eh, what’s up, doc?

runners love tmi stories.

think back on your last group run.  there was at least ONE story told about bowel movements, snot rockets or peeing on your shoes.  it happens and us runner types throw decorum out the window when discussing it in great detail with our fellow runners.  over the course of the last few weeks, the subject of carrots have come up numerous times and i’ve had the joy of telling a VERY disgusting story about carrots.  this is not running related, but i have a feeling that if i don’t tell it here, i’m going to be outed by other folks, so here it goes.

years ago, i worked a second shift as a computer operator.  i would often ride my bike into work, an on this day in particular, i hadn’t eaten anything before setting off for the office.  i took with me a bag of baby carrots and a tupperware of radishes to serve as a late afternoon snack once i got to the office.  it happened to be a summer day, so when i arrived at the office, i was dehydrated and famished.  i began stuffing my face with the carrots and radishes and drowning myself with water.  i was in heaven and ended up finishing off the entire bag of carrots [not a small bag, by the way].  

hours later, i was standing at the computer consol, running jobs and working away at the nightly routines when the discomfort began.  you know, that nasty cramping in the stomach that means a good portion of your day is going to be spent visiting the throne room.  eventually, the gas came and i was tooting so much you’d think i could have been contracted to do sound affects for thomas the tank engine videos.  the flatulence became more intense and so frequent that at times i wasn’t able to control it. 

during one bout of rectal explosions, all hell broke loose and along with the gas came solids.  and i couldn’t control it.  i stood at the consol, realizing that i, as a sober adult, had just soiled myself.  i did the crappy crack waddle to the bathroom to survey the damage.  once in the stall, i dropped trou and was pleased to see that my shorts had sacrificed themselves and my pants remained unscathed.  the shorts came off and the only way i can describe it was that it appeared they had acted as a sort of carrot filter.  i had nearly the entire contents of the bag of carrots, in shredded form, in my shorts and the subsequent carrot juice, streaming down my legs.

the clean up was pretty easy with the shorts making a quick trip to the garbage, but i headed home for the rest of the evening, lest my bowels decide to brew another pot of carrot surprise.

so, dear reader, a word to the wise.  do not eat an entire bag of carrots in one sitting on an empty stomach…unless, of course, you’re REALLY jonesing for some odw@lla carrot juice and you can’t be bothered to head to the store.

soundtrack for this post
Earth Sun  Moon lick:
hipsters:
wax:
Waiting For The Flood
Love and Rockets
Earth Sun Moon

old blankets and vacations

my grandfather is sick.

well, sick isn’t the right word.  he is shutting down.  after nearly 90 years on the planet, his earth suit is getting ready to shed it’s mortal coil.  after a series of physical complications and surgeries, it’s been determined by the doctors [and my grandfather, as well] that he’ll be gone within a few days.

this wasn’t news that was unexpected.  his health has been failing since he moved down from mariposa a few years ago.  honestly, i think the loss of his independence and not being able to work with his hands was the force that set the dominos in motion.  my grandfather has always been a man with strong hands.  a creator.  a builder.  an artist.  taking away the ability to use those ‘tools’ is like removing someone’s identity.

my grandfather is a man’s man.  born and raised with a hard work ethic and having survived typhoons in guam during wwii, he’s a hearty guy.  rough and tumble, calloused hands and a gravely voice; think john wayne and audie murphy rolled into a loveable figure that would love nothing better than to make you pee your pants from tickle attacks.

he was the sole male figure in a house with a wife and five daughters.  constantly reinforcing his link to masculinity, he and the girls would often head into the sierras and would over the years spend quite a deal of time in the yosemite area.  from my earliest recollections, grandpa had a house in the mountains.  grandpa, himself, built a beautiful full-log cabin in june lake, ca.  this was the birth-place of my love for the outdoors.  the odd weekend, thanksgiving, christmas, summer vacation, almost every free moment was spent up at the cabin with variety of relatives; aunts, uncles, cousins and the variety of extended family were the usual characters in the chaos of laughter that filled that cabin.  grandpa took us fishing, showed us how to chop wood, taught us how to tend the fire in the wood-burning stove and passed on his love of the mountains to us.

as far back as i can remember, too, grandpa had a hobby of working with wood.  he would collect burls and wood scraps from all of his travels and turn the most beautiful bowls, make the most amazing jewelry boxes and surprise the family with a collection of hand made gifts every christmas; cabinetry for the bathroom, pig shaped cutting boards, rocking horses.  his workshop was a place of refuge for him and a place to create and display his skill.  each visit started out with a trip to the shop to see what his latest project was and to listen to him sing the praises of this friend that sent him this chunk of cherry or this road-side cafe that gifted him this maple burl.

grandpa’s steadfast faith was something to marvel.  his grasp of scripture and it’s application to daily life was inspiring.  he lived a christ-like life without apologies.  grace was a concept that he understood well and applied to every relationship he stepped into.  not to say that he was hard-headed and dogmatic but instead, with a self proclaimed favorite verse like this, you had to see the humor that ran through his veins:

Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.

- Proverbs 5:19

all of this to say that i have the utmost respect for this man.  the example he set with his wife, family and friends is one that had a profound impact on how i turned out today. 

saturday ended up being a day to thank him for these things, tell him how proud i am to call him my grandfather, to share with him how i have been passing on his love of the outdoors to my son and in general, say goodbye.  when he does pass, it will be my pleasure to celebrate what an amazing man he is.

as we drove to the hospital on saturday with my sister [the kurd] and her two kids, her oldest [jumpingjehosephathead] started this dialogue:

“uncle jeff, how did grandpa get sick?”

“well, he’s not really sick, he’s just getting old.  when you get really old, your body just sorta gets worn out and starts to shut down.  it’s like when you have a toy that you play with for a long time, it’ll eventually stop working and break.”

“kinda like my blanket?  it’s getting old now and it has lots of holes in it.”

“yup, grandpa is a lot like your old blanket.  he’s just getting old and worn out now.”

“i don’t want to get old.”

“oh, but getting old isn’t a bad thing!  look at all the amazing things that grandpa has had the chance to experience!  he has raised five daughters, all of us grandkids and all of you great grandchildren.  look at all of the things he’s done, places he’s gone and things he’s made.  if he didn’t grow old, he would have never done those things.  just like if you never grow old, you won’t have kids and grandkids and you would miss out on all that life has to offer.  it’s just that grandpa is finished up here on earth and it’s time for him to go home to be with god.”

“oh, so you mean heaven is his REAL home?”

“yup.”

“so, then, this has been like a VACATION for him?”

“yes, sweetie, it’s been just like a vacation.”

isn’t it just like the wisdom of a child to really put it in perspective?  a child that is evidence of the legacy that my grandfather leaves behind.

soundtrack for this post
The Abattoir Blues Tour lick:
hipsters:
wax:
Let The Bells Ring (Lausanne)
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
The Abattoir Blues Tour

#ctya

thursday night was the last race in the vasque peters canyon summer trail series.  johnathon, the rd, and renegade racing always put on a great race and this series is a ton of fun each year.  it’s a collection of three five mile races through peters canyon in tustin, ca held on the first thursday of june, july and august.  the race benefits the olive crest group homes and finishes off each race with a great bbq and generous raffle.  it’s a blast for participants and spectators alike.  depending on the month, the race will either run clockwise up the canyon and then down the main, hilly ridge or counter clockwise up the hilly ridge and down the canyon.  thursday’s race was the former of the two, which tends to produce a slower time.

for each of these races [and this is the seventh time i’ve done the race over the past three years], as i line up at the start i tell myself, “self, we’re going to take it easy today and just have fun out there”.  and then the gun goes off and everything changes.  i’ve written in the past about how certain participants have inspired my competitive side and for every time i’ve told myself i’d take it easy, i end up turning in a blazing fast time and ending up at the top end of the field.

this month, though, i meant it.  i was determined to run within myself, enjoy the race and not hurt myself like i did last month.  in july, i’d turned in a 34:19 for an 11th place finish and for several days afterward my quads were just dead meat.  going downstairs hurt worse than when i’d finished my bq race at the oc marathon.  and this was only five miles.  so, i’d resolved to take it easy.

i lined up near the front, but not so close that i would be caught up in the initial sprint for positioning.  the gun went off and i found that i was running with a group that was actually right about the pace that i wanted to maintain, comfortably hard.  we headed up the 2.5 mile gradual climb up the canyon and i settled into a solid pace, but with relaxed breathing and a steady stride.  i was feeling good and in a really good groove.  i picked off a couple people on the way to the ridge but not because i’d targeted them for passing.  after about a mile of running, i noticed heavy footfalls that had been trailing right behind me.  someone was pacing off of me.  next, i noticed his heavy breathing.  he was sucking wind and breathing about twice as fast as i was.

i resolved to stick to my pace, keep my breathing steady and calm and not let him influence my pace.  i had the urge to surge and get him off my shoulder, but i resisted and kept my stride comfortable and my breathing relaxed.  i actually cracked up a bit as i counted his breaths compared to mine.  he sounded like he was really struggling, but he was keeping pace right on my shoulder.  with his rabid rapid breathing, i was beginning to wonder how he would fare when we hit the ridge.

before too much longer, i hit the turn and the breather came along with me as we started up onto the ridge.  the turn takes you onto a steeper, but still gradual, climb for about 200y before the course hits the first steep wall.  breather stuck with me until the wall.  i turned on the billy-goat legs and comfortably went up the climb.  no sooner did we hit the wall and i heard the breather pop.  he let out a huge gasp and he threw out the anchor.  i looked back and he was walking.  i turned around, focused on my climbing and returned to my comfortable push.

i won’t lie and say that the hills were easy.  my quads burned and i did push up the climbs, but i didn’t feel like i was tearing myself inside out like i had last month.  i recovered on the back side of each climb and billy-goat’ed each of the successive hills.  eventually, i crested the next to last climb and could see the final hill up ahead.  at the top of that climb was silhouetted a figure that looked familiar.  i heard him cheering for one of the runners ahead and was assured by his style and voice that it was indeed repete.

i barreled down the hill and started up the last climb and repete spotted me.  i started waving wildly and running like phoebe up the climb.  repete pulled out his bike air horn and started honking and yelling.  i quickly composed myself and said to repete as i ran past, “calmer than you are!”.  because i was.

the rest of the race was a easy gradual descent back to the start and i just focused on stride, turn over and my breathing.  the whole time i felt like i was really running within myself and was happy to have not pushed too hard.  as i neared the finish line, i remembered that i didn’t have a watch on and was curious what my finishing time would be.  i glanced up as i came across the finish line and was shocked to see 34:20.  one second slower than last month.

my “taking it easy” had netted me a comparable time to last month on what is supposed to be a slower course.  go figure.  i guess i really was #ctya or at least calmer than last month.

soundtrack for this post
No Hassle lick:
hipsters:
wax:
Rosa
Tosca
No Hassle

laughter > coffee

i rolled groggily out of bed this morning at 4am, drug myself up the stairs and into the bathroom to get ready for this mornings pre-dawn run with the dawn patrol crew.  as i sat there, letting my eyes get used to the light in the bathroom, i took a quick assessment of things.  slight niggle in the left knee.  sore quads.  SLEEPY.  i grabbed my iphone and pulled up the text messaging and let my finger hover over the contact field, contemplating typing that text to the run organizer stating that i’d be sleeping through this one.

but, the thought of a goose-egg on the calendar for the day and the fun that i was sure to miss out on drove me to get dressed, eat half a muffin and head out the door.  plus, i’d heard that repete was back in town and i didn’t want to miss out on a chance to hear his bike tour stories.

i was rewarded when i arrived at the trail head and lo and behold, pulled up behind repete’s truck.  i jumped out of the car, waved my body wildly and yelled a hearty hello.  i was finally beginning to wake up.  repete and i had a sound effect discussion about what lsd chris’ truck sounds like.  he thinks it goes, “brum brum brum” and i think it goes, “grum grum grum”.

we headed out for the dreaded loved climb of big bend and repete began regaling us with the stories of his cycling trip through glacier/waterton.  the two of us were running out in front of b, who happened to have a headlamp on.  we laughed at the huge shadows our running forms were making and ended up breaking into an impromptu version of dawn patrol shadow puppet theater. 

my alligator > repete’s dog, btw.

we laughed our way down to laguna canyon and then over to the big bend climb.  yeah…there wasn’t anything funny about the climb and i know i didn’t say anything on the way up.  once up and on our way back to the cars, i tagged along with eric and michelle and we discussed botox.  eric gave us a wonderful demonstration of what laughing with a botoxed face looks like which sent us into such hysterics that michelle ended up having to walk.  seriously, he looked like a muppet.

back at the cars, molly was handing out more party favors, this time with a dental theme.  well, as dental as you can get with sport beans, candy cigars and jelly bellies [i did score a new toothbrush for tc, though!].  the jelly bellies had the flavors written on the box, with varieties like ‘skunk spray’, ‘booger’ and ‘earwax’.  repete and i started cutting up again, making up flavors. 

“spider silk!”

“toejam!”

“dingleberry!”

which elicited the best quote of the morning followed by the best laugh.  michelle piped up and offered, “i’ll trade you my earwax for your dingleberry!”

finally wide awake and chipper as ever, i thought to myself as i drove away from the trail head, this is, hands down, the best way to wake up in the morning.

soundtrack for this post
Stars of C.C.T.V. lick:
hipsters:
wax:
Hard To Beat
Hard-Fi
Stars of C.C.T.V.

re-make/re-model

so, i finally bit the bullet and made the switch from movable type to wordpress.  all of the movable type blogs that i’ve been hosting on breakingthetape.com have been sorely affected by the crap upgrade that we went through last year.  if one blog got hit by tons of spam, the rest of the blogs suffered.  if one blog had dynamic pages turned on, all blogs suffered when comments were submitted.  it was a nightmare and i had several bloggers jump ship.

when i set up scott with a new blog last month, i opted to use wordpress and was really impressed with how easy the installation and configuration was compared to movable type.  so, with a couple of free moments this week, i exported my mt site and imported it into wordpress, slapped on a fresh coat of paint, hung some new photos and voila, new blog.

moving all the feeds around is a little bit tricky and i’m still waiting for an updated plugin so i can point my rss feed to feedburner, but other than that, i’m pretty happy with the new digs.  now comes the real chore of moving the rest of the family into the new house.

on the training front, i’m happy to say that i’ve only been on the bike once since mooseman and haven’t touched the pool at the y since that race.  and you know what?  i’m quite content not to revisit the tri training until sometime next year.  i’m having too much fun with my first love, running.  lots of early morning trail runs with good friends [hi michelle, eric, repete, pete, greg and danica!] and long grinds in the hot california summer has my cup running over, thankyouverymuch.

on a geek note, i finally took the time to code the twitter interface for breakingthetape.com.  it’s currently just working one direction [entering a workout will automatically tweet the workout for you], but i’m working hard on setting up the ability to tweet your workout and have @breakingthetape parse the info and save the workout to your btt account.  if you’re a breakingthetape.com user, check out your profile page for the twitter account info or take a look at the @breakingthetape twitter feed to see what the btt tweets look like.

aaand on a homefront note, we moved the remote work pilot to september to give the in-laws a chance to get settled.  the timing works well, too, since donald will be up in yosemite while we’re there and i might tag along for a little run up half dome. 

all in all, a busy summer so far and lots more to come!

soundtrack for this post
Roxy Music lick:
hipsters:
wax:
Re-Make/Re-Model
Roxy Music
Roxy Music