Thursday, February 25, 2010

For Red.....

Hello there fellow readers. I was told by a certain friend, Redhead Jen, that my blogs did not have enough pictures. Well now here are some. Each photo has a story behind it. All I ask is that you pick one in the comments section. I will give the background of each picture that is commented on in a future blog. You may or may not win something. Probably not but this could be fun and definitely different.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's Raining Cell Phones

I made a deal with my daughters to tell the blog world a story that happened last year while on vacation. The deal was agreed upon since I have told a story about them and will post many a more in the coming weeks, months and years. That is as long as my memory holds up. And if it doesn't. You know me. I will just make it up.

Last June, the family and I flew to Washington D.C. with the in-laws for about a week. My father-in-law wanted to see the WWII Memorial and the trip was a birthday present given to him by his three daughters about four years ago.

Prior to us arriving in D.C., I had checked the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles' schedules to see if there was going to be a home game I could take my daughters to. I am one of those fathers that feels spending time with your kids goes a long way. Who knows, they may not be so reluctant to change my diaper some day.

A ball game is a good way for them to have stories to tell later in life. Another way to bond. It is not something my father and I did when I was younger but what the hell. I have no plans to be like my father. But that is another saga in and of itself.

I was born and raised in Atlanta. I am still a Braves fan. I was a fan well before the 90's. Just my luck. The Braves were going to be playing the Orioles for a three game weekend series while we were in D.C. My plan was to rent a car and take the girls to the Saturday night game. I lived in D.C. for three years and had never been to an Orioles game. This should be fun. I like baseball and they like the cotton candy, peanuts, hot dogs, dippin' dots and cold beer.

Come Saturday, we had already been in D.C. for four days. We had walked all over the place. Went to many a museums. Accidentally met Congressman Putnam from Florida. That's another story. Had a private tour of the Capital. There was one thing that kept happening on a daily basis while we were out and about. My cell phone would fall off of my shorts pocket. I would wear the plaid shorts with no belt to hook the clip to so I had to clip the phone to my pocket. Well the slightest bump would cause the phone to fall off and on to the ground or where ever gravity decided to take the thing. This would usually happen as I was going up or down stairs or escalators. Bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce. Both my girls would tell me, "Daddy you need to put your phone in your pocket before you lose or break it." Yeah, yeah. Whatever. I am your daddy. I know what I am doing. They both just laughed as if they were some kind of clairvoyants.

Back to the game. We took the Metro to Reagan Airport to get the rental car. All was well. I tried to get us to the stadium based on memory. When I say memory, it was from looking at Mapquest on the computer two weeks ago. No GPS system in the car. But hey I am Daddy. I know where I am doing. I factored in an additional hours time just as a "getting lost" cushion. I drove north on the interstate and then took the wrong exit. Well I knew it was the wrong exit only after I got on it. I played it off as showing the girls where I used to live. "Daddy. You used to live in an embassy." Why yes I did. Well back on the right highway.

Getting to the stadium turned out to be very easy. Baltimore/Washington Parkway north til it ended at the stadium. Membership Privileges got me an upfront parking spot. Bought cheap tix at the gate. Front row of the upperdeck along the third base line. Cheap tickets mean more money available for the little ones to buy food to occupy their time while I watch the game. Yippy.

Not a bad view from the picture I provided.During the game, there was a young couple to our left that had put their camera on the wall just below the railing. Now what do you think happened. The camera demon somehow caused the camera to fall over the edge. Me and the girls look over and see this rather bad-ass looking bald guy rubbing his head as if he had just been hit by a falling object. This object just happened to be the couple's camera. The girl is leaning over and yelling sorry and offering to buy the guy a beer or name her first born after him. The security lady is recovering her camera and calming the guy down. I tell the girls, while laughing, that that is the reason you don't put stuff on the wall. I see the security lady give back the camera to the girl and give her a stern talking to. Can you see where this story is going since it was my girls that wanted me to tell it.

The eighth inning has arrived and the Braves are getting clobbered. Time to leave and beat We start to walk up the stairs and what happens. My cell phone, that is not in my pocket, bumps the hand rail and falls off my shorts. It was just like the movies when it all happens in slow motion. My phone starts bouncing down the stairs. Now my daughters are right behind me kind of providing a human shield for my phone. You would think my phone was Moses and my girls were the Red Sea because they just moved right out of the way and watched gravity play havoc with my phone. Bounce. Bounce. Phone separates from holder. Bounce. Phone and battery separate. Bounce. Battery goes over the wall and down below. Oh crap. I could have sworn the ball players were actually watching my phone fall as well. A big ooooh from the crowd.

I run down to the wall and look over to see where my phone landed. There is this bald guy rubbing his head and looking up at me. The same bald guy that already caught a camera with his head.We catch each others eyes and he is not too happy. Great. Whose laughing now. I yell down using the same lines that the girl used earlier. The same security lady was holding my battery and looking up at me. I yell down at the guy that it was an accident. Someone else in the crowd says, "Yeah. It wasn't like you threw your phone down there. Well you didn't did you."

I grab the girls and tell them that I need to go get the battery for my phone. They are both just laughing and saying told you daddy to put your phone in your pocket. I had a crisis on my hand at the moment and was in no laughing mood. I thought I may have to fight some dude for my battery or worst yet....Morgan and Morgan. They were both also saying they needed to go to the bathroom real bad. Now all that laughing will make you pee in your pants. I told them to hold it because I needed to get the battery. While I was going down a level, the security lady was coming up a level. We eventually crossed paths. She gave me my battery. I told her the story which she started to believe until she caught site of both my girls laughing. Now who is getting the stern talking to. Great again.

The girls could not understand the seriousness of the situation. They enjoyed seeing their father, as they called it, panicking. I told them I was not panicking. I was trying to avoid a bad situation. Now if I were at the game with the fellas that would be different. I would have already had 3-6 beers in me and probably would not have known the phone went over the ledge. Needless to say we made it out of there unharmed. The girls were able to go to the bathroom and my phone worked.

I have since got a new phone with a better clip but we have not been to another ball game. And when we do, I will put my phone in my pocket just for them. I enjoy hearing the girls tell this story. Each time it gets better and better. Funnier and funnier. The phone falls from higher and higher. I don't mind being the brunt of their funny stories. At least I am part of a good story they can tell.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Is That A Chainsaw I Just Heard

Time for our second legs of running. C-Steve is off and running. He requested no bike or water support. He was on his own. And we for the most part, let him be on his own.

Before we broke camp and left the exchange area, I had to check on my fallen runner. I paid a visit to the luxury van and saw Stacey laying across the seat. She was bandaged on her palms, elbows, knees and toes. She looked miserable but was still managing to smile. She was not sure if she would be able to run her third leg but it was still too early to tell. I told her the Captain would figure it out when it came time. It wasn't like she was just giving up cause she was tired. The damn woman was attacked in the fog by a Bridge Troll. Remind me. I have to show C-Steve a map of where Stacey went down and see if he has any family living near that bridge.

We loaded up the van and headed towards the next exchange to wait on C-Steve. We passed him along the way and gave him some shouts of encouragement. "Your doing great Steve. Your on pace. Hurry your ass up. She's catching you. You big sissy." Now I mention "she" because during C-Steve's first leg, he happened to almost catch someone and then razzed the person and their team when he finished. Well on his second leg, he caught up to a woman and then pulled ahead of her. Well as he was closing in on the final 50 yards or so, she catches him and passes him in the exchange box. To this day he denies this ever happened but we do have the proof below.

As you can clearly see C-Steve is to the right and the woman is to the left. Plus in the other photo he is showing the hand sign of second place.

Jason was off on his second leg and also requested no bike support nor water. His run was mostly going to be on a paved trail. He again only wore his shoes, shorts, headlamp and safety vest. He passed seven other teams during his run. I drove us to the next exchange but did not hear a sound from Redhead or P-Funk-U. I was not even sure they were in the van. I could just imagine them being back at the camp area in the port-o-lets. Brake check. I hear them now.

B.o.b. was our next runner and now it was time for me to get on the bike. It was as much my demand as it was her request for me to bike. It was pretty damn dark and she would be alone on some trails and I was not letting anything happen to any of my girls on my watch. Or at least the girls in my van. Sorry Stacey. Had I been your bike escort, you would not have fallen. I'm just sayin'.

Jason trotted in and handed off to B.o.b. She was off and so was I. All her run was on paved trail. We could not see a thing other than red blinking lights ahead of us. I am sure it is beautiful scenery during the day but couldn't tell you. Wait, did I just type beautiful scenery. The "twins" are playing tricks on me.

There were some parts on B.o.b.'s run that felt like we were out in the middle of the woods. I could see some lit up farm houses right off the trail. I was thinking, this would be a perfect time to start-up a chain saw if I lived in one of those houses. I even teased B.o.b. a little about this very subject. I told her that she would have to be the bait until I got the creature killer ready because if I got taken down first then she was on her own. And balling up in to the fetal position only works on bears. Just sayin'.

There was one thing I kept noticing during B.o.b.'s run. There were never any issues when I gave her water. I was hoping she was kind of paying attention to how the whole water from bike to runner to bike process works.
B.o.b. kept a nice steady pace going. She passed four other runners. She also "chicked" one guy. Those that are unfamiliar with the term "chicked", it means a guy was passed by a woman. That "chick" being B.o.b. Now towards the end of her leg, she started slowing down. I kept telling her that there was someone behind us catching up. This caused her to pick up her pace and finish strong. When she got to the exchange, she looked back and saw no one. To this day she thinks I was making it up so she would not slow down. B.o.b., there really was someone behind you. You ran a great leg. If you zoom in on the pic, you can see in her face how much she put in to her leg.

Now B.o.b. passed off to our next runner. Her name escapes me right now.
Next: "No. No. No man. I ain't gay."

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Running with "The Twins"

Yesterday morning, as part of my half assed marathon plan, it was time for me to run an 18 miler. I was not alone. I decided, as always, to take the "twins" along. More on those guys later.

The weather was great. High 50's, clear and a little wind during the first 14 but a terrible head wind for the last 4. The course is out and back for 9 miles and I needed to run 18. So if my math is correct, I would need to run out and back....bare with me a second. Okay now, carry the 3. Add the 4 because of the stop light. Alright now factor in that pie thing. Subtract 7. Presto. Out and back twice for 18 miles. Yippee. As a side note. Have you had any peecans lately?

I run with members of the Brandon Running Association. We have a great group of runners and walkers and yappers and just those that go to the party's to socialize and feel loved. We have a weekly running schedule that includes a hill day, a speed work day and a long run. There are group runs everyday but Friday. There is also this run on Sundays called a "recovery run". Now I just don't understand how part of a recovery would include something that got you feeling beat to hell to begin with. Would a recovering alcoholic drink just a little bourbon to take the edge off. If that's the case then when is the next meeting. Hi. My name is Walt.

Our long runs are on Saturday mornings. With such a big group of runners you are also going to have numerous paces. Our schedule maker, Club President Elton, does a great job of setting the start times so that each pace group should finish together just in time to make a breakfast trip to Panera's. Now the start times and distances are not set in stone. As a free runner, you can decide how far you want to run and when to do it. I sometimes fall in to this category. I am sort of in between paces for the most part. So it's just me, the "twins" and my mp3 player out there on the long ones.

I started late of course. Go figure. B.o.b., Holly and Slappy Dee were already out on the course. They had a two mile lead on me. All three of them are improving greatly in their marathon training. Don't let B.o.b. ever fool you on her blogs about her running woes. She is kicking it and should make her goal of a 4:15 marathon. I felt pretty good during the first, I don't know, nine miles. This was the first out and back and is also when I saw my car. I could have gotten inside of it and just driven away. But no, I could not do that to my fan base. What would they think. Plus I was gaining ground on the trio. Holly would be the tough one to catch. So I thought. I underestimated the other two. I managed to close the gap on B and SD to within a quarter mile with two miles left. This is when I imagine their conversation was as follows.

B.o.b. "Look at him behind us trying to catch up."

Slappy Dee "Yeah. All about to cry."

B.o.b. "Let's show him what training can do for ya."

Slappy Dee "With a little booty mix."

B.o.b. "Booty mix?"

Slappy Dee "I don't know. It just sounds good."

They were off and I was smoked. And again B.o.b., thanks for that chocolate milk. It tasted great.

Now to the "twins." I have these "twins" that just hang around with me all the time. And I have no plans of parting with them any time soon. They just need to quit playing hide and seek on my long runs. Their game is not without pain. I mean they find the furthest places away from home to hide. Thank goodness for elastic waist bands.

I am trying to figure out if it has something to do with clothing, temperature, positioning or all three. There isn't much I can do about the positioning. They pretty much have lived in the same place all their lives. Maybe some stretching exercises before I run could help. Couldn't hurt. Well not much. These would have to be some exercises I can do alone and not with the group. I have tried to let the "twins" lead during the run but they usually get tired and look for somewhere else to go. Hence the hide and seek.

As far as clothing goes. I have tried running shorts. Regular shorts. Biking shorts. Nothing seems to work all the time.

I will give the "twins" some credit. They don't play bad all the time. It seems more so during the long runs when there is a chill in the air. I have figured it must have something to do with the temperature. So I am designing running shorts that have a crotch pocket where you can put one of those camping hand warmers inside. That should do the trick. It would give the true meaning of sweaty.... Well you get the point.

Now I am off to the drawing board.