Saturday, December 30, 2006

New Friends/Old Friends

Flute Jam (awwwww)

"Is her first name 'Curly'"?

That's what Superpounce asked soon after Curly-Su arrived at the Greyhound dog pound. That might as well have been her first name, because I nearly called her that a dozen times this weekend. She arrived soon after mid-day yesterday, and started a wonderful weekend for us all.
There's a strange thing about blogosphere. With a really wonderful blogger like Curly-Su, you get the sense that you really know them, and you do--kind of. But you also don't know them. Then, when you meet a blogger that you admire in real life, you get the IRL surprise--either wonderful or not-so-wonderful.
Well, for all of you who think that Curly-Su is a sweet and sensitive young musician, you're right--and you're not. She is also a warm, poised and impressive young woman who is thoroughly beautiful to her core and all the way from the inside out. Like all of my adotped younger sisters, I look at them and hope that Superpounce will be like that when she grows up.
Her whole stay was a delight. After overwhelming her coming in the door, the Curly-Cookies and our fajitas broke the ice. An afternoon of conversation and then we were off to the pool for a rainy swim with Mishele K:
Pool at Night
My flip turn was less than successful but Mishele gave me some tips on my swim stroke, and then, . . . . um, yeah . . . . I did get to do a little hot tubbing with the 20-something Iron Maidens.
Yep . . . . that's pretty much how I roll. Not too shabby.
Back to the dog pound and it was Chinese takeout, talking shop with Mrs. Greyhound, and white wine until the old people couldn't stand it anymore.
Curly-Su and Mrs. Greyhound
Then, up for an ez 10 with Coach T, recovery at Starbucks, then lunch back at the dogpound.
Curly-Su and Coach T
The whole pack had a brilliant time, and we love our Curly-Su even more in person than we do in cyberspace. We do hope she'll grace the dog pound with her presence once again when Triathlon One-o-One arrives in the Woodlands in November.
Greyhound, Superpounce and Curly-Su
Until then, we miss you Curly-Su . . . . .

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Mystery "Man" Revealed

Yep! This is the International Ironman of Mystery--my workout partner and our house guest this weekend. Wildflower finisher, and third in her age group at Ironman France. The only way I'll ever make a podium is if everyone else in my age group dies . . . either before the race or on the course.

This International Ironman athlete, one of my adopted, younger blogo-sisters will be joining us on her way to New Year's celebrations in the live music capital of the universe. We promised her mom that we'd take real good care of her.
Pinky swear.

And, if you don't know that back and that flute, then you've been living under a rock.

If the weather holds, and if Mishele K can ditch her job, we all three going to the pool for a bit of a swim. Between them, they've got 3 Ironman finishes to my goose egg. Not only that, Mishele K is a swim champ who finished the Wisconsin swim in 1:09! (Holy Crap!) She's going to teach me to flip turn so I don't look like so much of a wuss at masters swim practice.

Then, weather permitting, the "Man" of Mystery and I will do a long run with Coach T tomorrow at the quintessential Houston running route.

Mix in beverages, lots of visiting, and laughter, and you have an all around good time.

Jealous? As well you should be.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Not Jackie O

Nope. It's the International Ironman of Mystery.

International Ironman of Mystery

All of the Texas Gulf Coast is fraught with anticipation. We are one day closer to the arrival of the International Ironman of Mystery. OMG, just can't stand it!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Celebrity Mystery Blogger

I am totally like the Kevin Bacon of the blogosphere, the supporting actor that is in everyone elses' movie. I've met Bolder, Kahuna, Wil, Trimama, Taconite Boy, Stu, Nytro, Benny, Commodore, Iron Pol, . . . . It's unbelievable.

But THIS may be the celebrity blogger meeting to top them all. This international, Ironman podium finisher will be in my neck of the piney woods on Friday!! Woot!!
We are making ready the guest suite chez greyhound and I cannot wait!
But you're gonna have to.
(If you already know the secret because I've told you, don't spoil it for everyone).

Steady Eddie

Ford Football

"Diamonds are only chunks of coal,
That stuck to their jobs . . . ."
--Minnie Richard Smith
Ford Dog

Gerald R. Ford
1913 - 2006
Gerry and Betty

Sunday, December 24, 2006

"Lights Please"


"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Since When did Superpounce Become Billy Joel?

Those of you who took music lessons as a kid know that the holidays mean . . . . . . . musical programs. (Right Curly-Su?) Superpounce is no exception.

She begged for over a year to be permitted to take up the flute (like mom) and be in the little band at her little school. This year, she was finally big enough to hold one, and this was her first program.
Upon hearing her solo, the granny in the audience who was unaware of how her voice carried remarked, "WOW, THAT WAS HARD!"
Then . . . there is piano. Just like the Greyhound, she has taken piano since kindergarten, and just like Greyhound, she has protested since the first grade. Six weeks ago, she was given a jazzy arrangment of "Winter Wonderland" to play on the Christmas program. During that time it was all, "I hate piano," and "This piece is too hard."
Now she plays it at the drop of a hat . . . . including three times immediately before the program and twice afterward and every time someone comes over to visit.
Emma Playing
I dare not intimate that having a miniature, female Billy Joel in residence is sometimes inconvenient.
<Emma Standing +
Go play . . . and don't forget to sing.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Old Long Ago

The poem Auld Land Syne by Robert Burns has been immortalised by the tradition of singing the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne at Christmas and New Year parties. Auld Lang Syne is also sung on Burns Night, 25th January to celebrate the life and works of Robert Burns. Auld Lang Syne was written in 1788 and the words 'Auld Lang Syne' literally translates from old Scottish dialect meaning 'Old Long Ago' and is about love and friendship in times past. The words in the poem Auld Lang Syne referring to 'We'll take a Cup of Kindness yet' relate to a drink shared by men and women to symbolise friendship. [From]
Confederacy of Dunces
Do you know why the finish line of an Ironman race is so crowded? I think I do. The crowd gathers because nobody makes it to the beginning or the end of an Ironman jouney alone.
IMWI Finish
I certainly cannot, and will not. I not only crave and hunger for the momentum of fellow athletes and family.
This old dog body apparently refuses to hold together without a team of highly skilled trainers, physical therapists, massage therapists and voodoo practitioners. These professional inputs may heal my body, but without the people who love me--warts and all--family, friends, and in this case the trainers who truly care about my success--my body has none of the spirit necessary to move forward.
mgand superpounce
I heard of one Duke University study positing that one in four Americans have no friends. None. Wow. I have experienced a wee taste of that, and it is crushingly dark, heavy, deep and depressing. Not to impose my own theology on you, but this condition of alone-ness is the only thing that God proclaimed as "not good" about the creation. ("It is not good for man to be alone.") It certainly rings true in my experience. Try as we might to be the strong silent individualist of American lore, triathlon teaches me that no matter how strong I am, I am stronger still when I am bound together in an unbreakable cord with my friends. The more friends I have, and the more tightly we are bound together, the stronger I become. How wonderfully ironic that a sport about individuals against the clock and that prohibits outside assistance binds us together so thoroughly.
This year ends with my body broken, but my condition unimaginably magnified. I have more friends and am more tightly bound to them than ever before, largely because I took up a bizarre hobby and stumbled upon the Kahuna's blog when googling triathlon stuff.
Serendipity? Providence? Whatever. It tastes great, and next year will be even better.
Thank you, friends. From the bottom of an ever-deepening canine heart. Think back upon "Old Long Ago" and look forward to warm and strong "yet to comes."
Iron Wil
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?
Trimama and Tac Boy
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
mg and ubergreyhound
And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
Coach T and Scuba Steve
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
Iron Benny Running Strong
We twa hae run about the braes,
And pu'd the gowans fine;
But we've wandered mony a weary fit
Sin' auld lang syne.
Nytro Screams Out of T2
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
We twa hae paidled i' the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roared
Sin' auld lang syne.
Curly Su
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
And there's a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught
For auld lang syne.
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Say Hello To My Little Friend

My Little Friend
So, this is what happens to you when you kick a cranky Greyhound when he's sleeping on the porch because he hasn't been blogging enough. YOU become the subject of the blog post.
I confess, Nytro was right. I have not been updating my blog enough. ("Hello, Mr. Pot, I'm Mrs. Kettle, and you're black.")
But being right does not mean you will avoid a post directed almost entirely at you.
The picture set out above is one taken of me and my little friend Nytro at the SOMA triathlon in Tempe. You will recall that SOMA occurred approximately two weeks after I allegedly ruptured my disc, which coincidentally occurred while my little friend was sprinkling chicken blood over a doll bearing a remarkable resemblance to a short, skinny, balding triathlete while she stabbed said doll with sharp instruments of destruction.
Let me connect some more dots for you. My little friend is running a little race in January. In fact she is running that little race a week after I run a slightly bigger race--if by slightly bigger you mean "twice as freaking long, in fact long enough to have caused Mr. Pheidippedes to expire after announcing the Athenian victory over the Persians at Marathon."
And yet, MY LITTLE FRIEND falters. Even though I am injured and lack race-ready confidence, she has (although you can't tell by looking) shrunk from the challenge to match my sluggish marathon pace in her half-mary. She threatens to pull out the voodoo doll again, only this time it bears a striking resemblance to a pasty-white (and yet strikingly ripped) Canadian Ironman who is also running that little race.
She has her reasons, which she will undoubtedly post, but allow me a serious digression.
I intend to post later in the week about why we can't do this thing alone and the people who have given me a hand up. Nytro and Benny are two that deserve special mention as the keenest type of friends that one can make in any undertaking. They are remarkable people on their own, and their combination is much much greater than the sum of the parts. Nytro cannot fully hide their grace in the rough blog persona. They have a special union that is an example even to their elders, and the excess of their spirit flows out to their friends.
And if it were not for the friends, why do this at all? If I train to my maximum ability and never become injured again until the day I die, I will never stand upon any podium. And I can train for self-improvement and race Father Time all I want, but Father Time remains undefeated to this day. But if I do not train, if I do not compete, if I do not "strive with" my fellows in this odd hobby, I would never meet the likes of Benny and Nytro.
I would be the poorer for it. Merry Christmas, you two.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Random Thoughts--Help Wanted

This is the performance enhancing drug I had on the way to the Greatest Health Club On The Planet this morning. I know it is toxic, and I know it enhances the bonk when the simple carbs and caffeine run out, but I needed it to get going. I.NEEDED.IT.
I can stop any time I want. Really.

Once I got going, I was a rockstar, if I do humbly say so myself. I know I am marathon-worthy when I reach 10x800 at a certain pace. With the race about 3.5 weeks off and taper just around the corner, I did 9x800 this morning.
Afterwards, I ate everything I brought for breakfast.
Then I ate everything I brought for lunch.
Then I had a Coke and chips.
Then I had two cups of coffee and an Advil.
Then, without meaning to, I fell into a coma-like sleep in my chair. I'm pretty sure my heart and all brain wave activity stopped.
I don't know if I can PR at the Disney Marathon given my owie issues and a crowded course, but the heart rate data from my 10 mile fartlek with Coach T and the 9x800 tells me I have enough gas in the tank to go under 4 hours again (which would make twice--thanks Coach T). As Triboomer would say, "stay tuned."

Now, for the help. IM Able and I exchanged e-mails and comments about something. She has named her tri-induced hunger (I call it a tapeworm) "TYR" to personalize it. I think I need to name the pain from my ruptured disc, because it is likely to recurr and be around for awhile. So, I am soliciting entries in the "name the chronic pain" contest. I have my own frontrunner name for the pain, but a truly brilliant entry by you might garner you some Greyhound Schwag.
In addition, regular readers know I'm trying to come back from injury and complete Ironman Wisconsin this year without my neck (or cranium or central nervous system) exploding and requiring surgery. This Odyssey requires a theme song to keep me motivated and on track. So, again, I turn to the knowledgable blogosphere. I have two songs that are frontrunners for me right now, but a truly brilliant entry by you may garner additional Greyhound Schwag. Please include lyrics if you have them.
Random acts of kindness are the order of the day. Go play.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Stocking Stuffers For The Guy Who Has Everything (Or At Least Thinks He Does)

Ok, ladies. Now that I've got your attention, a bit of a warning. This post contains information of a frank and sensitive nature. Reader discretion is advised.

Oh, we got trouble. Right here in the Bayou City, and elsewhere I suspect. It is trouble that can only be remedied by the women in our lives. Thus, I call upon you fair and gentle women of the blogosphere--yea I beseech, verily I beg you--help us solve a pervasive problem.
I have long tried to ignore the problem, thinking it might go away or fix itself. But it seems to be getting worse, especially during this time of year when the average waist line enlarges and many of those enlarging waists start joining gyms--including my gym--the Greatest Health Club On The Planet.
What is this scourge, this pox upon our workout facilities? At this point, sensitive readers are warned once again, take heed. The problem is . . . .

Yes. There. I said it. Those little briefs that used to cup your little bum when you were 8 years old and had little toothpick legs ARE NOT doing the trick now that you are pushing forty (or fifty), pushing two (or three) bills on the scales, and pushing body hair like a primate with a thyroid condition.

Ladies. Your men are apparently oblivious to the problem, because my locker room witnesses a parade of thinly concealed and tightly contained flesh having the appearance of cottage cheese with fur. We.Need.Coverage.

For the love of all that is wholesome, please, please, please, raid your man's drawer full of drawers. Confiscate anything resembling a brief, as well as any other thing bearing the same waist measurement as when you married the galoot. Put them to the flame and consign them to the hell from whence they came.

Visit Target. Obtain boxer briefs or boxers in the appropriate waist measurement, stuff his stocking and fill his world (and ours) with the joy of leaving something to the imagination.

In chatting with Nytro this afternoon while we were "working," she and I collaborated on further stocking stuffer suggestions:

  • Nose hair clips
  • A visit to the man spa (wax on/wax off)
  • A sweat towel that is permanently attached to your person while you are pumping your iron, the better to conserve the gym equipment with
  • A bath towel that is permanently attached to your person while your person is anywhere in the locker room other than the shower
  • Something--anything--capable of removing 80s cologne
  • Bolt cutters to remove those 80s gold chains
  • A visit to the man barber to remove that 80s 'stache and feathered hairdo
  • Appropriately sized undershirts that are not intended to act in lieu of the "mansierre" or "bro"
No need to thank me. I'm just here to help. Any additional suggestions for the guy who thinks he has everything will be welcomed in the comment section.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


There was only one person swimming laps this afternoon. It was me. The air was cold liquid fog, and the pool steamed into the pine trees. Two other people had braved the unfavorable weather, the 17-year-old life guards--one girl and one boy--who were fifty meters away on the opposite end of the pool. They apparently had determined that I did not need much guarding because they were playing a game between themselves, the flirtatious rules of which have become less clear to me in the decades since I was 17.
I almost did not go to the pool today. I think I was afraid of what might happen if I did. It was the first time I've been in the water since I tried to practice at SOMA with pain from a disc that I did not know had ruptured. On that day, I could not make my arm work through muscle spasm and pain. I've had enough pain and failure for awhile. I don't want any more. Yet moving forward is not possible without risks.
I did not know what might happen as I stripped down to my swim suit and dropped into the water. I've lost six to eight pounds, mostly upper body muscle on my right side, since the nerves across my back and down my arm were impinged. I haven't needed pain killers for two solid weeks; but, what would it feel like to pull? Would it hurt? Would it work at all? Could I turn my head to breathe?
I planned to just work drills and improve my form, starting with kicking and balance drills that would not require any pulling or head turning. The risk was rewarded. I set no speed or distance records, but I did something I haven't been able to do for two months.
I swam.
I guess when you're 17, like the lifeguards in love, every day is a beginning of sorts. When you're 40, beginnings don't seem to come along quite so often--although I encounter them more frequently now than I did before I found this wonderful sport.
If I'm able to reach the start line of Ironman Wisconsin, I might just look back on this day and see something special. Today just might be my beginning.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Running with Desiree Ficker

So, um, yeah. I went running with Desiree Ficker this morning. Well I was virtually running with Desiree. Desiree lives and trains in Austin, when she's not kicking a$$ at Kona. And see, I am in Austin too. For training, which translated means, "for meetings punctuated by training runs on Town Lake."

So I left my hotel early this morning before it was light and jogged to the nearest Starbucks on the corner of 15th and some uknown river name street here in the Cap City for some chemical inspiration to get in a key run session. In my ears I hear Simply Stu talking with Desiree about her Kona breakthrough.

Hey, this is Desiree's town. She could walk in at any moment. Right?

Well, she didn't walk in, but nevertheless her voice stayed in my ears through the Grande Drip and out onto the warmup portion of the run. How refreshing and wonderful she is, seemingly surprised that people were cheering for her and excited by her progress and accomplishments, an attitude so different from the average NBA or MLB player who acts as if we owe them our adulation and genuflection. Desiree told a tale of having the husbands and boyfriends of her competitors cheering for her at Kona. Man! Lisa Bentley's significant other giving Desiree time gaps back to Lise in the biggest race of the season??!!
I guess I should not be surprised, because in my experience, limited though it may be triathlon is not really about destroying your opponent. It's more about "striving with" your fellow racers against a common enemy--whether its the clock, the course, father time, your own fear of the water or your own perceived limitations, fear, failures and demons.
Desiree and Stu finished up about when it was time to work--about 6 miles of fartlek in the middle of a ten mile run. I was running on Town Lake, a course I'm sure Desiree has run many times. Although I did not see Desiree this morning, I saw the same wide range of folks she must see when she's out there "striving with" us.
I saw fetching pony tails attached to college coeds.
I saw biceps and beer bellies attached to UT frat boys.
I saw buzz cuts without beer bellies attached to freakin' fast Austin Firemen.
I saw a sweat band and grey locks attached to an amazing lady masters runner.
I saw birkenstocks and leashes attached to earth mothers walking their dogs.
I saw strollers attached to soccer moms walking their infant future soccer stars.
All of us were out there striving with each other and enjoying a perfect morning. The cool thing about our sport is that if I had seen Desiree at the water fountain, I would have felt perfectly comfortable giving her a high five and introducing myself, and she would have been just another runner out there on the same path.
We are all, after all, on the same path. We may have different starting lines, different goals, different limitations, different obstacles, but at the end of the day, the differences are not nearly so significant as our commonalities.
We're all in this together.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

For the Record

Although I have been accused of going too hard and of overtraining by certain people (ahem, Maria Gratia, **cough cough** Nytro), I would like to note something for the record.

Let it be noted that on this day, I listened to my body. I was beginning the 800 repeat treadmill workout, which is a key session in my marathon prep. The RPE was way too high for the pace and heartrate, and there was a little twinge in my knee every time I got a good push off with a proper stride. Even though Maria Gratia was in the house, (The Best Health Club On The Planet), and even though I have been accused of trying to run through brick walls if I thought there might be a girl watching, I exercised restraint.
I have postponed the workout until tomorrow or next week, and I did some fun stretching and exercises for my owie that I got from the physical therapist.
So there. I listened to my body.
My body also told me that I needed two sausage and cheese kolaches this morning instead of yogurt and granola.
(**Here's a bit of Greyhound trivia. Watch the randomly changing images for about two minutes on the home page of the Greatest Health Club On The Planet and you will eventually see the Greyhound in his natural habitat. Greyhound is a covert fitness model.**)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Whiskey and Chocolates

Christmas Kitty
So, Greyhound and the whole canine pack are ensconced this evening in their Lone Star homestead. There is a chill in the air (brrr, it must be in the upper 40s), the fake logs are casting their flickering light on the fake tree, in which the only feline member of the pack has taken refuge. It is time once again for whiskey and chocolates, those twin vices reserved for the completion of a successful training week. Tonight it is Ghirardelli dark chocolate squares and Glenlivet 18 year single malt.
It has been awhile since I last wrote of whiskey and chocolates. It has been a long time since I had a truly successful training week. Moreover, I am informed that vicodin and whiskey are a distinctly bad combination for those who do not wish to risk liver failure. But, I have not had any vicodin in five days.
Yes. Five days without Greyhound's little helper. Life. Is. Good.
Riddle me this: when is guzzling two beers before church as fast as you can pour them down your gullet the right thing to do? Okay, they were O'Douls. But it was right to guzzle them because I had just done my first 20 mile long run since last marathon season. That session is the acid test for anyone wishing to complete a marathon--at least an open race without that little 2.4 mile aquatic and 112 mile velo-centered warmup of which we are so fond. Today was the 20 mile long run, first of the season. It reminded me why I like marathon training so much. I spent the two days before wondering whether I could do it, and all day today in an endorphinated caloric black hole celebrating having done it.
Today was special because unlike most of my long runs in the past, I was not alone. I started alone in the dark before the city was awake, but Coach T and her main squeeze Scuba Steve joined me for the last part of the run. They are both distance stars in their 20s and I sometimes wonder why they tolerate me, but it is a real blessing to have them along. Not only do they remind me of Mrs. Greyhound and I in our 20s (they are so entertaining and cute together), the hills and miles that are usually a solo death march became higher, faster and stronger. I finished better both becuase they can jog my tempo pace and because no 4o year old guy with a pulse wants a 24 year old woman to see him wheeze and expire like an old Honda Civic.
I ran above my capacity, and for this I have Coach T to thank. Team Greyhound tried to do so by treating them to lunch at Hungry's after church.
Notwithstanding having found some of my stride again, I'm going to have some work getting my triathlon bod back. Recall that I was 144 poundaroos immediately before SOMA due to MIKI's strength training. This morning I was 135.8 poundaroos, probably because I was dehydrated after the run and because I've lost some muscle mass.
135 pounds. Nytro, don't hate me because I'm beautiful.
Have a great week, everyone.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Surgeons Blow

I have now seen the MRI for myself. The herniation of the disc is quite ugly and it protrudes significantly in to the spinal canal. No wonder I hurt like hell. That said, surgeons blow.
I went to a surgical consult, only because the orthopedist wanted me to. He is convinced that he will do surgery on my owie some day. AS IF! I cannot remember anyone I know who has had back surgery who said, "wow, I'm glad I did that. That was a great idea."
I have apparently bitch slapped my owie enough that the mere threat of a knife has hopefully frightened the healing process into beginning. One week ago, a dose of vicodin would have worn off after two hours. Even Tuesday, I needed the newly approved higher does of vicodin and an afternoon sleep off to manage the pain. Today, I have had no vicodin since noon yesterday, because I have not needed it. I have had no pain meds of any type since 8:30 last night, because I have not needed them.
Actually, the most effective relief for the condition thus far has been endorphins. I feel great and have absolutely no pain after a good run, or after . . . uhm . . . you know . . . certain other recreational/procreational activities common to grownups. If I could just figure out how to live perpetually in a post run high or post-whoopie afterglow, I'd have this thing wired. If I have any medical readers who would like to pursue such research, I am willing to donate my body to science. I'm sacrificial that way.
And so it goes. By the time you actually navigate the hoops and hurdles to gain access to a physician, you are either dead or you don't actually need them. And this holds true even if you're a highly paid uber professional with copious medical insurance.
And forget about even getting enough cooperation or information from a physician to permit you to make judgments about preparing for long course triathlon. Just try and get them to understand the training. They're used to treating Americans--i.e., people who sit eat on their couches while watchin the Bachelor, and/or complain while they waddle from prescription to prescription, waiting to expire.
I however, prefer 8x800 yesterday and a 20 mile long run this weekend. (Holy crap, wish me luck). I'm going to do it until it hurts or until someone I trust tells me to stop.
Wow, that was kind of a rant.
In a more positive vein, I know that all you guys out there like to support your significant others. In particular, if your girl has complained about her gear, and if you want to be supportive of those special qualities about her that you find so desirable, go here. She'll thank you for it. I'm just sayin'
Word? Ladies?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Vicodin and Mayonaise

Poor Superpounce. Don't tell her I let you know. She wanted us to tell her friend that she was grounded rather than let her know the truth. Superpounce has been quarantined from Oofy, the little stuffed dog she has slept with since I placed Oofy in her crib when she was a toddler.
Superpounce is quarantined because she contracted a case of head lice--and she would die if she knew that I let it out. She considers herself to be legitimately famous now that she is on the blog.
The over the counter treatment did not work, so we consulted a highly trained medical professional who recommended . . . .
Yep. Mayonaise in the hair, bound up in saran wrap for three hours then washed out. Worked like a charm. So much so, in fact, that Superpounce asked whether we could smother Oofy in mayo so that she could have her back tonight.
It was hard to make her understand that mayo would not work so well on a plush toy, especially one that is in danger of losing her stuffing and what's left of her loved-on fur if we wash her ever again. There is nothing for it except two weeks in a plastic bag to let any vermin die off.
"It's going to be a long two weeks," moaned Superpounce.
Indeed it is.
Would that mayonaise or even two weeks in a plastic bag could cure me. An MRI has confirmed that my neck owie is an actual slipped disc between C6 and C7. Highly trained medical professionals blow.
Slipped disc????? What am I some obese, deskbound office worker who throws his back out reaching over his paunch to tie his shoes? This is nuts! I refuse to have such an injury. I am not going to age like my parents. I am, after all, immortal. I'm an American, dammit. We are young and thin and strong, at least when we watch TV to escape the reality where we are all wadlding toward a BMI gomorrah of type II diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.
But my refusal to have this injury has not sufficed thus far. The injury refuses to listen. Vicodin helps. (It is also highly recommended for Thanksgiving and other large gatherings of extended family. Got to save some of the prescription for next year). I have been running. But I miss the pool. I miss the bike. And most of all I have a gnawing fear that I won't be ready.
I want to be at the start line of Ironman Wisconsin with a sound body and a confident mind. I know I'm blessed to be as healthy as I am, but that does not mute the little voice in my head reminding me that I am not where I want to be.
Now, where are those pills?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It's Weird And It's Slimy

by Superpounce

I found something in our classroom closet.
I don't exactly know what it is.
But I know one thing--it's weird and it's slimy.
I couldn't sleep that night.
What a fright to see that sight.
When I went to school the next day, I decided to go in the closet.
I reached in the closet and when I took it out, I screamed.
The teacher said it was harmless, and I could keep him.

I took him and kept him forever.


So, I was complaining to Triboomer yesterday on the instant messenger about missing multisport training while I am sorting out my neck owie. All I can do is run. I guess I should not be surprised, but my complaints often come back to bite me and teach me something.
This morning was another run. But it was perfect. Simple and perfect. One friend, one me, two runners, and perfect company. No heartrate monitor. I even forgot to start my stopwatch. Ten miles from Memorial Park through River Oaks and back.
Ten miles of perfect calm and darkness.
Ten miles of running as fast or as easy as the moment required.
Ten miles of conversation.
Ten miles of listening.
Ten miles of being listened to.
Ten miles of just plain fun.
Ten miles in which there was nothing else that I would rather be doing. That is a rare gift to receive from a friend, and hopefully to have given a friend in return.
Nothing complicated. Nothing fancy. Just ten simple miles.
"How simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched brazier, the sound of the sea . . . " I would add, a morning run with a friend. "All that is required to feel that here and now is happiness is a simple, frugal heart."
Nikos Kazantkzakis, Zorba the Greek, ch. 7 (1946).

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

First Female


It must be the greyhound genes. Today, in her mile run for the physical fitness test, Superpounce, formerly known as the puppy, was AWESOME.

Last year, I had to coax and cajole just to keep her from walking. She still did about 9 minutes to the mile. This year, even while I was away at the doctor, she was . . .

* * * * wait for it * * * * *


If I can't beat you, Nytro, then you shall be accursed. My seed shall be your nemesis.


Not that I am competitive or anything.

In related news, Mrs. Greyhound, who loathes running even more than Nytro, did the mile and found that it wasn't too bad. Maybe I've got some new training partners in the works.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Morning Light

I know that all the peeps in Cleveland, Minneapolis, and the "Through Th3 Wall World Headquarters" probably don't want to hear this, but it has to be said. This is the best time of the year in Houston. We suffer, swelter and melt while you have temperate summer breezes, so in return, we get moderate temps while you sit in the slush.
It's a bit like living in the Southern Hemisphere, say New Zealand, where summer is on the way. Just when Triathlete Magazine and Runner's World start talking about off-seasons and winter training, we are having weatherly bliss. Rather than this serene picture of morning light in the Huntsville State Park, I could have rubbed your faces in it with pictures of Memorial Park yesterday. It was dry and 65 degrees. The park was full of people playing volleyball, eating on blankets, lying on the ground, riding bicycles, and (like me) running.
I was only in the park for a bit, but not because I was running junk miles. The park represented about 1.5 miles in the last hour of an 18 mile long run.
*blink* *blink*
Yes, that's right, sports fans. Eighteen Miles.
It has been a year since I ran that far, and the furthest I ran before the aborted "Battle of the Sexes" was 15 miles--nearly a month ago. I had split a 17 mile run morning and evening last week, but with the Disney Marathon coming up, it was now or never. Either I have progressed to the point that I can run with decent posture and my neck will take a marathon long run or I have not.
So, on the top 5 weather day of the year, I took off on an 18 mile route that approximates part of the Houston Marathon course. The route leaves downtown on the bayou trail, turns south through Montrose and the Museum District, turns west at the Medical Center past Rice University in to West U, turns north then west into the Galleria, turns back East through Memorial Park, and thence along the Bayou back into downtown. If you get out to the Galleria or "the Loop" and give out, there is nothing to be done but walk it in 6 or 8 miles. Absent that, there is the ignominy of calling for rescue, because the family is too far away to pick me up and take me to my car..
Parts were tough, and today I am a little creaky in the legs, but with a little help from my friends Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana, Mahler and Metallica, we got 'er done.
Tuesday is 7x800 fast. There. Is. Hope.

Friday, November 17, 2006


"Aufersteh'n, ja aufersteh'n wirst du . . . "
Maybe it was the wind--stiff, cold, clear and dry--unlike our usual Houston weather. The air literally changed. Everything past was blown away.
Maybe it was just the time of year--that time when boys like me who went to Sunday School remember that there is someon to whom we are speaking when we give "thanks."
Whatever it was, something told me to shake myself and change, to quit worrying and moping about my "owies" and start rejoicing about my blessings.
I went out on my evening run along the Bayou in the cold and growing darkness as a blanket of navy velvet descended on the city skyline. The glass and steel towers were illuminated from within by electricity and from without by the sun that had just dropped below the horizon. The i-pod randomly shuffled to the finale to Mahler's Symphony No. 2--The Resurrection Symphony.
Nice. Resurrection.
I am blessed that I can run at all. Some cannot. Some never have. I may not be running as fast or as far as I wanted to be running at this point, but heck, I will never run as fast and as far as I'd like.
I am blessed that I will get well at all. Some have conditions that will never heal. Some have conditions that will kill them. I just have to deal with an owie that will some day go away.
I am blessed that I am connected with so many human beings who care about me. Some must suffer more and must suffer alone.
I am blessed.
The final chorale of brass, pipe organ and chorus swelled my i-pod as I reached the Waugh Street Bridge. Against the backdrop of the bayou and the skyline, the bat colony under the bridge swooped majestically into the night sky like one large, smoky beast. The chorus sang,"Aufersteh'n, ja aufersteh'n wirst du . . . "
Rise again, yes, you shall rise again . . . .
I will. I am blessed.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Never Fart In A Wetsuit

So, um, yeah. I'm catching up on my posting obligations, A.J. There were no rules against sophomoric humor.

You Have Got To See This

If you want to know what it looks like when a 45 year old tri-geek from California and a 30-something Trimama from Minnesota go into a tatoo parlor in Panama City Beach for their m-dot tatoos, go here!!! Part 2 is even better, HERE! You'll laugh, you'll cry. Taconite Boy's video may win best picture this year and Robo-Stu nearly breaks a rib and throws his back out rolling on the floor laughing at the Iron Kahuna.

Coffee Haiku

(This is dedicated to the slightly insane peeps like Triboomer who gave up the bean of the gods, and for those impoverished souls like A.J. who have yet to acquire the habit.)

Made with my own hands

Bubbling in the day's cold dawn

Better than Starbucks

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Fall Comes to South Texas

Fall Comes to South Texas
Originally uploaded by trigreyhound.

Morning Mist

Trimama and all my yankee peeps would have laughed at the Texans. In 45 minutes the temperature dropped from uncomfortably steamy to uncomfortably cool as a cold front passed over our campsite in the Huntsville State Park. By the morning, the temperature was in the 40s and the native Texans called it "cold." Superpounce, formerly known as the puppy, used two sleeping bags and snuggled like there was no tomorrow. I was the one in the technical wicking fabrics and bitchin' Oakley shades.
The water temperature was warmer than the air temp, so we got a beautiful mist rising off the lake in the morning light. It was a YMCA campout--those places where dads are in charge of the kids for the weekend, and thus, in the absence of maternal oversight, very few hands are washed, very few bed times are observed, and there was nary a vegetable in the entire campground. There was no running, except to run to the playgound. There was no biking except for kids. There was no swimming of any kind, becuase there are gators in that lake.
I am not sure the doc would have recommended sleeping on the ground as treatment for a creaky neck and rebellious shoulder.
Enjoy the pics

Superpounce Greets The Day

Superpounce Greets the Day
Originally uploaded by trigreyhound.

Breakfast Bed Head

Breakfast Bed Head
Originally uploaded by trigreyhound.

Swinging Superpounce

Swinging Superpounce
Originally uploaded by trigreyhound.