Friday, August 29, 2008

New Friends and Places Best Left Behind

It's Thursday night, well, technically Friday morning, but I don't count the new day until the sun actually rises. I've been home about an hour and once again, I don't feel like sleeping.

I've been thinking a lot lately about life and friends and the world in general. In the last two years or so my life has turned completely on its head and frankly, I love it. I don't understand it, and I think I manage to make a pretty good hash out of about 90% of what I do on the personal front, but for the most part I'm enjoying the ride.

If you'd told me two years ago that I'd make a bunch of friends by blindly joining a beach volleyball league, I would have probably laughed at you, that is, if I had managed to work up the nerve to talk to you in the first place. If you'd gone on to tell me that I would run a triathlon, let alone get hooked on the sport, I would probably have said something really snotty and walked away.

The reason I'm thinking about all this I guess is that today sucked. It really, really sucked. There was almost nothing about work that went right, I nearly had a high speed accident on the freeway, one thing after another. None of that matters, though. I had a birthday party to go to tonight. I got there late, but I got there. I didn't talk much, but I almost never do in big groups. I don't do well in them. I'm the guy who says things that no one hears, even when no one else is talking. Even this doesn't really matter though, because for me, just going means that I'm not quite the guy I used to be. There was a time, not all that long ago when I would never have gone. I probably wouldn't have responded to the invite, and if I had, it would have been even money that I'd get to the door of the restaurant and not be able to go in. I can't tell you how many times I've done that.

My dad asked me today at lunch what I was doing tonight. I think he meant, what workout was I going to do. I'm always going off to swim or run or hit the weight room during the week, but I said no, I have this birthday party to go to. he kind of laughed and said "remember when you never had anywhere to go?" I do. Believe me. It was a period that had to be worked through to find the other side, but now, with some distance, I can say that I stand in awe of the people who stuck by me during those times. My family, the SCU crew, all of 'em. It's humbling to know that no matter how invisible you feel, there's usually someone looking; that people have your back when you don't have any clue how to ask for their help. That you didn't have to is staggering.

I was told tonight that this blog is a bit negative. I know it is, but most of the time, I'm trying to be funny. I'm cursed/blessed with a dark, offbeat sense of humor. In conversation, I can usually make it work, but not always in print. With the exception of a few posts, I am being as snarky as you probably think I am.

But what does all this have to do with anything? Not much really, at least in the longer view. Nothing I say here is going to make me or you a faster racer, or make the next president any more likely to solve the world's problems than the last several.

What I can say, as I look back at the last couple of years, is that I've blundered my way onto a path that makes some sort of sense to me, in a really oblique sort of way. I've made new friends, lost track of a few, and covered a lot of ground with a dizzying array of steady and one-time traveling companions. I don't know where this road goes, or who will be standing there with me a little further on, but I am looking forward to finding out. I know where I've been, and there are lot of places I never want to see again, a lot of holes I'd like to see filled in and paved over, but there's not a lesson learned that I'd give up.

I'm bad at keeping in touch, at making the little gestures that keep friendships and relationships on track. I'm just not that detail oriented, though I wish I could be. I know I should work harder to keep up on the people in my life, however tangential, but I usually just can't do it. There's still a little bit of the maladjusted, dark as hell loner I used to be stashed away in corners I haven't found, but I'm looking. I'd like to be a better friend, brother, son than I am and I am working toward the goal, but it's tiring work, building something without a blueprint, so the days when you make a positive step without having to work at it are pretty special, especially when the odds were stacked against you.

I'm getting long winded now, so I'm going to stop before I repeat myself. I'm going to sign off with this poem, I guess it is, that I wrote right around the time I knew things had to change. Maybe one day there will be a sequel, but I think it will involve some running. Until next time, this is called Walk Again.

Standing. Toes over the edge. Staring
Rocks on the valley floor
A lost soul willing
A sick heart beating
Giving anything just to be good

Falling into sunrise
Bloody light burning my eyes
A vertigo I can no longer feel

If I could grow wings I'd fly away from all of this
But on my broken legs all I can do is crawl
The distance between where I need to be and where I am
Is greater than the strength of this boy to become a man

So with bleeding hands I pull myself into the sun
Over the rocks and across the glass horizon
With every drop of blood I leave my sins here in this dirt

Free fall. Through clouds and fire
Strip away the armor. Shed the fear
And show my scars to the world

If I could grow wings I'd fly away from all of this
But on my broken legs all I can do is crawl
The one I need to be waits for me
A shadow behind the sun
Waiting for me to heal. For the day that I stand tall
So that I might walk again for now I'll crawl

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sometimes I'm so smart I scare myself.

Okay, I'm finally coming out of the coma. I'm only beginning, I think, to understand exactly what I put myself through this weekend. By way of initial context, I'll say this: It was all tri, all the time.

Friday night was the TNT swim at La Jolla Shores. 1 mile, no big deal, right? Right. Except...when I swim slow, I get bored. Actually, I don't have time to get bored. In the water, if there's no clock running, I'm about six years old. I spent my forty five minutes in the water diving into the giant school of bait fish just offshore, trying to touch the bottom and sprinting around after seal barks, all in between bouts of making sure newbies didn't drown. I don't know how far I actually swam, but it was probably well over a mile. My arms and shoulders were sore the next day and they never really are after Shores swims.

I actually stayed in and slept on Friday night, knowing that Saturday was Iron Mountain. Now, if you've read this blog for a while, you know that I have a history with this workout. It was my fourth time on the course, and my first going in without an injury. I was supposed to be helping TNT again, but frankly there isn't much to be done for them at this point.

Prophecy moment: Iris gave me a bumper sticker that reads "Warning! Training with hangover." This is awesome on many levels. Mainly, it's damn funny, but I wonder if it signifies that I've been sending the wrong message to the TNT folks. It seems that every time they've called me to help out with a Saturday workout, and I've done several this season, I show up hung over, on no sleep, or both. Of course, I still manage to grind out the workouts and I'm usually pretty quick about it, but still, definitely something belongs in the "Don't Try This At home" category.

I think the alumni volunteers matched or outnumbered the participants who showed up. We got going and the lead out volunteer, Greg, and I dropped the teamies pretty quick, so I topped to let several catch and pass me to try and bookend the faster team group. The thing is, they were only holding about 15 MPH in that part of the pack and the top half of the IM route is way too fun to ride that slow. I wound up waiting at the turnaround. I let most of the team pass me there while I goofed off and talked to Robbie. We finally started riding after giving the middle of the pack a goof four or five minute head start. That's when Robbie said "Let's catch Dana." I said, "Okay" and tore off. A long hard sprint later, I caught and passed Dana. At that point I realized that Robbie hadn't followed me. Bastard.

No turning back now, though, I was committed to seeing how far up in the line I could get. I eventually caught Katie and passed her, which I think made her angry, because she wound up chasing me all the way back up the hill. More on that in a bit.

If you haven't ridden or driven highway 67 southbound, the stretch from where it connects to Scripps-Poway Parkway to Willow Road in Lakeside, which is our second turnaround, is an insane downhill section. I hit 40 MPH this time, though I've gone as high as 45. Iris told me she hit 49, which is AWESOME!!!!

At the bottom, we have an aid station at the Circle K. This is where everyone regroups and I got to heckle Robbie for not keeping up with me. He patiently explained that yes, he caught Dana too, he just waitied for a big downhill, rather than waste a bunch of energy sprinting through Ramona. I felt stupid, because it was at that point that I remembered I was racing on Sunday morning.

So we set out for the last leg of the ride, which a multi-mile climb back to Poway Road. This where it got weird for me. I was tired anyway, so when my energy started flagging, I sang songs in my head to keep going. I went through some Springsteen (Thunder Road), Social Distortion (Highway 101) and then I settled on, of all things, John Denver. That's right, JOHN FREAKIN' DENVER!!! Wanna fight about it? Apparently, Take Me Home, Country Roads works like afterburners. Who knew?

This is also where I realized I think I made Katie mad passing her earlier. See, she wiped the road with me climbing Torrey last week, but this time I stayed ahead of her, though she wasn't far back. I don't know, but I think she was holding back, letting me win, but knowing all the while that I would pay for it. I know this because back at the trail head, when I changed into run gear and took off up the hill, she and Dana and Tim went and did the ride again.

I had thought about going with them, but seeing as I was racing on Sunday morning, I decided to limit myself to the official workout, which was the 30 mile ride with 2274 feet of climbing, followed by a 3 mile trail run up the side of the mountain. You can actually go 6 miles if you go to the top, but I was being smart remember? I was saving something for the race, so I only went to the T junction. About halfway up, I realized that I hadn't done a trail run since I hurt my foot back in February. That's right, I picked pretty much the hardest one you can do to test the waters. That's me, Ryan Mashburn, Super Genius.

I felt a little better when Brian, who was also doing the race on Sunday, showed up at the T. At least I wasn't being dumb alone.

We grabbed lunch after the workout and it was at about 2:30 in the hamburger factory, in Poway, that Brian and I remembered we had to be in Imperial Beach, which is basically Mexico, by 4 to get our packets. We made it as they were packing up the expo.

Saturday night was a fundraiser where I was supposed to go for an hour or so, have a beer or two and then get some sleep. Four and half hours later I'm shooting pool with Iris and Melinda, several more than two beers into the night, thanks to Trent and Alan, and I have a stake in Brian, who I helped Iris buy at the singles auction. If you've got any suggestions on what we should do with him, hit the comment board.

So at 12:45 as I'm walking four blocks in the wrong direction from my car to get Melinda back to hers, I'm beginning to think I should revise my race goals for IB.

At 1:30AM, as I set the alarm for 4:30, I thought I may have made a, shall we say, tactical misstep, in my handlling of Saturday, which is when someone started backing heavy trucks around in one of the construction sites around my neighborhood. Beep beep beep rev. Repeat. Until 2AM, when I finally nodded off.

5AM Sunday. My text to Brian: "We are stupid. I've decided this." He agreed.

As I was setting up my transition area, someone asked me if the swim was still going to happen. Given that this was a triathlon, I said "I think so, why?" Apparently, the beach had been closed for a few days leading up to the race due to high bacteria levels. Wow, good thing I had all that beer in my system. Alcohol kills germs, right?

Not much to report on the swim, except that the water was disgusting and the visibility was worse.

Running out of T1, I heard someone yell my name and looked over to see Denner shouting at me from his seat atop a bike trainer. I spent the first mile or so of the bike ride wondering why the hell he was on a trainer in the transition area. My morning was definitely starting to rule.

I powered through the ride as best I could, though my legs felt like, I don't know, similes fail me. They felt like crap. I felt like crap. Thank god it was only 9 miles. I know 'cuz I read my t-shirt this time. I was so zonked though that even though I had my feet on top of my shoes coming into the home stretch, I nearly powered through the dismount line. Hopping off the bike as it was moving way too fast, I hit the brake to slow down, only I hit the front brake, causing the bike to endo with me in midair and slapping down onto the pavement in my bare feet. Somehow, I didn't break an ankle or drop my bike, though I got a great agonized "oohhh!" out of the crowd. And I made the dismount line. Yay! So into T2 I went.

That run sucked. How much did it suck? There are not yet computers powerful enough to calculate the magnitude of the suck. And I ran the whole 5K in under 30, but I didn't enjoy it damn you!

When I passed Greg on the course he asked how I was feeling and I said, "This sucks!" He laughed at me and we ran on. He was heading into the turnaround and I had already gone through it. I found out after the race, however, that after he laughed at me, he barfed. So see, that run sucked! It even sucked for the guy who wasn't hung over and running on 3 hours sleep the day after Iron Mountain.

Thankfully, after the race we got to go to Jim's house and eat heaping piles of awesome food. Thank you Denner for showing me that you don't need a fork to eat mac and cheese. You are correct that it's just more efficient, not to mention visceral to just shovel it in by hand.

By the time I got home Sunday night, I was so tired I don't think I knew my name anymore. I fell asleep in the shower. I finally plonked my worn out carcass into bed around 10:30, and I barely made it past turning off the light. Score! Sleep. Finally, sweet holy blessed sleep. And I have no idea whether the jackass in the truck was working last night.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My First Aquathlon...ah, Crap...

So I haven't blogged much about the cool stuff I do with the tri club since I became an official member. That's because, since I became an official member, I have managed to attend exactly ONE function. That was last Saturday's Bog Moon swim. My attendance at that was due more to stubbornness and an unwillingness to fall into a coma (see Randomfest).

Tonight was the monthly aquathlon, and I was registered. The new tri bag was packed and next to my desk. I was psyched.

What's an aquathlon, you ask? It's a triathlon, but without the bike part. This is as opposed to a duathlon, which is a triathlon minus the swim. Still with me? Anyway, I was all set to race.

This brings me back to the fact that I have done next to nothing with the tri club. Every time I get all set to do a club race, or go to a club function, something gets in the way. Today it was computers. Yes, computers. Specifically, the computers we make at work.

Without going into technical detail, I've been on this for two weeks and I'm seriously starting to wonder what the Amish know that I don't. Churning butter and tilting up barns is starting to sound way cooler than figuring out why a CPU driver and a dual core optimization utility won't play nice together. Do you ever have a moment where you're holding a bottle of water, looking at it and focusing all your energy, thinking, "Please be vodka. Please be vodka."? Yeah, that's been my two weeks.

No aquathlon for Ryan, just quality time with a series of hardware drivers and brain drain. Yippee! Now where do I get a coat with wooden peg fasteners and a horse drawn buggy?

Sunday, August 17, 2008


So, I don't know about you, but my weekend involved 3 tribute bands, 2.75 miles of swimming (.25 of which were in my underwear with a glow stick tied around my neck), about that much running, climbing Torrey Pines and getting bit by a dog. How'd you do?

Starting with Friday night and my Cove swim. I only did a half mile, since I was totally phoning it in. The first quarter was a PR though, at 5:59. Then it was 20 minutes at the buoy talking to Marty and back in. Working hard, I tell ya.

After a shower, it was off to Cane's for a night of cover band awesomeness. That's right, a triple bill, for only $12 bucks, we got to see fake Springsteen, the fake Stones and fake Journey, wait, check that, we got to see Lights, the premier Journey tribute band, as they introduced themselves. Actually, they were almost as good as the real Journey, who I have seen in concert, to my eternal shame. About halfway through their set, the singer for Lights announced that they will be opening for Styx in Newport Beach in September. Here's a question, how far have you fallen as a headliner when your contempraries' tribute bands are opening for you? Serves them right for inflicting Lady on the world. And for not playing Mr. Roboto when I saw them this summer. Damn it, that still makes me mad.

All in all, apart from the fake Stones, who sucked like brand new vacuum cleaners, it was totally worth the cash. And our waitress was attentive, and hot, so that was good, though it lead to more beer consumption than I'd planned. Home at 2AM to pack for:

Saturday, and Katie's insanity workout. Essentially, this was supposed to be an olympic tri. We did a mile swim from the Shores. I saw a 4 foot leopard shark and my first jellyfish of the year. Cool. Switched to the bike and rode up to UCSD (sucked) and then down Torrey to Coast Highway and up to Moonlight Beach, where who did we find? The Pac Grove team, that's who. They were one round into their full transition practice, and this was at 10AM. They started at 7. We hung out, bummed some SAG supplies and took off back to climb Torrey (sucked). Katie dusted me up the hill, of course, she's half my size. Apparently tiny women can climb hills on bikes faster than 200 pound guys. Who'd a thunk?

At the top of the hill, I caught every red light between the crest and the turn back to the Shores descent (way effin' fun).

Switch to the run and away we go. Started smooth, but I got a leg cramp and stopped to stretch. Katie kept going. I ran on once I loosened up. Running through the neighborhood past the tennis club, I saw a guy talking to a contractor. The guy had a dog on a leash. It was a wheaten terrier, just like the one we had when I was a kid. Mean little....but I digress. As I ran by, I said hi. The dog leaned in for a sniff and BAM! sunk his little shaggy demon teeth into my leg. Took a big chunk out of my tri shorts and left a nice meaty bite mark on my quad. I think it was because it had been shaved and didn't like me looking at it. Either that or its little terrier brain was so compressed from gernerations of inbreeding screw it. Anyway, Cujo kinda took the wind out of my sails. I ran a little more, but I was bleeding and my leg was throbbing, so I pulled the ripcord and bailed out.

Had some personal business to take care of after the session, so I got back to the Shores for Cassi's birthday about four hours late. Unfortunately, none of my personal business involved a nap, so I got there with all my swim gear, wetsuit, clear goggles (it's night time), swim cap, body glide...all of it...except trunks. Have you ever tried pulling a triathlon wetsuit on over a pair of cotton boxer briefs? Not pleasant, I tell you. Not freakin' pleasant. Stupid tri club intiation rituals...damn it...wasn't supposed to...first rule of tri club is...well, no drafting, but the second rule of tri club...forget it. I'm in enough trouble.

On with the glow stick and into the Pacific for a quick 800M (or so they said). Fun time, swimming with a fishing lure tied to your ass. But it was really cool to look up and see this line of glow sticks cruising through the water.

Home by 10:30. What a lame-o, right? Well yeah. But I stayed up 'til midnight, so there.

Today was a wetsuit-free mile at the Cove, which was cool, except for the freakish windswell that kept putting the ocean in the wrong place. My right arm was useless for a quarter mile. Either the wave broke on top of my stroke, or it went out from under me and I fell onto my side in the trough. I've still got boat legs.

Can't wait to see what the week brings.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Cut to the Jazz Man, standing alone on a street corner under an orange sodium light. Fedora slung low, his pinstripe suit glistening with a vaguely incandescent rain. His muted trumpet lost to the city traffic.

Cars slide by, the wet pavement trying in vain to shush the unmuffled exhaust and the blaring thump of hip-hop and techno. The trumpet fills the void between the beats, like the past reaching out and brushing its cold fingers along the bottoms of your bare feet. The drivers don't even know it, but they're driving over someone's grave.

The oily slick on the street reflects scattershot glimpses of undercarriage neon. The Jazz Man's eyes stay closed. He doesn't need to see it anyway. He knows how far he's come, as his wrinkled but not yet arthritic fingers work the valves and his creaky wrist pulls at the mute.

Occasionally, someone walks by, but there's no case for spare change. This is a solo for the night, for whoever happens by. For the Jazz Man and by the Jazz Man, though if you asked him, he'd only say it was jazz, as though it wrote itself out of the ether and just took hold, focusing through the bell of a horn that has seen more years than most.

More cars, more bass. More voices. One sided conversations rattle and bounce by as the bars close and he adjusts his song, adding little flourishes, increasing the tempo. Lively and yet still somehow mournful. A song that knows something you don't.

People walk by. Some stop to listen, then drift away. Fading back into the night carrying little pieces of the song with them and dreaming, for reasons they don't understand, of private eyes smoking in dim hotel bars and flashbulbs popping and glamorous women smoking cigarettes from slim silver cases. Maybe they hum a few notes before they drift off, wondering where they heard that song.

The Jazz Man's tune slows as the city heads toward sleep. There are fewer cars on the road, fewer voices, lonelier footsteps. The song slows down, then finally whispers to a stop. The Jazz Man opens his eyes and walks, his suit still shiny with rain, into the night.

It's midnight, why am I blogging?

Frankly it's because I don't think I'll be sleeping any time soon. This despite the fact that I spent the latter half of today feeling a lot like I spent the first half drinking cheap corn whiskey out of mason jar filled with old cigarette butts. I barely made it through dinner.

I've been working out a lot lately but balancing that with eating badly and drinking too much. Welcome to my half-iron training plan. Half-assed is a viable description, maybe even half-witted. Certainly haphazard. Okay, enough of that.

It's been a while since we visited the Big Book of Stupid Things Ryan Does. For tonight's reading, we're going to start with last Friday night, at the wine, cheese and chocolate party. I actually got through it unscathed, without even reaching for an emergency beer, though I did get into a rather elliptical (and drunkenly stationary) political argument. Thankfully, other, more intoxicated people were there to break things up by trying far harder than I was to be coherent. I beat it before they figured out how to turn on the karaoke machine.

Made it home around 1AM, tried unsuccessfully to sleep. Valuable lesson learned: When drinking wine and eating chocolate and carb-laden crakers, your body gets a bit jacked up. When you do sleep, your dreams are jittery and Tarantino-like. Lots of jump cuts and marginal acting. Surreal montages of dancing costumed characters like the ones at Disneyland only creepier. But I digress.

I finally entered this, let's call it a fugue state, at about 3AM. Just in time to have the alarm go off at 6 so I could head down to Coronado and help the TNT squad learn to grab water bottles while cycling. Valuable lesson learned: When newbies unload their used bottles, check their hand position and be ready to duck.

After the TNTers wrapped up, it was time to do my training for the day, which consisted of crashing Katie's far gnarlier than anticipated workout. Stay off the Strand at 1PM. And definitely at 3. Trust me. Even without sweating out red wine, it sucks when you get blown out of your aero bars. And the running is best left undiscussed.

Needless to say, when I made it home around 7PM I was largely non-functional.

Sleep helped, though I crashed right through my planned Sunday surf session. What's one more week's worth of dust on the board? Did manage a cove swim, though not the planned 2-miler. (There's always this week, right?) And then it was off to meet Mark for a, Mark and Tauni for four pitchers...

Monday sucked. And the visit to UCLA didn't help matters. Have I ever mentioned my irrational loathing of the City of Angels? Another post entirely.

Skip forward to last night and the 80's cover band at the House of Blues. How do you go wrong with a fat bassist in a Devo costume, a singer dressed like Spiccoli (complete with white zinc on the nose) and a wannabe Slash on lead guitar? You just can't, I tell ya. You just can't. Especially when they know Don't Stop Believin' AND Come On Eileen. Oh, and we got free tickets to see Dramarama. Even though the cover guys played Anything, Anything, so I get to be all blase about it and compare the originals to their imitators. Hope they bring their A game.

Again, too much beer and a sketchy salad led to weird dreams and not enough sleep, so of course I got up and joined Brian and the gang for a swim this morning. I missed the bat rays, but I did see a seal. And I swam like I was still drunk. Brian, you couldn't stay in my slipstream because it was a moving target. I blame the currents. Yeah. Currents. Not the Red Trolley. What would a trolley be doing in the Cove anyway?

I'll close with this: I got a call today from a client telling me that the audio on their main display had gone out. I tried everything I could think of to fix it remotely. I rebooted their computers. I had the guy on site check the TV volume and make sure no one had turned it down. I read PC log files looking for weird cryptic error codes. Finally, I gave up and drove down to El Cajon to see for myself. Guess what? They had unplugged the #$%#!@ speaker.

And curtain.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

What I'm Frightened Of...

Disclaimer: This is dark. It's angry. If you're having a good day, you probably don't want to read it. I'm posting it anyway.

I’ve been thinking about this on and off for a few years now, though to be honest I usually try and stamp out this train of thought when it starts up. I tend to find it useless. The thing is, it’s all boiled over lately and I need to write this down, if for no other reason than because I need it out of my head.

It’s been a while since I’ve believed in God. Not the “is there or isn’t there” kind of belief. Frankly, I don’t think about that all that much because even if there is a God, I don’t believe in him. I say that in the sense that I wouldn’t follow God into battle. I wouldn’t take an order. I wouldn’t put my trust in God any more than I would in a hungry grizzly bear.

People have a tendency to ascribe their victories to God’s preference, to bury their disappointments in God’s will. As the song says, “what I’m frightened of / is that they call it God’s love.” When I achieve something I’ve worked for, when I see a blind man skiing or a one legged man racing a triathlon or a teenager giving up summer break to build houses for flood victims, I don’t see God. I see the power and spirit of the individual. Indomitable will and altruism are human traits that developed over the eons along with consciousness and opposable thumbs and to give credit for them to anything other than the individuals wielding them is to dilute them.

At the same time, any of the thousand minor tragedies that befall us over the course of our lives don’t fare any better under the guise of the divine plan. What possible utility could the failure of a business, the dissolution of a marriage, the death of a hamster, or the outcome of a boxing match have to God’s overarching vision of Creation? I guess you could write this off as one of those crazy butterfly wing flap causes hurricane things, but that’s reaching really far. The idea that God designed these events as tests to help us better ourselves and to lead lives that better conform to his rules makes me a little sick. This is God as costumed super-villain, the master manipulator pulling strings to make sure you dance to his tune. And what good is that?

Looking around the world, I think that God, at best, is asleep at the wheel. Whether the heavens are presided over by a bearded man in a robe, or by a pantheon of incestuous sociopaths, to acknowledge the existence of either is to acknowledge just how spectacularly they fail to fill the job description. When the rapture comes, who exactly is getting picked up? The zealots who shoot abortion doctors? Or will it be the hand of Allah that purges the earth of infidels in a wave of righteous fire? And who gets the asbestos underwear, the guys recruiting suicide bombers? Frankly, if either is right, then the higher powers might as well get on with it. Pick up their jacks and go home so the rest of us can learn the new rules and start living.

Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe God does have a plan, but it can only be seen at some far removed, macro level. But then again, they say the devil is in the details. So there you go. That’s exactly the problem. The details are what affect us all. It’s the little things that get under your skin, that keep you up at night, and that help you sleep easier. It isn’t the macro stuff. That’s all too big, too far removed. You can write a check or volunteer and feel better about the big stuff, but you can only work your way through the money problems, the family dramas and the broken bones. There’s no higher power help there. It’s all time and sweat. So if the devil’s in the details, then only your hard work can get you past him.

I’ve lived through my stretches of darkness, the times when even if the light at the end of the tunnel is a train, you don’t mind, because at least it’ll be bright for a while. I’ve split my knuckles open on solid core doors and left holes in my share of walls. I’ve had the meltdown days when I can’t do anything but sit shaking on the floor of my garage with the lights off. In every case, I’ve managed to find the thread, however small, however translucent, that leads to the exit door.

The problem is, it’s only every so often that you get through that door with all your fingers and toes. And even when you’re back in the sun, there’s always another trap door there waiting to pull you under again. You can step over and around, but it’s the ones that get the people closest to you that leave you feeling powerless, like you want to dive in after them with a climbing rope on your shoulder but you’ve got nothing to tie off to. There’s nothing you can do. So is that part of the plan? Be your brother’s keeper, expect when it suits the overseer to make it impossible? I’m sorry, but if that’s what God wants, God can go to Hell.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Holy Crap, What Day Is It Agian?

So it's August now, and holy hell, where has the summer gone? I have had absolutely zero free time lately thanks to work and the impending buyout/merger that has me learning the systems and, let's call them idiosyncrasies, of another company. Hopefully it'll all go through, but that's another bottle of bourbon entirely.

I ran two tris in July, Carlsbad Sprint and Solana Beach Sprint. Both were solid races for me, except for the swims, which were surf entry. It's been too long since the races to bother with a full recap, but let me say this: if you're going to do a sprint, make sure you know what the distances are. Sure, the run is always 5K, but but you know, when the swim and bike turn out to be twice as long as you thought, it kinda takes the wind out of your sails. And all you had to do was read the stupid t-shirt they gave you. Oh yeah, and don't ride Del Dios the day before a race. If you do, you might as well go out drinking and cap it all off. Even a 9-mile ride hurts at that point.

So what's next?

Well, Pac Grove is coming up. I just booked the hotel room.

And oh yeah, I signed up for Longhorn Half. So now I have 60 days to get my half marathon run back. Oh joy, oh rapture. Running. Yay.