Friday, December 29, 2006
So here is some inspiration for your New Years weekend.
Each day you wake up you have a choice:
1. Celebrate what you can do.
2. Mourn what you can't do.
Far to often we lament on our failures or situations and not celebrate the fact that we are whole people; able to swim and bike and run and laugh and can have social interaction with others with full use of our bodies. Many good people can not say that. There are people out there right now, with far more money than you and much happier at their jobs and with their families that are suffering from incurable illnesses. Your problems are really not that bad in the long run.
So each day wake up with excitement and enthusiasm. I love the word enthusiasm because I can't say it with out feeling better. Celebrate what you can do and you will become perfect at it.
Become committed to something so badly that it becomes your mission to be great at it; whether that be becoming a better employee, boss, triathlete, husband or father. I think many of us think we are committed to something when in fact we are not, we are just going through the motions. When you become committed to a goal, which could be as simple as finishing a new distance race or as hard as changing your relationship with a family member, you will begin to live a life of prosperity instead of just enough.
2007- The Year of 'Gotta Step It Up"
Thursday, December 28, 2006
I should know better and walk around every hour to stretch out. For crying out loud I have a whole gym outside my door. Does anyone else find that their office chair has a vortex that warps time? I swear I can go four or five hours without even standing.
One of my partners is very ill so I am going to guess that my efforts last night did not go to total waste, all the time I carved out today will go to cover typing meeting notes for my partners tomorrow. Raising my hand ten years ago when asked, "Does anyone know how to type" has not increased my time management.
My boss and partner is a Luddite of sorts and don't think has ever used a computer. He has no e-mail address, pc on his desk, etc. A cell phone is his technology accelerator. The majority of his work is done on yellow pads. So I get the twenty pages of handwritten notes and asked to get them done as soon as possible which generally translates to a couple hours.
I don't mind much. I have a vital role to play and occasionally it involves the impossible being made possible. Which is why I am an asset to my partners. I am the McGuyver of my peer group.
Of course, knowing where the 'any' key is on the keyboard is crucial.
Truth be told, I haven't gone to sleep yet. I'm still at work and been up past the 24 hour mark and I still am not caught up on all my projects. So in this case I give up. I can get a couple hours of sleep then pound out another long day.
I got in a 1ok run, well I guess twelve hours ago, though I am still wearing the same running clothes. I did take my shoes off though.
The part that really sucks is not that I have been up for so long, it's that I used to be able to do this and recovered from it more quickly. Now its going to take me a few nights to get the zombie shake outta me.
Mistress saw this coming tonight, my potential all-nighter, and gave me her wifely speech. I appreciated it and yet we both knew once I am revved up its almost impossible to get me to sleep.
Gotta try though. Someone told me that rest is like the fourth discipline of triathlon Or the fifth. Oh hell I don't know, good night.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
As a self employed person I have the luxury of paying my own taxes instead of it being drawn out of my check each pay period. There are certain advantages and disadvantages to that. I think if more people actually knew what came out of their check in taxes we would have a revolt in this country.
So this morning I was up at 3am and most likely will be at my desk working until 3am trying to satisfy my need to feel 'caught up'. As if that is something that actually happens for more than five minutes.
I will put in a run this afternoon to get some training accomplished but stress is putting enough endorphins through me right now.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
I was almost to the turn off on the freeway when I got a call from Glen, he says he is canceling the ride due to fog. Also that Andy had road around the corner from his house and almost rode into him the fog was so thick.
I told him it was okay where I was at...and then a second later I see the semi-truck 100 yards ahead jack knife on the freeway. I then was completely enveloped in a dark deep fog. Driving to the guys was an experience and a road I have driven, ridden and run dozens of times was now foreign to me. There is no way we could safety negotiate any obstacles in the road let alone blinded drivers. I could have a car headlight on my bike and it wouldn't make a difference.
When we finally hooked up I decided we should go eat and hit the local Denny's. It didn't clear up for several more hours and I didn't get the 3 hour ride in but it was still an experience and I got a free breakfast out of it.
A Christmas Story (personal fav) is in Indiana ,
The Griswald's live in Chicago,
Home Alone is Chicago,
It's A wonderful life's Bedford Falls is fictionally in Upper New York state.
Snoppy, Charlie Brown and the gang live in Minnesota.
Miracle on 34th St is New York,
The Santa Clause is filmed in Toronto,
Elf is New York.
Yeah not much in they way of Christmas masterpieces being filmed on the West Coast, unless of course you throw Lethal Weapon in there. Or Die Hard. Okay don't kill me for mentioning Less Than Zero.
Maybe my whole hypothesis is shot. I think I just wasted a post.
2007 is going to be 'The Year of Gotta Step It Up'. Yeah it doesn't write out as well as it sounds.
It is nothing more that looking my personal struggles and determining to be successful at something. Have the courage to stand and be counted. Step Up whatever it is that you need to step up in order for you to accomplish something with excellence.
I am not saying that if your stepping up for your first Ironman that you have go sub-13. Stepping up is getting to the start. Gotta Step It Up means many things like; consistent training, focused effort, resolve in a relationship, communication with someone close to you. Step It Up is not letting your local rival beat you in your annual triathlon.
To me 'a means to this end' is perfect execution of training. Every training event needs to be done with a positive mental attitude, crisp movements and energy. Gotta Step It Up is having a great Ironman Arizona event this coming April. Stepping It Up is beating my close friend, training partner and race rival Hardcore Mike at IMAZ. Gotta Step It Up is then focusing on speed work for the half irons and Olympics I will be doing for the next several months.
If you have struggled with something in your life recently and after some introspection you realize that if you had just been a little more dedicated to the cause then something great could have happened, if you just had a theme to tie your life together for one year, then make 2007 your Year of Gotta Step It Up.
Where it takes you is up to you.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Last night I called ironjenny. That woman is so freaking motivating. Every conversation we have is uplifting. She is a bell that rings true in my life and we have only known each other for such a short time. After getting off the phone with her I decided to run PF Changs full course and got up this morning to see what was there in the legs.
I have planned on volunteering at Chang's and got connected as a cyclist volunteer for the wheelchair division but apparently there is a pecking order and I am first on the waiting list. I really don't want to just stand around and then find out that I missed the opportunity to volunteer or do the race so I am covering both bets.
After my first five mile loop today (IMAZ course otherwise known as Tempe Town Lake) I shuck one of the three base layer shirts I have on under my running jacket and then my gloves. The sun was breaking, I was getting warmed up, it felt like the right then to do.
Wrong. It started to rain. Hard. Its the first time we have had measurable rain since early October. I'm talking Columbus Day people! What were you doing then? Thats right you can't remember but I know this, it hasn't rained here since then.
I did the last five miles getting wetter and colder but at the same time exhilarated that I was doing something I love to do and doing it well. I kept a very steady 10 minute pace the entire time and felt no need to walk.
Boot Camp concludes with a 3'30" ride and a 50" run tomorrow morning starting at 0500. It should be around freezing. (channeling Phoebe from Friends) I KNOW!
Thursday, December 21, 2006
I believe in the spirit of giving. I truly believe that if you give you will receive back ten fold. I buy lunches for people, I buy gifts for people, I use unsolicited kindness. Just this month Mistress and I gave over 3,000 food items to a food drive. We sponsored an entire families Christmas with Christmas meals and gifts for their children and then bought gifts for another family's children. Not to mention all the other places our money goes to help others. We enjoy that and I feel a little embarrassed to mention it but it puts my rant in context.
In in my garage are several pieces of furniture Mistress replaced with the living room and family room furniture I bought her for Christmas. I called my pastor who runs the Dream Center and asked to donate it for one of the rooms. He gets his guy's to call me and they say it will be a week to get there so I take last Friday off work, then his contacts not only no show me they keep calling to tell me they will be there in another two hours, another hour, until finally I tell them I have to get out of the house before a dinner appointment. I call back Monday, frustrated, but they apologize, so I set up for a smaller window for yesterday and the same thing happens again, excuses this and that. I am frustrated that my generosity has cost me eight hours of time in my house waiting and three hours of work. I will have to give it to another organization because I just can't stand to have it sit in my garage for another week. I am loyal to my charities and it hurts me.
I went to the mall on Saturday, since I couldn't make it Friday waiting for the truck and I am assaulted by the waves of, "Support this...help do this...we could really use your..." I have no problem telling people no, but sometimes they look at you like your dirt. Yet while in a line at the food court I give the teenager in front of me some money to cover his lunch.
Mistress, Mo and I were enjoying dinner the other night and the doorbell rings. I answer the door and its some girl and her sponsor going door to door selling something for school. To me readers, this is the lowest of the low, public schools whoring out kids because the district can't be fiscally responsible, after a few seconds into her spiel I politely say, "No thank you have a good night,". I thought she might cry. The sponsor wasn't very happy either. But I wasn't happy and I didn't let them see that.
Yesterday I get a call on the home phone. CID says its CHASE. so I answer. The caller asks for someone who doesn't live at the number so I tell her, "I'm sorry that person doesn't live here." Then I get clicked. Clicked. No "Excuse me." No "Have a good day". I got hung up on. Thats not right. I know how hard it is to work a phone bank and how rejecting that experience can be which is why I am so nice to those people on the phone, firm but pleasant, and to just be hung up on when I didn't even need to answer the phone is just rude. It just confirms for me that Chase has not improved their customer service model since the last time I heard issues about them.
I'm telling ya, people get so wrapped around the axle at Christmas, I guess I am too. This is one of my most favorite holidays and each year it seems more situations arise that test my spirit. Who knows really why a church can't pick up my furniture. I could have told these guys that their boss is my personal friend and spiritual mentor but I didn't do that. I give a lot of my resources to my charitable organizations year round and to be treated or looked at with contempt because I don't support their specific cause right now is absurd.
I don't mind being asked to support charities or causes. Heck I do it all year long for those that have had unfortunate accidents, are unable to do things for themselves, suffered a terrible tragedy, need a hot meal. I heavily support specific organizations. I am just one small person compared to the generosity of the American public which is so amazing and blessing to the world.
I just don't see why asking for their generosity has to be done with the wrong spirit.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
I knew on Monday that by today I would not look like I did or feel like I did when I toed the line in Florida. C'mon thats fantasy. But I fell in love again with the idea that days upon days of proper training I would bring that back. And in reality I shouldn't feel like that right now, I deserved a break after 500 days of goal setting.
We all know that if we ate better and trained a little bit more that we would start looking the way we want to. However we must acknowledge and dismiss the myth that running around the block a few times and doing some push ups and sit ups will not get us where we want to go. It simply is not true.
Excluding my fitness levels in the Infantry which worked for a different skill set, Ironman Day is the most fit I have been in my life, but it wasn't the best looking physically that I have ever been. When I was training for bodybuilding shows and had single digit bodyfat, I looked the best I have ever looked but felt my worst health wise the closer I got to the show.
Its this balance we have between wanting to look and feel the way we did in high school, (that old cliche') but then realizing that you probably weren't really in that great a shape then either, just a thinner version of yourself now. We can never please our inner self. Although there are some of us, maybe many we read this post how weigh less and look better than they did in high school or on their wedding day. I can claim both and I am still uncomfortable with myself.
While you read this today I am vacation. Vacation for me is not sitting on the beach and drinking silly concoctions through a straw or curling up with a good book, though both are fabulous activities, especially the reading. Vacation for me is pushing my physical limits, sweating out the inner turmoil that I have about my 'weakness' of mind and body. A self-conflagration. Ironman was a vacation. My week long backpacking trip in Yosemite last year was vacation.
Mistress and I went to an all-inclusive spa resort in Mexico a few years back; as part of this package all food and alcohol was free and we each had 90 minute massages every other day and facials and mani/ pedi's (I traded those in for other services BTW) on the others. Instead of drowning myself in rum at the pool for hours at a time, I was running and crawling through the jungle along pig trails burning off the filet mignon and champagne we had for dinner the night before. I found a challenging obstacle course and flung my body upon its wooden structures for hours at a time sometimes being pulled from the course by Mistress because I was late for dinner,arriving in a sweaty dress shirt and dirt stained khakis because I was already dressed for dinner and wanted to get in a few runs before I relaxed for the night.
Sweat for me is survival. Survival OF something and TILL something.
Its also a forge. Sweat is the cost the body pays for something special it creates.
Sweat for me is life.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
I hadn't done any body grooming since Ironman. I think we are all adult enough to realize that there is a preference to and not to shave body parts as a training mentality, regardless of the pro's and con's. I choose to do so for many reasons including vanity and rehabilitation. I also think we can be mature enough to understand that when it gets cold outside or we end relationships that involved a certain amount of immodesty, we humans cover our body with clothes and the vain need to shave legs or this or that take second place to comfort. It could also be laziness.
In an effort to bring focus back to my training I naired, trimmed and shaved all the usual areas I do during my triathlon season. The purpose is to remind myself that I do this as part of my preparation for Ironman. Diet, exercise and mental preparation all go into the mixture of my training. The grooming is more so the outward symbol that I am on the journey while looking at me physically may not attest to that. The tattoo on my leg is the status that I did something special but the grooming, shows that I still seek to maintain that level of fitness year round.
You don't need body grooming to be an Ironman. There is no height, weight, bodyfat, skin color, hair length requirements. I saw many people that looked in far worse shape than myself finish much faster than my time. And more power to them, I think that is great. But I want to look a certain way, I want to feel a certain way, I need to think a certain way and my therapists appreciate bare parts to rub and manipulate too. Mistress...she just likes looking at my legs.
Now comes the penitence for my laziness. Today is my second day of Boot Camp. My personal journey to resharpen my edge. To stroke the metal in me to the fine edge that took me through an ironman with relative ease and then create a whole new blade while I do it.
I had 500 days to create the knife and the hone the edge that took me through Ironman Florida. Today I have just over 100 days to sharpen the blade for Arizona. This blade will have the advantage being tempered through the fire of one ironman and will be harder and stronger than the one in the past. It will look different. It will feel different. It will cut deeper and last longer. Its the next step in the evolution.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Beginning today and through Friday I am going to pound my body into submission. I will ATTACK my physical being with miles of ironman training and functional exercise. I will forge the white hot blade of IRON that when tempered will set my back strong for the 140.6 miles I will travel on April 15, 2007. One a day, two a day, three a day workouts. Bricks. Tricks. I will fit it all in.
Recovery was necessary after Ironman Florida. Having a terrible chest cold and then throwing my back out was just plain mean. I have grown weak in mind and body. I felt sorry for my condition. I began to alibi. I feel another week of this lethargy and I will succumb to Common Man Syndrome and derail my 2007 season. My training season starts today!
Begone Bad Seeds. I will no longer dwell on what tasty morsel will have the pleasure of passing my lips for a late night snack. This is training mode. Training I understand. Food is for fuel not entertainment. Food is the energy that will get me to the top the hill, the energy that will repair by battered form after a strenuous session. Food is not for comfort.
My body will become an economy of motion, not wasting or spilling a drop of its precious energy. By Friday my body, living off the success of Ironman, will remember how tight the spring can be coiled.
Mentally I will rededicate myself to my physical goals while I beat the whining and sniveling out of me. These first few days will not be easy. In fact they will be damn hard. I do not envy the battle of wills that will occur tomorrow morning when I feel the pain in my body from todays efforts.
I was in incredible shape just six weeks ago. Inside me I am still that man, covered with a layer that I now find repulsive, not just of fat of the body but of the mind. Yes I am not happy with myself because I equated recovery and illness and injury with normalcy. In truth I have only lost two weeks. Who would begrudge me two weeks, after my first ironman and during Christmas? I do.
So. Boot Camp. For those that have been to boot camp you understand the transformation that will occur. I will be the trainee and the DI for this one week exercise. I have been both in a professional sense. I will be more after.
But for now, this is me. Mann, Comm's. 1 each. Waterproof. Self Contained. Bean Feed. Water cooled.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Five kids born and now only two survive. From the report the parents are not even in shock yet. They were talking and laughing at jokes through the day. Their families live in Washington and the storms have locked them down till early next week. Mistress is pretty sure the father will be okay with time but her and our friends are worried about the mother. The death of twins was hard on her. A third is...well hug your kids tonight.
I have told Mo a few times to give Mommy a hug since she looks worn down after the call. When we were alone in the bathroom, Mo says, "I got's to give mommy a hug. I am mommy's star angel."
I am sure Mo will be sleeping in our bed tonight.
No longer parents will You raise your children unless its in private institutions. Why You are not qualified. It takes a public village you know. Once you have done your job bringing a new civilian into the world and each of You parents get your six weeks of paid leave, Your child will raised by government appointed and educated teachers in state / government sponsored all day daycare. That way your prejudiced and biased way of living will not be fostered onto a blank slate. your government will know exactly what Your child needs.
President Reagan in his farewell address quoted from another man a passage in the bible from Jesus regarding a Bright city, referring that the city was bathed in light from God's blessing and if they fell from God's path (in a reference to the old testament) they would lose his light. Behind this message is the clear concept of capitalism, stick-to-it-ness, love your neighbor and follow a godly path. Even if you don't follow Christ you still can follow the path. Instead of being led by your God, your led by your heart. Your heart tells you what is right and wrong all the time, guilt, sweating through a difficult decision, these are all clarion calls to Doing The Right Thing.
Not all people follow these precepts. There is great darkness in this world. Seek to banish your own darkness by being a rugged individual. It doesn't take a village to raise a child, it takes a city of empowerment. Think before you act. Act boldly. Take responsibility for yourself and your actions. Give. Celebrate.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
The other day while driving around we came upon a cyclist. Mo looked at him out the window and whispered under his breath, "Go, Daddy, Go" very softly. Thats what he says when he sees me race. When I asked him to say it louder, he became very animated and started talking about how daddy has a big bike like that, but he has a little bike and that he likes daddy's bike. Aagain the video and audio are slightly off like the last few. Mistress was using the video option on a digital camera for the first time so the angle is 90 degree's off, but nevertheless, its fun to hear.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
I want to give you all a tip for a great Christmas present for the outdoor lover in your life or to recapture a bit of your own past. This product came out a few months ago and I have bought one for myself and all my fishing/ camping partners for Christmas.
The lamp is set into a waterproof casing inside the lid and the lid is attached to the bottle by a cord locked onto the bottle neck.
Using a simple orange button you can turn on or turn off the lamp. By holding the button down you can dim the light source to fit your illumination desires. I have used this as a community lamp out at the lake when we would all sit around after sunset drinking beer and swapping stories. I have also used this as a reading light on my nightstand at its lowest dimming and Mistress appreciated not having such a glare on her.
Perhaps an unintended consequence but a beautiful effect is that the white LED puts out a glow that is based on the color of your nalogene bottle. I prefer my bright yellow bottle over my others but now looking at these screen shots I might try to find myself a blue bottle. It really does look like you have firefly's in a bottle however with this lamp water does not affect the brilliance of the light output as opposed to if you used real firefly's.
Its a great talk piece. For those loved ones that still get outside for camping this lamp makes not only a great camp light but a great tent light as well. Hang it from the top of the tent and you can read or do whatever you need to do. If you keep it on the ground the familiar size and shape of the nalogene bottle makes for a quick find in the middle of the night. During the day you can clip it to the outside of your pack and drink from the bottle and have the light available right away if you get to camp late.
For those of us that don't get out as often as we like but still love the camping mentality, putting this out makes you feel a little bit closer to the outdoors, even if your outdoors is your backyard.
$20 at REI, Google it or perhaps your local big outdoor retailer. Bottle generally not included.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I weigh less than I did last year. Fitter, faster, leaner. Blah. While I am a new convert to the sanctity of the taper and recover period, watching my silhouette change is soooo not right.
I trust the experts that say periods like this usually bring about a new level of fitness for the coming year. I trusted them in my taper for IM and I will trust them in this.
I have done enough damage to my normally frugal diet lately that I have not much apprehension regarding the Christmas food that is fast approaching my offices and homes. Now that the switch is flipped and I am charging ahead with training all those indulgences will be tempered with focus and purpose.
There will still be obstacles ahead but a life with purpose includes sacrifice and sometimes passing the pie.
Monday, December 11, 2006
When I started training for Ironman Arizona 2006, which I did not do since I was already committed to Florida and by the time I thought about it was sold out, I was all out with my training partners who were doing AZ, we started in October 2005.
I took very little time off after my IMAZ 2006 peak and dived right into IMFL 2006 training. It was pretty much 500+ days of training for Florida. Now after ostensibly 40 days off of vigorous physical activity I will ramp up for Ironman number two.
I will start my first day back the same way I have started almost all my first training days since my car accident twenty years ago. I will go for a walk. Going for a walk is a reminder that at one point in my life I couldn't walk, I didn't know how to walk. Its to remind me that I need to pace myself and be humble compared to the goals before me.
A walk today reminds me that I still have to be careful slipping into a quality program rather than blast off and crush my body in an all out attack on its senses. Plenty of time for that in the upcoming weeks.
Charlie Mike...(continue the mission)
Saturday, December 9, 2006
I suppose any wedding with ten bridesmaids makes for a long ceremony but the outdoor location was beautiful and weather perfect. There was some traffic issues so we were right on the time button but they delayed a few minutes recognizing the issue. As we sat down some friends remarked that they saw someone running along the side of the road with their iPod on and they swore it was me running to the wedding, (I live 30 miles away).
Mistress and I tag teamed the booze. I got my two double grey goose vodka, splash of cran during the cocktail hour and then she got the wine and champagne during the dinner and party. She had a better time than me.
Sunday is NFL day and I got my dad and I tickets for the Seahawk / Cardinals game for his Christmas gift. We are sitting in the coaches seats on the 30 yard line. Good tickets. We are going early because The Machines son is competing in the state final "Punt, Pass, Kick" contest in the morning then doing a little something at the halftime show. Plus we are both big Seattle football fans. If he wins they fly them to a NFL play off game for a regional final. Between his morning contest and the afternoon game I am taking the old man to Cabela's for a run around the massive store or over to Luke AFB for a trip to the PX. I haven't been there for years and it's been a while for him as well. Then back to the stadium for a bit of tailgating with The Machine and his family.
The ride was from one LBS to another. Since my house was only a mile from the finishing location we all rode to my place and Mistress made breakfast and coffee for the nine of us from the team. While she selflessly worked away we talked and watched IMAZ 2006 on my DVR. Mighty Mo was very generous walking around and giving everyone a piece of his Christmas chocolates.
Later today Mistress and I are going to a big celebrity wedding in trendy north Scottsdale. I thought we could skate out a little early so I could pick up my tickets to the Seahawk / Cardinal NFL game tomorrow but Mistress has informed me that this is a very formal affair and this ain't your typical buffet style reception. Not that I want to turn down good grub but I don't want to be in a stuffy reception till the wee hours.
However she did finish by saying that the open bar is all top shelf liqueurs and that the beers are all import.
Friday, December 8, 2006
I had never heard of it. Boy what a cool site, I became a member right away, its free. Chances are you too are already listed on it too. It is an athlete search engine that collects all your races and times on one page. Then any person that has been in three races with you and also an athlinks member gets listed as a 'rival' so you can see who they are. You can also list people as your friends. I was amazed to see Nancy right on the front page of the website and she helped me with some newbie stuff and became my first 'friend' on the site. Thanks Nancy.
Its a snap to enroll with the only complication (perhaps) is if you have a very common name and need to sort through hundreds of the same name to find all your races listed. Names also have ages and hometowns listed so its not that bad. But my name was listed eight times and I have a unique name. In fact for Ironman Florida, I was listed as FL as my hometown.
Please check this out.
This came from a friend. I have seen several of these over the years and this one touched me as a nice update.
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at '
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of '
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."
LCDR Jeff Giles, SC
Thursday, December 7, 2006
Saturday is a celebrity wedding in Scottsdale. It will undoubtedly be a formal affair with lots of money being thrown into it, though none into my pocket. I'll make sure to go back to the open bar and filet mignon aperitifs often.
The back is getting better but more focused over my right back pocket. I am still planning on the ride of silence on Saturday morning. All the AZTRICLUB members are riding to the start then riding with the group to the finish. It ends just a mile from my house so Mistress and I invited all the team mates back to our house for breakfast before they ride home themselves.
I think this ride will be the deciding point in my training for the rest of the year. Ramp up or shut it down completely.
Wednesday, December 6, 2006
I don't know if I will actually have to be silent for the symbolic ten mile ride but I am sure it will be a somber procession.
A local triathlete and his wife were struck by an uninsured motorist who is also an illegal alien last month and he is in miserable condition. Compound fracture to his leg, shattered arm, broken pelvis in five places, broken neck (non-paralyzing), broken ribs, ruptured kidney, torn vena cava. He was induced into a coma for a week. They finally pulled his breathing tube after a few weeks. He is still in ICU. His wife suffered some injury as she hit the car instead of vice versa.
Terribly sad situation. This is a couple who have done much for triathlon in the valley and have competed in 13 Ironman's together, including several Kona trips.
So mortality has been on my mind lately. I met with a friend today to update my life insurance and my start a disability insurance plan. I would hate to be in situation where an injury caused financial hardship to my family. And the fact is with all the 'issues' us mortals have with mortality, the fact is the chances of being disabled are higher than dying at a young age.
When I mentor young employees on what to do with their money once they start getting commas on their paycheck, I always stress health insurance or at the very least major medical. I think of all the issues I have had with my head; closed head injury, open head injury, a dozen concussions, subdural hematoma's, amnesia, I have been pig headed that last several years in not heeding my own advice to protect myself and my family from unforeseen circumstances.
So this weekend if your riding, ride for a few moments in memory of a fallen cyclist. While your juggling your holiday stuff, check in with your auto insurance carrier to see if you're covered for uninsured motorists in both car and bike injury (some do), and look into a Christmas gift for your family that revolves around you protecting them if something happens and you can't provide your normal income.
Tuesday, December 5, 2006
You may think this is a good thing. When you read the article there are even things I agree with. I for one would like to have nutritional content displayed for my edifice, it makes tracking it in TrainingPeaks easier.
This is exactly why however, that I opposed smoking bans. See you folks out there may not like smoking or cigarette smoke so you voted against it but now that your favorite fries and secret pizza dough recipes might be forever changed whose crying now? I for one.
Look. Yes there are terrible things you can put in your body that are harmful to your health. Why do you think people go vegan for a while after witnessesing a cow being slaughtered. Who wants to see the additives and perservatives that keep their favorite desert the same consistancy for four hours sitting on the table?
But the sad fact is that trans-fats will not kill you. No they will not. Eating to much will kill you. Not being able to flip the switch in your mind that says "you can stop now". Lack of exercise will kill you. Millions of people have had worse diets than you and lived long lives.
Be prepared for the fat tax. And the tax man will cometh.
Be prepared for your favorite guilty pleasure foods to coast more and taste differently.
Where is my sandwich board. I need to find a curb.
However I was not lost on this guilt that I have. Fear or failure. Afraid that I have or had let my partners down. It makes you think about business mortality. We are not a self pity group of individuals. We liken ourselves more to a high powered NFL coaching team. Want to see pressure? Try watching an NFL coach on the sidelines this weekend. It is not uncommon for us to have our moments of weakness, our day of genuflection. We get about five minutes to do that before we either get a foot up our ass or hardcore grilling.
Really if you think about it, the times of your best success, (at least in my case) have been when I was applied the most pressure. No one likes being told what to do but the fact is many times its doing those things you don't want to do, but must do because your told, that are the best for your career.
I live in a high pressured world. I am not happy with a lot of things in my life but most successful people are not satisfied on a regular basis. Hunger can keep you focused and sharp. I think my fear was that I had lost my timing and screwing things up on the rest of the team that depends on me.
Maybe I have. Maybe I did. But the meeting rekindled what fire I had in me for work.
Monday, December 4, 2006
I stood up and let the spasm pass. That took about five minutes. Then I figured I would just tie off the one wire I was working on and go ice. Just as I was finishing, it felt like I got shot in the back.
As I stared at the sky and remarked at how cool the rocks felt on my back, I realized I did not voluntarily lie down. It took me twenty agonizing minutes to shuffle into the house, take two pain killers, grab an ice bag and lay down. I pretty much stayed there for the next ten hours. And all the next day.
This morning I drove over to The Machines office for a twenty minute massage, electrical stimulation (e-stem) and some adjusting. Not everything adjusted.
The week is not starting strong for the Intrepid Age Grouper.
This is not the first time my back has gone out but the first time in a long time. I actually think the triathlon training and especially the running has protected my body and with my recovery period post-Ironman I was not giving my body the minimum conditioning it needed to stave off a relapse.
Friday, December 1, 2006
Let's see I puked my guts up one night, spent one full day in bed, then spent the last five days battling a head cold. My eyes itch, my throats scratched and my nose is runny. I discovered that last week the average was 84 degrees and this week it was 59 degrees which means that this Intrepid Age Grouper froze his clima-cooled ass off.
I really need this week to be done. Over. Finite'.
Pity party of one-right here.