Saturday, September 30, 2006

It's 5:31 a.m. I'm munching a Clifbar and sipping my morning coffee. Nell's basically doing the same thing (Powerbar instead of a Clifbar), sitting in the big, blue chair watching the early news. I've got an 18-miler planned this morning. Nell's going for 12 with her running pal.

It's just a normal Saturday morning at our household.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sunday, September 24, 2006

If you haven't been following Karno's progress, you should. He's running 50 miles in 50 states in 50 days (much like Sam did earlier this year). These type of endurance endeavors inspire me. I know I don't have the physical make-up to subject my body to the rigors Karnazes routinely endures, but his superhuman feats remind and encourage me to push myself. The human body is capable of much more than our minds think it is. And most of us never even get close to the limit. I.I.T.S.

In an semi-related note, I changed the header of this blog to more accurately reflect what it has become. Originally, it stated: "Singularly entertaining commentary on that which momentarily moves me." It now reads: "Mostly true tales of an aspiring endurance athlete trapped in the body of an attorney."
I don't know what sparked Farce's multi-comment rant on the disaprity of the distribution of wealth in this country--especially in response to my post about running after work--but I'm so starved for comments, I guess I'll take anything I can get.

Back to more typical matters at hand...

I had a good 16 mile run yesterday. It was hotter than it has been the past couple of weeks (low 80s by 7 a.m.) and quite humid, but I kept a sub-9 minute per mile pace (8:51 mer mile to be exact).

I also tried my first post-run ice bath.
It was cold.
Not sure if it helped or not, but I feel fine, so maybe it did its job.

After the run, Poolie, Willis D., and I drove to Austin to catch the Longhorns take down Iowa State. The first half of the game was brutally hot. I was drenched in sweat. During the third quarter, however, massive storms started to blow in, cooling temperatures quickly. Fifteen minutes later, the refs stopped the game due to lightning in the area. At that point, Texas was up 37-14. That was our cue to go.

On the way back to Ft. Worth, we grabbed dinner at Luby's in Georgetown. Damn, I love me some Luby's. Nell is not a fan, so I hardly ever eat it these days. I sure did miss that tasty, retangular-shaped fried fish. Yum. Give me that culinary delight, some mashed potatoes, and some green beans, and I'm a happy camper.

After a good night's sleep, I woke up and met Adam H for a 24 mile recovery ride. Followed a few hours later by a nice, hour long nap on the couch.

I love the weekends.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Part two of the double-run went very well. 6 miles after work in 52 minutes, 23 seconds. And I did it in my new running shoes (a "classic" pair of ASICS 2080s) that arrived from RoadRunnerSports this afternoon. With my nifty new Fuel Belt and RoadID, I was sporting lots of shiny new gear.

About to hop in the shower and await Nell's return with pizza. Good times.
I missed two workouts this week. First, I skipped the Sunday bicycle ride. It was a lazy Sunday, and I just never got rolling. Second, I missed yesterday morning's 3 mile speed run because I had an early meeting (7 a.m.) and a pretrial conference/hearing in Bosque County.

I ran 3 miles this morning, though. About 7:55 per mile. Faster than marathon pace, but not up to a speed workout.

I've got a young lawyers' function after work, but I'm going to beg off early and try to make it home in time for an easy 6 miler. That puts me back on schedule--not counting the bike ride.

Work is getting progessively busier. I've got an appellate brief due next week and trial the week after. Busy is good. Makes the days go by quickly. But it also makes it harder to train. Welcome to the balancing act.

Monday, September 18, 2006

From the League, here is a great post about Austin:

This is why I missed you, Austin. I missed your trees and your ridiculous signs up and down Burnet. I missed the Frisco. I missed your hills and your twin devotions to live music and football. I missed the weather changing five times in 7 hours. I missed kids in shorts and cowboy boots and hats walking with their moms up to Central Market. I missed knowing that my loan officer was secretly an aspiring film-maker with a deep knowledge of kung-fu films and what makes Bruce Campbell just work, dammit. I missed knowing Thursday night is (was and always shall be) Mariachi night. I missed people lining up in the rain to show tribute to a one-term fire brand governor as she lays in state. I missed bats under bridges and overgrown oak trees. I missed getting right on 35 to get onto the ramp and knowing that turning onto 290 from Loop 1 is a left exit. I missed picking up the phone and asking a friend to watch my cat for a week and him saying to come by whenever and paying him back with an enchilada and a margarita. I missed rickety metal stairwells and wall-units. I missed an orange tower on Saturday nights and the hope of hundreds of thousands embodied in that edifice of an arena just off the freeway. I missed couples standing in the ice-cream aisle at 10:30 at night looking like they just rolled out of bed and knowing that they've looked like this all day. I missed your gentle hills and your white limestone faces where they cut you to make way for the roads. I missed a million, tiny little details that whisper to me and say "that was where you learned to drive," "That was where you learned to love learning," "That was where you kissed her for the first time," "that was where on that one Tuesday afternoon you cut out early and you and Justin tied one on because it was sunny out, but it was too early in the year to be hot," "That was where you jumped in the water and you thought your eyes would pop out," "that was where you decided you were coming back here to go to school", "that was where you figured out this was forever, and over there by the peacocks is where you made it official."

I missed you, Austin.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

We spent the last day and a half in College Station for Matt and Amy's wedding. After a half day at work on Friday, we packed up and made our way to Highway 6.

We arrived at the hotel, dropped off our bags, and traveled to the All Faiths Chapel on the Texas A&M campus for the rehearsal. (Matt asked me to play piano and sing a song during the ceremony.)

After the rehearsal, we met up with the whole crew for the rehearsal dinner at Cafe Eccel. Very good food. Unfortunately, I could only take baby sips of my wine, as I had a 14 mile run scheudled for the morning. Nell, however, was able to fully enjoy the chardonay.

At 5:30 a.m. yesterday morning, I woke up and drove to the closest Starbucks. 30 minutes later, Todd met me in front of the hotel. Todd is training for his first marathon, the Chicago marathon. After he swigged some water, we left for our 14-mile run in, around, and through campus. (I got the route off the USATF site.)

It was humid--really humid. But I felt solid throughout the entire jaunt. This was my first run with my new fuel belt and my Road ID. The fuel belt was great; I never noticed the Road ID. So both served their purposes.

We finished a little before 9:00 a.m., ate some breakfast tacos, and got to the church at 11:00 a.m. for pictures.

The wedding started at 1:00 p.m. The service went well, and I was happy with the way I played. (Oh, and I was able to sneak "The Eyes of Texas" into some of the pre-service music.)

The reception was a lot of fun. It took place at an older mansion with a very New Orleans' feel. After a few beers (that went straight to my head), Nell and I begged off. Thankfully, she drove home as I took a nice nap. We got back around 9:30 p.m., ate a late dinner, and crashed.

Now I'm watching football and working on some trial preparation. Back to it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Maybe it was the nearly 9 hours of sleep last night. Or the 64 degree temperature. Or Jason nipping at my heels. Whatever the reason, I ran very quickly (for me) this morning. 3 miles. 20 minutes 59 seconds. 6:59 per mile.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The run Monday was hot. 4 miles, but hot. Not overall temperature hot. But it was humid, steamy, sweaty. Ugh.

Tomorrow morning is a fast run. 3 miles. Hopefully, it won't be so swamp-like outside.
Saturday was full of highs and lows.

The day started off early with a 12 mile run through light rain. I jogged along the Trinity, a route I normally bike but rarely run because of the lack of shade. It was cooler than it has been, and I enjoyed the solitude of being one of the only people along the banks of the river as the sun came up.

Following the run and a quick shower, we met my dad and headed to Austin for the Texas/Ohio State game. After dropping Nell off at her sister's house, we picked up Farce and made our way to campus. We parked the car in a nearby garage and were walking the 40 acres by 2:30 p.m.--4 hours 30 minutes before kick off. It was crazy near the stadium. There are always tailgaters, but this time they were EVERYWHERE.

After grabbing lunch on the Drag, the tiredness from the morning run kicked in. Knowing the ins and outs of the Texas Union, I snagged an unused room (actually, the Asian Culture Room) and got about 45 minutes of shut-eye.

Awake and (somewhat) refreshed, we bowled a couple of games at the Union before walking to DKR-Memorial Stadium.

The Stadium was madhouse. They're doing construction near the north endzone, which causes all kinds of foot traffic problems. Slogging through a mob of students and fans pushed together into a bottle-necked path was hot, humid, claustrophobic, and uncomfortable. 20 minutes after getting in line, we finally made it inside and to our seats.

Of course, then we had to endure the game. It started well enough, and the final score belies how close it was for 3 quarters. But two turnovers and at least one costly penalty really hurt the Horns. Freshmen QB Colt McCoy played okay, but without Vince Young, a return to the National Championship game seems unlikely. Ah well. You can't win 'em all.

The next day, we took off early for Ft. Worth. Sunday afternoon was filled with running errands, ironing shirts, folding clothes, and a 20 mile bike ride.

And then Monday rolled around, and I spent the day in Waco interviewing law students for summer clerkships at the firm. Having the same conversation 15 times every 20 minutes is tedious. But I'd much rather be on the law firm side of the table than the law student side of the table.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I really want to be an endurance athlete. A real one. Not just marathons and century rides. I’m talking ultramarathons, double centuries, Ironman, Western States. I don’t know if my body is up for it. My calves cramped pretty badly at last year’s White Rock. And my thighs started cramping on the HH117, but I was able to keep them from seizing too badly by chugging pickle juice. (Disgusting, but effective.)

I also know I don’t have the time to adequately train. Right now, I put in about 8 hours a week running/biking/lifting weights. At the very least, I’d have to double that. It’s not easy when you’ve got a real job. (Maybe I need to find a sponsor….)

For now, I’ve agreed to step up and run the Marine Corps Marathon in 7 weeks. I hadn’t planned to run a marathon so soon. Normally, I give myself at least 3 months to train. But Nell’s Marine Corp Marathon training partner had something come up, and she won’t be able to run the race in late October. Since I’ll already by in D.C., I figured what the heck. We’ll see how quickly I can get back in marathon shape.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

It's weird. Although I rode a long way on the HH117... and even though I crossed the finish line of the HH100... I don't feel like I really did it. It's like by being "misdirected" off course, I didn't really ride the HH100. So I guess I have to do it--legitimately--next year.
Happy 30th Birthday, Nell!!!!!
It was 65 degrees this morning when I left the house. After an endless stream of 100+ degree days, 65 degrees was almost cold. It felt great.

Today was a 3 mile tempo run. I was running a 6:30 pace at mile 1. By mile 2 I had slowed to a 6:45 pace. Still very fast for me. I was zooming down a hill about a quarter of a mile later when a vicious stitch seized just under my right lung. I slowed my pace, but it wouldn't go away. I had to walk for a couple of minutes. Half a mile from home, I started slowly jogging, building my pace to a good sprint at the end. I finished in 23:14, which was only 4 seconds slower than last week's tempo run. And I didn't walk last week. The cooler temperature definitely helped. But I also probably went out too fast; hence, the cramp.

Monday, September 04, 2006

It's been raining lightly but steadily since late last night. It's now 10 a.m. Good stuff.

Today is Labor Day. I've got some work to do, but I'm not heading to the office. Thanks to our wireless network and remote log in, I can get things done comfortably from my couch. So I get to enjoy three days away from the office. Given last month's busy schedule, it's nice to have a few days at home.

The 10 mile run went well yesterday. It was humid, so I was soaked a couple miles into it. The only snag was our stop at 7-Eleven around mile 8.

We dropped in to pick up a couple water bottles. Usually, it's a minute or two tops. This time, however, there was a man in line ahead of us buying a newspaper, a cup of coffee, and a banana. Apparently, he picked up the wrong edition of the paper, which he discovered after he had already paid for it. The difference between the edition he bought and the edition he meant to buy was 50 cents.

Did you hear that? 50 cents.

Well, this caused all kinds of trouble for the 7-Eleven clerk. She had to get call her manager, who had to log in to the register to issue a refund. Then she had some issue with the cash drawer. As this is going on, a line begins to form. It's now been at least 5 minutes. The clerk continues to have problems finalizing the transaction. The manager stands behind her observing the situation but offers no meaningful aid. Meanwhile, more customers get in line. Keep in mind, there is another register, and the manager, who is doing nothing, could easily walk over and start checking people out. But he doesn't. He just stands there. Finally, the clerk figures out how to count 50 cents, gives the man his money back, and he leaves. After 10 minutes, we have our water bottles and finally get back on the road.

This was the first of my two incidents waiting in line.

Later that day, I ventured to Super Target to pick up a few groceries. Sundays at Super Target can be troublesome. You never know if you will encounter every consumer in Cowtown during their weekly shopping trip. Thankfully, it wasn't too crowded at 3 p.m. (The morning rush was over and the evening rush had yet to begin.)

After grabbing the 10 or so items I needed, I made my way to check out lines. Picking a line is always a risk. The shorter ones may have the slowest checkers, someone may have a bunch of coupons, a price check is always possible. After scoping my choices, I settled on a line about mid-way down the aisle with a mother-daughter purchasing what appeared to be dorm room supplies. The cashier was moving quickly, so this looked like a great option.

Or not.

When it came time for the mother to pay, she very slowly pulled out her purse and wrote a check. Naturally, her check was rejected. The cashier politely explained that she could not accept the check and asked if the mother would like to pay by credit card. This offended the mother, who loudly stated, "I can't understand this! I've got $15,000 in that account! What's the problem?"

Again, very kindly, the cashier told her that the third-party check verifier had rejected the check. The cashier explained that she had no idea why it was rejected, but that she couldn't accept it. Again, the mother responded angrily, "This is ridiculous!"

So the cashier called her manager, who came over and--for the third time now--respectfully explained that Super Target could not accept her check.

"So, you're telling me Super Target doesn't want my business!?"

"No, ma'am," the manager replied. "We care very much about your business. But for whatever reason, VeriCheck won't allow us to accept this check. Do you have some other means of payment?"

Clearly agitated, the mother pulled out her debit card and slammed into the credit card reader--backward. It jammed the machine, forcing her to yank it out. She then put her card in correctly, but--of course--couldn't remember her PIN. So the debit card was rejected.

Scarlet with embarrassment, the daughter finally spoke up and told her mother that she would pay for the items. The mother protested. I wanted to scream, "Let her pay you crazy woman!" Thankfully, however, the daughter was eventually permitted to charge the items.

Huffing and puffing, the mother stormed off.

Nearly 15 minutes after unloading my basket onto the checkout line, I left Super Target.

In conclusion, I had a couple of frustrating trips to the store yesterday.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

North Texas is in the middle of a drought. It never rains. In the past month, it seems we've gotten one semi-decent shower. Our front lawn looks like hay. It's always offensively hot with a temperature hovering around 100 degrees. The summer has been brutal.

But today--the first long run of this year's marathon training season--it is lightly raining. And cooler.

This is a nice way to begin.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Horns looked good in their 56-7 domination over the North Texas Mean Green. Our seats for the season aren't great, but I'm just happy to be at the games. We're in the northwest corner of the endzone about 40 rows up. We're closer to the goal line than the back of the endzone, so we've got a bit of perspective.

Godzillatron, the new high definition jumbotron monstrosity (it's currently the largest in the world), was impressive in size, but they need to put it to better use. Not enough of it's gigantic screen was devoted to replay footage. I've been told they are working out the kinks and still getting it online (it was only completed a week or two ago). Hopefully, it will be up and running for next week's prime time game against Ohio State.

On the way home from the game, we stopped at the Nike outlet in Hillsboro. I picked up two Coolmax shirts and two pairs of running shorts. I needed shorts. Until recently, I was stilling running in shorts I bought six years ago. Wow. That's kind of gross.

Speaking of running, tomorrow is the first long run of this year's White Rock training program. 10 easy miles. Jason (2004 Marine Corps. Marathon and 2005 White Rock Marathon training partner) has agreed to join me for some of my early training runs, but he has made it clear he will not be running the full marathon in December. Wimp.
We're about to head to Austin for the season opener against North Texas. It's a good day. Go Horns!!!

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