Sunday, August 20, 2017

Peru, pets and triggers.

Disclaimer - these posts are for me - I think they help me -  it is my journal.  Please don't be hateful.

Side note - It takes about 2 days before Peruvian mosquito bites swell up and start inching.  Anbesol helps (its for teething).

I have not blogged or even thought of this blog in a long time.  Clicking around I see that I used to blog a heck of a lot - in fact this will be post 781 (although maybe just a half dozen posts in the past 3 years).  I think I just got tired of reading and posting about exercise.  I'm still active but have not raced in a long time.  I think I was probably replacing parts of my life with training and racing.  I'm not trying to fill those voids anymore.  Back to the point - writing (and blogging) has been cathartic for me in the past - so here goes.

Had a whirlwind of a vacation to Machu Picchu this month.  There were 12 of us - my sisters family of 5, another close family of 5 and Kristy and myself.  There were ups and downs (literally - 2 near 14,000 peaks in one day) - struggles, victories  and just a few tears but we all made the 4 day trek - sleeping in tents (35 degrees), hiking up to 10 hours a day, and pooping in holes on the ground.  An adventure for sure.  (I'll try to post more about the trek but you know me and my recent blogging - nonexistent).

I had a couple of alpaca burgers while travelling.

Eat 'Em Up, Cats

We were gone 8 or 9 days.  Kristy had a sweet grad student house sit / cat sit while we were gone.  In the past we have had neighborhood kids come by to play / feed Radley - he gets along with everyone.  I secretly think my sister's kids only come over to play with the cat.  (sorry - this is going to be a picture heavy post).  Scroll down for more text.

He was a runty sick little kitty cat.  But cute as hell.

Once he was well - the runty didn't last long.

He never knew an unfriendly box or bag.

I would ask him what he was up to for the day.  He would reply, "Patrol, eat, and sleep - but not necessarily that order.

He did eventually grow into his ears - it took a little while.

He also grew into his tree.

He had his own bean bag chair.

As soon as I got up for a different exercise he always worked in - he was my shadow.

He was sophisticated - Martini glasses because he ate like a pig and this kept the mess down.

One of his favorite perches on the back of 'his' chair.

Must be Caterday.

Checking in from the neighbors house - He used to make sure the kids next door were doing their homework. 

Big morning stretch.

He did not love the hammock but if I was in it he was just underneath.

One of the rare times that we has not spooning me.

Did you wake me up, did you rub my lamp?

He liked the night stand.  In it, on top of it.

The tree was on a table before we moved - I think he felt like he was in the Amazon or something.  He loved being high up.  He would climb the pine trees at the old house.

Just chillin.

Cat nap.

He loved the deck at the old house and was looking forward to me building him one here.

Favorite spot.

Too lazy to climb the tree I guess.

After 24 hours of flying (fortunately Peru is the same time zone as Texas - so we were tired by not really jet lagged) we arrive back in Austin.  The sweet grad student was right on time - she had volunteered to pick us up at the airport.  Kristy gave her a woven  shawl that she had picked up at a market.  We asked the grad student how the week had been - we had limited Internet and zero cell service for the trip.  We had Facebooked back in forth once or twice and saw that Radley had made himself comfortable on the grad student's backpack (on the dinning room table no less).

The grad student said that she had not seen Radley in 2 days (not a big deal to me).  But then she said that he had not eaten his food - That is a big deal.  The cat woke me up every morning - he got fed sloppy canned food twice a day (please don't judge me on this issue) - he got fed in the morning and in the evening.  I had wanted to feed him at 7AM and 7PM - on the 7's I would tell him.  We even set unique alarms to try to condition him to dinner time.  Well, he would come into the bedroom and basically say - "It's 5 o'clock somewhere!"  He did the same in the evening.  He trained me and was fed on the 5's. 

I was pretty sure that as soon as we got home from the airport he would wake up and come trotting out to see us and tell us about his day and ask where we had been.  That's what he did - almost everyday.  (FYI- he is an inside / outside cat - he has his own door and keys to the house).

Well, he did not come out to greet us.  He has a little Bluetooth tracker on his harness - it is not very precise but we knew he was close by.  Somewhere near the house.  I walked all around the house upstairs and down.  I then walked outside around the house and looked in all of his sleep spots - he had a few.  I thought I had heard a faint meow - maybe we has in the storm drain trapped or something.  Nope, It was the laughter of the kids at the neighborhood pool.

Suddenly, Kristy ran out of the house screaming and fell into the yard crying.

I'll summarize here - The perfect trap and inadvertently been laid for the boy.  Radley never liked a closed door.  Somehow he had gotten into an upstairs closet.  Not good, but not a big deal.  Just a couple of weeks earlier I had locked him in an extra bedroom that I was making up for my sister's family.  He was locked in the extra bedroom from 7AM to 7PM.  I'm sure we was not comfortable and he had relieved himself on a small pillow - when I got home I looked all around and finally found him.  I gave him a hug, some extra sloppy food and threw the pillow away - I told him I was sorry he had such a bad day.  He didn't leave my side for the rest of the day / night.

This time was different.  In the closet, there were a couple of small empty Rubbermaid containers (a little bigger than shoe boxed sized) on top of some boxes.  After the fact, I'm not even sure if the closet door was open or closed - it probably would not have matter.  Radley jumped into the empty container and it slid between the wall and a box trapping him in the container against the wall. 

(I have to know the facts - I guess I am like CSI or something in that respect - this is not the first time I have HAD to do this - I have thought about how this happened and I am pretty sure of the reconstruction). 

Because the containers were stacked at an angle (they were not exactly the same so they could not nest together perfectly)  the bottom container acted like a wedge.  Radley must have jumped into the container - as we is want to do - and the container slid and pinned himself against the wall.

This is were I am struggling - Radley was family.  He brought me pure joy - I love that cat.  And he knows it.  When he was found his little paws were bloodied half way up his little arms.  He was soaked in sweat.  I am sure that he panicked and was terrified.  Every square inch of the wall was clawed bare and bloodied.  The way in which the containers fell with he closet molding to one side there was absolutely no way that he could have freed himself.  I'm sure he panicked and panicked and panicked and screamed and cried until he either had a stroke or heart attack.  I am tormented in the way in which he died.  I hate that he suffered.  I just want to take his pain away.

Now before you say he has just a cat - well, screw off.  He was my cat and I loved him - I have lost a lot of pets and they were all hard - but this one was different.  I feel like something of PURE JOY was stolen from me.  I'm sad and I' mad.

It's complicated -

Not a lot of people know me - somethings just don't come up or need to come up in casual conversation.  Well this has triggered some deep emotional turmoil.  You see, Tuesday marks a significant date for me.  I'm very date oriented - I never forget birthdays, anniversaries or most other dates.  The best way to describe it is that dates on a calendar, in my mind, glow.  When the dates get closer they glow brighter.  August has always sucked.  It will be 12 years on Tuesday since I lost my beloved Sharla (you know - Charlie to her friends - Sorry Charlie - yeah she never heard that one before) and darling Lainie.  Freak'n A - I miss them just as much today!  I hate that they suffered as well.  PURE JOY stolen.

I have no animosity  towards the sweet grad student - I for one know - bad things happen - you can do everything right and they still happen.  Sometimes life is just shitty.

I have already written about all of this in the past. I re-read these 3 posts ever year - they are for me but if you want to catch up - here you go - the wayback machine - Link to the Past.

My babies - the day before.

If you see Kristy or I in the next day or so - Please give a hug.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

San Marcos Downtown Run

(I'll catch everyone up in the next blog or two - I have moved, changed jobs, etc -maybe I'll get back to blogging again - maybe)

I had a nice run downtown today.  I have been very consistent with my lunch runs - I don't think I have missed a Monday - Friday run in 6 weeks or so.  Prior to the Halloween floods I had been running at the park and swimming (bathing) in the river after each run.  The water is very refreshing being that it is at a constant 68 - 70 degrees.  It is also crystal clear and 'cleansing'.  However, since the floods the parks have been closed.  The downtown area is a short walk from work and I have created a bit of a lunch bunch of runners.  There is an established 5k route.  the company is appreciated.

Today I had a brisk run downtown.  It was a good run.  I often run without my glasses - I am pretty near sighted so I can see everything close - it is just with distance that things get blurry (this has served me well at various locker rooms in the past- there is nothing I want to see - I think Jim can attest to that - if you are bringing a step stool then I am heading the other direction).

It was a good run.  Although the temperatures have turned cooler I has pretty damp.  I was wearing my short shorts and thought about taking the shirt off - but I am not Charles - I have shame.

As I was walking down the sidewalk near campus there was a sporty convertible.  I am oblivious to most things but I do notice some cars (and some drivers).  So, there was this sporty convertible with these two sporty co-eds.

As I walked by, the passenger literally leaned out of the car and looked straight at me.  This caught my attention.  She yelled with a smile, "You got any free samples?"

I thought about the short shorts and the damp shirt.  I'm sure I got a smile on my face but I really was taken aback.  It has been awhile since I have been ogled and cat called.  And then, ...  The jimmy johns guy pedaled past me on his bike.  All dreams were dashed.  Those damned delivery guys and those hungry, hungry girls.

I'll be back tomorrow, and the next day - just to make sure...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Baton Rouge to New Orleans Relay Race - 2015

This is a race along the Mississippi River levy from Baton Rouge to New Orleans.  I have run a couple of races on the levy, in February, and they are always cold and windy.  The levy is raised (no-duh) and has not shelter or wind block. The river acts as a wind corridor.  I packed 5 changes of running gear including 3 long sleeved shirts for running at night.  I checked the forecast one last time and it indicated that the high, during the day would be 70 degrees and the low would only be 48 degrees.  I repacked and 86’d the long sleeved shirts.

There were 6 of us in a van.  Originally we had a driver but we overlooked the fact that the driver was not over 25 years old – not permitted to drive the van.  Oops.  It would work out for the best – with 6 in the van and all of our gear it was already tight.


Race headquarters.

Some of the Krewe 
(one of these guys would lose a couple of socks and gloves on the run - don't ask)

Charles started us out.  His strategy was to start out hard since we would surely fade as the night came.  Well, he went out hard and we each followed suit.  It was hot, while the levy is flat it is also gravel – this made for a tough run.  Miraculously, after about the first 20 or so miles, when Jason brought the fifth leg home, we were first overall.  We were elated and did not really know what to think.  This was a shot across the bow of the younger faster teams.  Unfortunately, they responded in spades.  We gradually slipped back a couple of paces per 10 – 20 miles.  Team fancy pants – a group of co-ed kids with tie-dyed running tights grabbed a bunch of time from Keith’s second leg.  We were now in third place.

The last bathroom I would see for 17+ hours.

Then the race got hard.  Day turned to humid night and in most legs we were all alone.  On my third leg Charles was neck and neck with Team Mercedes.  He handed off to me and I was 10 steps behind.  I paced the runner.  Our van roared past me on the river road below and ridicule was spewed from the open windows.  They were incredulous, how I could be behind.  Breathing hard I eased up to the runner and said that “yes, these were my friends”.  He understood – he has giving more than he had in hopes of not getting the wrath of his own team.  I pushed passed him and put in a very respectable effort – weight graded this may have been a new PR.  I arrived a couple of minutes in front of the disgraced runner to zero fan fair.  Jason had become the relay Sherpa – no one else was even getting out of the van at this point.  Half way done!  That'll do pig.

We were passed by Team Mercedes in the next 10 miles or so and were finally regulated to fourth overall.  We could not make up time on the front runners.  We just had to maintain pace to stay in fourth (we had all but wrapped up the masters division (40+)).

We called them Team Mercedes because they had one of these.

Keith ended up taking an hour or two powernap and holistically healed his broken body with sheer will and cold beer.  His last two legs would be his fastest of the night.

We were ahead of our predicted time by 20+ minutes but ended up giving about half of that back.  We finished the 126.2 + miles in 17:10:48 with an average pace of 8:10 minutes per mile.  We were 13 minutes behind 3rd and about an hour from first overall.

If I had to pick one word to describe this race, the first word in my mind is not fun.  It was a challenge and much harder than I thought it would be.  We raced hard, every one of us for every leg.  Once again, it was a challenge.  It was satisfying to finish the race.

We made a good team.  Thanks - Charles, Terry, Jason, Keith and Jim!

This would prove telling.  I caught a flight right after the race.  Southwest has open seating.
  No one sat next to me on either flight - go figure.

Good thing I had it covered!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cycling shoes are dishwasher safe?

Once again I started to notice that the cycling shoes were getting funky.  A couple of years ago I spent an afternoon defunkifing the shoes but this time it was late afternoon and I did not want to dig out the bucket (I briefly thought about putting them in the Jacuzzi tub).

I had read that you could put the shoes in the dishwasher (when your better half was not around). 

I checked over my should and decided to try it out.  I placed two pairs of shoes on the top rack.  I set the dishwasher to the non-heat setting.

I was disappointed with the results.  They were cleaner but not super clean.  I went ahead and got out the bucket and cleaned them the old fashioned way – you can read about it here.

After the next cleaning (and drying) the shoes were oh so much better.   The funk was gone!


Silver again!



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mighty Magnolia 2013 Race Report

As I mentioned previously, there were a lot of changes (2013 training and prep) since the last time I raced the Mighty Mag (2011 Mighty Mag Race Report).


Well, the equipment for the swim was the same and the starting lineup was similar.  I started at number 16 towards the very front of the 350+ line.  I had not been swimming much the past year but my times were close to where they have been in the past.  Without many people in front of me I just cruised the swim.  I was alone except for the 4 or 5 people that I passed.  I gave them a wide berth and did my own thing.  I ‘water jogged’ the swim 18 seconds faster than 2011 (2013 – 8:20 / 2011 – 8:38) and placed first in my age group, go figure.  That being said I was 1:13 slower than the fastest swim of the day – that is a lot of time in a third of a mile swim.

T1 -

I ran out of the water as soon as I could stand.  I unzipped my long john wetsuit and ran up the short rise to T1.  I had some trouble getting the wetsuit off of my legs and sat down in transition and pulled the legs off.  I felt like I gave back the 20 seconds I gained in my swim in T1.  I was actually 5 seconds faster (2013 – 1:11 / 2011 1:16).


I made the decision to not race on my race bike due to lack of conditioning.  I am a better cyclist this year.  The course is tough with lots of rolling hills.  I was out on my own for the entire ride passing only a couple of people that were ahead of me.  I also got passed twice, I think.  The bike was uneventful except that being in the aero bars and the slammed stem I was not able to produce the amount of power that I should have.  There is a compromise between aero and power and by not practicing or adapting to the position I think I left a lot of time on the table.  I finished the 16.5 mile bike 92 seconds faster than 2011 (2013 - 46:10 @ 21.4MPH / 2011 – 47:42 @ 20.8MPH).


Me on the bike testing the position.

T2 -

I grabbed my running visor and race belt and headed out.  A volunteer noted that I had my swim goggles in my hand as well.  I dropped the goggles prior to leaving the transition (a great volunteer put them back next to my bike – super cool).  I was 5 seconds slower than 2011 (2013 – 53 / 2011 47).


Running has been my strong suit.  Not during this race.  I blame a lack of bricks (1), low run mileage (15 – 20 miles a week) and being heavy (10 lbs).  I remember running this in 2011 and while it hurt I was running well.  I was charging through the few people ahead of me.  This year I was over cooking the run and not moving as fast as I wanted.  I had to back off and actually walk for 10 seconds around mile 1.  Looking at my heart rate average (after the race) I really was working hard – I just wanted more.  In 2011 I ran the ‘3 miles’ (it is a little short) in 19:01 (4th best overall for the day).  This year I gave up a whopping 2:41 – almost a minute per mile (2013 – 21:42 @ 7:14/mile / 2011 19:01 @ 6:21/mile).

I finished the race in 1:18:19 (57 seconds slower than 2011).  However, I did legitimately win my age group (Sam was the only 40 – 44 male that was faster and he won the overall). 

In my age group I was 1st in the swim, 2nd in the bike (behind Lance) and 4th in the run.

Not a bad overall showing but there is definitely room for improvement.  I feel like this race was a high school test – sure I got a B but what if I would have studied?