That’s it, I’m taking up chess…

OMFG that hurt. No, seriously, that F’ing hurt!

No, seriously.

But that’s what lets us know that we’re alive, right?

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look at the elevation profile for the marathon here.

Total time – 5:25:54. Not too shabby, especially when you look at the course. That and the fact that it’s my first marathon. Ever. 1/2 Marathon time – 2:15:30. How’s that for a positive split? I’ll let you do the math.

To make a long story even longer, it started on the drive this morning. We timed it well to get to site 15 minutes before the start. The fog was pretty dense in spots on the drive into Nashville, which slowed us down a bit. Then about 1 mile from the start, a beautiful 8-point buck decided he needed to be on the other side of the road, which put him right in front of us. How do I know he was 8-points? I can still see him in mid-flight right off the nose of the car. I don’t remember anything else, but Goddess tells me I gave a quick tap on the brakes, which was apparently just enough to let him slip by.

The starting speech was quite comical. With a name like the Flying Monkey Marathon, what else can it be? With instructions on how to deal with the flying monkeys and an admonition to not rush, since the keg wouldn’t be tapped until noon, which meant we should all shoot for a 4:59 finish to get there just in time.

Started off slow and easy. Maintained a 9:30 pace through the first few miles. Not surprising, considering my lack of running over the past two weeks, miles 3-5 were pretty miserable. My legs were not waking up. The 150 foot climb and the 200 foot descent in the first 3 miles didn’t help them feel any better. I got into my groove by about mile 7 and cruised through the next 10 miles, hitting the 1/2 mark at 2:15:30, which averaged 10:20 over the distance. I wasn’t out here to break any records, just hang on to the finish.

Mile 17 was the start of some ugly times. As you can see on the profile, that mile was a 200 foot drop, which led up to the ugliest hill of the course through miles 18-20, which saw 300 feet of climbing. This put the hurt on. Up until now, the only time I walked was through the aid stations (I’m quite pleased with that). Throughout this climb, I adopted a racewalk strategy, which worked out to be faster than I was able to run up that hill.

By the time I hit 20.1 miles, it was all downhill from there (except for the uphills). The elevation drop was 215 feet over the next six miles, with some short but not-so-sweet uphills. Problem was, the legs were deep in the hurt-locker even going downhill. So it was a walk-run strategy for a while. But I got it done. Average pace for the last 13.1 miles – 14:34. Average pace for the whole 26.2 – 12:26.

Man, I’ve got to try a flat race.

The Yazoo beer served at the finish line was loverly! Huge props to Trent, the race director (who also ran in the race) for working a deal with them. The scenery was gorgeous the entire time. Luckily, the severe thunderstorms that blew through on Wednesday didn’t strip all of the trees. With my slower second half, I saw a thousand and one photos I would have loved to have taken.

A friend of mine flew in from D.C. to run this race. It was his eleventh this year, including Antarctica and The Lewis and Clark Bozeman marathons. After driving him over the course yesterday, he was hoping for a 4:30 finish. He ran his fifth fastest marathon ever, coming in right at 3:30! Now he’s curious what he would have done had it been a flat course.

Times aren’t up on the website yet, but I thinkthe first place guy finished in the 2:45 range. He blew past me heading back in just as I was approaching the 10-mile point. He was already 6 miles ahead of me. Quite humbling.

If you’re looking for a late-season marathon, I absolutely cannot endorse the Flying Monkey enough. Small, low-key and not to be taken seriously (except for the course). Today was only its second running, but already had folks fly in from Alberta, Seattle, D.C. and even Italy! It’s an extremely well-run event, with some schweet swag (including a personalized long-sleeve Patagonia technical running shirt – in addition to the standard cotton race T-shirt!) and some good times with your fellow runners.

I hope to be there next year.

But first, I gotta relearn chess.

Extreme Taper

Well, in just over 36 hours we’ll be driving to the course, hoping to not be carried away by the Flying Monkeys.

My taper has definitely been extreme. Thanks to many, many issues, I’ve had one single run since my 1/2 marathon two weeks ago. It was an easy 4-miler and it was 9 days ago. How’s that for a taper?

This is going to be fun.

For an Achilles-busting good time, take a look at the race course and elevation profile:

HHFMM Course

At least it’s downhill for the last 6 miles, right? 😉

I definitely will be looking forward to the recovery beer that they’ll be serving at the finish line.

Well, I better get back to my homework before Goddess gets home and catches me goofing off. She’ll still know, since she reads this blog. But it’ll be after the fact.

Fast Training Run

Part of my prep for my marathon, which is in two weeks time, was a 1/2 marathon today. It fulfilled three purposes, to make sure my recovery from my IM attempt was complete, my run focused training was on target and that I could hold a sustained pace faster than I normally do during training runs or during a 1/2 IM or IM. All three were achieved.

The Team Nashville Half Marathon was definitely a well executed event. It’s been a while since I had attended one of those (yep, that’s a swipe at my recent races).

I was talking with a co-worker of mine on Wednesday. He had mentioned a few months back that he’d like to pace me during the marathon leg of my IM-distance race, but already had long-standing reservations for a family vacation. He asked when I would run my marathon, so I told him. He recognized that it would be too far for him, so he stated “well, I’ll run with you during a half marathon”. I responded “Good, it’s this Saturday”. His jaw dropped and he stammered about having things to do.

Thursday rolls around and he starts asking about it, then says he’ll let me know. Friday night, he calls the house and arranges to meet. All the while, I keep asking him if he’s sure, since the furthest he’s ever run has been a 10K. He was sure. I didn’t worry about him too much since he has quite an extensive physical background, so he had a solid base fitness.

Anyway, we get to the race area this morning, which starts at the Historic Mansker’s Station. Quite an interesting location. Sign up, get our goodies and then keep moving to stay warm, since it was 33 degrees. The crunch of frost underfoot was quite loud.

This was a “C” race for me, with no time goals. So when we filtered down to the start area, we hung out in the back. The gun went off and we strolled towards the line. We started jogging slowly to make sure our chips registered and we were off. All 190 other racers had crossed the line in front of us. We were bringing up the rear.

It didn’t take long for us to start weaving through the crowd. We were jogging comfortably and hit the mile at 8:38. My co-worker mentioned that it was quite an ambitious pace. We crossed the second mile 8:26 later. He started slipping back a bit and I wordlessly kept moving forward.

Miles 3-5 were pretty uneventful. I was still warming up. By mile 5 I started feeling good and the miles kept slipping by, as did fellow runners. I was starting to think of a race strategy. I figured I’d start picking it up at mile 8 and see how it went from there. I got to the mile 8 water table, grabbed some water (no, not my first) and proceeded to look straight up a wall. Several folks ahead of me were walking. It was a killer.

Going down the other side was just as steep, but I went loose and managed to pass several more runners. The next three miles were a very gradual downhill and I was able to pick up the pace again, cruising at a very nice tempo. After mile 12, we started into the hills again, cruising through a nice subdivision. After 12.75 miles, it was all downhill all the way to the finish.

I cruised in at 1:49:38 chip time, my watch said 1:41:15. I still can’t figure out where the disparity is in my watch, since the times flow perfectly. No one else seemed concerned about their published time, so I won’t be either; it’s time the watch be sent in for some other issues too.

I crossed the start line in 191st (or 192nd, doesn’t matter); I crossed the finish line in 75th overall, 10/18 in my age group. So that’s 116 passed on the course.

13.1 miles @ 8:23 average. Not too shabby. It won’t win any awards, but I sure enjoyed it.

My co-worker ran a hell of a race, considering he’d never run further than a 10K – 2:05:38, which was 4:22 faster than his goal of 2:10, or 10-minute mile pace.

So while I’m pleased with my results, I was shocked to read the news of today’s US Marathon trials. Excellent results for Ryan Hall, but a crushing tragedy for everyone. Keep Ryan Shay‘s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.

Well, it’s time for another recovery beer. And good tunes while watching Wilco on Austin City Limits.

Musical Interlude

We take a break from our normal programming for a bit of a musical interlude.

Friday was a fun night.  A bit of father/son bonding while enjoying some good music together.  My Goddess decided to not join, since the hardest she typically enjoys is Linkin Park and Tool.  Son and I were leaning quite a bit heavier.

The lineup?  Droid, Five Finger Death Punch, Hellyeah and Korn.  What a show!

Typically I’m not too impressed with the smaller warmup bands.  Oftentimes the headliner brings along bands that may appeal to the audience, but not so good to outshine the headliner.  In this case, Korn did the opposite.  Every band was very strong, each one a bit better than the one before and each one very tight in their composition and performance.

Son and I got to Nashville, grabbed some food, took a side trip to the Parthenon to see it as the sun went down, grabbed some parking and then headed for the venue.  After getting our tickets (will call), getting searched and heading inside, we had all but 15 minutes before the first band.  I was surprised, since they actually started on time.

With the first strum of the guitar and the dropping of the lights, Son and I headed to the floor, since we opted for General Admission floor tickets (you’ll see why later).  We found a nice clear spot on the floor, not 30′ from the stage, and watched.  We were quite impressed with the band.  Son’s head was banging pretty early on.

Five Finger Death Punch was next.  Son’s head really got moving.  But before they started, I angled him in closer to the stage, a bit more center.  Turned out that we ended up right on the edge of the pit, which he wasn’t too keen on.  He acknowledges his short temper, which he comes by honestly and was concerned he’d end up swinging at someone if they hit him.  I used the chance to show him pit ettiquette, which there is quite a bit of, if you don’t know.  I showed him how the guys flying around weren’t actually there to hurt each other, even blocking and helping if someone fell down.  He started to get the idea.

A bit of history here.  I grew up in the Southern California Punk and Metal scene of the ’80s, getting to enjoy live shows from bands such as Black Flag, the Descendents, Slayer, The Exploited, UK Subs, Minor Threat, 7 Seconds, et al.  What these “kids” call moshing we called slamming.  Regardless of the name, it’s good fun, as long as the crowd is right.  Overall, the crowd Friday night was right.

Next came Hellyeah.  Son wasn’t aware of the pedigree of the members.  He wasn’t aware that the members came from Pantera, Damageplan, Mudvayne and Nothingface.  I filled him in quickly, since they were coming on stage, the crowd was going wild and he couldn’t figure out why.  They did not disappoint, quickly whipping the crowd into a frenzy.  And Son’s head was flying.

I was particularly impressed when they stopped between songs and Chad Gray did the typical thanking of the fans.  I wasn’t impressed with that, but with who he thanked next – all of the folks who made the show possible, from the security to the roadies to the concession workers.  In 25 years of going to concerts, I have to say that’s the first time I’ve ever heard that.

Of course, Vinnie Paul, the drummer, took a moment to recognize his brother, Dimebag Darrell, guitarist for Pantera and Damageplan, who was killed onstage, along with three others, by a sick “fan” in 2004.  The crowd went wild.

Finally, we were dead center, not 25′ from the stage, when Korn came on.  Son freaked a bit when he found that were were in the pit, so we moved to the edge.  After getting knocked off his feet from behind, he realized that it was a pretty cool place to be and kept occupied for the rest of the show.

All in all, an excellent show.  It started at 730pm and we were walking out the door just after midnight.  On the way out he was able to pick up a copy of Droid’s CD and get it signed by the band.  So he was pretty jazzed about that.

This ends the musical interlude.  Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

HOW100

As you may or may not know, September is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

So why’s it in my blog, you might ask? It’s a topic that’s near and dear to my heart.

Some good people around this here blogosphere are doing some good things to raise awareness. One that comes to mind immediately is Brian, aka Triboomer, who will be carrying 500+ names of our friends and family that have been touched by cancer, during his quest to finish IMMoo this coming Sunday.

Another that comes to mind is my very own Goddess, who will try to complete her very first 29 mile ride this Saturday at the Hope on Wheels 100 (HOW100). She’s sat by, supporting me in my quest to complete my first IM-distance race. This one’s for her.

If you’d like to support her, you can through the HOW100 web site. If you click on this sponsor page, select the pull-down menu and select Jennifer Anders. We’ve found that the page is not Firefox-friendly, so you’ll have to use IE.

Alternatively, if you’d like to provide the great support that you all do through this page, just leave a comment at the bottom of this entry. She reads them all.

And what will I be doing? Of course, I will be there to support and cheer on my Goddess. It’s the least I can do for the one who has given me nothing but unwavering support. But I’ll also be working. I’ve signed on as the event photographer, so I can combine several loves in one event. What a deal!

I hope all is well with each of you.

Peak Shuffle and AKUS

Well, this was to be my training peak, with 16 hours of fun and excitement this week. Instead, work got in the way and I was lucky to get in an hour at the pool. So I’m doing a bit of week flipping and moving my workouts to this coming week and shifting next week’s scheduled recovery week to this past week. Hopefully I haven’t jacked peaking up too much, but there wasn’t any way around it.

Saturday night was date night with the goddess. We haven’t had one of those in quite a while. The boy was off at an away game (he’s in the band) that would see him getting home after 2am. So he spent the night at a friends house.

We made the drive down to Nashville, enjoyed some dinner and then walked the few blocks over to the Sommet Center to see Alison Krauss and Union Station (AKUS). The goddess and I are huge fans. She’s (goddess, too) got an amazing voice and they play some excellent bluegrass.

As my goddess said as we were seated, ready to AKUS to start, “you get to see your girlfriend”. Hehe. I’m willing to admit that Alison is quite easy on the eyes. But goddess certainly got her eyeful with Barry Bales, the bass player.

They got to the stage a bit late, but certainly didn’t disappoint. They rolled straight into their set and played for the next two hours. Every few songs they’d take a break and say some words, mostly about how happy they were to be home again (Nashville is their home base). During these breaks they’d have us laughing too. Alison would introduce each person in quite a humorous way. For instance, she introduced Jerry Douglas, the dobro player, as “Who’s that on the stage? Is it Emelio Estevez? Is it Antonio Banderas? Or is it Eric Estrada?” is a breathy, quasi-hispanic voice. Hilarious.

Also playing guitar and singing was Dan Tyminski, who you might be familiar with as the voice of George Clooney in the excellent, excellent movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?“. Needless to say, the place was hopping when he sang the movie’s signature song, “Man of Constant Sorrow“. Afterwards, Dan told the story about telling his wife about being picked to sing for the movie. He first told her that he was picked for a voice-over. She responded with “What’s that?”. He then explained that when she watched the movie, she’d look up at the screen, see George Clooney and hear his voice. She exclaimed “Oh Dan, that’s my fantasy!”. Of course, the place was rolling.

Again, excellent music and a great time. The tour is over, but if you get a chance to see AKUS in the future, I highly recommend it.

===========

Before the show, as we picked up our tickets at the Will Call window, I asked the lady if we could buy tickets to our next planned concert since they went on sale that day. She looked at my, quite confused for a minute, then asked me to repeat. I repeated “Can we pick up tickets for the Korn show today”. We had a good laugh as she admitted that AKUS and Korn were definitely on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Oh well, I had to buy the tickets through Ticketmaster today. Goddess will sit that one out, so it’s just the boy and I down on the floor and in the crush of bodies. We’re looking forward to that!

Tagged

Although you can’t see it, I’m shaking my fist at Brad, who tagged me with his questions. What’s really interesting is seeing the similarities between his answers and what some of mine will be.

Jobs I’ve held-

  • Paperboy (2x)
  • US Air Force (past 20+ years) as a “professional liar”. The real job is weather forecasting, but you all wouldn’t believe me, since you wouldn’t believe my forecasts. 😉

Movies I Can Watch Over & Over-

  • Bicentennial Man. Excellent story of life, love and optimism.
  • Koyaanisqatsi. I first saw it at PBS soon after it was released back in 1982. The music and imagery floored me. Just this past year I finally got to see Philip Glass perform live, which was amazing.
  • Memoirs of a Geisha. I love the story, but really love the scenes, since I’ve been lucky enough to have visit many of them.
  • Blazing Saddles. Actually, anything Mel Brooks has done. I love the double entendre’s and wry twists on words. Madenline Kahn was pure genius as Lili Von Shtupp, the Teutonic Temptress.

I will have to tip my hat to Brad’s choice of Repo Man. What a great movie for the time, with the soundtrack of my youth. That and Suburbia.

My Guilty Pleasures-

I’m not guilty. Not one bit. They are my pleasures and I apologize to no one.

  • My lovely bride.
  • Beer. The darker the better.
  • Chocolate. Just like beer, the darker the better. Gimme a block of baker’s chocolate and a cup of coffee and I’m in heaven.
  • Bourbon. Which explains why I’m a Maker’s Mark Ambassador.
  • A good cigar. Especially with a good bourbon. They complement each other so well.
  • Books. I continue to buy them and am currently reading about seven, although I don’t have time to read. I have no idea how many I have in shelves and piles that I haven’t read yet.
  • Karaoke. Not the bastardized American version, but the real Japanese version. Forget standing up on stage and being the center of attention, because that’s not what it’s about. Instead, you’re packed into a small bar with 20 of your closest friends, passing the microphone around, drinking, singing and having a great time. Some of my repertoire: Marilyn Manson’s “The Beautiful People”, Green Day’s “Basket Case”, CCR’s “Bad Moon Rising”, John Denver’s “Country Roads”, etc.

Places I Have Lived-

  • S. Bay, San Fransisco
  • Norfolk, VA
  • Reno, NV
  • Yokohama, Japan
  • Ridgecrest, CA
  • Coronado, CA
  • Chula Vista, CA
  • Marysville, CA
  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Mountain Home, ID
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Exmouth, Northwest Cape, Western Australia
  • Fort Walton Beach, FL
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Clarksville, TN

Shows I Enjoy-

Places I have Been on Vacation-

  • Venice, Italy
  • Hamburg, Germany
  • Oahu, Hawaii
  • Perth, Western Australia
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Kyoto, Japan
  • Sapporo, Japan

Favorite Foods-

  • Japanese
  • Mexican
  • Italian
  • Greek
  • Whatever doesn’t get to me first. My Aussie friends thought I was nuts because I carried a tube of wasabi in the glove compartment of my ute (pickup). Whenever we’d go fishing, I’d eat the mackerel as we cleaned them. Octopus too, although I gained a respect for occy’s and refused to hunt them any more.

Websites I visit Daily-

  • My my.yahoo page. News, cartoons, stories and e-mail.
  • My DeviantArt page. Just to see what sorts of comments I’m still getting on my photography, although I’m nowhere near as active as I was a couple of years ago.
  • My Google Reader page, which is a repository for all of my blog feeds.
  • And the myriad pages I need for work.

Body Parts I have injured-

  • My tongue. As a teenager, while surfing, I hit a bit of chop and it knocked the nose of my board up, hitting me in the chin. I then bit the corner of my tongue almost clean off; it was hanging by a thread. I should’ve got stitches, but that would have meant visiting the doctor, but I wouldn’t have any of that. It eventually healed.
  • My ankle. Rolled it so hard going off a diving board that the grip tape on the board scraped the top of my foot off. Again, should’ve gone to the doctor, but wasn’t having any of that. It eventually healed.
  • I’ve never broken a bone or got stitches due to an accident (knockin’ on serious wood here). My total stitch count is still under 10, and those were all for elective procedures.

Awards You’ve Won-

  • A few job-related ones (yeah, I’m cheating here).

Nicknames you’ve been called-

  • Bill
  • Billy-jo-bob-bob-a-looie (by a good Aussie friend).
  • And I’m sure quite a few R-rated ones.

Pick 4 Other Bloggers…

A tough one. There are quite a few that I’d like to know more about, but know that folks like their privacy. So…

Well, that’s about it. Off to bed early tonight. Tomorrow’s my race simulation brick, which means 112 miles on the bike followed by a run of unknown distance. The run ends when I hit 8 hours total time, so it could be anywhere from 4 miles to 10 miles. The beauty is that I get to drive out to the location for my September IM-distance race, so I’ll get a good feel for the ride and run courses.

Tapering, Pouring and Tix

Well, the taper continues. After last Saturday’s meltdown, I took Sunday off, which is my normally scheduled rest day.

Monday started with an easy run and then a swim at lunch. Both were very poor, at best. I just didn’t have anything in me, even though they were both recovery sessions. Tuesday morning I sat on the stationary cycle and spun for about 30 minutes, which was poor as well. After that, I decided to take time off completely. Glad I did.

Thursday I joined an organized workout session that was mostly strength and plyometrics. But between 10 minute focus sessions, we ran 1/2 mile. The first 1/2 felt good, the second 10 minutes later felt better, then I was able to smoke the last two 1/2 miles. Back on track for the remainder of this recovery week/taper.

Friday night we drove down to Nashville to enjoy some music and food at the “First Annual” Riverfront Park Crawfish Boil. Which brings up a point – how can something be the “First Annual”, since there’s no guarantee that they’ll actually have it every year after the first? Shouldn’t “Annual” be reserved for the second and subsequent events?

The scheduled music lineup was good, with Soul Asylum opening at 5pm, followed by Fuel, Cheap Trick, Papa Roach and finally Hinder. Not that I’m a huge fan of any of those bands, but each is good enough to get the toe tapping and the head bobbing. And for $25 at the gate, plus the promise of a huge mess of crawdads to eat while drinking beer and listening to live music, how could I refuse?

And for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of a crawfish boil, here’s what a huge mess of crawdads should look like, complete with potato and corn-on-the-cob:

Definitely some good, good stuff.

So we got down there just a few minutes after Soul Asylum took the stage, found an area on the hill to spread our our blanket, got some beers and sat back to enjoy the show. Soul Asylum gave what I would consider to be a pretty pedestrian show – good but nothing I haven’t seen out of a good bar band.

During their set, I was looking across the river at LP Stadium, which is where the Tennessee Titans play, snickering and telling my 15-year-old son that when I was his age, I saw Cheap Trick in San Diego’s Jack Murphy (later to become Qualcomm) Stadium, which was about the same size as the stadium we were looking at. He was trying to make the connection between going from playing stadiums to small venues like the one we were sitting in. As a budding bassist, he at least understood continuing to play because one loves it, regardless of the size of the crowd or venue.

And the stadium got me thinking back to all of the shows I saw there. 101KGB always put on good summer concerts, where we got to see acts like Motley Crue (long before their rapid downward spiral with the release of “Theater of Pain”), Def Leppard, Chuck Berry and The Who (after which I actually met Roger Daltrey). Good times.

But enough reminiscing. Fuel took the stage. That was more like it. Energetic, loud and electric. Literally.

As they continued to play their set, the sky kept getting darker. And darker. And then tinges of green in the clouds. And for those of you who have lived here in the Midwest, green in the storm clouds means only one thing – hail. Fuel kept playing, the rain started and a few rumbles were heard. Nothing to worry about. Yet.

Then the downpour, followed by dime-sized hail, which never feels good on the noggin. That’s when everyone broke for cover. By the time we got under cover, we were all soaked completely to the bone. Ah well, it’s all part of the experience.

As the rain continued, the drunk and otherwise influenced crowd decided to keep themselves entertained by sliding down the wet grassy hill. The only problem with that was that after a few grassy ledges and drops, the grass gives way to concrete steps. A few bodies went launching over the concrete, but I don’t think any of them could feel what they were doing to themselves. I suspect this morning is a different story.

Of course, the downside to being soaking wet as the sun goes down is that you can get cold. And with my newer, slimmer physique thanks to all of this tri training, I don’t have the insulation that I did just four months ago. Shivering became my newest physical activity as we waited for the rain to stop. Even taking my shirt off was warmer, but didn’t help much. Others had the same idea, and for some of them we wish they hadn’t.

Anyway, we sat and waited out the storm. And waited. And waited. And waited. The promoters had done the right thing and cut the power to the stage. The downside to that is that the crowd was pretty restless after a while. Some guys up on stage worked hard to keep the crowd in front of the stage entertained by doing silly things like spraying them with water. Methinks they were wet enough.

After two hours and me continuing to shiver, we decided to bag the rest of the night. It was already halfway through the time that Papa Roach would have been on stage. That meant we had missed out on half of Fuel’s set, all of Cheap Trick’s set and it looked like all of Papa Roach’s set. And with me being concerned about getting sick just a week out from my 1/2 IM, heading home was the best thing to do.

Not 10 miles up the road, everything was as dry as a bone. But even after driving the hour home, I checked the radar and it was still raining down over downtown Nashville. So I don’t think the crowd even got to see Hinder. That wasn’t a big loss for us, since we were going to leave right after they started playing anyway.

So after the crawdads and beer, this cartoon this morning made me laugh:

And it’s all not a loss. I got home, checked my e-mail and got my daily music update. Thanks to that, we just scored tickets to see Tool up in Evansville next month, coinciding with my beautiful bride’s birthday.

Hope all is well with you.

Srick, Snow, Brick, Glass

What’s with the title? Well, that’s my weekend boiled down to four words.

What’s Srick? Well, it sounds much better than Sick and more accurately represents what I did. Srick is a swim and run combination workout. Friday made for a 3500 yard interval/pyramid speed workout, a quick liquid lunch (no, not the alcoholic kind) and then a 5.6 mile run. Learned quite a bit about timing my food that day. Luckily it was minor gastro-intenstinal (GI) gurgling, not anything involving backflow.

Saturday was a planned Brick, which is a bike and run combination workout. A brick is the normal transition during a triathlon of any length, running right after the bike. The purpose of a brick is to get the legs used to the quick change in types of leg muscle used between the two activities. Well, the weather changed that plan, with an inch or so of snow on the ground when I woke up, more coming in and icy roads. No sense in getting out with the stupid people.

Forget trainers or rollers. Those are a last resort. I can’t stand riding inside for much more than one hour and even that’s a stretch. Same thing with running. Boring. You can stick forks in my eyes and I’d find that more entertaining and worthwhile than riding or running inside.

So I flip-flopped my weekend workouts and Saturday became a rest day. Which I was ready for.

Sunday was the Brick. Nothing like slogging into a stiff, cold headwind for an hour with snotcicles freezing on your cheeks. But the beauty of that is turning around and getting that stiff, warm tailwind. Flying through the sunny countryside with a strong tailwind really makes for an enjoyable ride, except for dodging the ice patches that are hidden in the shade while flying through a curve at 25 mph.

That covers the first three words. The fourth was a very pleasant surprise, sprung on me by my lovely bride.

We had the immense pleasure of 9th row seats, front and slightly off-center, for a wonderful retrospective performance by the Philip Glass Ensemble (PGE). For those of you who don’t know who Philip Glass is, you’ll likely be familiar with his works. I was first introduced to him, as a teenager, when I saw a screening of the first of Godfrey Reggio‘s “-qatsi” movies, Koyaanisqatsi.

For those of you that know me well, you’ll know that Koyaanisqatsi is one of my all-time favorite movies and consequently, Philip Glass has been my all-time favorite musician/composer. So it was definitely a great thrill to be able to see him in person, playing his selections of music through his 40-year career. We were even amazed at how good he looks at 70 years old. I can only wish I’m doing half as good.

The performance was held in Nashville’s beautiful Schermerhorn Symphony Center, which is home to the (of all things) Nashville Symphony Orchestra. You can read the Wikipedia page on the center, which is quite amazing in and of itself. But musically, one of the more interesting aspects of this beautiful hall is that it’s across from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, two blocks from the Ryman Auditorium and right around the corner from Broadway Avenue, home to many of classic country bars and music shops, including Ernest Tubb‘s Record Store.

The audience at PGE performance was quite eclectic, to say the least. From typical symphony-goer attire as dress suits and gowns to flannel pants, sweatshirts and knit beanies. In other words, a few folks didn’t get the word that Bonnaroo isn’t for a few more months.

Speaking of Bonnaroo, we’re disappointed that we won’t be going this year. It’s being held just 90 minutes down the road, but it falls right in the middle of recovering from my 1/2 Ironman and building my base for my full Ironman later in the year. That, and with tickets running $200 each for the weekend, the family/race budget would take quite a hit. So it fell off the priority plate pretty quick.

But with acts such as The Police, Tool, Wilco, The Flaming Lips, The String Cheese Incident, etc., it’ll definitely be quite a show.

I just hope someone takes some soap.