June 12, 2009

Gogol Bordello and the Man Date


So a couple of weeks back I attended a concert by gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello. Never heard 'em before. Glad I went. It was a very high energy experience. I only remember seeing people that excited in the old days at a couple of Violent Femmes concerts. As good as they were live, I gotta admit that they are at their best live. I could do without most of their studio work.

The pre-concert drink was at my brother-in-laws place. Somewhere during that time Wifey hooked me up on a man date.

A man date for a bike ride no less.

Without going into details, the short ride ended up being better than I thought. Maybe one day I'll delve into man date #2, which was, less successful.

June 5, 2009

Rooting Away

I think a 9 month old mystery has finally been solved. That is, why I've been sick so much and why I've been tired more than usual.

I needed a root canal.

Sersly, I had a cavity fixed 9 months ago and it was a bad one. Painless (my dentist and all around good guy) told me I might have some trouble with it. Did I ever. Since it was repaired last fall, it remained sensitive. But all this time the nerves were festering and rotting inside my skull. I had headaches and, as you might recall, a load of sinus troubles last winter. I even started having pain in the maxillary temporal bone (whatever the hell it is) and shooting pains through my temple. A doctor even diagnosed me with TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) disorder and have a load of muscle relaxers now.

All this came to a head (sic) over Memorial Day weekend (always over a holiday weekend!) when the tooth finally reared its ugly head and made it clear it was the problem, not the jaw or anything else.

And everyone was out of town. And out of cell phone range. I was screwed. But I had a fistfull of hydrocodone and an empty house.

I managed to score some antibiotics to start fighting the infection. Then I started running a fever, which gave me the chills and caused my teeth to chatter. Even THAT tooth. And it hurt. Not thinking, I thought it might be an allergy to the antibiotic and quit taking it. Turns out I was wrong again.

Anyhoo, two trips for root canal procedures later and I am feeling a lot better. But I am afraid I am not out of the woods yet. It seems there were some issues with one of the roots, and the tooth is more sensitive now than it was after the first procedure. But he also kicked my ass. I hope any new troubles will come up sooner than later. I don't want the next 9 to be like the last.

And remember kids, always practice good dental hygiene.

June 4, 2009

Ride to Mantua

Third post this week. WTF?

Sometimes I get carried away and last Sunday was one of those days. What started as a couple of hours on the road bike turned into a 4 hour death march.

Not that I am complaining, mind you.

Wifey and Smarty Pants had a neice's birthday party to attend, so I knew I had free time to have a good ride. As the day wore on, I felt good and figured I should make the most of it.

I left about 10:30 and headed west to escape traffic - strange since I was nearly run down by an asshole more focused on loosening his tie and being finished with church than piloting his damn vehicle. Fortunately I was able to take years off his life by screaming at him through his OPEN window. Seriously, this guy must have wondered how a guy with a bike helmet got into his truck and why he hadn't noticed me there before. He jumped so fast I thought he was going out the other door. Awesome. Maybe he'll pay a little closer attention when he drives now.

After that incident, which happened in the first five minutes of the ride, it was business as usual. The sun was out, it was warm, and somehow the wind managed to blow in my face nearly the entire time. Yet I still went on. To Mantua (Man-uh-way). 35 miles one way. Not usually a distance I am too concerned with. But it isn't like I am killing it on the bike anymore. I mean, I doubled the 2009 mileage on my Trek Madone on this fine day.

Coming back was a little more eventful. In addition to feeling like there were angry little bees trying to escape from my thighs, I ran out of both food and water, so I had to change my route a little because the way I was going had very little in the way of shopping. Fortunately I remembered to bring some cash with me. A whole $2. What the hell can you get for $2? A sale on commercial sports drinks and a granola bar. $1.68. At this point in the ride I would have given the 65 year old lady behind the counter a lap dance for a giant Snickers bar. But it was only about 10 miles. Obviously I made it. I even had a little tailwind the last few miles to bring me in.

The moral of this story is that I am not the rider I used to be, and it's a real bummer. But, on the flip side, I still went out and did a 70 mile ride with my nose in the wind and a fair amount of climbing thrown in for laughs. Oh, and my back didn't hurt. And that is huge considering back pain pretty much made me stop racing bikes. So I'll take what I can get, and rides like this where I can get them. I'll just be sure to bring more food from now on.

June 3, 2009

Is it Worth It?

Today had me in the pool the second time this week. I've committed to three days, because two just ain't cutting it and I really want to improve my swimming.

I NEED to improve my swimming actually.

Because I really think if I can believe that I am actually a good swimmer and not just swimming for survival, I can take another chip out of my open water anxiety. Which I really have to do.

Or I am done with triathlon.

After some introspection, I'm starting to believe that the massive (accurate term) amount of anxiety I feel before swimming in a race is not worth it.

The panic has literally had me close to tears. It's that bad, and it isn't worth it. It isn't fun. But it's only the first couple of minutes. Past that, I'm going as fast as my bald little wings can pull me. Still not worth it though. My anxiety used to be drowning. Now it is a combination of drowning and the fear of quitting and being a failure, again. So it's actually worse than it used to be.

But, I have not been in a lake since XTERRA last summer, and something feels different. I still get the knot in my belly when I so much as think about swimming away from earth with a throng of flailing people, but I look forward to going. Maybe I have nothing to worry about. Maybe finishing the XTERRA swim helped me over the hurdle.

I had a swim consultation with Coach Katie. She found little wrong with my swimming form, suggested some drills and encouraged three days a week. It helped tremendously because I needed to know that the foundation, the mechanical basics of my stroke, are in place. Now I need to build the fitness and strength I need.

And I need the water to warm up a little more so I can get back into the lake and see where I am mentally with this mess.

June 1, 2009

Back Blogged and the Ogden Half Marathon

I am so behind on my blog posts, but like many other things it's easy to let blogging slip by. So, instead of having a single long-winded post, I'm going to break it down into a few choice retrospectives. You know, do things the way they should have been done to begin with. Who reads this anyway, right? Topics will include:

· Man Dates
· Gogol Bordello Live in concert
· The real distance to Mantua by bike (Hint: It's far)
· Root canals and festering, rotting nerves in my head
· Swimming, triathlon, tri bikes and if I am even going to do this silly shit anymore
· Whatever else I can think of

But this post is going to be all about the Ogden Half Marathon. Here ya go.

85th overall (1,978 finishers)
73rd male
Time: 01:37:02.84
Pace: 7:32 min./mile
Far from world class speed but I am pretty pleased with myself, considering my sporadic training since Canyonlands.

The race was uneventful until the finish, and I really can't say anything dramatic happened. I really just felt awesome for the most part. About mile 8 I started to feel my lack of endurance with fatigue that I know was caused by the bod wondering how much longer we were going to do this. And my time should have been a little better, but in the course of avoiding too much liquid so I didn't get sloshy, I let myself get dehydrated which caused my calves to start tightening up and my gut to start going south, both about mile 10 (the dreaded Ogden River Parkway). Instead of full blown cramps and having to do the penguin to keep from pooping, I dropped back to an 8:30 pace for two miles before throttling back up for the Grant Avenue finish.

The finish turned out to be pretty funny.

Approaching the finish line some dudes started sprinting and, as so often happens in my life, the dumbass in me took over.

I went with them. I went past them. I was killing them. And then...

SLAP! My left hand got smacked. Which meant someone was very close to me.

This caused one of those fight or flight moments. In a millisecond I saw our legs getting tangled up and both of us slapping the pavement.

So I gave him a little shove to get him away from me. He didn't like that. After, it went a little like this:

Dipshit cromagnon-looking crewcut asshole: "That was uncalled for."
Moi: "You slapped my hand."
Dipshit cromagnon-looking crewcut asshole: "I did not."
Dipshit cromagnon-looking crewcut asshole: " Did not...."
Moi: "Fuck off. You tell yourself what you have to sleep at night."

Race photos confirm he was right on my ass. Right or wrong for me to push? I don't care. I know that I wasn't bloody afterward.

I have never been so sick after a sporting event. I'll spare the sordid details, but it was a SHITTY time. Next time, it's right to the med tent for an IV. That's what Coach Katie told me to do. If there was a bright side to all this, other than my time, was the discovery of Sport Shield. Instead of the usual large blisters, I had only very small ones. I'll take what I can....

Oh, and I am due for some new shoes.