Saturday, September 27, 2008

TNT '08 5k plus Chi Running

Winter Team traveled to Uplands this morning for the Megan's Run 5K. With my knee diagnosis still in medical limbo, I cheered on the troops. Mile one led impressively up in the direction of Mount Baldy. And while it didn't go that far, it certainly seemed to. A good downhill after that with the finish line on a gradual incline; not an especially speedy course. Congrats to teammates Chris, Dierk, Coach Pete, John A., musical John, Stacy and Ginnie who all won age group medals.

Lately, I've been reading up on chi running. Combining t'ai chi relaxation techniques and alignment with running, the style claims less injuries and less effort than conventional locomotion that relies on muscle strength. Given my foot strike issues — Mr. Heavy Heel — I'm willing to grant them a shot once I'm cleared to run again.

Much writing lately. Fun writing, good writing; writing that I enjoy. These three projects I'm working on have been in limbo since the move. Nothing like an injury to boost output. More soon.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Another Opinion

Today I learned several things.

One: my HMO doctor is extremely busy and unfocused. He said my x-rays hadn't arrived today. As it turned out, they were in the office and he'd initialed the report.

Two: The x-rays revealed no stress fracture. Busy Doc thinks its tendonitis. Learned Doc Smith thinks it may be a stress fracture.

Three: You can't have too many doctors. So it's back to my old chiro for his take while I decide where I'm gonna find a new primary care physician.

Four: I put on three pounds last week. If I'm not running 30-mile weeks, I can't eat 30-mile week meals.

Five: There is no five.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

TNT '08 Practice 6 and 7

Last Saturday I was in the pool, then I attended a TNT information meeting at a local library. No one showed up for information.

This Saturday I was in the pool, aqua running once again. I shared a lane with two sisters from the fall team. In the adjacent lane, a passive-aggressive old man did odd things. Apparently, he felt the sisters had chased him out of his favorite lane. (The sisters said he gave them the lane, then wanted it back.) In any case, Pops treded water, staring at us and loudly singing songs from the 1940s. ("Mairzy Dotes and Dozy Dotes," etc.) In addition, he would cough deeply and make complicated snorting sounds as if preparing to hack up a sofa. Eventually, I got out, the sisters moved to another lane, and Pops bobbed around, being an aquatic hemorrhoid.

Afterwards, I visited the Winter Team aid station on a dam north of the Rose Bowl. Beautiful day for running. Or, in my case, watching people run. Later, we barbecued and listened to inspiring talks from leukemia sufferers and/or relatives of same, thanking Team in Training for the money they raised and the good it does.

All of which more than made up for Mairzy Dotes.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Work Life Stagnates

What stinks after three days? (Guests and fish.)  Plus my animation career. Waiting at the X-ray factory today for knee imaging, I flipped through my day runner. One job interview back in April. That's it for 2008.

Granted the industry has been in flux (as have I), but I can't recall a year where there's been so few opportunities. Alas, much of the problem resides within.

I'm terrible at networking. Meet-and-greet events leave me cold. Staying in touch with old co-workers (who have worked steadily over the years) has been sporadic. Market awareness eats. I have no idea what's hot in TV animation right now. Stay current? I'd rather watch The History Channel. And if there's a new animated film out, I'll wait for Netflix.

When I do get an opportunity to pitch a show, I tend to hold back. This is bad habit I've developed to deal with rejection. (If I don't try 100 percent, my work is never 100 percent rejected — and by extension, me.) Marathon running has done a good job of eroding this flaw, since time goals require total commitment.

Work ethic is strong, but lacks focus. Weeks and months pass whenever I develop a show. Then I pitch it around and eat several heaping bowls of "no thanks." Concept crash; big let-down. I often recharge by working on book outlines or screenplay treatments. (New, unsullied ideas always have the greater appeal.) I allow them to fill up time instead of getting back to animation. If I want another staff gig, I have to make that important.

Because the Warner's job arrived unexpectedly back in 1991, I expect something similar to pop up again. It could, though I wouldn't hang from a hook waiting. Alas, active participation in my career is mandatory.

It's so much easier to blame other people. I think I'll keep doing that for another few days.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Two Systems

Didn't make it to the pool on Sunday; did make it to the doctor's on Monday. There's a huge difference between the health care I got working union jobs and the HMO I'm stuck with today. Back when I broke my foot I got an appointment the same day, examination and X-rays, referral to the bone doc and a cast on my foot all in a couple of hours.

HM-SLOW made me wait a week for an exam in which I learned everything Doc Smith told me seven days ago. Now I'm waiting for an X-ray to be scheduled at a separate location, after which I'll see the HMO doc again next Monday.

The records clerk asked me for an address to my previous health care facility. I said I didn't have it, however she could Google the name and up it would pop. Back shot this bitter remark about how now she'd have to find the address on her own time. It didn't make sense, but it did convey resentment at having to Google something. Nevertheless, I bid the clerk a sunny good-day and left her the tedious, all-consuming task of typing a name into a search engine; clearly work outside the bounds of record keeping, a job where poet-philosophers gather to practice free verse and pen heroic epics on the scale of Gilgamesh.

Stay healthy.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Aqua Running

Aqua running this morning before practice. Even in the water I had to ease up on the knee. (This is gonna take awhile to heal.) Tomorrow should've been my first 20-mile run. Technically, I'm supposed to aqua run for as long as I'd be running were my leg not screwed up. That said, I'll be plowing through the chlorine on Sunday for 3 hours, 19 minutes and 20 seconds.

Alone with my thoughts while the skin shrivels up.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Random Thoughts: 9/11

K called from Florida, "Planes crashed into the World Trade Center and one of the towers just fell." Unemployed and half asleep at 7:30 AM, I shuffled downstairs to the TV, past MDW as she prepared for work. At first, all I saw was a dirty cloud obscuring southern Manhattan. Then a stunned announcer said the second tower had just collapsed. MDW joined me, work forgotten as we learned of the attack.

Other friends phoned throughout the day. Paul Rugg speculated about the pilots of the doomed aircraft, certain they weren't Americans forced to crash. TJ, a Vietnam vet, was incensed at the footage of jubilant Palestinians with their candy and AK-47s. He wished he could surprise them with a nice buttering of napalm. In a grim mood, I agreed.

Watching TV and power-chewing Nicorette, I mostly felt numb — except when the subject was jumpers. Then I felt horror. Go to work, sip coffee, joke with your pals, then decide whether you'll suffocate, burn alive, or leap a quarter mile to certain death. Questions of etiquette arise: jump solo or hold hands with a co-worker? Perhaps several of you link arms and form a chain, finding courage in numbers. Or do you clutch a table cloth and step into the air, desperately hoping it slows your fall?

The journey takes ten seconds.

Air velocity rips away your shoes.

You explode on impact.

I will always be haunted by the jumpers of 9/11.

Oceans of paper were blasted from the towers, filling the New York sky like the Devil's ticker tape. Invoices and wedding invitations floated down to gray sidewalks.

My friend Cathy, who worked in D.C., reported chaos as the government sent everyone home at once following the Pentagon attack. One jammed intersection turned scary as a man leaped out of an SUV brandishing a pistol and attempting to direct traffic.

Being murdered is not a heroic act, though it can be. Flight 93 passengers fought back and died, saving many more in their sacrifice. North Tower Port Authority employees rescued over 70 people before perishing.

There were many heroes that day.

MDW tried to give blood, but the hospital was overwhelmed with donations and refused.

Vulnerability, grief, dismay, anger.

Such a beautiful morning with a sky so blue.

(Photos from: Little Green Footballs.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Challenge Accepted

Talked to Coach Pete today who handles aqua running for our Team. He'll keep me healthy in the pool until I can run again. No Boston qualifying for now, but I can still complete Sacramento. It'll be interesting to see what sort of time I'll muster. I've been cleared for aqua running, ellipticals, and, perhaps, the recumbent cycle. In addition, I'll keep up core work and watch my diet.

But most of all, I need to set an example for injured teammates. If I can cross-train, stay upbeat, and keep the goal in sight, so can they.

Instead of a quasi-amusing tag line such as "but first, a nap," or "I'll start after dinner," or something equally wit-deprived, I'll share what just happened in the street outside my condo.

A woman rammed her car into a bicycle-riding teenager. She was heading into our garage, and turned as this kid sailed across the driveway. Screech! Honk! Boom! Other than a cut, the teen appeared undamaged. Freaked out, the woman offered to clean him up, take care of him, do anything, but the teen refused. Eventually, she gave him her phone number and made him promise to call when he got home. As the women left, the teen found himself the center-of-attention for a couple of bystanders. He retold the story with disdain ("Ahhhh, it was nothing.") than split.

And that was that. Events unfolded, then blended into other events, en route to becoming the past.

Like now.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


(Please read if you desire to be sleepy.)

Figure about six weeks before I run again. And those runs will be light and easy and on level ground — which I must locate.

From Jan. 1 to Sept. 7, 2008 I ran 888.4 miles. That tops my previous high mileage year, 1986, when I ran 768 miles in a comparable period.

Eugene saw me lower my marathon pace from 9:59 to 9:10. A successful CIM would've seen me drop pace an additional 35 seconds to 8:35. That's a hefty chunk o' time to lop off a marathon in one year.

After I achieve a goal, the next one always seems so doable. Determined to better my 2005 marathon, I got injured and struggled 13 months to beat my old time.

Injured again in 2007, it took me 16 months to set a new pr in Eugene. (Though I did run a marathon in between.)

In May, I'd already set my next goal. But now, as before, I've built upon my running injury resume.

There's an injury clinic for coaches next week at Doc Smith's place.

I've been asked to model.

Monday, September 08, 2008

No Running for Now

Either a bone bruise or a stress fracture on the left knee, according to the learned Dr. Smith. Now begins a tussle with my HMO to obtain an MRI. Visit a doctor, have him recommend the treatment, pray a health accountant Okays everything, get an appointment, then get an MRI so I may learn whether it's a bone bruise or a stress fracture.

Meanwhile, no running; light walking.

A contributing factor may have been my running gait: landing on the heel, feet too far forward.

From past experience, the greatest challenge now facing me will be to avoid putting on 20 pounds.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Knee Pain Spoils 18.8 Mile Run

Well, I didn't get up early. But I did water up Friday and Saturday. I needed every drop as the heat was something special. Around mile two of 18.8 I felt a sharp pain in my left knee. Nothing much has ever happened with that joint so I was mildly concerned. But since it quickly faded, I kept running.

Finished the first nine miles three minutes behind pace. But the heat really zapped me. I thought of quitting, but instead walked the .8 to my car, loaded up on water and Cytomax energy drink. Resolving to simply finish, I turned off my chrono, dialed down my run/walks from 7:1 to 3:1 and set out at an easy pace.

Running in the heat was uncomfortable and I walked long stretches. But I began the last four miles in fairly good spirits. Suddenly the left knee pain returned. Eager to finish, I'd walk, limping the first few steps, wait for the pain to pass, then run again. But concern over making matters worse finally led me to walk the last mile and a half.

So off to the running doc, Dr. Smith, tomorrow. There's a part of me that hopes my injury is bad enough to squash the CIM run. Mentally, I've been drifting toward the same mindset I displayed before Chicago. I think I've got only so many hot running days in me. Once I use them up, I'm barren for the remainder of summer and fall.

More on the knee soon.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

TNT Practice Five

Eight miles today. I woke up late and arrived at practice just in time to miss our campaign manager chewing out the staff for being late. As the Team run north into the hills, I was amazed how crowded the trails have become with Pasadena Marathon trainees. Lots of ice bags at the finish line. Last season, the eight-mile run saw the same thing: people hurt from running faster than their pace — except for Coach Alfredo, who twisted his ankle on a rock. Overall, 'twas another hot day and I'm happy to be finished.

Eighteen miles tomorrow. I'm gonna arise early, for once, and hit the trails before 7:30 AM. I need to upgrade my mental game, as I find myself fighting "the quits." A fair number of folk know my goal. Several have expressed interest in actually traveling to Sacramento to cheer me on. Shooting for a Boston qualifier, I'm feeling anxiety I didn't feel for Eugene.

But it can be done. It will be done. I'll do it.


Today I'll eat Doritos and watch football.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Many Shows That Never Were

One thing about moving: you do inventory your possessions. Still emptying boxes from May, I've found a collection of TV show ideas that never flew. From Lobo to the star-crossed Daffy Duck Show to one of my favorites, Team I.E., these animated offerings foundered at different stages. Most were my solo original ideas, pitched and passed on; others were developed with artists such as Scott Jeralds; several were commissioned by various studios before being euthanized.

In any case, I'll post on a few over the coming months. Some probably shouldn't have been made, while others flashed glimmers of potential.

New animation ideas remain in the 'fridge as I rush to finish a graphic novel outline, an original sit-com, and five chapters from a young adult novel.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Run Down

While pleased with my long runs, tempo workouts have been kicking my rear with big steel boots. I need to be running around 8:00 min. miles and haven't been close in weeks. Late afternoon heat is a factor, but mostly its been lack of focus. I need to arise early, run what I can sustain for four miles, stay at that distance until I reach 8:00, then add mileage. The race-day clock is ticking, but it can be done.