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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dental Work

After 11 years of nothing but the 6-month cleanings, I had to go in to get a couple fillings today.  I forgot how much fun the whole program is from start to finish.  Here I am four hours later and am just beginning to get the feeling back in my upper lip and cheeks.

I wanted to write about this only because after I left the dentist’s office, I tried to take a drink out of a cup with a straw.  Now this was pure comedy.  I simply could not tell if my lips were closed and couldn’t generate and sucking power.  It is tragic that my wife and kids weren’t there to make fun of me dribbling water down my chin into my lap.

My dear wife just asked me if I wanted something for dinner.  I told her I needed to wait a bit because I am afraid I’ll chew off the inside of my cheeks.  You know what I’m talking about?  They call it mouth trauma.  We’ve all bit the inside of our cheek before.  Even worse is that it swells and you continue to accidentally bite it until it somehow miraculously heals…maybe overnight or something.  Citrus is a bad idea.

So, I’ll sit here and read some running blogs until I can maybe suck down some soup…oh, that is assuming my sucker returns to normal functionality.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Through the Eyes of My 17 Year Old

This is the last of the “Through the Eyes” series. I’m not overly comfortable with positive observations of me.

My 17 year old son chimes in to round things out.

We hauled our kids and a few of their friends down to Lake LBJ last weekend.  Everyone wanted to rent jet skis or a boat or a yacht.  I’m cheap so agreed that we’d go rent two jet skis for the day.  My son and I hit the rental shop.  After filling out the necessary paperwork (signing my life away or at minimum the maximum limit of my credit card) we were ready to get wet.

When putting on life jacket, I took off my shirt and tossed it in the car.  My son looked at me strangely.  I braced for the wise crack about my farmer tan or lack of muscle tone.  He simply said, “Gee Dad, you’re skinny.  Why do you always wear those big shirts?”

Um….speechless, I shrugged, strapped on the vest and headed to my watercraft.

Now, the reality is I’m not skinny.  Yet, I’m not really in the XL category that my wardrobe would lead you to believe.  I’ve been 10 pounds heavier at times, but running really stabilizes my weight when I stay consistent.  I’m be more consistent lately and it was before lunch.

I strutted around all day with my shirt off.  Sort of the “take a look at me” walk.

Ok, not really.  I kept covered up as usual.  Chubby or not, I’m still pale white and sorta droopy.  Yet, I appreciate my son saying that.  It was a pleasant reminder of the benefits of exercise.  My wife and I both exercise regularly.  I am proud of this.  We are setting a good example for the kids…something I can’t always say I do.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Through the Eyes of My 19 Year Old

While on vacation in Santa Fe a few weeks back, their minor league baseball team, Santa Fe Fuego, was in town.  They play in a small stadium just down the street from our place so our daughters and their friends decided to go check it out.  This was clearly a ploy to go check out the boy scene and just be out of direct adult supervision for a period of time.

Some of the players jokingly asked the girls their ages.  One signed a baseball and put his phone number on it with “Call Me”.  I guess I was not surprised when they wanted to go back the next night after dinner.  This time one young man actually did take notice of my oldest daughter.  She’s pretty shy, but my 14 year old is not.  She jotted down the oldest’s cell number, put “Call Me” on it and delivered it.  The oldest claimed to be livid, but I think it was an act.

The young man actually called her.  My wife and I were keeping close tabs on things and in on all the conversations.  He was first concerned that she was not actually 19 years old.  At least he wasn’t some pervert.  It turns out he was 24, which made me extremely uncomfortable of course.  They talked by phone a little and visited about family, where they were from and that type of thing.  Did I mention that I was not enjoying this?

Later in a conversation with my wife and me, our daughter told us that he lives with his dad and that he had a religious upbringing.  His dad is apparently a believer.  She apparently told him that her dad (me) was really into his faith and religion as well…like way into it.

I said, “Wait just a minute.  What about your mom? And is that a good thing or bad thing?”

My wife smiling chimes in with “Yeah, what about me?”

My daughter then said that my wife was religious, but that I was REALLY into it.

She never did answer my question about whether or not this is a good thing or bad thing in her eyes.  My guess is that for a teenager it is probably a little of both.  They see how committed you are to Jesus, yet with that comes certain restrictions and expectations on their end.  A little like…”it’s neat that you like God and all, but I don’t think that should make me have to be home by 10.”

Anyway, the two decided a long distance relationship should be nothing more than a long distance friendship.  I don’t think they’ve talked again since we got home.  Yes, this makes me happy.

For me, I found out something new.  My kids view me as a devoted Christian and probably a little goofy.  Goofy because I’m me, but also because I am really into God.  I’m still an expert sinner, but I really want to be different…for Him.  In our bible study this past year we discussed how being considered “one of those people” was really a good thing.  It meant you were holding yourself out there and being accountable and maybe even being bold in sharing your faith.  I remember a time when I thought people like that were a little weird too.  Then I got to know them.  Then I got to thinking I would never be someone willing to be considered strange for God.  Well, maybe, just maybe I’m getting there.  My kids think so.  That’s a start.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wounded Warrior Half Marathon 2012

On Sunday, June 10th, I ran in the Wounded Warrior Half Marathon in nearby Las Colinas.  I signed up for this in early May thinking I would squeeze in one more event before the heat of the summer.  It was in the mid-to-upper 70’s at 7:00 AM.  Humidity was normal (pretty high) with little or no wind.  About what I expected when signing up.

My plan was simple.  Survive.  I really struggled in my last race with heat.  I did not want to be near death at the finish; running aimlessly without any ability to control the pace.  This plan called for going out with a 9:45 or so pace and hold that for the first half at least.  At mile 6, I would adjust based on feel.  Walk for a minute during EVERY water stop.  Take a lot of fluids and supplement it with gatorade and gels.  I’d run this distance a lot in the past three years and my fluid and fueling is pretty routine.

I only have one complaint about this race.  The paved paths we ran were simply too narrow for the number of runners.  The first three or four miles were way too crowded.  I think the solution is a much narrower starting shoot rather than a street three times as wide for the first half mile.  Folks are getting comfortable being released in waves.  The race would have benefitted from this certainly.

I’ve run literally a hundred or more road races in DFW.  This is the first time I’ve been on these paths.  Really cool.  It seems like they go on forever.  I wish I lived a little closer.  I’d run these a lot…except having no visible water fountains it would be a great place to run or ride.  If I ever actually follow through on my vow to start cycling, I’m headed to these paths.

I followed the plan for the most part.  Actually, I was slower with the early congestion and had to really slow down or stop at a few water stops to get enough water.  Since when did they start filling 8 .oz cups with 2 ounces?  It is so common lately.  Could it be they don’t want folks wasting it?  I feel like a hog taking two or three, but in these temps you cannot skimp on fluids.  It is deadly.

Miles 8 & 9 were 10:00 minute miles.  I don’t think I was in trouble, but the heat was apparent and I could not get any rhythm.  In all honestly, I was still a little worried I could crash hard like at A2A.  The next four miles went 9:48, 9:32, 9:34 & 9:00 flat on mile 13.  I was clearly feeling ok and pushing slightly toward the end.  Nothing like 8:30’s I pulled in my PR effort 8 months earlier, but I ran fairly hard.  I do know that when I crossed the finish 45 seconds later I was sufficiently gassed.  I might have been left a minute out there, but I was perfectly happy with my 2:06.52 finish.

That being said, this was my slowest time in a half marathon EVER.  I looked back and found a 2:06 in Waco (January 2011) at the Miracle Match, but that bad boy had some serious hills that zapped my legs.  This dude was totally flat.  

Regardless, I’m glad I ran the race and will probably do it again next year.  The event was well organized.  Had a great band at the finish and plenty of volunteers braving the heat to hand out goodies during and after the race.  The money raised benefited the wounded warrior fund and I like that there is a worthy cause behind it.  Takes some of the sting out of my slow time.  Heck, I have to run it again next year.  It is a great gauge to my fitness level given the heat.  One needs to race in that weather occasionally so that you can be prepared on how to adjust.  Excellent event and good experience.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace