Friday, July 31, 2009

Running Journal

Thus begins my no-race-weekend running. I just got back from a 7-mile run. I had Becky drive me into the country and drop me off so that I could do it without running circles at the track. Altogether, it took me almost exactly an hour (that is an 8:34 pace). I have to say, in some ways it was much harder than I expected. I couldn't run the whole way. I went to the entrance to the neighborhood (.5 miles from the house) before I did any significant walking though. I was at the neighborhood entrance in 50 minutes (which puts my average pace at 7:41 for the first 6.5 miles). Yes, it took me ten minutes to go the last ½ mile. It was pretty difficult. In spite of the walking later on, I think that the hardest part came at about mile 4. I am used to running 3 – 3.5 miles at the track, so getting over that was a bit of a challenge. I don't know if it was harder mentally or physically. I don't want to over analyze – I mean, it was only 1 hour of my life – but mentally I was willing to go the whole way. At about the halfway point, my arms were feeling somewhat heavy – a feeling that didn't really go away completely during the second half of the run. Near the end, however, it was heaviness in my legs that really made me have to slow down. My lungs and stomach felt good the whole way – they only really seem to riot when I run more for speed. I guess that that is the most encouraging thing of all – I mean, endurance has always seemed as much a question of the lungs and abs for me as for any other body part. I feel good now. I sweated a TON.

My next race is a 5-mile race on August 9. I am hoping to be in okay shape for that race. I want to do at least one more longer run before then so that my arms and legs know what 5+ miles feels like. I am not too worried – I mean, there is no question that I will finish the race, and with a decent time by most standards. But my standards are not most standards. Honestly, I really look at this as me still getting in shape. I think that when I am stronger and more used to running longer distances, I will be able to bring my 5K time down to less than 20 min. That doesn't really feel like a very ambitious goal for me, it only requires trimming about a minute, but I have to start somewhere.

The next race after the 9th is August 23. It is another 5-miler. It is the only one of the Road Race Series here that I plan on missing. Because of missing it, I won't get the "coveted Road Warrior title". I will be out of the country during that race. After that, the September races are 10K each and in October the races stretch to 10 miles each. Finally, there are two half marathons in November. If I had to run those today I wouldn't be able to do it, but I feel pretty good about getting there by November. Still, woooh. It won't be easy.

Anyway, today was the first long-run weekend. I know that 7 miles doesn't seem like much to a lot of people, but it was a long run for me.

Well, now I REALLY have to run – dinner's ready.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Perfect Metaphor

This is what a 4 1/2 week summer course is :

I love that at 1:33 the door that goes by actually shut on somebody.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Aggressive Grass

That is what we are going to be growing in the garden from now on. When I arrived back home after my trip to New York, I found the garden had been basically neglected but because I had put in rows the weeds that had taken over couldn't be mown either. It was a hot mess. Well, I have since re-tilled a few times and the area is now basically plant free. I tilled this morning and raked the area somewhat smooth and then rolled the whole are using a lawn roller that I rented from the Home Depot. It was really smooth and really compacted so after raking and rolling I raked again to scarify the area before spreading some Bermuda grass seed. The packaging describes this grass as an "aggressive grass" that is extremely heat resistant. I am sort of afraid. And for good reason. While tilling this morning, I reached down to pull a tall weed out of the ground next to the fence where the tiller wouldn't go. This weed is some sort of broad leafed grass that grows to be at least three feet tall and in some areas it is as tall as six feet. I think that I have seen grass like this all over the country - it is quite common. Well, this piece wasn't that tall, but it was well rooted. I grabbed and pulled and it didn't uproot at all. Instead part of the stem broke and the other part peeled sharply off the broken piece causing a deep cut across pinky and ring fingers on my right hand. I am sort of worried about the pinky finger. It was cut really deep but the cut was so sharp that it barely bled at all. I went in and wrapped it tightly in a band aid to keep it closed but my hand was shaking as if I was very cold when I went back out to work. Hours later, I changed band aids and it still gushed with blood when I took the old one off. I have been more careful about how I have changed band aids since then.
If the new grass is more aggressive than all that, I am really afraid.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Running Journal

Here are two photos that I copied from the first race of the Summer Road Race Series that I participated in on the 12th. I finished 44th overall. I was 9th in my age group. My time was 21:53. I would like to improve but I am happy with that time. I think that I will probably get slower before I get faster.

This is me at the start.

And this is me at the finish. There is another race this Sunday. Wish me luck. My legs have been bothering me this week. I think that I will be fine for the race but I am planning on slowing my first mile down a bit. I really died off in the last mile of the race that these photos are from (in spite of the fact that I was smiling for the camera in the second one) and I am hoping to have a little more consistent pace over the course of the entire race. I am not sure how well I will stick to that plan, but I will post updates afterward to let you all know.



  1. ¿Qué hace un pato con una pata en un corral?
  2. ¿Cuál fue el último animal que hizo Dios?
  3. ¿Cuántas estrellas hay en el cielo?
  4. ¿Cuál es la fruta más paciente?
  5. ¿Qué hace una manguera en la calle?
  6. Cuándo pelo choca con pelo, el pelado se queda adentro - ¿Qué es?
  7. ¿Cuál es el animal que menos come?
  8. ¿Qué dijo el mar al pez?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Right under our nose

Before 6am this morning:
I was up looking at lesson material for today's lesson. I suggested to Becky that she get up and do some work in the yard that she is planning on getting done today. It is a lot cooler out this time of day and it is supposed to rain today so I figured it was a good time to start. Gabe and Rosco both followed her out when she went out. Rosco peed in the grass and Gabe dropped his drawers and peed right off the edge of the porch.
I took him to the zoo a couple of days ago and he did something very similar. He was at the playground and I got a text message that made my phone beep. I looked down and when I looked back up he was standing in the middle of the playground hosing everything in sight.
I jumped up and grabbed him as other parents laughed at what he was doing. I guess it is funnier when it is somebody else's kid.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Goal tending

I ran the first of the Memphis Runners Track Club 2009 Road Race Series earlier this month on the 12th. I have another race to compete in on the 26th. This was my New Year's Resolution. I think that I am still on track with it, but I have a lot of work to do.
Tonight, I am making another goal - I am going to see if I can stay off of FaceBook for a week. Why is it that this seems like the more challenging resolution here? I can do it, right? It should be no problem, right?
Uff. Why am I blogging about being on FB too much? Why do I just replace one big time leech with another?
Pray for me.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Worked. Worked. Got home. Made dinner. Gabe didn't want to eat it. Sat on the floor. Didn't want to get up. Gabe came and got me up. I still need to get stuff together for tomorrow. I still feel like sitting on the floor and giving up. I am glad that Gabe is here with me.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

et al

Sunsets, flowers, fabulous skies.... These, and so many more, are some of the photos that I have taken recently. I went with Gabriel to the zoo yesterday. We got there just after 5 pm but they stop letting people in at 5 pm so we sneaked (snuck?) in through the exit as somebody was leaving. It was nice to be in the zoo practically all by ourselves but we really didn't do much. I got photos of him looking at the lions and the tigers. After that we went to the park that is connected to the zoo and Gabe chased squirrels and birds and looked for fish in the pond. I took a few decent photos. Here is the problem - my picasa web albums have reached their quota. That means no more photos on the blog for the time being until I upgrade or dump old photos. I don't know what to do. I don't want to spend the money to upgrade to bigger storage and I don't want to delete my old photos.
For now, all I can say is 'use your imaginations.' I got a lot of good stuff.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Independence Day

I have felt a lot of writer's block here on the blog lately. I just don't know what to write about. I don't want to be too open and yet I don't want to be constantly censoring myself either. I had a smooth flight home. I got here and ate dinner at the neighbor's house and after that Becky, Gabe, and I as well as many of the neighborhood teenagers who hang out next door went to see the fireworks show in downtown Memphis on the riverfront. I was really happy to do this with Gabe. Last year, I was in Costa Rica last year for 4th of July. Two years ago, Gabe L-O-V-E-D the fireworks. I was so much fun seeing them with him then. I didn't want to miss the chance to spend this year with Gabe on the 4th. That was my whole reason for not staying in New York to see the biggest fireworks show in the country, but I was really disappointed with the lameness of Memphis' fireworks show. The whole thing lasted 15 minutes from start to finish. I was over before we could even settle comfortably into our seats on the curb (yeah – I was sitting in the gutter with my son). Here are a few photos. I didn't get many photos and the only camera I had with me was my phone.

Speaking of my phone – it broke while I was in New York. I went sleep about 2 am on the 28th of June. I use my phone as an alarm (it crows like a rooster in the morning to wake me up) and the battery was low so I plugged it in. I got up about 6:45 am and looked at the phone but it was not on. Nothing I could do would turn it on. I have a spare battery but even that didn't help anything. I took it to Sprint and they replaced it for free. Still, I was without a phone for about a week. I got it back on the 2nd of July. It is a good phone. It has a good camera. I am glad to have it back.

Finally, here are two videos from Gabe's first fireworks experience way back in 2007. He loved it. I liked the fireworks that we saw in 2007 a lot more than the ones that we went and watched this year. I was seriously disappointed this year. Maybe a part of what disappointed me was that Gabe wasn't as thrilled as he was two years ago. I guess that you just can't do a FIRST time more than once. I really like his spontaneous dancing at the start of Video 2 as well as his clapping at about 1:15 in Video 2.