Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 212 - Labels

We carry around a lot of labels.

I'm a dad. A dog owner. A boyfriend. A product manager. A neighbor.

I'm a friend, a brother, a homeowner, a runner.

I'm a fan of this, an anti-fan of that.

It's a lot of roles to play. A lot of expectations to live up to.

But when I'm out on a run, I'm not any of these.

I'm just me.

And the more often I run, the better I get at holding on to being just me.

Good running,

Numbers: 1.9 miles in the rain.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 211 - Staycation Synopsis

Things I learned during my 2-weeks at home with my kids:

Replacing the glass on an iPod Touch is possible,
but not easy, no matter how easy it looks on YouTube.

I can always fall back on my short-order breakfast skills

If you turn the grill on for burgers,
and then decide to order pizza instead,
you might want to turn off the grill.

The burn duration of a nearly full propane tank on my grill set to High is less than all night

I used to love Fazoli's. Then I tolerated it. Now, plain don't like it.

It doesn't take much effort to pass as "out there" in Carmel, IN

It is physically impossible for me to listen to the theme song for
The Office without whistling or humming along. Impossible.

I think I finally understand the popularity of So You Think You Can Dance... 
And I suppose American Idol... they do make for good family viewing.
I still think they're awful, but it's fun to watch with the kids.

I have watched Mad Men since day one. Used to be that when a new episode hit my DVR, I'd watch it immediately. This season's premiere sat unwatched for 4 days. Not the series' fault... more indifference by association. Watched it last night. It killed. I'm back in.

- This is one of the top 3 worst sculptures I've ever seen.
It's ugly.
And creepy. 

Are you allowed to make up your own instrument?

Between the band and this new design studio,
looks like Jay Baker's doing ok post-local-radio stardom.

Bumper Sticker.
Yep, it's a band.

My children, left to their own devices, will watch TV non-stop. They moan and complain when they're forced from the couch, but they always end up having a good time, better than if they'd stayed in front of the tube. Even if they won't admit it. Kinda like forcing oneself out for a run, knowing you'll feel better when you're done.

One moment I'll always remember, actually it happened several times, was when they'd double-check to make sure I hadn't forgotten my run for the day. Sure, they make fun of me and this streak, but they want to see me do it, even if it is stupid.

Good running,

Numbers: 1.4 miles on grass and trail. Achilles is a little better.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 210 - Kazan-not

I wanted to make dinner on the last evening of our summer staycation special. So, we headed to Kazan, a Japanese steak house, complete with clanging knives, and onion volcanoes, and flinging shrimp. It was, I thought, a family favorite.

Thing is, this is a place we used to go to, but haven't been for a while. It used to be a place for my kids and girls who they thought would be family one day.

When we reached the parking lot, the kids spotted Fazoli's across the street. The tide turned. The vote was for chain/crappy Italian.

Maybe the kids weren't ready to reclaim a restaurant.

Still, when they chose mass-produced lasagna over the theater and yumminess of cooked-in-front-of-you-with-flare-and-flame chicken and filet, a little part of me died.

Lucky for me, I had had a glorious run beforehand.

And, I took the middle one to The Runners Forum to get shoes for cross country.

Netted out to a great day.

Good running,

Numbers: 3.0 miles on streets.

P.S. Happy bday Soph.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 209 - Our Monument

It's a cliche. We all have cool things in our town that we never visit. They're for tourists, not locals.

I dragged the kids one such icon of our fair city... The Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

Built in 1889, it sits at the geographic center of the city, and the state.
My mom took me in it when I was 10. It was snowing.  The elevator was broken. She was pregnant with my brother. We went home.

Today, my kids and I climbed the stairs.

I think this sign is supposed to be a pro-elevator marketing piece.

They were not thrilled with the idea. You can imagine.

But, I can't imagine that 30 years from now when they bring their kids to the circle and look up at the monument, they'd remember the ride up in the elevator.

331 steps. The higher you get, the hotter it gets. And steeper. And more narrow. And, if you were listening to my kids, it gets stupider.

We made it with a medium portion of complaining.

The observation deck is small, but the view is spectacular.

The Circle from above.

The State Capital.

An elegant roof-deck for, what must be, some kick-ass parties.

Having burned what must have surely been thousands of calories on the climb up, and down, we went to the mall for a well deserved treat. The kids buried their faces in Cinnabons. I found something better...

Cookie on a brownie.
Pure genius.

I highly recommend the monument. I also recommend visiting your own town as if you were a tourist. You'll be pleasantly surprised, and maybe just a touch less cynical about the place.

But you don't get to log stairs as miles.

Good running,

Numbers: 1.4 miles, grass and trails. Achilles is not 100%.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 208 - Dog Slow

The toe's purple, and pretty sore, but runnable.

Runnable enough that I tagged a couple extra trail loops on to the usual gotta-squeeze-it-in short course. Confused the hell out of the dog.

She's become a creature of habit. Any change to one of our normal routes and she looks at me as if I'd just told I used to be a cat.

Worse, when we get within, I don't know, a dog's smelling distance of the house, she slows down. Way down. One minute she's going with me, stride for stride, and the next I'm all-but dragging her. She turns into a furry, slobering version of a little-red-wagon. One carrying a disgruntled dog.

When she first started this, I was worried that she was hurt, or over-heated, or just getting old.

I think she just doesn't want the run to come to an end.

Can't say I blame her.

Good running,

Numbers: 2.2 miles, on grass and trails.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 207 - I don't bend that way...

... That's what she said.

I have a pretty efficient running style. Very little wasted movement.

That's a good thing. Most of the time.

When you're efficient, you leave very little margin for error. So when things aren't clicking just right, you notice it.

And you might just hyper-extend your big toe.

Oh sure, doesn't sound like much. But imagine all of your weight coming down on your big toe, the top of the toe, while it's facing the wrong way.

Yeah, I know.

No idea why it happened. Maybe it was a dip in the road. Whatever it was, it hurt like a mutha.

And you know how when you accidentally bite the inside of your cheek, and then because it's all hosed up you bite again, and it gets more hosed, so you bite it again? Well, same with toe dragging.

After the first "incident", I torqued it two more times, in the first mile of the run!!!

And these hits were bad enough to stop me dead in my tracks, and scrub a hole in my almost brand new Vibram Five Finger KSOs. And I might have screamed a couple not-so-proper words.

Some days, it's effortless. Some days it's like floating on a cloud.

And some days physics takes over and tears a hole in your shoes.

Despite all of it, I still felt great when I got back home. All expect the toe.

Good running,

Numbers: 3.0 miles on streets.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 206 - Karting

It was a grand day for auto-racing... Formula One in Hockenheim, IndyCar in Edmonton, MotoGP in Laguna Seca, and of course, the big race of the day... in Indianapolis... at the great old race course... Post Road Recreation Center.

If you didn't make it out to the track this year, you missed a classic.

Three karting rookies near and dear to my heart had sterling debuts.

It was what I call an "Out of the Box" outing, where we do something new, something to expand our boundaries, and maybe challenge our beliefs, or our perceived abilities, or what we think people like us do.

Today's outing was karting. And it was a blast.

The Duke won his class in the little karts, despite an excursion into the fence.

The Middle One ran strong and clean all day.

The oldest ran well but had expected more. "I was 100% flat out all the way around, and I had the perfect line, but the kart just wouldn't go."

"That's my girl!", he says, heart fluttering... overcome with pride.

Unfortunately, a doofus little boy who apparently hadn't been introduced to the concept of a brake pedal,  plowed into the back of her kart in the pit lane after the "race" was over.

She was shaken, but otherwise unhurt. For her performance and bravery, she was awarded...

The coveted 52oz Tony Kanaan 7-Eleven Mega-Gulp

It's not the Borg-Warner, but this one comes filled with Coke Slurpee.

Good running,

Numbers: 1.4 miles. Same ol' course...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 205 - Hot Stuff

I've probably run on hotter days, but I don't remember a day that felt hotter than today.

The heat wrapped around you like a giant squid. A really hot and humid giant squid.

Luckily, I have loads of experience running on the surface of the sun... and central Indiana in summer... 6/half-dozen...

Here, culled from this vast experience, are a few tips for hot weather running:

  1. hydrate up - drink before you run. Drink water. Lots of water.
  2. stay cool - run in the morning or evening to avoid the hottest part of the day.
  3. seek shade - running in the shade is way easier on your circulatory system, relieving it from some of the responsibility of cooling.
  4. leave your dog at home - they can't cool as efficiently as we can.
  5. take it easy - it's harder to run when it's hot. Don't ask too much from your body.

By the way, I personally violated 1-4 today.

Run as I say, not as I do.

Good running,

Numbers: 1.4 miles in a sauna.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 204 - Purdue Miracle

All hail to the old Gold and Black!

The geniuses at Purdue University, among whose alumni include Neil Armstrong, Drew Brees, and yours truly, have produced a miracle: Deep frying without oil.

I. Know!!!

It uses radiant heat, blah blah... read it here.

Point is, fries, that taste like fries, without oil.

My plaque idled heart pitter patters at the thought.

Good running,

Numbers: 3 miles on boring ol' pavement.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 203 - Home Run

Too many times I've had to resort to the "Holy crap! How am I going to get a run in today?!" run. A little over a mile. Close to home.

It's enough to count. Enough to keep the streak alive.

And sometimes, as far as I can go without feeling like I've been away from my kids too long. Like today.

I'm fortunate to have an escape, a refuge, just a half-mile from my house.

On these squeeze-it-in runs, the half-mile to the woods is usually not pleasant. I'm creaky. I'm cranky. I feel slow, old, and beat up.

I don't know if a half-mile just happens to be the distance my legs need to loosen up, or if it's getting off of the pavement and onto the trail, but my first step on the dirt brushes aside the aches and pains.

The trail is only 2/10 of a mile. But if I double it up, turning around at the far trail-head, it's almost 1/3 of my micro-run.

For those few moments when I surrounded by trees, and the footing is soft, and every step is different, I'm not just getting a run in. I'm running to recharge. And it feels the way it's supposed to feel. Refreshing. Invigorating.

When I have to leave the woods, the let-down of re-entering the paved, unshaded world of parking lots and sidewalks is more than made up for by the bounce in my stride.

The short 1/2 mile home is part restorative elixir, part tease. As I glide along the streets that just a few minutes ago I was trudging along, I'm in no hurry for the feeling to end. Yet with the moving parts warmed and firing, I can't help but go faster and faster.

When I reach my driveway, I stop, reluctantly. I feel great, just as I knew I would, eventually, when I took those first hobbling steps in the opposite direction.

With my body refreshed and my spirit buoyed, the rest of the day always looks a little better.

And I have the woods to thank for it... for turning an obligatory run into a treat, day after day.

Good running,

Numbers: 1.4 miles on streets, sidewalks, and trail.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 202 - Good Advice

It's no secret that I'm a fan of the Dalai Lama. I even follow him on Twitter.

I've found him to be a wise messenger of peace, a voice for universal understanding and tolerance, and a source of simple, sound advice.

Timely? Not so much...

Sometimes great insight is like a warm light... a beacon to guide you. Other times it's like a dagger with "Now he tells me" stamped on the blade.

I don't even want to think of the years of frustration and bewilderment I could have avoided had I had this little trinket clanging around in my noggin. 

This is the kind of thing that they should drill into our heads in junior high, instead of the "separate the boys and the girls into different class rooms" film strip.

Check that... after the film strip. I liked the film strip.

Good running,

Numbers: 3.1 miles on streets.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day 201 - Sick Kid

The Duke is down with a fever. Nothing horrendous, but he's spent the day on the couch.

When I was a kid, if you were sick on a weekday, you watched soaps and game shows, until Cowboy Bob and Janie came to your rescue.

My kid was entertained, more or less, for the entire day, and didn't watch one second of live TV. Between Tivo and NetFlix Streaming, he had an endless video jukebox ready to satisfy his fever addled whims.

Airplanes are magical machines. They can take you from one side of the planet to the other, to see wonders of the world, or distant family. But they can also be used to drop bombs.

That's kinda how I feel about Netflix Streaming. It is kinda like magic. Hundreds, maybe even thousands, of movies and TV show episodes delivered on demand, to any computer in the house, including the Wii. Documentaries on far flung topics, Hollywood classics, and some excellent long lost TV, for no additional cost.

However, it is also a delivery vehicle for The Wizards of Waverly Place. My kids have proclaimed this pile "the best show on Disney", which is like being first chair vuvuzela, or best looking leper.

And the episodes just keep coming. I think they produce them as fast as my kids can watch them. That would explain the quality.

Still, I'm glad he wasn't watching General Hospital.

Good running,

Numbers: 1.4 miles, in a hurry to get back to the boy.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 200 - Yep... 200.

200 runs.

Seems like it should feel substantial. Like an accomplishment.


Feels like a Monday.

That is kind of a good thing. I think. Run 200 was a run, and that's good enough.

So, lacking in interesting insight, and still a little shell shocked that my daughter turned down a chance to go shopping for clothes with her old man picking up the tab, I'm turning to the good folk who contribute to the internet thing that is Wikipedia.

Mostly because I couldn't have come up with anything nuttier related to the number 200:

200 (two hundred) is the natural number following 199 and preceding 201.
 200 210 220 230 240 250 260 270 280 290 
 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 
Cardinaltwo hundred
(two hundredth)
Numeral system200
Factorization2^3 \times 5^2
Divisors1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 20, 25, 40, 50, 100, 200
Roman numeralCC
The number appears in the Padovan sequence, preceded by 86, 114, 151 (it is the sum of the first two of these).
The sum of Euler's totient function φ(x) over the first twenty-five integers is 200.
200 is the smallest base 10 unprimeable number - it can not be turned into a prime number by changing just one of its digits to any other digit. It is also a Harshad number.
Two hundred is also:
  • A common ISO-standard film speed for photographic films. However, 200 speed film is being phased out in consumer films in favor of faster films.
  • A denomination of the euro note. The 200 euro note was designed by Robert Kalina.
  • The size of one side of the main square in KrakówPoland (200 m×200 m)
  • 200 MeV is the temperature of quark-gluon plasma phase transition.
  • The name of a car made by the Rover Group — the Rover 200.
  • An HTTP status code indicating a successful connection.
  • The sum of dollars given in the classical Monopoly game to a player passing Go.
  • cholesterol level of 200 and below is considered "Desirable level corresponding to lower risk for heart disease"
  • "200" is the title of an episode of the television show Stargate SG-1.
  • The number of NASCAR races won by Richard Petty.
  • Year.
  • A vehicle that has reached 200 mph.
  • The North West 200, a motorcycle race held in Northern Ireland.
  • The number of runs scored by the Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar (not out) in 2nd ODI against South Africa, in the Micromax Cup 2010, which is the highest score in an ODI
Which is your favorite? Mine is the "Euler totient function" one, and I have no idea what it means.

Good running,

Numbers: 1.4 miles

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 199 - Clouds

Summer in Indiana includes the occasional unexpected "pop-up shower" which is often a mean-ass thunderstorm.

The pop-up nature adds a bonus feature in that the clouds seem to come from nowhere. POOF!

I was looking at some of these entrancing, and in this case exotic puffs of water vapor. One in particular that towered high into the sky, was bathed in bathed in bright sunset light, looking like a pile of pillow stuffing, and it got me to wondering...

So what keeps clouds together? Gravity? Static cling? Common interests?

I know they're made of water vapor, but when steam comes out of a tea kettle, and I'm sure we all use tea kettles, it doesn't hang in the middle of the kitchen in the shape of a duck, or a dolphin, or WC Fields.

Shouldn't  osmosis, or some law of gas being evenly distributed in a large volume, cause these things to dissolve?

Nature is perplexing. She's definitely a woman.

Good running,

Numbers: 3 miles on the streets

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 198 - The Fair

My kids are way into 4H.

What is 4H? Obviously you weren't born in a barn.

Let me explain...

There was a time, not that long ago, when farmers were sole proprietors of a small family business that was run more on hard work and luck than know-how. They were a mile or more from neighbors, and usually had to make do with what they'd learned from their parents and an old almanac.

4H was an ingenious way to teach and spread best practices for farming and homemaking. Kids would learn the best way to grow corn, what makes a good bench, how to make tasty biscuits, the proper manner to raise yummy bacon in the form of a pig, and other useful skills and knowledge.

They would try to apply these lessons on their own, sometimes experimenting with slight modifications, bring the results to the fair, and see how they compared to their peers.  Hopefully, they'd also learn some ways to improve. Sometimes they'd be asked to teach others how they'd gotten their results.

It was very wholesome and extremely valuable to the American farm industry and the farming community.

[steps up on soap box... uh-oh, I smell a rant a-comin' on...]

Today, 4H is an exercise in anal retentive judge baiting. The small farmer is gone, sold out to, or forced out by, the big farmer, who in turn sold out to the mega-farmer.

The techniques for good farming are well known, scientific, and universal. Farmers learn their trade in college, or from their corporate overlords, or from the internet. The farmer's wife isn't home knitting or baking, she's the corporation's CFO or the town's pediatrician.

Rather than passing along tribal wisdom for the sake of helping the community as a whole, 4H is now about playing the game.

Projects are judged meticulously. And not in a good way. Things that kids have painstakingly worked on for weeks are marked down for the smallest missing detail or the tiniest misinterpretation of the directions.

And worse, mechanical, anal, OCD-driven adherence to and mimicking of accepted technique is rewarded over creativity, beauty, imagination, and tastefulness. Were they 4H projects, Michelangelo's David would be marked down for being a little too big, and Da Vinci's Mona Lisa would be judged by it's brush stroke patterns.

The kids aren't learning to apply what they know, or to exercise their imagination and creativity. They are being trained to conform.

A project gets Grand Champion one year. The next year, a third of the projects will be ever so minor variations on that exact same project.

And then there are the projects that are so obviously not the work of a 4th grade boy who can't cut along a straight line, trying photography for the first time.

These are not kids learning, experimenting, striving to do their best. It's parents pushing their kids to score big ribbons but trying to play the game, to guess what the judge will favor.

If reminds me, just a bit, of the toddler beauty pageants where parents dress up their young girls in ridiculous dress, hair, and make-up, blatantly parading their children as fantasy versions of themselves.

4H has lost it's way.

I would love to see 4H move to a zero-tolerance policy on parental involvement on projects. Don't let the parents do the projects (many do), or even help with the projects (other than helping the kid understand the requirements). Don't let them touch the projects, even see the projects until after they are done. And don't judge them, because there's no value in it. Display them all. If the kid's got talent, it'll show through without a big ribbon hanging from it.

Let the kids do their thing, express themselves freely, and have some damn fun.

[Steps off soap box... rant over.]

All of my kids had numerous projects and they all did very well. Sure, they got lots of blue ribbons, but what I mean is that they learned a lot and they were proud of what they turned in. I am immeasurably proud of them.

And for what it's worth... my daughter's cake did not win Grand Champion, or Reserve Champion, or any type of Champion. But, in my humble opinion, it was the most beautiful cake there.* And thankfully, she could care less what she got on it.

Good running,

*The Grand Champion was, in my opinion, a gaudy, over done, though technically flawless, huge piece of crap.

Numbers: 1.7 miles with The Duke riding along on his bike.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Day 197 - Spontaneity

I think of myself as a pretty spontaneous kinda guy. I'm usually up for just about anything.

Today, I was put into my place, right under the "Not quite as spontaneous as they thing they are" sign.

My buddy Mike and I were dressed and ready to run, loitering by the back door waiting for our GPS watches to find those pesky satellites.

Out walks Wulfy, one of our more entertaining running cohorts, on his way to lunch.

It went something like this.

Us: "Hey, Wulfy."

Wulfy: "Hey, guys."

Us: "You should run with us."

Wulfy: "Ok."

The man was going to lunch. In the close he wore to the office. He was wearing cargo shorts, people, with keys and a cellphone and who knows what else in his pockets.

Wulfy then stretched his quads for about 1.3 seconds each, and declared himself ready to go.

Two seconds earlier, his plan was to go to his car and drive to lunch somewhere. In less time than it takes most people to remember where they left their car, he wiped his slated, ignored his gear, and headed out with us for a fun, though dog's-breath hot, run through the neighborhood.

I need to step up my spontaneity game.

Good running,

Numbers: 4 miles on streets

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 196 - Tree Trimming

I live on a dead end street with lots of big old trees on both sides. It's pretty sweet. The houses are old. And so are most of the people who live in them. But it's quiet. And shady.

And some days, like today for example, the street is positively littered with limbs and twigs and leaves and piles of little tree buds.

This means one of two things:

  1. There was a mass arboreal suicide.
  2. A storm's rolled through.
Let's go with #2 for the sake of this post.

The street's a mess. And it'll be a mess for a few days.

But, the mess is made up of the weak limbs, the loose leaves, and the buds that should have sprouted weeks ago.

The storm culled the dead wood and cleared out the crap, making room for new, healthy leaves and limbs.

Kinda like a haircut. Or a good appointment with a shrink.

Do you have overgrowth? What's your dead wood? There's nothing like a good hard run to shake that stuff loose.

I've spent the last few months clearing cutting. And experiencing the resulting growth is invigorating.

Good running,

Numbers: 3.1 miles on freshly rain-washed streets.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day 195 - Scars

Some might consider today's run a "bad run".

Looking for something short-ish and shady, I hit the trails by work.

Within, the first... I don't know... maybe 20 seconds or so of the trail, while crossing the gorge, the big-ass hunk of concrete that sure looked to be solidly planted in the mud, wasn't.

It tipped. I slipped. And fell. And scraped the buh-jeezus out of my ankle.

Ankle Boo-boo

"Mutha Fudge!" sounds similar to what I said.

Reasonably sure I wasn't going to bleed out, I moved on. Turning a corner I was surprised by a big muddy mess of a puddle. Edge to edge. Way to long to jump.

Try to imagine what it's like to be running down a trail and to unexpectedly, like without a step to spare, find a gaping hole in the trail filled with mud. What would you do? You'd slam on the brakes, right? Yeah, me too.

Problem is, it's particularly hard to stop quickly in mud.

When I tried to stop, I slid. And slid. And nearly fell. I would have fallen if I hadn't grabbed a hunk of the greenery that surrounds the tr- HOLY MOTHER NATURE'S EVIL TWIN! WHAT IS MAKING MY HAND STING LIKE UNREQUITED LOVE!

Ya see, what I grabbed to keep from falling into dirty, but otherwise harmless mud, was a fist full of stinging nettles. Imagine someone throwing you a rope lined with wasps that had been tied to the rope, stinger out, up and down it's length. Angry wasps.

Stinging Nettles
Nature's land-based version of the jellyfish

Yeah, not pleasant. At all.

Still, I trudged on. Seemed more noble than sitting in the middle of the trail pouting.

A few minutes later, I felt a sharp, immediately and intensely painful, distinctly insect initiated sensation from the un-scraped-to-hell part of my ankle.

Not sure what was biting me. When I swatted at it, it fell into my shoe. I jammed my finger in there to squish it. Which I did. What was left wasn't enough to identify. I know it was black. I flicked the remains to the ground.

This next part I'm not proud of... I saw a spider crawling away from roughly the spot where I'd flicked my attacker. Out of misplaced vengeance, I stomped on the spider. Not very Buddhist of me.

The rest of the run was, thankfully, pain free.

As I cruised back to the building, I felt like I should have regretted going out on the run. I was bloody, dirty, bitten, and my hand was stinging as if it were melting.

But it's the incidents we overcome that define us. What do we learn about ourselves of the world if nothing happens to us?

What we've survived make us who we are. Divorces, break-ups, lay-offs, failures, mistakes, losses, these are the scars of a life lived. They mark us as veterans of life, courageous and able to persevere.

Don't go out looking for a rock to slip on, or a relationship to regret. But don't let your scars from the past haunt you. Don't let the chance of a bug bite keep you from a great run. And if you do get bit, rather than damning the run, consider it just another brush with death survived.

Good running,

Numbers: 2.3 miles on trails

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day 194 - My Own Medicine

Two nights, in a row, I've slept really well.

I've eaten well and exercised and have not over-indulged.

Yet this morning, I had no energy.

No pop. All blah.

Lethargic I think is the word.

When 11:30a came around, the last thing I wanted to do was be a coal miner. The second to last thing I wanted to do was go for a run.

In my head, my own words circled 'round ... "You'll feel better after the run. Just get out there."

"Yeah, yeah. I know. But I really don't feel like it.", I whined to myself.

Then my other self got pretty snotty, and started to chide me, and then threatened to embarrass me in front of all you good blog-reading folks.

So I stood up, geared up, and headed out.

And as much as I hate to admit it, myself was right.

I ran. I ran really well. And I feel much, much better.

I'd started with the plan to just slog it out, but my pace was quick and steady. Despite my best intentions to have a crappy run, it turned out to be a great run.

[Aside: I ran my best race in college 90 seconds after throwing up a Big Mac.]

Point is, we need to listen to that part of ourselves that is striving to do good, to be better. That part that wants to feel great. Not the lethargic whining slug part that can justify feeling like crap.

Good running,

Numbers: 4.3 miles on streets.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 193 - RunKeeper

I think it was the fact that I didn't have a weekend during the weekend.

What should have been fun/relaxing/recharging time was spent in a classroom or in a parking lot.

Regardless, today I was without any functional memory. The synapses just weren't firing.

For example, when I got home, readying myself for getting ready for my run, I freaked for a few seconds. I couldn't remember when I'd run yesterday.

Then, when I was ready to get ready, I realized that I'd left my running gear at work. Just sitting there, behind my desk, waiting for a lunch run that didn't happen.

Luckily, I have spares of everything. Almost everything.

What I was missing was the GPS watch. For those who've been following closely, well, first of all, thank you. And I'm sorry for that one post that you thought was lame and that one time I insulted something/someone important to you. Second, you might remember that I'm really, like really really, anal about my run data. I have 15 years worth of data. Every run, documented.

Scary, and a little sad, or adorable, depending on your point of view (anal vs. not so anal) and your view of me (ex vs current).

Anyway, the GPS is a big enabler of this addiction. I have run a few times without it, but I don't like to.

Luckily, on my still-has-that-new-phone-smell iPhone 4, I have RunKeeper.

RunKeeper is an iPhone App that turns a GPS enabled iPhone into a pretty darn good substitute for a GPS watch that you maybe left at work.

It times your run, maps it all out, shows your pace, and remembers how fast you were going every step along the way. And magically, when you're done, it uploads everything up to your account on their website so you can fondle your data later.

And it's free, though there is a not-so-free version that has a bell and a whistle or two.

If you have a web enabled iPhone, load up RunKeeper. That way, if you forget your GPS watch, or it gets stolen, you won't be left without a data fix.

Good running,

Numbers: 2.6 miles on sidewalks.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Day 192 - Eden's Rubble

Motorcycle school is over... I passed. Today, 7hrs, outside, in a parking lot, on a motorcycle. Exhausting.

But to be clear, I can't recommend the class highly enough. If you, or anyone you know, rides, or is thinking about getting a bike, encourage them to take the class. It might just save their life.

Anyway, I'm wiped out. And I don't have anything interesting bouncing around in my head that isn't related to motorcycles. Three days of emersion training will do that.

So rather than blabbing on further about throttle response and proper swerving technique, pictures from last night.

The GF's friend Michelle and her husband Andrew have started a wonderful house concert series, called Eden's Rubble, which is taken from one of their favorite dive sights in Bonaire ("dive sight" as in a place people scuba dive, not where people go to drink). The dive sight is marked by a rock painted yellow with black letters.  Kinda like this...

This time the concert featured Goldie Jones, a very sweet and talented blues, jazz, R&B singer. She was accompanied by (to my acknowledged untrained ear) a brilliantly talented guitar player, Robert Coates.

Robert and Goldie

Post concert, sun just setting, we headed just a few blocks north, to 52nd and College. And we saw this on the building on a corner.

No clue. Cute, but no idea what it's all about. Anyone? This can't be pointless. If it were pointless, they wouldn't have used a penguin. For that they'd probably use a cat.

Of course, we were at 52nd and College to step into one of our favorite dive sights favorite dive sights (as in a place people go to drink, not where people scuba dive).

The Red Key is unique. The cliental is eclectic. The decor is retro 50's, except that it's not really retro... more like vintage.

Still working on my iPhone 4 photo chops

If you like places that aren't like every other place, check out the Red Key. Spend some time, enough to soak in the vibe.

For us it was the perfect buffer between classy, intimate, exquisite cool music, to... uhm... well...

The Flying Toasters

Yes we've seen them several times. Yes, it's essentially the same show... every time. But, it's like fat-free popcorn... harmless, fun, filler.

And when the Toasters wrapped up outside, we moved inside for...

The Jay Baker Band.

Either the namesake was home sick, or this is not the Jay Baker I thought it was.*

Moderately early exit and dreams of proper cornering speed and clutch friction zones.

Good running,

*Hard to believe that the ONLY link I could find remotely related to Jay Baker is a Dick and Haji MySpace page. Somebody step up and get this man a Wiki page.

Numbers: 1.4 miles, same as yesterday, barely squeezed in.