Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How I Became Santa's Helper


For those little readers, this story in no way claims there is no Santa. Sometimes Santa gets so busy that he gets a head start on gifts by leaving them in places well ahead of schedule.

I was raised, for the most part, in a single parent household. It was my mother, sister, brother and myself. I was the oldest of the kids so I got to play dad a lot when my mom would work late or have to go out of town on business. I would cook dinner. Help with homework. Make sure chores were done. And occasionally make my brother wear his breakfast after school because he did not eat it that morning. Times were different then. I say "then" meaning the late70's early 80's. Plus my brother is twice my size now and I don't think I could make him wear his breakfast anymore.

I was a KISS fan growing up. I had the KISS Alive II album. Yes. I said album. Some of you out there still remember vinyl? They say it is making a comeback. I had the KISS dolls and the comic books that were supposed to have their blood in the ink. I was Ace Frehley for Halloween. I was able to go to a KISS concert with my cousin at the Omni in Atlanta. That was only my second concert ever. My first was John Denver and Starland Vocal Band with my mother.

The year was 1978 and KISS was coming out with solo albums: Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. Each cover was of their face. I asked Santa for those albums. I was not sure if I would get them but they were the only things on my list. I also figured I was a good boy that year and only abused my sister and brother a little.

We lived in a two story house with an attic. I had discovered the previous year that Santa liked to hide presents in our attic about two to three weeks before their official arrival date. One of those things you find out when mom works late and you look for new places to hide from your brother. I would spend a lot of time in the attic just looking at my toys to be and visualizing what it was going to be like on Christmas morning. I would hate it when I found out my brother was getting the big Tonka trucks. They hurt when thrown at you.

During one of my attic visits, I saw all four KISS albums just leaning against some other toys. Was I dreaming. Were they really there. They began calling my name. Hold us. Look at us. See our song list. LISTEN to us. What? LISTEN to us. Now? NOW. The only way I can do that is to take you guys from the attic and put you on my record player. Oh, come on. We won't tell. Damn that Gene Simmons.

I took all four albums to my room and carefully sliced open the cellophane so as not to leave any evidence for the naked eye. My plan was to listen to each album for a little while and then return them before mom got home. I said that was my plan. It worked out well at first. Damn that Paul Stanley.

I began to get greedy. I would keep the albums in my room for a couple of days at a time. I sometimes played them while my mother was home. As long as I hid the album covers, she would not know the songs if she walked in my room. About three days before Christmas, I returned them back to the attic for the final time so that Santa could make sure they made it under the tree.

On Christmas Eve morning my father would pick us kids up and take us to our Grandparents for dinner and gift exchanges. He would bring us back home that night. On the way home we would listen to the Santa report on the AM radio. All I could think about was officially listening to my KISS albums in the morning.

We get to the house and my mom tells my dad that she needs to talk to him. I don't think anything of it. I then get called in to my mom's room where they are both standing by her bathroom. She said she wants to show me something in the bathroom. I walk in and see the four KISS albums leaning against the vanity mirror. I smile as if surprised. There are also three more KISS albums next to them minus Peter Criss. I am really surprised then. I am thinking there must have been some kind of miscommunication issue with a family member. Why buy me more KISS albums. I was WAY off base.

My mother explained to me, in that tone that only a mother can use and not get the law called on her, what had happened. She was in the attic conducting an inventory when she noticed there were no KISS albums. She looked all over the attic. She checked it twice. I know by now who was naughty and who was nice. She remembered paying for them but thought that maybe she left them at the store. She went to the store and spoke with a manager, again using that tone that only a mother could use. She was told that there were no KISS albums found. She bought three more KISS albums. She did not buy Peter Criss because my grandmother was going to do that. When she went back in to the attic to put the new KISS albums up she saw the first ones there. Now how could that be. Did she overlook them the first time. She picked one up and discovered, with her naked eye, that it had been opened. She also saw that the other three had been opened as well. Busted I was.

"What do you suppose we do about this?" She said to me. I should have thought about my response before I just blurted it out. "Why don't we take back the unopened ones and buy me something different," my knucklehead said. Don't say another word. "And I can take back the one that nanny is giving me and get a different album." There. I said it. Let's just say that my idea was not entertained. I was told that from now on I would be helping put out the toys each Christmas since I knew where they were being kept. My gifts would not be kept in the attic. Probably not even on the property. And the official listening party for the KISS albums would be sometime in March.
That is how I became one of Santa's many helpers. And to you kids out there. CD's are much harder to open secretly.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Starting Line or Matilda McBeastie

Our team has finally arrived in the City of Tarpon Springs, Florida. We used our GPS as a guide. But it was also a plus when we saw runners being followed by decorated vans. Time to work on our cheery spirits by yelling and blowing the horn in support.

The starting line was in Fred Howard Park. From what I saw, this was a nice park. A great place for a picnic if your in to that kind of stuff. There were tall pines, scrub grass, palm trees, picnic shelters, little squirrels, marching ants, covered musical trashcans and the ever popular bathrooms. Wanna guess who visited the bathroom first.

The check-in was simple and quick. A bag of 12 t-shirts and another bag of goodies. Whatever happened to the bag of goodies. It really wasn't all that good. Believe me. Ragnar has teams starting every 30 minutes from 8am til 2pm. These start times are based on your projected finish. Obviously the faster teams start later in the day. You will be penalized if you sandbag your time just to get an early start. We would have started earlier than our 11am start had our vans been available prior to 8am.

There were other teams already on scene and others arriving. Some had their vans decorated, while others were in the process. There were large vans, small vans, jeeps, station wagons and SUV's. I even saw a VW. I made it a point to point the smaller vehicles out to my Van 2 members. See there. Good things come in all shapes and sizes.

We were joined by the likes of The Barking Spiders. The Killer B's. SS Insanity II. Ultra Disaster. The Faster We Run, The Faster We Drink. And the original, Run Hard. Not all of these teams were in our division but this would be our competition at least for the first few hours. Time to get some team pics and give one last pep talk before the gun goes off.

The entire team on your left.
Van 2 on your right.

10:55 am. As I said in the beginning. This race is for fun. Each of us shall do our best but don't feel pressured to go all crazied up in them shoes. All I expect and ask is that you give youself and your team your best til the end. 10:57 am. Time to get this thing started.
10:58 am. Kalani stood at that start line with the biggest smile. Finger on that start button of her watch. 10:59 am. Crouched in the runner's start position. I am thinking, "we got a long ways to go there lady. But I like your style." 11:00 am. The horn blows and she is off. We have now begun the race of our lives. Well it was the race of our lives at the current time. Van 1 was off to follow Kalani. I felt like a proud father kicking his kid out the door on his 18th birthday. It was a long struggle to get him there but I know he will do just great.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Can of Sardines or Did We Forget Anything?

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.

This is a small continuation of the previous blog as it relates to the packing of Van 2. Apparently I did not provide enough information to the "blog world" about our preparations prior to our departure for Tarpon Springs. In other words, my Van 2 teammates were on my ars about some short comings.

While Van 1 is figuring out where to put the kitchen sink in their van, all six of Van 2's crew are standing at the rear of our van looking puzzled. How do we fit all of our stuff, keeping in mind we have three women so that is an automatic 9 bag addition, in our van without putting Steve's hobo sack on the roof. We have a tent, sleeping bags, gym bags, bags of shoes, bags of clothes, bags of food, bags of girlie things, a tire swing, pillows, blankets, towels, make-up kits, glow lamps, lava lamps, smelly sprays, phone chargers, rope, tape, fireworks, works of art, knapsacks, napkins, camera gear, hiking gear, gears of war, magazines, books, book ends, those things that go bump in the night, and we even had that damn needle in the haystack. Which by the way we never found.

Needless to say we packed, packed and repacked the van. We even packed some more because just as the door was being closed I would hear, "I need something from my bag which is on the bottom before we get going. Ooh, ooh, ooh, I have just got to show you what I brought for the trip. Did anyone see my leggings?" A note to my team for next year. Please pack two bags. One bag with stuff you won't need until we are finished and the other bag is a stuff you think you need but probably won't use but just got to have bag.

Now if you have ever owned or rented a mini-van, I am hear to tell you that they have come a long way. You would be surprised with the amount of crap you can fit in one of these things and still seat six comfortably. One bit of advice though. The new vans have hidden storage compartments. Some are rather large. It is good to discover these prior to packing and departure. Not when you are turning the van back in.

We are officially all loaded up and ready to go. But wait, being the father of two girls I must say something that I have said before any trip for atleast the last 14 years . It is something near and dear to my heart. "If anyone has to go to the bathroom you better go now. Because I ain't stopping til we get there." Boy did that van empty quick. Loaded again and now headed to Tarpon Springs. There is excitement in the air. For now that is a pleasant smell.

Next: Let the Journey Begin or Painter's vs. Electrical

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's Race Time or Daddy's Taking the Kids to the Pool

Ragnar is finally upon us. It's early Friday morning. Time to pack. Time to eat. No need for a shower. Time to meditate. Get in a quick 5 miler. Still no shower. Time to eat again. What to wear. Since I am the Captain, I decided I should at least wear a dress shirt and tie. The Captain has to be presentable in case there are any press conferences, photo ops, TV appearances or a good ol' fashioned ass chewing is needed before we get started.

C-Steve drove me to Tampa Airport to get Van 2. Steve said we could use his GPS to get us to the front door of Budget rental cars. I should have realized when Steve said "his GPS" I should have known there was going to be issues. Those of you that know Steve realize he is a little behind in the age of technology. I mean he does have OPCP. That is Other People's Cell Phones. He refuses to get a cell phone. He gives me his GPS and I type the address in. First off, I know there are more than eight streets in Tampa. Secondly, since when did GPS's come with fold out maps. I can tell you that Budget is not at Raymond James Stadium, International Mall or IHOP on Kennedy. A few phone calls were made, using my phone of course, to get better directions. We finally got the van. A mini-van of course. Still following my plan. I know you ladies are saying, "See, told you. Guys always get lost." That is not true. We were not lost. We knew exactly where we were the whole time.

Today is the day when you find out who on your team has been reading their e-mails and or paying attention at team meetings. Specific instructions were given to everyone about where to meet, what time to be there and how to get there. So I am in Walgreens buying a gallon of Fabreeze to spray in the smoke smelling luxury cruiser, can't have my runners with breathing conditions before we leave Tampa, when my cell phone rings. Now I was running a few minutes behind so I expected a little bit of razzing on the Captain. I did not expect one of my runners asking me what time I was coming to get him. I reminded him that we were all meeting at Mike's house by 8 am. It was already after 8 and this runner was still home. Now who did not listen at the meeting or read his team e-mails. "I just skim through my e-mails. I don't read all of them," he says. I say, "did you read the one about I ain't coming to get you." Hopefully he will just skim through this blog. He was our fastest runner.

I show up to the meet location in the mini-van. I am being looked at by the Van 2 runners like I just stole all their Christmas presents from under the tree. Hey, are you driving your own van. Is that your mom's car. No really, are you hiding the big van. Captain says, "daddy ain't taking you to the pool if you don't shut-up. Just then Kalani and Stacey show up in their super huge 20 passenger van. Again all of my Van 2 runners look at me with the sad puppy look. It didn't help that Van 1 was all bragging and laughing and dancing and pointing and ....well you get the point.

Let's load up and head to Tarpon Springs.

Next: Go Get Em' Kalani or Not New Moon

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Everything Will Be Alright or Quiet P-Funk-U

We have a team of 12. We have a name, Half Nuts. Now time for me to set my starting line-up.

I probably should have explained this whole Ragnar thing many posts ago. A relay running race from Tarpon Springs, Fla to Daytona Beach, Fla. Just over 203 miles. Twelve runners would run three times each in succession. We would ride in two vehicles that could not be longer than 21 feet each. The "party bus" was off the table. No motor homes either. Ideally a 12-15 passenger van would be great. Our team was able to rent one of those. That was Van 1. I was in charge of renting the second vehicle. I rented a van which we called.....Van 2. By the way, Van 2 rules.

Now setting up the line up or run legs was a task. I had to figure out who were my stronger runners and my not as strong runners. Others would have said weaker runners but hey, I am using my non-angry fingers tonight. Each runner's leg was varying distances but I also had to look at the total of the three legs. C-Steve already volunteered for the longest total (22.3 miles) and I was going to have Veronica take the shortest total (13.1 miles). I also had to keep certain people together based on who rented what vehicle and who giggled the most.

So that meant I put Stacey in Van 1, since she rented Van 1. Kalani in Van 1 since she knows Stacy. V in Van 1 since she was taking the low miles and she also knows Kalani and Stacy. Jen-e because she had the second fewest miles. Mike and Milsaps to put some musk in the van.

Van 2, which by the way was a mini-van. I should finally come clean to my Van 2 runners and let them know that I did have access to a large van but wanted to feel closer to my running mates. Kind of a psychological thing Captains do. I read about it in a "Coaches for Dummies" book.

C-Steve was in Van 2 because of the most miles runner. Jason was in Van 2 with the second longest miles. Red was in Van 2 since she is friends with Beth who was in Van 2 since P-Funk-U was going to be in Van 2. And the Captain rounded out Van 2 since I was runner 12 and would be finishing the race. Well let's also face it. I was the Captain and I was going to be pretty much where ever I wanted to be. For goodness sake.

After all that was put on paper, we had two more meetings to discuss final preparations and logistics. Now you would think topics of conversation would be about running and what distances will I do. How difficult will it be and such. No. I heard things like: Will I be able to charge my Blackberry. I better be able to get on Facebook while out in the boonies. Who is bringing the baby wipes. Can I call my girl. Can I call my man. Can we wear Depends while in the van. Will there be port-o-pottys. Do I have to sleep with one eye open. Do we have a pump. There better be no farting. Do I have to run the whole time. Can I run in my jammies. Can I have beer after my first run, second run or should I just wait until the end of my third run. Will I be able to shower after each run. Where are we going to eat once we get to Daytona. Can we eat now. I can make a mix CD. Should I let my Probation Officer know I am doing this. Are you a Princess. Are we allowed to moon walk. Should I bring a gun. I am not going to wear a shirt while I run. Oh I like that ring. Is it real.

Now there was one teammate who was just so concerned about something she had absolutely nothing to do with. Picking up Van 2 from the car rental location. She wanted to know who was picking it up. What time that was going to happen. And what color the van would be. For the life of me I still can not figure out the concern. I told her "everything will be alright. Now be quiet." Turns out that when she was a child she was left at home while her parents went out of town for the holidays. I thought this was a movie in the 80's but turns out her parents were big fans of this movie and wanted to see if it would really work. Guess it did. But still, what does a mini-van have to do with it? Who knows.

Next chapter: The Fun Begins or Is She Really Going Out With Him?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

What's In A Name or Out of the Bunker

Now where did I leave off. Oh yeah. Let's name our team.

Since the "fast" BRA team's name was 12 Hearts, should we have something similar. Like for instance, 24 Kidneys or 12 noses or 17 earlobes. Figure that one out. Maybe something along the lines of, The Slow Asses, The Others, The Glittering Cowboys or BRA's Red Headed Step Kids. No. We did not want to offend any troubled youths out there or red heads on our team.

So Beth and I started tossing out different names that sounded fun and yet fitting. She thought of Mixed Nuts. I thought of 6 Swords and Their Sheathes. We compromised on Half Nuts. She was thinking that we had to be half nuts to run across Florida. Guys, you know what I was thinking. Six guys-six girls on a team. Anyways. Turns out when the team was finalized, after the naming of course, we were actually 5/12ths Nuts. But hey.

We now needed a logo of some sorts. You know the whole womanly, "we got to have matching shirts so we can take pictures. Shirts we can wear crossing the finish line." Beth was able to use her artistic creativity (actually stole a clip art) and came up with our logo.
So after heavy debating and numerous voting, the name and logo were born. We were no longer just Team 44, we were and will forever be Half Nuts. HN4LB.
All we had left to do now was prepare ourselves for this strenuous journey we were going to partake in. I organized countless training sessions and met with numerous strength, conditioning, life and running coaches. I will also let the cat out of the bag and say that some of our runners also spent some time on a couch or two. They did not realize they were already on the team. I don't kiss and tell.
Some of the team suggested we have a few pre-Ragnar meetings just to talk about logistics and such. I held the first meeting at St Pete Beach. I set it up with beer and food. Had the beach chair with an umbrella. And just as the sun began to set on the horizon, I pulled out my laptop and sent some e-mails to the team. You have to sometimes slap them in the mouth to get their attention. I had a blast.
After several meetings, numerous phone calls, leg jockeying and countless e-mails, we were ready to race.
Next: Up Before Dawn or Is That Really Our Van?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Team Comes Together

Now let's continue the Ragnar Saga.

I left you last with five members down and seven to go. How do I pick a team from so much talent available. The easiest way was to put out an e-mail invite to the yahoo BRA groups page. Three times as a matter of fact. That netted me one. So I would have to rely on word of mouth. A new comer to BRA was this young guy named Jason "The Millionaire". (The story of his name in future episodes.) He was mainly a 5k runner with impressive times compared to the rest of my team. He had talked about wanting to do the Ragnar race. I said, "welcome aboard there young man." We now have six.

Now I needed to go where the runners are. You local Tampa folks may know about a little run on Tuesday nights at 6pm held at Four Green Fields. It is a free 5k and once you have done your 10th run you get a free tech shirt on your 11th appearance. I was with Veronica and Beth. V told me that she new a guy that might be interested in joining the team. She introduced me to Mike. I met him before at a Hasher event. He said he would join the team.

Also while I was there, I happened to bump in to this lovely blond I know. She is very spunky and always seems to be smiling. I first met her at last years Ragnar Florida race. We seemed to have hit it off well. I talked to her this time about being on my Ragnar team. I REALLY wanted her on my team. She seemed really excited and all game. I told her I would call her and fill her in on the details. I then saw Kalani, another BRA member, and asked her as well if she wanted to join my team. She agreed. She also said she would be able to get a friend of hers from out of state to join. That would mean only one woman left.

Out of nowhere I am told that another newcomer to BRA named Jennifer wanted to join and had check in hand. I knew nothing about her other than "check in hand." And quite frankly, I still don't know much about her. All my ladies are set. Now to complete the men's side.

Veronica told me about this guy named Scot that ran on her team last year. He was wanting to do it again this year. I told her to have him get his money to me. Check was in the mail. Eleven down and one to go.

There was one guy left that I had wanted to ask early on but was not sure of his interest. I think he is very much a closet runner. I asked a few teammates if they thought he would be interested and they were even unsure. That was why the e-vites were sent out early. I put the bait out there but did not get a bite. I think once my bait was packaged and presented as Beth, Patricia, Jennifer, Kalani, Stacey and V, who would not bite at the chance to spend a weekend with that bunch. Hell I was trying to figure out a way I could be in both vans. John took the bait. All 12 and now time for Supper.

But there was this one person that kept lingering around. She would show up at some of our runs. She would be at parties. She would be at water stops. She would be outside my window. She would be just about anywhere. I knew her at the time as Jen but others may know her as Redheadrunning. She so much wanted to do Ragnar but missed the boat. She was like our very own stowaway. "Put me in coach. Just put me in." I would have loved her to be one of our runners but could not kick any of the others off. You see I still had that international mandate I had to meet so C-Steve had to stay. I suggested she be our bike pacer for the night runners. That way she could still be on the team and provide much needed entertainment.

But as fate goes, one of our runners, Scot, had to pull out with only a month before the race. Now who would I get to fill his spot. Since we were on a mixed team, we had to have at least six women. I decided we will have seven women and five guys. Welcome aboard Red.

Next: Naming a Team or Smooth as Eggs

Monday, December 7, 2009

From the Brandon Half to Mickey's Merry

This is a break away from the Ragnar tale.

Yesterday morning I ran the Brandon Half Marathon. I was not going to do the run, officially, until I was given a comp entry from one of my fellow BRA runners. She works for Driscoll's. You should try their strawberries. I have and they are some of the finest berries in the world. Okay Esther does that count as an endorsement.

I have recently been running faster than I normally run. I PR'd the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater last month by almost 2 hours. I ran like a madman, so I heard, during Ragnar all while using McDonald's as fuel. But you will read about that on future blogs. And I PR'd a 5k on Turkey day. So I wanted to try and PR a half marathon. I had not been running much lately and I had Five Guys for lunch on Saturday. Don't you just love that place. Double burger and fries. I mean fries that leave grease stains in the brown paper bags. I take the bags home and use them for kindling on camping trips. I cook the same damn kind of meat on my grill but I can't get my youngest one to eat my burgers. WTH.

Tried to eat good for dinner. Spaghetti and turkey meat sauce. Two or three beeeers. There was football on. Some fresh baked oatmeal raisin cookies. Have you tried the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I did. Right after the other cookies. Went to bed around....ohhh midnight.

One of the good things about the Brandon Half Marathon is that you can park your car damn near on the starting line. And it is only 20 minutes from my house. So, I just stay in my car and sleep with the heat on until about 15 minutes prior to the gun going off.

It was cold at the start but I felt good. I was shaking like a leaf. People who know me will tell you that I do shiver when it is cold. I have this condition called, "itscoldashellouthere." Had no ipod. Have taken my shuffle to Apple three times. That is another story. No gloves. Wish I did. Hands were cold for a while. Actually the whole race. And we are off. The fast guys are out front. Which is not me. Remember, I was the Captain for Half Nuts.

It was cold but I still took water at every water stop. I remember Tom, one of the fast runners, telling me and others in our group to drink water even though it was not hot out. He gives great advice. I should listen to him more often. Something I did learn. When getting ready to eat GU (carbo gel) in the cold, you should warm the package up in your hands first so it goes down easier. I just read the previous sentence again. If you are not a runner, shame on you.

Anyways, I finished in 1:44:34. I PR'd by about 7 minutes or so. Other runners in our BRA group also had PR's so I congratulate them as well. And the fastest runner was Josh who is a BRA member.

I also discovered a new breakfast treat. A post morning race treat that is. The new Budweiser wheat beer and Burger King's french toast. You dip the french toast in to your beer and enjoy. Much better than the syrup.

Now on to the evening. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas at Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom with the family. This was an annual family event that we had not done for the past three years. The girls seemed to have out grown Disney and all it's magic. Which my bank account surely loves. We all agreed to give it another try this year. Believe it or not, teen girls still get excited about going to Disney World. At least that is what they said even though on the way there one was texting a mile a second and the other was sleeping. Would you believe Disney now charges $14 to park your car. Unless you tell them you trade secrets.

For those not familiar with how this whole MVMC goes well here is the break down. You have to buy separate tickets for this event. It is on specific dates and is from 7pm til midnight. The park closes at 7pm for all other guests. You are given a wristband and all those without are funnelled to the front and out the gate. Now you have the whole park to yourself. Yeah right. You and 20,000 others. For some reason this year the park was not all that crowded. My youngest one asked me if this was the kind of "change" everyone was talking about.

Too keep this short, fun was had by all. It was very nice to see the kids playing around and having a good time. The part I did not like was when my oldest one was talking about bringing her kids to Disney some day. Hopefully many, many, many, (how do you make an infinite symbol?) years from now.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Who to Invite for Supper

So now I needed to round up eleven other runners for my team. Several had already spoken up prior to the BRA meeting about being on a second team. It was just a matter of getting them to commit. In other words, "pay up sucka." Each runner had to pay an entry fee to me and I had to register the team on-line. No team name required at this time. Just a team number.

We were going to enter in the "open division" which meant no age restrictions and at least 6 runners had to be women. Who to choose and who to beg. There was going to be some arm twisting, bribes and if necessary, photos posted on I save all videos for personal viewing.

As it stood, I already had three runners committed. Well four when including me. I had Carribean Steve, who was my international runner in case there was some kind of mandate I had to fulfill. I had Veronica, who was my Ragnar veteran and was going to bring her logistical expertise to the table. And I had Beth, who I reserve the right to comment on later. Now eight to go.

I talked to the captain of the "fast" BRA team and we both agreed that we would not try to recruit each others runners that were on the fence. If a runner committed to his team, again a woman, I would not try to convince her to run for me. Running club first. Now that doesn't mean there weren't others trying to win them over.

My thought was to put out the generic invitation and see who bites. There were some that wanted to join but could not get out of work or family plans. For those two, you know who you are, I have a spot for you in 2010. There were others that were hemming and hawing about what to do. I knew one in particular would come around after all the hounding and pressure put on her by my minions. I for one am glad she caved. P-Funk-U, welcome aboard. The team now had a mediator for those unresolved issues or fights brewing about creative differences.

Five down. Seven to go.

Forthcoming: The Rest of the Line-up or Jumpin Jack Flash

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pre-Ragnar or Captain Got Some Work To Do

Totally NO PRESSURE....

My first experience with Ragnar Florida was last year when I rode the bicycle during the night runs for Van 1 of the 12 Hearts team. The 12 Hearts team was the "fast" team from Brandon Running Association. They were hoping to win the race. Turns out they were the first losers which means "second place" in politically correct terms.

At the end of the race I realized I really wanted to do this race next year as a runner. But I also knew that I was not fast enough to be on the 12 Hearts team. Well, I felt I was fast enough but I was not picking the team. So I thought that if I volunteered to be a Captain of a team then I was assured a spot on the roster. It's kind of like when we were kids on the playground getting ready to play kickball. If you were always one of the two that picked the teams then you were guaranteed not to be picked last.

Before the Summer, we had one of our monthly BRA meetings and Ragnar was brought up. Of course the "fast team" was laying their groundwork on who they were going to get to fill the gaps in because some of last years runners would not be available this year. Well of course the gaps were left by women that were either out of the country, prior work commitments or just too damn slow last year. Again, no open spot for Walter. Time to change course.

There were others that did Ragnar last year on a different team that wanted to do it again this year but not with the same people. Kind of a Mutiny on the S. S. Ragnar. These same few did not want to be a Captain but did want to help out in any way. I heard my name mentioned in the background as being a Captain for a second BRA team. I welcomed the challenge. That was part of my plan. Little did they know, I had been recruiting a team for some time. But things would be different on my team. No worries. No stress. We were not expected to win so I only wanted each runner to give it their best. And most of all, NO PRESSURE.

Now picking eleven more people to be together for a run across Florida was a challenge. The struggles and sacrifices I made were astounding. Now I am sure my teammates are reading this and saying....WTH. But until you have walked a mile in my shoes. Anyways....

Forthcoming : The Team or "Who to Invite for Supper"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Breaking the Blog Seal

My first official blog. Never invited as a guest blogger either, but hey, doesn't matter who you show up to the dance with right. It's who you take home.

I decided to start a blog once I read some written by two friends of mine. They are Beth "discom-BOB-ulated running" and Jen "caution redhead running". We recently competed in a cross Florida run known as Ragnar Florida. They both wrote what they experienced during this race. I realized that there were some things left out. Many things. Also, there was no guy perspective given. So, why not give it a shot and add some meat to the stories.

I will break my virgin blogginess in during the next few days by telling all of the adventures we had on a Friday afternoon in Tarpon Springs to a Sunday morning in Daytona Beach.