Friday, March 30, 2012

Never Taken For Granted...The Love Of My Brother

What does taking someone for granted mean? not show that you are grateful to someone for helping you or that you are happy they are with you, often because they have helped you or been with you so often...

There are many things in life through my own selfishness that I have taken for granted. For this I am truly sorry and remorseful. That is something that is gone and can not be won back. We all have shortcomings in our character that come back to bite us. These people, places and things (of which I have many) for which I take for granted will torture and nag me and keep me awake at night through the rest of my life.

What I haven't taken for granted in this life has come back to reward me a thousand fold...

When the end of my life comes upon me with it's dark hand and at this moment in time through my persistent grief over the loss of someone so close, I can say proudly and without a doubt that I never took my brothers love and caring of me for granted. For that I am extremely grateful

Through our lives we've had many, many petty disagreements and conflicts in our points of view. Some very heated and painful. All through that we never ever crossed that threshold to physical confrontation, although there was a lot of psychological warfare from  time to time which I do regret and now realize how childish and unnecessary it all was. Even with the human flaws that everyone in my family could exhibit from time to time my brother Hugh was blessed with just the right amounts of goodness persona and uniqueness that was ever present in all of us but not really as in balance most of the time.

Hugh was a shining light of inspiration, humor and his sincerity and his love was always available. I felt a deep bond and undying connection with him. Many of his friends and acquaintances felt the same.

He had a genuine charisma and an air of confidence that always made you feel secure no matter what the situation may be at the time. Of course this was great especially when playing in a band on stage. No matter how panicked and out of control with dread (which was all the time for me), from the first note to the last it all seemed in control and we would forge through it all with the greatest of ease. If not, we would sure have a huge laugh with no regrets and great story to tell.

Hugh was a bit of a "Mad Scientist" and with our competitive nature became my catalyst for pushing myself way out of the box. We would always try to out-due, undue and blow away each other with our outlandish, sophomoric cleverness. This would most times culminate in an episode of hysterical out of control laughing to point of tears pouring from our eyes.
Hugh was very "Antsy"! I would spend so much of my time watching his antsy-ness as if he were some flea bitten lunatic monkey in a cage. He just couldn't sit still. I would revel when this would lead to some mischief making antics which would ultimately bring in the wrath of some annoyed adult who would chastise him while I rolled in laughter till I thought I would lose my mind.

Even though we were four years apart in age, I felt like we were twins at times. I thought him to be a bit of a genius though and I could be envious of that. He would always tell me what a genius I was and I would just laugh. It seemed absurd to me. He worked very hard at boosting my confidence and probably was the most responsible for me trying to push the limits of what I was capable of.

I feel as though I've known him for so long and we've been through so much in life that it would take a novel trilogy to even begin to lay out the way our lives moved through almost six decades of twist, turns and crossroads together.

His passing left me in utter shock. For the first two days I couldn't even shed a tear. I found myself becoming increasingly angry, agitated and before the dam broke I became outright mad at him.
...and then it hit me. He would miss so much of the things I would come to experience and I would miss all of his. We were supposed to grow old and laugh till we became so ancient that we would forget what we were laughing at. 

I pictured us side by side in our wheel chairs at some future family reunion...
"Who the hell are you"? I would say.
He would respond.
"Huh...where's my banjo? and who the hell are you"?
Hugh would then repeat the infamous dog food tale for the hundredth time.
"Do ya remember when I put the Calo dog food in Mom's hash and everyone ate it"?
I would reply...
"Hash again"? Where's Mom"? Hmmm You never told me that!"
...and then we would just fade away...

I cried for what seemed like hours and my dogs came and lay down with me and licked the tears away till there were no more.
I felt empty alone and a part of my soul had just taken flight...gone.

Hugh, I miss you. I've reached for my phone so many times in the last week to tell you the stupid and petty little things that have come into my day to day existence. It's just not going to be the same without you. If you could only see the outpouring of love and thoughts of you that were expressed the days following your passing from this world, and they're still going on...

Hugh I hope from here we all go to someplace where there is peace, happiness and love. I know that you had so many struggles in your short life and although these vicissitudes at times seemed insurmountable you were always able to see it all through and somehow come out the other side just that much better with a positive understanding and knowledge well earned to climb yet another one of the life's hurdles that the Universe relentlessly throw's before us till the day we graduate from this circle of life.

I love you my brother...
Rock on...
I will never ever forget the time we shared on this planet...You made me a better person.
You are my Hero...

Your brother Pete

There is one song that really really say's what you mean to me...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Wind, Dogs, Bikes and Remembering My Scotch-Irish Heritage

Here I am with my little doggie day care nephew "Walter". I tell him he's a miniature Irish Wolfhound!

I was able to get in a 15 mile run today!. My first ever and very grueling with amount of headwind I had to deal with. No matter what direction it seemed like there was a blustery and cold headwind. 

I started the run later than I wanted and besides feeling quite grumpy and a bit tired I just made myself go ahead and do it. I usually map my runs out on ""
It gives me a good estimate and elevation profiles. 

So, three months into this and I feel a bit ahead of schedule. Today's run was only two weeks since my back finally stopped hurting from my previous injury that took me out of training for close to a month. I have almost three months left till the San Francisco Marathon. I feel at this point the most difficult part of the marathon won't be the running but (and I know this is really stupid), having to run over the Golden Gate Bridge really freaks me out. I'm terrified of heights and especially bridges and tall buildings. I've never been able to deal with it very well. I seems stupid but, it is my "Achilles heel".

With the rain and marathon training the bike hasn't seen much action. It's OK though, when I do get to ride I feel great.

Doggie Day care has been pretty steady but, not too overwhelming. Between work, dogs and training I have zero extra time. I'm feeling a bit better and the depression I've been dealing with has seemed to subside a bit. My work situation seems somewhat stable although difficult and sometimes pretty stressful.
I think having all the dogs around, excercizing regular and eating right are increasing my "Oxytocin" levels and making me feel a lot better about things and the direction my life is taking.

My Beyonce-

I went for a ride yesterday and decked myself out in my cool Irish racing Kit, hopped on my SE premium brew single speed (green and kelly gold), then headed out through the city checking out some of the Irish taverns. I just missed the rain and got back in time for a nice well deserved afternoon nap.
The Irish dream. By the way I didn't stop for a drink. That's the Irish part of me I've left behind...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fool On The Hill...


Day after day, alone on the hill,
The man with the foolish gear is keeping perfectly still.
But nobody wants to blow by him,
They can see that he's just a fool.
And he never gives two S***s

But the fool on the hill,
Sees the fun going down.
And the eyes in his head,
See the wheels spinning around.

This is a posting on BikeForums
I will be leading a contingent of first time Diablo virgins to a conquest of the Devils Mountain on April 1st Sunday.
Beginning at the Dublin/Pleasanton Bart station (approx. 8:45 Ride out)
Iron Horse trail
Crow Canyon
Blackhawk (stop for cup-a-joe) probably around 9:45 if anyone wants to meet at the Blackhawk shopping ctr. Starbucks

South gate
quick breather/regroup Junction
Down No.gate and optional lunch
About 40 miles/5000 feet climbing
these guys I think are pretty decent riders.
I'll be doing my usual 0ne Speed...I only have one speed
I'll either shine or FAIL...

I'm really looking forward to this ride. My running is making me quite a bit stronger on the bike. I kind of was expecting this and glad to experience the reality of it.

Finally starting to feel like it's coming together for me with the running. I feel the training is beginning to pay off. A bit more speed, confidence and anticipation for some of the races I've signed up for.
I'm mixing up a bit of cross country with road running just to make it interesting, although I am taking a chance of injury.
I've read all the training books and extrapolated some of the info but, mostly I'm just going with the way I feel and mixing it up so as not to get bored.
March 15th, after the rain run
I got over some stressful work issues today. State of mind is so important with training. I really feel a physical difference when I begin a workout with some peace of mind. My mid-miles are getting a bit faster and I officially start training for the Bay To Beakers this month.
After Hoppers hands and completing the cross country portion of today's run, I felt I had quite a bit of energy to really do some quick tempo running.
I'm re-registering for the San Francisco "Full marathon" on July 29th. I'm thinking at this point I'll do OK. It's weird that in November this was all just a whimsical pipe dream...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weird, Odd, Cool, Nice Weekend

Woke up today only to be greeted with that lost hour in my life. I HATE! time changes! I'm very sensitive to my time rhythm's. 

I can say I had a great full relaxing weekend. Some work issues finally smoldered out Friday. Personalty conflicts are very hard for me to deal with. I really dislike personal confrontations with co-workers, friends or people in general. Hopefully all this stress will subside now.

 I had somewhat of a clear head and many options for rest and relaxation. With a little rest and lots of excercise I'm now feeling somewhat relaxed. Yesterday's mega ride did wonders for my confidence on the bike. I feel like the love is still there and just needed the pilot light stoked.

Today I planned on an easy run but, it turned into a 9.0 mile adventure and something new and different that I'll always remember. I decided just for something different I'd take a direct line to the Golden Gate Bridge from my apartment which would take me through two small parks, all of Pacific Heights and end with a cross country run through the Presidio.

I ran through woods, trails that ended abruptly, fences that I had to climb, walls to scale, cemeteries, and all kinds of characters would pop up in my path initiating interesting conversation. Five miles into the ride I was pretty exhausted and did have to stop at Sports Basement for some GU and electrolyte.
I was truly amazed at the amount of construction and landscaping going on through the Presidio and the Golden Gate Bridge area.
I couple of times I actually momentarily lost my bearings and had to just wing it to find my way.

I'm hoping the work will be done sometime soon. It is kind of a mess right now.
I'm really enjoying the running thing. Listening to music, healthy exercising through beautiful areas in the city really do a lot for the soul.
Today was a great day. I even gave all three of my dogs baths when I got home. It sure smells better around here!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Mt. Diablo-Zen Time

Monsieur Pelpel and Mr. Hoolihan, certainly a pleasure to ride with you gentlemen! I was experiencing a bit of a logistical nightmare getting out this morning. I've lost efficiency with getting myself prepared for morning rides. I got my crap together last night but, still found myself trying to figure out where everything was in the morning. I got in to the Bart station with 2 bucks on my ticket and no time to addfare (somehow I knew this would be an issue later). I was having trouble getting into my Zen place on the train. I'm having trouble shutting of the brain lately with everything that has been going on in real life. 

When I got to Dublin/Pleasanton I had to get in a horrifically long line for the 1 men's room. I gave up and went to get addfare so I could leave the station but there's no way to addfare with a debit card unless you go through the gate and then come back which entails involving the automaton in the booth and getting 15 dollars in quarters to carry up the mountain. Back to the Men's room to wait. It ended up taking me almost 40 mins to get it together and finally leave the station.

Once on the trail and moving along with a good mix in the headphones, plus the fact I had taken 2 days off from running/working out to build up some badly needed glycogen in my legs, I was finally in a good pace, a good space and ready to race! I noticed two big eared Jackrabbits matching my pace ten feet to my left like some weird hybrid land Dolphin-esque beings guiding me to an enchanted Island. This went on for quite a while but, as soon as I started to fish out the camera they were gone...
I was trying to make up time but, by the time I got to Blackhawk Starbucks I was only 15 minutes behind schedule. Unfortunately I didn't realize that this Starbucks had the slowest baristas of all time and space! I guess I'm spoiled living in the City and the speed of light service at most coffee bars here. I dropped a gu, waffed down an apple bran cupcake and tossed back the tall coffee with and extra shot. I got derailed by a family that had pulled in with kids and a neat little Jack Russell Terrier which I had to stop and pet and then ended up to be a bit of long winded conversation about the life of dogs.

As I headed towards Diablo, I was really enjoying the early blooms (even though we haven't had much rain lately), lushness of the East Bay. I think...hmmm maybe I could live here one day.

I always have a bit of anxiety when starting a long climb on my one speed. I still have doubts that I can accomplish an extended climb like this one. It seems to always work out though once I establish a decent rhythm. I could tell that three months of running had gifted me a bit of power in my legs as I passed rider after rider. After a bit I found myself ghosting a very, very nice looking younger racer girl and when I finally went around her and said good morning she smiled and said-
"Wow! You go on that thang guy"!

Oh yeah! Some girls just say the right things at the right time! I blasted away and a little while later as I went past the first gate on the South climb I spotted an odd orange/yellow bike that seemed somewhat familiar...
It would later turn out to be "Hueyhoolihan". Probably stopped for a "Natural break"
A little while later...More girls! They had really cool looking kits. Nice blue and white with the name on the back "Pacific (a skull) Crush". Kinda hot. (more later). I wave bye by to them and maybe 50 yards later I spotted a rider ahead of me. Hmmm... a very familiar cadence and riding style, somewhat resembling "Thomas Volkler". OF COURSE! FRENCH! It was the G man. I had caught the Frenchman! I creeped up slowly and and gently started to push him from behind! Ha Ha! Surprise! We soon arrived at the Junction and chatted for awhile with other riders and Huey showed up and I finally was able to put the name to the face. He's a bit of an inspiration. I hope I'm that strong when I'm his age...wait a minute...that's two years to go!

By the way I talked with the "Pacific Crush" and asked them if they were a "Surfing Team"?...They laughed at me...

We left the junction and headed on up. Seeing as I had to keep up my rhythm I proceeded ahead of George. I can't spin with the one gear so I have to stay in the red to keep my momentum.

I kept passing riders and still feeling pretty good even though I knew what was coming up soon! I'd done the wall in this gearing back in December and I was generally pleased with how my legs felt on that final 200 feet. It has to be all the running I've been doing. 

When I got to the top I was pretty done at that point. As I was standing there I happened to see a guy riding around in circles with a ...What?! "System U"!

I haven't seen that jersey since 1987! I talked to him for awhile. He was a nice Irish kid and we discussed bike injuries and recovery. Both George and I are recovering form bad back injuries.

Speaking of of the Devil George hit the summit and we hung out for awhile.

The weather was perfect and soon we descended. I was surprised how fast I was able to descend today. I'd been a little gun shy that past year but, maybe I'm getting over it.
I made it home around 2pm and laid down with the dogs after eating and went into a general coma!
My Layla was wearing her "Yellow Jersey" when I walked in the door!

Great Day! Thanks you guys for meeting up with me and hope to do it again soon.

"I dreamed of Diablo during my nap" I feel like things are starting to look up...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Time To Work The Bike Legs

Time to get bike worthy and start some serious cross-training. After last weeks overdose of running I need to build some endurance but without the massive pounding running has been giving me. I need to get the love back for my bike too. With everything going on in my life for the last couple of years, biking has fallen to the wayside. So here's what I'm expecting to do this weekend.
I'm actually putting out an invite for this ride. If nobody is depending on me the chances are I'll probably just sleep in.
This will be my first try up Diablo from the southside in the particular gearing I'm using on my 1 speed bike.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Whole Lotta Sunshine-Whole Lotta Love...

It's days like today that make the last few months of soul wrenching suffering irrelevant...

I love when I feel like I got a big bite of enjoyment and fulfillment on a weekend.
We had a whole lot of Doggie Day Care drop offs this week and I escaped it all for awhile with just my three hoodlums, Gaga, Bee and Layla. Even though they're a little more aggressive and socially..."different" (like me), I love nothing more than just getting outside and going wild with them. Last night I put together a little video synopsis of the way they act among other dogs in the park. I get a lot of eye rolling and "Oh-oh here come the black kids" when I show up at the local park. Even so everyone gets a kick out their style of entertaining themselves.

Gaga standoff

Layla in foreground with blue shirt, Gaga bringing up the rear

Yesterday I had planned on getting a good long bike ride with some climbing. I haven't been riding much this year between running, work and dogs. I started out Saturday morning fairly early but, I was a bit tired, not really feeling it and the headwinds were coming from everywhere! I absolutely hate headwinds. They're my Achilles heel! I just wear down really quick.
I opted out of climbing San Bruno Mountain and promised myself I'd do an extra long run in the morning to make up for it. Aside from the wind the weather was really nice and the riding along the beach was a pleasure. I stopped to take a few shots along the way. (By the way the new windmill in Golden Gate Park is truly amazing)!

I was surprised coming up through the park, I totally "bonked"!
Not sure what that was about. I think I'm riding with more intensity since I've been running and I'm probably burning through more glycogen and losing my sync with my bike. Pushing a little too hard...

I ended up doing a half marathon today. I had planned on just doing an easy 5 miles but, It was beautiful out and after 5 miles I felt like I could do a lot more. Unfortunately I bonked pretty bad around mile 10. That's what I get for going 5 hours without eating.
Between mile 6 and 10, I got what they call the "Runners High"! I haven't gotten that in awhile and it was pretty intense.
I thought about my day with my dogs and how lucky I am to really even be alive at this point in my life. Even with all the stupid things I've done in my life, lost opportunities and beating the crap out of myself I need to remind myself that I've been very lucky and I should be thankful to the Universe for giving me a chance. I need to stop this swing towards "misanthropy" and realize there are some amazing and miraculous things that human beings have done on this earth. I need to focus on that.
So today for the first time in awhile...
I'm genuinely happy!

My run:


Lady Gaga bulletin! 
Lady Gaga spotted in Wine country!...Hmmm house hunting? I wish.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The African connection-The Beat Of A Different Drummer

I felt like a Gazelle today! Actually a very old run down Gazelle but a Gazelle anyway. As I had stated in my last post. I decided African music is great running music and hence the reason the Kenyans have everyone beat!

So today I downloaded Ladysmith Black Mambazo. It's actually the latest album recorded with a lot of popular artists. I was inspired and really impressed with some of the cuts, especially a cut of "Knocking On Heavens Door" with Dolly Parton. Holy Mackerel Dolly! Where'd that come from. Absolutely beautiful and heartfelt. I actually had to slow down my pace when the song came through my phones. I had a lump in my throat.

It was a nice ending to a pretty laid back day. Work wasn't overbearing for a change. I got a good review from my Doctor yesterday which really was a relief. The only issue was that we got the dog from Hell for the next few days in our day care.

"Beta" a cute French Bulldog. She's really sweet and funny but just constant hyper-activity and we didn't get much sleep last night. My dogs are freaked out by her. She looks like some kind of weird alien dog and makes them nuts.

Right now she's a little knocked out from all the crazy doggie play.

My run was pretty decent today and it's the first time in over a month that I haven't had to completely dose myself with Ibuprofen to get through it. After my run today I came home and decided that I want to upgrade from the San Francisco Half marathon to a whole marathon in June. I think I'll be ready and I want to do my first marathon in S.F., it only seems right.