Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Fame in my Flip Flops

I was both humbled and gratified upon being notified by the Iron Kahuna of my academy award for best supporting actor. (I'll expect my Speedo-bedecked statuette any day in the mail). No, seriously I was. To be regarded as generous and supportive is quite a change. In times past, social shyness has been mistaken as arrogance, someone I don't want to be. Today, if you want an encourager or a cheering section, I'm your guy.

Buuuuuuuuut, I feel like my 15 minutes of triathlete fame is a bit tarnished--sort of like showing up at the Whitehouse to meet the President in your flip flops. (See the girls in the front row at the left side). Consider all the studly race photos and profile pics of me out there in the public domain, all of the many options to show off my triathlete hawtedness. Does the Kahuna pick those?


Curly Su gets to look lovely and complex in her beautiful, pensive pose.

Triboomer and Comm look all studly, racing on the Ironman course.

Iron Wil and IronJenny gaze at us in their beautiful serenity.

Even Bold--he gets to pose with a hawt biker chick.

Greyhound? Not so much. Mouse ears.

Maybe my massive publicity campaign offended the academy voters. Oh well. I'm not one to complain. My publicist and my people, however, thought we should get some competing photos out there. Actually, I have some race photos saved up from the Disney Marathon that I have been meaning to share. They actually tell the story of the race pretty well. (Tri-Chica oggling is highly encouraged. Being oggled is still a delightful and new experience for me.)

The start was magnificent and exciting:

Start I
Start II

But the weather was skanky. This is about mile 11. Just look at the humidity:

Mile 11

It got hotter, and I got slower. Mile 17 in the Animal Kingdom. At this point I am faking a decent stride:

Mile 17-ish

This is mile 20 or so. Much of the last 10 miles of the race being in the full sun on unforgiving, concrete road surfaces:

Mile 20-ish

Mile 23 -- forward motion has slowed considerably:

Mile 23

But no matter how much you beg, I won't share the special picture Mrs. Greyhound took of me when we were alone that night.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007


To: Very Large Man
From: Greyhound
Date: February 27, 2007
Subject: Daily Nekkid Weigh In

Until you notice a visual change in the man breasts, belly and back folds, you weigh approximately the same as you did yesterday when you weighed yourself, and the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that, etc. etc. etc. Visual change will occur when you begin to use the equipment in our fine facility, and in all probability not before.

If, however, a daily weigh in must be performed, please note that the towel does not add that much weight if it remains in place rather than being removed. Likely not as much as the chains around your neck, which (I note) always remain in place.

Beyond being unnecessary, the current practice is a rather traumatic visual and something I would prefer not to see

. . . while I am brushing my teeth.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Base Training--Stick a Fork In Me

Mishele K and I trained some at the same of the same locations this weekend, but we were not really at the same place. Mishele, at 24 or 25, is 7 weeks out from Ironman Arizona, her fourth Ironman. Greyhound, at 40, is 195 days out from Ironman Wisconsin, my first Ironman. (Crap! That countdown has gone under 200 days!)

She is ready. I've got a ton of work to do. So this weekend, I did some. Saturday I swung northward to the Sam Houston National Forest for mile after mile of lucious, hilly goodness in the rain.

NewWaverlyHuntsville Profile]

It was the first time since last fall that I felt like I had some life in my legs on the bike. About three and half hours right in the zone followed by what felt like an ez mile runoff where the watch said I was clocking 8:39 without any effort at all. If I were going to get cocky, however, the rest of the weekend brought me up short.

First to the Woodlands Athletic Center for the long swim of the week with Mishele K. She ripped off 3000 bilateral meters like she was yawning and getting up from a nap. She did swim a 1:09 at Wisconsin last year, after all. I stuck with it and managed my 2500 meter goal ladder workout--still struggling with getting my strength and endurance back on my right side as a result the neck injury last fall.

Sunday, it was off to the Tri County Hill Hopper.


Mishele K did the whole enchilada, 76 miles of windy, hilly hellishness. As I said before, she is 7 weeks from Ironman and definitely in the zone. In contrast, I knew after about 30 miles that 76 was just not feasible after the previous day's training, so I dragged myself in off the 45 mile route. A good long ride and an honest effort, but still a long way to go.

I had been working on a post about the beautiful images I saw on the Huntsville ride, but right now, I AM SPENT. Maybe I'll get to it later. Tomorrow is rest. So far, the old dog is holding together and my head is still attached to my torso. After more than 16 hours of training this week, including four swims and two long bikes this weekend, that is a success. So, it is whiskey and chocolates for everyone.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Blogger Down

I avoid blogging politics or religion like the plague. I like friends. BUT, I read the news today. Oh boy. This is an excerpt of what I saw:

"Blogger Gets 4 Years for Insulting Islam
"By NADIA ABOU EL-MAGD Associated Press Writer © 2007 The Associated Press

"ALEXANDRIA, Egypt — An Egyptian blogger was convicted Thursday and sentenced to four years in prison for insulting Islam, the Prophet Muhammad and Egypt's president, sending a chill through fellow Internet writers who fear a government crackdown. * * * *"

The full story is here. The offending blog is here.

Now, I'm not a huge civil libertarian, and no one has ever confused me for liberal; BUT, how can you possibly think you can join the family of nations in the 21st century if you have to imprison electronic keyboard peckers who insult your president and your dominant religion. Pretty secure in yourselves, aren't you? If you want the western world to treat you like a big, grown up country, well then . . . .


I'm thinking about starting a new blog for reposting and linking to the writings of jailed bloggers. Sorry. Just had to get that off my chest. I'm finished now.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


You fishy swimmer types, Brett, Mishele, Kahuna, Trisaratops, IronJenny are a mystery to me. I am so jealous of whatever secret mojo allows you to glide in the water. I want to do this. It looks so fluid and beautiful and easy. Sure doesn't feel that way. Maybe Mishele will entrust me with the ways of the force.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Roadies and Tri-Geeks Unite! (Share The Nerdiness)

Heads up! If you're just looking for a chance to get your cycle geek on, if you're climbing the walls looking at snow outside while you are chained to your trainer, TAKE HEART! you don't have to wait for the Giro d'Italia. The Tour of California is ON! In fact, as the right honorable gentleman from the Republic of Boulder would say,


There is television coverage every night on Versus. Here is the schedule. While you are "working" there is a beyotchin' website with tour maps, video, live play by play, and a wicked google map that allows you to follow the race in progress. Today's 97 mile stage begins at 11 a.m. Pacific time. Catch it, because we all know . . .

It's all about the bike.

Yesterday, the prologue took me by surprise. It was on Versus (formerly known as OLN), and it was worth the visit. American riders swept the first three spots in the 1.9 mile time trial prologue that finished atop Telegraph Hill in San Francisco. Young American, Jason Donald, smoked the course early, and his time held until Levi Leipheimer edged him by a fraction of a second as the last rider up that day. WOOO HOOO!

**hyperventilating in paper bag**

(Note to self: Levi's wife has it going on too. GO LEVI!!!)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

You Are Here

"[F]or the weather is the weather and a flat is a flat, and there’s nothing but wasted energy in whining. The bills are the bills and the boss is the boss, and I won’t change a thing by complaining. Instead I think of simple known things and find comfort in focusing… now, what's the best way to get myself home today…"--Iron Wil

I needed one additional piece of equipment on my ride this morning: electrical tape. Let me explain. I'll start at the beginning.

When Tejas was part of Mexico, Anglo empressarios doled out land grants for colonies and situated them higgledy piggledy all over the place. Their borders were rivers that flowed from northwest to southeast, dry riverbeds and arroyos that carried water only in season, trails etched into the earth by Native Americans or animal migration, and sometimes just a random line drawn by an Anglo in a big beaver hat. The roads then tended to wind their way around these boundaries so that it is a rarity to travel a country road in a straght line on a compass pount for long.

The result of all this obtuse history, decided more than 150 years ago by men who are memorized and then forgotten by Texas schoolchildren, is that your bike ride will subtly change direction every few miles or even every few hundred yards, but the 25 mile an hour, 35 degree wind will always be in your face.

At least it seemed that way this morning. It took two hours to claw the first 22 mies of the MS150 training ride this morning. Two hours in which the wind was either directly in your face or off your front quarter, as if mother nature wanted to cast you back to Houston and thence into the gulf. The barbed wire rattled and hummed like it was charged with electricity and the cedar trees and the pastures bowed ever lower to the prevailing gale. Throw in some hills--hills you had to peddle down to make headway into the wind--and it was immediately clear that I was not going to finish this ride in the time I thought. Head down, quads burning, neck aching, it went on and on and on. Single digits speeds on a computer that I wanted to obscure with electrical tape.

Odd thing about wind. Sometimes it seems like no matter where you turn, it's always in your face. Just about the time you get used to it, it gusts harder. Curse all you want, it won't listen. Wish for a trainer in a garage, and still, here you are. You can always search for an easier gear--and yet, easier is not always better. Where are you going? A course with hills, eh? Hmmm. What was it like last year? Cold, rainy and windy? Hmmm. So, is this weather really "bad?"

It's like one of those maps at the mall with the arrow: you are here. It doesn't matter if the department store your spouse needs is at the other end, and the smoothie stand your daughter needs is downstairs, and the chair you'd rather be sitting in is at home. You.Are.Here.

If you want to go home for a hot shower, or better still, if you want to go to a starting line at Wildflower or Ironman Wisconsin, it's no good trying to start somewhere you're not. You have to start where you are. Simple. No good trying to use what you haven't got. You can only use what you have.

I guess the trick is being where you're supposed to be, and bringing everything you've got. Today I was--all of me, where I was supposed to be.

We had great weather this morning.

Another odd thing about wind. Every once in a while, when you turn for home, you can fly.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

My Valentine

We all run through an inventory of "why do I do this?" or at least "what started me doing this?" from time to time. My Valentine is at least one of the motivations that got me going. Those of you who have been hanging in there for a year or so will know where this post is going, and will know what the new link is at the top of the side bar.

I met my Valentine when we were both just kids, age 20 if I recall correctly. We both grew up in Oklahoma, where classical musicians are sparse, knew all the same people, and even played in the same All State Orchestra as high school seniors, but somehow never met. I went off to Wisconsin for school, she went to OU. Finally, during our sophomore year in college, when I was home during Spring Break, we met through a mutual acquaintance during a group lunch when they were all out of class. I was deeply impressed with her in the way that only a male college sophomore can be. Lust at first sight. (I don't think she was impressed with me yet, on any level.) We were both admitted to the Aspen Music Festival that year, so I decided I really (no I mean REALLY) wanted to know her. I'm a biblical person that way.

We did meet at Aspen, and spent two summers growing from what we thought was love into what really was love. May 25th following two summers in Aspen we said all the promises about, "for richer, for poorer" and "sickness and health" etc. etc. etc.Pack Leader Bride

The "richer poorer" stuff has turned out not to be so bad. She married a poor musician with no job and an intent on going to graduate school, she now has a not-so-poor lawyer. The "sickness health" stuff has been more of a challenge.

After Superpounce was born, my Valentine started experiencing tingling and numbness in her feet and her hands. We had it checked out, but the testing was inconclusive and it went away after some steroidal infusions. Pack Leader and Baby Superpounce

When Superpounce was starting to walk around, however, it came back. It came back and progressed. Pretty soon, my valentine was numb in both her hands and arms and from the abdomen down. Her feet would not always obey her, and I had to wake her every morning before I left early for work to make sure she could move--so that she could get up and be a mom when the baby awoke.

This time the testing was not inconclusive. My Valentine has Multiple Sclerosis--a disease in which the immune system of healthy young adults goes haywaire, strikes the central nervous system, and demylenates (or strips the insulation off) the nerve "wires" in the brain and spinal cord. This can cause all sorts of symptoms and difficulties from sensory numbness and pain, motor deficits, spasticity, paralysis and worse. The disease takes many different forms and its course is unpredictable. (Read more here.) Thankfully, the Pack Leader's condition has been relapsing and remitting, and other than managing fatigue or "minor" simptoms, basically has not flared for awhile.

Anyway, what does this have to do with triathlon? Well, before I did any tris, I did the BP MS150, the largest cycling fundrasing event in the nation. 13,000 cyclists will ride from Houston to Austin on two days in April and raise probably 11.5 million dollars this year. The money is responsible, in part, for the development of drugs that did not exist 10 years ago, which help to hold the disease in check. The Pack Leader injects one of those drugs every night, and more and better drugs are in Stage II and Stage III clinical trials right now. That money is also responsible for providing treatment to folks who (unlike us) are not fortunate enough to keep their jobs and health insurance when they become disabled.

The BP MS150 is my one and only athletic fundraiser. I am doing it again this year and hope to do it with a splash. I have set myself a goal to raise $9000. Even more, provided I can wisely ramp my cycling mileage without undue risk, I have set the goal to ride the entire 180 mile distance in one day. I would love for as many of my bloggy friends as possible to team up and play a part.

Obviously, I would love your cheers in the comment section as we ramp up for the event. Even more obviously, I would cherish every donation, large or small, which you can make online by clicking here or on the donation link in my sidebar.

Finally, even though the MS150 is closed to additional registrations, you can ride along and Alley Cat the second half of the ride. Let me know you want to do it, and we can meet outside La Grange, Texas on the appropriate day and time. Then, I will suck on your wheel all the way to Austin with Mrs. Greyhound providing van support. In return for the suckage, I will buy you unlimited quantities of beer and Mexican food. Triboomer is in, I think Mrs. Triboomer and some of the pride are coming along. Y'all come too.

See you out there.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Mellow Dog

"Hi. Uhm, my name is Greyhound."

"Hi, Greyhound."

"And, . . . uh, . . . wow, I'm kind of nervous. I've never really been to a meeting like this."

**it's ok, Greyhound. We're all here for you.**

**deep breath**

"OK, well, it's been, like, 21 days for me since I've had a drink."


"Yeah, I've turned on to my higher power and tried to make amends and all that, and it's been hard but I haven't had any."

"Awesome, Greyhound. Isn't that great everyone?"

**general affirmation all around**

"Uh, gosh, thanks. Like I say, it's hard going into work every day and smelling the Starbucks stand and the lattes in the elevator, but I made it, so far. I haven't had a coffee in 21 days."

**horrified gasps circulate around the smoke-filled room**

"NO COFFEE??!!! What kind of sick bastard are you?? Get out!"

Yes, gentle reader, while this pretend 12 step meeting never happened, part of the story is true. Inspired by some of the bloggy friends that have gone before me, I have secretly kicked the habit. I had been a heavy and habitual drinker of all manner of caffeinated swill for most of my life. Now 40, I started drinking the devil's brew as a young teenage musician on rehearsal breaks with the older musicians with whom I performed.

I wondered what would happen. I tapered back and mixed in half a decalf without significant side effects and really only had one mild day of headaches on the day I quit completely. Now, I don't need it to get energized in the morning, and my energy is more constant all day. In addition, I'm not masking tiredness and disguising potential overtraining. I am listening to my body, which (I hope) will return me the courtesy rather than cast me into hellish paroxysms of pain.

Perhaps most importantly, the Greyhound temper (which you, thankfully, have never seen) is much less flammable. Not sweating the small stuff is actualy possible now.

Don't get me wrong. I loves me a beautifully rich cup 'o dark and sensually erotic . . .

what were we talking about?

Oh, sorry. I meant to say that I don't anticipate being a tee-totaller. I'll save the coffee for a weekend treat or with friends. I think I can be a "social drinker." But right now, going without has me feeling better than I would have thought.

Duuuuuuuuuuuuude, it's, like, totally melloooooooooooooow.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Real Life

This will make little sense, and is probably not worth your time. If the prose is too purple for your taste, move on and return when I have come to my senses.
I have been experiencing a very wee bit of real life. No, not the kind of "real" one gets where television cameras are focused on hotel heiresses or self-absorbed MTVers whose most desparate desire is to be on TV. That "reality" is as authentic as silicone and nose jobs. Those cameras are focused on organisms doing nothing more than seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. Even invertebrates do that. You need a backbone to live real life. To explain . . .

Real life involves the ache I feel right this minute as I sit here in my chair writing while Superpounce reads her "Goosebumps" novel. Tonight, I don't mean the ache in the muscles I'm trying to repair from their bout with a cervical disc rupture. I mean an ache for a friend who is mourning, a very dear young friend who has been a great encouragement to me.
I know I cannot be experiencing one tenth of her emotion, but I am experiencing some of it, and I ache for her. It is a powerless kind of ache, because there is really nothing I can do to make things "all better," and in fact, there is much I can do and say wrong to make things worse.
I'm not used to feeling powerless. I don't like it. I am used to avoiding pain. I have gone through many of my 40 previous years avoiding close connections with all but a few persons, partly I guess out of inherrent shyness and partly because close connections can be painful. Pain, in the unexamined or immature life, is to be avoided at all costs in pursuit of pleasure, no matter how transient. The invertebrates and hotel heiresses do it, after all. If, however, you have a backbone, pain is sometimes part of the road you must travel if you are headed in the right direction.
Perhaps I am maturing, though I wonder sometimes. But the experience of training for and doing triathlons is certainly part of a process that is making me more fully human. I'm not sure I even know how.
I suppose triathlon teaches and re-teaches me daily to be where I am. Cursing the weather or wanting to be faster or stronger does not change the now. Just deal. If you look to far forward, you'll miss the view in that pasture you're riding by or the feel of the water gliding on your outstretched arm. How do you know you're alive if you can't feel the joy,
or the pain?
I guess the sport continues to teach me not to fear--not to fear effort, not to fear failure, not to fear pain or discomfort, even not to fear fear. Maybe there is something special in coming to a sport where no one starts out strong in all three disciplines. Maybe conquering (and re-conquering every day) the fear of the water or the doubts in my own ability works a courage or humanity muscle so I can empathisize instead of walling myself away from the world.
Maybe the experience of training simply tells me that pain today is temporary for tomorrow's blessing.
I don't know. And sometimes that's OK too.

Monday, February 05, 2007


So, yeah. I have been a bad blogger. No posting. I've got a parade of excuses, including an argument in the court of appeals tomorrow for which I have been preparing and a back log of stuff on which I want to post that has gotten me too verklempt to just sit down and bang something out. But, I've been tagged by Triathlonmom, so this is a simple way to break the writer's block before I head off to my hotel room for the night.
1. Describe a memory from your first triathlon ever
My first ever was a kid's sprint tri of which I have essentially no memory other than sleeping the rest of the day from pure exhaustion. My first grownup triathlon was the Cap Tex Tri last year, the Olympic Distance. My abiding fear was that I would not finish, that I would quit as I have done so many times in the past when I found something physically challenging. The full, multi-part, nouvella/race report is here, here, here, here, here, here and here. It's wordy and probably a little melodramatic, but it's a good place to start if you want to know something about me.
2. Describe a memory from your most recent triathlon
My most recent triathlon was one I did not get to race. I trained up for SOMA in order to toe the line with Benny and Nytro but shredded the disc between c6 and c7 in my neck. The Pack Leader (Mrs. Greyhound) traveled all the way out there to see me race for the first time, and yet no racing was had. It was physically and mentally awful to sit on the sidelines on pain killers, but I made two great and abiding friendships with the folks from Utah that I know will last for a long time.
3. What's the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you in a tri?
Easy. Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3 has these turnarounds on the two lane country road bike course where the road surface is . . . marginal. That is being charitable. Turning around in front of race marshals and everyone, being careful, going slow, catch gravel and lay the bike totally over. Blood, dropped chain, embarassment, blocking the road. Blech.
4. What's the most thrilling thing that's happened to you in a tri?
I would have thought it would be finishing my HIM last year, and don't get me wrong, I got immense satisfaction in sharing the experience with my friends and training partners. But it was the sharing and being part of a group of exceptional people that was the most thrilling of all.
5. What is something you discovered about yourself by doing triathlons
I am trying to post on this at some length later this week, but I am still learning a lesson. I don't have to lead a life (in Throreau's words) of quiet desperation. I don't have to go about my days merely seeking pleasure and avoiding or fearing pain, anesthetizing myself with TV or food or drink or what have you. I can, instead, be fully alive, experiencing joy and pain without buffer, even reaching out and taking pain from my friend bearing the burden with him or her.
Not very sporty, I know. But I'm not very sporty either.