Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

My left knee - yeah, the battle of wills. Right. Common sense won out instead. The knee's still hurting, so I walked instead of running today. Don't want to screw anything up.

After meeting Foy & Terry at Cozumel for (Mexican) dinner this evening, we headed over to Paige & Greg's NYE party. There were about 30 people there and it was so much fun that I hated to leave. But I couldn't stay too late because Foy and I are going racing in Rockingham tomorrow.

This was the first time I'd been ANYWHERE on New Year's Eve in at least 8 or 10 years, maybe more. I really don't care for this holiday. It's Amateur Night and there are crazy people (who don't know how to behave) everywhere, just getting in the way. I'll do my partying on the other 364 nights of the year, thanks.

Home and heading to bed right around midnight.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hello, Knee

Made it 20 minutes into my run this morning, and then all of a sudden my left knee decided the run was over. Fucker!

Tomorrow, the battle of wills begins...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day

Ran for 23 minutes this morning. It's getting better. If I can just keep it going…

I hate to sound like Scrooge McGrinch, I'm just not into Christmas. Between the religious whackos, crazy shoppers, and unadulterated commercialism, it's just not a holiday I enjoy any more.

I've spent the last 31 Christmas Days in Charlotte, NC with my family. Not this year. Pop died back in 1987 and my Mom passed away in July of this year. I love my sister Donna (who lives in Charlotte) and my brother Bill (Richmond, VA), but I just can't get motivated to go to Charlotte one more damn time right now. I know I'm probably selfish here, but I ain't budging from Raleigh this year.

I lived in Charlotte for the first 7 of those 31 Christmases. Since then (1984), I've been driving down every year. Enough! I need a break.

The last Christmas that I was not in Charlotte for was the Christmas of 1976. So here's a funny (or sad) story about that year:

I was 18 years old and mad in love (so I thought) with a girl named Cheryl. My parents had moved back to North Carolina a few months earlier, but I stayed behind in Maryland (suburban DC), where I rented a room in the basement of a former neighbor's house. Other than being my landlords, I didn't have anything to do with the married couple who owned the home. My family was 500 miles away and Cheryl's parents didn't like me. I certainly wasn't welcome in their home, so I spent the entirety of Christmas Day 1976 at a 7-Eleven I frequented nearby, playing game after game after game on the store's Captain Fantastic pinball machine. I was there every bit of 12 hours, but as I was pretty good on that particular machine, I don't think I spent more than two dollars in it all day. Back then, pinball was usually 10-cents per game or 3 for a quarter. I was bangin' it all day for free games, so the day passed pretty quickly. Finally, after her parents had gone to bed (which was usually around 10pm), Cheryl snuck out and we got to spend a little quality Christmas time together.

Today's Christmas was spent just the way I wanted it – completely alone. And I don't mind a bit…

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Managed a 21-minute run this morning.

Baby steps, fucking baby steps.

As I'm writing this, it's 9 degrees in Chicago. I'm running my air-conditioning in order to cool my house to under 65 degrees so I can go to sleep in an hour or so.

Paige wanted me to go to Total Wine & More with her today, which I was happy to do. I needed to pick up a birthday present for a buddy's birthday tomorrow, and I was bored anyway.

After we shopped there for a bit, she was suddenly craving a glass of wine (imagine that), so we went and sat outdoors at Vivace, a restaurant nearby. It was about 68 or 70 degrees with a slight breeze, perfect for me. We each slapped back a glass of Valpolicella and split a Caprese Salad. Good times…

After she dropped me off back at the house, I ran to grab a few things at Costco and came back home to chill. No plans for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. I usually go to Charlotte, but not this year. I'm home alone and don't mind a bit.

Paige and Greg dropped by with their 2 dogs Sophie and Buddy/Nutley/Nelson (they can't decide what to call him) during the evening and we all sat out on the back deck in the "harsh" NC winter weather. It was still 68 degrees, go figure. Paige and I were enjoying a lovely bottle of Cote du Rhone, while Greg had a Ginger Ale as we watched the dogs run around my back yard.

Unfortunately, the dogs managed to push the side gate open and escape the yard. Five minutes later, they were rounded up and back on the deck – this time, reattached to their leashes and not allowed to run around on their own. They both had looks on their faces that said the freedom had been worth the punishment. Oh, to live a dog's life…

P and G bailed a little after 10. I watched the news, blogged this, and soon I'll be headed to bed. Not staying up to wait for Santa.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Baby Steps

I'm pathetic. Getting better, but still pathetic. I've been pretty frustrated these last couple of years. I really miss running – it's a high you can't get any other way. But it seems that every time I try to establish a running routine, something happens. Either I blow out a knee (gee, Bob, being heavy will do that…) or get injured in some other way (usually due to running too fast or too far before I'm ready for it). Sometimes, I get a gig and have to run out the door for the airport.

I decided when I got home from the last tour that I'm STILL the most stubborn person I know (when I wanna be), and that this time I would be patient. I would start slow and very s-l-o-w-l-y add distance, just a little at a time.

So far, so good. My first run was back on November 26th, and I'm not embarrassed to say that I was so out of shape that I ran for 1 whole minute. Yep, in only 60 seconds I was a-huffin' and a-puffin' like the 50-year-old, out-of-shape, beer-swillin' redneck that I am.

You'd never know that I had ridden my bicycle 1000 miles during the summer, a feat I accomplished in only 33 actual days of riding (30.3 mile average per ride, he said, beaming). Since that last day on the bike back in August, I've put on 10 pounds due to the shitty tour food in catering, the lack of exercise while touring, and the, a-hem, overindulgence on The King at every opportunity.

I trust you know that when I say The King, I mean Budweiser. The King is now out, except on weekends, although I will enjoy the occasional glass of red wine during the week.

So, long story short, it's time to rededicate myself to my love of running. I get up and run every morning, Monday through Friday, and take the weekend off -- by the time I've run 5 days, straight, I really need to rest my joints. Haven't missed a run day yet, and even threw in a 17-mile bike ride with the Beals one Sunday morning.

I add a minute here, a minute there whenever I can. This morning I managed a 19-minute run, about which I'm pretty happy. The greenway has mileage markers so I can track my distance and pace. I'm getting miles between 9:00 minutes and 9:05, so I'm finally up to 2 miles. Of course, that sucks compared to the days of old when I'd slap back a 7-miler (at an under 8 minute pace) before breakfast, but at this age I guess it's gonna be baby steps.

I fuckin' hate baby steps…

Sunday, December 21, 2008

AC, Then Heat...

We have some STRANGE weather sometimes here in Raleigh, NC. There's an old saying, "You know you live in North Carolina if you have to use both your air conditioning and your heat on the same day."

At least four, and maybe five days during the last two weeks, I've had to do exactly that. Call me fussy, but I like it 70 or 72 degrees in the house during the day (because I don't like to be chilly if I'm sitting around) and I like to sleep with it around 62 or 63 (because I think you just sleep better if you're breathing cooler air).

So it's AC, then heat, then AC, then heat…

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Day Of Too Much Fun...

OK, maybe not TOO much fun, but it sure was a day of fun.

I went to someone's birthday party last night, but I was a good boy and left early, in time to be home and get some sleep. I was up at 7 this morning, read a bit of the paper and had breakfast, and then started piling on layers of clothing.

Foy and Terry Beal swung by at 10 sharp to pick up me and my bike - off to Chatham County we went. About 35 minutes later, we arrived at our destination, the American Tobacco Trail. With the temperature hovering around 40 degrees or so, we rode off on what would eventually be a 17-mile ride.

I was kinda surprised that I was only cold for the first ½ mile or so - totally comfortable after that. I sorta wished I'd brought heavier gloves, but after another mile or so, I would have been coming out of them. The fleece ones I had on worked just right.

We rode for almost 2 hours, not killin' it pace-wise, just steady on, with the occasional break to check things out along the way.

After the ride, we headed to our home-away-from-home, the Carolina Ale House deck. It was a helluva lot colder to sit there since we just sitting still. By now it was probably 42, maybe 43 degrees. And we were downing cold beers, too. Except Terry, with her Bloody Marys.

Paige and Greg swung by for a bit, so we could get the final "Twelve Months Of The Ale House Deck" photo made. This little bit of lunacy started back in January. The photo taken during each month this year will be the accompanying photo in the 2009 calendars that Terry is gonna have made. I missed 3 or 4 (maybe 5) months during the year due to my touring schedule, but Greg "Photoshopped" me into them. Using retarded pictures, of course. Can't wait to see the final result. Some of the staff at the Ale House want copies of the calendar, too. Funny!

Came home and watched football for and hour or so, then took off to pick up Laura and go to the Carolina Rollergirls double-header at Dorton Arena. The CRG are Raleigh's all-female, flat-track roller derby team. It's as much fun as you can have with your clothes on, and I always try to see them when I'm in town.

After dropping Laura off at her house, I made it home by 9 or so for more football.

Like I said, fun day…