Friday, December 21, 2007

okay . . . . everyone has said their peace. Enough of that. Past is past. This is now. I didn't mean to bum people out with my last post and it appears that is what has happened.

Did you know that I RAN Thursday morning before driving to Tupelo? Yep . . . this is ABOUT ME and RUNNING. Did you know that despite being fed WAY TOO MUCH FOOD by Helen, I am going to run on Saturday? I may be puking my guts out but I'll run just the same.

Reminder for self and others . . .
I have more opportunites now than ever before. I am going to retire rich (rich is a relative term) and enjoy myself. Life is not over . . . I'm just simply in another chapter.

I am not diminishing the memories. Just know that there are lots more to create.

I love you all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I am continuing to do my four days a week and lifting twice a week.

Sometimes I find myself motivated beyond description and other times I couldn't care less. I'm sure that work and personal life has lots to do with it. Plus the fact that it is that time of year . . . those of you who "know" me know what I am speaking about. I am just ready for the year to be over and to get on with next year. There is nothing I can do except to keep my chin up and head through it . . . there is no dodging it.

I am going to Tupelo to visit Helen (Mona's mom) for the next couple of days. There are some heirloom type of items that I need to give her. Things that belong in the family and not with me. This is my decision and not Helen's. She's told me to keep things but it just isn't right. Paintings by Mona's grandmother, antiques from her grandmothers home . . . those things should stay in the family and go to Mona's brothers. I guess after two years I am starting to realize that I need to let go. I am saddened by it but as a friend of mine says . . . "thems the breaks".

I plan on running Thursday and Saturday while in Tupelo.

Be sure to keep me in your prayers over the next week.

Monday, December 10, 2007


No, not losing a race . . . that always happens because technically unless you cross the line first, you lose. Second place IS the first place loser.

No, not losing my car keys. Though I do that from time to time, I found it much easier just to have four cars in case I do lose my keys.

No, not losing my mind. Hmmmmm, well maybe just a little bit.

I am talking about losing weight. Not vast amounts . . . yet. But enough to get excited about it. This time of year is so tough to buckle down and behave . . . I figure if I can just hold my own over the next couple of weeks, I'll be okay.

I'm still running 4 days a week and varying between 3 milers and 6 milers. No big mileage but consistency is the goal. I'm also still lifting 2 days a week and that is starting to pay off as well.

I have not decorated for Christmas. I haven't even thought about it to be honest. I'm not having any parties or guests over . . . what's the point? Chances are that I'm not going to be home during the holidays anyway. If I want Christmas cheer, I'll go next door and look at my neighbor's tree. Are there any other Scrooges out there?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

gobble, gobble, gobble

It is Wednesday AFTER Thanksgiving and I am finally coming off my turkey high. Or was it a turkey low? L-Tryptophan and carbs tend to do that. Whatever the case, my body has finally recovered and is properly functioning. I spent the day with my parents, my aunt Susan, her daughter LC and s-i-l Bobby. I love my family. They put the "FUN" in dysfunctional. I am so grateful for all the support they have provided and continue to provide.

I'm continuing to run and lift, though I did miss a few days during my turkey high, I have managed to get back out there and pound out a few miles since last Thursday.

Susan and her girls went to Manhatten for Thanksgiving and I am sure that she'll eventually post their experience of eating street vendor hotdogs for Thanksgiving dinner.

Note that Susan is running to raise money for the Bell Center. I have done this in past for the Mercedes Marathon here in town. The Bell Center is a worthwhile cause for children with developmental delay, Downes, and other challenges. I've decided to make my donation directly to Bell Center and defer any donations that you would have been kind enough to give me to Susan. You can go to her blog and find the link to make a donation. Also, you can go directly to to make a donation. I am also putting a link to the fund raising page in my margin area. If you live in the area, this is a great cause. I'd suggest you go to Homewood and go to the school and ask the staff to show you around. Amazing.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

200th post- Am I growing up?

Interesting . . . my 200th post. I thought it would be a milestone but to be truthful, it's just another day on the calendar. One more spin of the third rock from the sun.

It has been several weeks since my last post and I am almost AR enough to let it bother me.

I've been running at least four days a week and Phil has pointed out that I need to get out of the habit of running the same mileage everyday. I knew that but have taken it to heart. It's okay to run a short, quickie 3 miler. It's okay to run a slow 6 miler. It's okay to listen to my body and to adjust as needed. I've seen my friends in the 'hood as they have almost completed their preparation for the Rocket City Marathon. They are fast and slim and I'm sure they will be setting PRs. I realize that is where I once was, and that is where I will be again.

I've been regaining some strength, stamina, and desire over the last month or so. My running has become routine and I am once again finding happiness in the solitude of my footfall. I've been able to clear my head and be introspective and pray during my runs. Not praying to be able to catch my breath but praying for peace and wisdom. Sometimes God actually listens. Basically, it has once again become my refuge and not my torment. I have also started back to lifting light weights twice a week. The downside to being endomorphic is I am constantly fighting the FAT MAN battle. The upside is that if I just look at weights, my shoulders, arms, pecs will grow and firm up nicely.

I have spent the last couple of weeks pouring back over all my posts from the end of 2005 and into 2006 when I was preparing for my last marathon. I am amazed at the stuff I was doing back then. That little trip down memory lane has sort of rejuvinated me. The trip to the past also brought tears and chuckles. That being said, I don't think that I would have or could have done anything any differently. It has also helped me realize that my past is my past and there great things yet to come for me. I have loved and I was loved. I think that I have finally figured out that it will all happen again. It is not something that can be forced or put on a schedule. I'll just wait and see what the next day holds.

Today is nothing special other than a sign that God is merciful and has given us all another chance to improve someone else's life. Go out and find someone to help.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Everyone's advice is to "simplify". I fully realize that at times my life is pretty much the beast that I have created and I agree that I have to simplify. I've had my GI and my cardiologist both tell me this past month that my body is not adapting well to stress. DUH. I wouldn't say that it is out of control but I've been letting too many outside things influence me. Working on changing that. Tougher to do than running. Speaking of which-

I've been running since my last post. averaging about 4 miles a day at least 4 days a week. I'm still not having fun doing it . . . can't figure out why my inner man is fighting with what usually brings me comfort and security. I'll just keep plowing through and I'm sure I'll have that break through eventually. The weather here is finally fabulous . . . afternoons in the highs 60s and low 70s with evening getting down into the 40s. Typical of Alabama . . . it's 90 degrees one, a front blows through and the temp is 60. We don't get our fair share of spring and fall. I'd prefer a more temperate climate . . . maybe I'll find somewhere to go that better supports my pursuit of outdoor activity.

I went to my neighbor's house for a cookout last night. Last week, my dear friends and neighbors, Todd and Kathy, announced that they are leaving us . . . moving to Atlanta for Todd's work. Big bummer. We decided to get together along with my other friends and neighbors, Jim and Karen, who were celebrating their anniversary. When I got over there, Karen and Kathy were attempting to untangle this horrible mess of yarn (they both knit) at the island in the kitchen. Apparently, the normally nice and neat skein (sp?) was not so nice and neat and Karen refused to take the loss on $40 worth of yarn. Personally, I'd chunk it and have a do-over but you know how women are. Anyway, after a couple of hours of messing with the yarn and slowly getting it untangled and balled up, they were victorious just as I was bringing the steaks in from the deck. We all sat at the table and had a great time laughing and cutting up. My dog Kelsey always goes to visit with Todd and Kathy and she was under the table begging for food. After a while she got quiet and then she started growling and tumbling around. We all figured she gave up begging and found a toy to play with. Well, that is sort of what happened. Somehow, she managed to get the ball of expensive yarn and had commenced to undue all the work that Karen and Kathy had accomplished earlier in the evening. Fortunately for Kelsey's health and Karen's sanity, it was only unrolled and not tangled. No blood, no foul.

I've been debating on keeping this blog going. I've also been thinking about a total revamp and renaming. My neighbor Jim said something that struck me as funny and deep on many levels and I asked him if I could use it. While he was playing with the fire in the chiminea, he so very obviously burned himself. His qoute was simple . . . "I'm a man, I'll cry later" struck a chord in me. I'll let you know if and when I decide to start my new blog under my neighbor Jim's mindset.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

just the facts, ma'am

Today is Tuesday. wow. Notice the lack of capitalization. I've been in a bit of a funk for a while and I'm really needing to get over it. Probably because I have not run in several days. The headcold I was complaining about last week hung on through the weekend. Amazing that something that I used to plow right through now takes a toll on me. I'm sure it's more a state of mind than anything else. However, I did have a fever one day. 101 degree to be exact.

On another front . . . . I had an endoscopy done yesterday morning. I had been having some problems similar to my past history (don't ask) so my GI suggested "we" take a look. "We" were not involved with it. My half of "we" was fast asleep thanks to good drugs. Karen, my next door neighbor was kind enough to haul my sorry butt to the hospital at 6:15 yesterday morning after she got in late from a weekend trip to Chicago. Susan offered to take me but she had teacher stuff and meetings to do so I didn't want to take from her time. Karen is an executive so it really doesn't matter what she does (sorry to all you executives out there).

After getting prepped and the Dr and nurse telling my bye, I magically ended up in a wheelchair in a room full of recovering patients. Very surrealistic . . . . I woke up long enough to look around and having this strange dream that I was in the movie Saw 3! Somewhere between my brief conciousness in recovery and my sofa at home, I remember getting in a car and staggering up my sidewalk. I have to trust Karen's word but she told me that I did and said things I don't remember. Don't know if that is a good thing or bad thing. It's just good to know that she is a good enough friend that she won't tell a soul!

I finally started waking up around 5 ish when the phone started ringing. I had several friends call to check on me and Karen and her husband Jim brought dinner over. Very much appreciated . . . THANKS! After eating and dozing through the first half of Monday night football, I crawled in bed and slept straight through until the alarm went off. Lots of good, drug enduced sleep. Just what the Dr ordered. According to Karen, the Dr said everything was fine and that I need to relax. Most of my problems are probably stress induced. Imagine that.

I didn't run tonight simply because I didn't feel like and I was pushed for time. Susan had some volunteer work to do for the "rich ladies of unnamed community" so I agreed to keep the girls. Another effort to hone my pseudo parenting skills. That's a whole new subject all by itself . . . I'm sure Phil knows where I am coming from. Let's just say that we're working on sorting out our skill sets and trying to figure out where we are going.

My plan is to run an easy one tomorrow and Thursday. Hopefully, Susan and I can run and play tennis on Saturday before we become couch potatoes watching UAT vs UT and AU vs LSU.

I also noted that I approaching my 200 post. Wow, hard to believe that I have bored you all that many times. Maybe I'll do something special . . . maybe not.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Greetings to all. I know it's been awhile since I've blogged . . . does that give you a hint about my ability to commit? ;)

The last several weeks have been so-so. I've been running when I can but have failed to keep my promise to myself of getting my a$$ in gear and getting back onto schedule. I'm still a limp wristed girlie man who is too easily swayed from my "training" schedule. It's not like I have other commitments to live up to . . . I just find it too easy to find reasons to blow off my runs. Somebody PLEASE tell me to toughen up.

I have not run since Monday. Somehow, somewhere, I managed to catch a cold or at least something mimicing a cold. Started off with a sore throat, then headache, then fever. As of this morning, the fever is gone but the congestion has moved into the chest so now I have a nasty cough. My body tends to do this to me. I'd rather have all the symptoms at once and get it over with but fate would prefer to drag it out over time, one symptom at a time. I'm not going to run until this weekend. No sense in challenging my body just yet.

I am chomping at the bit to get out there . . . the weather has broken (again) and we are finally getting some more seasonal weather. The last couple of weeks we were still hitting high 80s and low 90s. More like September weather than October weather. I love this time of year . . . there is no better smell than that of leaves burning and fresh mown grass . . . I LOVE that smell. I also love that slight chill in the air as the sun goes down and the breeze picks up. I am so looking forward to the next couple of months!

Last Saturday, Susan and I ventured into new territory. We played tennis. Actually, we just volleyed some ground strokes just to get the feel of it. We ran a couple of miles and then walked to the tennis courts near her house. I used to play, ages ago. She played a little bit, ages ago. Surprisingly, we did not kill anybody else on the adjacent court nor did we injure ourselves . . . AMAZING! Since it was in the low 90s, we only hit and chased balls for about 45 minutes. I think we're going to start working this into a weekend routine as the weather cools.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

couldn't think of anything funny or smart to title my blog today so I just left it blank.

I didn't run Tuesday. My legs were a little weary after running on Sat, Sun, Mon. Since I am not really training for anything in the near future I figured I'd take the day off.

I ran this afternoon. Only 4 miles but at least it's something. I ran a couple of miles with my neighbor Dom who is training for Rocket City Marathon in December. Lucky for me he was doing a recovery run and moving slow enough that we could run together. Afterwards, I did some yardwork. A very nice relaxing evening. Susan invited me over for dinner but it was after 6 when I finished running and figured by the time I got showered and drove across town, it would be bedtime for the girls, so I decided to stay home.

Monday, September 24, 2007

I'm back

Wow . . . . Sept 4th was my last blog. Today is Sept 24. Boy, am I ever red-faced over that!

I have been running during my MIA for the last three weeks. I have been trying to keep the mileage in the high teens and under 20. I had a week near 20 several weeks ago and my hips and knees hurt for a week so I decided to tune it down by a couple of miles. I know you'd think that a couple of miles would not make a difference but it does. This is just the painful exercise of "building base". The last three weeks have been a blur and I really don't recall all my runs or anything specific about them to brag on.

This past weekend, Susan and I ran on Saturday and Sunday. She picked the route on Saturday. It was a very hilly run in the neighborhood of 4 1/2 miles, give or take. I don't think that there was ever more than a 1/4 mile stretch where we running on flat land and though I didn't admit it to her, my legs took a pretty good pounding on the downhills. Running uphill is tough but not that bad on my legs. It's the downhill that kills me. I try all the tricks that I know to minimize the pounding . . . . keeping the knees bent and run in sort of a squatted position (this makes me look funnier than I already look), running with my body perpendicular to the slope (this forces me to pick up speed and will eventually lead to me achieving terminal velocity), tacking (zig zag) to reduce the angle of the hill (this leads to running hundreds of extra miles). Regardless of method, I still take a beating. Anyway, we survived the run and she took me out for an early Birthday dinner (Oct. 1) to a very nice restaurant.

Sunday after church, we did a recovery run of 3 miles in the light drizzle. I enjoyed running in the mist and cooler weather. It was a good run to make the legs recover from the hills on the previous day.

I am planning on running this afternoon. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

How was your weekend?

Labor Day. The last day off of work until Turkey Day and Christmas holidays. Unless you're a government worker which means you probably get Columbus Day, Veterans Day, and whatever other holiday is on my calendar. I'm surprised the government does not take off for Ramadan. Enough spouting about that. Sorry to all my blogger buddies who happen to be employed by the US government.j

Mine was sort of so-so. Susan and the girls were in Atlanta and I stayed home to tend to chores. I was a bad boy and did not get a run in over the three day weekend except for my Saturday morning run. I did work most of the day in the yard on Saturday and I also did yard work after church on Sunday. I got on the bank behind my my house to do some clearing. A couple of trees had gotten so big that they were shading my roses and that just won't do. So I climbed down the 12-12 slope with my chainsaw to cut trees. I was victorious over the viscous trees that were hurting my roses. However, I did do a back flip down the hill. Fortunately, I had enough presence of mind to throw the running chainsaw away from me. I'm just glad my neighbors were out of town, otherwise I'd be hearing the story the next couple of years. Monday, Susan, the girls, and I went to my dad's house for his birthday. What do you get a man who has every tool ever known to mankind? Wine, top shelf cigars, cheese, olives, crackers. I just hope that when I'm that age, someone will contribute to my delinquency! After getting back to Birmingham, we went to one of Susan's friends for a light dinner and to let the kids play in the pool. Overall, it was a nice, relaxed weekend.

Oh yeah . . . . this is supposed to be about running. I did run this afternoon. I finally bumped it up from my routine 4 miles and actually did a 5 miler. Still no watch. Just building base. I felt pretty good about it. I think that I sped up each mile or at least the perceived effort was increasing every mile. I think the weather is about to break back to normal. The temperature was in the low 90s instead of the low 100s. It's amazing what 10 degrees difference makes. I cannot wait until the 50s and 60s roll around in December.

Hope everyone has a great Wednesday. I'm planning on another 5 miler!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Long weekend

It is Saturday night and I'm sitting here watching my Auburn Tigers stink it up agains K State. Not taking anything away from K State but everyone expected a little bit more than what we're seeing. It's half time and I wouldn't be surprised to see my Tigers get beat. For some strange reason, they never start good out of the blocks.

At least the good thing is that I'm watching it by myself and if I let a blue word slip, it's okay. Susan and the girls are in Atlanta this weekend. MAC is playing in a soccer tournament . . . the Atlanta cup. With the age groups and the boys and girls, there are over 400 teams playing. They won their first two games today and one to play in the morning. If they win in the morning, they make it into final rounds and play on Monday. I had planned on going but decided to stay home. We figured it would be a mad house with all the little girls and soccer parents running around like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off.

It was a good week this week as far as running goes. I ran Sunday and Monday. I also ran 4 miles on Wed. I was going to run 4 on Thurs but lightning chased me in after 2 1/2 miles. I ran 4 miles this morning.

Total week is 18.5 miles. I know it's not much but more than I have been doing. My hips and knees are feelig it a little bit so I'll probably do the same mileage over the next couple weeks and let my body adjust. As much as Susan wants to run a marathon on New Years Day, I don't think that she can get ready in time and I'm trying to convince her of that. With the soccer schedule eating up her Saturdays over the next 8 weekends, she will not be able to do due diligence.

I might play golf tomorrow after church and then get a run in tomorrow evening. Not sure yet, but I might either go to my parents or invite them to dinner or Monday since it is my dad's birthday.

Hope everyone has a nice holiday weekend.

Monday, August 27, 2007

More life changes . . .

I know that the title will get my parents all cranked up so I just did it for fun!!!

I ran four miles yesterday afternoon and four today. We've finally been getting a little rain and pop-up thunderstorms. This helps to cool the temps into the 80s but the humidity is very high. A real test for the deodorant!

Today was a very good. So strange. Yesterday I struggled from the very first step and couldn't wait to finish. Today I was scared to get back out there but after a few hundred yards, I caught a rhythm and finished wanting more . . . a good sign on the road back to becoming a runner.

Today was day 1 of week 3 of my new job and things are starting to come together. I'm still coping with going from big fish little pond to little fish big pond syndrome but I've been told that I will move up quickly . . . they just want to get my feet wet with the different technology.

Okay, for the life change-

I am selling my toy.

This is my 2000 MX-5 LS. Great little car. Fun to drive but not good for long trips. One set of golf clubs and a toothbrush is about all it can carry. I love this little beauty but I have decided to move up in the world. I am going to get a 99 Mustang GT convertible. Red with white top. Very neat car and lots more go-go and lots more room. If you know anyone looking for a well kept sweet ride for autumn, tell them to give me a buzz!

P.S. I almost forgot to mention that Dom & Debi didn't like the orange-brown background and let me hear about it this past weekend. Thus, another color change.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

not much to talk about

When have you ever known me to have something to say. Not often.

I am taking Friday off to complete pricing and putting together stuff for the neighborhood yard sale. I went over to Susan's and we ran 3 miles together and E rode her bike. MAC had soccer practice and so it goes.

I am happy to say that I think that I am starting to get back in the groove a little bit. I have run Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and I will probably do four miles tomorrow and something on Sunday. I can tell that I am starting to feel better running and my recoveries aren't nearly as bad. Heck, I may actually start liking running again.

I have added two new links on the right hand side. Javamom who is a "friend" of Phils. She's got a good blog going and is getting ready for a triathlon. I have also added a B'ham local, Christy (and her husband Miles). Please welcome them onboard and be sure to check out their blogs and encourage them in their endeavors. Heaven knows we all need encouragement time to time.

too stinking hot

Just a quick update. IT IS HOT IN ALABAMA. I know it's not like AZ but yesterday was the 13th day in August where we've gone over 100. A new record and it appears that we're going to have another week's worth of the same. Very tough to run in.

Having completed my whining . . . . I ran 4 miles yesterday afternoon after work. I waited for it to cool off to 99 degrees. I cannot believe that I'm running in this kind of heat but I just don't like running in the morning. I can't get cooled off and I sit in the office and sweat all morning. I guess I haven't had a heat stroke yet so I guess I can keep it up for another few weeks.

Amy "introduced" me to another blogger that lives here in B'ham. Hello to Christy and her hubby Miles. Christy is a marathon veteran and Miles is a cyclist. I'll be putting up a link to her blog over the next day or two. Welcome aboard!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Two days in a row

Two days in a row of blogging. Wow. Either my life is getting exciting or it is getting boring.

On the running front . . . . I did a 4 miler yesterday after work. Worked a little late so it had actually cooled off to 96 degrees by the time I had started. The shadows were getting long and there was a very slight breeze. Just enough to make it almost enjoyable.

After running, I spent some time in the garage going through boxes and collecting "stuff" for this weekend's upcoming neighborhood garage sale. C'mon by. I normally have coffee and donuts for as long as they last. All you have to do is buy something.

Not running today. Too much going on. Dentist appointment for the standard cleaning. Then I get to play Mr. Mom. Susan has to be at school for open house and MAC has soccer practice so I'm helping out with the taxi service. Pretty scary that she trusts me with her most valued things in life-her girls. I can barely keep a houseplant alive and she leaves me in charge of a 10 and 7 year old girl.

If you haven't been checking some of my friends blogs, Amy and Troy are teasing me with the idea of coming to B'ham for Mercedes in Feb. I invited them last year but they had other plans. Maybe they'll come this year. You guys know that you are welcome anytime. Also, they were fired up after hearing me describe my parents breakfast and want to take part in it when they're in town. We just can't do it before the race!

Monday, August 20, 2007


I hope everyone had a good weekend. Mine didn't go exactly as planned but I survived. Seems strange how that happens. Just when you think the ship is righted and on course, the great white whale (no, I am not discussing my belly) rises from the depths and sets the ship off course.

Not a lot to brag about on the running front. I had planned a Saturday morning and a Sunday afternoon run. I only got in the Saturday morning run. Not far . . . just 4 miles. It was warm and humid but there was a very nice breeze blowing.I would have liked to have gone further but several issues were pressing. I had to work. I made the mistake of beginning my new job in the middle of their crisis. Additionally, Susan and I got into a bit of a brew ha ha and I found that very distracting also. In a 12 hour span we had gone from planning on running a marathon together to trying to decide if we were going to speak again. An awfully silly way for a 47 year old man and a 29 (always the correct answer) woman to behave. We've both decided it wasn't worth sacrificing our friendship and relationship just to win the battle. Besides, there's the entire war to be fought and I hope that we are on the same side.

Sunday I went to my parents house for breakfast. Yes, I skipped church and had decided not to see Susan. I took my neighbors, Jim and Karen and another couple who happen to be friends, Randy and Martha. My parents are the greatest. They would fix breakfast for an army if I asked. I mean a KILLER breakfast. Eggs, sausage, two types of bacon, cat-head biscuits (you have to be from the south to understand that one), hash browns, gravy, fruit. You name it, they either had it on the table or it was within arms length. After a couple of hours of gorging and socializing, we loaded up and headed back home and I don't believe anyone ate anything else the rest of the day. I felt so stuffed that I decided not to run on the chance that I might be showing my neighbors what a semi-digested "cat-head" biscuit would look like.

I did call Susan and she and girls came over and we went out to dinner. I think we're heading back on the right direction.

I am about to sit down with a calendar and the Higdon Novice plan and figure out Susan's schedule for her marathon. I'll markup a calendar for the days remaining. I'll also mark one up for myself but I'll be putting in more miles and some added speed work. I am not going to run off and leave her, but I want to be strong enough to make sure that I help her through.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Another scorcher and a goal

Wow folks. In case you have not been keeping up with Alabama weather, we are setting records every day. We hit 105 in the B'ham area and if I'm correct that is the hottest day on record for this date AND is 9 days in a row over 100 degrees, another record. We have not been getting any rain either. The trees are going dormant and starting to drop leaves. It's amazing to drive down the road and see all the brown trees. The grass is also going dormant due to lack of rain. My lawn which is usually a very nice green and cut to a very nice height looks like it is January. The bermuda which normally thrives on the heat is turning brown. This is a very tough summer. I hope things break soon.

Yes, I am running in this heat. I am crazy, I know. Crazier is Susan . . . she has decided that she wants to do a marathon on New Years Day. Of course I have to run it with her. It will be her first and I know that she'll be needing the support and advice. She's the kind that will definitely run her race in the first 18 miles and suffer the last 8. I'm planning on running it with her to help keep her in check. She has not set a goal yet but it is too early to start thinking about time. Personally, a 5 hour first marathon isn't a bad goal but we'll see what she thinks.

I ran 4 miles tonight after work. I worked over so I got a late start and it had cooled off some. Like 98 degrees. I felt better when I finished because it had cooled to 97. I'm still running without a watch. I am not running fast but at least I'm doing it. I do feel good about running Sunday, Monday, and today. I'll try to get a Friday run in and get back on a 4 day a week schedule.

Monday, August 13, 2007

7 days in a row

Not 7 days in a row of running . . . I wish. 7 days in a row of 100+ degrees. Wow, it is HOT. See Dom's comments about the heat. I like to think that I am tough but HE IS THE MAN. I know that Arizona Phil loves his heat but I'm not a big fan. However, I have not started running in the morning. I'm still doing it in the afternoons.

I ran 4 miles today. I waited for it to cool down to 99 degrees before I started. At least there was a breeze. Or was that me breathing heavy?

Today was the first day at my new job. It seems that most of the guys are pretty nice and willing to answer questions. After a morning filled with administrative garbage, I actually did some productive work. The main thing is that I have to learn a lot and learn it quickly. I don't want to come off as arrogant at work but I need to show them that I'm not just another joe passing through.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunday evening

Good evening to everyone. Or at least anyone who cares.

It has been a long, strange couple of weeks.

On a personal level, Susan and I spent a few days last weekend in Wyoming at a friend's wedding. I had never been to that part of the country and it was beautiful. We flew into Jackson Hole and spent most of our time between the Grand Tetons and a ranch about 60 miles to the east. One of those kind of trips that no matter how many pictures you take, you just can't capture the moment.

I have finally completed my job change. Friday was my last day working for my previous employer. I'd love to tell you the name of the company but I figure I'd better not. These are very vindictive, nasty people. Let's just say that I used to work for a nuclear subsidiary of the southeast's largest electric utility. Enough said. I start my new job with a subsidiary of the same parent company. I'll be working on design of scrubbers for coal plants. Scrubbers remove sulfur dioxide from coal plant emissions. Anyway, it's an exciting and scary time for me. I know I have the skill set to do the work. I just need to learn a different technology. Afterall, they don't have reactors and all the support systems at a coal site and nuclear plants don't need coal or use limestone in scrubbers. I'll learn.

I have been running. Slowly and sweating the whole way. Birmingham has been caught in the same heat wave that half the county has been in. Yesterday was the 4th or 5th straight day with over 100 degree temps and heat indeces between 110 and 120. I've been keeping my runs in the 4 to 5 mile range. Most of my runs have been after work. The temperature has usually been 97, 98. Today when I ran after watching the PGA, the temp was 99 degrees. Needless to say it was a slow grind. Afterwards I cut grass. I came in for my shower and it was 7:00 and temp had dropped to 97 degrees. This really makes me miss less weekend and the high 60s in Wyoming and the high 30s at night. Of course since the ranch was at 10,000 feet, the running would have been pretty tough due to thin air.

Wish me luck this next week as I learn my new job and make new friends. I'll definitely be running this week to help deal with the stress!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Geez . . . has it been a week?

Yep. A week since the last time I talked to you. Time flys when you're having fun. Or something like that.

I have not cycled this past week. Too many other activities going on. I am still amazed at how poor I am at managing my time. I have been selfish the last several weeks and have been playing golf Thursday afternoons after work with a group of guys from my office. One of my buddies who plays with us lives out of town so I've been letting him crash at the house Thursday nights.

I have been doing some short runs. The upside to this blogging thing is that I use it as my diary and log. The downside is that if I don't update it daily, I tend to lose track. Either I need to go back to keeping a log or do a better job keeping this updated. I ran Sat, Sun, Tues. I was supposed to run last night but a thunderstorm decided to park on top of my neighborhood yesterday afternoon. Not complaining-we need the rain. I'd normally run in the rain but it was accompanied by vivid lightning and ground strikes so I figured it would be better to stay indoors. A chance to catch up on laundry, etc.

I am not sure what has happened to Susan's blog. I'm just getting a blank screen. Either she has taken it down or she hosed something up trying to update it with photos of MA's new puppy.

I'll see if I can help her figure out what is going on. Golf this afternoon if it doesn't rain. I'm going to try to get in several runs over the weekend . . . I'll let you know.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Lunchtime thoughts

I am sitting here at my desk, eating lunch (turkey and lettuce wrap . . . no mayo and no cheese) and talking to you. Whoever you are.

I'm still trying to run and bike and get the fatman under control. I am officially out of the jeans I wore during the 06 marathon season and I am pissed at myself for letting it happen. No excuses. I definitely have some kind of self-destruct character flaw that I have not been able to get my hands around. It seems the only way I can motivated is to be self-denegrating. It may take a while, but I will get it back.

I was talking to one my neighbors last night and he is building nicely towards marathon season. He is on his 8th 30 mile week and will be bumping up to 35 miles next week. He is nice and trim and helps me want to get it back.

Last Saturday I did a 51 mile bike ride with the normal group. I averaged 15.9 mph. That sucks! Last year I would have been riding with the lead pack. Now I am riding in the "slow" group. The ride did not totally wipe me out but I knew I had been working.

I ran 4 miles Monday afternoon and it felt pretty good. It was hot and slow but I had my MP3 tuned into Aerosmith and that got me through. I also ran 3 miles on Tuesday. Would have liked to have done more but I had schedule restraints. Besides, my legs were dead from the bike ride.

Wednesday afternoon I did a 35 mile bike ride with some of the group after work. The first 15 miles or so was very hot and we couldn't seem to find our way out of the sunshine. However, the second half started cooling off (to the high 80s) and we started finding some shade along the way. I didn't ride strong but I can tell my legs are finally startnig to come back and my riding is improving. Maybe by the end of summer I'll be back in some kind of decent shape.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Jim gets a do-over!

No, not a make over, though I probably need that also. A do-over. Remember when you were a kid and struck out because it was somebody else's fault . . . you got a do-over. Or if you couldn't perform some supernatural feat on your first try . . . you got a do-over. If you've been following my rantings over the last several months you know that my situation at work is far from ideal. The Dilbert executives that I work for have decided to relocate engineering to the plant sites . . . . very lonely remote areas in the southeast. I didn't have a problem so much with the thought of relocation . . . it was the way they went about informing (or not informing) us. As I have said, it is the fourth realignment or reorganization that I have been caught up in in the last five years. ENOUGH ALREADY . . . LET ME DO MY FREAKING JOB!!! Needless to say, I have been disheartened with the thought of having to sell my house, relocate, move away from family and my relationship with Susan and her girls. It has been so much fun at work that we all started a new game . . . we kept a running list of verbs, adjectives, and adverbs regarding this latest realignment on a large marker board. Here's a list of words that I have contributed. I chose to use "dis" words . . .



disimprove (yes . . it is a word)













All that being said, I got a phone call regarding a do-over. I had applied for a job next door with another subsidiary of the same parent company but felt that my present employer might try to block my exit since they are losing people left and right. Prayers are answered because I was offered a position doing what I do now for the same pay. Good enough for me. I wasn't exiting for more money or fame-I just wanted to be able to do my job. Now I get a chance to "do-over" my career. I am officially leaving nuclear and will be working on environmental projects.

Now that this has happened, it feels like a thousand pounds have been lifted off of me. I still have to deal with the actual weight I have gained due to my emotional eating but my professional do-over also leads me into a running do-over. I feel so much better and relaxed and I can now focus on a somewhat normal life and routine.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Vacation does not mean lazy

Hey. Yes, I am blogging during my vacation in Hilton Head, SC.

We had a fairly uneventful trip over and Susan's girls did surprisingly good for a 7 hour trip. I guess it helps to let them out of the car to pee after they've begged for 15 or 20 minutes. Seems to make 'em happy :). Just kidding. We left B'ham at 6 am and stopped between Atlanta and Macon for breakfast (about 2 1/2 hours). Then we drove to Soperton on I-16 (only locals would know about this place) and stopped for gas ( another 1 1/2 hours). After that, we pushed all the way to HHI with a 3 hour leg. We arrived in HHI about 3:00 local time and went straight to the villa. We made it all in one piece.

Sunday morning I awoke to a VERY stiff back. Nothing worse than a bet that is too soft. Instead of running, I went for a short bike ride. I took Susan's girls along and we did about 4 miles. Of course I could have (and should have) done more but the young one, E, was starting to fade and getting a little bit bored with the whole thing.

Monday morning I got of bed, did lots of stretches and gathered Susan and the girls together so they could ride while I ran. I ran a very quick 3 miler with all three girls riding my tail. It was cloudy, warm and 100% humidity. It had rained all night and the lagoon next to our villa was up by about 8 inches. We timed it perfectly and after parking and locking the three bikes and getting inside, the bottom fell out. It rained all morning and we spend the better part of the day going to local shops and outlet malls just to get out. Monday evening we took the bikes to the beach and rode for several miles.

Tuesday morning . . . . not rest! I am on vacation and that means that this is MY time and I am going to enjoy as much of it as possible. After reading and doing a little work, I rousted the three girls who think that vacation is for lounging. We all jumped on the bikes and got in a nice 7 miler. This was good for E and she seems to be improving with every ride (remember . . . she's only been off her training wheels for a couple of months).

Tomorrow morning I'm going to get up early and try to get in 6 miles before anyone gets up. Then I'll ride bikes with the girls.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Early morning

Good morning. I've been awake since 4:00 this morning. I typically beat the alarm but this was by a full hour. I guess my body clock has already reset getting ready for eastern time and the trip to Hilton Head. I am taking Susan and her girls with me. We've rented a 3 bedroom villa near the beach. Yes . . . we keep it on the up and up. Honestly. Susan has a room, I have a room, and the girls have a room. This will be the first extended stay I've had with all three of them. We'll have to see if it is hit or a bust. I am going to try to use this time to also reflect on my options concerning work. I know that I shouldn't be thinking about it but if it is there, I may as well take advantage of the time.

I ran an easy 3 miler Friday afternoon between thunderstorms. E and MAC rode their bikes with me. That keeps me on my toes having to make sure that they are obeying the rules while I am trying to breath!

Thanks to my mom and dad for loaning me their GIANT vehicle for the trip. It's a Ford Expedition and it has seemed to swallow everything that we have wanted to put in it. My largest vehicle is a Toyota Highlander. I love the Highlander but it does not have the room to carry all the luggage and other stuff that three needy girls seem to require. All I need are my golf clubs, some clothes, and and a cork screw. We now need food, snacks, drinks (two coolers full), two baskets full of beach toys (I always thought a towel and book did fine), multiple bags of clothes, and whatever else Susan is putting in there this morning before we leave. I have a big transition to make going from a single man trip to a family man trip. Not complaining . . . just having to learn. You know what they say about old dogs. Wish me luck!

I am taking my laptop and hopefully will find access and time to post.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Life changes?

Good evening all.

I just finished having Mexican dinner with Susan and the girls. It is Wednesday evening and I am sitting here watching Jurassic Park. Susan, the girls, and Kelsey (my turncoat Cairn Terrier) have gone back to Susan's house. Good thing that they are watching here tomorrow. I am heading to Vidalia tomorrow. I'll be catching the corporate plane early in the morning. The good thing is that I'll be home tomorrow evening.

Yesterday I did not intend to run. The last several Wednesday bike ride have been tough because I have run the day before and I had planned to take a rest day but I ended up doing an easy 2 miler. I was over at Susan's and E was wanting to ride her new bike. She is finally off her training wheels and on two wheels. Considering that we are wanting to ride bikes while on vacation next week, I figured E would need to get all the practice she needs. Susan and E rode their bikes and I ran. E is doing very well and has finally gotten used to using her coaster brakes.

Today I did 26 miles on the bike . . . again. I know it sounds boring to do the same thing every week but until I really get strong on my bike, I'm sticking to shorter rides. Maybe I'll kick it up to 35 miles in another couple of weeks. It was a good ride this afternoon. There were only three of us. Other than miles 5 thru 9 (steep rolling hills), I felt reasonably strong and was not the weakest link. I actually got in a couple of good sprints and took my turn pulling on the flats. Larry M is still unbelievable . . . . he can separate at will and is very strong. I hate him! (just kidding). My legs are tired but not sore . . . a very good feeling.

Now on to life changes . . . .
I had a job interview on Tuesday morning. I really beleive that it went well and the committee that I had to perform for was cordial and I already knew half of them. It was very relaxed with some light joking interjected between the serious questions. I felt very relaxed and was charming, if I say so myself.

I appreciate the feedback and opinions all my family and friends are giving me. I appreciate all the prayers and thoughts.

As an aside, we have had several meetings the last couple of days so the executives (ball-less wonders that they are) can try to convince us how good this is going to be and how we need to appreciate the opportunity. They can take their "opportunity" and put is where the sun never shines. I guess my opinion would be different if I earned what they make. Half million dollar salary plus bonus . . . Yeah, I could move to Vidalia, GA for that. I hate having to learn new technology but I'd rather do that than have to start life anew 350 miles away. I guess I am just getting old. It is so sad . . . . I've been talking to some of my clients, warning them that I may be leaving. They cannot believe it. They ask who they can go to . . . . my response is "I'm sorry . . . I'm the last one . . . . call the vice president of engineering with your questions". It has really gotten to that point. Relationships that I have grown over the years adn all the trust between peers and clients is going to be thrown away. So sad. However, I have accepted the fact that I am turning a page in my life and I look forward to building new relationships and breaking in new bosses. I do not wish my company ill but it is upsetting that business in my old company will never be the same . . . . and the pricks that have ruined it will waltz off in retirement with their millions of dollars. I am sorry for my friends and collegues at Plant Hatch. Life for everyone is changing.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Lazy Sunday afternoon

Hey all. It's Sunday afternoon about 5:00 and we're praying for rain. Clouds have been zooming by all afternoon with some occassional thunder and we're hoping for a nice, long, set in (southern . . . sorry) rain.

I got in 3 miles this afternoon in the opressive heat and humidity. MAC rode her bike with me but we actually had to stop for water mid-way. It was mid 90s and indescribable. Sort of like New Orleans or Houston. Just plain old nasty. I told MAC that we were going to go slow and for that we were both grateful. I was using the run as a recover from yesterday's bike ride. The legs were not sore . . . just a wee bit tired. I guess the worst part of the run today was the fact that my hamstrings felt like they were about to cramp. Never did buy I could tell they were on the edge.

Saturday's bike ride-it was my first semi-long ride this year. I've been doing 26 milers every Wed after work but decided to join my compadres for an early Saturday morning jaunt around south Shelby county. Larry M was the ride leader and wanted to start at 6:30. Half the folks wanted to start at 7:00. We compromised on 6:45 wheels down and rolling. Of course I slept late and had to scamper to make it. I always wonder about how smart it is to drive 30 minutes to ride my bike for 40 or 50 miles. Wouldn't it be nicer to just start at my house, go out 20 or 25 miles and then turn around and come home? Of course it would but then I'd be having to climb some of the taller mountains in the state (not that we're known for big mountains). Anyway, I made it in time to do a quick safety check on my bike, put on shoes, throw my cell phone, pistol, and insurance card in the saddle pack, and head out with the group. My legs were tired from the week's running and riding but we had several folks who hadn't done much distance (including me) so we agreed to make it an easy ride. The first 12 miles were a breeze, cruising along shady two lane roads and the sun still not above the tree line on the horizon. We made a quick stop after 12 miles for quick water and some folks even took on some gel. I felt pretty good despite the slow start earlier in the morning. The next leg was about 16 miles and included a few rolling hills and some open fields (SUN, no shade). We'd get a straggler on the hills (no, not me!) and slow down for them to catch up and start rolling again. I was ready for a snack after the second leg and we all took about a 10 minute stop at one of the local gas stations where we normally stop and the attendant is always friendly and will round down purchases to keep us from having to carry change. We always make sure that we try to do business there when we can and always leave loose change to make up for the Saturday rides. After a bottle of something blue and a gel, I was ready to tackle the final leg back to the cars. The last leg was going to be around 17 or 18 miles and it was starting to heat up. There is a beautiful stretch of road that has just been paved and there is very little traffic on it. We jumped into a double pace line and hammered out 10 miles in no time. The last 7 miles or so hits some rolling hills but is luckily in the shade. We all made it back to the cars sweaty but safely. Total ride was 45 miles with an average speed of 16.1 mph. Not great but not shabby considering folks like me were on board and undoubtedly slowing down our faster riders.

On a side note, I've been teasing my parents with a deliberate lack of information concerning part of my personal life. Sometimes you just don't want to bother folks with the minutia of life. I've decided that I'll spill the beans today. Over the last six months or so, the brain trust at work has been studying a restructuring of the organization. In such a Dilbertesque, they announced their intentions of "studying" the organization and benchmarking against our competitors. They have since updated us with the progess no more than twice. This past week, they had what they like to call a "town hall meeting" with us to inform us that they a new organizational structure that they will put in place over the next several months. Let me take a quick moment to assure my parents that I do have a job . . . not to worry about that. However, the question over the last six months has been: where will I have a job? I found out this past week that they have decided that the design engineering teams need to be located at the plant sites and not in the corparate office. The bottom line is that they want to relocate about 60 folks to the three nuclear sites. That includes me. HMMMMMMM. The question is this: do I want to live in Vidalia, GA. Don't get me wrong. I like Vidalia. I've spent lots and lots of time down there. I lived down there for a couple of year in the 80s and spend between weeks at a time down there even now. But do I want to be a resident? Believe me, I've been thinking about this long and hard for months since the rumors (fairly accurate, by the way) started flying early. Of course being one that does not like other folks making decisions for me, I started beating the bushes for other jobs, internal and external to my company. I've had offers to work as a contractor in other parts of the country for VERY GOOD money. However, a move away from home is a move away from home. That is sort of a do it as last resort kind of thing. I've been talking to folks I know in another subsidiary of our mother company and there is lots of work over there (next door in the next office building). However, I'd be making the switch from nuclear design to working on scrubber and SCRs (environmental controls) for our systems coal plants. That is sort of uncomfortable too. I know nuclear. I like nuclear. All my background and contacts are in nuclear. Now I'm thinking about working at the direction of the tree huggers (no offense intended). I have an interview on Tuesday morning with the environmental group and I feel pretty confident that I can have the job. And get this . . . to further complicate matters, one of the vice presidents contacted me ex-parte this past Friday. He told me that I didn't want me to go next door and that the company does not want to lose my knowledge and experience. HMMMMM . . . . . sounds flattering. What's the catch? They want me to take a job as a cost estimator and out of engineering. He said that this would only by for a while til the dust settles but I'm not sure I want to take that route either. I'd stay in nuclear but out of design. What's a boy to do? Can I find a rich woman out there to marry me???? (Susan, I'm just kidding). That is my quandry . . . . do I keep my job and move out of town? Do I continue work in design engineering but change what I work on? Do I stay with my present company where my background and knowledge are strong but learn a new task? Or do I say heck with them all and go chasing around the country in search of the mighty dollar? Your feedback is certainly welcome!

Have a great week!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Is going foward really progress?

A very deep question that I have pondered over the last several weeks. In some aspects it is a deeply philosophical question. In others arenas of life, it is a simple question. Ask yourself the question . . . how do you interpret it and how do you answer it? Sort of makes you twist up your mouth and go "HMMMMMMM".

Yes. I am running. And, yes, I am biking. Rather I am getting back into biking. Since I am such a bad blogger, let me briefly catch you up-

Last week I ran on Monday and Tuesday. About 4 miles each day. And man, has it been hot. Mid 90s the last several weeks with no relief in sight. As my buddy Amy who lives in Macon knows, 95 degrees in the south is hot. I digress. sorry. Last Wed I did a 26 mile ride. Miserable conditions-it was 97 when we started at 4:45 and there were only three of us. The other two riders have been pedaling all year and all last winter. Needless to say, they pushed the pace and I kept up for the first 13 miles. Fortunately, they wanted to do 40 and I was doing 26 so we parted ways on two different routes after mile 13. I managed to struggle in at about a 15.5 mph pace. Yuck. I was doing this same route last year and averaging right at 18 mph. But as I asked above, is going forward progress? I guess it is considering that I stayed off the bike all winter and spring. I ran Thursday afternoon and my legs were crying for mercy. I was grateful for taking Friday off. I took it off from work and from running. I slept until 8:00 (very late for me) and spent the day cleaning up my garage. Saturday morning I went over to Susan's and we did a nice trail run of about 4 miles. There were lots of people on the trail and I was somewhat surprised by the amount of folks considering how hot it has been.

Trying to establish a pattern, I have repeated last week for this week. I ran Monday and Tuesday. Rode 26 miles on Wednesday. The ride was somewhat better as three of us stuck together. We had to . . . . it was high 90s again and the wind was kicking in the 15-20 mph range. VERY TOUGH on a bike. Thank goodness for pace lines! I ran Thursday afternoon at Susan's house. We had a fun family outing trying to prepare for vacation in a couple of weeks. I ran and MAC rode her bike with me while Susan ran and E rode her bike with her. MAC and I did 3 quick miles while Susan and E did 2 not so quick miles. Of course E is still learning to ride her bike so Susan is having to stop and help E on occassions.

I am blogging from Susan's house on Friday afternoon after work. We're going to some friend's house tonight for dinner and then I am heading home fairly early. Yes, I am a kill joy but I know that I am doing my first 50 mile ride in the morning early. MAC THINKS that she wants to try this but I am not going to let her show me up!!! There is nothing more embarrassing than being shown up by a 10 year old GIRL. After the the ride, I'll shower up and head over to Susans. I have promised MAC that I'd ride or run with her tomorrow afternoon so I'm sure I'll be sleeping well tomorrow night.

I still need to tell you guys about my job . . . .

Have to keep my mom wondering!!!!!! :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Still plugging away

Greetings from the land of HOT and DRY.

As much as I don't want to find myself agreeing with tree huggers and Al Gore, I have to admit that this old third rock from the sun seems to be warming up. Temps over the last week have been in the 90s and still no rain in sight. The area I live in is around 16 below normal rain fall for the year and the temps are running 10-12 degrees above normal. I know that Phil out in AZ is laughing at my whining but it is not supposed to be mid-90s in early June in Alabama. While in Vidalia, GA last week, I saw triple digits and it was 98 on my home from work yesterday. I am normally not bothered by much, but the last week or so my sinuses have been screwed up. I do not have allergies . . . at least I didn't. I am taking benedryl to get rid of the constant running nose and sniffles. I'm thinking it is all the dust in the air from the lack of rain. I'll give it another few days and then call the Dr. It is way too tough to run when my nose is running faster than I am.

About the "plugging away" . . . yes, the old body is starting to respond better to the increased (and more regular) exercise that I am imposing on it. I am still running sans watch. Right now, it is more about regularity and getting acclimated to the heat. I ran yesterday afternoon at 5:00. According to my mini-weather station at the house, it was 96 degrees when I got started. Susan and the girls came over for dinner when I finished running. We ate reasonably healthy-I had the grilled orange roughy and a salad. I checked the temperature when I got home after dinner about 8:30ish and it was still 87 degrees. Needless to say, it is the season for sweating.

Maybe Susan will update her blog . . . She needs to brag on her daughter MAC for making the "A" travel soccer team.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Still going

I have a few minutes in the office before work starts and was feeling guilty about not keeping everyone up to date on the progress in my life. So here's a brief attempt to catch you up.

My running and cycling, though not where I was a year ago, are starting to pick up. I actually ran four days last week, which is pretty good, considering my until now, recent lack of enthusiasm. I have run Monday and Tuesday this week-untimed and no big mileage but getting myself back into the pattern of Mon, Tues, Thurs, and Sat. However, I am going out of town for a quick trip and will more likely slide my Thursday run to Friday since it will not be likely I'll have time to run while gone. I am starting to feel stronger, despite the extra baggage I have acquired and the heat. I know that Phil lives in AZ and it is much hotter there, but we are supposed to be in the mid 90s this week . . . pretty warm for this early in the year here in Alabama. Speaking of Phil, be sure to go by his site (linked on the right side of my page) and read his account of the San Diego Marathon he recently ran. Congratulations to him for a PR! His success has gotten me me thinking about trying to improve my PR of 3:48. Maybe we should challenge each other to see who makes 3:45 first???

Onto other things in my life-
The treehouse, fort, swingset thingy do I put together for Susan's girls has been finished for over a week now and the girls have been enjoying it. I've still to figure out what is the best thing to put under it. Presently, there is a combination of old pine straw and mulch. I was thinking about trying artificial mulch. Let me know if you have any thoughts about that. I will be posting a series of pictures later on showing progress from start to finish.

Susan is trying to get back to her running since school is out and she has more time on her hands. She's worse than me about posting on her blog! We've been trying to decide if we should take a vacation this summer and if so, where to go. Personally, I'd just like to get away from the office for a week. Here's the typical discussion . . . . E says "let's go to DineyWorld!". MAC says "lets go to the beach!". I say "which beach? Hilton Head or Seaside?", MAC says "BOTH!". Susan says "nobody listens to me. I want to go to Jamestown and Williamsburg!". Susan is correct in that it would be neat to go to VA for the 400 year celebration of the first permanent English settlement. It might be somewhat interesting for 10 year old MAC. I'm not sure E really cares about American history at this point in her life. Maybe the smart thing to do would be make everyone unhappy and either stay home and go to a state park camping or go to Vegas. Your opinions are welcome.

Have I mentioned that I work in the world of Dilbert? We have been teased with information over the last six months about another reorganization. The fourth in five years. Our braintrust keeps scratching their heads wondering why things aren't operating smoothly. I am not a rocket scientist but "DUH" . . . how about leaving us alone long enough to let us work? It seems that chaos and turmoil are the chosen flavor of the day around here. Confuse and conquer, that's what I always say! I'll vent more about this later. Time for me to get back to work . . . . oh the joy.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Oh, it's you.

Yes, it's me. I'm here. I've always been here. Sometimes silence is golden. Sometimes it's a sign that we're just too busy. Forgive me for my apparent lack of conviction to the blog but sometimes what you might find interesting is just plain old plain old (excuse the southern speak).

All kinds of things going on around here. First let me run down the reason we are really here: running and other fitness activities.

Last Monday I ran 5 miles. Nothing spectacular but felt comfortable. It is nice to be able to go for a run and enjoy it.

Last Tuesday I got in the saddle for the first time this year. Yep, met up with some of my old biking buddies and hopped on the bike for a 26 miler. I was a little nervous about the distance considering I had not ridden since last fall. I didn't feel exceptionally strong but I did survive. I did the 26 with the "slow group". Despite my "fast" friends begging me to go with them, I knew much better than to do something like that. We averaged a pitiful 15.7 mph for 26 miles. If it was a flat course I'm sure I could do better but we have several stretches of big hills where you have to get out of the big chain ring and get into a climbing gear. The shortest of these uphill climbs is 4/10s mile according to the bike computer. We have one long grade of a mile. Anyway, I got a decent workout.

Last Thursday and Friday I did a couple of runs but nothing to speak of. I skipped the weekend because of other activities (more on that later).

This past Monday I did 5 miles. 4 miles of it I ran with Dom, my neighbor. He was wanting to run at a slower pace due to his heart fluttering and I wanted to speed up just a tad bit so we made a good pair that afternoon. I broke a good sweat and rally got the heart rate up. I think it took me about an hour to stop sweating.

Yesterday I went for another bike ride. 26 miles again. Same route. The slow group didn't show up so I started off the fast group. Always a big mistake. It was Larry M and biking Susan (not my Susan). Susan has just finished having her bike rebuilt. New handlebars, new seat post, new wheels, new gear set. She replaced everything but her seat and pedals. She knocked nearly 2 lbs off her existing bike weight and she was riding like a fiend. They were doing 35 miles and were trying to convince me to go with them. NOPE. NOT HAPPENING. They pleaded with me . . . "it won't be safe for you ride by yourself after we split off at mile 13". I agree that it is not smart to ride by yourself on some of these country roads but I am a big boy. I have my cell phone and my 38 special (note to self . . . maybe the reason I am slow is because of the added weight of my Smith and Wesson). Anyway, I did 26 and bumped my average up to 16.1 mph. I felt pretty good about this since the last 13 miles were solo and I didn't have a pace line to ride in. It was all me doing all the work. Sweet.

Other activities . . . .

I've spent quite a bit of time working on Susan's girls' fort/swingset/slide thingy-do. I spent about 7 hours last Saturday, 7 hours last Sunday, 3 hours Tuesday afternoon, and 5 hours this evening working on it. That is 22 hours. Of course Susan has been helping but we still have a little ways to go. The main structure is done and I'm about finished with the roof on it. All that is left is the swing set and the slide portion. I've been taking pictures along the way but I do not have them with me at this time. I'll post a series of photos later to show the entier project.

I got a new toy a couple of weeks ago. I got a new Nikon D50 DSLR camera and I really love it! I've been taking pictures of MAC playing soccer, the girls just goofing around the house, Susan, and the dogs. All interesting topics. Here's some of the fun I've been having.

MAC . . . the next Mia Hamm?

Susan and I at MAC's soccer game.

It was a terribly hot day.

Susan and her girls ready to go out for dinner for Mother's day.

Little Bit meets cupcake.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Yes, I am alive

Guess what I am doing right now?

Besides typing?

I am sitting at Susan's computer with someone special in my lap. Not Kelsey. Not MAC. Not E. Enough said.

I am 1 week and 1 day without wisdom teeth. I had assumed that losing the teeth would mean that I would lose weight. That should mean that my running should improve. WRONG.

I have recovered nicely. The surgeon was pleased with my 1 week follow up and released me to do anything I want to do. He had told me nothing strenuous until the follow up visit so I behaved. I was worried about gaining weight but after several day of applesauce and soup, I didn't need to worry about weight gain. I had them taken out on Thursday morning and Susan was a trooper and stayed with me Thursday and Friday to make sure I didn't bleed to death or try driving while on pain meds. By Saturday, I was pretty much back to normal and by Sunday, I was off pain meds altogether except for an occasional visit to the Tylenol bottle.

I ran two miles Thursday afternoon at Susan's house. She joined me for a light run and we spent most of it "girl talking". Just stuff. I ran two miles this afternoon at Susan's house. She didn't join me tonight. Too busy doing Sudoku and drinking wine. Oh yeah . . . . and she had her two girls and two of their friends. BLAH BLAH BLAH. Excuses not to run.

We were supposed to do soccer tonight but we had a great storm blow through. We needed the rain so I am not going to complain. Besides, MAC is having fun playing with her friend. Both E and MAC are having their friends stay over to spend the night and it is fun listening to laughing in the other room.

We also bought a fort/treehouse/swingset for the girls last night at Sams. My parents love Sams. I'm sort of indifferent . . . I always spend money when I go there. Anyway . . . Susan and I unloaded 4 boxes weighing about 250 each last night while the girls were with their dad. The instructions say it should take TWO semi-skilled men 24-28 hours to build this thing. I figure I am SKILLED since I have helped my dad build houses and have built my own. I also figure if I leave out every other bolt I can probably build it in about 12 hours. Of course, if I have a six pack while building it, I could probably get it done in 6 hours!

I still owe you guys and girls a questionairre. I promise it is coming. Don't you love being teased?

Have a SUPER weekend!

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Hello everyone. I am blogging after my bedtime. And for good reason. I've slept the better part of the day. I'll tell you why in a little bit but let me catch you up on running and soccer.

Of course you knew that I had run on Monday evening. Tuesday, I normally run but I needed to get the grass cut and go to MAC's soccer game so I slid my running schedule to Wednesday. This also worked out good for the next several days (this ties in to my sleeping story).

MAC's game was fun to watch. We played a team that really wasn't that good but like I told her, you have to able to sharpen your claws occassionally and this was a good one for doing that. It was evident from the start of the game that we outmatched them. I think they cleared the ball from their half of the field only two or three times the first half. Our girls got to run a lot of set offense and moved the ball around well. I was there with my SLR and tried to take some pictures. Hopefully I got some good shots. I love my old Pentax Super Program. I've had it around 25 years and though it is ancient technology, it still takes decent pictures if I try really hard. I'm thinking about upgrading to digital SLR. I have a couple of digital point and shoots but to do what I want to do, I need to upgrade. I digress. The final score of the game was 7-1. It was 6-0 at half and the coach just kept running players in and out and trying them at different positions. I guess that's a pretty smart move so you know how to better substitute later in the season. It seems that there are certain combinations of girls that work better. The teams two really good players wrecked havoc on the other team from the word go. Of course one of those two girls is MAC. The other girl's name is Chandler and she may be just a shade better than MAC but they play together very well. They know where each other is going to be and watching them pass and work together is really fun. Chandler had two goals . . . and one was an absolute rocket that would have taken the goalie's arm off if she had been able to get to it. MAC had three goals and was the high scorer. Whoever would have thought I'd get so excited at a 10 year old girl's soccer game?

Wednesday afternoon I came home and got in 4 miles and worked out a little bit. The temp has jumped back into the mid to high 80s and the running is tough and slow. However, I am surviving and I think that I am starting to make a little progress in my return from sloth land. Susan came over and we went out for dinner. My last decent meal for a few days.

You see, I had my wisdom teeth removed this morning. Yep. I am 47 years old and doing something that should have been done years ago. Actually, my third molars came fully in when I was a teenager and I never had any problem. However, my dentist has been after me for a while to have them removed. I had one that was broken badly (but no pain) and two others with cavities. She said in the long run, it would be less expensive and less time consuming to get those puppies out. She referred me to a nearby oral surgeon whom I was comfortable with so I did it. I also had a tooth that had had a root canal a long time ago that I broke off a couple of months ago doing something stupid. Not talking about that!. So I actually had 5 teeth pulled. I will be getting a post and crown for the one that was broken so I won't have a big gap in my grin.

My dentist told the surgeon to sedate me since I am a big chicken. Thank you very much. I was not fully under . . . just sort of twilighting but enough to make me not care about what was going on inside my head. Susan drove me this morning and brought me home. I was in my big leather chair watching TV and sleeping by 10:00 am. I snoozed off and on most of the day and got up long enough to drink some fluids and take my pills. Right now I feel pretty good but I am sure it is the Lortab talking. I am going to sit up til midnight and take another pill before going to bed. Susan stayed over today to keep an eye on me and she's staying tonight in case I need anything. The bleeding has just about stopped but I think I'll go ahead and put some more gauze in before I go to bed, just to be safe. The Dr told me not do any heavy work or exercise until next week so I have an excuse to be a slug.

Wish me well and I'll be posting the next few days on my recovery and if I took any good pictures from MAC's game.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Monday musings

I hope everyone had a great weekend. It is lunchtime on Monday and I'm just sitting at my desk, talking to you. You should feel honored . . . it is sunny, mid-80s, no work deadlines, and the golf clubs are crying out to me. I'd rather be here with you. Of course I am honored by you stopping in to see what is happening in my life.

It was a busy weekend.

Friday night, Susan's oldest daughter, MAC, had a soccer game. They were playing one of the better teams in the county and finished with a 2-2 tie. MAC played strong and looks better every week. She had a nice steal, attacked a 2 on 4 situation and scored a goal in the first minute of play. The other team was good and had a lot more shots on goal but our goalies played great and kept the damage minimal.

Saturday morning I woke up early and headed out for a quick run. My legs were still sore from Thursday evenings workout and at first I thought I'd have to quit. However, after about a mile of stumbling through the neighborhood, I finally loosened up and got in a very nice 5 miler. It was sunny and the at 8:00 the temperature was a very nice 60 degrees. A beautiful morning for a run and now I wish I had stayed out there longer. However, we had a day full of activities planned and I needed to get on the stick.

After the run, I went over to Susan's to help her in the yard some more. After moving the doghouse (kids are amazed at simple things like pipes for rollers under the doghouse), picking up and planting more impatiens in the front flower bed, we took a break and went to a nearby garden shop to let the girls pick out flowers for their "OWN" flower bed. It is a shady area and I helpd steer them to the shady plants. MAC and E both got coleus, caladiums, impatiens, foxglove. We also got some sun plants for a little area that sees lots of sun. We spent a couple of hours Saturday afternoon raking back mulch in the natural area, prepping the ground for planting, and showing the girls how to layout their "gardens" before planting. I personally enjoy working in flower beds and it was fun to watch and teach the the girls. After that, Susan and I went to work on ripping out ivy and cutting down overgrown shrubbery. I also chopped roots and pulled up stumps from the shrubbery. We stopped working about 4 ish since MAC had another soccer game.

We had a snack and headed to the soccer field. It was a 6:45 game and the weather was wonderful. We sat next to some of Susan's friends who has a daughter on the opposing team. I am not a coach and know little about soccer but on the way to the field I was describing to MAC how well the team from the previous night played defense and how they kept stealing and intercepting. I told MAC to layback on throw ins. Told her how to let her man look open and as soon as the thrower starts to throw, break in front and steal. I showed her how to stay on the field side of the girl and use the sideline as an extra man. Showed her how to stay just out of the other girl's vision. Guess what . . . . she had at least 10 steals, blocks, or knock aways. Everytime she'd do it, she'd give me a thumbs up and a grin. She had a couple of breakaways and one on ones but couldn't score. The game ended 1-1 and all the spectators felt it was a very well played game. Half of her team went to the same restaurant (unplanned) and we all had a great time.

Sunday we headed to church and sunday school and after that we went to an art show in downtown Birmingham. My legs were still surprisingly sore from the elliptical work on Thursday. We bought a few things at the art show and headed to Susan's house for dinner. We stopped by the market and we each picked something out for the grill. We had Talapia, asparagus, fresh pulled corn, all cooked on the grill along with a Caesar salad. All in all, it was a fun and busy weekend.

Be sure to go by Amy's website and read her story about the proposal. Yes, Troy finally asked her. I played phone tag with her but have not gotten to speak directly with her. The story is good and you can tell she's just a little bit giddy about it.

I would say go to Susan's blog but for some reason, SHE HAS NOT UPDATED SINCE APRIL 10!!!

Friday, April 27, 2007


Yes, it seems that I hear the word FRIDAY sighed, shouted, laughed, and cried all around the office. I'm sure most of you are hearing and feeling the same thing. When I was younger, Friday was just another day. Now I find it more and more a demarcation of sorts . . . a boundary between my "have to" life and who I am actually wanting to grow up to be. Does that make sense? Does it mean that I am finally growing up or does it mean that I am heading into my second (or third) childhood?

Over the last couple of weeks I have been staying true to my running. At least four days a week I've been out there, slogging aroud, trying to get back into shape. I've been running about half of my runs in Susan's neighborhood where there are lots of rolling hills. I think that will pay off.

Yesterday afternoon I did a quick four miler, half of which I ran with Marc "Animal", my neighbor. We were taking it semi-easy since we were both whining about tired legs. We had a nice chat during the run. He seems to be doing well after losing his mom last month. After my run, I called my mom and dad and let them know I was still alive. Of course, being parents, they're curious about how life is . . . . How do you answer that?

After the phone call, Susan came by and picked me up and we headed to the Y. She was wanting to do some cardio and I had planned on lifting but I decided to go upstairs and check out the cardio room. Keep in mind that I ABSOLUTELY HATE machines. I cannot believe that people would choose to run on a belt indoors when the outside is so much nicer. Anyway . . . Susan said let's do elliptical. Sounded kinky to me so I said "sure!". Little did I know the agony that awaited me. Susan jumped on her machine, programmed it and was doing her thing in a few seconds. I just looked dumbly at the buttons, knobs, and lights. It looked like something from an old horror flick. How do you make it go???? Finally, she felt sorry for me and told me to do a 30 minute preprogrammed cardio workout. Right. Easy to say . . . which button? She helped me through that too and I finally got started. It's not that I am unfit. It is just different. When you're used to running, this machine is very tough to learn, as I quickly discovered. I couldn't figure out if I was supposed to be moving my whole body or keeping my upper body still and just using from the hips down. I am sure everyone in the room was having a good chuckle watching me. I finally got comfortable, picked what I thought was a decent cadence, and shlupped through the next 30 minutes. I kept my heart rate around 125 and the lights on the machine showed that I was working between the weight loss zone and the cardio zone. I guess I did okay for a first timer. Remember that I had just run 4 miles and had never done this machine before. I felt pretty good about it until I tried stepping off the machine and walking. I was definitely a rubberband man! Legs are a little sore this morning but I really enjoyed doing something different.

I also did something yesterday that I had never done before-
I took MAC, Susan's 10 year old daughter, to work with me. For those of you who didn't know it, yesterday was "Take your daughter and son to work day". MAC had been asking about my job and office for the last couple of months. How do you explain to a 10 year old that you work in an office that was the prototype for the DILBERT cartoon? I asked her a couple of weeks ago if she would be interested in coming to work with me and she was fired up about it. I gave her a couple of opportunities to back out over the last week but her resolve just became stronger. So yesterday was the big day and I think that she really had a good time. I showed her some of the things I do. Some very boring to a 10 year old, like updating databases, writing 10CFR50.59 evaluations, etc. However, I also do some pretty cool stuff, like 3D modeling of piping systems. That was a hit. Almost like a computer game! I let her play with Autocad and she learned simple stuff like lines, circles, and she even learned (sort of) how to do 3d solids. We had a nice luncheon for all the kids that were in the office and they were indoctrinated about nuclear power (that is what I do, afterall). I really didn't think that she was paying attention but after lunch, when we got back to my desk, she was asking questions. Very cool. We spent the afternoon browsing the NRCs ( website since they have a lot of elementary information about nuclear power. I helped her pull together some information for a handout and report that she was going to give in school today. At the end of the day, I told her it was time to go and she wanted to stay longer! The difference in a 10 year old and a 47 year old. In her words . . . It was fun.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Welcome back

Yes, I am back to my blogging. I've been out of pocket, out of sorts, and out of time but things have sort of settled for now and I can share my thoughts with you once again. I know that you're thrilled.

Over the past several weeks we have finally gotten some rain. What a relief to discover that all my vehicles were not yellow as the welcome wet stuff washed the pollen off.

Over the last couple of months my running has ebbed and flowed. More ebbing to be honest. Part of the problem was my legs were hurting. Note to self-replace your shoes after 350 miles. Yep . . . I needed new shoes and what a difference. I've run Monday and Tuesday this week and my legs feel great. I did 6 miles on Monday . . . nothing spectacular-just ran. Shelly joined me for a couple of miles and I enjoyed the company. Tuesday I went to Susan's and ran in Mountainbrook where there are no flat roads. Very hilly and tough running but I did a 30 minute loop that was very rewarding. Nothing like seeing everything in bloom and looking at 500k to 1 million dollar homes along the route. Makes me realize how really poor I am! Everyone I saw along the way was friendly and waved . . . if they only knew that I was just a visitor!

As some of you know, I had gotten into the lottery for last Fall's NYC marathon and had gotten in. However, I bailed out due to injury and was guaranteed entry into the 2007 NYC marathon. I received my notification of my entry and all I need to do is send them money. Could this be what I need to get me back on track or just another pipe dream? I think I'll send in the money. I have roughly seven months to get ready. I know that seems like a long time but as you well know, when you're training for a marathon, you need lots of time.

Susan's dad is doing better and is leaving rehab this week to go home. Her computer had died a couple of months ago and I had loaned her my laptop. Last Saturday I helped her pick out a new machine and set it up for her. Hopefully she'll finally get off of dial up and start using all that horsepower she got Saturday.

Watch for a future blog, I am wanting some feedback on an issue and I am putting together a questionnaire. Doesn't that sound like fun???

Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Yellow snow?

Yes, I said pollen. Thank goodness that I do not have allergies. Don't know how things are going around the rest of the country, but here in central Alabama things are yucky. With the warm temperatures early this spring, it seems that every form of vegetation is amorous and trying to pollinate like there is no tomorrow. To make matters worse, it has not rained in a couple of weeks. Everything around here has a nice dull yellow coat on it. The parking lot at work looks like it has snowed yellow snow (there's a great visualization for you). Driving down the highway looks like driving down an old dirt farm road . . . yellow dust up in the air, swirling around, covering everything. Temperatures have been in the low to mid 80s with a couple of days in the high 80s. This is perfectly normal if it were the end of May. In summary, not great conditions for running, especially when it is supposed to be in the 60s with a couple of rain showers a week.

However, being the trooper that I am (yes, troopers can be fat), I have continued my running. Not training-just running. Trying to get back into a nice consistent pattern. I've been running without my watch and just enjoying the scenery . . . kids out playing, families strolling the street, people walking their dogs. It's amazing how so many people refuse to be outdoors until it gets warm weather.

WARNING- SOAPBOX MOMENT: kids and outdoors. What is it with kids now days that they stay glued to the computer or video games? I understand parents not wanting their kids napped by the boogie man, but in a neighborhood loaded with kids and at least a few adults out in the yards, I think safety is somewhat covered. I sadly chuckle to myself as I run by houses with basketball goals that never get used except by want-to-be middle agers like myself. Parents spend enormous amounts of money on b'ball goals, swing sets, forts, play sets, trampolines, etc. and I never, ever see kids using them. Our generation needs to become more responsible and teach those behind us how to use their bodies. I will now step off my soapbox.

I ran Saturday and Monday. Sunday afternoon was an active day . . . I was at Susan's after church and was in charge of the girls. After allowing some TV (I am not a hypocrite . . . Florida was playing Oregon on TV!), we moved to outdoor activities. One of E's friends came over and we had a soccer match that lasted about 40 minutes. It ended up a 4-4 tie. After that, we shot some hoops and had a nice game of HORSE. After that, it was time for a lesson . . . Susan has been trying to get E off her training wheels and we decided that Sunday was as good a day as any. I don't think I have ever worked so hard in all my life! I wanted to teach her the way my mom and dad taught me-tie a rope from the bike to the car bumper and just take off! (kidding). E is a good climber/player but I guess I am unaccustomed to the eye-hand co-ordination of a 7 year old. We spent 20 or 30 minutes just getting her used to the handlebars and balancing at the same time. I kept my hand on the back of the seat but let her have the handlebars. Pretty funny . . . like watching a drunk stagger home. However, she was a trooper and kept trying and eventually got where she could hold a straight line and turn the bike around in the street. After she got that down, I started pushing her a little faster and worked on her peddling and looking forward. Why she wanted to stop peddling and look at the ground is beyond me but we finally got it through to her that she had to peddle if she didn't want to fall. After a few more passes up and down the street, I secretly took my hand off the seat but jogged along beside her . . . she was doing fine until she realized she was doing it herself. Bottom line is that after an hour, she was able to ride by herself but interest was fading and though Susan wanted to keep up the lesson, I thought it time to stop (my back was hurting and I was sweating like a pig!). Now that she has a taste of it, I think that she will be wanting more, as long as we don't push her too much.

Susan's dad had his surgery but there was a little setback. Check out Susan's site for details and send her an encouraging word.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Where has Spring gone?

It seems that everytime I turn around, another week or two has passed. It just seems a few days ago when I was running in 30 degree weather and looking forward to 60s and 70s of Springtime. It's been mid-70s to lower 80s for the last couple of weeks. It may be a hot summer!

Yes . . . I have not been posting. No, I have not quit running. I've been doing 4, 5, 6 milers as time permits. Trying to keep it at 4 days a week if possible. I was in Vidalia this week and skipped a mid-week run. However, the big push at work is over and hopefully I'll have time to get back to full regimen of running and back on my bike as well.

Don't forget that Susan's dad is having surgery today and keep her and her family in your prayers.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Monday night

Hey all . . . it is late Monday night. Late for me is anything past 9:00. I'm a fuddy duddy. Can't help it. It's not that I need a lot of sleep. I just like to wake up without an alarm clock . . . ususally between 5 and 5:30. I do let me hair down (figuratively speaking) and stay up till 10:30 sometimes but only on the rare occassion when Susan and I have a late movie or late dinner.

I witnessed the birthday party (go see Susan's site) . . . a bunch of little girls ice skating. Actually, more like dragging themselves along the wall with ice skates on. Regardless, they had fun and that's all that counts. Susan wanted to put on skates but I said no for several reasons . . . First, I had worked on Saturday and Sunday and was tired; and two, I didn't want to risk breaking anything a week before my trip to Hilton Head. Actually, I guess it is our trip. I'm taking Susan and the girls with me. Yes, I will behave and no, we are not setting a bad example for the girls. We have "proper" arrangements.

Running. Oh yeah, that's sort of what this site is about. Last week I ran 4 miles on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. First time in a while that I ran my normal schedule. Granted, my miles were pitiful but I got the schedule back. Work, as you know, has been a royal pain in the A$$. I am not using dollar signs because I am making lots of money! I am finally able to slow down a bit and get back into a routine. I ran 4 miles tonight and I am planning on 5 or 6 tomorrow night.

Will write more later this week before the trip.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Where have you gone, Jimmy boy?

I've heard this several times over the last couple of weeks. To be honest, I have no idea where I have gone. Fortunately, that means that I have no memory of it; therefore, the pain is negligible. Work and life. Life and work. Right now I think they are the same thing. This is not a good thing. I know that it strains me and I am certain it is straining Susan, and for that, I am sorry. Sometimes I get too caught up in work and I tend to drop all things to focus on getting my job done. It's like some kind of weird obsessive disorder. Go figure. The good thing is that when I do have time on my hands, I focus this same strange disorder on running and other things that are actually more important.

As you know, I've been working some longer than usual hours under some not so good circumstances. Weird place I work. Enough about that. However, know that my running hours have been diminished to fit into my employer's schedule and not mine. I've been able to get in some shorter runs . . . 4 miles here, 6 miles there. That kind of thing but no real consistent training regimen. Maybe after another week or so.

I did manage to get a 4 miler in Saturday morning and then went for a run with Susan Saturday afternoon before our big shindig (see Susan's site and further down into this post). As usual, I let Susan set the pace for my second run of the day and I also let her pick the route. We felt adventurous so Susan took me on the run from hell. I like hills. Despite my size and lack of speed, I normally do a lot of passing on uphill climbs. The worse part of hills are the down hills. I just have trouble negotiating them . . . . do I remain parallel to the surface as some experts suggest? This just seems to make me build up more speed which will ultimately lead me crashing through someone's fence or jersey barrier. Not a big fan of fast down hill runs. Or should I lean back, squat and keep my knees bent as other experts suggest? This tends to be easier on the legs but I feel so goofy and kids are always pointing at me and laughing. Anyway, the hills that Susan took me on were so bad that it didn't matter what I did on the the down hill side because the uphill side was such a killer! Best as I can tell we did a 3 1/2 mile loop. And though I know it is impossible on a loop route, it felt that we ran uphill more than down hill.

I ran tonight for 4 miles and my legs still felt the hills. The first mile was a slow shuffle but after that I started getting things into order and managed to enjoy myself briefly for the remaining three miles.

On a sad note, my running buddy Marc "Animal" had his mother pass away today in Atlanta. Don't know details yet other than the funeral will be later this week. Not sure if I'll be able to run over there with work the way it is.

On a social note, Susan and I had fun at the Gala last Saturday night. We took many pictures. Unfortunately, most of them cannot be posted since we would probably risk being thrown in prison for years if they were actually revealed . . . . just kidding. We ate dinner at a beautiful historic home that had been restored and is on the historic register in Alabama. The host couple were very gracious and inviting. We picked this location because a lot of Susan's bunko friends were going to this dinner. Yes, bunko. The non-existent game where ladies get together, drink wine, complain about their men, and wish they had much better men. Anyway, Susan's friends were there and we all had a good time. After dinner, we all drive to Birmingham Country Club for a silent auction and dancing. This is all to raise money, via the Service Guild, for the Bell Center-a preschool for special needs children. A very good cause which I have been involved with in the past. Normally, I spend a few dollars at the silent auction but did not this year. It was very crowded at the club and after a few dives into the chocolate fountain with assorted fruits (pineapple, strawberries, etc. Not weird people), we decided to call it an evening. I am attaching a few photos that meet the definition of legal.

Susan and I at dinner. A little salad . . . a little entree. Believe it or not, Susan was wanting a cheeseburger and fries by 10 o'clock that night!

Susan (back center) with some of her bunko friends and one stray husband.

Susan and I holding up the fireplace. Or is that the other way around? Handsome couple? Give us your vote!