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

Friday, September 23, 2011

R.I.P. Carolyn

Well…this is the blog entry I never wanted to write…Carolyn went to be with the Lord yesterday.

So if this entry seems disjointed…well…it’s because it probably is…and I don’t care.

Carolyn and I went to Junior High...having class together. I still see her sitting there making everybody laugh around her…quick witted coupled with a quick tongue…and that is a great recipe for humor to ensue…we went on to High School…and really kept up with her through my brother…evidently there was a battle royale going on for first chair Saxophone in the Levelland High School Band...My brother would comment that Carolyn made him have to practice. Like many people that we come in contact with…after we crossed that graduation stage of High School…life moves on and the memories begin to fade. Well, fade a bit till Facebook became a staple in our lives and culture.

I still remember the day a couple of years ago when she posted that the fight was on…the fight against Breast Cancer. I don’t know why it struck me so hard when I heard that …you see my wife and I can literally name 10 people close to us that are fighting that same battle. But with Carolyn…it was different…she was my age…married with three kids. When you are 18 you are bullet proof…that stays constant till about age 35…then you may have only kryptonite that can slow you down. I don’t know if it was me coming to grips with my own mortality through someone I knew…fairly well….but that Facebook Post slapped me up side the head.

And so…I began to focus my endurance endeavors…of her inspiring me…and me honoring her…I ran the Bataan Marathon in the White Sands Desert carrying a 44 lbs pack…her name inscribed on the back of my hand. When I took up the bike, I dedicated my riding to her…I rode…I trained…I sweated…in honor of Carolyn…my first Century ride at the Hotter N Hell 2010, she and her awesome family graciously waited for me at the finish line…and so…the connection was always there…

So I write this today….with the heaviest of hearts…. a friend who inspired me be to be a better athlete, husband, dad....and person. Who's feistiness knew no bounds...who took the role of wife, mother and friend to its fullest...who's sarcastic sense of humor would crack me up...who's faith in Jesus Christ was your bedrock...I will miss you standing with your family at the finish are now in a glorious place with our Father...where there are no finish lines...

R.I.P Carolyn...and so I press On!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hot and Heavy Breathing...

We were breathing… hot and heavy….the whole group of us…sweat…and panting…hey…get your mind out of the gutter…it was the Legacy Cycling Team Sunday afternoon reunion ride….nearly 35 cyclist…only about 25 miles….so you knew that after the jovial first 5 miles of good natured ribbing and joking around…that the Barbaro Rocket would ignite the Tandem Afterburners…then Marcel would be out of the saddle…Jim would go into time trial posture…and the hammerfest would commence….up to 29 mph at times on the flat…not to mention climbing at 24 mph. Throw in the Windhaven climb….and if you did not go anaerobic more than a handful of times…then you either need to be cat1 racing or you where probably back picking scorched daisies on the side of the sweltering Texas Road.

I love that group…how no one gets left behind…how riders of all levels feel welcomed…it is just a good group of people anchored by Coach Jim…and the mother figure…Jackie. A shout out to our own Laura who is an IRONMAN…chiseled in Wale’s Granite as she completed it across the pond.

So…the running as increased…I ran 13 miles on Friday…most of it at night on a trail…and realize I have a long way to go…the cycling legs need to morph into the trail running legs…and so intense core and weights are still on the weekly agenda as we increase the miles…time spent playing in the dirt.

Sunday it was hot again…up to nearly a 100…and today we break the record of the most days over a 100 degrees…mark that as day 70. Despite that, you can tell fall is nigh…Hope played her first soccer game on Saturday…and both Macy and Luke are playing fall ball…Softball and Baseball respectively. The Fighting Texas Aggies are winning and the Dallas Cowboys are losing….and the Texas Rangers are coming down to the wire to win the division….all is right in the world…as TEAM ELLIOTT is marching on…with the new relief pitcher to arrive in camp in December some time….(hey...keep your Cowboy comments to yourself...I am a huge fan...just low expectations.)


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Vasectomy and Riding a Bike...FUN!!!

I must be an obsessive compulsive individual that crosses that line of being completely dysfunctional. I am deep into two subcultures that on a good day barely encroaches normal and on most days crosses over into stone cold section 8 insanity. Don’t try to figure it out…compare it to an onion with multiple layers…and the more you peel back in efforts to come to a nice packaged conclusion…the more you will cry. That is how I am…how God wired me…and if you looked at my IPOD, you would know that immediately. (from Susan Boyd to Metallica…and sometimes back to back on the same playlist.)

Most are aware of my endurance athletic endeavors…you can read about many of those here…running all night long…riding a bike a 100 miles in 100 degree plus heat…the list goes on. A much less publicized hobby that I have is one of Magic…prestidigitation…sleight of hand. It is going on 20 years now. Like everything else, when I entered into the mysterious world of legerdemain, I delved into it with all my being. I have a magic library that is worth a small fortune. There was a time in my life that I would practice 8 hours a day…(mainly college days…but don’t tell mom…she thinks I worked hard for that 3.0 GPA in Engineering.) In 2003, I entered a contest in the Texas Association of Magicians and won “The Best In Close Up Magic.” Before Kids, I contemplated about making a living as a magic performer…and after 2 weeks of doing 16 shows at Christmas time, realized I didn’t want that lifestyle…best decision I made…keeping it a hobby…and not a form of making a living.
Every Labor Day weekend, for the past 65 years, there is the Texas Association of Magicians Convention. It is one of the world’s more popular magic gatherings and always well attended. I have been going to it for the past 15 years. This past weekend was no exception as I made that pilgrimage to San Antonio to attend. After sitting through countless shows…some good…some great…and some horrible...the most enjoyable thing for me at this juncture is not so much the magic, but seeing friends made throughout the years and the catching up with what is going on in our lives…
This year, I was so excited to say that our 4th kid was on the way…and due sometime around December. More often than not, the inquiry of did I know what caused that was asked. At this point I would go into detail of one of my more infamous decisions made this year, which always receive and uproarious laughter….so let’s proceed with the story.

In July, Bren and I decided that 4 kids would be enough and that with her being pregnant now…would be a good time to get a vasectomy. I scheduled a consult with a well respected Urologist…don’t you won’t a doctor performing such a procedure to be VERY WELL RESPECTED? You definitely do not want him to have the shakes…but I digress. During the consult the Doc asked that if I was sure I was done having kids...and I respond with an air of confidence…that I was very sure that the world did not need any more little Elliotts. He went into detail of the procedure…the severing of the vas deferens through and incision made through the scrotum and then titanium clips clamped permanently on each severed end of the goods. (Insert joke here.) He then mentioned that he wanted to perform the work on a Friday and that I was to rest through the weekend….that there would be no working out for a week. Ok…don’t like not having to work out for a week…but hey…I can start back that following Saturday…that would give me a week to recover.

The grand day arrived…I stroll up to the Doc’s office and am ready to go. The nurse took my vitals and asked how I was doing. I replied that I was a little apprehensive. “Oh, the waiting is worse than the procedure…well kinda,” she replied. She chuckled. I didn’t think she was all that funny. She then told me to precede to the end room where no one can hear me scream…hahahahaha…she was a riot. I didn’t laugh.

The doctor began…and during the procedure I learned that he had gone to that lesser higher institute of learning in the state of Texas….The University of Texas…I believe I learned this while he was making incisions. At this point I asked the good Lord to forgive what I was about to utter as a Fightin Texas Aggie and said, “Right now Doc…I am the Biggest Longhorn Fan in the World.” The procedure went well…at least I guess it went well and during all this he reiterated that there was to be no working out for a week. I respond, “That’s fine. That gives me a week before next Saturday when I have a 70 mile bike race.” He stops mid suturing…and looks at me like I had lost it. “Really?” he asks. “Absolutely!,” I reply. He then ask if maybe we can make a compromise…that riding a bike like that only 7 days after a procedure like this will be not only painful….but with potentially harmful side effects. I mentioned that there was a 40 mile race option….and he reluctantly agreed that I should ride that one…but don’t over do it. He also mentioned that he put in additionally stitches to prevent the incision from reopening.

The following Saturday I climbed on the bike….at this point I should add that I had been “tender” all week and felt like someone had kicked me squarely “Down There.” Just let me cut to the chase…at mile 2…I could not have been more glad that he talked me out of 70 miles…and so for the next 28 miles I rode as hard as I could. Just sitting on that bicycle seat was enough to make me grimace. At one point I even checked to see if I was bleeding “down south.” At mile 30, I climb off my bike and felt like puking…not from an elevated heart rate…but more like “HOLY COW THAT HURTS Kinda pain.” I wrap up the 40 mile race…and thought to myself that I may have crossed that line of being tough…and well..not so smart.

I tell this story….multiple times during the convention…always to uproarious laughter….I laughed too…it’s hilarious now…at the time…not so much…