Tuesday, May 30, 2006

TNT San Diego Bound

"Let's Go to San Diego 'cause that's where all the kids go." A lyric from a Thrills' song and the destination of TNT San Gabriel Valley this Saturday. There's a send-off dinner tonight in Pasadena. I'm excited for them all, especially my friends from last year's Winter Team. A big "Go Team!" Run PR marathons!

I think I've discovered the jewel of local health clubs. This facility opened last month, is seven minutes from my house, uncrowded in the morning, clean and neat with all brand-new machines.

Plus parking is free and plentiful.

I'm on a temporary pass for the next few weeks trying things out.

In fact I tried the elliptical this very AM. Low setting, low angle, but I still felt the cardio strain.

Well, I've got time.

And the parking is free and plentiful.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Writing, Running, Relationship Notes

Big deadline pressures this week. Expanding a short story I wrote last year to a short novel; maybe 12 chapters; just doing the outline now. Also traveling back and forth to Hollywood for meetings on two different projects at the Jim Hensen Studios. (The Muppet people.)

I have an odd feeling that after so many near-misses this year, one of these projects will pay off big.

A hearty "well-done" to my TNT Teammates. This Saturday marks their final Team training run. Next week they'll tackle the San Diego Marathon.

Still waiting for my leg to stop shedding. If nothing else, this latest injury is teaching me super-sized doses of patience.

And finally, my wife and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary yesterday. My advice to newly weds: learn how to fight. A critical, often overlooked, skill. Proper fighting technique insures that troublesome issues are addressed and most often resolved.

Back soon.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Leg Cast Off!

But the foot continues to mend. The doctor gave me an orthopedic shoe along with a thick elastic bandage. The foot remains tender and I can't stand up very long.

From the shin down to the toes, my right leg is a mass of dead skin. As soon as this clears up, I'm off to aqua run.

But most important of all, I can drive again!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Entertaining Thoughts

Last night my wife and I watched the A&E version of Flight 93. Pretty good for TV. This version took the time to intro key passengers such as Todd Beamer, Mark Bingham and Thomas E. Burnett Jr. In contrast, the film reduces passengers and crew to strangers. I found myself more tightly drawn to those characters as they plan and counterattack having only their actions to judge them on. And while I thought the film did a better job of tension, I salute both efforts. If anyone should be honored, it is the passengers and crew of Flight 93.

On a lighter note, this weekend I watched an old Bob Hope comedy, "The Princess and the Pirate." Made in 1944, this movie swung for the fence every moment. Fast-paced with lots of action, in-jokes and Hope wise-cracking to the audience throughout. You could watch it with kids and still have a good time. I was envious. It looked like a lot of fun to make.

My agent is keen to pitch a short horror story of mine as a graphic novel. I would be delighted to write such a thing. I'm waiting for a book synopsis template so I know just how much to write. (Enough to entice an advance, but no more.)

Speaking of which, back to work.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

TNT Half-Marathon

They serve who also sit on their ass and hand out Gatorade. San Gabriel Valley Team in Training hosted an invitational half-marathon. Teams from LA locales such as the Westside, Riverside County, San Fernando Valley arrived to run 13.1 miles on our trails around and above the Rose Bowl. A perfect day to stop back and visit the team.

With a bum leg, I manned a water station at the top of a steep, rocky hill just past Jet Propulsion Laboratories. Most runners huffed and puffed their way to the top where I served them Gatorade, water, orange slices, pretzels, salt packets, and banana slices. A number of folk noticed my cast and asked nervously whether I'd broken a bone on the rocky hill they'd just ascended. They were relieved to learn I'd been running on a flat course during a 5K.

Several runners shared stories about bad breaks and sprains suffered on level terrain. Breaking a bone like that should be listed under running natural disasters: like California earthquakes, they go with the terrain.

In any case, it was good to see my Teammates again. I got a little sun and a bit of exercise. Someone asked if I'd travel to San Diego and cheer on the Team. I said I needed to put this marathon behind me and focus ahead on the next one. (Though I'll be following everyone's time online.)

Hopefully, one more week in the cast.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Getting Around with a Leg Cast

Brother, can you spare a ride? Still can't drive. There are only a few friends who live close enough to pick me up and don't work during the day. I must ask for rides with care so as not to burn anyone out. The Dutchman, an old roommate, is a TV camera operator with a late afternoon call time. He's gotten me to the doctor twice and the bank once.

I'd really like a haircut. But I don't want to burn a car trip for one.

This feels similar to house arrest.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Broken Bone Update

Those are the breaks. A minimum two more weeks in a cast. The doctor says it could be more. Old bone must be replaced by new bone and that takes time. However the break continues repairing nicely, no fragmentation.

I'm eating a lot. Or else just as much as before minus cardio activity. In any case, I'm putting on weight.

Pretty soon I'll be using the freeway truck scales.

Two more weeks.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

TNT vs T'ai Chi

For five years I studied Yang family t'ai chi at a little studio in Burbank. Recently I was thinking about the differences between my martial arts classmates and the Team in Training runners.

First off, t'ai chi movements stimulate internal energy. Often called "meditation in motion," t'ai chi form practice leaves you awash in soothing endorphins. No belts or sashes are awarded for advancement. You progress like the tao: a motionless movement.

With Team in Training you're facing nothing but deadlines. For example, weekly mileage increases in order to complete a marathon. (Most people run 3 to 5 times a week, plus cross-training.) In addition, you're on the hook to raise several thousand dollars. For Hawaii last year, the minimum was $4,200.

Yet in general Team in Training runners exhibit more serenity, laughter, and optimism than my martial arts chums. For instance, among t'ai chi peers, there were several New Age passive-aggressives, a political rage-a-holic, and a wisecracking, retired radio comic who dressed like Chester Cheeto. There were also decent, down-to-earth folk, but the malcontents and exotics dominated. Why do runners seem more at peace than Chinese martial artists? Better endorphins? Can't say.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

United 93 Film

A very tense film. Even though I knew the ending, I hoped the passengers would pull it off somehow. The director used cell phone conversations and cockpit tapes to recreate much of the action. Hand-held cameras and an unknown cast gave the film a riviting documentary feel.

I didn't leave humming the music, but I did gain an added appreciation for ordinary people who rose to perform extraordinary deeds aboard United Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A 20 Mile Run, But Not My 20 Mile Run

All the best to my Team in Training chums as the prepare to log 20 miles this Saturday. From there, they'll taper down in distance as the San Diego Marathon approaches on June 4.

Six months ago I ran 20 miles in preparation for the Honolulu Marathon. Six months from now I should be running 20 again as I gear up for the Phoenix Rock 'N Roll Marathon.

And now, back to my deadlines.

Monday, May 01, 2006

TNT '06 Photos

A long Saturday run back in March with teammate PJ.

Thanks to assistant coach Mark for the digital memories.

Broken Bone News

X-rays show my 5th metatarsal knitting nicely. As a reward, I got a walking cast. If I hadn't spent three weeks on crutches, I'd say this was a lousy way to get around.

The bitter doctor found a more chipper side today. Looks like three months of no running. But once I lose the cast, I'm cleared for aqua jogging or ellipticals — non-impact things.

Still working on my young adult horror novel. I've set a target date to finish the outline by June 4. That's also San Diego Marathon day.

So I've still got a goal, just not the one I'd planned.

Feels great to limp!