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!