Monday, February 18, 2008

Grown Men Also Cry...

I suppose the weekend technically started a little earlier for me. At work we are going through some remodeling of the remainder second floor space. That afternoon they began demolition on the two offices in the back of our current space, also back there they are reconnecting the two spaces with a doorway that existed a time long before the Conservancy's arrival. I had to stay a little later as I am in charge of the data/network cabling, so I had to make everyone was on the same page.

That evening was very unique. Julie and I went to the Blumenthal Theater to see the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. We had some great seats Orchestra center, a little further back from when I went to see The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and the Band of the Coldstream Guards about a month ago. Once again this was a bit of a genre departure for me, but once again I was not once uninterested or bored. The performance was in three sets. Perhaps the most special portion was the first, which was danced to Igor Stravinsky's The Firebird Suite. I think it is important for me to never forget many classic pieces of Appalachian Spring and Firebird were dance pieces to begin with! It was a bit rough hearing music coming out of loudspeakers there, but I dealt with it fairly well. During the intermission I spotted this woman I met at a party back in August. (No, it wasn't at an Islington flat, but my friend's 40th). I couldn't remember her name, and the worst part was I met her once after and asked her name. I couldn't do it again! The section portion of the performance, The Golden Section, was very fast-paced and dazzling to say the least. And conversely the third, Revelations, more more orientated towards style and graceful power. I still can't decide between the second and third as which was my favorite, but that's okay!

I was really looking forward to Saturday morning - the plan was to start running with a new group out of the Dowd Y. This was the group that was led by Kathy Abernathy, my buddy Franco did a lot of running with them. So it turned out that Bruce and Chris Page also hitched up, it was a large group!! The only awkward part was that we ran in front and weren't exactly sure where we had to turn. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and as we began I started to inquire with Franco about his big investigative story that had been published in the Charlotte Observer this past week. The route took us along Sterling and then past the country club. There were also new sections for me along Beverly and Hampton. I had been hoping for at least 10 miles, but this was good for me. Even so I slowly fell back as the long slog up Providence and Morehead took its toll. I averaged about an 8.2 minute mile, which is more than I would do on my own, so it was a success! Franco's fiancée Liza was there, and I confirmed that I had seen her at the theater last night, except they had screwed up their tickets and they were scheduled to go tonight. She also talked about their yoga class, taking Spanish, and Franco's upcoming two month work detail in Mexico City. I also chatted with Jin Woo's old roommate, who seemed to be eying the hot catch of the day, before sojourning back down South Boulevard.

For my rest time late that morning I finally got around to watching The Simpsons Movie. No, I didn't see it in the theater, I've been tapering off The Simpsons the last year or so - I can't quite put my finger on it, as I can't say it's jumped the shark or lost its writing edge. To Seth McFarlane's glee, conversely my interest in Family Guy has gone up during that time. The "Blue Harvest" episode was unbelievably awesome! And not to say I've completely given up on Springfield. I can say that I did enjoy the movie, it was really good - just not great. I think I got more excited though during the recent "Husbands and Knives" episode that had a w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l Tintin homage.

Later that afternoon NBC was rebroadcasting the 2007 edition of the Kona Ironman World Championship. Folks, I'll admit it - when someone really bad happens to me I'll cry just like everyone else. BUT - there is only one event every year that makes me cry (and the good kind too) - and it's this race. It was especially poignant experience now that I have completed my first Iron distance event. I remember watching the event when I was small - and like a lot of people I'll never forget the images of Julie Moss in 1982 crawling across the line. As for 2007, I had long known about the winners, etc - but it's the amazing stories, mostly in the age groupers, that gets me every year. Just mentioning Jon Blais is enough for me to pull out the tissues! And last year at my Georgia Half double amputee Scott Risgbee was participating with the eventual goal of Kona - this was it for him and to see him clipping along on the run was just something else! One of my favorites though is fellow Washingtonian Sister Madonna Buder, so it was heart-wrenching to see her miss the run cut-off.

So apparently I've turned Julie into a Trader Joe's junkie. I certainly don't have any qualms about that, needless to say we exited onto Mallard Creek the right way this time! Before arriving at her place I had picked up another Javier Bardem movie, but we ended up watching another movie, Origin of the Species, that she had picked up. It was about these twenty-somethings who gather at a lake house every year. Overall it was a pretty horrible movie - but I should give a little credit, as there were some themes I could identify with, especially the friend who had battled cancer and was attempting to help the others identify with the experience.

I was glad at the opportunity to sleep in some, but that meant missing the boat on organized bike rides this morning. Instead I went on another solo adventure, leaving the house around 11AM. It was still a bit too cold for shorts and arm warmers, but thankfully my hedge paid off. I shot over to Colony and worked my way down towards Rea, thinking of my usual Waxhaw out and back that is approximately 25 miles each way. I decided to improvise and at New Town shot out east across Providence. My gut was indeed correct that turning at Cuthbertson was too early. And I knew this road was haunted for biking, shoddy quality that perhaps led to a recent incident where a car crossed the median and killed a biker heading NE. He was a family man that lived further down the road, I wonder what happened with that? Nothing. No one cares anymore? Or perhaps the leadership of this F-U-C-K-E-D up county is more concerned with the ongoing FBI investigation. I did spot the flowers at the spot he must have died. This of course meant I had to further endanger myself with a section of Providence down to Waxhaw. Even this distance was perhaps too much for me, I just have not been in shape lately. The break on the picnic bench was nice, and I did feel much better as I shot down Waxhaw-Marvin. Shortly I was on Hwy 521 heading north towards Charlotte. While this is a really busy thoroughfare, at least northbound this section features a very wide shoulder. Unfortunately some of the crap that gets swept over there did me in, right before crossing over I-485. My rear tire was flat. It was slow to pull it off and slowly put in the new tube. It was like a dream world where I just did not care. Too tired maybe? When it finally came time to inflate I must had pinched the tube somewhere - it exploded. Interestingly enough, someone instantly stopped for me and asked I needed a ride. And then another! But instead I phoned a friend - thankfully Sean, who lives nearby just a little further up Park, was back in town. We loaded the bike in and I heard about his vacation skiing out in Colorado. I did manage to get in 43 miles, averaging 17.1 mph which wasn't bad for me! My average heartrate during the ride was 147.

Okay, that was a little discouraging, as I think I've never had to "phone a friend" to be rescued from a ride around here. Ironically, it was on Valentine's Day four years ago I first attempted the Duke Half Ironman bike course and made a bad wrong turn in the miserable cold rain. My friend Seth, who was living in Cary at the time, came to rescue me.

So to relax I watched for my first time the movie Taxi Driver. I was mostly curious to watch the movie that made Hinckley think he could impress Jodie Foster by killing Ronald Reagan. Okay, so that made a lot more sense after finishing the movie! I could see why it's one of the great movies of all time, but it wasn't that way for me. I probably enjoyed just as much listening to the "making of" documentary while I prepared spaghetti for dinner. That evening I was very excited to watch The Tour of California start off with the prologue. I must have been very tired as I dozed off during the latter half and actually missed Fabian Cancellara once again blow away the field. Damn.

I must say, I'm quite miffed Astana is being shut out of the Tour de France. I am, though, looking forward to see what Rock Racing will do this year with its band of "miscreants."

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