Thursday, May 31, 2007


It is just past 7:00 am as I sit down to write this. I’m counting my blessings as I look over the Pacific Ocean off the coast of West Maui. From my hotel balcony, I can see, hear, and smell the ocean. I can see past the manicured lawns of a little Hawaiian Wedding Chapel, where S. has taken the three little S’s for morning yoga by the beach. I can see runners on the beach, and along a path that connects several hotels here in Wailea. I don’t envy them, I don't wish I was down there too, 'cause I've already beaten them to it :-)

There was a brilliant full moon reflecting off the otherwise dark ocean when I got up at 4:30. I couldn't get back to sleep, so I quietly changed and left the room just past 5:00. It took a while to make my way downstairs and out, and I was just steps away from the sand when I noticed the moon dip below the horizon. Being on the west side, I won't see much of a sunrise, but I've never seen a "moonset" before; I made a note to try again tomorrow. This is a shot instead of Haleakala in the distance, the top still covered in clouds, no doubt already filled with eager but frigid tourists waiting to catch their moment of a Hawaiian sunrise above the clouds.
I ran north towards Kihei, staying on the beach as much as possible, and moving onto the concrete pathway only when I had to. The tide was low, and the waves crashed slowly and lazily onto the sand. I kept an eye out for seashells, which we collect in glass jars to mark our family vacations, but this area was completely free of any. After a couple of miles, from Wailea Beach, to Mokapu Beach, to Ulua Beach, the sand and the pathway ended at Keawakapu Beach.
Going back south, I ran past my hotel and kept on going. I had to stay on the pathway as there wasn't any beach to run on past the next hotel down. One more hotel after that, the pathway itself ended and I turned onto a residential street headed towards Makena. That didn't last long because of the road looking like this ... the street signs here don't say "limited sight distance" ahead, they say "NO sight distance" ahead! Not really runner friendly, is it?
I turned around one more time and headed home. The sunrise in the east started to make its presence felt, and there were a few more early birds making their way out. I ended my run back on Wailea Beach, the way I dreamed about doing months ago, alone in the water, floating along, pushed by the waves, staring at the blue sky above.
On a lighter note before I go, here's a special something from paradise for you ladies out there. Squeeze those cheeks and say "cheese"!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

American Airlines - We Know Why You, uh, Fly

Don't tempt the American gods. American Airlines that is. Don't post that your travel woes cannot get worse. I love American Airlines - they're paying for my vacation next week, but the depths I have to go to earn that vacation ...

I was at the airport in Austin on Thursday afternoon for my 45 minute flight back to Dallas. I found out when I arrived that all flights had been cancelled. The ticket counter area was packed wall to wall like some bad mass exodus movie. I left and found a relatively quiet spot away from the crowds and called American. 30 mins later, I got through:

Me: I'm at the airport. All flights are cancelled. Can you get me on the next flight to DFW?

AA: The next flight to DFW is at 6:00 pm tonight.

Me: Huh?

AA: Yeah, 6:00 pm tonight. They must have just added some flights.

Me: I'll take it!

AA: OK, you're confirmed on AA9332, leaving 6:00 pm, arriving 9:15 pm. (foreshadowing)

I head on back to the ticketing area to get my boarding pass, which of course doesn't spit out of the self-service machines. I wandered over to an American agent talking to another sorry sap, and I overheard her saying "You're all set. This is your boarding pass. It leaves at 6:00 pm for Dallas. Go downstairs and out to curbside and the bus will pick you up there."

Whack! Bus? BUS? BUS?

Yes, boys and girls. American BUSlines, now serving the friendly highways. Even that wasn't on time. It left late, took longer than the estimated 3:15, and dropped me off at DFW at 10:30 pm. At least I was almost home.

Fast forward to today. I signed up for this race after getting a comment from Susan asking if was going to run it. It was a small race, maybe a hundred or so runners. I saw Massoman there, who was giving massages at the registration tent, but no Susan - where were ye?!

I was thinking of just running the race slow and for fun, but when it started, I went out too fast again. The mile 1 marker was way way off and I hit it in 9:45. Mile 2 seemed properly marked. At mile 3 I could see the finish, and knew I had a chance. I crossed in 23:44 unofficially, a PR again by 14 seconds. I'm pretty happy!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Texas Hill Country

Austin is as hilly as Dallas is flat. I felt it first hand this morning when I went out for my run. If you can believe my travel woes getting worse, I finally checked into my hotel at 1:00 am Monday night Tuesday morning. I was already on a late flight because I had to catch my girls' 5th grade graduation celebration yesterday evening (congratulations Samantha and Stephanie! more on that in another post ...), but this was way later than planned.

When sh*t happens, that's when I know I really need to work in a run. So at 6:00 am, the alarm went off. It took a few minutes to shake the cobwebs, but I was downstairs and out the door by 6:15. From my hotel overlooking Lake Travis, I ran back out through a nice residential area. I really like the look of homes here, many with limestone exteriors, wrought iron embellishments, lots of Texas stars, I even saw an iron armadillo weather vane! Halfway into my run, I paused outside this one house to watch 3 deer quietly grazing in the front yard.

The sun rose on a beautiful morning while I ran. It was 4 miles out and back of gentle rolling hills, and the deer were gone on the back stretch. Back in my room, I opened the sliding glass doors and looked out on Lake Travis. As far as the eye could see from left to right, there wasn't a boat in sight and the lake was a sheet of glass. Someday, I'd like to retire here. In the meantime, somebody's got to make the doughnuts ...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

San Francisco Bay Run

I'm at SFO waiting for my 12:55 am red-eye flight back to DFW. A quick in and out trip this time, although nothing much happened yesterday that was "quick". I'll spare the details, but I did arrive DFW at 8:00am for a flight to San Fran and eventually took-off at 5:40pm for a flight to Oakland instead. In between, I took 2 conference calls, ate 3 meals, and did a bunch of email at the airport. I recommend none of the above.

After all that, at least the night ended on a pleasant note. The rental car agent was kind enough to give me a convertible instead of my compact car. I never took the top down, but it's the principle that counts. Then the hotel desk clerk gave me a nice corner room overlooking San Francisco Bay (photo courtesy of Hilton's website). A few miles away in the distance, I could see planes taking off into the night sky from SFO.

In the morning, I resolved to get out and at least get some running done. I vaguely remember running this path along the water some years ago when I first started running, but what sticks in my memory is that the path seemed to go on and on forever. I ran the entire length today and imagine my surprise that it was only 3 miles! The best part about it? I was done by 6:00am.

Friday, May 11, 2007

I Want To Be A Part Of It ...

New York, New York ...

Who else is in? I know Super Dave is in. Susan isn't in (yet) but her sister Amy is. Anyway, I'm not in in yet, not until the lottery drawing. 170,000 entries and counting for less than 38,000 spots. Join the madness! Last day to sign up is June 1. C'mon people!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Every Second Counts

The 5K this morning was only a mile and a half from the house. I had hoped to run there, but I putzed around too long and ended up having to drive there instead, feeling guilty for Mother Earth throughout the entire 3 minute drive.

It was overcast, slightly muggy in the low 70'sF, and definitely windy at 8:00 am. The last time I ran this race in '04, it was in a pouring rain and totally fun, but not today. We started at the entrance to the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve, and immediately ran out onto the city streets. I tried to start out fast (for me) again, and by the 1 mile mark it was just the same 4 or 5 of us in a group at roughly the same pace. I decided then to hang with them and not fade like I usually do in the 2nd mile. I even passed one girl soon after that, and then another guy and girl running together, but both girls came back in the last half mile to finish ahead of me. Even so, I had to be happy with the final result 23:58 ... a 1-sec PR!