so, thunderclap continues to develop.  from walking to talking to the occasional melt-down, he’s growing up changing daily.  recently, he started expressing his understanding of the different noises that animals make.  while he completely drops the ball when i ask him to demonstrate "chicken" [complete with arm flapping and BAWK BAWK BAWK'ing], he still hits the mark with several other barn-yard animals.  aa would be so proud.

soundtrack for this post
Zooropa lick:

killer of bees

let it be know to the order of hymenoptera that tangling with the amazing hip will result in your painful and untimely death.  i am your scourge.  i am your reaper.  i am your death.  may this warning serve you in choosing your targets wisely.

yesterday, on my ride home from work, i was flying down a street, in a big gear and nearing 25mph when a foolish and careless member of said order made an attempt to find out just how amazing my hip was. 

from the inside.

i, like most cyclists when pushing hard, will ride with their mouth agape to get in as much air as possible.  this provides quite a large target, and said member of the aforementioned order hit the bulls eye.

it took all of a second to collect it in my mouth and spit it back out, but that was just enough time for it to deposit it’s stinger in the roof of my mouth near the top of my throat.  immediately upon spitting it out, i could feel the pain and throb of it’s poison coursing through my mouth, jaw and cheek.  i cruised to a stop, sat on the curb and let the initial pain subside.

i fished around the roof of my mouth where the pain was the greatest and couldn’t find the stinger, but when i let my tongue run over my entire mouth, i could feel it stuck in the roof toward the back of my mouth.  i tried to scrape it out without squishing the sack, but failed and felt a wave of additional pain as i connected with it.  i finally pulled it out and sat there for a moment marveling how such a small thing could cause so much pain.

i made sure that it wasn’t swelling so much that my breathing was impacted, washed my mouth out with water and then hopped back on the bike to continue my ride home.  i made it home safely with no further incident.  i was a bit more conscious of how open my mouth is when i ride hard.

now, a full 15 hours later and i can still feel a dull pain in my mouth and jaw.  at least i was on the winning side of that fight, though.  when will those things learn that even though they inflict pain, they’re going to lose?  maybe they think it’s a war of attrition.

soundtrack for this post
Oingo Boingo
Farewell: Live from the Universal Amphitheatre Disc 1

a sweet voice

saturday night, after the triathlon, i came down with the flu and have been down and out for the last few days.  this flu really kicked me in the butt.  i was so wiped out that i spent most of the day monday and tuesday in bed.  i’m on the mend now and may be back on the trails on friday…we’ll see how the lung cookies cooperate.

part of being healthy is keeping a healthy mind set.  if you’re happy and you know it, health tends to follow along.  so, when you’re sick and feeling like crap, one of the best cures is to find things that make you smile.  when you’re immersed in the following video all day long, it’s hard not to recover quickly:

soundtrack for this post
Capture/Release lick:
Work Work Work (Pub Club Sleep)
The Rakes

won’t you be my neighbor?

i usually cycle to work a couple times a week.  with thunderclap, i’m wanting to spend as much time at home as possible, so i use my commute and lunches to accomplish my training goals.  this often turns into creative logistics with trying to stage gear, clothing and toiletries for consecutive days workouts.

for example, if i plan a pre work run on tuesday morning, a swim tuesday lunch and bike to and from work on wednesday, i’m looking at trail gear for the run including a hand held bottle and gatorade endurance, a towel for after the run, a towel for the gym and a dry shirt for the drive to the gym plus the days clothes.  for the swim: goggles, swim cap and towel.  for wednesdays ride, it’s a full set of clothes, toiletries and a towel, along with bodyglide to apply for the ride home.  all of this gear must be gathered and staged on tuesday.  i often leave the house in the morning with a couple outfits on hangers and two full bags of gear.  the dance i walk through to ensure i’ve got everything is often humorous to smsmh.

the one thing i almost always forget to factor in, though, is that i need shoes and a belt for work.  on many occasions, i’ve made it to work, showered and changed only to realize that i’m going to have to wear just my socks for the day.  so, i’ve taken to adding a pair of sandals into my gear so that i can leave my shoes and belt at work the day before a ride into the office.

yesterday i rode to and from work.  i had successfully placed my shoes on wednesday, so i enjoyed a rare day of feeling comfortable walking around the office.  today, i wore my sandals into work since i left my shoes here when i biked home yesterday.  as i sat down to change out of my sandals and into my shoes, i realized that i have become mr. rodgers.

soundtrack for this post
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace lick:
Foo Fighters
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace

salomon xt wings challenge – the cool down

it’s funny.  usually after a big event like a marathon or an ultra that i have trained hard for, there’s the post event doldrums.  it takes a couple weeks to pull myself out of it and that usually means putting another big event on the calendar to train for.

not this time.

i’m still in seventh heaven.  i’m still basking in the experience of running through yosemite.  i’m not tired.  i’m not beat up.  actually, i’m itching to do more.  but before i dive into more adventures, i need to tie up loose ends with this challenge.

first off, the rest of the story about yosemite.  after my soak in the river, i caught the shuttle over to yosemite village to get some much needed grub into my body.  i ordered up a huge multiple meat sandwich and gorged myself.  well, not really.  i found it hard to eat too much and i had to take it a little slow.  after eating, i bummed around the village a bit, walking slowly around and just soaking in the ambiance.  yeah, it was crowded with summer visitors, but still, it’s yosemite.  everywhere you look there’s something fantastic to just stare at.

my plan had been to try to thumb a ride up to tuolumne if i’d finished early enough, but i was in that grey area so i opted to just hang out and relax and take the YARTS back up to the trailhead.  for eight bucks, why not?  while i was hanging out at the bus stop, i listened to conversations of fellow park visitors and ended up talking to two guys who were just on their way through the park with no plans of staying.  they had this crazy story about how their travels had been going so far.

mattdave they had started out a couple days earlier in georgia, coming from berry college, flown into san francisco, bussed out of the city to the train, ridden the train to the end of the line, missed their next bus due to their luggage, caught a taxi to yosemite valley that happened to break down en-route and thumbed their way to the YARTS stop just in enough time to catch it to mammoth.

why mammoth, i asked.  well, turns out they’re both runners and will be spending a month at an elevation training camp.  this is the same area that most of the us olympic marathon team trains.  so, they’ll have to opportunity to run the same routes as [if not WITH] the likes of deena kastor, meb, ryan hall, josh cox, etc.

on the bus, we chatted quite a bit and i found out that david was planning a missions trip to prague later this year with athletes in motion.  what a cool way to get involved; living life as an example through the medium of sports.  i really hope he has a great experience over there.  when i found out that they were heading to mammoth and camping on the outskirts of town, it became apparent that they were going to arrive in the dark and be stuck putting up their tent with headlamps.  i figured that if i could cram them and all their gear into the mini, i’d be able to get them there an hour earlier and give them some sunset and dusk light to set up by.

when the bus dropped us off at the trail head, it was a gamble, but i figured at worst we could open up the sun roof and have one of the guys stand up and put his pack on the seat.  fortunately, with some tetris like activities, we were able to pack all of our gear into the car with just barely enough room for passengers.  off we went!

matt had never been through this part of california, so he was in for a treat as we came down tioga pass just before sunset.  as we wound down from the tioga pass gate, we all ooh’ed and aah’ed as the lakes, mountains and then mono unfolded below us.  a short while later, i had the guys in mammoth and there was still plenty of light for them to get things set up.  good luck at camp, guys.  run hard!

so, thus ends the salomon xt wings challenge for me.  i summed everything up in a video collection of clips and photos from the experience.  which leads me to my next bit of cool-down.

the nokia n82.  for those of you following along for a while now, you know that the whole point of the phone was to use it as a story telling device; take pictures, video, twitter, log workouts, etc.  well, i’ve been using it regularly for the past couple months to do just that and i’ve been thrilled with it’s performance.

aside from battery life, the phone has surpassed what i thought it was capable of.  the gps workout tracking is brilliant [for shorter workouts - say up to 3 hours or so] and it’s live tracking feature is a blast.  i use the phone to twitter when i’m starting a workout and people are able to hit the nokia sportstracker website and follow along.

the web and other standard features on the phone work as expected and having access to gmail and google maps is very handy.  but the biggest aspect of the phone that has blown me away is the quality of the lens on it.  all of the pictures from my training, video of trails and everything you saw in that video above were taken with the phone.  that 5mp carl zeiss lens is just brilliant.  the whole 365 days of thunderclap is being shot with the phone, too.  i’m daily impressed with it’s quality.

of course, i wouldn’t be able to take great pictures of the places i was going if i didn’t have the gear to get me there.  the salomon xt wings have been, hands down, the best trail shoe i have ever owned.  i have put well over 200 miles on them so far and the best thing i can say about them is that i don’t notice them.

when it comes to gear for the outdoors, if the gear performs as expected, doesn’t cause you problems and enhances the experience, then you’ve got a winning piece of gak.  these shoes do that and more.  from fit to torsion stability to shedding of moisture to the uber cool red colour, i’m a fan.  i walked away from 26 miles of highly technical trail running with a net downhill of 9,700′ with nary a mis-step or slip and amazingly, NO BLISTERS.  i was able to enjoy the enviable aspect of trail running…being able to ignore my feet.

so, the salomon xt challenge is done and it was a blazing success on all fronts; fitness, experience and gak.  my guess is, though, that i’ll be using all of these tools again to do even more of the same.  after all, my mug is still full and i’m itchin’ for it to overflow.