Wednesday, June 17, 2009

wow . . . two weeks since last post.

I have been running. Honest.

I have actually been able to work my schedule into the family's schedule and get in four runs a week for the last several weeks. None of them were spectacular but each one builds on the previous and is helping me to get back into the swing of things.

I am planning on running this afternoon, against advice from all our local weather goobers. High 90s with index around 105. Did I mention that I am FAT? The heat combined with the hills in my 'hood combined with the excess baggage attached to my waist will make for a nice, slow, sweaty workout or put me in the hospital!!! Actually, I do enjoy the heat. I just hate that it takes me so long to get cooled off. Nothing like standing in the shower and sweating at the same time.

I ran Sunday afternoon . . . it was rainy and somewhat cool (mid 70s). Had a pretty fun time on that run though I didn't do great. I had worked in the yard for several hours beforehand and had expended lots of energy. I ran Monday in the heat. I did the Locksley loop which throws in a couple of extra hills. Very bad idea. I completed the run am embarrassed to say that I had to walk one of the last hills. Susan and MAC rode their bikes. They gave me about a 10 minute head start and were going to try to catch me. Actually, that wasn't much of a challenge. They caught me at about 2 1/2 miles of my 3 1/2 mile run. It was hot and sweaty but fun with family involvement.

We are starting to gear up for vacation. We're heading to Hilton Head Island next week. I know that it is 3 hours further than going to the gulf coast for us, we enjoy it and the girls love the island. As far as "beauty" goes, I do like the gulf coast, especially South Walton beach between Destin and Panama City. However, that nice white fluffy sand does not encourage biking and running on the beach. Bikes will sink to the axles and unless you're superman, the super soft sand will ruin your knees. I prefer eastern beaches with the harder packed sand-much more functional. Plus HHI has all kinds of bike/running trails all over the island, through the trees, around lagoons . . . fun for spotting wildlife and sharing a smile with other bikers and runners.

other exciting things going on . . . root canal on Tuesday morning. Went well with no problems (so far). Susan and I are having dinner tonight at The Club with B and Carl (friends from CT). Walking 9 holes tomorrows with my buds. I played well last week and hope to keep the streak going-it may even force me to take my clubs to HHI. That's about it for now.

Get out there and do something. Anything. Just enjoy it!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Just call me Mr. Sensitivity

Okay, okay. I've been remiss in keeping the two people who read my blog updated (my wife and my mom). Susan reads it to keep me honest and to make sure that I don't tell any embarrassing stories about her. My mom reads it because she knows how much I hate to talk on the phone.

First things first-running. Yes I have been . . . some, but not enough. I noticed the other day that the pants were starting to get a little snug again. I accused Susan of drying them too hot. She wouldn't buy it and I knew better. Going to be spending the summer trying to push back from the table. I have realized that I cannot hold myself accountable without a goal so I will be looking at the race calendar over the next year and try to get my butt in gear. I told MAC, my 12 year old step-daughter, that we would do a sprint triathlon next spring. That is some sort of commital, isn't it?

Life. It goes on. Too quickly sometimes. It seems that I have no time to do anything. I realize that I just have to take a deep breath, focus on priorities and take care of business.

Seems that E has become unfamiliar with her body. She is not old enough to doing the puberty thing or at least I hope she's not. Over the last week she has managed to inflict multiple injuries on her nine year old body. She has been running into things, scraping protruding joints, and adding to her collection of "boo boos" on a daily basis.

The latest episode was Monday evening. I was going for a run and E wanted to ride her bike with me which I encouraged. Afterall, exercise is so much better than watching the tube, right? She's been growing like a weed and her legs have been cramped on her bike. She asked me to raise the seat. I told her we only needed to adjust it a little at a time so she could get used to the difference. That was unacceptable so instead of arguing about it (Susan has done a good job in telling me about picking my battles) I raised the seat about 1 1/4 inches. Well . . . MAC and Susan decided to join us also. My nice little run was quickly turning into a family outing. Okay . . . I can deal with that. Of course the girls argue the whole time, but that's another story for another day. The girls asked if they can ride on ahead and we warn them about staying to the right hand side, to stop at all stop signs, and to not get out of sight. Okay, go. It was like they were shot out of a rifle-legs furiously pumping, bikes wobbling . . . whish-they were gone. Susan decided to pedal a little faster to catch up to them. Cool . . . I'm running and not parenting. That is until I round the bend at the bottom of the hill.

I don't recall if I saw the bike in the street or heard the bellowing first but regardless, I knew something was askew and my nice run was going to be transformed into social work. Now I know what my parents went through as I was growing up. I am still thankful that they chose to put up with me instead of drowning me! MAC was standing there saying "I didn't do anything!". E was laying on the side of the road next to her bike, alternating between screaming, sobbing, and blaming MAC. Susan was off her bike and trying to get information from E. For a brief moment I truly thought about running on past them and pretending like I didn't know them. However, the consequences of such an action would be horrific, similar to the shock and awe air-strikes of Bagdad. Okay . . . I'll be a parent, but on MY TERMS. I stop and ask . . . "what happened?" E screams, "Mary Alice made me fall off my bike!". MAC again pleads her case of innocense. My guess is that is was probably a little bit of both. "Okay. Calm down. Let me see." I have E hold up her hands. I say, "you're supposed to have ten fingers . . . looks like they're all there." Then I check the head- "two ears, two eyes, all the teeth you started with . . . look up" she turns her head up and down and side to side. "Good . . . now you know why we are so mean and MAKE you wear a helmit". "Two legs, two knees, two ankles, two feet, no blood." I then ask the question that always gets me in trouble-"So why are you crying?". "IT HURTS!!!" E yells. "Okay, calm down. Yeah, I do see some gravel and scrapes on the palm of your hand but not enough for that much crying."

She finally realizes that is about as much sympathy as she's going to get from me. I know we have to blame something or somebody to appease her anger, embarrassment, and pain. Aha! . . . I raised the seat. "E, it's probably my fault because I raised the seat too high" I volunteered, laying my pride and manhood on the alter of parenthood. She found this an acceptable sacrifice and the crying became more of a subtle whimper. "Okay . . . standup" I said. "But it hurts" she said. "Hmmmm. Well, you can stay here and hurt and maybe get run over or eaten by crows. Or you can buck up, take it to the house and hurt there. Regardless, you are going to hurt", I try to explain. It is at that time that I get THE LOOK. All family members, including the dogs, the cat, the hamster, know THE LOOK. Cool, now she can focus on her anger instead of the pain.

She gets up and trys to get on the bike. Whether she's scared or actually hurting, I don't know but it took her a couple of minutes to start pedaling. She and Susan pedal along at a very slow pace while MAC and I go on ahead and do another mile while Susan and E take it home. We go inside when we're done and I can't help but chuckle at the ice on the wrist and all the bruises and scrapes on E. I apologize to her and explain that it all part of being a kid and growing up. She settles down and we all sort of discuss and laugh about it. Susan serves dinner-Thai noodles and shrimp. Homemade. Let's see . . . authentic Thai food if pretty hot . . . . E takes a bite, sticks out her tongue and says "GREAT, now I have a boo boo on my tongue!!!"

We'll see what adventures await us when we go for a run this afternoon.

Monday, May 11, 2009


yep . . . another one. And thanks to my buddy Phil (AZ Phil), I found out that I am about 40% of the way through my 4160 Mondays that I'll have to live through. So far so good.

Last week was not a great week for running though I did walk 9 holes twice and that has to count for something doesn't it? I mean, carrying 30 lbs of golf clubs, bag, balls, beverages for about 2 1/2 miles in 80 plus degree heat counts as exercise in my book.

I ran Monday, golfed Tuesday, ran Wednesday, golfed Thursday. After that, I was a total slug. Between lack of uuumph, out of town soccer tournament, and this gosh awful depressing grey sky/rain we get every weekend, I just didn't manage to get in any miles over the weekend. I will, however, try to squeeze in some mileage this evening after taking E to dance and then from dance to soccer practice. I may just throw on my running clothes and run while soccer practice is going on.

Soccer tournament-
No repeat state championship. Our team is about speed and technique. Not good things to rely on when the fields are ankle deep in muck and it's raining the entire time. MAC played well . . . she is fortunate in that she understands how to switch from speed to power. It's great that she takes coaching so well. We've been working with her about shortening her stride and no quick turns on wet fields. It payed off . . . several times she easily outmanuevered players from the other teams as they slipped down or lost their footting. Our first game ended in a 4-4 tie. We originally thought that we'd smoke this team since we jumped out to a 3-0 lead and seemed to have things under control. However, our defense just didn't clear the ball as effectively as in the past and our goalies just were not on their game. MAC had two goals and an assist. Once goal should go on the highlight reel-she intercepted a pass while playing mid-center, gave a head fake and she was off to the cleaners. She ended up with a clear field outside the goalie's box and set the goalie up perfectly. Great fun to see it come together like that. Our second game was against a team that got slaughtered by the team we had tied so we sort of expected a win which we needed to get into the playoffs. Unfortunately, the other team scored two quick goals and our girls couldn't seem to recover. We had a few decent shots at goal including MAC slamming one into the post. The game ended up getting called a few minutes into the second half due to lightning and under Alabama Youth Soccer rules, the game was done. A tie and a loss sent us into a consolation game late Sunday morning. We ended up playing against our sister team that MAC plays with sometime. All the girls and parents know each other and most are friends and it made for a fun and interesting game. The other team scored in the first minute of the game and rest of the game was a defensive struggle ending in a 0-1 loss for us. Basically, we stunk it up with 0 wins, 2 losses, 1 tie. We now get a short respite from soccer and try outs begin in about three weeks.

that's about it for now.

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there . . . and you know who you are!!!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Hey all. Long time, no see. I never had any clue that being a family man would change my life and priorities so much. Lots of things since my last post several weeks ago.

I have been running. That's the important thing. For the most part, I've been running at least three days a week and normally try to get four in, even if they end up being rushed, short runs. I still have not become the time manager that I thought I was so I still struggle balancing yard work for two houses, two daughters (I hate calling them step) and their soccer practices, games and the accomanying comings and goings involved, running, and helping Susan with routine house stuff. I hate to run in the mornings but it is looking more and more like I'll have to adopt morning running to achieve any quality results.

On other fronts-
MAC continues to enjoy soccer and has some pretty good games the past month. We were in Destin, FL last weekend for a tournament. MAC was invited to guest play with a sister team from the same soccer association. She and two other players were asked to play since their normal team wasn't not going to this tournament. Needless to say, you can cherry pick and cobble together a pretty good team when you can take good players from different teams. We were lucky in that our condo was across the street from the fields where our age group was playing. Wow! what a break. Last year, we had to drive 45 minutes to get to the fields. The first game was more like a scrimmage. No insult intended to the team we beat. They were a local team from Emerald Coast Soccer Assocation. MAC score the first goal within about 30 seconds of the start of the game. We had a corner kick that was actually executed fairly well, MAC got the cross and boomed it in, just like it's drawn up on the marker board. We ended up winning that game 4-0 with our coach electing to play a lot of the second half with different player combinations and positions and just experimenting.

The second game was a couple of hours later that afternoon and it was blazing hot. I had gone for a 6 mile run between games while the girls just lazed around the condo. There was a nice breeze as I was running along the road parallel to the beach and that made it SEEM cooler than it was. The first 5 miles went pretty well and was on my way to my normal goal-a negative split on my out and back runs. However, mile 6 hit me. Something about seeing the condo in the distance, the black asphalt soaking in the 1:00 afternoon soon and the 87 degrees, and my general lack of being in shape caught me. I'm not sure what you may call it in your running circles but we call it "THE ELECTRIC HEADBAND". You know the sensation that you get while you're running when all of a sudden your scalp starts tingling, you start getting tunnel vision and see monkeys dancing off the hot asphalt? Well, I was there, and though scarey, it is strangely exhilirating. Finished up my run, covered in salt, got back to the condo and took a quick shower. Timed perfectly to take MAC to her second game. OMG-it was a great game. Two totally different styles ended in a zero zero tie after an hour of play. MACs team is built more on speed and execution. The team we played from Cobb county near Atlanta were brutes. These girls were a bunch of amazons. Before the game we all swore that this was a 14 or 15 year old team that had gone to the wrong field. Nope . . . this was the right team. Those girls must eat a lot of chicken (growth hormone). The Cobb team was not exceptionally fast but they were big and powerful and just seemed to plow through our defense. Thank goodness our fullbacks are decent size and our goalie is quick as a cat because Cobb probably had shots on goal that outnumbered ours at least 5-1. When we would advance the ball and get near their goal, they would simply just knock us off the ball. We did get a couple of penalty shots but all in all it was a clean, physical game they played and fun to watch. MAC had a good shot on goal and had the goalie totally out of positiong but hit the top bar with it. We went back to the condo wondering if we were going to play consolation game on Sunday or actually be in the semi-finals. We found out later that evening that we finished third out of ten for the day and made it to the finals.

Sunday we got up and headed to the fields after all the consolation games were played. I could tell the girls were tired and beat up from the physical game the afternoon before. Several of the girls, including MAC, had big, ugly black banana bruises on their arms and thighs. We played a team from Florida and they were good. They were the #2 team and with good reason. Very well coached and relentless. We held our own in the first half and had things tied up 1-1 at halftime. The second half was a different story. The difference in good coaching and great coaching is the ability to make changes and adapt. The FL team came out playing a different game at a different level and quickly scored a couple of goals. Our girls quickly became demoralized (along with tired and beat up) and everyone could tell their hearts were not in it. Our coach moved girls around and tried different attacks but we just couldn't get the ball in the net. The team didn't score anymore but they essentially did what we did in game #1-sort of just practiced their passing and keep away game. I guess their coach knew they still had another game to play so he lightened up. It could have been much uglier. Thank you for having mercy on our girls.

The good thing about losing the first semi is that we get to get on the road quicker. MAC slept most of the way home.

okay. lunchtime is over. I'll try to do better at posting.

Monday, April 13, 2009

just quickly

Seems the world has turned to Facebook and fewer and fewer folks are blogging. I'm old fashioned and try to continue updating my blog. After all, a lot of my friends and family have just gotten used to blogspot. FB would probably be the last straw and push them into caves with open fires and chasing wild animals.

Bottom line- good week last week. However, though excited about my run today and starting off another good week, I had one of those days. You know? I never really was comfortable. Legs were tired and I felt like I was 20 pounds heavier. In fact, I have to admit that I walked the last 1/4 mile of my 3 1/2 mile loop . Yuck . I hate that feeling. Just when you thought you were starting to make a little progress, reality comes back and smacks you in the uh huhs.

On a lighter note, I took E to soccer practice (mind you, she's really just a first year) and stayed there and watched. She's improving and actually able to move the ball with both feet. A big improvement from several weeks ago.

Maybe tomorrow's run will be better.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

What was that?

Something went buzzing through me this evening as I was cooking chicken fajitas on the grill. I've done lots of things, some good, some not so good in my 49 years, 6 months of breathing the air that God has freely provided our little rock that whirls around the sun every 365 (give or take) days. Some have been pretty stupid and some were almost brilliant. Now I sit here pondering, wondering. I feel sort of like the Grinch talking to his dog Max moments before he figured it out.

Susan was asking me what I might want to do for my 50th birthday. Six months away. In all honesty, I have never even thought about it. Really. Until now. The question, asked in total innocense and utmost sincerity, buzzed through my head, doubled back and drilled right down into my gut. What was that? was that my pride quickly being wiped away like a dry erase board? Wow-50. I believe that in most likelihood that number puts the majority of us on the down hill side. If my life were a work week, I'd probably be about Wednesday afternoon, maybe getting close to quitting time.

I guess the thing that struck me was I quickly realized that I still feel like a teenager at times. I'm having too much fun to be 50. Maybe I should act more my age? Susan hates it when I say that. Or maybe I should just start buring the candles at both ends. Damn 50, full speed ahead! I guess I have six month to decide how to approach it. I am in dire need of some wisdom out there so if you have anything to contribute, let me know.

On the running front-
Glad to see Amy ripped off a new PR . . Congrats girlfriend!

I had a couple of good runs on Monday and Tuesday then went out of town. Headed to Milledgeville, Ga (not too far from Amy) to look at an upcoming job at one of our fossil plants. It rained almost entire time I was there on Wednesday and Thursday, walking around in the coal yard and ash trench. Yuck! I got home Thursday evening but didn't feel like running. I had to come home from the plant in soaking wet clothes (already checked out of hotel), soaking wet socks and steel toe boots, listening to one of my riding companions babble on about some trivial BS about the batting order of the LA Dodgers. Not in mood to run, needless to say. Friday was a wierd day. I know that I needed to run but sort of had a don't give a rip attitude. Strange how it comes and goes. Saturday, I did something that I HATE to do. There is something inherently wrong with driving your car somewhere so you can go for a run. However, Susan and I went to one of our local trails, Jemison Trail, where it is nice and shady and the path runs parallel to a nice size creek. There were lots of folks out and once we got going I was happy that I did so. Today (Sunday) we seemed to waste the day away. We got home from church, ate a quick lunch, went grocery shopping, came home and paid bills, cleaned house, did laundry, and did a quick easy two miler in the misty rain. That's it for the week.

50 . . . . man that sucks.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Just got in from my Saturday afternoon run. It's almost dinner time but I think that I will probably shower first. Got that runner's stink going, you know what I mean?

The good- Four days this week. Not a record by any stretch and I know some of you scoff at four days but I enjoyed each day and for once in a long while, I was consistent and not finding excuses to skip.

The bad (started off good)- We had a statewide competition to lose weight over the last ten weeks. We formed up into teams of four and the goal was for each person to lose 10 pounds. For every person losing 10 pounds, his (or her) name will be entered into a drawing for $250. If the entire team lost 10 pounds each, each team member's name is entered into a drawing for an addtional $1000. We did great! All four of us lost our 10 pounds and then some. I was the weakest link of the team but lost 13 pounds in 9 weeks (early weigh in due to being out of town for spring break when the official weigh in occurred). The other three team mates lost anywhere from 17 pounds to 29 pounds! I know-you ask yourself what is bad about that. Well, I've sort of lost focus and though have not gained any back, I haven't lost any either. But I will be working on that!

Ugly-my running. Well, maybe not my running. My running if fine. It's the stupid road's fault. You see, where I live here in B'ham is a lovely little community called Mountain Brook. One of those places where you are either "old" money or "new" money. Or as in my case, NO MONEY! Anyway, the city planners must have missed their 10th grade geometry class. They either forgot or didn't know that the straightest distance between two points is a straight line. Now I am not going to argue semantics with you . . . line, line segment, ray, polyline. The bottome line is that in this area you can get from point A to point B 10 different ways and they all SUCK! There is nothing straight in this town. There are also no flat spots. NONE. We have a one mile loop around the house that isn't bad but I do occassionally venture out like I did twice this week. I did a four miler on Thursday and today (Saturday) that took me through billy goat country here in the "brook". Thank goodness I do not have a Garmin . . . I'd hate to know how many elevation changes I went through. When I used to go to a lot of local races, I always wondered why the Mtn Brook folks always did so well. Now I know-they train over here in these hills. I guess it will make me tough or it will kill me. Time for some Balvenie and Advil.

I'm going to enjoy my evening of watching basketball and being a slug. Looking forward to Sunday School where we are doing a study of the parallel passion stories in the gospels. Thanks to Bret for undertaking this and doing a great job. Go visit his blog if you have time. He is an excellent writer and has that . . . hmmmm . . . .weird(?) sense of humor.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hey there. Yep, I'm back. Nothing big. Weeks of short runs and just building base..

You may or may not know, Susan and I are at the beach this week. L.A. (or lower Alabama) as most southerners know it. It is spring break in Alabama. However, we don't have the girls. Their father has them this spring break so we are kidless. We were originally supposed to be going to Vegas this week for our official "honeymoon". However, with the economy the way it is, we decided to save some money, skip Vegas, and just head to the beach for our alone time.

Facebook followers already know that it rained the first day we were down here. I'm not talking about an off and on sprinkle. We're talking about pouring down, toad strangler, rain. We spent several hours in Fairhope Alabama trying to go in and out of the antique shops but after several hours of just getting wet, we took a vote and decided to go to a local restaurant and have oysters and adult beverages. I think that was a much better choice.

We got up this morning to a much nicer day. We got out for a run-9ish, sort of late, but hey, it is our honeymoon after all. Susan ran for about 10 minutes with me. Actually I ran for 10 minutes with her and then she was ready to turn around and head back. I gave her the key and I kept going. I think she was relieved that she didn't have me tagging along with her and she could run/walk at her own pace. I went on for another 12 minutes and then turned around. I ran back in less time since I had run with Susan so I ended up with a round trip of about 39 minutes. Nothing fabulous but it was fun running in the sun and looking at the early morning scenery. Like all the spring breakers staggering out of their rentals, all hung over.

We decided that today would be our beach day. The clouds are non-existant, the breeze is mild, the sun warm. Beautiful day. Unfortunately, the water was COLD. Shrinkage cold (for you Seinfeld fans out there). Needless to say, we did not go past knee deep, thank goodness.

It occurred to me while on the beach, that this was a great equalizer. There was everything from young, pretty (and handsome) school kids throwing frizbees and footballs to an elderly couple that was fully clothed and just walked to the water's edge holding hands. There were also lots of folks like me-somewhere in the middle. Not young, not old. Not pretty, not ugly, not a hard body, not a fatty. The amazing thing is that with all the different people, body types, ages, races, nobody seemed to mind the next one being there. Thank goodness they let me on the beach! Just an observation.

Tomorrow we are going to Ft Morgan, taking the ferry to Dauphin Island and then heading up to Bellingrath gardens. After that, we are heading west to spend the night in Biloxi at Beau Rivage.

I'll keep you updated!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Okay, okay. I am a very bad person. I never knew how different life would be with a family. I went from having all the time in the world (and being lonely) to having small snippets of time that I try to mend together (and have a family). Not complaining-just sharing observation about my life. Busy best describes it. Priorities have definitely changed. Normally, Saturdays were reserved for long runs, working in the yard (which I love to do), grilling out with my neighbors and having one too many of whatever we are drinking at the time. Now Saturdays are about soccer, dance pictures, splitting time with the father, and numerous other things that have somehow become more important. I am still searching for a balance. I'm I'll figure it out eventually.

I know I cannot catch up since my last post. I will talk about this week so far. Susan has not been running regularly and just tries to catch a mile here and there. Sunday afternoon we went for a three miler that turned into a three mile run/walk. We had fun and stopped in several open houses along the way just to be nosey neighbors. The father had the kids so we were able to enjoy our time together and come back to the house, sit on the screened in porch (with propane heater) and read. Monday I did a quick 3 miler. Felt good and Sunday made me sort of hungry for more. Today I went out and did a 4 miler on my hilly course. The weather was slightly warmer (high 50s) and a tee shirt was plenty. Of course I also wore shorts and shoes. I am civilized after all. The run was enjoyable. I know that I was not fast but I did push and it felt good to do it. I'll take off on Wed. and then run on Thursday and hopefully on Saturday or Sunday. We are supposed to go to Atlanta for a soccer tournament but I may stay in town with E to get her picture made with dance class. Of course if we stay in town, we are going to stay in town the whole weekend and work in my yard in Eagle Point. It may be a weekend where we divide and conquer . . . Susan and MAC at soccer tournament and E an myself staying in B'ham. As typical with my new life, chaos is the norm and we don't have a plan yet.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hey all. It's Wednesday lunchtime and I'm eating my can of solid white Albacore Tuna and fistfull of pretzels and drinking my third giant cup of water. Yes . . . doing weight watchers (Jim style) again. Now you may ask "what do you mean Jim Style?" We all agree that weekends are tough. That is when we party, go out to eat, and generally let go just a wee bit. I really hit the WW method hard on week days. However, if I way the same on Monday morning as I did on Friday morning, I count that as a win. I have had a good week so far. I have dropped 3.6 lbs since Monday morning. I know that's a bit much for a 48 hour period but that's just the way my body works. Sometimes it may be a couple of days of holding steady and then WHAM! I lose a couple of pounds.

Running. Let's see . . . I did a nice 5 miler on Saturday. Still not ready for any long runs but I can tell I'm starting to get stronger. I ran Monday afternoon. That was a fun run. Four miles, pushing it just a little. I was definitely winded when I finished but my recovery was quick and I regretted not having gone further. I walked eleven holes of golf Tuesday afternoon. It was first I have played since November and I was surprised that I was able to hit fairways and an occassional green. My score wasn't that good but I was happy with the contact and had mucho fun walking with my buddy Larry.

I am supposed to run 4 or 5 after work today but we'll have to see how it goes. There are storms about to blow into the B'ham area and supposed to last until sundown. Hopefully I'll find a gap so I can get out and get in some exercise.

The big social event of the week happens tonight. I'm taking Susan and girls to The Club for dinner and dancing. Tonight is the Father/Daughter dance and I know that E is going to try to dance my legs off. MAC may dance with me but she is bashful about getting on the dance floor. I'll post pictures later.

question for runners out there-
does anyone use the measure tool on Google Earth? If so, have you found it accurate. I do not use a GPS and I'm just too plain lazy to ride my bike or car along all my different running routes. It seems to be fairly accurate but just curious if anyone uses the tool.

Monday, February 02, 2009


yes, yuck-
never mind. I have managed to contract some kind of stomach bug. Actually this feels more like a St Bernard or something of quivalent size. Not sure where it came from-perhaps the circus last Friday night. I felt good on Saturday and went for a nice 5 miler Saturday afternoon. E had a friend over to spend the night so I guess she could have introduced this dibolical biological threat to human kind. Doesn't matter. I have felt like (insert your own word here)and continue to feel like whatever word you chose.

I felt fine Sunday morning. MAC was sickly so Susan stayed home with MAC and I took E to Sunday school (kicking and screaming, it's not fair!!!). I had to remind her that she stayed home several weeks ago when she was running a temperature. About halfway through my SS class, I started feeling nauseated. I mean stomach flip flops, not finishing coffee, breaking into a sweat kind of thing. We skipped church and headed home. We were supposed to eat brunch at my parents' house but I had to bail because
1-I don't like puking on the side of the road.
2-I don't like puking into Wal-Mart bags while pulled over to the side of the road.
3-I prefer to be sick at home.

By early afternoon, the "D" word got me. You know, loosey goosey. And then the purge really began. For those of you who prefer not to read about or discuss bodily functions, you should skip to next paragraph. We've all been there-sitting on the head with your head stuck in a garbage can. Awful. And it wasn't even from a wild night of partying. Probably from a kid. I have done some tough things in my life but nothing compares to being exposed to the germ carriers 24 hours a day. It's an absolute miracle that any kid makes it out of school alive. Okay, back to bodily functions. I think I managed to clear everything out from the last 2 months. Remember the Seinfeld episode with the black and white cookie? Remember how he fought to retain his puke free streak. I was sort of fighting it. But once I gave into just a little gag, it was all over. And the body aches.

I thought it might be the flu but I had a flu shot and I really didn't have a fever. Maybe gall stones? All I know is that I was down for the count. I spent the rest of Sunday in the horizontal position, half awake, half asleep with the TV on, not caring what I was listening to. At least the TV sort of drowned out the sounds of my grunting and whimpering. I also had chills. Big shivering, quaking, uncontrollable shakes. I took Tylenol and that helped a little bit with the body ache. I went to bed just knowing that it was my last day on earth.

I awoke Monday (today) morning feeling a wee bit better. However, not good enough to go into work. Now, if you know me, you know that I don't like to skip work, unless golf or travel is involved. Body aches were gone but stomach was still not right. Susan had me try some oatmeal before they left for school. It stayed down. Yippee. I had soup and sweet tea for lunch. Mistake. Got to see the noodles for a second time. Yuck. I've sort of been bouncing between feeling okay to feeling bad. We just had tacos (I never said I was smart) for dinner. Plain. Flour torts and hamburger meat. Still trying to decide if I'll keep it. I'll keep you posted.

MAC is trying to read over my shoulder and wants to use the computer to listen to some hiphop or whatever it is kids listen to on Youtube. Got to watch them. Check you later.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's lunchtime on Thursday and I am finally taking enough time to catch up. Funny how I thought I could better control my routine once I was married and stopped all the back in forth involved with dating. Wrong, fish face. My life has never been busier and more out of control than it has the last two months. Not complaining, just sharing the realization that having 3 girls in my family is truly like herding cats. Of course there is nothing more rewarding than teaching a lesson, sharing an experience, holding hands with my daughters, or any one of a hundred other things that make me realize that maybe, just maybe, I am a father.

Running. Yes I am. I've been building base the last several weeks, trying to run at least four days a week. I really haven't done anything more the 5 miles at any one time but it is running. This week was sort of a breakthrough week. I had a good run on Monday and on Tuesday I went for a hilly workout and pushed the pace. It felt great!

I cannot run the half at Mercedes which is only a couple of weeks away but I will likely run on a relay team. I won't be fast but I won't be last. Maybe that should be my new motto.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Happy New Year and a lesson learned

Wow. I cannot believe that it has been a month since my last post. Holidays and new family definitely affect what was once expendable time.

The question is, have I been running? Yes. Some. Not enough to be considered in shape but enough to know that I need to be doing more. I am not going to try to capture the last month worth of running. Probably averaged 12-15 miles a week-terrible, I know. Plus the week after Christmas I was fighting a head cold and didn't do much. Plus it seems that it has been raining in Alabama since Thanksgiving. I try to hit the days when it's not storming outside and that has affected my schedule also.

I will tell the story of this past weekend. Even though this actually belongs on my other sight (formerly My Hot Girlfriend and will probably be renamed My New Family), there is physical exertion involved so I'll just write about it here.

The girls, like most school kids around the nation, have had close to two weeks off from school. As such, their schedules have been all hosed up. After getting the girls back from their dad, we noticed the ability of the girls to sit up much later than usual. Not good. Not being used to kids I always assumed that most folks could get by on 6 or 7 hours of sleep. Nope. It seems kids like 8, 9, or even 10 hours. That being said, this past Saturday Susan and I decided that we needed to do something with the girls on Sunday that would wear them out and force them to go to sleep early Sunday night. We decided a nice challenging hike would do everyone good. Get out of the house, exercise, see nature and all that stuff.

After church and lunch on Sunday we headed out to our local state park-Oak Mountain State Park ( Great place for all kinds of activities. Lots of trails ( The shortest trail is the Peavine Trail. It is about 1.9 miles to a parking lot and another 1/2 mile to the waterfalls located in the park. Now anyone who knows the park knows that though this is a short trail, it is probably the toughest climb. The elevation change from the trail head to the highest point is about 550 feet and that occurs in the first 1 1/2 mile. Very good . . . that will make the girls sleep. We discussed this with the girls and they were excited about it. Told them it was a tough hike . . . that there are probably no other kids in there class that have done this hike. Even more excitement. I guess they are like me and love a challenge. I figured that since MAC practices/plays soccer continuously and E is slender, rides her bike and climbs like a monkey, they could handle it.

We parked near the trail head. I strapped on my day pack with two water bottles, a couple of Oat Meal to go snacks, a lighter, a flashlight, trail map, cell phone. Should be good enough for what I anticipated to be 3 hours of hiking. The key word here is ANTICIPATED. I forgot to factor in the kid factor. The first half mile is a very steep climb. The girls immediately came to the realization that there was to be no running ahead on the trail. This was fun to watch as they realized this . . . . hands on knees and breathing like fish out of water. Susan and I looked at other, pleased with our plan to "wear out" the girls. We stopped for a few sips of water. At the end of the first half mile, the trail levels off and then drops down through a bottom (or hollow, as we say here in Alabama). This is one of the easy stretches on the trail and lasts for maybe a 1/4 to 1/2 mile. The next 1/2 mile is all uphill. I have to admit that it is a good climb so I know the girls were really working hard. About halfway up, E wants more water. DANG. We can't keep stopping every few feet, it will slow us down. She also wants a snack. We stop and get into the day pack. Not part of my plan. I figured a few sips of water along the way and then split the snack bars once we got to the waterfalls. I also didn't count on E slurping and gulping down the first bottle of water halfway to our destination. Okay. Explain to the girls that we only take sips and we need to concentrate on moving. I quietly decide to give up my ration of water for the hike.

We hit the high point of trail, about 1 1/2 miles from the trail head. Guess what? Yep. Need to stop, eat and drink again. Not good. Now mind you, I am not an avid hiker but I know enough to realize that the farther you go, the longer you have to come back and I also realize that on a cloudy day, mid-afternoon can turn into nightfall quickly. I tell everyone that we are closer to the falls than the car but we have taken too much time. I tell them that the last mile is reasonably flat and faster. However, we may need to turn around now before we all get tired and before it gets dark. Yells of "NO!!!! we want to see the falls" encouraged me and warmed my heart. Yes, these girls will tough it out (I thought). I silently take note of the mist and fog that is rolling in on us-not good. However, we plow on.

We had to stop a couple of other times along the flat, fast part of the trail. MAC was doing fine and enjoying it. E, to her credit was tough and determined to make it to the falls but she was slowing exponentially and wanting more water than we brought. We finally get to the parking lot and breath a sigh of relief. We are now only a 1/2 mile from the falls. I check my watch and we have spent twice as long as I planned just getting to the parking lot-CRAP. E is now in a pseudo whiney stage . . . "my legs hurt", "we've been here for hours", "we've walked 10 miles", "I'm thirsty". Things I should have anticipated but didn't. This is turning out to be a good lesson for me.

I start talking to Susan as we approach the falls. I inform her that we will almost have to run back down the trail just to beat dark. We both realize that E can't do it. We're screwed. We go ahead and go to the falls, noting that there are several cars on the parking lot-this means 1) that the gate on the road is open and 2) we can beg for a ride back if need be. After 15 minutes or so at the falls I decide that I will high tail it back to get the car. I know it is not smart to split up but this is a state park in Alabama, not the middle of the wilderness of Montana. We hike back from the falls to the parking lot and E is about to quit. Susan is walking with E and they are falling farther and farther behind MAC and me. I tell MAC about everything in the day pack-lighter, flashlight, cell phone. Once to the parking lot I have a decision to make- should I go back on the trail which is about 1.9 miles down hill but rocky and shrouded in fog or should I run back down the road which is about 4 miles down hill to the trailhead but decently paved road. I opt for the road. Even though it is a longer run, it is a steady downhill grade, will have traffic on it, and I am not likely to get lost on a twenty foot wide strip of gravel and asphalt. I check the time and know that it will be dark in 1 hour. The fog makes it seem like nightfall is already on us. I tell MAC that I figure I can be to the car in about 35 minutes and it will probably take another 10 to drive back up (15 mph speed limit due to the curvey road). I give Susan the day pack and my hat. I roll up my sleeves and take off down the hill.

Those of you who know me know that I wear orthotics when I run. Guess what? I am in hiking boots with NO orthotics in them. I also wearing heavy cotton shorts with a thousand pockets and not wearing nice, light weight running attire. I don't know if I should credit my somewhat physical conditioning, the fear of losing my new family in the dark to a mountain lion, the downhill grade, or just plain old fear of failure but I made it to the car with no problem and back up the mountain in 39 minutes. Credit the girls . . they decided to start walking down the road towards me so I met them about a mile down from the upper parking lot. Better still, there was no crying and everyone seemed to be having a good time. Once we got back down to the lower elevation, the fog broke and though it was twilight, things didn't seem quite so ominous. My legs and ankles are sore but I did survive. I think that I was the first one asleep that night.

I think the next time we want to "wear out" the girls, we'll just make them do jumping jacks in the driveway!