Wednesday, December 27, 2006

All In The Blink of an Eye...

Whoa!! Another year has come and gone!

I came to the realization that the "laid back" christmas that I experienced this year is largely due to the fact that I am an only child who is single with no children. A nice situation arises from this scenario as I spent Christmas day eating leftovers, reading, watching television, and sleeping. Quite a different experience, this is, when compared to my youth. Quite a different experience, this is, when compared to my friends that are married or are parents. Make no mistake about it, I liked my mellow christmas.

Christmas night I was given a Lebron James bobblehead whilst sipping on a delicious glass of gin provided by the handsome couple below and their furry friend. I am not a gin drinker, but this stuff was delicious. It tasted like like a combinatin of pine trees, cucumbers, and flowers. Very, very tasty!

I ran into many 'ole chaps I have known since my youth last night and we were having so much fun that upon being kicked out of the pub at closing time Jim, being the generous guy he is, offered to share his bottle of 10 yr. old single barrel bourbon with us that he had gotten as a gift earlier in the night. So, we moved the party into Andy's mothers house just down the street. Lucky for her, she was not home for the evening and was not awoken by a handful of half-drunk 30 year old men. After a few hours discussing Einstein and general relativity, followed by a debate about global warming (all "fueled" by this special bourbon) someone decided to look at their watch. Bad idea! I arrived home at 6:00 a.m.

My orthopedic doc gave me a nice holiday gift just before christmas....the news that my MRI showed no evidence of a fracture. There was a small amount of inflamation showing up that must be from my muscles in my foot causing the pain I have been having. I may need to switch shoes, or get a different insole to try and remedy the problem which is much better than a cast or a screw. On christmas eve I logged an easy 3 miles in preperation for "The Great New Year's Eve Race" at Stow high school. What a wonderful holiday.....

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Fast Twitch Fibers Come Out of Hibernation

Tomorrow morning @ 8:00 a.m. I have my appointment for the MRI. Then, on Thursday I will take those results to my orthopedic guy and get the skinny on my foot. Needless to say, if I have to wear a cast I'll be one pissed off individual. I am optimistic however, and last Friday afternoon I put my foot to a nice test (not the best idea)and it responded well.

After my half mile in the pool I spent a half hour working my legs and core...then decided rather than go to work, I'd grab a basketball and shoot around for a few minutes. Well, as most of you know I used to play a lot of basketball. Nearly every day (except during football season) from the ages of 12 to 21. I was a hoops junkie (turned bar-fly, turned vagabond, but those stories are for another day). So, when I heard the old familiar question from the folks on the next court over, "hey man, you wanna run?" I could not refuse. Even though I risked damaging my foot to the point of inserting a screw so that it can heal properly. Even though the only shoes I had were my asics running shoes. Even though I have played basketball only one other time in the last 6 or 7 years. "Yeah, I'll run." I had said it before I could even think about it.

Well, I stayed on the court for over 2 hours as the 5 that we put together in the first game could not lose. Playing basketball is like riding a bike, you never forget what you learned when you were young. A day comes when you might not be able to ride as far or as fast. A day when you might not be as quick or be able to jump as high, but the "feel" of the game stays with you. For those 2 hours on the court I felt great.

By the time I got home and got out of the car I was very stiff. My fast twitch muscle fibers were in shock!! It was all worth those 7 pickup games over those 2 hours with kids that still play everyday. Now, it is Monday and I feel much better. My plans for bike rides over the weekend were scratched for short hikes as I needed some rest and if I would have gotten on the bike I'm sure I wouldn't have turned for home until I logged at least 20 or 30 miles. Well, the exciting part of this whole story is my foot felt fine while I was playing ball and afterwards. Not one inkling of pain. So I am very optimistic heading into see the orthopedic doc this week. I'll need it because the thought of a 3 month recovery for an ache in my foot is nearly unbearable.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Time to pull the trusty steed out of winter storage...

A couple of days ago I was hiking through the snow on a blustery 20 degree afternoon and now it is 50 degrees and sunny and I've had a mid-winter "fling" with amaterasu. I've missed her and she's looking and riding as good as ever. I took her for a pretty flat spin out to brandywine falls and back yesterday. It was the first time we've been out since the end of October. Just over an hour in the saddle, 19.5 easy spinning miles at 16.8mph and I felt pretty good. Not long into the ride I came to recall that cars suck. Last night while sleeping I dreamt I was the modern day version of the chap above and my Trek 1200 was scattering Escalade's, Hummer's, and F-150's in every direction.

My semester is coming to a close and I'm very much looking foreward to a month off. I've still got to straigten a couple of things up @ Cleveland State and should be up in downtown beginning in January. I'm very much looking foreward to my studies up there on the lake. If anyone knows of a foolproof money making scheme that would fund the rest of my schooling and allow me to focus more on my studies and work as little as possible, your input is most welcome. All suggestions should be legal....or at least risk free.

If all goes well I hope to spend a few days in Northern Arizona just after the holidays. I could really use a good dose of sunshine, mountains, and the like. I have yet to actually visit one of the energy vortex's near Sedona, but I have to say the entire Verde Valley is a place that just makes you feel good and full of energy. I can see it now, after finishing up a Fat Tire at lunch in Jerome I'll be sure to stop outside the pub for a minute to take in this view.....

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Footprints in the Snow

Well, well....I've been waiting for a nice snowfall ever since the leaves fell this fall and it has finally arrived. A couple of feet would be better than a couple of inches, but I'll take what I can get. I hit the trail with the puppy as soon as I could this afternoon and was a little upset when I pulled into the parking lot and saw a couple of cars. There was obviously a couple of sets of footprints at the trailhead but after a couple of quick turns I found some fresh trail to break. Happiness is breaking trail after a fresh snow, no doubt. When the snow is nice and deep it's fun to imagine that I'm in some vast and remote northern forest....and there's no telling what might lie just over the horizon....

But alas, as the footprints in the snow tell me there is not much around here besides a whole bunch of deer, a couple of coyotes, and an occasional hiker. Speaking of remote northern forests, did you know that while in the backcountry you are more likely to get hit by lightning than attacked by a bear?? It's funny, because as I'm sure every hiker knows, countless times we are asked, "Aren't you afraid you'll get eaten by a bear?" Not once have I been asked, "Aren't you afraid you'll get hit by lightning?" Another misconception we can blame on the media, I guess.

Here's a great quote from Oregon congressman Earl Blumenauer at a bike lane dedication:
"Let's have a moment of silence for all those Americans who are stuck in traffic on their way to the gym to ride the stationary bicycle."
In other related news I hear Cleveland is going to get a bike station. You know, a place in downtown near public transportation with secure bike parking, bike repair facilities, showers, and lockers for your work clothes, etc. Cleveland Bikes was awarded a $10,000 grant to fund the facility. Progress. Keep moving foreward.

Well, as much as I'd like to sit at my computer and divulge my every thought to you it is Friday night and I've got a date with my math book.....seeing how I have a final exam in the class on Monday morning @ 7:30 (whose idea was that??) So, until another day.....

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Dear Mr. Claus,

I was driving to the gym last night when the giant full moon was sitting just above the horizon. It was not yet bright white, but rather a pale earthy white, a color somewhere between dirty bathwater and light green tea. I watched it rise for almost ten minutes until it sat just above the Akron skyline. It was at this moment, looking at the picturesque skyline and the giant dirty moon, listening to a mountain fiddle that I had one of those moments of clarity that makes one wonder about the questions that cannot be awnsered. It was at this moment that I felt like I was 30 years old, for the first time in my life. It was at this moment that I thought about my 31st holiday season that is approaching and how I much I have evolved from the days when I used to make a christmas list. It was at this moment that I realized this is my 6th christmas spent with my trusty companion...

In the spirit of christmas' past I am composing a christmas list:
1. a right foot that I am able to run on
2. a left calf that stays pain free
3. cross-country skiis
4. snow shoes
5. clothes that keep one warm and dry while using previous 2 items
6. wool hat/gloves/sweater...particularly those handmade it Nepal
7. a carbon fork for amaterasu
8. an indoor trainer so that amaterasu will get some winter usage
9. a more efficient swim stroke
10. a trip to the Verde Valley
11. a 6-pack of Fat Tire (preferably consumed in the Verde Valley)
12. a gore-tex pair of trail runners
13. well, anything gore-tex would be excellent
14. wool socks
15. the finest coffee beans available to man
16. a guampa to go with my bombilla
17. a bag of full bodied yerba
18. a Phil Lesh show in ohio, preferably Cleveland
19. another Phish New Years show
20. and a room right across the street
21. an A in my math class (probably more unlikely than the phish show)
22. an A in my geography class (probably the most likely item on the list)
23. a commuter rail between Akron and Cleveland
24. free pass on said rail
25. and....the discipline (and swimming ability) to be ready to complete a 1/2 iron next summer.