Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Why do we not fear a web presence?

I am astounded at the incredible success of sites like Blogger.com, MySpace and Facebook. Utterly astounded.
Why are we so willing to post pictures of ourselves (often at our worst) to the internet where anyone in the world can access them?
Why is someone willing to wax philosphical to complete strangers and even open his or her life to the scrutiny of others in this way? We don't treat our homes this way, do we? We are often very guarded about who we let into our personal life, who we allow in our home, what information we are willing to let out about ourselves. But the internet is a free-for-all, especially sites like Facebook or MySpace. I can be careful about what I post on my blog, carefully consider my words, make myself look intelligent, charismatic, whatever I choose, but if someone wants to "tag" me in a photo on Facebook, I am there, for better or worse, for the entire world to see.
This hasn't bothered me until just now.
Why is this?
I know that nobody subscribes to my blog and I am pretty sure that only an occasional lost blogger ever looks at my blog, so I feel some sense of security while remaining open and vulnerable on line. So why do I even post?
I had some semi-active readers when I began this endeavor, but that was because I read their blogs. Once I stopped posting and visiting their blogs, they stopped visiting mine.
Now nobody bothers.
Maybe that's for the best.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Of distance and the cleansing power of rain

First things first... Still no visible completion of the dissertation, but the stress of it all remains constant (if not steadily increasing.)
Next, I am really glad to have found the Shoals Cycling Club here in Florence. There are a bunch of guys (and a few women) who just enjoy riding. The average age of the group is a little older than myself, which puts me in a nice position to outpedal a couple of them. For the most part, these guys are in shape and can really crank when it comes right down to it.
Over the past couple of months, I have had the privilege of riding with them on a handful of different rides and have thoroughly enjoyed every last minute of it. Most recently, though, I have fallen in with a couple of riders from the group who are very capable of burying me when they want to. One of the guys is Larry, known as Oldman on the Shoals Cycling Club forum. He's 66 years old and three weeks ago invited a few of us to ride 75 miles with him. These weren't 75 easy miles, but fairly hilly and pretty fast. I had to abandon the ride about half way through to get home for another event, but Larry and the others made it without trouble.
On Saturday the 20th, I missed out on a 100-mile hill climbing challenge (probably for the best) and opted for an 80-mile ride with one of the other guys from the club. Kyle is a hardcore rider. He's got some incredible stamina and just cranked and cranked the whole way. I tried to pull at least half the time, but he's not much of a follower. Who can blame him?
Sadly, the battery died in my odometer about 10 miles into the ride, so I was stuck guessing my speed based on my cadence and relying on Kyle to give me the splits. I'll get the battery changed today and hopefully be back in business.
This morning I decided to try and overcome the inertia and get back to running. Working for UPS and all of the other distractions in life have left me without time to run, but what's worse, without the desire to run. I got up at about 5:45 this morning with the intention of hitting the streets for a quick three miles before school. As I readied myself, I heard the thunder roll in, saw a few lightning flashes and ALMOST talked myself back into bed.
I fought the urge and headed out on my first run in at least four months. Five minutes up the road, the rain came gently at first, but soon I was soaked. The temperature was a balmy 67 degrees and the rain was warmish, so I just kept running, splashing through gutters and along the new asphalt on the road by my house. 27 minutes later I decided it was time to go in and start my day.
I have never enjoyed running and the rain so much in my life.
Hopefully the inertia is over and I can start the good kind of inertia now.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Where does the time go?

As of last post, I have joined my family in Florence, Alabama, begun teaching at the University of North Alabama and still failed to finish my dissertation.
I look at the calendar on the desk in front of me and see that it is September 24, 2007 and I think, where does the time go?
Life has changed dramatically for me over the past few months. New job, new house, new friends, etc. and yet I am still tied down by the last little hurdle of my previous life: the dissertation. Why can't I clear that obstacle and close the door on that stage of my existence? I want to, I have to, but I cannot seem to get over the hump...It's right there, waiting, nagging, pleading for me to end it, but I am stuck in such a rut that I can no longer move forward or backward. (I gave up sideways movement months ago.)
I don't want to complain about this, I don't want to seem like I am unhappy, because I absolutely LOVE the gig I have got right now. Still, something is amiss and I know exactly what it is. The problem is, I can't quite fix it...yet.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A summer apart...

I just moved my family to our new home. Interestingly, I didn't stay there with them. I have to be at the old home to finish my lingering projects. (Read: dissertation.)

I have until August 20 to finish my dissertation. Until then, I will only see my dear family occasionally on weekends. So I find myself with a lot of extra time and an incredible opportunity to re-create myself.

Now that my time is essentially my own, I have two main goals to work towards: Finish the dissertation and return to a state of acceptable fitness.

I have a detailed schedule for my daily activities that I am going to adhere to quite closely. This includes ample time for dissertation writing and continued research. I also have a fairly simple but stringent diet and exercise plan that I am going to follow.

The last time I was apart from my family for this much time I lost 30 pounds and became a runner. Fortunately I don't have to lose 30 pounds again, but I may have to rebuild myself as a runner. Of course, I cannot overlook my cycling and swimming, so I will rebuild myself as a triathlete.

Until further notice, my blogging will be focused on what is happening with these two goals...

Looking for a new title

As is evidenced by my last post, I have met with a snag in my admittedly ambitious goal of winning a spot in the Ironman World Championships in October 2008. So life happens. We deal with it every day. That's what makes us human.

I am still interested in competing at Kona and still have the goal of making it before I am 40. It's not as exciting as competing on my birthday, but it's a lot more doable.

In the meantime, I want to adapt my blog to reflect what I am doing now. So I seek a new name for my blog. Nobody reads this anymore, so it matters little what I call it, but be aware that the name of my blog will change...eventually.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Detour on the Road...

As is evident by the date, I am now writing an update on my Blog almost one full year after the last post. In that time, I have ridden about 150 miles on my bike, run maybe 50 miles and swum 5. I have missed every marathon, every triathlon, every road race that I would have and should have competed in in order to make my goal. I have also gained about 10-15 pounds. Not quite the training that one needs to make it to Kona by October 11, 2008.

So I step back and regroup.

There are a lot of excuses I could make for myself and my lack of training over the past year. Some are more valid than others, but when it comes right down to it, it's all about priorities. I have a more important priority right now and that is finishing my dissertation and starting my career. I have a great new job that I will be starting in August, and my dissertation is much farther along now than it was this time last year, mostly because I have put it in front of training. I don't like the way things have worked out for me physically, but I suppose we have to sacrifice some dreams and goals for others to happen.

The good news is: I have only lost a little time on my training. I still have a wonderful family, a body that works (although it is exacting revenge on me for not keeping it well tuned,) and a new job, a new home and more time to return to my training. I am still desperately working to finish my dissertation and will not be competing again for a few months, but if everything goes according to plan, I will be marathoning again in November and competing seriously once again in 2008.

Here's to rededication and achieving goals.