Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I've been quiet for a while. Things have been rough. Work, mostly, but life in general have been just about all I can handle for a while. I haven't been sleeping. Now, I've been an insomniac since I was in junior high, so running on three hours' sleep a night is nothing new. There was even a period in college, about two weeks, where I went sleepless or maybe an hour a night. That was a scary time, real Fight Club territory, except I couldn't afford an apartment full of Ikea crap to blow up.

Lately it isn't insomnia, precisely. I could very easily go to sleep. I tend to be exhausted by the time midnight rolls around, but I keep the lights on. The thing is, I don't want to sleep. It's not that I'm that angst filled, or that I can't slow my mind down. It's just that sleeping means morning will get here that much sooner and frankly, I want to put it off.

You know that cliche about an iron fist inside a velvet glove? Well lately it's more like a hand grenade in a tube sock. And someone just hits you with it until it goes off. Mornings tend to feel like something from a video clip show where a small child hits you in the nuts with a comical object, except that the clip you're in, as much as everyone laughs, doesn't win the prize money. That goes to the cat falling into the dryer.

One of the guys at work built a database of history trivia to use on our signage displays and the other day it ran a nifty factoid: The guy who figured out grapeshot cartridges for cannons was named Sir Henry Shrapnel. I haven't hit up Wikipedia to see if this true or not, but it feels just absurd enough to be right.

That's enough for now. I leave you with the lyrics to the song I use to get myself psyched up to go once more into the breach. The band is Rise Against.

Behind Closed Doors

Chairs thrown and tables toppled,
Hands armed with broken bottles,
Standing no chance to win but,
We're not running, we're not running.

There's a point I think we're missing,
It's in the air we raise our fists in,
In the smiles we cast each other,
My sister, my brother.

About the time we gave up hoping
We'd ever find these locks still open,
Stumbling on stones unturned,
The hurt we feel, we all have earned.

The lines we cross in search of change,
but all they see is treason.

Although we have no obligation to stay alive
On broken backs we beg for mercy, we will survive
(Break out) I won't be left here
Behind closed doors.

Bonfires burn like beacons,
Guiding the lost and weakened.
Flames dance on crashing waves,
Guiding ships who've gone astray

Time out, let's stop and think this through,
We've all got better things to do,
Than talk in circles, run in place,
Answers {are} inches from our face.

Although we have no obligation to stay alive
On broken backs we beg for mercy, we will survive
(Break out) I won't be left here
Behind closed doors.

Black eyes, broken fingers,
Blood drips and I let it run
down my lips into my swollen gums.
When hope is non-existent,
Our instincts all scream "Run",
We never turn our backs or even bite our tongues.

Although we have no obligation to stay alive
On broken backs we beg for mercy, we will survive
(Break out) I won't be left here
Behind closed doors.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Best Book About The Apocalypse Ever...

It's a couple of years old, so this isn't news, but if you haven't, go out and get a copy of The Brief History of the Dead, by Kevin Brockmeier. It's scary good. Totally hypnotic and you can't stop reading it.

Ice and snow and mysterious shrinking cities, all tied to the radio on the far side of the penguin rookery. I don't want to say too much more, in case any of you take my advice, because to describe it would be to give it away.

If you've ever wondered what happens after you die, I think I like his idea.

Oh yeah, and Carlsbad tri was this weekend. I'll write about it later on. Gotta go to bed now.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A time to...whatever...

Going up, the speed at which you can escape the pull of Earth’s gravity is called escape velocity. In the other direction, terminal velocity. At that point, pulling the ripcord will only mean that you were polite enough to cover your stain.

Up. Down. Direction the difference between cruise missile and crater. The velocity stays the same. Constant. Driving. Exhausting.


And that’s me. Coffeed. Coked. Rock Starred. Cranked and dumb-smiling. Switched on and waiting for the tank to run dry.

Night falls and I hang up the phone. Grab another. Switch from email to text. Shift gears but never, ever slow down.

To slow down is to invite thought. To think is to perceive and that’s just a way to poke a hole in the carefully constructed haze of advertising and artifice behind which I hide from the things that annoy me.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My pain threshold, explored....

I'm going to count this as my San Diego International recap. And I'll get to it after I switch the stereo from the DVD feed. Who would have thought that the end credits of Ghost Rider would have such annoying music? Seriously, it's like nails on a blackboard remixed by Jay-Z. From the techno/industrial cover of Ghost Riders in the Sky (Get it?) to..oh, never mind. This doesn't mean anything.

Sidebar: Fun drinking game: Watch Ghost Rider and take a shot every time Eva Mendes delivers a line like she's made of plastic.

So, back to the race.

I can't believe I know this many people who are willing to get up at 4 in the morning on a Sunday and put on spandex.

Interesting experience, this one. I realized that I've come a long way because I wasn't nervous. I didn't fuss with my bag all night and I wasn't worried about forgetting anything.

I had two goals going into the race:

1. Run the entire course. No walk breaks.
2. Finish without feeling like I could have done more.

I managed both. Yes, you heard that right, I ran the whole 10K. My pace was close to 10:30 per mile, but screw it, man. I haven't managed to run the entire course since Mission Bay last October. I wasn't even limping when I got done.

I think I'm capable of going faster, but that's for another race. For this one, I'll take the lessons, and the proof that I might actually get my run back.

I hit the swim feeling good. It was a floating start, only my second time doing that, but I reaffirmed my belief that it is the coolest way to start a tri. Straight, u-shaped course, and only 1,000 meters. I was out of the water in 14.47, which was a little slower than I wanted, but still not too bad.

My first indication that I was going to have a good race was when I ran into T1. Yes, I ran into T1. I didn't limp. My foot didn't hurt. I ran. I hit the bike with a big boost, feeling good.

The bike went well, though I wish I had been able to preview the whole course. I only rode from the transition area to the Navy gate before the race. That's the big hill, but I wasn't quite ready for the tail end past the cemetary and down to Cabrillo Monument, twice. I also enjoyed passing people who were dressed for more serious racing than I will ever contemplate. Seriously, Team Skyfuel, lighten up and work on your drafting/passing rules. That, or stop selling your jerseys to newbies at the expo.

I got a little more tired than I expected on the ride and had to take some of the hills a little slower than I wanted to, but I was able to keep my speed up above single digits pretty much the whole way. I think I dropped into the 9s once or twice. I definitely need to fix my dang cadence sensor though. I miss that. I didn't realize how dependent I am on it.

I was ready for T2, with my feet out of the shoes and coasting down the hill to the dismount line when I saw the guy in my line go down. I got scared for a second because he was disoriented and having trouble picking up his bike. Someone was next to me, so I wasn't going around, but he got it together and I was able to dismount smoothly.

Through T2 and out onto the run, where I had my first moment of doubt. About a quarter mile onto the course, my calves were spasming and making me shuffle. Someone ran by me, slapped my shoulder and told me I was looking strong. How bad did I really look, I wonder? I kept running, gritting my teeth until Jay caught me. We ran most of the course together, except that he got a burst at the finish and left me behind just before the chute. I tried to keep up, but I wasn't going any faster. Nice work, man, and thanks for the pacing help.

It took until the middle of mile two for the cramps to work out, but they did pass, which means I need to do some bricks, but my nutrition and hydration held up. I only used two water bottles on the bike. One with water and one with 2 tabs of Nuun and 2 scoops of Carbo-pro. I was a little worried that it wouldn't be enough. I usually have a couple of Gus, but I left them behind to try this method. It worked. I love it, too. No trash, no choking down weird pasty stuff.

My foot was sore as hell all through the run, but it stayed loose and the pain hasn't stuck. I guess now I just need to get off my lazy butt and train my run.

The run at this race is great. Flat and fast (if you're into that sort of thing) and there's lots of spectator participation. The older lady on the bike who kept riding 100 yards ahead of us and saying "Damn, you caught me." was awesome. Seriously, she kept it up for at least two miles. It never got old. Then there was the, let's say special, homeless guy who yelled at every runner going by, calling us by race number. "Go 307!" He was loud. He had an appreciative audience. He had a balance problem. I was a little worried that he would fall into the harbor, but he hung in there.

I had a fun moment at the last aid station, when the volunteers asked if we wanted to be splashed. I said yes, and they promptly threw two cups of water into my eyes. It sheeted all over my glasses and I had to take them off. Then there was the lovely combo of harbor water slime, sweat and coppertone sport that surprisingly, doesn't feel very good underneath your contacts. I couldn't see a damn thing, and I gave serious thought to scratching out my eyes.

The finish line was great, except that I totally spaced on the beer garden. Oh well, put that in the race notes for next year.