Thursday, December 21, 2006

Sunny Florida

I'm back in sunny Florida visiting my Mom and the rest of the fam. I flew in early this morning and had lunch with my Mom at a new place here in town called bd's, which seems very trendy. They have a type of salad bar, where you get a bunch of veggies and a bunch of raw meat and some kind of sauce and you give it to the dudes and they throw it on the big hot thing and cook it up right in front of you. I've been to a similar place down at the end of Todville Road in Seabrook. Then I spent the afternoon at my gramma's house helping her bake her cookies and eating lots of the cookies she baked already. (I remember one year she made the cookies too early and had to remake them all by Christmas because we ate them all.)

I knew I wasn't going to have a lot of time for running today so I ran 10.1 miles last night before I left. It was the farthest I've run by myself in a long long time. I've become so dependent on the group for the long runs, and I had some difficulty around 7 miles. I thought, "i'm out of shape... i should quit... there's no point struggling through it because pretending to be in shape doesn't mean I'm actually in shape..." I can be very persuasive, but I planned ahead for those mental bugs and picked a route that has no shortcuts. (Sometimes I think my strength as a runner is planning things so I don't need to be strong - does that count?)

Anyway, I'm glad to have my trusty laptop and broadband access. Tomorrow's a big day. So much time and so little to do... wait... strike that... reverse it.

Listening to: Tomatito y Michel Camilo - Blue Bossa


Monday, December 18, 2006

The Truth about Santa ! ! !

Caution : This isn't for little kids. It isn't for grown-ups either. It's that disturbing!

I was contemplating the old question about the logistics of one man making so many deliveries in just one night. The standard solution about using the time-zones just doesn't seem sufficient to deliver all those packages to all those little boys and girls in one night. And I got to thinking, maybe Santa outsources some of it. So I was a-researchin' in the old Wikipedia, and Wiki says that indeed, some countries like Belgium and the Netherlands get their packages from somebody named Sinterklaas, and other countries get their packages from somebody else. For example :

  • Afghanistan : Baba Chaghaloo

  • Brazil : Papai Noel

  • Hungary : Mikulás

  • Ireland : Daidí na Nollaig

  • Mexico : El Niñito Dios

  • Romania : Moş Crăciun

  • South Africa : Vader Kersfees

  • United Kingdom : Father Christmas

  • Now, I know some of those are probably just different names for the same dude, but they can't all be him, so I thought I figured it out that there is indeed some outsourcing going on. And I thought it was really cool that both Romania and South Africa get their presents from Star Wars characters. But I read this again and I thought, "Hold the Phone! El Niñito Dios! Mexico gets presents from El Niñito Dios?" And it turns out that it's true! Mexico, Colombia, the Czech Republic, they get presents directly from the baby Jesus!

    And that's where things fell apart for me. Is it possible that Santa outsources extra packages to the Baby Jesus? No way! Santa is the outsource.

    Anyway, you see what's happened. Baby Jesus neglects us and Christmas becomes more about the delivery guy than the birthday Boy. We can laugh at the naïve Melanesian cargo cults who worship the airplanes that dropped supplies during WWII, but are we any different? We're the most rediculous of them all. Why don't we forget Santa and put up figurines of the UPS man?

    But it begs the larger question. Why don't we get personal deliveries like the Czechs? I thought we were His favorite.

    Ran 4 miles this evening. Felt good.

    Listening to: Björk - Aeroplane (One word, one word, on the phone makes me happy.)

    Keith out.

    Sunday, December 17, 2006

    Updizzin the Runnizzin

    I was feeling recovered on Wednesday so I headed out for an easy 3 miler. Shortly after starting I learned that I wasn't really recovered afterall. Nothing hurt, but I definitely didn't have any energy.

    By Saturday, I felt much better. I ran part of the club's 21 miler, about 9 miles total, and all was well.

    Today, I was extra lazy.

    Listening to: Pepe Habichuela - Habichuela En Rama


    Monday, December 11, 2006

    Sunmart 50K

    Sunmart 50K! Whoo hoo! I finished it in about 6 hours and 46 minutes. It was a lot slower than I expected, but I totally underestimated how much harder it would be off the roads. And from what I've heard it's not really that difficult as far as trail running goes.

    On Friday night at the pasta party, I was hanging out, looking for somebody I know and couldn't find anybody, so I sat down with two guys and chatted about running and stuff. They told me where to run in California and in Michigan, and I told them where to run in Houston. I could tell that they were much more experienced than me and it seemed that they were probably pretty good athletes. Turns out, Jasper from California came in 12th in the 50 miler, and Jim from Michigan won the 50K! They didn't tell me they were that good. And I was talking to them and totally feeling like crap because these guys were really fit, and meanwhile I'm one of those guys you can't even tell is a runner without seeing him run.

    Anyway, the race was difficult. Even as early as the 8 mile mark, it was difficult. Most of the aid stations are usually 2 to 3 miles apart, but for some reason it felt like forever. I was trying to calculate when I'd reach the next one, but since I was going a lot slower than usual, I couldn't do it. But those aid-stations are awesome - everything you can find at a Sunmart, you can find at the aid-station - my favorites were the fig newtons and the oreos and the gum drops and the little peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and the pretzels and the granola bars.

    Towards the end I was happy anytime I managed to string together more than 5 minutes of running at a time. :) It was hard, and with the terrain, it was a danger anytime to step on uneven ground, since my legs and ankles were fatigued to the point that it was hard to stay in control. And a couple times I kicked the invisible tree root and went flying, never falling all the way, but flailing wildly, doing crazy crazy things to stay upright.

    I appreciated the encouragement on the course. SLTM race director Robby Sabban assured me that I probably wasn't going to die. I think Bill said something similar - I hung out and talked to Bill for a minute or so because he's cool, but also because he's trained in emergency medicine. And it was good to share complaints with Holden out on the course. If I were him, I'd have mailed the chip back. :) There were also some peeps running the 50 miler encourageing me at the end, when they still had another loop to do. One guy said, "alright buddy, it's barbecue time!"

    It was definitely the hardest race I've done. It only took 24 hours for me to want to do it again. Especially since I think I'm going to give the afghan to somebody for Christmas so I'll have to run it again if I want one for myself.

    Here are some things I learned in my first ultramarathon:
  • The trails are difficult, much harder than I expected. Especially for a delicate city-boy like me.

  • Huntsville State Park is beautiful. I wish I could have meandered around more and enjoyed them, but if you don't focus on the roots, you're going to hit the ground.

  • I really am recovering faster than after a marathon, but during the race it was harder.

  • You can put a chicken breast and a hamburger on the same bun. (Not that it's much better than the sum of the parts, but it is a nice protein delivery vehicle.)

  • Listening to: Cat Stevens - Miles from Nowhere (Look up at that mountain, I have to climb.)

    Keith out.

    Tuesday, December 05, 2006

    I know ! ! !

    I'm like the worst blogger in the history of really bad bloggers!

    I'm still running, but mostly just the important runs, without most of the junk miles in between that I love so much. In truth, I've been struggling a little - too much racing I think. I miss the days of the racing moratorium and the running streak, and the loads and loads of useless miles that made me fitter than ever.

    Since the last post, I ran 3 good loops on Señor Bridgio last Thursday and a good 14 miler last Saturday. I'm going to Memorial Park tonight for 4-5 miles.

    What else... Ah yes, I was running down on the Seabrook Trails on Sunday night, and I was running by that part by the gazebo and I was thinking about the little lake that is back off the trails. You know, the trails are nice, but sometimes they creep me out. Like those wierd cows that I see sometimes across Pine Gully - they just stare at me the whole time, and they're really skinny, you can see their whole skeleton - it's wierd. And the wild pigs occasionally freak me out too. One time, I was running by and there was a big black pig on the ridge looking at me, and all he did was snort a little and run away, but the size of him and how quickly he can move makes me uneasy. Anyways, I was running by the gazebo, by the turnoff to that creepy lake - oh yeah, there's a wierd creepy lake off the trails to the west, and I went there one time, and there's a small lake that was perfectly still, and the water was bright green, and there was a bunch of lilly pads. It was kind of beautiful, but still kind of creepy, and then there's like a little rusty old shack that's there too that creeps me out even more. Anyway, I was telling my friend about the creepy lake, and how it seems haunted and how there's a creepy old shack there and it's probably haunted too, and to be honest, I was trying to freak her out a little, but I ended up totally freaking myself out. I mentioned how it is perfectly still and how there are no animals anywhere around it. And on Sunday, I ran really late and it was dark by the time I was returning back and running by that stretch, and I couldn't see very much, and I was thinking about that haunted lake and the haunted shack, and I heard some noise from on the ridge, but it was dark and couldn't see into the trees at all, and then as loud and obvious as anything can be, I heard one of those pigs squeal at me, and I took off and ran like crazy.

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanyway, the Sunmart 50K is this Saturday, and I'm a little worried. The fourteen miler last week was easy, but I'm still worried. That was the longest run since the San Antonio Marathon, and it seems the mental barriers have been rebuilt a little.

    Maybe I shouldn't worry. Maybe it will be easy. Perhaps I'll run my first ultramarathon without effort and be relaxed and refreshed at the end, and ready for another loop. Hmmm... Perhaps.

    Listening to: The Killers - Bones (But the message relayed is the same; Wait till tomorrow, you'll be fine.)

    Keith out.