Monday, January 18, 2010

My week as a layabout

My week of no real responsibilities (thank you Hannah) was really good. Sustainable in the long run? Of course not. But a week was definitely nice.

As I mentioned last time, I started off with a trail race in Bandera, Texas. To say it was hard and hilly is putting it mildly. But it was also a blast. I never really went ballistic and walked most of the inclines, so I was surprised with my overall placing (48th of 230+). I rolled in around 2:50 for the 25km race.

The guy I traveled with did go in with an agenda. Last year, he injured himself during the 50k so he was looking for a little vindication. And he sure got it. Not only did he finish, but he won his age group (50-59) and set the masters course record. His pace for the 50k was also faster than mine for the 25k. He's a speedy guy.

This past Monday, I loaded up the car and drove down to Big Bend National Park for the week. I got some rides and runs in, plus a whole bunch of walking. Mostly, I was moving easily or steadily when I wasn't laying down to sleep. A big part of that was because of the cold (22 degrees the first night -- up to 35 by the last night). Continuous motion is a good way to keep warm.

I forgot my camera off and on throughout the trip, but here's some of what I did get.

My nice campsite:

Here's a riveting video I shot at the bottom of the Window trail.

I learned later that my depth perception is off. When I said it looks like "100 feet or so to the bottom," I should have said a couple hundred.

Mexico. Only a few small steps across the river to freedom... from most of the freedoms I enjoy. I opted not to take a picture of the dude crossing from the other side. He walked back though.
View on the way up from the Rio Grande.
Me looking sort of rugged (the helmet helps that look):
The views in Big Bend are amazing. But sometimes it gets a little lonely:

If I remember right from the Ken Burns National Parks documentary, this guy did a lot of good and then ended up being a big jerk. We're not related (although I can be a jerk, I haven't done the "lot of good" yet).
View up the road to the Basin. I stayed on the other side of those mountains.
This fox was very patient with me, until I lifted my camera. Then I got fox butt.
The view on my last morning. It started snowing on my way out.

So, good trip. Next up: school starts on Wednesday.

Friday, January 08, 2010


This is a big week for me. Today is my last day as a paid communications professional. Tomorrow is my first day as a full-time, unpaid, unskilled, unremarkable athlete. I'll only hold that position for a week before my official title becomes "student" again. Note, that too will be an unpaid position (thank you savings and gainfully-employed wife).

I'm kicking off my week of athletic glory with a trail race in Bandera, Texas, about an hour north of San Antonio (two hours south of San Angelo). Over the last three weeks, I've prepared diligently for this race by running five times, three of which were in the last five days. It's a good thing I'm mildly fit and that I'm only doing the 25km option -- if need be, I can walk a good chunk of the 15 miles. Had I signed up for the 50km (as my friend encouraged me to), I suspect I'd be in trouble.

On Monday, partly to stay out of Hannah's way, but mostly to take advantage of my free time, I'll be heading to Big Bend National Park for a few days of cycling, running, hiking and sightseeing. While I am fit enough to run/hike 15 miles on Saturday, I'm not fit enough to fill my days with epic amounts of training, so I'm planning on a lot of sightseeing. Depending on how well I can handle camping in the cold, I'll stay for most of the week. I expect to come home with a clear head, ready to give up my highly lucrative athletic career and jump into school.