Saturday, August 23, 2008

Oral Surgery

The two back molars on my lower left jaw have quietly staged little riots for about five years. I can't say I blame them. Riddled with ancient mercury fillings from childhood, cracked from horseback riding incidents, they were just tired and ready to call it quits.

I took Friday off from work. Nervous about the impending work, I swam at 5 a.m., drove home and went for a five mile run on a hilly route. This wore me out sufficiently so that I was only mildly nervous upon reaching the dentist's office. Laughing gas quelled my remaining fears. For an hour and a half, the dentist pushed and pulled, cut and sutured. He discovered a fractured root on one tooth and had to drag out what i think might have been a miniature bone saw at one point.

This morning the left side of my face was pretty swollen. It looked like an enormous jowl protruding straight out. Ice packs bring the swelling down temporarily, then it puffs back up.

I've been told to "take it easy on the exercise this weekend". I don't think that means give up the planned ten mile run on Sunday. But I didn't ask. I'm compromising by not exercising today. Bored out of my mind, I've done quite a few home improvement projects.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Swimming at the Crack of Dawn

The first triathlon season is behind me, so now it's a matter of maintaining a base level of fitness in bike and swim. Those weeks before the Stoneman were a crazy juggling act of swim one day, bike/run the next. Swimming on lunch hour is a logistical pain in the ass, what with having to haul all my beauty stuff down to the Y. And it's not as if I wear a bunch of makeup.

Jenni experimented with the 5 a.m. lap swim at the YMCA last week and pronounced it a success, so today I rolled out of bed at 4:15 and drove downtown. Very cool driving at this time of day. There is absolutely no one out except for paper delivery folks. I did see a taxicab on West Washington Street, which struck me as odd. Probably someone headed to the airport or the Amtrak.

There were a couple of guys hanging out in the lighted stairwell area, then Jenni showed up. The pool was absolutely still and pristine, the water a comfortable temp. With just half an hour, I wasn't able to complete my workout but got in a good 950 yards.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Swim Another Day

Even though it's Thursday, today is my Friday. Tomorrow is a solo long run on a new route. So to avoid being a complete slug today, I opted to swim after work. Drove down to the YMCA, got all the way to the locker room, pulled swimsuit out of my gym bag. Something looked strange.

The right shoulder strap had been cleanly sliced and was missing most of the material. So I was faced with either swimming with a one-strap Speedo that probably would present modesty problems or aborting the swim mission. Went for the latter.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


4:30 a.m.
I love the predawn rituals associated with early morning running and cycling. The house is dark and quiet. Beebee, the little calico cat, sleeps to my left. Her soft little body is like a living, breathing beanbag. When I move, her head pops up and her eyes blink sleepily. She springs to life and runs ahead to the kitchen, making the tribble noise. I have never seen a creature so full of love and life as Beebee. Ollie the gigantic kitten (ok, he's a year now so more like a teen cat) sleeps on the back of the couch and lifts his head, but does not get up. And Snoopy the geriatric dog is oblivious to the activity.

Coffee's on. I turn on the light to the front porch. The feral cats that sleep on the porch are scattered about, their lanky forms deflated in complete repose. They look like a bunch of discarded pelts. But they're up and looking for some food.

The dog wakes and crips out into the living room. She's a great dog, 14 this month, with bad arthritis and hip dysplasia. Two ACL surgeries. A benign tumor on her spleen. A bout with Frontline-resistant fleas earlier this summer left her anemic and weakened, but she's coming back stronger than ever. She gets Deramaxx every day and cannot get up without it. She hesitates at the front door, then puts her head down and marches out into the light on the porch.
Summer's on a downward slide. The State Fair is in full swing. As a kid, it always meant that school was just around the corner. There's a lot of dew in the grass and a smell of cut hay from the farm across the road. Down the driveway to the mailbox to get the newspaper. The world is dark and sleeping. Far up the road are two red lights where Bradfordton Road tees at Old Jacksonville Road.

Someone has been burning and the smell of woodsmoke is faint and pleasurable. Pink streaks in the eastern sky. Temps in the 60s. Today's a riding day. I pull the bike out of the garage and lean it against my car. Too dark to see to load it onto the rack. A dog barks somewhere, an owl is hooting from the hills behind the farm next door.

Snoopy's ready to go back inside. She can't get up the four steps to the porch, so I carry her. She's a dignified old girl, a Chow mix, but submits to this humiliation with grace. The feral cats crowd closer. They have some kittens and I don't know what will happen to them in the winter.

Everyone gets fed. I make toast, fire up the computer and check email. What to wear for the ride. Is it tank top weather or short sleeve jersey weather? Opt for the latter. Dress, load up the bike, down the driveway I go. Most of the world is sleeping now, it's almost spiritual being out and about so early.