Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I am not an old man!

 A little while back, I was talking to Amy on the phone about when she wanted to come over and if she wanted to watch a movie or something, and I asked her “Have you eaten dinner yet?” to which she replied “Honey, it’s 4:30 in the afternoon. What the hell is wrong with you? You're such an old man!”

I am SO not an old man!

So I like to eat an early dinner. What’s the big deal? The only reason I like to eat so early is because I wake up at 5am and I get hungry early.
The only reason I wake up at 5am because I like to go to bed at 8:30-9:00. The reason I go to bed so early is because I like to sleep.

So what if I have a hard time staying awake after 10:00 on a Saturday. I could stay up late if I wanted! Just the other night, Amy and I had a pretty wicked game of Scrabble going on until at least 11:00. It was awesome! Of course I didn’t really have any regular time on the toilet for a couple days, but that’s what happens when your sleeping schedule gets thrown completely out of whack!

So what if I don’t’ like to drive over 60 mph on the freeway or drive after dark. Speeding is dangerous! I could get in an accident and that’s the last thing I need. Do you have any idea how much prescription medication costs, especially when I’m on a fixed income?  Speeding also wastes gas and gas is expensive! When I was a kid, gas was .50 a gallon. Everything is so damn expensive nowadays.
Driving at night is dangerous too. After dark is when all the damn teenagers are out speeding all over town, blasting their rock and roll music, smoking the pot and probably having sex. That’s probably when they mess with my lawn, too. DAMN KIDS! If I ever catch them I’m gonna kick their asses from hell to breakfast! The other night, on my third trip to the bathroom (or was it my fourth) I looked out the blinds and I swear I saw some of those little bastards walking down the street, up to no good I’m sure.

So what if I’m bald and deaf as a post? I was in a rock band 20 or so years ago and…well…um…

20 years ago….

So I go to bed early, wake up early and eat dinner early. Lots of people do that.
Outside of some Motrin, my medicine cabinet is medicine free. There is no prune juice or fiber supplements in my fridge and I can still walk without assistance (although my back is usually pretty stiff in the morning)

I am a young, spry 40-something and I’ll be damned if I’ll be called an old man yet!

Now where did I put my glasses?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Man's Best Friend

My girlfriend says I spoil my dog.

As I’m sitting here typing this, Tex is running around the house with the loudest squeaky you’ll ever hear and you know, it doesn’t bother me a bit. I actually go out of my way to buy him loud ones, because I know he loves them and that makes me happy.

Dewey used to snore like a lumberjack and I remember, after we all settled down to go to bed, he would always fall asleep while I read, and so many of those nights, I would set down my book and just listen to him snore for the longest time. He was my baby boy and it didn’t bother me a bit.

90% of the time, when I’m watching a movie, Tex is on my lap or at my feet. Every night when I go to bed, he’s lying next to me.

Sometimes he stinks and could use a bath, but I don’t care.

Sometimes Tex chews up the mail and he usually lies at my feet when I’m eating. He doesn’t beg or let out a peep, but he’s there waiting, in case I drop something.

Some people would find it annoying, I find it endearing.

The way Tex darts into the kitchen when I say the word spaghetti and the look he gets on his face when I ask if he wants a treat or wants to go for a walk or for a ride just melts my heart every time without fail.

The way he nudges my face in the morning when he wants his breakfast makes me want to get out of bed instead of roll over and go back to sleep.

My heart is filled with joy every day because of this beautiful little dog I was blessed enough to stumble across.

My dog isn’t the spoiled one…

I am.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Oh sweet sweet Winter. How I hate thee.

I will start by saying that I hate the cold. I really really hate the cold. I don't like snow, or rain, I do kinda like fog, but that's only because at night it's creepy. I've never seen sleet, so I can't really comment on that, but I'm guessing it sucks as bad as all the other wintry crap we have to deal with from November to February (I also don't like when people peonounce the "r" in February, it sounds pretentious. I'm not too fond of the "r" in raspberry either) but I digress...(not too crazy about people saying that either)

I'm pretty okay with wallowing in my own hate for winter, but what really chaps my ass is when someone says "Oh, I love this time of year" or "Oh my, I LOVE the rain!" What's even worse is that asshat that, without fail, whether we're in a drought or not, says "You know, we really need the rain." I could be floating down the street in a canoe in the middle of June and you know damn well that same jerk will still be saying that we need the rain.

I don't like having to put on four layers of clothes to go to the store, nor do I like having a runny nose and numb fingers after being outside for 60 seconds

I'm a summer kind of guy and I like it hot. I have no problem hopping on the bike and riding 50 miles when it's 100+ degrees. I love it! I guess living with Sacramento summers for 25 years has done that to me.
Now I'm sure there are some weirdos out there that are thinking "How can anyone say they like it when it's 100 degrees out? It's so miserable"  Well let me tell you that you're wrong, I'm right and this is my blog so that's that. You can go around the corner to the guy who hates summer's blog a read his blather.

Now I get the whole "light a fire and snuggle up on the couch with your pookie and watch  movies all day on a rainy Saturday. Who doesn't like that every once in a while? I've been known to pick up a presto log and a few romantic comedies on occasion, but mainly it's only because THERE'S NOTHING ELSE TO DO!!! .

Acceptable reasons for liking the winter-

1) Skiing
2) Snowboarding

I've never skiid...what? Skeed...skid...skiide...how the hell DO YOU SPELL THAT???

I've never liked skiing, so I can' t love winter for that. I used to snowboard, but I don't anymore, so there goes that reason.

So really, there are no reasons to like winter anymore.

I guess for me, it really boils down to time on the bike. Which, in this shit weather, is virtually nil. I thrive when on my bicycle and am noticeably grumpier when I can't be on it at least four days a week.
Every year it rains and every year I bitch about it. You'd think I'd learn to just suck it up and learn to enjoy the time off, but I can't. I just can't.

So to all you people that "love" the rain so damn much...

Well, I don't really know what to say to you, but when I do think of something witty and sassy to say to you, you can bet I'll say it and you'll be all like "whoa, he really hates the rain and the people that love it."

I'm gonna go not ride my bike now.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ironman Cozumel 2010

Let me start by saying that this was an absolutely fantastic trip. However, if I were to tell the entire story of the travel and the days leading up to, and after the race, I’d be here all night and I doubt I’d be able to keep your attention. This is going to be long enough as it is…
I met some great people, had some fun times and did a LOT of running around in preparation. I’ll leave it at that.

So here are the race day details.

Woke up at 4am. Surprisingly, I got a pretty good night’s sleep, which I really didn’t think I’d get, being that I was fairly nervous. Unfortunately, I don’t know that I can say the same for Karen (my roommate for the trip) as apparently I tend to snore (sorry)

The hotel was gracious enough to start serving breakfast at 4am, so I headed down there and grabbed a waffle, a couple eggs and pounded a couple cups of coffee. I sat with a woman who was also doing the race (her 2nd Ironman) so we chit chatted for a few minutes, said our “break a leg’s” and I headed back to get my stuff together since we were leaving at 5am.

We got to Chankanaab Park, where the start was and it was such a sight. There were thousands of athletes mulling about, slathering on sunscreen, loading their water bottles and food on their bikes and making final adjustments. It was total mayhem. Luckily, I didn’t really have much to do, so I took care of my crap and started to head towards the start line to watch the pro’s start.

Off went the horn and off went the pro’s. That meant 20 minutes until start time. Right then it kinda hit me. In 20 minutes I was going to be starting my first Ironman. It didn’t make me nervous, it made me proud. After all the months of hard work, it was finally here!
I ran into a nice couple I met in the airport a few days prior and we chatted on our way to the dock to get into the water. It was their first IM too and I could tell they were just as excited as I was.
I hopped off the dock into the water and thought about where I wanted to move for the start and figured I’d go ahead and try to work my way close to the front. I got to my spot and just kind of soaked in the moment.

The Swim -

Before I knew it the horn went off and I was swimming with over 2,000 other people. The best way to describe it is like swimming in a washing machine with arms and legs flailing everywhere. It certainly wasn’t the same calm water we had during our practice swims.

The first 800 meters or so was all about trying to avoid getting clobbered. Deep breaths were hard to come by, but I knew after a while, it would start to thin out and I’d be able to get into a rhythm, and that’s exactly what happened.
After making the turn at the second buoy, I was pretty much on cruise control. I found my stroke (and my breath) and felt great. The water was crystal clear and every once in a while I’d se some fish, or a scuba diver. It was just about the most perfect swim you could ever want.

The last few hundred yards were pretty damn exciting. Knowing that I was almost done with the first leg was super cool. I just kept thinking “One down, two to go!”

Swim time: 01:17.00

Transition 1

The transition from the swim to the bike was about a 200 yard run down a boardwalk past hundreds of spectators. I peeked down at my heart rate monitor and saw that my heart rate was 169, WAY higher than I wanted it to be, so I made myself slow down and slowly jog to the transition tent.
I grabbed my bag of stuff, found a chair, put on my arm covers, helmet, sunglasses and sunblock and headed towards the door. On the way out I grabbed a glob of Vaseline to “lubed the chassis” and ran out of the tent to my bike.
It was about a 100 yard run from where by bike was to where I could mount it, but I was so buzzing, it seemed a lot shorter.

T1: 5:56

The bike –

There were so many people crowded in a small area trying to get on their bikes I had to dodge quite a few. I wondered “did these people even practice this stuff before the race?”
As soon as I hopped on my bike though, I got up to speed, slipped my feet into my shoes and was off.
I was still pretty buzzing and my heart rate was higher than I wanted it to be, so I forced myself to go slower than I felt like going. My goal was to keep my heart rate under 155 the entire race, whether I felt like it or not.
The bike course was great. Mostly flat, with a few false flats, so I knew I’d be okay, as I did virtually all my training on the flats.
The east side of the island was absolutely breathtaking. The road was pretty much right along the beach. While this made for a fantastic view, it also made for some pretty brutal winds (which made it hard to enjoy the fantastic view). It was far away from the city, so there were no spectators and no cheering. It was just me, my bike and the wind.
Whatever, I just put my head down and kept pedaling. I made sure to take a bite of something every 10-15 minutes, was sure to take 3-4 salt tablets every hour and also made sure that I had two empty water/Gatorade bottles at every feed stop to be sure I was drinking enough.
There was one point where the course made a left turn to head back into town where I was just blasted by a much needed tailwind. There were also a lot of spectators. Families hanging out in front of their houses, kids hanging out hoping one of the athletes would toss them an empty Ironman water bottle (which I did every chance I got)
Once I started to get closer to town, the people were out in the thousands. Sitting in the center divider with signs, cowbells and noisemakers. I felt like I was in the Tour de France. What an amazing boost!

The last lap of the bike leg was pretty rough, the wind had kicked up and my speed had dropped quite a bit. I was never discouraged, but I was damn ready to get off my bike by about mile 100 or so.
That last left turn to head back into town seemed like it would never come. But it finally did, and the tailwind was still there, as were all the people cheering, which gave me back all my energy.
I barely remember handing off my bike to one of the volunteers I was so out of it, but I guess I was with it enough to remember to get my feet out of my shoes and hand it off without crashing.  Two down, one to go.

Bike time: 06:09.41

Transition 2 –

I kinda remember running into the tent and yelling out my number. Within seconds I had my bag in my hand and was heading to a chair.
As I sat down, a volunteer handed me an ice cold bottle of water, which really hit the spot. As I was putting on my socks and shoes, another volunteer rubbed sunblock on my shoulders. I can’t say enough about how amazing all the volunteers were.
I slapped on my hat, stopped one more time at the Vaseline jar to “lube the chassis” and headed off to run a fucking marathon.

Did I mention I’ve never run a marathon before?

T2: 4:51

The Run –

As soon as I left the transition tent, I felt the blast of how effing hot it actually was that day. I guess the wind on the bike made it less noticeable.
As soon as I started running I noticed my feet were cramping from being on the bike for so damn long and tried to run through it as long as I could, but after 2-3 miles (I honestly don’t know how far it was) I had to walk. Between the heat and my feet, I knew it was the best thing to do. I also knew it was going to be a VERY long afternoon on my feet.
It was a three loop course with aid stations every kilometer that had water, Gatorade, Coke, Powergels, Powebars, peanuts and pretzels. I really didn’t feel like eating too much (hard to believe, I know) so I took Gatorade and water at every station.
At one point, I heard someone yell “GO KEITH!” and thought “WTF? I don’t’ know anyone here.”, then remembered that my name was on my race number. Duh!
So I basically decided to fast walk and try to run when I felt like I could. This seemed to be the best way to go if I wanted to survive.
Around mile 6 I noticed I had a pretty bad blister on one of my toes, so I stopped at one of the ambulances and got it taped up nice and good as new.
Did I mention it was 81 degrees with about 90% humidity?
The run back into town was pretty cool. The closer I got to town, the thicker the crowds got. The last mile or so to the finish line was literally packed with people screaming and yelling. It was absolutely amazing!
Unfortunately, instead of going straight, to the finish line, I had to turn around and head out for my second lap.
As soon as the sun started setting and the temperature dropped and I felt a million times better. It was still hard to run consistently, but I was able to do it more and more often, which was pretty encouraging.
Before I knew it, I was running that last mile into town again through the screaming crowd and again, I had to turn around so I could start my last lap.
Then it hit me “Holy shit! I’m on my last lap! “
It was still slow going and I was still fast walking/running, but I was moving, and that was all I needed to do.
I knew that in a little while, I was going to be finishing. I was going to be an Ironman. As painful as every step was, you couldn’t have pried the smile off my face.

The last mile or so into town was just about the most magical thing I’ve ever experienced.
I could see off in the distance the giant TV they had put up. The crowd was frantic. I swear, they made me feel like I was the race leader. There was no more walking from here. I ran like I had a fresh pair of legs. There was no pain and no watching my heart rate. I felt like I was running a 6 minute mile, giving people high fives, all the while, trying my best to hold back the tears of joy.

The minute I rounded that last corner to the finish line, I heard the announcer say my name. I heard it and I screamed along with him


The most wonderful words I’ve ever heard.

Race time: 14:14.33

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I can’t believe it’s not butter!

The other day, one of my coworkers (the crazy eco/green/save the world lady, which I’m sure every office has) sent me a link to an article about how minute traces…wait, is that right? Minute? Minoot…mynewt…minute…um…small traces of some chemical were found in a bunch of sticks of butter.
As if butter isn’t bad enough for you, now it’s even worse because of this wacky chemical.
Apparently, this chemical has been known to cause some kind of defects in some people in certain doses. What these doses are, I don’t know. What the effects are, I don't know, but my guess is that more than a small amount in a stick of butter is needed for one to grow a tail or get ED from it.

But anyway, my reply to this email said one thing:

“Every day I walk out my front door, I’m trusting that the rest of the world isn’t going to kill me. The last thing I’m going to worry about is butter.”

Shit, a speeding car may miss the corner by my house and drive right into my room, killing me before I even get a chance to leave the house.
Maybe that crazy neighbor of mine from Fiji with the face tattoos that walks around the neighborhood with an ax will someday decide to use it on me, rather than whatever the hell he does with it.

My point (if I even have one)  I guess, is not to sweat the small stuff?

Now don’t get me wrong, I know there are a lot of dangerous things in this world that can kill us. Mono sodium Glutamate, pesticides, erections that last for more than four hours and so on, but at some point, you have to live your life.

Don’t like cigarettes? Don’t smoke em. Worried about getting Alzheimer’s from eating too much broccoli? Don’t eat it. Don't like beer, drink gin. Afraid you’re going to get run over on your bicycle? Don’t ride it.

Me? I’m just going to live my life. If that includes smoking a cigarette in bed with a space heater next to a propane tank while popping Viagra and eating bacon fried in tainted butter, so be it.
Maybe I'll grow a tail from eating too much tainted butter. Hell maybe if enough people grow tainted butter tails, someone will start making fashionable sleeves for them and there will be a new trend.


For the record, Marie, the eco-nutcase that sent me the butter article is absolutely wonderful (and quite militant). She does a lot of good and has principles I think we could all learn from.