineering!  So big changes and much happiness for him,  too! The biggest draw of Mississippi: my family.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

CPR Fest 2014

The rain stayed away long enough for me & Liam  to head to CPR Fest 2014. Short version: Muuuuuuch more fun and enjoyable than the Gulfport Music Festival. Smaller crowd. Better weather. Much more rock-oriented line up. Highlight of the summer!

For the morbidly curious that derive some value from my observations, here's a peek into some additional thoughts:

  • Dirty smugglers that we are, our folding chair bags also concealed a hidden Coke, for Liam. When we were getting into the park, past security, one of the guards was checking Liam's chair. The boy's eyes go wide but then Your Humble Narrator starts talking to the guard. Distracted him as he puts his hand less than an inch from the soda. Liam stopped breathing. Then the guard hands him the chair and we move through the line. Villains that we are. 
  • Event was sponsored by Rockstar. They had free samples. Liam tried his first one, and disliked it. Sampled the "peach," myself. Didn't like it. Not even for free. 
  • Buckcherry wasn't overly impressive. He talked as much as he sang. And most of his language was terribly profane. If that's your sort of thing, more power to you. Not mine, though. We sat in the shade and Liam cooled off. Took him a while to get used to the heat. Poor kid needs to get outside more often. 
  • Dinner was a Large Pizza for $15. Ugh! Liam ate like two pieces. Guess who ate the rest?
  • Skillet was amazing. Opened with solos from the violin and cello. Proceeded to kick muuuuuch buttocks. Great musicians. Appreciative of the crowd. Interactive and gracious. The string players were my favorite aspect. Not sure of their genders, though. And not 100% sure if they were playing live, or not. But it lessens the magic if you know how the magician does his tricks.
  • Seether surprised me with how phenomenonal they were.  Played all the songs that I wanted to here. Especially Broken. They did that one acoustic and the crowd sang most of it. Oddest thing, between songs they'd do weird music transitions. Usually with distortion and pedal effects. And they didn't talk much. Just jammed. Great, rocktastic jams. Another great band. 
  • Closed out with Godsmack. The headliner. Played some new stuff. Played a lot of old stuff. awwwwwesome drum battle. THEN old Sully, the lead singer and musical phenom, started talking. And wouldn't shut up. With his ultra thick Boston accent. Was fixated in throwing beers into the crowd. Spend a few minutes cursing and yapping, then throw another beer. And he had more than a dozen to throw. We got tired of hearing his accent, so we packed up and left. Heard almost everything we wanted to hear, anyway. 
  • All the bands raved about the heat. Even though it was a relatively mild night by South Mississippi measures. 
  • Aside from Buckcherry, we didn't sit down. Didn't need the chairs. But needed more water and could have hidden it in the chair cases. If we had only thought of it. 
  • Afterwards, a breakneck dash through Rooney's. One more Coke for Liam and the coldest, most delicious Johnny Appleseed for me. 
Another great trip with Kidd Maestro. Have to put more of those on our calendar. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Continued Recovery

Happy to report a continued recovery for Ye Ol' Knee. Still nursing a headache from Last Night's Dank, but headed to the gym for a pair of back-to-back spin classes with my old buddy Jim. Mostly speed work and very few (if any) hills. Forty four miles in less than two hours. 24MPH average. 1500 calories. Good times.

Recovered at the pool all too briefly. Wanted to sauna, but it wasn't warm. Wanted to get in the cold (therapy) dip, but it wasn't cold. Such is my karma.
Karma's a word. Like "love". A way of saying 'what I am here to do.' I do not resent my karma - I'm grateful for it. Grateful for my wonderful wife, for my beautiful daughter. They are gifts. And so I do what I must do to honor them.

Life in the Southern Fried Matrix. Never a dull moment. And feeling healthier every day.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Katrina Made Landfall

Nine years ago today, Katrina made landfall. On her anniversary, few people bothered to mention her. No memorial events. No ceremonies. Barely a remembrance on the local news. Nothing on the national news. How easy it has been to decorate our wounds. We're all back to our normal, self-imposed disasters.

My kids likely won't remember the lack of power. Or frequently moving from house to house for six months. They won't remember the hunter / gather quests for food that their parents replayed each day. They won't remember the recovery efforts. The loss. The slow healing process. And with some small measure of luck, they will not get PTSD sweats or nausea that strike whenever the mistakes and sacrifices from the sleepy past make the unexpected leap to the all-too-real present.

My own private celebration took place at Rooney's. Accompanied by mi amigo mos loco: Roger. And several giant pints of icy Johnny Appleseed. We drank to Katrina, to paradise, to death, and to the lie of love. (Okay, that was borrowed from Bukowski, but it wasn't too far from the truth.) Two aging warriors remembering long lost battles while dreading the challenges ahead of us. Nothing we ever do will make any headlines. But at least we're never bored.

Across a long enough timeline, pain and rumors fade to smoke. Their effects are etched in water. The rest is just rust and stardust.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Love Note & The Knee

Another test for The Knee. Hopefully we're on the road to recovery. If not the tail end of it. 21 miles on the bike. Then a 3 mile run. Kept it easy. Did well. No aches or pains. Finished strong. Had PLENTY of fuel in the tank. Wanted to go further. Luke would have made me suffer if that happened. So stuck to the plan. Easier that way.

Changing in the locker room and spotted somebody's discarded love note. 
Have a great workout baby! I love you so much!!! (heart) Your Wife :)
He probably had a great workout. He probably loves her. But he leaves the note behind. On the floor.

How romantic.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Liam's Lowers

Liam's Lower Bracers were applied yesterday. He's so sneaky and clever. The nurse turned around and he snuck a picture then sent it to me. Middle of work, it comes through, and makes me burst out in laughter. Very likely the highlight of my week was getting that unexpected surprise from my son.

Unfortunately things went down hill for Kid Maestro after the picture. In addition to the new lower braces, they added a "power bar" to the top set. So he had a double whammy of pain and discomfort. 

Then, shortly after getting home, one of the new braces actually pops off his teeth. And the maelstrom of calls and messages swirled up. Me & Liam & Dr Chris in a three-way IM chat. Me calling the orthodontist. Then Gigi. And finally making sure Cindy knew everything was cool. 

End result was multiple hours of torture for the poor kid. He toughed through it, though. Rapidly adopting my famous motto: this too shall pass.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Knee, Day Three

If progress continues at its current pace, there should be no more mention of problems with the knee. A third night of the anti-inflammatory patch did wonders. Woke with no pain of any kind. Not even a sore spot to be found by massaging the muscle/tendon. Very good sign.

Ended a grinding day at the office with a spin class. Didn't push it, though. Fairly good pace. Didn't slow. But didn't jack up the resistance too high. Eighteen miles in just under 56 minutes. 

Thought about walking a couple of miles. Didn't though. What difference would it actually make? None. Maybe add a long walk tomorrow, or Thursday. 

In the meanwhile, Luke & Jack come out of the darkness and ambush me about Ironman Louisville. October of 2015. Full distance. 140.6. Is Jon in, or is Jon out? Want to be. But is it realistic? Have to make it through Beach 2 Battle ship, first.

Still clearing through the depression and the anxiety. Oddly enough, in the middle of a long series of morose thoughts, my buddy KH unexpectedly messages me:

Happy is a state of mind. You can create happy in dire straits. I know this to e a fact. You can create happy when every single step is agony. Generally that takes more effort, and meds though. 

Which helped. Enormously And the process of making my own happy resumes.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Knee, Day Two

Another night with an anti-inflammation patch on the knee. Greatly improved. No pain at all. Sat in the back and rocked a yoga class without any impact on my range of motion. All the usual poses, plus a great demonstration of my core and balance skills by doing crow pose. Hopefully a good sign. Will know tomorrow, after an attempt on the cycle trainer. 

Need to keep focusing on the positive. Guessing a panic attack hit me late last night. Woke up from a dead sleep at 0130 with these racing thoughts of failure and a racing heart rate. Couldn't get the thoughts out of my head. Terrible crushing sense of sadness and over-whelming fear. Everything extremely grim and impossible to overcome. Couldn't get my heart right. Nearly woke Cindy. But what would she do? Send me to the ER? Yeah, that's going to happen. Not sure how long it lasted. Half an hour? An hour? Eventually drifted back off. But the damage was done. And it has been a day of self-doubt and dark depression. Just want to train and be happy. Is that too much to ask? Why is it my lot in life to suffer continual setbacks? To get so close to my goals and my happiness, only to have everything pulled away from me after only a taste of what's been missing for so long.

Yes, yes, first world problems. But that doesn't make them any easier to get through. They still hurt. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Knee, Day One

Fortunately there were some left over anti-inflammation patches from my last tango with knee. Taped it down, slept with it over night, and woke with greatly diminished pain. Less soreness. Walking continues to be fine. Running might be fine, but not risking THAT.  Mowed the grass, instead. Lots of sweat. Some sun on my skin. And one less thing to do.

After that, off to the pool for a mile of laps. Heat wasn't too bad. But nearly forty down and backs makes the mind wander. Gets boring long before you hit the mid point. Then it is a matter of pushing through. Good point is, my swim is fine and the next eight or nine weeks will only make it better.

Third adventure was a trip to the Gulf Coast Youth Orchestra tryouts. Liam was asked to audition and afterwards his instructor said he did very well. Liam said the sight reading was hard, and had sixteenth notes. He didn't think he did very well there. Told him he likely did better than the vast majority of people on Earth could do. He liked that answer.

(Any extracurricular he wants to do will be met with massive levels of support and encouragement. As a Freshman we have to start getting him ready for college applications, and things like volunteerism and highly organized groups like the orchestra will look good when he applies. And of course the grades! He's in ALL HONORS classes, already. Very proud of him and he's got our full support on all his endeavors.)

By the time Liam finished, the temperature was in record territory. We stopped by Sonic for some drinks (Coke Float for him & Strawberry Limeade for me.) While we sat there, the temperature was literally climbing by the minute. What started at 101 ended at 104. And that was in the damn shade!

My night ended with not-enough-drinks at Mugshots. Buddy Rog showed and we had some laughs and some serious conversations about life and moving through it. Ended well. Always does. But my brain got knocked off kilter and things got very sideways and very uncertain pretty quickly. Going to be haunted for a while, now.

We all have wounds. Some heal. Some leave scars. Some stay open. But we conceal them behind as many layers as possible. And they leave us privately in pain for years. Sometimes we can't fix them. Sometimes we don't want to fix them. Sometimes we don't know how.

Reminds me of a quote:
You are not allowed
in my Hell
You must stay in 
your own Hell 

-David Shirgley

Wednesday, August 06, 2014


Need to sleep more. She needs a goal, like a new house, a new baby, a new job, some kind of challenge, something to look forward to, or she's bored and she hates being bored. Pictionary is challenging. Need to keep stretching, it is working! How long before there's no such thing as a television line-up and everything we watch is literally "on demand?" The POTUS needs to give a speech and promise us Ebolacare. Is there anything artistic Meg can't do? Is there any instrument Liam can't play? Farming skills are far more valuable than computer skills.What about the future value of drone repair skills? Do you know what movie would be awesome? Goonies II, where the previous protagonists are grown up and THEIR KIDS have a new, modern quest. Old world puzzles and 21st century technology. If the average life expectancy in MS is 75, then 43 is past middle age. The world needs more puppeteers. Just stay positive. 95% happy. And blessed.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

What Next?

Fitness endeavors have not gone well for Your Humble Narrator since Augusta 2013. Few races since. The Rock & Roll NOLA was pitiful. Barely managed to survive Seaside Half Marathon. Slower time for Tradition. Had to tap out of the Gulf Coast 70.3 No races since. But the knee has healed. Weight back down. Strength & conditioning up. Head is clearing. Mood much better. And life is good. So.

What next? Giving serious thought to a late-season 70.3. Potentially the Beach 2 Battleship event. Wrightsville Beach, NC. Many good reports about it. Especially the swim. Supposed to be flat. Supposed to be fun. Just the sort of thing Jon likes to hear.

Started a 12 week running program in anticipation of going. Plan would be to get a month or so of training on the knee to see how it responds. If it does't complain, sign up for B2B. Spend a couple of days in Atlanta. Visit friends. Taper. Then do the event. Reverse the journey. And go from there.

Have to see how it goes. But any progress is good progress.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Liam At 15

Despite having the party yesterday, Liam officially turned 15 today. 

I posted a picture from the party (Whistle Or Lose It!) and wrote:
     Fifteen years ago      I became a father.      Not sure who has     learned or grown more.      But it never stops.      And I hope it never does.      I'm blessed.
A friend said: You look so happy every time you're with your kids.

And I said: Meg is my spirit. Liam is my soul.

They are. Greatest things that ever happened to me. And the most challenging. Sometimes. But more often than not, I'll stick with my simple premise: I'm blessed.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

New Positions

Wish the rest of my life were as pliable as yoga. All these new positions out there. Some easy. Some challenging. Let's just try one. If it works, stick with it. If it doesn't work, try it again later. Just breathe. Relax. Gets less difficult. It will happen. Eventually.

And something new happened today: bound side angle pose. Started in a high lunge. Right arm down by right leg. Left arm up. Then the bind! Right arm comes under the right leg. Left arm joins it behind the back And breathe. 

Yeah, that happened. First time. Enjoyed it.

Just keep moving forward, Jon. One new pose at a time. It will happen. Eventually.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


After multiple unintended delays, Liam finally has braces running along the top. The rest get installed next month. Give him some time to get used to the discomfort of alien steel taking up residence behind his lips. Proud of the kid. Said getting them installed was the easy part. The mold of his mouth was the worst.

Hopefully all downhill from here.

At least until the Tylenol wears off.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Where's Jon?

Rarely enough hours in my days. Hot weather outside. Stormy weather behind my eyes. Work? A ball peen hammer beating a snare drum rhythm against cranium. Kids? Armed with rocket launchers. And they're not afraid to use them. Training? Half-assed, usually. Heart not in it. Head even less committed.

Been doing yoga. Mon & Weds. Followed by new,sweaty adventures in the sauna and the cold dip. Experimenting with more Crossfit. The Jon-shaped sweaty outline provide evidence of the endeavors. Some weekend biking. Some weekend swimming.

Needed time off to clean my head. Probably not clear enough, yet. But time to get back out of this personal funk. Write more. Have more fun with the kids.Stretch more. Train more. See if the knee will cooperate. And shoot for a late-season 70.6. Looking like Beach 2 Battleship. May end up flying solo.

No guarantees. But only one way to find out.

More to come.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Surprises us

Shipping department either delivered the Arc of the Covenant or potentially the biggest server in the data canter. Box had to be nearly four feet high and just a long. Steel straps holding it together. So big it was mounted on its own skid pad. 

After cutting, popping, unwrapping, lifting, and unboxing, we discovered it was actually a modern blade chassis, with two blades. The box was a major illusion and they could have used something a quarter of the size.

Rare that technology surprises us. But when it does, we get caught up in the excitement and whimsy. The lust of revealing the unknown. And HELL YEAH, brand new technology. That sort of adventure never gets old.

Still Progress

Whomever crafted the Jon-shaped voodoo doll pulled out a few of the pins. Stomach improved marginally. Knee feels better than it has in months. Energy levels high. Mood good. Much happiness  Much.

Yoga feels better this week, too. Stronger. More confident. Breath coming more naturally. Remembering the old tips and tricks to help deepen the poses. Forgot how important yoga used to be to me. How it puts you more directly in touch with your own body. Have to make it a routine again. Integral part of overall training. Another piece of the puzzle.

Here's the thing about yoga: There's a constant battle between your body and your brain. Your body is perfectly capable of doing even the most advance moves. But since such things are not exactly EASY, your body sends false signals to trick your brain. And your brain WANTS to agree. If you can focus on your breathing, relax into the pose, and resist the false signals, you'll make progress. In my case the progress with my hamstrings is slow. But it is still progress.

Also added ANOTHER tool to my arsenal: sauna. High doses and repeated exposure is supposed to help muscular development and overall performance during high temperatures. The thinking is: get ready for the furnace of South MS summer by pushing my body through multiple 30min sessions in the sauna each week, post-workout. Going to try in over the next four weeks and see if it helps at Sunfish.

If nothing else, my hamstrings will be more flexible and eight pounds of sweat will be left behind.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Straight In The Gut

Strange things afoot at Chateau McDougal. Woke this morning and a small but angry fut began to punch me straight in the gut. Felt it mainly below the naval and off to the left.

Either strained something while working out last night (not likely) or it is a diverticulitis attack (ugh!) For the uninitiated, that is an infection due to a piece of SOMETHING getting lodged and infected somewhere in the colon. Had a major attack in 2003. Not looking for a repeat.

Couldn't stand the feeling while walking around the house and decided it was wisest to work from home rather than deal with it at the office. And nobody wants to hear me complaining about sharp abdominal pains.

By lunch time, a megadose of Ibuprofen had taken away most of the pain. With some luck it will be gone in the morning. Already caused me to miss a workout (biking) today. Supposed to run, tomorrow evening. Can't fall further behind schedule!

Inversely, it could get worse. If it does, there's a possibility of an MRI and/or a colonoscopy in my near future. Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease let me be healthy again....

Monday, June 02, 2014

Making Progress

Hopefully my hamstrings are making progress. Even if only a little. Stretches every couple of hours. Staying hydrated, Super aggressive in yoga tonight. And my fourth successful week of working on the ab/hip challenge. Has to make a difference. Has to!

The Butt Rub has no bearing whatsoever on my knee or hamstrings. It is just there because it is cute. And after yoga, the house was BBQ scented. MMMmmmm. Tasty pork butt!

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Decluttering, Still

The good news: No knee issues today! The bad news: constant rain completely shutown my swim/bike training today.

Took the opportunity to continue getting rid of everything that is no longer (or has never been) used around here. Two huge boxes of "stuff" listed on Amazon. And three bags of trash thrown out. Discovered that my old technology magazines are very sell-able. Betting that my years of Heavy Metal are, too. Get that box of Magic the Gathering listed next. And eventually, 10 years of comic books.

Anything that isn't currently being used, currently being sold, or about to be donated, is going to be thrown away or given away. It is just stuff. With little exception, it is all replaceable. And it has to go. No more clutter taking up excess space in my home and in my head. Down size my wardrobe. Clean out the garage. Clean out the shed. Clean out the attic. Minimize my life. Get smaller. More mobile.

Fill my life with people.With experiences. Not stuff.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Out & About

After a successful trip to the grocery, with the kids, and an exciting adventure making baked Chicken Parmesan, Liam went to the movies with me.

Saw X-Men: Days of Future Past. Fairly good flick, for being based on a series of comic books. Some of the coolest effects, yet. A couple of minor quips could be made by a die-hard like myself. But mostly awesome. Liam loved it. And that goes a long way, in my book.

Afterwards, Kidd Maestro took up his favorite position, in front of Guitar Hero. Funny to watch other people try to play it, then watch Liam. Folks, like me, can barely do it on EASY mode. Liam picks HARD mode and  rocks them all. Talented little bugger. My brain barely registers the notes as they fall. He processes them instinctively without effort.

 When we get to the high scores, four out of ten say: LIAM. Nobody else has even two entries. Liam has four. FOUR! My rockstar. Super proud of him. He crushes whatever he does.

Finished the movie and the games and waited for a gap in the rain. But not the heat. Hit the road for a brief run First one in three weeks. Maybe four. Two miles, to test my knee. First mile was about 8:45. Much faster than my normal pace, and could hear Luke yelling at me, so throttled back. Second mile was about 9:15. Two miles in 17:58. Felt good. Had more in me. But didn't want to push my luck.

Great night. Hopefully the first of many to come.

Friday, May 30, 2014


Three days after The Injection. Odd issues at times. Hot flashes. Excessive trips to the restroom. And a lack of solid sleep. But a silver lining to this cloud of mine: no more pain! No more tender spot. No more stabbing when pulling the left foot up. Everything feels normal. For the first time since February.

Been stretching aggressively and staying hydrated. Planning on checking with a local PT that specializes in optimizing runners. And getting Brother Jason to do some massage work to lengthen my hamstrings. If all that can contribute to a better running experience, my triathlon season won't be a total bust after all!

Celebrated with a waaaay sloppy cheat meal during lunch. Big O's Sports Pub. Huge burger with sliced blue cheese, bacon, and caramelized onions. Plus fried onion strings. And (of all things!) lemonade. All courtesy of a vendor.

Great way to end a long week. Hopefully leading to a great weekend.

We shall see.