October 31, 2006

Anger Having A Bad Day

Ooof...my legs....ugh....they....ouch.....hurt..... argh.

[heavy breathing. perhaps even panting]

I'm [pant] running [gasp]. It hurts, if you can't tell. And if you're so bad at telling that, you probably are too dense to realize that I am angry right now. The forecast, so you know, doesn't show any happiness on the horizon either so batten down your hatches, it's gonna be a rough one. And if I can give you some other advice, don't act up or I'll smack you upside your head without a moments thought. I'm that type of angry.

I look at my watch.... thirty two seconds.
THIRTY TWO SECONDS?!?! Jeeee-sus fucking Christ.

If looks could kill, the sidewalk would be dead. I lift my head up angrily and look around. I look behind me. Shit. I am one block from home. Just one measly block. How could I have run only one fucking block yet hurt so goddam much. This is bullshit. This is, without question, the longest thirty two seconds of my whole goddam life (not counting the water boarding episode of 2002, of course).

My legs were tired when I woke up this morning. My quads were painful to the touch. I've run twice, maybe three times in the past two weeks. None of those more than four miles. And then Catherine and I went on a very hilly, quite challenging 11 mile trail run this past Saturday. I knew I shouldn't be doing an 11 mile run, much less a hilly one. It was stupid. Fucking idiotic. I told myself I'd turn around before I went to far. But I didn't. It was beautiful. It was fun.

I went too far. I'm an idiot.
I hurt.

Catherine was running again this morning because she is a superstar. And that was motivation enough for me to give it another try. Besides, I mistakenly woke up at 5am today and had already watched the latest episodes of Lost and The Daily Show. There was nothing left on TiVo to keep me at home.

Cat planned to run one mile intervals this morning at a sub-8 minute pace. Despite the fact that I haven't run a sub-8 minute pace since February, those long-gone early days of Ironman training, I figured I'd meet her about fifteen minutes into her run and hang with her for as long as I can... which shouldn't be for much more than ten or twenty feet at this rate. We should be able to run together for about 10 seconds. That'll be just peachy. Fucking great.

Yet here I am less than one minute into my warm-up and it already feels like my heartrate is red-lining. Every step hurts. Every moment, pain. I'm clocking in at about 12 minute miles. The quads are screaming, screeching, a million tiny knives seering through my legs with every step - gnawing, scratching, tearing apart muscle and fiber. It has devoured my happiness. There is nothing left but bone and anger.

Yet I press forward. One mile. Two miles.
I do one block pick-ups. 9 minute miles. Pathetic. It hurts so much it is annoying. Frustrating.

Finally I see Catherine approaching. I turn around and wait for her to catch me. I hear her behind me and so I pick up the pace. I'm running, faster and faster. 9 minute miles...8:30s....8 minute miles... and now we're side by side. We are running sub-8s. 7:40s maybe. I don't know, I don't really care. I just try to keep up with her.

I focus my eyes on the horizon. Focus, I tell myself. Because when I speak out loud, the pain will dissipate. Focus, I say with a deathray gaze. Focus goddamit.

A minute goes by. Then two. I'm holding on.
Hold on. I notice.

My breathing, it has gotten easier. My legs, they are feeling less painful. My feet are floating.
We are flying. Our feet are not touching the ground. The trees are a blur as we speed on by. It is Halloween and we are flying. Are we witches? Does that mean we will have to go through water boarding again?

I laugh.
I smile.
This is fun.
I have outrun my anger. My anger is panting, breathless on the side of the sidewalk. Fuck that anger. I don't need that anger.

I am happy.
I am running.
I love this.

October 30, 2006

The Falling Apart

I landed in New York at about 2:00 in the afternoon this past Tuesday. I love New England in the autumn – the trees, the colors, the crisp smack of the air on your face that somehow reminds me of the sensation of biting into a York Peppermint Patty.

When I finally got to Connecticut (where I was staying), I turned on my computer only to discover that it doesn’t turn on. I hate when that happens. The rest of the week had me running around from meeting to meeting, meal to meal, broken up only by the moments in which I incessantly pressed the power button, hoping to dear God that the damn computer would actually start this time, but relegated to random bouts of swearing and idle threats towards this inanimate piece of electronic trash when it does nothing but crash.

My computer repair guru lives right next to LAX so, needless to say, the moment I landed back in Los Angeles I brought the computer to said guru to fix. I got the computer back from him last night. Apparently he got it to turn on because here I am typing.

In fact, here I am typing while sitting in my car, parked on the sidewalk in front of Catherine’s place. I’m crammed in the front seat like the 20th circus clown shoved in the Volkswagen Beetle sardine-like. I’ve got the computer on my lap, partially hidden behind the steering wheel, propped against the gear shifter and crammed into the middle arm rest. My back is twisted in a highly uncomfortable position that somewhat resembles the middle sector of a Triple Lindy, a feat only successfully executed by one person. Everytime I try to hit the space button I've got to push my shoulders back, suck in my stomach and squinch my elbow as close to my body as possible, reaching my little finger out in a dramatic attempt to tap on the button without mistakenly shoving the monitor into the steering column.

As luck would have it, the battery on my car is dead.

My car is not old - a mere 21,000 miles on the odometer. Apparently the electronic thingamajigger has gone kerflewie. Something caused it to go a little zap dang and now my car, in it's most retarded rendition of Herbie The Love Bug, randomly thinks it's trying to slow down. So even while the car is turned off, parked on the street in the middle of the night, the brake lights will mysteriously flash on and stay on. By the time I get to the car in the morning, the battery has been drained of all possible life.

So here I sit, jammed into the front seat of my car as I wait for the tow truck to come and give me a jump start. What better time to do a little writing.

As I'm sure many of us know, the New York Marathon is next weekend. Three weeks ago Catherine and I decided to defer our slots for the NY Marathon until next year because our legs hadn't yet fully recovered from Ironman. Basically, we were in serious pain even on three mile runs. As luck would have it, about a week after we deferred our slots for the marathon, we completely recovered. This weekend we went on a very challenging and tremendously beautiful 11+ mile trail run in the mountains. Our legs felt great. Our pace was back to pre-Ironman speed. Truth be told, we probably could've ran NY this year.

I refuse to watch the Marathon on TV. Don't even want to read about it. It'll be too depressing.

At this rate, though, my television is probably going to stop working anyway.

October 27, 2006

Total Immersion vs Total Drowning

Catherine and I started taking a swim clinic this week. Actually, Catherine started taking it. I was in Las Vegas during the first session, having opted instead for the three g’s (Gambling, Golfing and Getting Gdrunk - that last one being a silent ‘g’).

The clinic is called “Swim Better” – and, for the money I'm paying, I better. I did the first week’s training drills yesterday and I suddenly realized, with sudden shock and dismay, that this clinic is teaching the Total Immersion method. Wait a minute now - nobody said anything about Total Immersion!

I am a creature of habit when it comes to my sporting activities. I get into my rhythm of doing things my way and don’t always like that to change too much, especially when I feel like it's working. Although I am far from a great swimmer, I’m not a sinker, flailer or similarly spastic aqua-dork. Call it the Pisces in me, but I picked up swimming very quickly and have become fairly proficient at it – at least proficient enough for a person with little to no upper body strength. Suffice to say, I’m consistently finishing the swim portion of races within the top 25-ish% overall which, to me, seems pretty darn good. All in all, I’m fairly happy with my swimming. But being how it has suddenly turned into my strongest leg, I just wanted to take a swim clinic to tweak the missing pieces and see if it could nudge me up a wee bit faster.

To put it in triathlete speak, I believe my 1.2 mile PR is somewhere around 32 minutes. It’d make me as giddy as a galloping gazelle if I could winnie that time down to somewhere in the sub-30 minute range without leaving me gasping for breath and cursing the sport like I do now. That, to me, would be swimming better.

But, as I said, they’ve got us doing this Total Immersion crapola. You know what, I shouldn’t use such harsh words for this technique. The fact is that, aside from one session of drills, I haven’t done diddly-squat with Total Immersion so it’s not fair for me to pass judgement so quickly.

Catherine walked me through the drill session. Let it be known, that I gave it my best shot – open mind and everything. Let it also be known that it really rankled my diddly, this silly technique. If you want the God’s honest truth, it felt like crap. My head felt so far underwater, I seemed to waste twice as much energy as normal just trying to lift my head up and breathe. That doesn’t even mention the energy suck from having to raise my arms higher during the recovery what with my shoulders so submerged. Simply put, I’m not buying it all just quite yet. Hopefully I’m doing it wrong.

I should’ve asked these questions long before I signed up for the swim clinic, but with the drill frustration on my mind, it’s better late than never. First of all, is this Total Immersion nonsense primarily designed for newbie swimmers or are we going to see Michael Phelps totally immersing himself in the future? Thirdly, do I really have to keep my head so goddam far under the water? It seems like I’m actually creating more drag than had I maintained my regular form. Secondly…I’m so riled up I completely forgot secondly… Secondly, how is one supposed to rotate effectively and keep an efficient arm recovery when your body is so submersed?

This is a six week swim clinic so I have vowed to keep an open mind for the next 36 days. It is the off-season, Cat says, what do you really have to lose? When all is said and swum, if it doesn’t work out for me I could always go right back to my tried-and-true 34 minute form. If it does work out – if I do end up a Total Immersion convert – well that could change a few things I guess. Next thing you know I’d probably start taking a Pose Method running class as well.

I'll let you know my thoughts in 37 days.

October 26, 2006

Vodka To An Alcoholic

I’m not one for reality shows. You probably have heard of me – I’m the person who has never watched a full episode of Survivor, American Idol, The Apprentice or any of that other reality schlock that seems to be sucking the intelligence out of America’s brains, processing it through the TV Network meat grinder and turning everyday schmucks into celebrity multi-millionaires for reasons that are far beyond my grasp of understanding. I think it’s all kind of ridiculous. The truth is that reality shows are so far from reality. I’m more of an idealist than a realist anyway. Give me Aaron Sorkin over Mark Burnett any day.

I do, however, have one reality TV weakness and it has to do with the guy sitting on the plane I’m on right now, but a few rows in front of me. Have you seen the show Breaking Bonaduce? It is pure brilliance. Watching Breaking Bonaduce is like buying a fifth of vodka for a raging alcoholic. You know it’s not the smartest thing, but it feels good anyway. It’s not just like a car wreck, more like a car wreck, train wreck and plane wreck all rolled into one on-the-wagon/off-the-wagon psychotic breakdown. It’s the type of show that makes you equally fascinated and disgusted for watching it. Thirty minutes of pure mind candy.

Breaking Bonaduce is the story of Danny Bonaduce, most widely recognized as Danny Partridge from the Partridge family, former TV star, former music star, former radio DJ gone bad, former-current-former alcoholic, drug addict, sex addict, psychotic, paranoic and all round wack-job. Danny married his wife after their first date, now they have a few kids and a marriage as rocky as the Paris-Roubaix. On the show, Danny has threatened homicide, suicide and matricide. He’s driven drunk, cheated on his wife, stolen a car and nearly beat the crap out of the film crew. He’s fallen so far off the wagon it’s amazing he didn’t break his neck on the way down. He’s tried to climb back on the wagon and nearly beat the crap out of the rehab clinic personnel in the process. Honestly, it’s amazing the guy is still alive.

I love it.

Anyway, as I said, Danny Bonaduce is sitting on this plane. It’s not that I’m star-struck, I just have never seen a circus freak up this close and personal.

Star Spotting Of The Day: Danny Bonaduce

: American Airlines, Flight 118 from LAX to JFK

What He Was Doing
: Sitting, reading, sleeping, flying. He’s much more exciting on television. Would it be bad if I bought him a drink?

October 19, 2006

A Somewhat Embarrassing Ironman List

What with the Ironman World Championships coming around this weekend and all the tri-energy focused on our sports' premiere event, I figured what better time to talk about me.
Self-centered? You betcha!

As for my relation to the Ironman World Championships? None. I mean, I love the event. I was out there watching it last year and it was pretty incredible. I nearly cry every time I see it on TV, too. For decades I've dreamed of racing Kona, but after four shots at the lottery and 14 years of never even coming close to qualifying, I'm relegated to watching it on NBC and Ironmanlive like the rest of us MOP* schmucks. (*Middle of the pack)

So in honor of absolutely nothing in particular, here is a list of all the Ironman merchandise that I own, broken up between stuff I owned before completing an Ironman and stuff I've purchased since completing an Ironman.

The list of stuff I owned for years before ever racing an Ironman:

+ Ironman credit card*
+ Ironman bumper sticker**
+ Ironman M-Dot visor (white)***
+ Ironman Lake Placid "In Training" t-shirt***1/2
+ Full page ad with picture of Ironman Hawaii finish line and the words "If you have to ask why, you'll never understand" - laminated and placed smack dab in the middle of my refrigerator. Exactly at eye level.

Other Ironman stuff I have purchased since finishing Ironman USA/Lake Placid this past July:

+ Ironman USA long sleeve t-shirt
+ Ironman USA Finisher biking vest
+ Ironman USA socks (2 pair)
+ Ironman M-Dot socks (2 pair)****
+ Ironman USA Finisher fleece (blue)
+ Ironman coaster*****
+ Ironman USA visor (black)
+ Ironman USA Finisher running cap (white, ugly)
+ Ford Ironman carrying bag (black, useless)
+ Ironman M-Dot backpack (black, grey, poorly constructed)
+ Team Ironman visor (white)******
+ Team Ironman tri-shirts (black)
+ Team Ironman tri-jersey (red, black, blue)

and last, but absolutely, positively, definitely not least...
+ Ironman USA Finishers medal

Clearly triathlon is a very expensive sport - and that doesn't even take into account the actual racing gear, entry fees and travel. The merchandise alone will kill ya! However, there's something about the Ironman brand that is so special. There is such a tremendous emotional attachment that accompanies the M-Dot/Ironman name - a quality most brands aspire to but only few successfully achieve. Wearing an M-Dot is about pride and accomplishment, whether you're a finisher or fan (but mostly finisher). And you can bet your sweet ass that when I have a kid, I'll be sporting one of those fresh new Ironman baby joggers. Hell yeeeeaaaaah.

* Ironman Credit Card: Not having completed an Ironman, I was a wee bit embarrassed to use the Ironman credit card when I got it 5 years ago. Of course, that didn't stop me. But just about the time I started training for Ironman USA I made the decision to stop using my M-Dot credit card. I vowed not to touch it again until I actually became an Ironman. The irony is that now that I am, in fact, an Ironman, I still rarely use the card. Truth be told, I get much better air miles from my AAdvantage plastic. And, let's be honest... it's all about the miles.

** I bought the M-Dot bumper sticker about three years ago when I was convinced I would be selected for the Kona lottery. I didn't want to put the bumper sticker on my car until I crossed the finish line. Of course, I wasn't selected for the lottery. The bumper sticker had been on my night table for awhile but during my recent Lake Placid IM training it got moved to my desk. It is still on my desk. Honestly, I never liked putting stickers on my car in the first place.

***The Ironman M-Dot visor is, hands down, the best running visor you will ever find. Period. I was a tad self-conscious using it over the past years but the moment I realized how soft, light and absorbant it is, I really didn't care what people thought anymore. Had Nike made the same quality visor, I would wear that one too.

***1/2 I am still amazed that Catherine found this Ironman Lake Placid In-Training t-shirt. And she found it at some random website based in Canada. I may very well be the only person that owns one.

****Ironman M-Dot socks: It was buy three get one free. I couldn't resist.

*****Ironman coaster: Catherine bought me the coaster somewhere in our post-Ironman merchandise buying frenzy. It's all kind of a blur though I remember having enough sanity to not purchase the Ironman pencils.

******Team Ironman visor (white): Please refer to *** comments above. It's that good.


Celebrity Car Sighting Of The Day: Ka-lee-fornia Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's black SUV posse

Location: Mandeville Canyon. A very popular road/hill amongst Los Angeles bicyclists and, coincidentally, the same road were Ah-nold and his family live.

What He Was Doing: I'd imagine he was sitting in the back of one of the four black, tinted window SUV's ripping up the road. Then again, maybe they were just going to pick him up. Either way, it's kinda wierd. Before Arnold became a politician, I'd see him casually walking around town. He'd drop down to Starbucks in his Porsche or Range Rover and he, Maria and the kids would jump in and have a Frappa-something. Or he'd stroll around the block during Halloween, saying hello to all the locals. Arnold used to be a part of the community. Now, it seems, only his security guards are. And they're not so friendly.

October 18, 2006

Lance Armstrong Was Wrong

I'd like to start this off by saying, oh, how the mighty have fallen. But that would be a bad way to start it off because it has absolutely nothing to do with what I'm about to say. I just think it's a cool way to begin a paragraph.

For the past 10 months I've been as slow as a snail in my jogging antics. Each day, it seemed, had me puttering along at a more dawdlingly tortoiselike pace than the day before. I realized that if I kept up this rate of decline, eventually I'd just be standing still and then, ultimately, moving backwards.

As if that's not enough, most of my runs this year were such agonizingly painful experiences, that I actually thought the recent debates over torturing prisoners referred specifically to my jogging attempts. As if the CIA would whisk me off in the dead of night to some miscellaneous bunker in Germany only to force me to go for a run. Noooo, I'd whimper like a pre-billy clubbed seal, please don't make me run. And as they dramatically whip out a pair of running shoes from an unmarked black bag, I'd faint, collapsing flat onto the ground at the mere sight of the shoes eliciting the mere thought of the pain.

Through it all, Catherine's running was improving. Sure she had a little leg tweak here, a foot glitch there. Yet she still managed to run faster and faster, leaving me in the dust. Oftentimes literally.

Well, this week things have changed. This week I went on the best, fastest, least painful run I've had in nearly a year. And then once again, this morning in fact, I had an exhilirating run with not a hint of leg pain. Running, dare I say, is becoming enjoyable again.

Catherine, on the other hand, has turned into me. She went on a hilly 8 mile jaunt on Saturday only to follow it up with a painful 8 mile "recovery" run on Sunday. By Monday she could barely walk. Truth be told, she could barely walk on Sunday too.

So the other day as we strolled down the street to the store, she was limping, moaning and grunting like a broken doll. We bought some groceries and a couple of pumpkins for Halloween carving. As Catherine was carrying one of the pumpkins back up the hill towards home it became a silent onslaught of limping, moaning and grunting. Let me take the pumpkin, honey, I said in hopes of easing her pain.

No, it's alright, she replied continuing her lopsided and seemingly excruciating gait.

A few more blocks brought on a sudden gasp, a buckling leg. I thought she was going to collapse.

Catherine, I said a little more forcefully, please let me carry the pumpkin!

No! she yelled back. It's not about the pumpkin!

And that's about when I started to laugh.

Triathlon training is demanding. Maintaining a consistently high level of athletic intensity drains the body of energy and leaves one a virtual bullseye for pain and injury. But I think Catherine has come up with the key to success and survival.

After careful contemplation, I've reconsidered Lance Armstrong's thoughts. It is, in fact, about the bike.

And though I have no idea what this all means or how any of it can symbolize athletic success, determination and drive, something about what she said keeps me moving forward and smiling. I know deep in my heart that Catherine was right.

It's not about the pumpkin.
Let's never forget.

October 16, 2006

Shake Rattle and Ironroll

So apparently the earth has been shaking out in Kona. They had to evacuate the Four Seasons Hotel. I also heard somebody's TV fell off it's stand. And apparently a surfer decided to call it quits a little early that day.

I lived in Los Angeles during the Northridge quake in 1994. That rattler registered at 6.4 on the Richter scale. I believe the Kona shaking peaked somewhere around 6.5.

Let me tell you what happened to me during the Northridge quake. First of all, I was jolted awake at 3:17 in the morning from what I delusionally imagined was an 18-wheeler driving into my living room. That's odd for many reasons, not the least of which is that 18-wheelers don't drive down my street. But more importantly, because said 18-wheeler would have to climb 6 stairs, go down a very narrow walkway and take a dangerously sharp right turn by an extremely large immovable tree with only about 3 feet of space. Had the 18-wheeler actually found its way into my living room, I would've wanted to get an autograph from the driver.

I'm not sure if I jumped out of my bed or was vaulted towards the ceiling because when I looked back, my bed was about 4 feet away from where it had been a few minutes earlier when I lay my tired body onto it. Not knowing what the hell was going on, I decided to run outside to see if my neighbors had heard the 18-wheeler as well. I hustled to the front door and reached for the lock but, alas, the key wasn't in the lock. I flipped on the light switch but the lights wouldn't go on. The power was out. So I got down on all fours and started feeling around on the ground in the pitch black trying to find my keys as I wondered why I had been so stupid to live with a door that key-locked from the inside.

It was about that time when my hot water heater exploded.

I don't remember if it was a loud sound, a sudden wash of water on my body or just flashbacks from the 18-wheeler delusion. Either way, things got wet and scary pretty quickly. I didn't really put two and two together, then again, had I added two and two correctly, I'm not sure I would've resulted in an exploded water heater. Or an 18-wheeler, for that matter. I ran towards the back door through the kitchen, but as soon as I got to the kitchen I saw that all of my plates and glasses had fallen out of the cabinets and were now a shaggy carpet of shattered glass. I realized that it was probably not the best way to run on bare feet, which may have been my only intelligent, somewhat sane reasoning of the evening.

As I made it back to the front door I tripped over my keys. Which was good, since I actually found the damn things. I opened the front door, ran outside and you know what I saw? Nothing. There was nobody out there. There were no lights on. There was nobody moving, talking, screaming or snoring. Maybe it actually was an 18-wheeler, I thought to myself as I started to walk back inside.

As I neared my front door, my neighbors started appearing in various forms of sleepware. Did you feel that? they said. Is everybody OK? they asked.

It was around about then that the building across the street blew up.

KAPOW! One moment all is quiet and calm, the next moment the building across the street is on fire. That was kinda scary and a wee bit surreal.

Um.... we should probably turn off the gas in our building, somebody said. No doubt a very smart somebody. A few of us ran around in circles desperately trying to find the damn gas gauge. I felt like James Bond for a second. Until I realized I was in pajamas and barefeet with no gun, no martini and no hot sexy girl trying to kill me but secretly wanting to have sex with me.

When all was said and done, most of the buildings across the street from mine were destroyed. They had to be rebuilt. And every single building on the street next to mine was demolished. To my knowledge, none of them survived. And then of course there was the building out in Northridge that collapsed in on itself and killed everybody on the first floor.

So when I hear that there was a stronger earthquake in Hawaii that merely rattled a few timbers, I can only think to myself, well, now there's yet another reason for me to race Kona.

October 14, 2006

Free Is Good

In our technologically excessive society, it's surprisingly rare that something comes along that so powerfully changes the way we live. But dang nabbit, I love when technology makes life easier.

First there were fax machines. I remember making the comment sometime around 1996 that I don't know how people ever lived without fax machines. (In hindsight, probably one of my more clueless moments.)

Then there was e-mail. That was about 1999 when I claimed not knowing how people lived without e-mail. I still can't believe humanity survived so long without it.

Around 2002, admittedly late to the game, I said the same thing about cell phones. This was following a comment around 2000 that I think went something like, I'll never own a cell phone. If I'm not by a regular phone or a computer, I obviously don't want to talk to anybody anyway.

Now, firmly locked in the shackles of my blackberry-and-chain, I clearly had no clue yet again. Oops.

TiVo was my can't-live-without technology discovery in 2003. I haven't watched a show in real time since.

Netflix and Orbitz had a pretty big impact around then too. They still do. The day I signed up for Netflix is the last day I set foot in Blockbuster.

As for now, call me out of touch, call me behind the times, but I just discovered Bloglines.
Now I'm not quite sure if Bloglines is up to the same life changing standards as fax machines and e-mails, in fact I'd hesitate to even put it in the same category. But it's pretty good nonetheless.

I used to jump from site to site, reading this blog and that blog, checking the news on this site, the updates on that site... Not only is it time consuming, but it's annoying. Bloglines enables you to put all your favorite blog/news information in one simple page with the click of a button. As if that's not enough, it's free to sign-up. I love free.

If you find yourself continually looking at sites to see if there are updates, bloglines makes it's so much easier by just letting you know when there is new information to be read. And for blogs like mine, where I really don't have enough to say to be posting every single day, it could make your travels so much easier. It'll automatically tell you when I've spat out some drivel for you to chuckle to.

That's all I have to say. Bloglines. Try it out. And when you do, of course make sure you include my site in your listing!

BTW, I'm sure there are other tools that are similar. If there's a better one, let me know!

October 13, 2006

The Sound Of One Hip Clapping

I always thought I'd be the ultimate uber-hip father. You know, the one that introduced his kids to the cool music, that knew all about the latest video games and scored backstage passes to the hippest shows. I would be the coolest father and, hence, my children would be the nicest, most loved kids in all of eternity. Their friends would be practically begging to come over to our house. They'd all be telling their parents how little Zeke's father was the coolest dad ever and asking their father how come they weren't as cool as me.

That's all changed. Now I'm just turning into an old fart like the rest of American men. Which, as it turns out, is probably a good thing.

I worked in the entertainment business for quite awhile. I worked in one of those jobs that many people ignorantly envied. Conversations about my job at cocktail parties would elicit such responses as, wow, that sounds like the best job ever - and - Holy cow, I can't believe you get paid to do that for a living.

You see, for many years it was my job to make sure I knew about the next big thing before anybody knew it was even next, much less a big thing. Large companies would come to me asking for direction on new musical trends. I fancied myself far ahead of the wave and I enjoyed it. At least there were parts of it that I enjoyed. Like all those unique memorable experiences, for instance. I was lucky enough to see Dave Matthews and Radiohead perform in small clubs for only a handful of people years before anybody cared. I stood around until the early morning hours to watch Everclear and Stone Temple Pilots cram out a few songs in empty bars hoping someone somewhere would eventually pay them to make records. I sat in a private room while James Brown and the Four Tops sang and danced for their friends.

Then, of course, I had to deal with all of the other crap that comes with any job. Eventually, all that other crap wore me down.

I'm almost out of the entertainment business now. I'm a regular workin' stiff, I suppose. And the older I get the more my life veers a bit away from the hipster-slash-trendsetter mentality and more into mass culture reality. I used to make fun of my high school and college friends as they continued to bop along to music that was 20 or 30 years old. Hell, I never really liked the Steve Miller Band and Jethro Tull in the first place. Now all of the sudden I've found myself buying a Simon & Garfunkel CD and downloading a Keith Jarrett album for my iPod.

What has become of me?

I was in Starbucks a few weeks ago amid a gaggle of pre-teens during post-school hours. Sitting next to me was this lovely African-American woman who was clearly an actress. She was talking to this dapper looking grey-haired caucasian chap who was clearly a director or casting agent or one of those funny people. I didn't recognize either of them. But when they finished talking and walked outside, all of the sudden the gaggle of pre-teens worked themselves into a frenzy, pointing and screeching and acting just like the kids their parents complain about. Suddenly about 15 of them ran outside and encircled this woman, throwing out pens and papers and other assorted implements of creation for her to autograph. As I gazed out at the adoring throng I couldn't help but wonder, who the hell is that woman and how come I don't recognize her? (As I came to find out it was Regina Hall. See.. you wouldn't recognize her either.)

Fast forward a week or two and I'm out at dinner with a friend of mine at a restaurant on hipper-than-thou Melrose Boulevard. Across the street, parked under a "No Parking" sign, was a superfine white Bentley that costs about as much as the Gross National Product of a small nation. A bunch of homeboys were standing next to the car, at least one of whom was wearing enough gold around his face and hands that one would think he may be able to afford a few of those automobiles. As my friend and I sat around eating, we'd notice random passers-by stopping and getting their picture taken with aforementioned bling-bling fellow.

Who the hell is that guy?! I kept asking my buddy. He, too, had no clue (and he puts on those celebrity red carpet events they talk about on Entertainment Tonight). For over an hour the fellows stood there, next to the Bentley, giving a random "wassup" nod to the star-struck idolizers and jumping into fake-happy smiles for photo-oped vacation visitors. How can somebody be so damn popular and the two of us have no clue who he is? I asked again to no avail.

We never discovered who Mr Bling Bling was, but I can only imagine that he's probably dated Regina Hall at some point in his career. Still, I couldn't help but be a bit flabbergasted at my inability to recognize these people. Sure I didn't have my glasses on and maybe my eyesight is fading faster than my hairline, but that doesn't seem like a good excuse.

But you know what I realized through all of this? (Prepare yourself, here comes the philosophical blather). Life isn't about being cool. That's what I realized. And it's definitely not about trying to impress other people (which, arguably, contradicts the entire blog concept, but that's another topic). Life is about smiling and happiness and love and all those other soft, furry, warm and squishy things.

So who really cares if I can't recognize every single actor or musician in Los Angeles. I'm happy enough to just sit and make fun of them. And as I look back on the fun experiences I've had in the past and the opportunity that awaits me in the future, I suppose there is nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile. And maybe when I have a kid, I won't worry so much about impressing his friends. In fact, maybe he shouldn't worry so much about impressing his friends. Maybe he should focus a bit more on his school work for a change before he gets grounded. In fact, maybe he shouldn't be allowed to play his X-Box so much until he gets better grades. So perhaps I'll just have to take his X-Box away for a little bit of time so he could focus on his school work a bit more. And, you know what, maybe it wouldn't hurt if I just turned on the X-Box every now and then and did a little video gaming myself....

October 12, 2006


Here's my simple, easy to understand philosophy on off-season training: Whatever
(See, I told you it was simple.)

Let's face it, triathlon is a high-maintenance sport that brings out the anal, addictive personality in the best of us. And the longer the distance you race, the more anal and addictive you need to be.

I can practically hear you bitching and whining already.

No way in hell, I'm not a Type A person, you're screaming to your computer screen.

Addictive?! Me?! B**tch please!, you're yelling as you roll your eyes and spit in my general direction.

First of all, watch your damn language, this is a family institution. Secondly, try using your inside voice for a change, Lion King. Thirdly, yes, you're addictive and anal. Deal with it.

In fact, let's do a test, shall we? Please raise your hand if...

* You wear a heart rate monitor during your training sessions
* You look at your heart rate at least once every five minutes
* You've ever done Lactate Threshold or VO2 testing
* You've ever purchased and followed a specific training schedule
* You count the carbohydrates and calories in your exercise potion and have determined the exact mixture of Tang-like substance that you need to ingest every hour
* You wear certain bathing suits or bike jerseys depending on the length of the workout and the other people participating
* You keep a written log of your workout distances, times and/or mood on a regular basis
* You use a pace calculator at least once a week and still complain that you're not getting faster
* You incessantly read or write triathlon related blogs

If you raised your hand to any of those items, please proceed through the turnstile and step onto the Type A Express. If your hand is still not raised, please get on the Newbie Bus and fasten your seatbelt, you'll be deposited on Addictive Avenue before you know it.

So here we are, my fellow addicts-in-denial - we are in the final stretch of another Type A-filled year. Another wonderfully eventful year packed to the gills with the stress and self-induced pressure of triathlon training. Let's face facts, it can be pretty darn overwhelming without us even knowing it. After ten months of forcing a Type B personality into a Type A hole, it's easy to get just plain tuckered out.

But I recently looked at the calendar and realized it's nearly November. We're just a Turkey Trot away from an eating/drinking holiday paradise where we don't even have to think about racing again until Father Time once again bites the bullet.

Many people say that the off-season is a great time to focus on the weak links of your racing abilities. Didn't perform up to your swimming standards this year? Those people will try and convince you that there is no better time to hone those swimming skills than right now. You know what I say? Whatever.

I've recently realized that the people who are suggesting that you keep honing your skills are coincidentally the same people who are trying desperately to sell you yet another training program so that they can afford to buy little Jimmy his favorite Christmas presents. And perhaps you'll buy one of these training schedules and focus on honing your skills. Then the next thing you know, you'll have spent the entire off-season being just as anal with your honing as you were during the "regular" season.

I say, let it lie. Let's not work ourselves into a tizzy over tweaking this and rejiggering that. The off-season is about refreshing and reinvigorating. It's about, well, taking time "off". That's probably why they call it the off-season. I'm not saying avoid the bike, run or swim at all costs, I'm just suggesting that maybe we should relax a tad. If you wake up in the morning and don't feel like exercising at all - don't. Do some yoga. Go for a walk. Have a goddam Egg McMuffin with Bacon if you really want. See if I care.

We need to remember that it is just as important to let the mind recover as it is to let the body recover. So, relax. Put the tri-addict aside and embrace the Type B personality you once had back when Thursday nights actually meant something on TV. Come January, we'll all be hopping on the Anal Train yet again. As for now.... whatever.

NOTE: For all of you still training for Ironman Florida, please don't read this until November 5th. Thank you.

October 10, 2006

The Good, The Bad And The Chafing

My butt hurts. I've got chafing in places I'd rather not discuss in mixed company. In fact, I'd rather not discuss my chafing in any company. Suffice to say, I just made a substantial investment in Talcum Powder and once I'm able to sit in a seat long enough to type out a letter, I'm contemplating starting a class action suit against the Chamois Butt'r company. Exhibit A, I'd imagine, will be my ass, which may finally be my chance to pull down my pants and use the copy machine without getting myself banned from Kinko's.

Here's the thing, I've ridden quite a few centuries over the years, more than I can remember (though let's keep in mind that I don't have a great memory). Some of the finishers medals I think are still in my closet include the Cool Breeze, Tour de Palm Springs, Solvang, Cruisin' The Conejo, numerous days on the AIDS ride and, of course, Ironman Lake Placid. That doesn't even take into account the 100+ mile days during Ironman training, including a 118 mile jaunt that, if I remember correctly, segued into a five mile run or something silly like that. My butt hurts even more just thinking about it.

My point here is that I'm no stranger to 100+ miles on the bike. Yet for some reason whenever people have talked to me about riding from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, it always seemed so gosh darn overwhelming. Santa Barbara?! I'd exclaim in an over-exaggerated type of way with the hopes of convincing them not to go and thereby preserving my machismo. Are you crazy?!

Santa Barbara is only 90 miles - a mere piddly 90 miles - away from Los Angeles. But Santa Barbara isn't a weekend bike ride! For goodness sakes people, Santa Barbara is a multi-hour drive that requires an enormous amount of eating and shopping before tackling the hellish traffic for the drive back to LA.

Bike to Santa Barbara?!?! Ni**a pleeeeease!

So you can imagine my dismay and disgust and dis-[fill-in-the-blank-with-your-own-suffix], when my new-to-the-sport-of-biking friend suggested we ride up to Carpinteria (just south of Santa Barbara) on a Saturday, hang out at his sister's swanky beach house and then bike back to LA on Sunday. Sure, I said in my best sarcastic and patronizing tone, how about after you spend the next three years training for it.

I'm not sure whether I'd offended him or if he just took that as a challenge, but he started building up his miles pretty quickly. A few months ago he was doing ten mile jaunts as I encouraged him to keep up the good work and the next thing I know we're out on 60 mile bike rides, after which I would go home and give my best impression of the third deadly sin (that'd be gluttony) while he jumped off his bike and went for a run. Damn, I'd think between chews, this guy is really serious about biking to Carpinteria.

As you can probably guess, Catherine, Paul and I decided to make the trek this weekend, a mere five or six months after aforementioned friend Paul became serious about biking. It was a lovely 84-ish miles from Los Angeles to Carpinteria on Saturday morning, followed by a brutal headwind of an 84-ish miles back down yesterday (Sunday).

All in all, it was pretty amazing. Sure it was tiring, but nobody ever said 170 miles of riding isn't tiring. But it was beautiful, especially since most of the ride was up the coast, with mountains on one side and the eternal stretch of the Pacific Ocean on the other.

Sure I've ridden further than 84 miles in one day more times than I can ever hope to remember. But on Saturday night, as we sat in the Adirondack chairs nestled into the smooth white sand, the waves rhythmically washing onto the shore as the orange and purple glow of the sun quietly laid itself to bed beneath the horizon, I couldn't help but feel proud. Not only did we ride our bikes to the edge of Santa Barbara, but we rode ourselves beyond the limits of my expectations.

The mind can be our greatest enemy and our strongest prison.
This weekend, I broke free.


Celebrity Spotting Of The Day
: Kate Hudson and her son whats-his-name (truth be told, I didn't really spot them though they walked right by me. Catherine is the one credited with the sighting.)

: Starbucks, Malibu

What She Was Doing
: Dragging her son around and, one can only presume, getting a cup of coffee. Or tea. Maybe even a scone. They have good scones at Starbucks. Especially the blueberry one. I really like their blueberry scone.

October 09, 2006

Pink Elephant

There's a big pink elephant in the room - and it keeps taking a crap on my Post-Toasties. So let's shoot this bastard in the trunkal gland before it gets too overwhelming and I end up bonking on my morning ride due to a lack of edible breakfast foods.

The problem we're not talking about is the way people talk about the problems they're not talking about. The pink elephant, in other words, is the pink elephant.

You still with me?
[Don't worry, I barely am either...]

Here's the thing, there seem to be so many ways to refer to the major issues that we tend to ignore, I can't keep them straight. There's the three hundred pound gorilla and the five hundred pound gorilla. I've heard people use both and, truth be told, I'm not quite sure what the difference is aside from about 200 pounds of bananas. I suppose it has something to do with the enormity of the problem.

There's the elephant in the living room. Which makes me wonder if the only reason nobody is talking about the elephant in the living room is because everybody is huddled around the table in the dining room and don't even realize there's an elephant in the house at all.

Then, of course, there's our friend the pink elephant. Honestly, I don't know how the elephant got pink in the first place but it sounds like he may have been out in the sun a little bit too long.

I did a search on dictionary.com for "pink elephants" and this is what it came up with: any visual hallucination arising from heavy drinking. Which just makes me realize that the pink elephant in the room may only be in the room because we're all too damn hungover to realize he's not there in the first place.

Confused? Me too.
Honestly, I already forgot what my original point was in the first place.

So let's just pretend this never happend. We now continue with our regularly scheduled sarcastic blogging.

October 07, 2006

One Crazy Day In The Santa Monica Library

I'm in the Santa Monica library right now and, let me tell you, this is quite the treat. Barnum and Bailey would be jealous. Or disgusted. It's a fine line.

I am here because it is quiet and they have a free wireless connection, that's the beauty of the library (aside from all the books, of course). As an added bonus, this branch of the library also has the most rancid homeless smells one could ever hope to find. Assuming one were actually looking. Which I direly hope one weren't.

There's a lady (or at least I think it's a lady) that is sitting right across from me. She has a goatee. I do not shit you. And I'm not talking about a few sprinklings of hair like a reject from the Chin Hair Club for Men. I'm talking full-on goatee. Hairy, please-borrow-my-Atra goatee. It's repulsive. Don't they have, like, electrolysis or something to take care of that?

Then there's the homeless guy who walked in and picked up the globe. It's a very large globe - about 2 feet in diameter. He's lifted up the globe and, like the sad, drug addicted brother of Atlas, he is standing there and staring at it. Not rotating the globe. Not looking for anything in particular on the globe. Just staring straight ahead with the big globe in front of his face as if he were trying to hide behind the world. It's tough to hide from the world by hiding behind the world. Kinda defeats the whole purpose.

Now he put down the globe, sat at a table and is staring at the woman sitting across from him. And when I say sitting across, I mean something like a mere 18 inches away. I'll be shocked if she doesn't pull out a bottle of mace any moment now and fry his ass right here in the public library.

Oh and lookee over there, there's a guy in a sport coat and slacks who keeps pacing. I barely noticed him before because he looks so normal. One would think he's normal. At first glance I thought he was normal. But then you'd look down and, in a moment directly out of The Birdcage, you see that he's wearing socks that are a shade of pink so bright they could light up a dark library. And suddenly you know he is far from normal. Suddenly he belongs.

Wait wait wait!!! In just walked a 127 year old man wearing black velour workout pants that are pulled up so high they may soon be confused for a turtle neck. Accompanying those fashionable velour wonders he's got on a dress shirt straight from the Target catalog, circa 1973. He clearly forgot his Oxygen cannister cause I can still see the tan stains on his upper lip where the plastic little wahoosis gets shoved up his nose. He just walked by me and I could probably use something shoved up my nose right about now. Mr. Velour smells so bad I think I might yack on the pacer's flourescent pink socks.

Oh lookee, now mr. asian guy is about to sit down next to me and it looks like he hasn't washed his hair since Kaja Goo Goo had a hit song.

As if that weren't enough, there's the British woman who's about 65 years old with her son who's about 3. How come all British boys are named Johnny? All she keeps saying - in a rather loud British accent - is, not now Johnny. Wait a minute Johnny. Come here Johnny. We have to find the book Johnny.

You know what? FUCK Johnny. And while we're at it, why don't you use your motherflippin inside voice. In fact, just check out the goddam book and get the hell out of my library. Go get a crumpet or something.

Oooh... Pat just walked in. He/she is about 6 foot 5 and weighs about 90 pounds. Which in itself is disgusting but leads me to the anorexic blonde that I haven't even mentioned yet. Probably because she's so thin I haven't noticed her walking back and forth.

I think I'm going to throw up.

OH MY GOD!! A cross-eyed guy just walked in the door! He's CROSS-EYED!!! Honest injun.

This is unreal.
Am I being punk'd?

October 05, 2006

They Shoot Marathoners, Don't They?


They say that with every step you take while you run you are exerting four times your body weight on your legs. At least that’s what the New Balance ad said on the television. Either way, it doesn’t sound good, especially for a chicken-legged guy like me. I barely have enough leg strength to support my own body weight, much less the three others piled on top.


My hamstring feels like a rubber band being pulled by two freight trains. Maybe I should do more strength training in the gym. And when I say more training, I mean more than nothing, which is about what I’m doing now.


It seems to tighten even more with every stride. At any moment its going to snap in half, I think to myself. A quiet little “dink!” that’ll instantly send an atom bombed ripple of pain surging through the nerve receptacles of my body. From my hamstring to my hip, scrambling towards my spine, streaming up my back and neck, all the while building speed and momentum in a mammoth-like snowball effect that would make Calvin and Hobbes proud. Suddenly it will slam into the pain receptors of my brain like a speeding bullet brutally stopped by a metal wall. It will hurt. A lot. I will double over in pain, crying and wriggling on the ground, praying for somebody to put me out of my misery. The horse with the broken leg. Just shoot me.

I slow to a stop, which is not that much of a change at this pace. I hobble over to the edge of the sidewalk and begin stretching out my hamstring. To the passers-by it looks like I’m just standing up straight, leaning on the sidewalk. But, trust me, I’m stretching. It’s stretching. It hurts.

After five minutes I shake out the legs and get ready to go. With a hesitant push, I begin my shuffle once more.

It feels better. A little better. Maybe not a lot. But I pick up the pace. Kick it up another notch. A small notch, but another notch nonetheless. Like Emeril, but without the BAM!. I don’t need the BAM!. I’m too old for the BAM!.

This is a gradual uphill that continues on for a mile. I know climbing is not good for my legs, but when you live in the middle of the hill, you’re going to have to go up at some point. That’s just the way life works. Deal with it. So I shuffle up.

My left calf begins to tighten up, just above the achilles.


I slow it down again but the pain doesn’t go away. In a few minutes I start to get a pain at the point where the top of my right foot meets my right shin. I’m not sure if this part of the foot even has a name. It’s the anti-achilles, I suppose. Truth be told, I didn’t even know there was a muscle there to be pulled in the first place. It hurts though. I’m not quite sure how I damaged this one. I puzzle over that for awhile.


Most of the time these days, my running feels like crap. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but it seems to be fading with every passing day. I can’t go on like this. I suppose I should stretch some more. And when I say more, I mean more than never, which is just about the amount of stretching I’m doing these days.

Catherine and I were supposed to run the New York Marathon in a month from now. I have no doubts that if we toed the starting line, we’d make it to the finish. We always make it to the finish - we’re survivors. We’re good like that. But I have serious doubts about whether we’d even get to the starting line in one piece – or even two, as the case may be. My legs would seize up with the training. I’d end up crippled, crying and wriggling on the ground. I’d end up hearing that “dink!” Feeling that pain. And then they may shoot me.

No thank you.

So we decided not to run the marathon this year. That saddens me. It’s the right decision – the smart decision – but it saddens me anyway.

I don’t even want to talk about it now. Maybe I’ll tell you more later.


October 03, 2006

Bonelli Triathlon: Race Report From A Proud Spectator

Having been around for 24 years, TriEvent’s Bonelli Series is supposedly the oldest triathlon series in the world. At least that’s what it said on the finishers banner and I always believe what is written on finishing line banners.

There are many scary things about the Bonelli Triathlon. There’s the crappy quality of the lake water, there’s the constant threat of reckless automotive traffic on the narrow roads and there’s the blind corner where speeding cyclists ride through the run course. I guess that makes it all the more intriguing as to why people love this race so much and perhaps a bit baffling as to the reasons why it has become a starting point for so many new triathletes. Go figure.

The race takes place in Bonelli Park which is just outside of San Dimas. I’d like to say San Dimas is a lovely town but I have yet to really see it. So let’s just make believe its lovely for the sake of this report. Aesthetics aside, most Southern Californians know San Dimas as the home to ye olde water park of many smiles, Raging Waters. The rest of the world knows San Dimas as the place where Bill and Ted live. You know, from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, that masterpiece of cinematic high school humor that did for Keanu’s career what Jeff Spicoli did for Sean Penn’s acting.

The Bonelli Triathlon does not attract many racers. In fact, there were only 177 people in the entire Olympic Distance race. As you can guess, my wonderful girlfriend, Catherine, was among those 177.

To call the Bonelli race “highly organized” would be like calling the Pope sexy. No matter how you look at it, it ain’t. The fact became pretty obvious at the start when the entire race had to be delayed because the management team couldn’t find the iPod that held the National Anthem. Fortunately, some schmo soon found it, ran it over, plugged it into the speakers and before we knew it we had the rockets red glare, bombs bursting in air and a beach full of racers looking around aimlessly for an American flag. Any American flag would’ve been nice – even if it were just a temporary tattoo on somebody’s bicep. But I shouldn’t complain… at least we found the iPod.

The swim was a “V” shaped course with only three heats: men 39 & under plus elites, men 40 and over plus relay teams, and all women. The course takes swimmers straight out to a far buoy at which point they take a pretty sharp left-hand turn and head back to the shore. It sounds easy. It even looks easy. But apparently it wasn’t that easy. Shortly after the first wave went off, the four lead swimmers, unable to see the buoys in front of them, began to swim drastically off course. And when I say drastically, I mean that they were so far off course without anybody stopping them, that they had to turn around and spend a few minutes scrambling back to the course. Of course, they didn’t end up as the four lead swimmers anymore.

Catherine was a part of the third and final wave which, as I said, comprised of all the women racing. Let me paint a better picture of this start for you. There is no starting corral that the swimmers enter. There is no starting line, aside from the shoreline – though half the racers were on the beach and the other half in the water. And there was nobody there to stop any racers from leaving early. So after I kissed Catherine and wished her good luck, I stood right behind her as the announcer counted down from 10. At about “2”, people started running into the water and swimming. It was kinda like the way that people always start clapping a few lines before the singer ever finishes the Star Spangled Banner. You know it’s not time to go, yet people still do. Most, however, just began meandering forward at “2” and didn’t really start swimming until the word “Go” was bellowed over the loudspeaker, which was nice of them.

As Catherine began swimming off into the distance, I walked over to the swim exit to cheer her on.

Apparently the water in Bonelli Park is disgusting. The overwhelmingly dirt-like taste of the water is probably best described by the enlightening comments of the swimmers emerging, which consisted of: blech!, that’s f***ing disgusting and Cchhhat-ptewie!, among others. Needless to say, I was glad to be on the dry side of the waterline.

As I stood there cheering on the racers I glanced at my watch, expecting Catherine to emerge in her regular time of 25-30 minutes. When she stormed out of the water in 23:40, I couldn’t believe it. Holy Shit! I yelled out loud, to the utter joy of my fellow spectators who, for some reason, decided to laugh at me.

As Cat ran to T2, I sprinted out of the swim exit area to even greater joy and laughter of the surrounding spectators, who I can only imagine were uttering words about how great a boyfriend I am.

I got myself over to the bike-out just before Catherine came out of transition. I sliced open my toe pretty badly, she said to me as she mounted her bike. Uh-oh, I thought. That’s not good. Before I could think of anything comforting to say, she was off. So I just yelled Good Luck and looked around to see if any other spectators were laughing at me.

The Bonelli bike is a three loop course that has the riders passing close to the transition area with each loop. I didn’t get a chance to see the course from my ass-firmly-on-ground point of view, but apparently it’s pretty damn hilly.

However, from my vantage point, I’d have to say that the worst part of the bike course is the final turn towards transition. The Sprint and Olympic racers are all muddled together as they approach this turn-off. And though there were a few signs indicating the route, the sounds of tires skidding and people yelling made me believe it wasn’t quite marked well enough. As if that’s not enough, with little understanding of the racing rules among the mass of newbies, there were quite a few close calls as Sprint racers jammed their brakes and swerved across traffic to make the turn. Once making the turn, they jammed their brakes again as they found themselves smack dab in the middle of the run course, complete with joggers trying to weave their way in and out of oncoming, out-of-control cyclists. My heart couldn’t take this pressure for too long. I was so goddam tense watching it that I turned my back to it all. But the noise of the yelling and skidding got me so riled up, that after fifteen minutes I had to walk further down the road to cheer on my girlfriend far away from the sight and sound of impending doom.

As Catherine flew buy me on her first two loops, I could tell she looked strong. Perhaps her toe was going to stay connected to her body after all. Whew.

With my heart not strong enough to watch her make the final turn, I left Dead Man’s Corner and waited down by transition for her. A sense of relief enveloped my body when I saw her emerge safely and roll into transition.

This spectating stuff may kill me after all.

The 10k run course takes joggers around the entire lake in a combination of on-road and off-road terrain. All in all, it’s a pretty challenging run. Hills? Yep, quite a few of them. Heat? Yuh-huh, it’s got that too. But apparently it’s beautiful. Of course, I couldn’t give you the details since I spent the entire time sitting on my ass at the finish line.

As far as the finish line, there was a big banner. And there was a timing mat. If you can call it that. I mean, I’m not sure what the size qualifications are to be considered a “mat”, but this one was only about 1 foot wide and 2 feet deep. Easy to miss, you could say. Which I guess is why they put a big “X” right in the middle so people would know where to step. Unfortunately there barely any people cheering on the finishers. There was me, another guy on the other side of the finish chute and the woman behind me whose view I was completely blocking but who apparently didn’t want to move. Maybe she was just laughing at me behind my back. All in all it was pretty anticlimactic. As racers stumbled across the finish line, they were greeted with the random clapping of six hands, which reminded me far too much of a band finishing a show at Madison Square Garden only to be applauded by the distant sound of a far away clapper struggling to overpower the chirping of the crickets. That was us. But that didn’t matter to me because when I saw Catherine crossing the finish line, it may as well have been the roar of the Ironman masses.

She finished in a stunning 2:38… taking 60th place overall out of 180 people, which impresses me. Especially considering the other 59 people included such notables as pro-racer Julie Swail and her ridiculously fast 2:05 finish.

Do I recommend Bonelli? Through all the chaos, disorganization and mocking spectators, I’d have to say yes. Kind of. Probably. Though the race has been around for years on end, it still has a homegrown feeling. Which I suppose is probably a lot like how triathlon racers were in the very early days of the sport. Just a bunch of masochistic lunatics out for a grueling morning’s workout.

As a post-script, after Catherine finished we went to the medical tent to get her toe looked at. Soon after the 20-something kid in the tent put down his magazine we realized how incompetent he was.

As Cat removed her blood-drenched sock we saw the large gash in her toe and lots of gravel and dirt inside it. I’m not going to go into the terrible details about how the kid was so inept in trying to clean out the wound and bandage it. Suffice to say, I pulled Catherine’s flaps of skin apart and cleaned out the wound myself as the race director kept Cat occupied from the pain and gave her orange peels to bite into instead of the screaming. Catherine bandaged herself up. She thinks she needed stitches. But we decided to eat lunch instead.


Star Sighting Of The Day: Greg Germann, that guy from Ally McBeal, who's real name you never knew

Location: Whole Foods in Brentwood

What He Was Doing: Shopping for food with his son. At least I thought it was his son. Or, rather, I hope it was his son. That's disgusting... why did you get me talking about dirty things like that.