Triathlon Day without me

It's 6:10 a.m. on a Sunday morning. I should be eating a piece of toast with peanut butter and washing it down with a large glass of water.

I should be putting on my trisuit and checking my sports bag to make sure I have everything I need -- helmet, shoes, socks, sunglasses, towel, swim goggles, race belt.

I should be looking over my bicycle to make sure the race numbers are attached properly and that nothing has been knocked amiss, like stuck brakes or a whopper jawed seat.

I should be jumping up and down with excitement, my heart beating as fast as if I was actually participating in the Triathlon that is set to start in less than two hours.

But I'm not.

I'm at home with a squid-like heart monitor hanging from my neck, it's tentacle wire leads attached to my chest with suction cups, and I have this feeling that at any moment it's going to rip me apart and start to feed.

Over dramatic? Well, maybe a bit.

Thirty-two weeks of training for a Sprint Triathlon down the toilet just because my body decided to "act out" like a teenager who's been caught skipping class with his girlfriend, Rita, but "we didn't do anything, really, we just went to the lake and skipped stones and drank a few beers, it's nothing to get all upset about, everybody does it, just chill."

Last Sunday, after my wife and I got home from watching a movie, I discovered I had lost the peripheral vision in my right eye. To be looking straight ahead and not being able to see my right hand in front of my face was a really weird sensation. And then, when I tried to ask my wife where the ibuprofen was, the words coming out of my mouth came out in a different order than I had intended.

The whole episode lasted less than 20 minutes, but I spent the next two nights in the hospital.

Hospital beds suck!

I'm home now, of course. I've been home since Tuesday. But since spending two nights in the hospital is equivalent to spending two weeks in the hospital, I decided on Wednesday morning that doing a Triathlon at the end of the week -- today, Sunday -- was a bit more than I wanted to handle.

So, Wednesday morning I went for a 1.8 mile walk around the block. Oh, it felt so good to get out and stretch my legs.

Thursday I went to the gym and spent an hour on the treadmill.

Friday I went trail running at Lake Bob Sandlin State Park.

Saturday I went to our local wellness center and swam a bit.

And Sunday, today, I'll probably rest awhile, wash some dishes, and get ready to go back to work after a short but eventful spring break.

Thirty-two weeks of training down the toilet? Well, not really.

I've lost more than 30 pounds.

I feel better than I have in years.

And I'll be ready for the next triathlon that happens in May.

How like a cat

Cats are forever hungry, always begging for more and more; they cry to be let out to chase lizards, birds and other things, then eat them while you’re watching, right in front of your very front door.

 And what does the lucky lizard think as it limps away without tail? “Oh, it could have been much worse, let me say; he was ferociously hairy, but I got away. And what a great story I forever will tell.”


Then the cat comes back inside, begging as if it had not eaten a thing in a week. And what do we do? We give him a treat, just to tide him over until meal time, nothing more. And the cat repays us for his full tummy by barfing it all up – lizard tail and all – all over the living room floor.


Does the cat show any kind of shame or remorse? Of course not. It purrs and purrs its peaceful cat song. He mesmerizes us into believing he’s the king of the house – which isn’t quite right and definitely not wrong.


“Why do we have three cats?” I enquire while the culprit feigns innocence and scratches his head.


“I don’t know. Are you saying you’d like five, 10 or 20?” Believe it or not but that’s what my wife said.


I actually prefer cats, it’s hard to believe. They fend for themselves, chase mice on occasion, and warn you whenever a snake is around by standing as still as a concrete cat statue – leaving you to wonder what they’ve found on the ground. A turtle, a lizard or possibly a cricket? A butterfly, maybe, or some little frog. But a snake? “Oh, come on now. Really? That thing would be long dead if you’d been a dog.”


I think dogs are quite nice, but a little bit needy. They need to be walked; they need to be talked to; they need to be bathed, of that there’s no doubt. They need sticks to fetch, balls to catch, they need their own door to go inside and out. Their own dog-size condo is what a dog requires. A cat on the other hand, sleeps wherever it desires.


I once wrote a poem about a cat. It went something like this: There's a cat by my feet who thinks feeding is all I'm good for. / That and opening doors. / She bumps me with her head as if to say, “Hey, attend to me, here.” / Why? Because I'm the only one near. / But let it be known I don’t “hop to” the very moment she demands attention. / I let the cat cry for a second or two before I jump up to feed her / because / “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”


(I submitted the poem to several literary publications that would certainly love it, or so I thought; but for some cryptic and mystic mysterious motive, my magnificent masterpiece has never been bought.)


I don’t know why a cat inspires poetical feelings to come over a man who really has no business writing poetry at all. Maybe it’s the way cats always land on their feet when something unexpected happens and they meet with a fall. Or jump up on the kitchen counter, which to them, is four times as tall.


A long time ago my pets counted turtles, a rabbit, a hedgehog and even a mouse. Of course we had dogs, but never a bird (though, I always wanted one inside of the house). But today, off all days, in a world tight with tension, the last thing we need is one more tit for tat. So, let’s leave it at this, your pet may be awesome, but for all of its faults, I’ll stick with cat.


The first post of 2018

No resolutions.
No plans or schemes.
This year will be unlike any other.
No illusions or dreams,

but maybe I'll run a bit,
or maybe I'll knit;
I might even change jobs
or flitter and flit

from one day to the next
not caring of direction,
just go where the wind blows.
But then on reflection,

I have a few goals,
a few lofty desires,
and if I'm real lucky
a few might transpire,

but with my luck they'll come crashing down
just like past resolutions.

So, maybe I'll just wait
and see how it all comes out;
no rhyme, no reason,
nothing to write home about.

And that is my first post,
the first of the year.
Sort of melancholy, I know,
but I thought I'd try to be a bit more sincere this year.

At least for today.