Thursday, August 31, 2006

No Vacation for the Islets of Langerhans

Good morning Fanerinos of the Coot. Two days left until the weekend, two days left until the rain starts. Wicked awesome. The hurricane is fittin' to make landfall in S. Carolina I hear, which pretty much guarantees us some really delicious weather. Ooooweeeee! Enough of that, you guys know how I feel about it from yesterday's Cranky Corner®.

Last night was the final race in the Live on the Lake Race Series. My gams were aching from my previous two days of running (two consecutive 10-milers) so I thought I'd take it easy and just enjoy the run. As it turned out I still had a pretty good time, not a PB (personal best), but a good run nonetheless. After the race we had a little pot luck dinner complete with awards for a variety of different categories. Prizes were coupons for free tubs of Edy's Ice Cream; a low-key race series indeed.

Due to the point system and the fact that there's a kid in my age group who consistently whipped my ass, I was way out of the running (no pun intended) for winning my age group. I did receive an award for perfect attendance, so a tub of Moose Tracks will soon find its way into my freezer; not that I wouldn't have a tub of it anyway, but at least now it'll be free.

The pot luck dinner was fun. There were obviously two schools of thought when it came to deciding what to bring. People like me wanted to make sure there was plenty of high-carb items to help replenish the energy spent during the race. The other group of people concentrated on vegetables, fruit and salsa/guacamole. Then there were some sandwiches donated by Price Chopper. I had some of everything, including a chocolate chip cookie that I smothered in peanut butter fudge. Man was that good! I think I tore my pancreas a new one last night (a bit of a stretch, but the Islets of Langerhans - which generate insulin - are part of the pancreas and I ate a lot of sugar so my body was calling for a lot of insulin).

So now that the summer race series has come to an end, I need to find a way of filling my Wednesday evenings. God forbid I should start acting like a real person and clean my house, cook dinner, wash clothes and so on during the week. That crap is for the last minute, like when someone's on their way over to your house and your kitchen is a mess. Nope, I'm talking about some other outdoor activity. My original thought was to just keep running the race every week whether anyone else showed up or not (which they wouldn't). I'd be in prime shape next year, that's for damn sure.

In other news, I think I'm readjusting the paradigm for my "Doubling of the Miles" race this year. I put out a request on my favorite running message board for illogical reasons not to run a marathon. Here are a few of the responses:

Dude, you are seriously going to wreck your knees running that much, especially if you are increasing mileage like that as you get older. I would switch to eating your equivalent age in bbq ribs every year. This will save your knees and taste a lot better.

In all seriousness here's why you shouldn't run the 26.2 miles:
I assume that you can run 4 minute miles
There are about 8766 hours per year
That's 131490 miles you can cover in one year
But according to your current plan, in 9 years you'll be needing to run about 13414.4 miles.

Which presents the problem that it'll be your birthday again! So, (illlogical jump) you shouldn't run 26.2 miles this year. Best of luck.

After running 26.2 miles, hair stops growing on your head and instead starts coming out in places like your ears, nose, eyebrows and back.

Your teeth turn yellow.

You start saying things like " When I was your age ......"

You start prefering oldies radio over current music

People you don't know start calling you " sir ".

Okay, so those were some good suggestions. I think I'm going to take suggestion #1 and modify it a little. I'll half the distance I did last year (approximately) and run a 10K, and at the same time I'll try to set a PB at the 10K distance. Now I can have my achievable race and still turn it into a competition.

In other news, I feel like crap today. Between the weather effing with my body and the 18 lbs of sugar I ate yesterday, and the 2 lbs of sugar I've already had today, I think I'm in for a world of hurting. I'm sure coffee will help steady the pulse and settle the stomach.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Socks, Bottle Tops and Poppycock

Alright y'all, here's what's what. I've about had it with this freaking weather and I'm about to let it loose in the Cranky Corner. But first I have a few things to get off my mind.

Old Coot Hits a New Low

Due entirely to the dismal weather and not one iota to my own unwillingness to go to bed at a reasonable hour, I was victimized by a plight once reserved for those who dress in the dark. Folks, I'm talking about mismatched socks. These socks weren't mismatched as in from two different packs of white socks. No, these sumbitches were NOWHERE NEAR CLOSE!

You'll find the hilariousness that was my foot apparel in the following picture. What you'll find to be even better is that I didn't notice until I got home from work, changed into my slippers, went upstairs to change into my running gear, and was replacing my slippers to go back downstairs. During the course of the day there must have been a dozen opportunities to notice my jackassery. Friends, Old Coot is old.


Plight of the Nalgene Lid

My next cleansing of the blogular palate has to do with the recent Nalgene lid episode. Abbey, sorry but it was your blue bottle. I'm going to keep it in case I break a bottle but still have a good lid.

As you may recall, my dumbassery led to a melted Nalgene bottle lid last week. Having freed it from its infernal grave I thought I'd put out some photos for all to see. Note that the perfectly round hole is not for a straw, but where the heating element slowly made its way through the "unbreakable" plastic.

This shot was taken at the crime scene. The poor bastard never had a chance. Why must the good ones die so young? Why?

Coot's Cranky Corner

Alright, here's my effing rant. My apologies to Bizarro and perhaps BS/RN who may have heard this complaint at lunch today.

First of all, it's God Damn August here in the Berkshires but you wouldn't know it. Some people have already fired up their furnaces to escape the damp chill in the air. Eff that, I've got two solid months before I start dumping my checking account into the donation bin at Berkshire Gas. But that's neither here nor there. My complaint is with why we're having this terrible weather.

It's the damn hurricanes! The hurricanes are making it cold and drizzly, and it's bumming me out. "Wait Old Coot, what about the people losing their homes in these hurricanes? Don't you care about them?" you might hear someone ask.

Sure, I care about them but I didn't buy property directly in the path of an atmospheric Mack truck. I bought property in New England where the autumns are quaint and people sit on lawns at Tanglewood eating cheese and drinking wine. Then those same people stay the fuck in NYC for the months of January and February while we freeze our asses off.

Nobody's crying for me when I have to scrape my freaking windows every time I want to drive my car. Nobody's crying for me when my hand freezes to the damn mailbox while I try to send out the gas bill formerly known as my retirement plan. And certainly nobody's crying for me when the only thing stopping my nose from dripping onto my upper lip is the ice dam that's built up because my hands were too cold to take out from beneath the blanket, while I'm sitting in front of a fire watching TV. Nope, they're happily sitting in their lawn chairs down south drinking Coronas with lime, laughing at the unfortunate saps in the northeast. "A-hilt, hilt, hilt. Ya see dere, Clavin? Das why I live right here in da south. We don't got no kind of col' like dat down heah, huh Clavin."

So y'all down south can keep your warm winters, but don't be sending no cold, dreary bullshit up here. You can go on with that mess.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Flight of the Wingman

Last night I was settled into my recliner, happily watching my recently purchased copy of Reservoir Dogs when I was called by a friend. She had been looking for someone to go out to see a band, and since nobody else would go I got the call.

As I mentioned, I was pretty much resigned to watching a movie then going to bed. The prospect of getting up, changing back in to decent clothes and going to a bar to watch a band I've never heard of was, how shall I put it, less-than-appealing. However, since my only excuse was that I just didn't want to I agreed. We negotiated a 'to-be-home-by' time of 11:30 and I started to get ready.

The bar was in Great Barrington (I think, all of the towns around here blend together) and I think I was there once a number of years ago. After waiting 10 minutes for my diet Coke and her cranberry juice and club soda, we grabbed a table to wait for the band to start. The bar wasn't busy - at all - the bartender just sucked. She was certainly easy on the eyes, but soooo slllooowwwww. After being introduced to the band members, I was informed that there was an alternate agenda for this trip. She was trying to get a little thing going with one of the members and needed a wingman. "AAAHHHHH" I thought to myself, now it all makes sense.

Now, I'm a natural wingman in the most basic sense of the term. I'm not going to "take one for the team" just to help someone out, but I'm good at chatting people up when there's no chance of it going any further. I can talk to almost anyone about almost anything and get people to be comfortable. Closing is not my forte, but I'm good at everything leading up to it. I'm also good at identifying what other people should be doing, or should have done.

Last night was a difficult job because I am a guy and she was trying to hook up with a guy. Obviously he was going to be hesitant about chatting her up with me there, so I tried to make it known that we were just friends while maintaining the fragile image of my own heterosexuality in case anyone from that huge unapproachable group of girls might be interested. I had to put out the vibe that while I like girls, I'm not interested in this one. And even though I'm not interested, there's no reason that someone else shouldn't be.

Contrary to my fears, the band was really pretty good. Not your average loud-as-hell jam band playing either folk songs or popular cover songs, this band consisted of two guitarists and a bass player. They did mostly covers, but of bands like Dave Matthews Band, Pink Floyd, a little Pearl Jam (probably for the people who need to recognize a song) and then their own songs sprinkled in. Even the covers had a little funky twist to them; I liked their style. I'm currently going through another one of my DMB phases, so covering a bunch of their songs won some brownie points. Plus, I guess the trip was a success as far as the alternate motive went. I'm not going to give any details because it's not me and there aren't really any details to give. Good luck, N.

So I ended up getting to bed closer to 1:30, which made the likelihood of me getting up to run at 6:30 pretty slim. Slim indeed, I killed my alarm and let myself sleep all the way until 8:30. WHOOOO! Of course that sleep was riddled with bad dream after bad dream, so it wasn't exactly restful. I hate bad dreams, even if there's something to be learned from them. These I don't quite understand, but I'll work on them today.

Speaking of today, the weather here is so sucky. It's August for Christ's sake, why is it cold and dreary? And why is it cold and dreary for days and days on end? I don't want to start shutting the windows but when it isn't getting above 60 during the day I'm going to have to. The Lord knows I won't turn on the heat until November, so the less I have to suffer, the better.

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Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I'm Cheating Again

Hey fans of the Coot. I'm gonna come clean right here and now and tell you that I've been cheating. The Crazy Running Group has been revived after a summer-long hiatus, and my creative side couldn't help but to start another blog. You see, the CRG is a completely different group of folks who need their fix of the Coot too. But in the interest of gossip and talking about people behind their backs, I'm going to keep the two separate.

Before any of you go throwing yourselves off bridges or wearing red shirts in Crip territories, I'm not abandoning this blog. What I hope is that there is enough Coot to go around. What this should do for this blog is limit the amount of running related stories you have to hear. Although, upon further review having an additional creative outlet won't increase the time I spend on non-running activities, so maybe it change a damn thing. And, having reviewed that last sentence I'm pretty sure my running will only increase as the temperature decreases. You can't kayak when it's 10 degrees F and windy, but you can sure as shit slip into some form-fitting lycra gear and run 8 miles.

So today was pretty boring after my early morning run with the CRG (not to be confused with CPG). We met up at some church - hidden in one of those twisty neighborhoods where people like me tend to get lost - at 7:00 in the morn. These days, it's still pretty dark at that hour, so I almost bagged the run. But, Jesus himself appeared in my bedroom, told me to stop scratching myself and get up. He then proceded to slap box me into agreement; if Jesus whips your ass you better go to church. So I went to the church and used their parking lot while making inappropriate jokes with likeminded folks. Hey, nice rhyme!

After the run I went home, started the other blog (which I'm not sure if I want to share), went to Juice 'n' Java, napped for several hours on the couch in my 'parlor' AKA the spare bedroom downstairs with a couch and coffee table and rocking chair, ate some ice cream, ate some chips, went to Target to buy Reservoir Dogs, and here I am. The weather has been less-than-inspirational today so I'm using it to recharge my body (hence the ice cream and chips, Buddhist recharging foods).

I'm hoping I'll hear something about a run tomorrow, lest I should be forced to take to the roads by myself.

OH, I forgot to mention that as my birthday approaches (the big deuce-quadruple deuce), I have to prepare for my annual "Doubling of the Miles Run", where I go for a "race" against nobody but myself. The "Doubling" part refers to the fact that I double the miles of the previous year. This of course seemed like an excellent idea when I could only run 3 miles, but last year I did a half marathon (actually 13.9 miles). To stay true to the game I'd have to run a full marathon this year (26.2 miles). I haven't exactly been training for anything like that, we'll see how it works out. Before this week's out, I'll have over 50 miles under my belt (weekly miles that is), so I might just be prepared for such an adventure. My alternate goal is to run the entire Rail Trail end to end and back. That would be 22 miles.

You may say to yourself "If the Old Coot can run 50 miles in one week, why can't he run 26.2 miles in one day?", to which I will offer the following response. Currently I run distances that can be completed without water, food or surgery. I can eat and drink when I'm finished. But, when you move on to marathon distances the logistics become exponentially more complicated. I'd have to plan for where I'd get water, what kind of foods my body would be able to handle (energy gels come to mind, but even those take some getting used to I hear) and what to do in case of emergency. There are also concerns with chafing, as anything touching your skin will cause chafing given enough time.

Here is some food for thought: a person at my weight burns roughly 133 calories per mile, which translates to 3477 calories over 26.2 miles. That's in addition to the number of calories it burns just carrying out its regular functions. With your average energy gel containing less than 150 calories, I'd need to refuel approximately 1.28 shitloads of times. Now, I have to carry all of that stuff without having it chafe the hell out of me.

So there you have it. I'll see if I can get closer to that sort of distance in my upcoming long runs. If I think I can do it, I'll certainly give it a try. What I can tell you is that you should all be waiting by the phone for me to call you for a ride. Ab, I have my new RoadID bracelet with mom and dad's phone number so if I pass out or die, they'll know who to call.

And there you have it.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

All the Grass is the Same Color

Okay, I was hoping after last night's bitch session that today would at least be a little better. After staying up until close to midnight, I was once again tired today. I did manage to drag my sorry ass into work at a hair past 7:30, so my afternoon isn't completely shot. But that's pretty much where the day turned sour.

As I rolled into the office this morning I took a peek at the coffee and saw that a new pot was a-brewing. Cha-ching, no dregs for this guy. Since the coffee maker we have here belongs to the same CoffeeMaker Union as my coffee maker at home, I knew I had a few minutes to wait until it was finished. No problem, I'll tidy up a few things and head over for my Joe.

Strike One

As I poured the coffee into my mug, I apparently opened the floodgates a little too far and spilled it everywhere. The pot was literally filled to the brim and it made a mess when I tried to get my mug's worth. No problem, it cleaned up with a paper towel and life was good again. I checked to make sure I hadn't spilled it on myself too; I was clean.

Strike Two

Now fully armed with my coffee, I was ready to start the day. (Insert sound of record skipping) How the hell did I get coffee ALL OVER my pants? It was literally spilled all down the front of my right leg and shoe.


Once again the Old Navy Stain Defender Khakis came through and cleanup was a breeze. Plus I had just recently waterproofed my shoes, so that wasn't a huge deal either.

Slowly my attitude was worsening.

Strike Three

About an hour after the coffee fiascos, I decided to head down to the caf to fetch myself a muffin. I would have preferred pancakes but I didn't want to wait and it wasn't pancake day anyway. As I sauntered up to the register, The Queen of Customer Service was solving one of her many family crises via cell phone. She rang me up and awaited payment with her hand extended.

I awaited a total.

Finally she saw that I didn't have money out and she paused her phone conversation long enough to blurt out $1.25. Expecting me to pay in whole dollars, she had the $0.75 ready and waiting. I opened my wallet to find it devoid of all currency. Not only did she have to return the coins to the tray, but she also had to void out my purchase. Sorry lady, my bad. I was allowed to leave with my grease-bran muffin, with the understanding that my debt would be repaid at my convenience.

The rule of thumb is to leave once you reach three strikes. Nothing good could can possibly come of a day like today, but I wasn't about to waste perfectly good vacation hours on a shit-ass day like this.

Armed with the knowledge that I not only have no money, but I now owe the cafeteria $1.25, I decided to check my bank account to see if there was enough to take out a $20. As I attempted to log in, this was the screen awaiting my information...

Pay close attention to the Security Code. Are you kidding me!? Is Greylock calling me a biotch? Them's is fightin' words, you yella-bellied, lily-livered, old panty-waist.

Time for a Mood Upgrade

Since today is my day of complete rest, devoid of all physical activity, I thought I'd put it to use and mow/weedwack the lawn. This was actually my second choice. Contrary to the common belief that any bike ride under 40 miles still counts as a "rest day", I was informed that this is not true. Due to ribbal (things pertaining to the rib) unpleasantries, I thought it would be best to not run today. It's beautiful out so I thought I'd rest by riding my bike for a few hours. It's not my fault, I'm addicted to endorphines and you can't buy them over the counter anymore; you have to make them yourself.

Anyway, as I was mowing the lawn listening to the DMB song "Big Eyed Fish" I was remound of the proverb "If the grass seems greener on someone else's lawn, water your own lawn". Now, I wasn't thinking about literally watering the lawn, but rather about my recent bout of the cranks. I thought maybe I should do some spiritual watering. I'm not about to set foot in a church unless it's Christmas or Easter; spiritual is not a religious term for me.

I took a few minutes to reflect on how I don't actually have it all that bad. Sure, Karma likes to kick me in the nads every once in a while, but at least she doesn't do it with a shod foot (well, maybe once in a while). So what if I overdid running it and sprained an ovary (okay, not an ovary but some organ I can't identify)! I know someone who didn't overdo it and is currently much worse off than I am. She's one of the nicest people you'll meet and Karma still threw a monkeywrench in her bike spokes. There were more things of which I took stock, but I won't bore you with all of them. They fall under the category of "be happy with what you DO have". Okay, spiritual watering complete. I've even washed it down with a turkey, bacon and cheese wrap. Ahh wraps, they even make bacon healthy.

To repay me for my suffering, Karma has allowed me to easily remove the Nalgene lid from my dishwasher's heating element. I'd put a picture here of the lid, but Blogger is being cranky. But on the real, now I can clean up the kitchen!


Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Warning - Complaints Inside

Man, today started off so well. I did some good stuff at work; I actually stopped and congratulated myself. "That was a damn fine job you did there O.C." After that, the whole day went to schlock. I have this perma-cramp I was telling y'all about earlier that has been reminding me all day that even if you start to do something good, you still have this damn cramp. Damn.

So, now that you've clicked on the link I really don't have a lot to say. This week has been bumming me out something fierce. I'm not sure what the reason is, but I hope I can put my finger on it soon. As you may have noticed, I've been coping by throwing myself into my running. Karma, being the she-son-of-a-bitch that she is, throws perma-cramps right back at me. Dammit Karma, let me have my one vice (besides coffee).

I went to the LotL race tonight with the hopes of being able to run. I started off very strong and felt like I could really hold up that pace (which would have been a PB - personal best - for me) until Karma reached out and Judo-chopped me right in the gut. I stood hunched over on the side of the road trying to coerce the needles out of my torso. Worst... cramp... ever. I've never had my entire torso cramp up at once, and if you haven't I don't suggest you try it. I'm talking belt to collar. I finished out the run at a more modest pace chanting "Musn't... have... DNF... next to... name". DNF = Did Not Finish. It was still a good time, but I felt like ass afterwards.

Well, maybe I can get to bed at a reasonable hour tonight; I haven't been able to get to sleep lately. It's not that I can't sleep, it's just that I'm not tired. Correction - Night Coot is not tired, Morning Coot is exhausted. I have to force myself to go to bed at 11-11:30, which for the record is way past my bedtime. At least it's almost the weekend, then I get a fresh clean week that I can only hope sucks less balls than this one.

Complaining session over.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Trails, Toenails, Ales and Smails (smells)

Boy, it's Hump Day already here for Coot-a Kinte. No, I'm not a former slave or even a current slave, just a white collar white dude (a slave in another sense, I guess). Currently, my collar is blue but that's just how the wardrobe worked out. Anyway, I am sore in places that I didn't even know had muscles and I'm not exactly sure why. What I do know is that your lungs can't supply your muscles with enough oxygen when you just gave blood.

Stupid Ribs

Take for example the spot beneath, but superficial to my bottommost left rib. I'll give you a second to figure that out...

The spot that hurts when you're out of shape and try to run too fast. Well I don't consider myself to be out of shape, but that spot is killing me today. It feels like a cramp even as I sit here typing. There's even a knot there like you get in your shoulder or thigh. All I know is that I have the Live on the Lake race tonight, so I guess I'll be running injured. Suh-weet. Plus my right index toenail is blackening nicely. It's my first black toenail so I was sure to brag about it during my first run last night. Everyone "awwww"ed like I was cutting my first tooth. Like throwing up at the end of a race I guess it's a rite of running passage. Check and check.

Teetotaling Total

In other news, yesterday marked the 18 month anniversary of me getting on the proverbial wagon. I was planning on giving everyone the full story, but then I thought it might sound too much like I was looking for pity, which I'm not. Plus I know that some of you don't like to hear about how great everything is, so I'll tuck the story away for my grandkids.

I planned on doing something nice for myself but like every other event in life I forgot. Like your mother's birthday, you remember every single day until the last week when you should be buying/sending a gift/card. Then when you remember again it's too late. It wasn't until after my "easy 5-miler" in Pittsfield State Forest with the Crazy Running Group that I remembered. Lacking pie, cake, noise-makers, other people, balloons and clowns I decided to take myself for a celebratory run. I peeled off my muddy clothes (that's a whole nother story) and changed into fresh running gear, plugged into my iPod, pounded some water and a ClifBar and hit the streets. I had told CPG that I might stop by and check her out at volleyball, so that's where I headed. Apparently she didn't get the message, so I was met with a less-than-enthusiastic "Oh, what are you doing here?" greeting. AWKWARD! (sung by Georgia Mass Choir). I hung for a few minutes, just long enough to get the hint and headed for home.

It turns out that the volleyball courts at the Softball Complex are further from my house than I thought. After the "5" miles on trails - which had to be much more because it took an hour and a half - I wasn't prepared for another 5.5 - 6 miles on the roads. Oh well, it's a celebration bitches.

Dinner and Binners

When I got home, I hooked up a strawberry/peach/orange smoothie for dinner. While cleaning up the dishes I found out that I had melted the lid of a Nalgene bottle to the heating element in bottom of the dishwasher. Sweet, I think the only way to get it off is to heat it back up and pull it off. That should smell delicious! I took pictures but failed to upload them to the PC, you'll have to wait for those.

I was so irked about that, I just gave up and drowned my sorrows into a bowl of peanut butter cup ice cream. No, first was the nachos then the ice cream. I was low on calories and salt, so I felt justified. A little TV with my lap cat (Binners) and I was off to bed.

That's all I have to say about that.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Monday, August 21, 2006

I'm Down a Pint, so I Down a Pint

Good evening wonderful people. Good evening to you suckas too, punks. But for real, I just got back from donating blood and it was fairly uneventful, with the exception of the following events...

For the first time in the history of blood donation drives, there was no line. I waltzed in, "read" the crap they hand out, filled out a survey and was into the little booth-ah right away. The lady ran down her questions hitting 'n' on the keyboard before I could even respond. She probably had me sized up as the kind of hose-bag that wouldn't do anything to risk the quality of his delicious blood. She was wrong, I just haven't had the proper opportunities.

Just one time I want to eff with the nurse and when they ask about having sex with someone for money or drugs since 1977. I'll pause and ask: "After 1977? Does that include 1977? Then no." And what makes it more humorous is that I was born after 1977. Suckas! Okay, so that would be my little morsel of fun for the visit.

The last ort of fun I had at the donation center came when I started to bend my elbow to look at my watch, with the needle still intravenous. Apparently I should have experimented with heroin in college so I wouldn't be such a hypodermic newbie. Thank God the nurse was quick to slam my arm to the bed and tape it there before the needle poked out the back of my arm. For rizzle.

So this evening's nurse looked new. I usually recognize the whole crew, but this one seemed to be fresh out of school. "YESSSSS", an inexperienced nurse sticking metal into my vein. I calmed myself with the notion that they probably don't just hand you a degree in one hand and a needle in the other, you also get gloves and some training. But when she was having trouble sizing up my python-sized arm veins, my fears returned.

Normally the nurse will say something like "Hmmm, which of these juicy veins shall I use?" or "Hey sweet thang, you have really big veins", but this one had to pull out the extra arm cushion, turn my hand this way and that, and squeeze the blood up from my hand. I'm not kidding when I say that my veins are like 3/16" around with the blood pressure doohickey strapped on. You could insert a Bic pen into my vein with room to spare. I can crush and digest a small child in my arm veins.

So as she gets ready to spray blood all over the donation center, she calms my fears with "This will burn a little". BURN? WILL? Usually it might "sting a little" or you might "feel a little pinch" but since when does the needle burn? Do they clean the needles in boiling water between patients?

At this point I'm starting to think about how I want to spend my lawsuit settlement: boats, lake houses, a new right arm. Much to my chagrin she knew what she was doing and everything went fine. I filled that blood bag in under 5 minutes. I've lived in houses with worse water flow than that. See what I mean about the veins? It wasn't pressure either, my blood pressure is what God chose when he made the human heart. Nope, just sheer volume. It was like dipping a bucket in the Niagara River (think Niagara Falls), only I filled it with my Grade A blood.

Mmm mmmm bitches.

So there you have it. Now it's just about bed time and I haven't even had my evening ice cream. I had phone calls to make and LLBean purchases to make. I guess they'll have to wait until tomorrow. Later players.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Head for the Hills

Good morning Coot Afficionados. After a nice long weekend, I’m less than excited about work but I guess at some point I have to do something to earn my paycheck. I gotta tell you, after my pseudo-weekend on Thursday and Friday, the real weekend wasn’t particularly eventful. I’ll fill you in on the details, but I’m not making any promises.

Saturday morning I awoke bright and early around 8:30. I had a bowl of granola and sat out on the front porch, breezing through the newspaper awaiting the culmination of a lengthy coffee brewing process. My portion of brewing coffee is pretty short - filter, grounds, water, flip the switch - but my $9 coffee maker has a different agenda. Despite the fact that his sole purpose in life is to provide me with a piping hot carafe of caffeinated bean juice, he is really lax on the job; I bet he’s part of some coffee maker union out there. Sorry Russ, I know you’re a Teamster but unions are crap.

Anyway, I was about two sips into my long-awaited coffee when I went upstairs to get a book to help pass the time until J “I outdrank Ireland last night” D awoke. I figured he’d be a little worse for wear after the wedding and would want some greasy breakfast PRONTO. On my way up to my bedroom to fetch my book I got a text from MB; she was looking for someone to run with. Somehow I was able to ascertain from the string of misspelled words that she wasn’t operating at 100%, so I agreed. As it turned out, her best friend had been seriously hurt in a mountainbiking accident and she was looking for someone to get her mind off of it. I was that person.

Damn, I’m a freaking nice guy.

By the time I got back from the run JC was ready to pick up his pickup. He was “encouraged” to leave it in my driveway after the wedding, by which I mean there was no way in hell he was going to drive. You know how they say friends don’t let friends hook up with ugly chicks? Well, the same goes for driving drunk. This of course lead to round after round of shots at the reception, win-win for everyone!

After that, Saturday was pretty weak. We hit up Misty Moonlight Diner for breakfast, JD left to go visit the fam, I cleaned up around the house, I napped off and on, I went to bed.

Sunday morning I was supposed to go to a trail race in Savoy State Forest with CPG, but it rained ALL freaking night and into the morning. She called around 7:00 AM and we agreed that the trails were going to be a mess, plus she was beat from a volleyball tourney and I was beat from a long weekend (Thurs & Fri) of partying late into the night. By partying, I mean watching other people party. Don’t get me wrong, I had great fun but not in the traditional sense of the word “party”. So anyway, we bailed on the race and I slept in until about 9:30. Suh-weet.

With a full day ahead of me, I figured I could get all of my laundry done, go to the grocery store, return the tuxedos, clean the bedroom and still have time to eat ice cream. I did return the tuxes and hit up a few stores for some new clothes, followed by a trip to the g-store. Laundry? Hell no! Clean the bedroom? Hell no! I cleaned up the kitchen and bathroom though, so I felt justified in my laziness.

Put Your Hands Together for Kirvin Park

As the afternoon approached I was growing weary of sitting around the house feeling glum. The weather was conducive to crawling back into bed and sleeping the day away, but I countered that with a trail run. I went out to Kirvin Park and ran a trail back behind the soccer fields that goes up and up and up. This is basically the same route that I took with KH on mountain bikes when I was just tipping over.

When I entered the woods I ditched a bottle of water for after the run, whereupon I stuck the hell out of myself on a tree thorn. That was a sign of more unpleasantness to come. Bloodied, I started up the “hill”. As the trail narrowed and turned knee-breakingly rocky, I thought to myself that maybe I shouldn’t be in there alone. Or I should have at least called someone to let them know I was going out. If I didn’t twist a knee or ankle I would certainly be eaten by a bear, mountain lion (yes, we do have them here) or any other creature my mind could imagine. To keep the animals at bay I clapped my hands a lot. Everyone knows even a hungry mountain lion won’t attack you if you’re clapping, especially off beat. Being a white guy, this technique worked well until I was coming back down the mountain.

My clapping plan was to let out a few claps at every turn, watering hole, hilltop and so on. I didn’t want to startle any bears who might be out getting a drink, or end up on a trail separating a mother from her cubs; I wanted the fauna to know I was coming. This technique worked flawlessly until I scared something, which in turn scared me. I didn’t actually see what it was that I startled, but it was certainly larger than a squirrel. It was faster than a bear, so my mind went immediately to the Puma (pronounced Pyooma), AKA a mountain lion. I armed myself with a club-shaped stick.

Wielding a club, I was now unable to clap so I took to narrating my every move to any animal who might be listening. “Okay, just going to go around this bend and keep to myself” I’d say, or “I’m totally harmless, but armed to the teeth”. The latter was to let them know that I would not be launching an offensive strike (which was true), but was fully capable of defending myself (which was not true, I’m a Sally). This technique worked flawlessly until the very end of the run.

As I approached the thorn tree where my water was stashed, I passed a kid walking his dog while jawing on the phone. Why he was in the woods talking on a phone I don’t know, but he was. While enjoying the rehydrating qualities of my water, the kid’s all-muscle dog made a beeline for my throat. This is where the stick-defense proved futile. I stood there drinking my water, holding out my hand for the dog to sniff (see, I’m a Sally). I asked the kid if the dog was okay, he said “uh-huh”, then back to his phone conversation. Fortunately for me, the dog didn’t bite or jump, but I was a dead man for sure if he attacked. I offered the dog my club to try and make friends, whereupon the kid momentarily paused his phone convo to say “Don’t give my dog that stick!” What I should have said in response was “I wasn’t going to give it to him, I was going to beat him with it. Put your effin dog on a leash, asshole.” Instead I ignored him; he was back into his conversation anyway and completely oblivious to the world around him, including his own dog.

The dog chased me twice more after leaving the woods, both times looking as if he wanted to dine on my delicious buttock meat. Both times I simply pointed back to Captain Oblivion and commanded him with “GO!”. I told myself I was going to let the dog run with me all the way back to my house if he followed, but eventually he stopped chasing me.

At that point, I was both literally and figuratively out of the woods – or so I thought. The remainder of my run would be down the street, or in the grass next to the street. All that I had to do was not trip over anything or get hit by a car and I’d be A-OK. That and not get attacked by a dog the size of a freaking Hyundai. This second dog was tied up, but on a very long leash. He snapped back when he reached the end of his rope, about 5 feet closer and I would have been cleaning my socks when I got home (if you catch my drift).

So that was that. I showered up, picked up a little more around the house, ironed some clothes and sat down to a delicious plate of green peppers and carrots.

Then ice cream.

Then yogurt with granola.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Do I Hear Wedding Bells?

Is that wedding bells I hear? Oh no, it's just the ringing in my ears. I was however, at a wedding yesterday and I would say that good times were certainly had.

The wedding yesterday was the first one I've ever been in, and the first one I've stayed (sober) at long enough to see all of the "activities". I won't bore you all with the details, especially since 80% of my readership was there but let it suffice to say that it was a wonderful wedding. The weather was beautiful, the bride was only a little late (as to be expected), most people made it to the ceremony without getting lost and MOST importantly it was quick and to the point. In short, HECOW has officially earned the 'H' at the beginning of his nickname (Husband of ECOW). And ECOW was neither excitable nor cracked-out, but rather quite the beautiful bride.

The reception was - as many aren't - fantastic. While I'd like to be able to take credit for everyone's good time I'd say that honor really lies with the DJ and Bizarro Todd (except for Mr. and Mrs. HECOW, who put the whole thing together). As it turns out I never really could dance, I was always just a drunk white guy. Hmmm, soberly watching others do what you used to do really drives that point home. Anyway, I wish I had a link to put in here for the DJ because I would certainly recommend him to anyone and everyone looking to throw a killer shindig. If you're uptight and snooty you might not enjoy his performance, but for those of us who like to enjoy ourselves he was perfect. Games, hats, a conga line, the works.

Then there was Bizarro Todd who I have yet to see not be the life of the party. Granted, in the formal environment of a wedding he held back a little. There was no wrestling (maybe just one little match, but those was others), no funneling and he even managed to keep his shirt on. Kudos man, kudos. Dawn, if you read this you should know that contrary to his declaration of love to me, there's nothing going on between us. I would keep my eye on that Russ character though, those two were awfully close on the dance floor. Awfully close.

Okay, it's time for this guy to have some breakfast. Congratulations again to the newlyweds Mr. and Mrs. HECOW. I hope you enjoy your honeymoon cruise and the next five or so decades together. That's two and a half score, half of a century. I hope you're ready for all of that :) Just kidding, you two will be A-OK.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Josh Billings Ran Me Into the Ground

As promised Cootreaders, I participated in yet another competitionless biathlon today (editor's note, I started this entry on Sunday night). While yesterday's outing consisted of running and kayaking, today's was made up of a shoulder-busting kayaking trip, then an ass-busting bike ride.

Alright, before I get into the particulars of my outdoorsiness, I'm going to put up a picture of the A-car flossing Berkshire toys.

I had a better picture of the A-ride but the background wasn't very flattering, so I went with the one above. What you can't see is that there are actually two kayaks strapped to the roof in addition to the A-bike. No, before you ask, they aren't both mine. A friend of mine owns a kayak but has no means of transporting it, so I am it's chauffer. What a nice guy. And no, before you ask yet another asinine question, I don't ride the bike and paddle the kayak at the same time.

So I powered around the lake in a hair over an hour once again. Afterwards, we tossed the boats onto the car, and pulled the bike down. I changed into my biking clothes in the Port-o-John which requires some real agility. In an ideal world there wouldn't be urine- and poo-tites (like stalagtites, only made of excrement) in a Porto-Potty, but this world isn't ideal. It was quite the balancing act to change without losing my balance even the slightest bit. I exited the Johnny-on-the-Spot sans excrement on my person, score.

We were going to ride the Josh Billings bike route, which ends at the boat launch where we were parked. It's a 10-mile ride to the start of the route, so we used that as a warmup. And by warmup I mean I rode it as fast as I could; stupid, stupid, stupid.

After the warmup, we toured the Berkshire countryside through towns I never knew existed. The route is extremely scenic, taking you through Berkshire county's small, quaint towns and if it weren't for the ungodly hills it would be a route I'd like to repeat a few more times before the fall hits. The downhills are fun and FAST. I don't have a speedometer on my A-bike yet, but I'd have to say we were closing in on 40 MPH. I'll ask my co-rider, she had a fancy pants speedo on her bike. The catch to having fast downhills on a route that begins and ends at the same point is that you ultimately have to get back to the same altitude. And since you're going probably 3-4x faster downhill than you are uphill, you can imagine how long one can spend pedaling up a long, steep hill.

With about 10 miles remaining in the ride, I was hit with what would become an insatiable hunger. All combined, I had paddled over 5 miles in my kayak then biked 37 miles over hills that even God him/herself had foresaken, with a belly containing only a 7AM granola bar. Combine the growling stomach with a severe case of saddle-ass and I was getting grouchy. I spent the remainder of the day walking to and from the refrigerator.

At one point in the early afternoon I settled down on the front porch to warm up in the sun and read the newspaper. Short on energy I tried to nap, but the cold wind made it difficult. Finally the sun came over the house enough to warm my bones and it was off to nappy land for me.

I was probably asleep for about 10 minutes when I'm awoken by the loud voice of a politician hollering "Ah, napping in the sun eh?" Yes asshole, I WAS napping in the sun. Thanks a lot for waking me up. He proceded to give me his spiel, hand me a pamphlet and ask if he could plant his sign on my lawn. Mind you, I'm barely awake, but I was awake enough to turn him down. In retrospect I should have asked him how much he typically rents lawn space for. For $50 I'd be happy to let him use my lawn to promote his campaign. Oh well, another missed opportunity.

Well fans, I have to let you go now. I'll holler at you later.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Yo homebizzles and homegizzles, if you aren't me then you missed a fantastic day. It all started with a run in Richmond. I almost brought my camera but that would have really cramped my style and made for an awkward run. One day I think I'll ride my bike out there and snap some hot foh-tohs. After the run was a bagel, a coffee refresh then off to Goose Pond in Lee, MA. Once again, DANG!

Okay, that's all I have to say about today's activities. Other than to tell you that it felt like the equivalent of two days. PlacaTAN! Tomorrow morning I have another biathlon (5 mile kayak then 36 mile bike) planned with some more folks. This is Josh Billings training season, everyone is out getting his/her crosstrain on. That's how we roll out here Western Ma-usss. Which reminds me, I did a practice paddle at the kayak/canoe course the other day and timed myself. It took 1:03 (one hour, three minutes) to complete the whole route and I was a bit ashamed to tell my teammates. I thought 1:00 was for slow, old people and I should finish in 45 minutes. As it turns out, 1:03 is EXCELLENT. Granted, it was pretty close to ideal conditions but still. The Pretty Boys are funna represent, bitches.

Tonight, while I was making dinner I came across a wonderous treat left here by my sister. I figured that in the spirit of the day I should get my crunk on, and get my crunk on I did. WAIT! Before anyone hops on the phone and lays into me for falling off the wagon, see the picture below. Damn, y'all are hotheaded mother bitches.

For dinner I had pasta with homemade sauce. This time I actually took the time to simmadonna the sauce (simmer down). It thickened up the sauce much better than usual and helped to get all of the flavors out of the ingredients. Before I disturbed the bowl I thought I'd take a picture. This is the whole box of pasta with sauce in a family-style serving bowl. You can see my mobile in the background for scale. I know, I know, there's no reason to put it into a serving bowl only to take my one serving out and then transfer the rest into tupperware, but sometimes it's just more fun this way.

You can't really see from the picture, but I cut up big chunks of portobello mushrooms into the sauce. I also added milled flax just in case the fiber fortified pasta wasn't enough. And speaking of the new pasta, y'all should put down your knitting and run to the grocery store immediately. Price Chopper is open 24 hrs a day, you have no excuse. See the link above so you know what the box of Barilla Plus looks like. Oh dag, I just noticed that it already has ground flaxseed; I'll be having meself a pleasant experience later!

Okay players, I must bid you adieu. I have to tend to my launderings and vacuum the house. This place is a sty, I can't take it anymore.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Peaceful Day

Man, my stomach was killing me yesterday. It was that hurt that feels like your stomach just needs a good, loud gurgle. One of my favorite words, borborygmus, is the technical term for a stomach gurgle. It was a Word of the Day a few years back and it just stuck in my vocabulary. My stomach was borborygmussing quite a bit back then, as I was quite fat.

I never did get to the bottom of that stomach pain. I thought I would surely (pardon my French, ladies) rip a devastating fart and it would be all over with. As it approached Live on the Lake race time, I started to get nervous. Running brings out the gas in everyone, but it's no time to be gambling with a borborygmussy stomach. One slip could be very embarassing and I'd be bolting for the lake.

I didn't slip. In fact, once I got into it the stomach pain went away. I think it may have had something to do with the power kayaking I did the evening before; more of a muscle pain than gas.

Race Report

Last night's LotL race was my chance to try out a new approach. That approach was simple, but could prove to be very helpful in achieving better times. Now you're dying to know what that approach was, aren't you? Aren't you? Yeah, I'm telling you it's real simple, so simple in fact that you'd think to yourself "Duh, that's obvious you moron". So anyway, last night I was going to try out running faster.

I told you it was simple and obvious. On Sunday I realized that I don't really change anything when I race. My regular runs are at a slower pace since I usually have something to do afterwards. In a race, the object isn't to "leave a lot of gas in the tank" but rather to "run faster than other people" or "run faster than you did last time". At the end of Sunday's race I had enough energy to sprint up the last hill, energy which would have been better put to use by just running a little faster the whole time. So last night I used my stopwatch to keep tabs on my min/mile and pushed myself to go faster - and it worked. I crossed the finish line in about 15 sec/mile faster than my normal time, and 30 sec/mile faster than the first race. Unfortunately a handful of local fast guys showed up so I placed 7th, my worst placement yet. But a personal record, so who cares (6:45 min/mile for those who care).

No-Show Contingency Plan

CPG didn't show up again, as she was apparently held up at work. I called her back after the race to let her have it, but couldn't figure out how to navigate their phone system, then got the voicemail on her mobile. I'm guessing she was working late because I never heard back. So instead I went kayaking with my running/kayaking cronies. One woman had finally received her custom, special ordered racing kayay and they were taking her out for it's maiden voyage.

Two nights ago I was out on Stockbridge Bowl doing a practice race for The Josh, when I saw one of the most beautiful sunsets ever. I had my camera but was timing myself so I didn't stop to take pictures. Last night I was back out there again and had an even better experience (but no camera). I'll explain...

Even Better Experience Explanation

When I pulled up to the parking area at Stockbridge Bowl, there was a group congregating under the trees. They had funeral-esque music playing and were standing around some framed pictures in what I can only assume was a memorial service of some sort. I made sure to show the proper reverence as I walked past them to use the Port-o-Potty. I felt really bad about whizzing so close to a memorial service - especially in a plastic Johnny-on-the-Spot where the whole thing echoes with the sound of pee - but I really had to go. And you know with those things that once you disturb the "blue stuff" you can smell that flowery Port-o-John juice for hours. It wasn't my fault, the cool evening air and sound of waves crashing on the shore was working overtime on my bladder.

That wasn't the good part.

The coordinator had hired a bagpipist (bagpiper? bagpipateur?) to play at the end of the service, which perfectly coincided with the setting of the sun. I don't know if they planned it that way or not, but that's how it worked out. So as the sun was closing in on it's final moments in the sky, we sat floating in the middle of the lake, the sun setting behind the mountains, a warm summery breeze blowing in from portside, being serenaded by a bagpipe. Four words, friends: The Summer of Todd.

Then, to top it all off I went home, had some dinner and got a fire going in the fireplace. I wanted to watch Wednesday Night Fights, but that had been preempted by some crap ass baseball game. Instead, I stumbled upon a showing of Pink Floyd's Pulse performance from the early 90's. We had that on tape in college and it was awesome. So I sat there by the fire watching Pink Floyd and just sank into my recliner, a cat perched on my lap. This was not how I planned to spend my evening, but I have no complaints.

Which brings me to my next point. So far The Summer of Todd has been really working out in my favor. I've been just doing stuff and seeing where it takes me. Some things I don't want to do, but I do them anyway and for the most part it's worked out wonderfully. I have two more things I'd like to check off my list before the summer's over, but I won't be devastated if I don't. That's how TSoT works, there are no plans/goals/expectations and as a result there's no reason to be unhappy with how it turns out. Check and check.

That's all I got.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Sorry for My Grammar

Good morning fans of the Coot. I'm wicked tired after a long night of hard blogging. If you haven't read last night's post, you should just so you can appreciate how tired I am.

When I sat down to write last night, my plan was to cover the kayak trip where I saw the field of water lilies and the Great Blue Heron (thanks JC for the correction). After cleaning up my pictures, editing them, uploading them to flickr, renaming them and adding descriptions, I realized that there was more to my weekend than just a Saturday morning paddle. In an attempt to capture everything I did this weekend I hurriedly typed everything in as quickly as I could, proofread it quickly and posted it.

Here are my issus with that. For one, I had the whole crane/heron misunderstanding that I need to go back and correct EVERYWHERE. I renamed the pictures on my PC with 'Crane' in the titles, uploaded and renamed the pictures with 'Crane' in the titles, and talked all about it in my blog calling it a 'Crane'. I'm not going to fix the blog; this is my correction here. But I will at least fix the names on my PC and flickr account.

For two, when I reread my posting last night it sounded like a third grader wrote it. Man, there was no flow to the stories and some of the sentences sounded like something a snaggle-toothed yahoo would spew.

Well, that's all I have for this morning. I have to get to work here; yet another busy day ahead.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Monday, August 07, 2006

Action Packed Weekend Update - In No Particular Order

Yawning Lily
Hey Cooterinos, I'm back in effect, hollering at you from the comfort of my muggy dining room. I didn't have a chance to write in this weekend as I was busy as could be, once again. Despite resting for Sunday's race after the Thursday Night Run, I managed to keep myself busy. Read on for some wild and crazy stories.

Sorry about the false advertising, but these stories are neither wild nor crazy.

Saturday's Kayak Trip

I think it was Friday after work that I went out to Stockbridge Bowl for a few practice laps of the Josh Billings Runaground route. Nope, it was Saturday morning. I'll get to Friday later. As usual, the first lap was for taking in the scenery and getting my photograph on. I thought I had seen some nice lake houses, but on Stockbridge Bowl you'll find South County Lake Houses. Dag.

At one point I paddled up on what I thought was a pretty nice place. It sat right on the water, had a small deck and a chimney that landed IN the water. Pretty sweet I thought to myself. As I got closer I noticed that this was not the house, but rather the changing house for lake activities. The house behind it matched, but had to be a few thousand square feet and was draped in windows. I can barely afford a house without a spare changing house, sprinkled (not draped) in windows and these rat bastards get these dope digs. I would like to be their friend.

At this point I was now tainted and would not be surprised again by any fancypants houses. I paddled and paddled, then came up on a bridge of lilies that connected an island to the mainland. I'm trying something new with the really big pictures right in the middle of the text. I highly suggest you check out the rest of my pics, as this is only a sampling.
Lilypad Traffic Jam

So I sat there jammed up in the lily pads and felt like I didn't even want to paddle, lest I should disturb this perfect carpet of flowers. As it turned out, paddling didn't do much since paddling through lilypads is like jogging underwater.

As I quietly fought my way through toward a clearing, I noticed a strange stick perched atop a neat rock. There were in fact several rocks that looked like they had been planted there by Buddha himself (you know how Buddha rolls). True to form, I misjudged the stick and it turned out to be a crane sunning himself in his Buddist archepelago. Here is a shot of the crane after he spotted me.
I've Been Spotted

At first he stayed "coiled up", but once I started to approach he streched out his neck and made himself look big, then went and hid in the weeds. I wish I could have gotten a picture of him flying, it was really neat. Before I had a chance to chase him into hiding, this is how he looked, watching over his private cove.

The Crane Watches over His Cove

I'm going to stop here so you can catch your breath. Next I'll get into my Thursday and Friday.

Thursday and All of Its Glory

Thursday was a boring day as usual at work. To be honest, I can't back that up because I don't remember it. What I do remember is that my nipples were chafed the hell up from the post-race cooldown on Wednesday. You may remember this story from such blog entries, as Thursday Morning's, so I won't repeat myself. On my way over to Kennedy Park on Thursday evening, I stopped off and treated myself to 3 new pairs of socks. The cost exceeded that of an earlier purchase containing 2 pairs of pants and a shirt. But the socks are nice. I was wearing what used to be a nice soft wicking t-shirt, but now will be remembered as the 60-grit nipple grinder from hell. Dang that hurt; still no bleeding, thank God.

Friday: The Day of Rest

After the run Thursday, I was done for the week so my body could rest up. My plan was to get the A-bike in for its tuneup, but that didn't happen. Instead, I went for a 40-mile ride. Before you get your panties all in a bunch, let me preface that with the following statement: It was approximately 40 miles. The first 35 or so were at a slow pace, so I tacked a few more on just to help me sleep. Wow, that statement takes me back.

Once I dropped off my co-rider, I made plans to go kayaking in the morning, then headed up Washington Mt. Rd. for a killer hill ride. I did the best I could, rested and had some water, then did the best I could again. The freaking hill had me in Granny Gear #2 (I refused to drop to Granny Gear #1) until I could take it no mo'. At which point I turned around and pointed my bike straight toward the center of the Earth.

The road was so steep that I couldn't shift up quickly enough to be able to contribute to the acceleration; gravity had me beat. I dropped onto the lower part of the handlebars (I forget what they're called) and went along for the ride. I was hauling ass at approximately 45 MMPH. That's 45,000,000 MPH to the average John Q. Layperson.

Sunday and the Race

Sunday morning I picked up CPG per her request (cha-ching) and headed over to the race. We signed in, did a short warm-up run, bullshat with the other runners and watched the Family Fun Run. I love when they have the FFR before a race, because the little kids are so excited to race and some of them are really fast. The girl who won did the mile loop in something like 5:40. That shit is fast. But what really made it extra fun was that the guy coordinating everything had the adults line the sides of the halfway point/finishline to cheer the kids on. Their expressions were priceless.

Finally, the race. We lined up at the starting line, had a moment of silence for those who literally went down in the struggle (against cancer, this race benefitted Cancer research), and we were off. I kept with the pack as we booked it down the hill toward Rte 7. This steep hill would also serve as the final ascent at the end.

At the first mile marker I had myself clocked at 6:40, a little too fast for me. I slowed down, found my groove and really enjoyed myself. As it turned out, I probably should have kept going at that pace because I "left a little too much in the tank" at the end of the race. I sprinted out the last hill, passing three or so runners, but a faster pace all along would have really moved me up in the standings.

Speaking of standings, I don't know why they don't have them posted online anywhere. I didn't bother looking at the end of the race because I figured I'd just get them off the web somewhere at my leisure. Eeewwrrroonnngggg.

And speaking of more stuff you people don't care about, many of the top runners are people from my various crews. We roll deep, and we're very supportive of eachother so it's no surprise to see my homies taking home half of the trophies. I mean, I didn't get one, but dammit I was in the Men's 29 and Under category. That puts me against HS and college track/cross-country runners, as if M20-29 isn't bad enough. Bush League!

After the race, we piled into our cars and headed over to Onota Lake for Leg 2 of the day's biathlon. There were 4 of us who brought kayaks with us to get our afternoon paddle on. It was a fantastic day! Since I'm sure some of you are already winded at this point, I'll spare you the details. Bizarro, have some ribs and catch your breath. This was not an official race - or even an unofficial race for that matter - but rather a relaxing afternoon in the water. Damn I live a good life! Hate all you want, haters.

I have some pictures of yours truly from the race but I'm not going to post them here for fear of Copyright lawyers. There was a professional photographer at the race, and I kind of cheated my way into some free pictures by taking screen shots. I'll link to a couple of his pictures, but I don't know how long you'll be able to see them. If you're interested, check out the guy's pictures here. My favorite picture of me is this one, followed by this one.

That's all I have to say about that.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Friday, August 04, 2006

Bagel Day

Happy Bagel Day, Coot fans. I forget every Friday that it's Bagel Day up here in the Hardware Design office, or whatever the name of our group is this week. And every Friday I have a nice big breakfast at home, then immediately hit up a bagel. Today was no different.

I've been working on a bag of granola that I picked up at the healthy section of the grocery store. I liked the idea of buying bulk cereal and the price was right. The trouble with granola is that it's really filling and it's slow eating. In the morning, I like to power down a bowl of cereal while I get all my stuff packed up for the day and I can't do that with granola. To make matters worse, my diet of ice cream and cereal has depleted my bowl and spoon resources and I have to either wash them by hand or hurry up and get a full load of dishes dirty since that's all I've used in the last week. Today I used a huge Pyrex mixing bowl, so I ended up with a serious bowl; but damn it was tasty.

The Jesus Puncher

Last night I killed this weird bug that I found crawling around my bathroom. I took some pictures, but I forgot to get them off the camera so you'll have to use your imagination. It was a flying black bug that looked like one of those flying ants, except it's body was bright red. So red that I thought it was sitting on a piece of red crud; no ant could be that red. Anyway, I grabbed it with some toilet paper and tossed the little bugger into the toilet. Mission accomplished.

This morning, as I sidled up to the porcelain throne and took aim what did I see but that very bug, risen from the dead. Not taking any chances that it might be Jesus reincarnate and I'd be the Pontius Pilate who sentenced him to death, I killed that bastard again. Only this time I flushed him down to destroy any evidence of my impiety. I wasn't about to leave anything to chance this time.

Pretty Boys

Last night after the Thursday Night Run, we were having dinner and working out names for our Josh Billings Runaground team. With the beers flowing like wine, some of the guys were getting really into it, and we came up with a few good ones. Most are probably inside jokes, but who cares. Here are some that received the most votes...

Pretty Boys (or Prity Boyz, or Pretty Boiz) - we're not pretty boys, but the uniform would be pink polo shirts with the collars popped (or 'popped')
Chick Magnets - our shirts would have a yellow chick running for her life from some gangly, snaggle-toothed dude using a magnet to reel her in. We're not chick magnets.
Three Hour Tourists - I just came up with this this morning. The race takes about three hours to complete, so I thought it was a clever name.

They decided last night that if we don't win it'll be my fault. Not because I'm in the worst shape or because I don't know how to use my kayak, but because I'm not over 40. Generally with sports, youth has an advantage but the other two guys are over 40 and if I were too, we'd be in the 40+ category. Since I'm only 27 I think we fall into some general category. They're in good shape, so I'm not really worried but I doubt we can compete with a team of college kids for example. Sorry players, step yo game up.

CPG Update

CPG sold her good car in preparation for moving back to the motherland; apparently she had two. It's still up in the air, but I guess she's trying to make it as easy as possible should she not be able to come back. At one point she was talking about people she's known who have gone so far as to pay someone to marry them so that they would be able to stay in the country, only to divorce days later. It was clear that this was not an option; maybe it was only the cost that gave her the sour taste. Christ, I painted half of the 'COW residence (the BARN) for a Juice 'n' Java sandwich and some coffee, and that involved bees nests. I would gladly lend her my name for a muffin and medium coffee. Hell, I'd even let her keep it.

No, no I wouldn't. Maybe I can just lay on the charm real thick in the next month and she'll be begging to marry me, with coffee and danish in hand. And maybe monkeys will fly out of my ass. Not that I'm looking to marry a girl so she can stay in the Land of Milk and Honey, but I could certainly do worse.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Keep your fingers crossed for Old Coot. Despite his killer good looks, swoon-inducing charm, and oversized sideburns, he's not too smooth with the ladies, so any help (please, no advice) would be appreciated. Really, just send some positive energy his way. He'll pay you back, I swear. He just has to wait for his allowance.

Today's Plans

Hopefully today will clear up. I think I'm finally going to take my bike in for its 60 day tuneup, then I'll take that puppy for a spin while I rest up for Sunday's Legendary Lake Run. They're expecting a hot day, in fact this is a quote by the event's coordinator:

"I'm hoping it's a hot morning," Breault said. "That's the way it's always been with the Lake Run. It's the first Sunday in August and the morning starts out cloudy with oppressive humidity. Then it rains and the sun comes out and it gets real hot. It's that beat-you-down kind of heat."

Yeah Breault, if you're going to be hoping for this kind of weather I better see running shoes on your damn feet. Fortunately, the weather has been disgustingly hot and humid all week so I'll be in good shape for it. Unfortunately, the nipple chafing worsened last night, despite the Body Glide&trade I slathered on those puppies. I don't like running without a shirt, but if it bothers me again I'll have no choice but to take it off or cut out the nipples.

With that being said, I'm ghost.

Wait, one last thing... Today is BV's last day. We're going to hit up Teo's for a celebratory lunch and I can only assume he'll be bringing a laptop and projector so we can review the slides he's put together for his End of Phase Review. We can't let him follow some chick to another state without a formal review, so this is his last chance.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I'm Here, No I Didn't Die

Happy Thursday Coot Fans. I apologize for going so long between posts as I know my musings are a much needed break for some of you. I'll try to provide a brief recap of what I've been up to in the last week, but I'll warn you it might include a little activity.

Since most of you couldn't give two shits about my running, I'll get that out of the way. At some level this blog serves as my own personal diary, so to be fair to me I have to include things you might find to be less than interesting. Sorry, if you don't like it write your own blog (and send me the url so I can talk smack about how boring your interests are). Woah, this sounds like Cranky Corner material. Back to the lighter stuff...

With my family out last weekend, I took Friday and Saturday off from running. As any addict knows, this was difficult for me to do. Finally, on Sunday morning I went out before everyone got up and kicked back 2/3 dozen miles or so. It was supposed to be about a 4-5 miler, but I forgot to take the 2 miles to the trail and 2 miles back into consideration when I planned it. A good run though.

Weekly total: 8 miles.

Monday morning I met up with CPG for a practice run of the Legendary Lake Run route. If you don't know (despite its legendary status), the LLR is a 6.7 mile (10+1K) loop around Pontoosuc Lake (hence the name). While 10+1 kilometers may not seem too bad to the average John Q. Layperson, those kilometers are jam packed with nasty hills. Then, just to further the punishment it ends on a hill. Fortunately they let us use the pool afterwards so that's the carrot they wave.

Weekly total: 14.7 miles.

Tuesday morning was a repeat of Monday's run, with the addition of two more people. Contrary to the 60 and muggy conditions we had on Monday, Tuesday was more like 80 and muggy. Mind you, this was at 6:30 in the morning.

Weekly total: 21.4 miles.

Wednesday was HOT and MUUUGGGGYYY. By racetime (Live on the Lake Race Series) it had cooled to about 90 degrees (F) and the humidity had dropped to roughly 98%. Ahhh, ideal race conditions ::insert sarcasm emoticon (sarcasmicon?)::. I had an alright run, slightly slower than last week but I was without CPG for motivation. Plus, as I have already mentioned, it was disgusting out. I did manage to beat this smug punk who kept looking at me like he was going to beat me. I know his type and knew he would burn himself out early then die on the hill. 1/3 of the way up the hill I was casually leaving him in the dust. Punk!

Afterwards, a fellow runner (and my racing arch nemesis) and I went for a quick cooldown run that accidentally covered the entire race route. Oops, so much for a cooldown. It was slower than race pace, but still. So instead of a 3.7 mile race in the heat, I had a 1.25 mile warmup (forgot to mention that), 3.7 mile race and 3.7 mile cooldown in the heat. I even had to break down at the end and take off my shirt as the sweat was making it stick, which was chafing my right nipple. OOOWWWW! If you know me personally, you know I don't like taking my shirt off in public (and never while running), so that should tell you how bad the chafing was. I expected bleeding.

Week total: 31.05 (we'll call it 31) miles.

Tonight is the Thursday Night Run, a casual 5-miler in the woods. This time I'm going to take it easy, I swear. Last week I was about to pass the eff out; I won't be doing that again. After tonight, I'm going to take two days of rest before Sunday's Legendary Lake Run.

And by rest I mean I'm going to get out for a 20+ mile bike ride and kayak a few times. I gotta stay on top of my game, yo.

So, other than that I've been pretty much busy with work and so on. The hardware Lead Engineer on one of my projects is out with some sort of illness for the next couple of months, and I've been appointed as his temporary replacement. This means they get the work of a Lead and a Peon for the cost of a Peon. And for that I get "experience". Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. Nobody has said anything, but I have to imagine this will at least look good come raise time next year. And I've got my fingers crossed about getting promoted to the level I'm already working at (sorry about ending that with a preposition). I was told at my performance review in April that I'm basically a Principal Engineer minus the project leadership experience. Ahem, I'm now doing that so get out your checkbook.

The visit from the family went off very well, with the following hitches:

  • I couldn't afford the new bed for my parents so they had to use the futon (which my mother loves anyway)

  • The futon had been peed on by my very sick cat last summer, so they had to use the air mattress

  • The air mattress deflated in about 45 minutes so they had to sleep on the couch and recliner (my dad sleeps in a recliner every night anyway due to his multiple ailments)

  • My sister kept jacking up her foot on some mystery nail in the threshold between the hallway and the bathroom

  • My dad cut the HELL out of his foot on that same nail. The head of the nail cut his foot, not the point of it

  • I didn't have time to make the chicken salad for dinner Friday, so we had to suffer with homemade crabcakes

  • We kept getting dealt crap hands in Euchre, but kept on a-smiling.

So, there you have it Coot fanerinos. I'll try to get back into posting regularly, but most days I'm busy until late at night, then I shower up and crash. You'll have to be patient for a little while.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...
"Something inside of me just said 'Hey, wait a minute, I want to beat him.' and I just took off." -Pre