Day at the Office

Day at the Office
All Terrain Vehicle
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. - Phillppians 3:14

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Calmness of the Run

It's that time of year where things seem to get insane. I have vowed not to let that happen this year. I told Bren the other day, "let's make a list of what we have to do and want to do...let's not get overwhelmed with so many activities."

So where does running fit into such a hectic schedule? It is my essence in times of chaos. The temperatures are cool and on a brisk morning when most still are in deep slumber I ask my body to feel alive.

The soft rhythmic sound of my footfalls...syncopated with my breathing...and on the really good mornings you can see that breath. The long run is at the end of the week...where the solace helps me regain perspective. So...on a 4 hour trail run...solo...I renew my sound mind...running requires that.

My endurance is good...not great but good....22 miles on the trail and after 30 minutes of fatigue....and so I press on.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Coming Clean...and Changing Plans.

Off the grid….that’s right…the blog has suffered…severely…and no, it’s not fair and the blog as whined a bit about being neglected…it being my 4th child…and with 3 real kids the blog is the least favorite…I still love this 4th kid…just not as much as the other three…and by a far margin too.

Thus, I will not pontificate about the neglect that this 4th child has received. You know why…time…time…the answer Bilbo gave Gollum in “The Hobbit” that guaranteed the release of the hairy creature…but I really digress here…badly, I might add.

I love to write…and actually have a book in the works…the estimated completion date…who the heck knows…remember…I can’t even keep a blog going very well these days.

I am not ready to give up the blog ghost. I enjoy it too much…going back and looking at posts from 3 years ago…and sometimes I cringe…sometimes at the writing…sometimes about the topic…but it is still fun. It has served as a journal of my journey. So…let us continue…regardless of posting frequencies.

I want to focus a bit now on endurance events and a change of plans. The Rocky Raccoon 100 miler is out…not going to run it. A few weeks ago I rolled my ankle violently in the predawn hours on Northshore Trail…on one of the mildly technical parts. I roll ankles a lot…its part of trail running…and you learn to “roll” the ankle with minimum injury and keep on going. This was NOT that type of roll! It snapped loudly…harshly….painfully. I ran another 4 miles with Holly and Jason in hopes to run it out…but when done, it had swelled to the size of a softball…nice….

I kept fitness by riding a bike…after taking 5 whole days off…and then started looking at the training schedule to run a 100 miles. Here is where I will be brutally honest with you…and it pains me to do this…more than you know. It goes against the very inherent characteristics of an Ultra Runner. Let’s face it…part of my identity is that I run…sometimes a long ways…it is who I am. I don’t know if it is right or not…but yes…I have put some of my self-worth in my endurance. Those 5 days off were horrible…and making the decision of not running a 100 miles because I just didn’t have it in me to train for this; tormented my soul…I know…it doesn’t make sense to most people. I didn’t want to have to run 10 to 12 hours Christmas weekend. The kid’s schedule would suffer too…I came to the realization that my plans were changing…and the reasons were as painful as my ankle…”I just didn’t have it in me to put myself through such brutal training this time of the year. The whole realm of emotions and thoughts…”I have gone physically soft…my mental toughness is no longer there for me…my perseverance and determination is now an extinct species.” Depression is probably an overstatement…but definitely there was a downturn in my emotional state…just ask my wife.

It takes time…for me to come to the conclusion that regardless of what I accomplish; my real friends will stay around. That I didn’t let anybody down for not running around 24 hours at Rocky Raccoon…yes…I felt that I let my buds down…the pacers and crew I had lined up...

My wife does not pretend to understand how I am wired…she just knows how it is. She also knew that I needed something out there to train for…to look forward to…even if it wasn’t a 100 miler. She looks me in the eye and says, “Go run 50K in Bandera. You love that race, and you can run 50K right now.” Let me get personal with you right now. Having a wife that knows what buttons to push even when she doesn’t know how those buttons are wired is absolutely priceless. Having a wife that supports me in such endeavors is beyond words. She doesn’t get why anybody wants to run for 31 miles in the most treacherous terrain Texas has to offer…but she knows I need that. I love Bren more than I can tell you.

During all this, my running bud Jenn, was having a rough go too…for far different reasons that make mine reasons look trivial. I told her I plan on running Bandera…more to purify my running soul than anything else. She’s game too…in fact there will be a group of us from North Texas Trail Runners that will be at Bandera.

I don’t plan on setting any records…I know what time I personally want to run Bandera in…part of me thinks I should be running the 100K…but for now I will settle on the 50K.

So there you go…no 100 miler for now…that will be later…

Let me wrap up. Having a spouse that knows what you need is more valuable than I can tell you. Having friends that support you regardless of your endeavors…and sometimes advise you…because they know what’s going on in your head…keep those people around too…they are good for the soul.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What Dreams are Made Of...

The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America is ruled by it like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.

Field of Dream Quote
Terence Mann:
(James Earl Jones)

Baseball…the game where commentator and baseball enthusiast, George Will, stated that 90 feet was the closest man came to perfection….that 90 feet…the distance between the bases. A game where Ken Burns describes as where the defense always has the ball and man scores the run by crossing home plate...not the ball...a game where being successful 3 out of 10 times will put you in the hall of fame…a game that has no time limit.

Baseball…the game where I played catcher for 12 years…from Pee Wee Little League through high school…the game where my dad took me when I was 5 years old to watch the Texas Rangers…the memories of going to a big league park. Growing up in a small town…and then getting to watch the Pros play…walking into the Old Arlington Stadium…what a cathedral to a youngster…by any other standard it was a dump…but you couldn’t tell me that. We watched Hall of Famer, Reggie Jackson hit one out of the park that night for the Yankees…the Rangers got beat…but frankly it was expected. In fact, losing for the Rangers was the norm growing up and even though they seemed to always have more checks in the loss column that the win column, it still didn’t keep me from cheering for them. Waking up and getting ready to go to school in the early 80’s…but having to check the box score in the paper to note that the Rangers were only 3 ½ games out of first place…this could be the year…but then again probably not.

I was blessed to grow up with a great Dad…and baseball was part of those memories. He tried to talk me out of wanting to play catcher. He would say, “Dave, second base….play second base….it’s easier on the body…and you can work on your hitting.” When my son Luke started playing baseball, he started playing catcher…without knowing his Dad’s history at the position….and I found myself saying, “Luke, play somewhere else…it is easier on the body.” He didn’t listen either.

Baseball…whenever my wife, Bren, and I take a trip, we attempt to schedule around when the home team will be playing…she does that for me. Going to the Old Yankee Stadium and watching Babe Ruth’s Ghost show up to pull out a 9th inning victory or walking the hollowed concourse of Fenway Park is something my wife wants me to do…in fact before we left town, we went to a Ranger Game on our Honeymoon….I love Baseball.

So this year, there was magic in North Texas. The Rangers won the division….and they won the American League Division Series…and then they went on to beat the Yankees to win the Pennant. THE TEXAS RANGERS WERE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES!

Tickets were hard to come by…at least for a cost that didn’t have a comma in the price tag. But somehow my wife found some…Game 5…the last home game in the Series for the Rangers. There we are, me and my dad are going to watch the Rangers again…35 years from the time he took me to my first Big League Game…we are both going to our first World Series Game. He told me he never thought he would be able to go to a World Series.

We get there early….nearly early enough to suit up and throw batting practice. The Rangers were down 3 games to 1…and this literally was a must win. But I was getting to watch the Rangers in the World Series. The energy was palatable…with a twinge of apprehension. The bats better show up tonight…come out of hiding…our Ace…Cliff Lee was to grace the mound…6 feet 6 inches away from the San Francisco Giant hitters…I can’t describe how it felt…what it meant…at least to the point where you would understand. But in section 208, Row 4, seats 7 and 8, we were there…Baseball, Texas Rangers…the World Series.

It was a pitcher's duel…Lincecum vs. Lee…and for the first 6 innings it was deadlock…the pitchers duel. Then in the 7th inning, Renteria got a hold of one that went yard…for 3 runs…and with that One Pitch…the Rangers were down. The finial score would award the World Series Championship to the Giants. There was disappointment…but there was also pride…TEXAS PRIDE…and my dad and I stood there cheering the Rangers for a great ride.

Few things in life will be remembered when I draw that final breath…I will of course remember the day I got married to that beautiful gal…and the birth of my 3 kids…add going to the World Series with my dad to that list…for that evening...Baseball was life…

Up in intent...what is next...and all that...