Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Or was it "plastic"? I could look it up, but why don't you and let me know. Thanks.

Anyway, what brings this classic line from The Graduate to mind is an encounter I had with an older guy at the Paterno Wines Tasting Room Tent at Indian Wells Garden Tennis Center (whew). When I mentioned that I lived in Napa and that it was growing with the flood-control project making development more attractive, he leaned close and whispered: "Buy. Buy real estate. Bust your balls if that's what it takes. But buy real estate. Do it, Pete. This is your chance. This is OK, doing this wine thing. But if you're ever going to get ahead, buy. Buy. Whatever it takes. Buy."

And you know, he's probabably right, this retiree from West LA who has settled in Sun City to live out his golden years with his bride of 40+ years under the desert sun. Or at least, isn't this the lesson any sane Californian would have learned from history?

Saturday, March 12, 2005

On the Road Again
If there is one definitive statement that could be made about the past five months of my life, it is that I have not been riding my bicycle. No-no-no -- the 45 minutes here or the hour there on the trainer in front of the television don't count. That is exercising. That is working out. That isn't riding the bicycle.

So today my friend Dan generously came up to Napa for the second time in a week and we went for a ride. We made our way through town onto the Silverado Trail, headed up the valley to Rutherford, sliced across the valley at Conn Creek, turned south on 29, did that pretty little jaunt on Yountville Mill, then cruised home down Solano (the 29 frontage road) and California.

A couple of quick observations on this 2-hour, 35-mile expedition:

1) It wasn't that hard. Riding with Dan took my mind off the work, so that helped.
2) Dan pulled my ass quite a bit. That helped too.

Seven weeks until Wildflower.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Napa Valley Marathon
The day after the marathon -- that's pay day. You get to eat anything you want and do nothing meaningful. Guilt-free.

Half a bag of Terra chips? Hell, I ran an f-ing marathon yesterday, get off my case. Back-to-back Rachel Ray's? Hey, 26.2 miles is a very long way; I earned this.

The only problem is personal locomotion. Up and down stairs especially. But that's all right. Once you've got the snack foods and yourself into position in front of the television, there's no reason to move much.

Special thanks to Dan and Kate for entertaining Niko while I burned Asics rubber on the Silverado Trail. You think three hours and 41 minutes of running is tough? Try taking care of a too-smart-for-his-own-good 5-year-old for SIX hours!

And truth be told, the run was a blast. Weather was spectacular, cool with patchy fog to start, then brilliant, not-too-hot sunshine. A couple of months of off-and-on-but-mostly-on illness left me in tough straits the last three miles. It had been nearly two months since I did a long run, and even that was a mere 16-miler. My muscles and joints simply weren't ready for the stress of 26.2. At Mile 23, my hips, thighs and knees were ablaze, ready to seize up completely. But as Krukow would say, by then this big hoss could smell the barn.

Now some splits for the amusement of the 22nd century history graduate student working on the dissertation, "Rise and Fall of the Weekend Warrior: Athletics And the Early 21st Century White American Male."

Miles 1-4………..33:11 (8:18/M)
Miles 5-8………..32:53 (8:13/M)
Miles 9-12………33:10 (8:18/M)
Miles 12-16……..33:30 (8:23/M)
Miles 16-20……..34:03 (8:31/M)
And the last 10K..54:11 (8:44/M)

Final word on marathons and other acts of personal courage and commitment comes from the aforementioned Niko. After Dan had explained to him that marathons are very hard to do, Niko replied: "I try to avoid doing hard things."
Cardboard. Paint. It's that simple. Go.

*Who Would Jesus Bomb