Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Delicate Sound of Thunder

We now return to our regular program of dance music ...

Surfers [even those on hiatus] are, by their nature, Weather Geeks. As are runners, or they should be. Triathletes are just geeks in general, in all things. I'm training my daughter to recognize the smell of pending rain, sleet, snow. She's got the sharky gene.

I saw the train of thunderstorms rumbling toward New Jersey on the Weather Channel radar; light and dark green boxcars indicating medium and heavy rain, anchored by an orange locomotive and a red caboose of strong and severe precipitation.

"What are you thinking?" D'Wife asked as she shuffled into the kitchen and noticed I had changed into my running gear. Although it was past lunchtime she still had a 'when's breakfast?' look to her, "You're not going out now, are you?"

I had stayed up late last night after the school dance I chaperoned [I think that sometime around 11PM my brain said, 'It's Friday, we were in the Parish Hall, must be Midnight Bingo, we can't go to sleep yet' and kept me up past 3AM] and I slept in long past 8AM. I took some time to get myself reanimated, rehydrated and recalibrated. Cool early, yet muggy and warming, I could tell it wouldn't take long for me to sweat out the accumulated toxins of the week [physical, emotional and spiritual]. I needed to get out before the first drops fell or I wouldn't leave house at all for the rest of the day.

"It's too humid for you to ride outside today," I defended - rightly so with her asthma.

"If I put my miles in now, you can go to the gym, ride and/or swim and be back before dinner."

She considered it as I, already stretched, warmed up and iPodded, jetted out the door.

The plan? No plan. Run until it started raining, or 2½ miles, whichever came first and turn around. As soon as I left the development, I knew two things:

1) 5 miles just wouldn't do it today. Is there a Rule that says Sunday is the Long day?
b) I didn't care when it started raining. I'd turn around when it felt bad.

Mile one: a shade over 8:15. No rain.
Mile two-ish: 8 twenty-ish. Spitting.
Mile three: 25:25 ... I love when that happens! Not quite drizzle.

27 minutes: We went from drizzle to sprinkle; this is rain = time to head home. Which is half an hour away. This may have been thought out better.

30 minutes: I'm only wet in the front. That's not so bad

33 minutes: Sprinkle > shower. Hey, at least I have a hat on! And I'm under LOT's of tree so I won't be hit by lightning

36 minutes: We're in full downpour now. Yeah, it's flash-flooding. Swamp monsters are stirring from the stormdrains. I'm finding the parallel between "I couldn't care less" and "I couldn't get any wetter" very comforting, in a metaphorical sort of way.

42 minutes: Have you ever been in a storm where it rains so hard, that there's rain between the rain; that it's raining so hard it looks like snow; full white-out conditions?

48 minutes: Climbing the short hill beside the cemetery, I see that a small river has formed itself along the curb. Yeah, you know. I'm splashing in it and "Singing in the Rain"

The last mile: An exercise where, through careful and strategic exploitation of puddles, wet trees and water collected on parked cars, I ensure that I am 100% soaked. And gleefully so.

My workout done, I kicked my wet shoes off and did my cool down loop of our block. My shirt clung to me in ways I wished it hadn't, accentuating those love handles I wish I could burn off, but clinging to my still swimmerish chest and shoulders. I swiped my baseball hat off my head, and rain-spiked my hair up.

"Such a punk" I said to myself, checking my reflection in a car window.

I rinsed the sweat and rain off of my specs in a neighbor's sprinkler [must have been on a timer] and crossed the street to go home.

My little black socks squished as I waddled from the foyer to the kitchen.

"You're soaked!!!" I was advised, in case I hadn't noticed. With the air conditioning on, the room was freezing; two thoughts immediately came to mind: chowder of some sort and a nice, strong dark beer.

"You are an idiot," she evaluated

"Dork" she added, for emphasis.

"Hey, honey. I never said I was the brightest bulb in the lighthouse."

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

4 Magic Words

"See you at 9"

At that, I rise from the kitchen table and close up the laptop; my old bones creaking and with a goofy smile on my face. It's a good thing she isn't really here [a mere 4 miles can still make a pretty good sweaty stink, especially in NJ humidity].

I pat the Possum on her head, tell her I love her and go to up my shower.

NOW, my day can begin, in earnest.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Yard Sale, Pt. 2

In spite of her insight and wisdom, my friend had a yard sale of her own today in Madison, mostly karmic in nature; but nonetheless, a kind I am very familiar with

yard sale n. a horrendous crash that leaves all your various "wares" -- water bottles, pump, tool bag, etc. -- scattered as if on display for sale.

Nothing was broken, but her spirit got pretty dinged up.

Sometimes you just have a day that - in spite of all your training and prep, positive visualizations and mental practice - just goes wrong, from the beginning. It happens.

I am trying very hard NOT to email her a certain song by a certain Disney product [Hannah Montana is not a peson, she's a product, people], containing the phrase "everyone has bad days" I'm not sure how long I can resist.

The thing to remember, to keep in mind, to focus on, is that one year, five years, or even ten years from now or more, is that it won't be your time or finishing place that will be recalled. [although there are some I'm sure, who are probably blogging away in their hotel rooms, ahora or archiving their results for posterity (oh, and their biographer ... yeah, right)]

What will be remembered is that you were there, the laughs and stories you shared with your friends [some tears, sure] ... but most certainly, the 2½ cases of beer y'all smuggled onto the plane and out to Wisconsin!!!

I'll tell my grandkids THAT story with pride, even if I wasn't there - well, they won't need to know that little detail.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Inadvertent EMpathy

A bunch of my new friends have gathered in the great cheese-and-beer town of Madison, Wisconsin, for a Marathon, a 1/2 Marathon, and a Marathon relay. I just met these folks and let me tell you, they are awesome, one and all. Very welcoming and accepting of a quirky little ex-surfer, with a somewhat sordid [but highly entertaining] past. There is a beer smuggler or two or three among them, which is nice, for this reincarnated pirate.

I already feel a bond with them in that, although I'm many, many miles distant, and have no chance of attempting the distances that they're tackling tomorrow, my day has gone very "traditionally pre-race": I went to 4:30 Mass, I'm making a good dinner for myself [D'Wife and D'Kid are away overnight - I got grilled chicken, grilled shrimp and roasted peppers on top of linguine with a white wine sauce, plus spinach salad with green olives and raw mushrooms (no red onions, tonight)], limiting my beerageness, and will probably retire early.

I wonder if there's a 10K I can drop in on tomorrow?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Yard Sale

It’s Yard Sale season again!!!

For some reason, May weekends are announced by signs proclaiming “Yard Sale => 8-4” in either Neon Green or Hunter Orange, with Sharpie lettering of various degrees of legibility, usually appearing magically overnight on Thursday.

I love yard sales [also known as “tag sales”, “garage sales”, or “house sales” depending on your regionality; just like hoagies, subs and heroes] not for the content, not for the shopping, but for the non-sold stuff that ends up on the curb the trash day following … especially bikes!!!

“Yeah, I won’t pay $5 for it at 3:30 on Saturday, if I can get it for nothing on Tuesday”

I just have to get there before the JYD with pickup; which is why I have a ViceGrip and a rubber mallet in Vicki – gotta get those handlebars to behave!

Stuff finds its way to the driveway / sidewalk for many reasons … but some things are requisite:

1) It’s useless
2) It takes up space
3) You’re better off without it
4) You won’t notice that it’s gone

Soemone enlightened me on a certain point. In her own way, she said, “Dude, your soul is a scary attic, or maybe a spooky basement. There’s a lot of clutter in there; cobwebs and strange; things you’re hanging onto for God knows what reason? That stuff is old, you’re not the same person now as you were when you picked it up. Souvenirs are nice, when they make you smile; but why hold onto the Playbill from a girlfriend who broke you heart?”

I took some time to pray on this and realized she was 1043% percent right. Within a week, I took out the trash in my life, cleared out the shelves, and sorted the knick-knacks. There’s a lot more room to move in there. It’s less dusty and brighter, now

I like it much better this way..

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Karma is a Bitch!

A friend of mine was inquiring about Thirsty Dog Old Leghumper Porter. Which of course made respond in a very Doggie style manner ... Particulary Flying Dog Road Dog Porter

So, I started sniffing around
their website ... I had seen Garde Dog Biere de Garde and mistaken thought that it came in 4-packs like Gonzo Imperial Porter, Horn Dog Barley Wine, Double Dog Double IPA or Kerberos Tripel.

Nope, it comes in sixes, but is only available March-May ... today being May ...

Now I've been trashing Magic Hat pretty strongly lately, and frankly, I'm done with them. As Luck would have it, MH is in the same cooler as FD.

As I opened the cooler to grab the Garde Dog, a MH Variety 12-pack comes sliding off the shelf and slams into my ankle before bursting on the floor."That's okay," the clerk says, "Take another one!""I didn't even want that!" I said, as the pain began to rise from my shredded ankle."Oh," Patel says to me, "Bad luck for you then."

It's has a thin white head that certanly doesn't last long. It is absolutely clear gold, with a slight caramel+honeysuckle aroma. A little bit of fizz, not nearly as much as the other lawnmower beers [yeah, I just finished cutting the grass; desculpo mucho mis amigos y amigas mes-oesternos]. Low alcohol makes it very refreshing.

"Woof! Woof!"