Sunday, December 30, 2007

Discovering Treasure

This weekend while putting away all of the Christmas decorations Jill decided that it would be a good time to clean out the garage. While doing so she uncovered something that I though was long gone.

Some 18 years ago a good friend of mine, John Gates, decided to stay on with the military as a medic and went on to the 5028th Special Operations Support Battalion. Shortly upon joining the unit he found himself supporting operations for the various Special Forces groups and for department Delta. On one of his exercises he found himself returning to Panama for a second time, not to train but to help with capturing Manuel Noriega. Unfortunately Manny got away and found himself stuck in the embassy of the Vatican listening to Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart” some several thousand times. Meanwhile, Delta Force, the Navy SEALS and my friend John were ransacking all 7 of his homes throughout the country. John managed to acquire some of the booty, eventually a couple of the pieces made their way to me.

As part of the spoils I ended up with a candid snapshot of Noriega and several pieces of his stationery. Now…If I could somehow get to the Federal Penitentiary in Florida to get him to sign it.

I also found a complete compilation of Harlan Ellison’s works. When I cracked the cover I discovered that it was signed by him and addressed to me.

Along with the file that contained the Noriega stationery was a series of original hand painted animation cells from the Saturday morning children’s shows The Archies and The Lone Ranger.

I use to hate the Antiques Roadshow. I saw all of those people and thought out of all that junk I had in the garage amounted to nothing more than a pile of dust bunnies. Now, I think that I actually might have something. Not bad for a day’s find.

Apology Accepted, 19 Years Later

The Internet has a strange way of getting people back together. A couple of weeks ago I got an email from Don Morris. After having left the army we all went our separate ways and on with our lives. Unfortunately we all lost touch with each other, we all wanted to get away from the experience of the military but at the same time we lost the most important thing that we had, our friendships. Don over the years would use Google to search for friends, eventually he found the blog and it led to me. I got his email and immediately called him.

It was one of those conversations you have with an old friend where you pick up just where you left off just as if no time had passed. It was good to talk to and catch up with an old friend.

I’m just glad that he forgave me for kicking him in the head.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Someone Made Me Hitler (Schickelgrubered)

As part of a performance incentive program at work I had set up a competition based off of Fight Club. Individual agents would use their daily and weekly stats to "fight" each other to find out who was the winner of the daily and weekly match ups.

As part of the whole program I had several posters made up from the movie Fight Club. I had the artist replace my face with Edward Norton's and Ross William's face replaced Brad Pitt's.

It turns out that someone in the center decided to do some further modifications to the image.

As you can see the moustache is trimmed quite small and with the hair parted so gives me the image of the Führer und Reichskanzler himself.

The gut reaction was anger for a half-second, then I realized the ridiculousness of it and went on with my life. I don't usually find humor in anything to do with the Third Reich but on a rare occasion something comes along that makes you laugh.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Stealing My Mojo

The image is moderately famous. It's my 15kb of fame. A glorious posting on the Internet that will live forevermore. A picture that was taken of me long ago during the music video years of my life. The picture was scanned by a coworker for me as a favor. The next day it ended up on every screen saver and desktop background at EarthLink. A year after that it was anonymously submitted to and was selected as "mullet of the week." I never thought that the photo would end up being the mullet seen 'round the world. Turns out that I am not the only person that thinks the photo is iconic in its flowing power. A couple other sites have used the image to further their own ends.

The newspaper at the University of Arizona did a review for various mullet websites and lo and behold they used my photo, with the obligatory censoring of the eyes seeing as they did not seek my permission to use the image. If they just would have asked I would have gladly obliged.

In the next image you can see that I have been totally defiled.

As part of the wave anti-Arab humor that occurred post 9/11 they have taken my hair and placed someone else's face, calling the photo "Osama bin Longhair."
A total ripoff. You can see that those are my ears, my hair, my shirt. The least they could have done was keep my face there and slapped on a mustache. As P.T Barnum put it, "I don't care what you say about me as long as you spell the name right." In my case it is more like, I don't care what you do with the photo as long as you don't change it. Leave it in its original glory.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Dispatches from the Wonka School of Management

(The Gene Wilder version, not the Michael Jackson and the Chocolate Factory version)

Be Creative

Care for and respect your people

Lead with integrity and expect integrity from others

Search the world over high and low for inspiration, the right product and the right people

Be passionate about your product and about what you do

Innovate your product constantly and aspire to create the Everlasting Gopstopper

Find and train open-minded talent to replace you

Find the fun in everything you do

Phase Deux

Almost there. The carpenter came over and installed the surround and the media cabinet. As you can see, beautymus. This week I'll install a second HDMI cable that will run to a HDMI switcher. Just in time for Santa to bring the XBox. Woohoo!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Scared of Santa

You'd think that the man that bought you toys on Christmas day would hold a special place in your life as child. Apparently this is not always so as witnessed by the website Scared of Santa. Since 2004 The Sun-Sentinel out of South Florida has been gathering pictures of little ones getting the piss scared out of them by Father Christmas. Initially the site started out with a dozen or so classic pictures of children trying to escape surly or drunk looking Santa's by either running away or executing a category 5 scream back at the reasonable facsimile of old Saint Nick. Whether it be self defense mechanism of fight or flight, separation anxiety or otherwise, it's amazing to see how many parents will drop their kids into the laps of total strangers knowing that there is a fair chance of a total meltdown. The site is a scream, literally.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Earning Man Points

It turns out that you can justify just about anything. In our case it was a 52inch LCD TV.

“We never go to the movies,” we bemoan. The last 5 movies I’ve been to were either Disney or Pixar. If we go to a movie it’s usually a kid flick, something that the whole family can see.

By the time we pay for a babysitter dinner and movies the night cost’s us about $100.
Turns out that dating one’s own wife is more expensive than dating her when she was the girlfriend. So, over the years we’ve fantasized about getting a big screen TV. Using the above-mentioned justifications we continued our fantasy until, finally it has manifested itself into the Sony Bravia 52 inch behemoth glass idol to the gods of TV and movies.

Okay, okay, stop where you’re at because in my case just getting a big screen wasn’t that simple. In my case doing something to the house never is. You see, we live in Arizona. All of the houses are new. So instead of having any sort of accommodations for a widescreen most house designers have taken it upon themselves to design what I have dubbed the plaster disaster. Take the focal point of a room where a television would go and with drywall create a series of useless indentations, shelves and niches. It seems as if there are a series of geniuses that consider themselves to be a sort of Michelangelo, but instead of using marble they have chosen drywall and plaster. The results are lame, useless and nauseating at best and the valley of the sun is full of such architectural genius.

In our particular case, around the fireplace were two nieces and an excuse for a fireplace surround. The mantle above the fireplace stuck out only 3 inches from the wall. You couldn’t hang anything off of it, couldn’t set anything on top. Most items would just fall off.

Upon deciding that I was going to get a TV for my birthday we decided to call a company that specialized in creating niches into cabinets, entertainment centers, etc. A sales person for “Cure for a Niche” came over and evaluated the situation. A few weeks later he came back over with a picture and a quote of $6000 to create something that looked like a giant headboard. Factoring that with the cost of the widescreen TV itself would put us well over $10,000. I was against spending that much on principle alone nevertheless not having that much money to begin with. So I decided to do something that scared the hell out of myself. I decided that it was time to earn some man points. I decided to do it myself.

With some basic calculation and minimal planning I figured that I could do the demolition, route the stereo cabling, move the electrical outlet, frame the hole, hang the drywall, texture the wall and paint for less than $600. Turns out with some help and advice from friends I was able to do the job and buy the tools needed to do the job for about $400.

The only failure was that I drastically underestimated the time that it would take to do the job. I thought that I could do it in a weekend. Turns out that it took two weekend days and my mornings before work to finish the job.

With phase one of the plan complete it looks great. The TV and Bose jewel cubes float off the wall. It looks techno and modern, a sight to behold.

Because of time and experience (or lack thereof) Jill has asked me to stop the project and hire a woodworker to finish building the fireplace surround and the stereo cabinet in the remaining niche. For me to do it would cost too much in the way of tools and would take way to long. School starts in a week and it normally cuts down on my available time drastically. We had two professional woodworkers come over and take a look at our setup. Both said that I had done a good job and that they could easily create a surround and mantle for the wall. Jill and I noticed that both of them were missing fingers from their many years of crafting, perhaps it is a good thing that I leave the finishing work to a professional.

For now the TV is up and it looks fantastic. I also upgraded to digital cable and it is incredible. The picture quality on HDTV is unmatched. So far there are only a dozen channels in HD, hopefully soon there will be more. Regular NTSC TV looks pitiful in comparison. Movies that are not hi-def but wide screen look pretty damn good and with The 300 fresh out on DVD I’m just in time to enjoy a movie that I’ve always wanted to see in the theaters but didn’t get a chance to on my new TV and over the Bose speakers in 5.1. When we tuck in the kid tonight I’ll make sure that she has her stuffed animal and a set of earplugs.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Actors with Guns

Throughout my life I have participated in one form of creative endeavor or another. While working at the Pasadena Production Studios and Pasadena Camera Rental I managed to work on a couple of student films and a couple of different photo shoots. The manager of the facility was a graduate of Art Center College of Design and would on the side work as a photographer and graphic artist. Like my wife she was abhorrent to guns. So she turned to me when working on a project that required guns, lots of guns. She at the time was working for a company that produced posters and VHS covers for movies. Her expertise was in all things art and not weaponry, hence her asking me to help. She also knew that I was getting burned out on the job and she wanted to have me do something a little different. She was kind enough to think of me for this particular job. The first portion of the job took us to Glendale Gun Works, one of the biggest weapon rental facilities in Hollywood. The place was amazing. I began to ask a lot of questions about some of the weapons, I was then led to the safe room that contained some weapons of note. In that room I was shown some of the guns used in the movies by John Wayne, James Cagney, James Arness, Edward G. Robinson and a cornucopia of other stars in movies. It was incredible to see so much Hollywood history concentrated in such a small space.
Due to some technical difficulties in the form of weapons permits and permissions, Lisa Carney had to shoot the live weapons there in the facility but was allowed to take the dummy weapons off site back to the studio.

One day I met Lisa in Calabasas at the house of the owner of the production company that she was working for. She had asked me to bring my personal weapon for a quick photo shoot. I showed up in a t-shirt and shorts, but was asked to quickly change into a black long sleeve shirt. She took the standard 36 shots on a roll of 35mm film of me in various shooting and standing positions. The difference between reality and Hollywood was apparent to me in that I was asked to position the gun in ways that were not practical nor safe in a live fire or range situation; knowing that the gun was unloaded and that this was a matter of art and not accuracy I complied.
Later on the shots were used in combination with stills from the movies. My head was digitally removed and the actor’s scowling face and head were put in place. The final result much like many of the other images found on posters for movies, actor’s with guns. As Paul Newman put it “conflict resolution through AK47.” Still, it didn’t look bad, it was for dramatic impact; which after all is what Hollywood is all about. I got 100 bucks for the gig, not bad for a hard day’s work.

Monday, May 07, 2007

I’ve Re-discovered a Part of My Youth, Discovered my Mid-Life Crisis and Sold it on EBay

Aimee has started skateboarding. In three pushes she was able to do what took me 6 months of my life to learn. She in less than 10 seconds was riding a skateboard. I was showing her the basic techniques, but she was the one that was with great ease able to replicate. Then she looked at me and said, “Dad, you should fix your skateboard and we could ride together. This, from the girl that on her first try dropped into the 9 foot bowl at the Chandler skate park on Heeleys. One of the members from team Heely saw her and said, “She’s pretty good.” He was shocked when I told him that she was only 7 at the time. Now her latest endeavor is sidewalk surfing and she wants me to join her. My employees think I’m insane, my boss just thinks I’m going to break a bone.

A day or so later I slink my way around the piles of junk in the garage and I find it, tucked away behind a shelving unit, my original deck. Kryptonics made the P-Tex fiberfoam decks back in the late ‘70s. A highly unusual deck in appearance and as a ride; smooth yet forgiving, flexible yet strong, it turns out that very few of them survived over the years. At the Sidewalk Surfer, a local skate shop in Scottsdale I was told by the owner that he refuses to put wheels and trucks on the board. “A board like that shouldn’t be ridden,” he said. “Very few of them survived and it’s worth around $400.”

It turns out that he’s right. I listed it on eBay and set the reserve price at $275. As of this writing the current bid is at $305 with some 31 people actively watching the bidding. It may go above the predicted $400 mark.

With the money I’m going to get an “old school”re-issue deck, a new set of skate shoes and some protective gear. The protective gear should keep the admonishments from the ER staff to a minimum while my arm is being re-set.

The cool thing about all of this is not the money (although this is nice) but the fact that I’ll get to skate with Aimee. This, being another thing that I use to do as a kid and now my daughter too has picked up on and loves it just as much as I did. We now get to spend that much more time together.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Eating Our Way Across Southern California

At least once a year we make our way back to Southern California toe see Jill’s family and my family. As on any trip one must eat. The joy, or at least part of the joy is being able to go on what Jill has dubbed “the eating tour”

The great thing about the L.A. area are the restaurants. Whenever we head back to visit I always try to hit one of the eateries that I use to frequent. I try to avoid chains if possible. On occasion I am able to meet friends at these establishments. One of the restaurants that I try to get to is Macho Café. I’ve known the people that own the place and that still work there since I was 10. Originally the restaurant was Macho Taco and was owned and operated by Jesus Salmandiego. At one point there were 3 branches in the Los Angeles area, but over time he pulled back to just the one location in San Gabriel that happened to be the distance of a 9 iron from the place where I grew up.

I’m not exaggerating here when I say that the food is fantastic because I’m biased, but the food is incredible. The meat that is used in all of their dishes is cooked to perfection. The have a pork that they make there called Al-Pastor. The meat is cooked on a rotating spit and sliced off once it is ready. He seasonings are a loin kept family secret. I’ve been around the world and can honestly say that I have not encountered nearly anything as good. My mom noted that I inhaled my plate of tacos at the restaurant.

One thing that Phoenix lacks despite having a healthy Jewish population is a good Jewish deli. Whenever in L.A. I make it a point to find a deli and order a matzo ball soup or a kreplach (it’s like a Jewish version of chicken won-ton soup with the kreplach being the won-ton).

This last trip that we took in January we were able to visit a couple good places to eat. Of course we can visit them all, or I’d be bigger than I already am.

Happy Cinco De Mayo

Nobody seems to know what Cinco de Mayo is (other than the fifth of May).
So as a man on the street I have gone around over the years and have asked what people think that the holiday is about.

Here's what people have said:

Mexican Independance

A bunch of Mexicans had a revolution against sombody

A bunch of priests had an uprising

But the best one so far...

It's the Mexican New Year, it's the year of the Burrito!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Trying Something New

Over the years we have placed Aimee in different types of classes and training. Currently she is in Aikido but in the past she has taken drawing lessons through the Monart program and through ASU. For awhile now I have been asking that she take some sort of shooting discpline. Jill of course was abhorrent to this at first. She has always been dead set against guns. I don't want Aimee to shoot because I like guns, I want her to shoot because my father and myself have demonstrated a talent for hand eye coordination that has manifested itself through shooting sports. In the Army I was a top notch shooter, never shooting below a 36 out of the 40 required for the 4 years that I was in. And of course over the last few years I have continued to shoot skeet and when focused do a pretty good job at it. I tried to prep both of them about the Junior Olympic program here in Arizona, they would have none of it. Standing smallbore, air rifle, air pistol, biathalon, all denied. The wanted noting to do with weapons, and I understand. Violence and weaponry in society are all too prevalent and a dangerous thing. I've only wanted Aimee to take up some sort of shooting sport because I know that she has the focus and the talent to do well at anything that she does plus the talent of my father and myself at a hand-eye coordination sport. I wouldn't care if it was darts or tiddly-winks, as long as she got practice at something. Well, it turns out that the Chandler Community Center offered Archery this summer and Jill signed Aimee up. We've gone twice now, Aimee is having some problems with the recurve bow that is larger than her (literally), and after a few rounds she begins to tire from the pull of the bow. She manages to hit the target with regularity and a few times now has hit the center 10 ring. Not bad for a little scoot. I take her every weekend and we may take a second class in the summer. I've already primed the pump about the Junior Olympic Archery Division program for girls from ages 7 to 12 that meets at the same range about an hour earlier. We'll see, for now we’re just having fun.

A Minion of MINIs

We went to a MINI Cooper rally this weekend. I had reserved a space ahead of time not realizing that it was a car show. When I pulled up I was directed away from the parking lot and into the show. The security guards moved the cones and we were asked to park somewhere on the showgrounds next to the show cars. This was embrassing to say the least. We use the car for everyday use, so when we pulled up it was filled with our stuff like jackets, empty drink containers and various papers. "Quick, hide everything!" Jill blurted out. "Crap, I didn't even wash the car," I replied. I saw a space inbetween two other pepper white Coopers and backed in. After stashing everything in the trunk it didn't look so bad. It was a good time looking at all of the other MINIs and talking to other owners about their cars. Aimee was running around looking at all of the different cars and settled on a purple Cooper S as her favorite. Next time I go to one of these things I'll wash the car.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


For the past few years my migraines have been acting up, pretty badly. I've always had headaches, but in later years these headaches have been catagory 5 in size. It's hard to relate what it is like to have a migraine to somebody that has never had one. Most people empathize, but never truly understand because they think that migraines are just frequent headaches.
When providing an example of what I am going through I usually use a 1 to 10 scale with 10 being the worst. When it is really bad I use the Transmorgafier example. A Transmorgafier is an imaginary device that takes pain and and transfers the pain to another person or entity so that they can understand what the person is going through or they can assimilate the pain for awhile so that the original sufferer can have a break. The example that I use is if there were a small poodle attached to the device, the poodle would be dead. This example often works and the person that I am talking to usually understands.

I also like to use the wine critique to explain the sensation. It gives a bit more depth to the pain:

This headache is powerfull and full-bodied, with hints of cutting and burning toward the frontal lobes and the added sensation of swelling of the brain. It's kinda like a small dwarf with razor blades for skates doing figure-eights on your brain.

This also works for most, you can see the light go off in their head and they just walk away upon hearing this.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Aversion Therapy

A little sign I made to help me stay away from the snack machine. Not that it matters, the vending company has just changed to strawberry which I consider a substandard flavor.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Ed as Muse Deux

Hanna Barbera animator, music video & motion picture director Dominic Orlando created this portrait of me 17 years ago.
Felt tip pen on 8 x10 standard weight copier paper.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sometimes It’s Something Simple That Makes the Difference

I had a hard time on the last marathon because I ran into an old friend of mine… knee pain. I was experiencing some very familiar pains that I remember having my last year in the military. It only took me 15 years though to figure out what it was. I went to a running store to have my gait evaluated and it turns out that I am a suponator from way back. My feet are not adequately lined up with my legs when I strike the ground and my feet roll inwards causing torsion on the ligaments of my legs resulting in knee problems. I first found this out from a doctor at the UC Davis medical center that also happened to be a runner. He looked at my shoes and saw that the Sacouny Grid Hurricane 3’s that I was running in had already broken down as a result of my weight. It then all flashed back to me, all the times that I was having knee pain and just couldn’t continue. It wasn’t psycho sematic, it was real; I was wearing the wrong shoes all along. My tendonitis was being caused by an outside factor and it was something that I could control

Since that time I have made it a point to research prior to going out an just getting a cheap pair of running shoes. Because I am an inefficient runner and a big guy at the same time I am limited to running in about three different models of shoes. I found out two weeks ago that it is now down to two. It turns out the Asic Gel Evolution 2’s that I had been running in had already broken down in less than 500 miles and that the last of the shoe was not the same as the original ones. The result, a lighter shoe that breaks down easier and is not as supportive. The shoes essentially lasted long enough or not quite long enough to train for one marathon. This made Jill a little miffed and the idea of me having to go out and get another not so cheap pair of shoes when the ones that I had in theory should have lasted longer. She is of the belief that shoes should wear through, only then should you get a new pair of shoes. For a very long time that was the popular belief that shoes should last until they fell off your feet. I remember when first being introduced to running in the late ‘70s that runners would coat the bottom of their shoes with “Shoe Goo” a thick gooey glue like substance that would prolong the life of the sole.
With the improvement of plastics technology the days of having to Goo the shoe went out with Jim Fixx.

Running shoes are different now; they are more like shock absorbers than tires. The moment that the shoes no longer absorb shock is when your knees do. So now a shoe is considered to be worn when it goes beyond the breaking in point and begins to conform to the users foot, it is only then that a shoe is considered to be broken down.

After the last 5 pairs of Asics that served me so well I was hard pressed to go to a different brand. I like Nike, but they break down too quickly (even quicker than Asics) and are not supportive of inefficient, heavier runners such as myself. I like New Balance, they don’t break down easily, but you’re knees feel it as a result. I’ve had a bad experience with Sacouny, which left me with Adidas and Brooks. Brooks has a shoe that touts itself for big, fat, slow, heavy runners. Right up my alley. “It’s called The Beast,” the salesman at the Brooks booth at the PF Chang’s marathon expo stated. “You should get those as your next set of shoes, that sounds like you,” Jill chimed in. She probably thought that from, my size, stature, disposition and the amount of hair on my back that the name matched its perspective user perfectly.

I could tell the difference the moment I hit the road. I still have pain, but now the pain has shifted to different parts of the body that can be attributed to a lack of use rather than damage.

While I’ve been running throughout my life (more off than on), I’ve always returned to it, but I never really learn to run and enjoy running until after I left the Army.

After I left the military I had gained quite a bit of weight. It was my friend Roger McDorman that retrained me to run.

A true natural and talent roger displayed the abilities of a world class runner. In the Army he was able to run as fast as the best of them. On post the Army would conduct physical fitness test about twice a year. Without any regular training one morning he woke up and jogged to the PT field to run the timed two-mile test required by the Army. From a field of just under 100 runners Roger came in third, just behind a newly commissioned lieutenant and the battalion executive officer the then Major Frank Helmick (later on in his career he would go on to command the Ranger Training School, was at the pentagon at the time of the attack on 9/11 and was the officer in charge of “capturing” Uday and Kusay Huessin in Iraq). Roger finished with a with a time of 10:22. That was a 5minute 11 second mile! I was not sure if he vomited afterward as most of us would have, but it was clear that this was a stellar performance.

When we’d run our lap around the Rose Bowl Roger was gracious enough to stay with me for the first mile. We’d make small talk as we warmed up, then he’d hit the hyperspace button and would disappear.

During that time I learned some foundational Zen truths from Roger about running that the Army and previous P.E. coaches ignored:

• Find your pace, but push it when you can

• Work a distance but once you become comfortable with it, increase it

• Enter a race as part of your training regimen

• If you are injured, rest

• Time off to rest and recover is just as important as training time

• You run because you enjoy it, not because somebody is making you run

As a result of training successfully I ended up losing about 50 pounds in about 6 months and was able to run a 7 minute mile. I was in better shape then than I was in the military. Common sense, a tangible goal and persistence allowed me to get there.

I’m still on that road, trying to find that breaking point. The point were it all comes together and feels like you’re going downhill.

Someday, I’ll find it again…someday.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Another Year, Another Marathon

Last week I ran the P. F. Chang’s ½ Marathon. I should be thankful that I finished. But I’m kicking myself for doing so poorly, I’m kicking myself for overtraining. The one thing that I did learn through running this 3rd ½ marathon is that it is not the marathon but the training runs themselves are what is so memorable. Immediately upon crossing the finish line last year one of the first things that I said to my wife was “ I can hardly wait to get out there an do my neighborhood 7-mile loop.” It wasn’t the marathon that was fun, it was the feeling of being out there, alone on a desert highway running on a weekend morning as drivers passed by looking at me as if I were insane for being out there in the middle of nowhere plodding along. It was the feeling of the cool morning air, watching the sun rise, watching the ducks and the herons on the lake that was so memorable. Not to oversimplify, but it’s all about the journey and not the destination.

On our last trip to LA a couple of weekends ago I made it a point to take the running gear. It was two weeks before the marathon and it was critical to continue to lay down my base mileage no matter what. We checked into a nice little hotel in Camarillo and one of the firs things that I asked of the concierge was for a good running route. The person behind the desk was a runner and her family ran as well. “Let me give you a good route” she remarked as she highlighted the local area map. I was warned that there was a pretty big hill and that it was the standard route for the local high school soccer team. “Sold” I replied.

The next morning with iPod and running gear donned I left the room in total darkness and hit the route. For the first mile life was good. Seeing all of the trees and greenery was a stark difference from the barren landscape of the Arizona desert. I came to the first stoplight and there it was, Mt. MotherF@#$%r herself. I estimated that it was probably an 8% grade and that most trucks would not dare to descend for fear of total brake failure. I attacked the hill with a reckless abandon and before I knew it I was at the top. I ran through a residential neighborhood for another mile then climbed another small hill and turned left at the stoplight. What I saw next was nothing less that spectacular. On one side of me was a beautiful Catholic seminary and the view down the hill from it was incredible little valley with a small river at the bottom. Across the valley was another hill top with a mission surrounded by vineyards. The whole run was 5 miles of gently rolling hills and it took me about 55 minutes to complete. While I was there I had to run it again the next day.

To me this training session that run was the best memory of the marathon. The feeling of freedom, the morning, the outdoors, the view all mad me want to continue to run despite coming in with the slowest time for a marathon that I have ever run. On March 17th I have another marathon in Tuscon, the same one I ran last year, the Arizona Distance Classic. Again I look forward to the day of the race knowing that one of the days before it will contain a time out there on the road that I will remember.