Bath day for Elsie!
25 May 2009
23 May 2009
Just wanted to post about something that happened to me last week while driving through Austin on I-35. In certain areas of the city on the interstate it can be a challenge for people trying to merge into the traffic--short ramps and bumper-to-bumper cars. I always try to leave at least a tractor trailer length space open in front of me in traffic jams because it's just easier on my nerves to do that rather than having to constantly brake hard due to people realizing that their exit is the one we're currently driving by.
Well last week I noticed an older suv that seemed to be having an exceptionally difficult time merging in even in spots that were more than wide enough for them to get over in. Even when I opened up an even larger space in front of me than normal they still wouldn't get over. This is 1630ish so traffic is the usual stop and go at speeds below 40 mph. I'm assuming that they wanted me to move over a lane but that was not going to happen because of all the cars on my drivers side blocking that lane. Short of coming to a full-on stop I couldn't do any thing else to allow them anymore room to merge over.
After driving by them I watched the action in my side mirror while they come to a dead stop at the end of the ramp then pull out directly in front of another car almost causing a rear-end accident. They finally get on the freeway and move over into the middle lane (I'm still watching them when I can because of their erratic driving) and I notice that the driver and passenger are gesturing wildly in the direction of my truck. At this point I realize that I'm being blamed for their inability to navigate/comprehend the interstate on-ramp system and I just knew that they were planning some retribution.
What people do with this mindset in order to get even when they feel they've been wronged is too swerve over and slam on their brakes. So I was more than prepared when the driver proceeded to do exactly that, you should have seen the look on their faces when I was already slowing down when they tried to "get even". It was even more hilarious when I smiled and waved at them, I wish y'all could have seen the frustrated expressions! Anyway I guess it was enough to discourage them and they left me alone after that thank goodness.
By the way, it's not too smart to pull in front of a big truck that can weigh up to 80,000 lbs (I was at 60,000 that day) and slam on your brakes. Just think about the laws of physics.
That being said, I absolutely hate sections of our local trail, I swear the guys that built it made it too difficult on purpose to keep everybody elso off. It didn't help matters any that it had been almost 2 months since it had been dry enough to get out there and ride without tearing it up. Yeah, I was a little out of practice.
A friend describes the trail as very technical and as I've written before that's fancy talk for too damn many rocks. I don't think I'm ever going to get over my fear of the rocks, esp. on the downhills. Keep seeing them as a fasttrack to another broken bone. Didn't help any that James endo'ed right at the beginning, he ended up with scrapes and cuts on his nose, shoulder, and a swollen arm. Didn't stop him from getting back up and riding though, lol.
1. Black (or blue) racer snakes are scary fast! We interrupted one hunting and I'm still surprised it didn't come back at us
2. Catching your front brake lever on vines will stop you immediately. Especially if you have disc brakes.
3. Don't try to go straight thru the middle of a small body of water even if you made it across it in February--mired in mud up to my ankles, ewww.
4. Wear insect repellent! James and I both have a mess of tick bites right now and we both grew up here so we knew better.
5. Blackberry vines are not any fun to scrape up against.
6. Shin guards are very, very, very nice to have, esp. when you ride over a stick that stabs straight up into your leg (in my case the guard stopped it but not after pushing it up my leg an inch or 2)
7. It's ok to walk down an exceptionally technical area, just move over to let other people by so they don't yell at you.
8. Be nice to the turtles or box tortoises and help them across the road if you can stop and do so--Good karma :-) as long as you move them over in the direction they were headed.
9. Carry a cell phone if you're riding with a couple of daredevils that are building new creek or hazard crossings as they go (actually I was kind of wishing we had our flip cam!).
Hmmm, maybe Monday was more fun than I thought at the time, still hate the Searcy trails though, LOL.
18 May 2009
Since I'm signed up for a sprint duathlon on Memorial Day thought I'd go out and do a test run on Monday to make sure the tri-shorts I'd bought will work ok. Good news is that I was ok with the minimal padding on something under 15 miles, bad news is that due to my current weight loss plan is that the tri-top and shorts are already slightly too large.
Anyway, set out all my stuff on the bbq grill, aired up the tires and took to the roads. First was the 2 mile run, ended up being 2.02 miles in 19:06. I did take Elsie on the first leg so it was a little slow due to a doggie bathroom stop. Back to the house, quick bathroom stop, change shoes, put on helmet and off on the bike. 12.06 miles in 45:07--16.04 mph ave--did have some traffic slowdowns. 2nd run was 1.95 miles in 17:43. Distance was off because I was using my garmin without resetting it between segments, once I hit 16 miles total I thought I was done and ok, didn't realize the last run segment was short, grrr.
Monday night was the first time in a very long time that I had a lot lizard knock on my door. Had gotten a later start than usual so ended up parking in the truck pull-out area in Mt. Juliet. This area used to be notorious for that kind of activity but police enforcement does have it minimized now but unfortunately I got the one persistent person banging on the truck. I know Elsie sure didn't like whoever it was (either that or she was as cranky about getting woke up at 2:30 am as I was). By the 2nd round of pounding, Elsie was full-on growling with hackles raised, the 3rd time I was finally coherent enough to open the sleeper window and yell "What?!". The person finally got the hint that I wasn't going to let her in my truck and disappearred by the time I was up and looking so I could call the cops with a description. Ugh, took me forever to get back to sleep I was so p.o.ed.
Tuesday--No coffee and interrupted sleep makes for a cranky Gabby. The crankiness was only exacerbated by the fact that some idiot had dropped a trailer that needed some work. The regulator valve for the air-ride system was out and the air bags were completely flat, the shocks were blown, had a tire with flat spots, and a marker light out. My choices were to call road rescue and then sit at a TA all day trying to get it repaired (at an exorbitant cost of course) or drive the 300+ mile to NLR to get it repaired at our shop--minimal cost and very short time being shutdown while it was repaired. I chose the company shop. For those that don't drive truck or have never pulled a trailer with the airride system out, it's a very uncomfortable ride. Bump, bump, and every so often the trailer will just jerk. Not a pleasant ride. Called the shop to let them know my eta and explained the problems so all I had to was pull into a bay, do a write-up slip and let them go to work. I was very impressed with how quickly they got it done, one mechanic said it was a personal record for him to get 4 shocks changed out in under 30 minutes. The only hiccup was that one mechanic was balking at changing the tire and came to get the shop foreman to look at it. Well, the boss looked at it, found the flat spots and told the mechanic I was right and that Penske wouldn't accept it and to change it out. YES!!!!!! It's so nice having somebody in charge that listens to me.
Wednesday--tempo run at Winfield, TX. Just over 4 miles solo, then took Elsie out for just under 2. Beautiful day but windy.
Thursday--James and I both had to wait on trailers this week because of Cinco de Mayo and the flu shutting down most of Mexico the previous week so it was a Mall del Norte run. Did 2 laps with James and Elsie then 1 lap solo. Warm, humid, and windy
Friday--nothing interesting, just had a nice long chat with the shop foreman about my trailer issues earlier in the week and drivers not writing problems up when they're dropping equipment on the yard. We came to the conclusion that the company needed to start charging the drivers who drop defective equipment for the time that others are having to sit getting it repaired. I really like this guy, he listens to me without me having to get James to back me up on what needs to be done. And if you're a driver that takes care of the equipment he will bend over backwards to make sure that your issues are taken care of and work you in if you're on a tight schedule.
Saturday--woke up at 5 am to get my long run in before meeting at the bike shop for an easy ride but didn't feel good so just sat there and griped about not wanting to run. Needless to say my long run didn't get ran that morning. Just felt like crap all day, my allergies are horrible this year and I think it's because of Elsie wanting to sleep right up in my face at night. Finally got my 11 miles in that evening--7.33 miles solo in 1:07:02 and the rest was with James and Elsie. Cranky, cranky, cranky until about 3 miles into it then I just seemed to perk up and run the next 4+ miles too fast. We also did an easy 8.1 mile ride on the mountain bikes around town earlier that day.
Elsie got her yearly shots Saturday, I swear she's the only dog I know that WANTS to visit the vet's office. Everything's ok, vet said she was in excellent shape and he also complimented us/her on how well she takes her shots. Now if we could just get her to behave the rest of the time.
Sunday--Slept late, stayed in bed until after 10 am, which is unusual for me. A normal late start is around 0800. Met Gary for a road bike ride in the afternoon, it was a beautiful, cool (but windy) spring day for once. It's either been rainy or hot, not much of a spring this year. We're booking right along until we turned into the wind then we were struggling to keep the speed over 13-15 mph. I was having some major saddle/shorts issues though, shouldn't have skipped the body-glide. Ended up with 32.55 miles in 2:12:58, kind of slow because of the hellacious wind.
After my ride with Gary I rushed home to switch bikes because James and I were meeting up with another friend for the airport loop. She's a little slower but she does have some endurance. I was having trouble adjusting to the mountain bike after the road bike, felt like my knees were up to my chest and couldn't get down in the drops to fight through the wind. Did 18.66 miles on that section for a total of 51.21 miles on the day, my butt and lower back is sore today! Finished up the day with a short 2 mile run with Elsie before supper, which I ended up practically inhaling. I was famished.
09 May 2009
After my finish I grabbed a water, said hi to James and Mike and walked back down a little ways from the finish line to cheer on the other finishers. Got some thank yous and huge grins, one of the biggest smiles was from a little girl. She beamed this humongous grin, made my day! Just absolutely amazing seeing all different sorts and sizes, some were very determined, others just happy to be able to do the 3.1 miles. Yeah, yeah I'm kinda gushing here but y'all should have been there. As a matter of fact if there's anything like that in your area I strongly urge you to get out and support the racers. You wouldn't believe how much it helps to have people, esp. strangers cheering you on.
While I'm gushing here, just have to throw in some flowers (truckerspeak for compliment) to the Cabot Cruisers. The most fabulous and supportive running club in the state! I'm very proud to call these ladies (and guys!) my friends. I ran today with a very nice woman from the other side of the state (Paris) who was so impressed with the club that she's considering joining us, YAY! While we were running together, I was getting "Go Gabbys" from the Cruisers that were the clinic leaders and from a couple of other non-Cruiser friends and she told me that I was very popular, LOL. I told her no, it's just how supportive my running group is!!!!!!! BTW, have to give an extra thank you to Miss Vic for personally escorting my lazy butt up to the front of the start line (I had lined up about 1/4 of the way back).
Ok race performance review, as I mentioned already I finished in 25:01. However my Garmin showed 24:58, and the clock had just ticked over to 25:00 when I went by it. Also spoke to a couple of other friends that their times posted were different from what was on the clock and/or on their watches.
The only time we saw the sun was just before race start and during it. Since it had been raining just an hour or two prior that made for some steamy pavement, ugh. Anyhoo, hot and humid! I also didn't have enough of a warmup--less that 3/4 of a mile and that was stop and go so I could talk to different people. According to Garmy mile 1 was 7:31, mile 2 8:14, mile 3 8:08, mile 3.13 1:04. My stomach did start to cramp a little around mile 2 but thankfully that went away fairly quickly. I think that I finished 24th overall counting clinic and open racers and was 1st in my age group.
Not a bad race and my foot was ok, just a slight soreness right now but that's because I didn't stretch immediately after. And any race where you make a new friend and get to meet back up with one you haven't seen in almost a year does make for a pretty good day ;-).
Started out just north of Laredo, made it to Cotulla where I stopped for a couple of hours (5 mile run that was supposed to have been 7 and breakfast). Drove another 70ish miles to Von Ormy (shower and transflo paperwork). Drove another 1.25 hrs to Buda for a Wal-Mart excursion--Elsie had stepped in poop at Von Ormy so had to buy a small tub to give her a bath in. Baby wipes didn't work to clean her up, don't know what the other dog had been eating but it was nasty. Also waited on James so we could visit for a little while before going our opposite directions.
Next stop was Robinson for fuel (in and out quickly for once) and then finally made it to Dawson with an hour to spare before my 14 hrs was up. Felt like I accomplished absolutely nothing yesterday and my logbook reflected it--a grand total of 6.5 hrs of work for the day and I was dragging when I stopped. Just one of those days...............
And the pisser is it didn't rain today at my house--I could have gotten in some quality miles on my bicycle today if I'd have done what I should have yesterday. Yeah, I'm in a heckuva mood right now. Oh and everybody's out riding their motorcycles and I can't afford to repair mine for at least another month. We're needing to kind of watch things until we find out if and how long our plant will be shut down this year. James kept telling me that I could ride on the back of his but about the third time I snapped and asked him how he'd like it if his bike was down and I kept telling him he could ride on the back of my softy. Thought so..........
Whew, I feel better......Nothing like a good rant to clear the air. Sorry about the general angst and ill temper.
05 May 2009
Now in some areas of the country you have no choice but to park in a rest area to sleep because unfortunately parking spots can be kind of scarce for vehicles 60 feet plus in length but TN on I40 between Brownsville and Hurricane Mills (approx. mm 56-143) is NOT one of those areas.
Tonight I had planned on making a pitstop at the 143 but too much coffee and water pretty much made that impossible, :-) and I found myself having to stop at the itsy-bitsy, teensy-weensy rest area at the 130 mile marker. Now considering that it was approx 2100 I knew it was going to be a gamble on finding a slot open but I had to check anyway (getting desperate, don't know why it couldn't have hit me back at the 126).
To my surprise there was actually one spot open and while it was going to be a tight squeeze I knew that I could maybe wiggle the truck in there. Which brings me to one of my complaints, there was one big truck that for some unknown reason didn't pull forward far enough to leave room behind him yet wasn't far enough forward to make getting into the only open spot easy for the next person. This happens quite a lot by the way where you have 1 driver parking in a way that will take up 2-3 spaces.
Fortunately this guy hadn't gone to bed yet (still sitting in the driver's seat) and when he saw me trying to parallel park, he called out over the cb to let me know that he was going to back up and give me room. This wasn't necessarily being nice on his part, after all if he'd been more considerate he wouldn't have been taking up 2.5 spaces in the first place. I think it was more of a fear that I was going to back into him. But, hey, at least he was polite enough to back up.
This is where I stick said foot in mouth, told him thanks, that I appreciated it and that it would have been difficult maneuvering into the spot because of the way he was parked. Now I never meant that last little bit to actually be uttered out loud even if it was true. Somethings you should just keep to yourself esp. at night in a rest area. You could tell it peeved him but hey, at least it got him parked correctly and I didn't get cursed out. Well at least out loud, LOL.
2nd complaint--I already wrote about there not being a shortage of parking spots in that certain area. There are 2 nice size truckstops in close proximity to this rest area that I was making a potty stop at--4 miles west at the 126 and 13 miles east at ex. 143. Why at that time of night would you stop and sleep in a rest area with such limited parking? There's room for maybe 6-8 big trucks and there are almost always open spots at the 2 places I mentioned up to around 11 pm at night. Plus you're not right up against the freeway getting woke up by people catching the rumble strips on the shoulder. I think 1/2 the parking lot was still empty at the 126 when I went by. It would just be nice if everybody left the rest area spots open if at all possible for those who are just needing to make a quick stop to use the facilities.
Yes, I do realize that not everybody knows that particular stretch of highway as well as I do. You'll also notice that I only mentioned 2 of the larger places but there are several others. I'm just not going to give away my secret parking areas. The major spots though are easy to look up in the truck stop guide books that are available and are usually for sale right beside the atlases. I also know that in certain areas the rest stops have the only available parking spots. It just isn't the case in this area early in the evening.
Ok probably going to get hate comments with this post.......
03 May 2009
Tomorrow is phase 2-the highlights. Now this is where it's going to get tricky. Aforementioned man, aka James is going to have to help me here. I'm in luck though, unlike me he has no problem coloring within the lines, lol. Have I mentioned that Abigail my niece is just like me with the coloring? Personally I think it's a sign of creativity that no lines can box us in.
And in case you're really bored and wondering why I don't go to a professional to cover up my gray, it's because 1) it takes too darn long and 2) they always want to make you sit there facing the stupid mirror while they're working on you. I have no desire to sit and stare at myself with my hair sticking up in all directions looking all weird for 30-60 minutes (depends on if it's a single or double process frying). I can do a lot of time-sucking web browsing at home instead--or as I prefer to deem it, multi-tasking!
01 May 2009
Elsie chasing bugs at Hubbard, TX picnic area.
First off I got to meet Terry live and in person for a short while Monday night and terrify her with my four-wheeler driving. She also got to experience firsthand my very bad habit of starting to talk about 1 one thing and end up on 4 other subjects without ever finishing the first topic. Anyway enjoyed it very much and maybe next time it will be when we're both not on such a tight schedule. Indy, she's even cuter and more personable in person than she is on her blog so you're going to have to make a special trip back to the states to meet up with her.
Unfortunately I'm not feeling very talkative at the moment (or y'all may actually be breathing a sigh of relief, lol). Gloomy weather here at home, I'm looking at a best case scenario $600-800 repair job/worst case $2000-3000 on my motorcycle due to my own stupidity (left the choke pulled out and the fuel on while it sat for a couple of weeks so will probably have to have the top end rebuilt), and stressing about my job (haul General Motors parts). As far as the job goes we do have the go-ahead to sign up for unemployment if the dedicated run shuts down for a while rather than going over the road but it is a 25/30% reduction in pay.
My foot is doing better but I've reduced my mileage quite a bit the past 2 weeks and I think that's also probably contributing to my foul mood. Tomorrow is the Toad Suck 5k/10k and this will be the first year I've ran the 10k.