Flight of the Big Bird


Last week, I submitted my final draft of the paper that fulfilled my substantial writing requirement for law school. That represented the last thing standing between me and the completion of my degree. This afternoon, grades came out.

And I’m thrilled. Because as of today, I am completely–completely–done with school.


Running Hot

Back before Moo was born, when Catherine was still working for the RID, she went on a work trip to St. George. Since there was no reason not to, I took a couple of days of from my job and went with her.

My plan was to run some trails during the day and hang out with Catherine in the evenings. But on the first day I set out for a long-ish run with the temperatures in the high 90s and must have given myself heat stroke, because the run was a disaster and knocked me completely out of shape for the rest of the week.

Looking back, it seems silly for me to have gone out for an afternoon run on such a hot day. But at the time it made perfect sense. I had only retired from cycling in teh past zix months, and when I was still training and racing I would regularly ride for 4-6 hours, even when the temperature climbed into the triple digits. It was uncomfortable, but as long as I drank lots (and lots) of water, that’s all it was.

In contrast, it doesn’t take much for a run to go very poorly when it gets hot. Just yesterday afternoon Catherine went out for a few miles in about 85 degree weather, and she came back pretty destroyed because it was too hot. Of course, 85 degrees isn’t really that hot, but I totally get it–for some reason, any time I try to run when it’s hotter than maybe 80 degrees, I start to get light-headed, my stomach gets upset, and really it just becomes a bad experience all over.

I know it’s possible to run in the heat. After all, people do run Badwater, don’t they? I just don’t know how to do it. But I should learn. It was 95 degrees today, and it’s a long time until summer is over.


For me, the biggest problem with running has been the injuries. For whatever reason, I don’ think I’ve ever managed to string together much more than a few months of injury-free running.

As I’ve mentioned here, I started training for the St. George marathon last week. And, strangely enough, I’m already injured. I’m not sure what happened, but Monday afternoon my ankle just started to hurt. The pain has varied in its intensity and even in its location since then, but it hasn’t gone away. So now, I’m sitting here trying to decide what to do about it.

For me, the hardest part about injuries is the time off. Which is why I’ll wait as long as I can to decide that it’s not the sort of thing I can run through. I suspect that the ankle problem I’m dealing with right now is the sort that’s going to require at lest a couple of days off. But I don’t want to take any time off, either, especially since we don’t have a gym membership right now, which means I don’t really have any cross training options.

It’s even harder to take time off right now because I don’t have to work tomorrow, which means I can go do something I normally wouldn’t have time for.

I think what I’m going to do is go for a trail run tomorrow. It’s probably going to make my ankle worse, but it will be worth it if I get a good run in. And if my ankle does get worse, I’ll probably just go ahead and take the next few days off. Better then than tomorrow, and better now than a few months down the road.

All the injuries make me think I should get back on the bike.

Accidental Damage

Earlier this week, I was carrying my phone and my tablet (a Nexus 7) into the kitchen when I stumbled. I managed to catch the phone, but the tablet fell about two feet to the tiles on the kitchen floor.

It wasn’t the first time I’d dropped it–like any device, the tablet had had a healthy share of bumps and spills. And because I expected that, I always kept it in a case. But this week the tablet landed directly on its face, shattering the glass. And somehow, it wasn’t just the glass that broke, but also the touch capabilities. In other words, the tablet is completely dead. And it was just barely over a year old.

By itself, that story is a bummer. But it’s even worse considering just how many things I’ve broken since I started law school.

During January or February of 2010 (my first year of law school), I slipped on the ice and fell while running to catch a bus. I landed on the bag that held my computer (a Dell Inspiron I had had for years), breaking the hinges on the laptops display. The damage slowly spread until the entire display started falling out of the display, forcing me to replace it.

I bought another Dell, which only lasted until August, when I destroyed it on Catherine’s birthday. I was making a peach cobbler and watching Netflix, when I accidentally tipped over my mixing bowl, spilling all the batter directly onto my keyboard. The poor laptop died instantly.

The next summer, I dropped the replacement laptop on the asphalt when I hopped out of a car without thinking about the fact that my laptop was on my lap. For a while it seemed like my computer had survived, but it turned out that I had knocked loose the connection for my power cord. Charging became progressively more unreliable until failing completely a few months later.

And it’s not just laptops, of course. The same summer that I broke my third laptop, I put my smart phone in my pocket at my sister’s wedding. Unfortunately, I had also put a chocolate in there earlier (who cares why). Of course, the chocolate melted all over everything, and that was the end of my phone a mere month after I bough it.

The phone I replaced it with broke on its own (manufacturer defect), and I left its replacement on a train, which isn’t the same as breaking it, but which has the same effect.

I broke the replacement for that phone in about the same way I broke my tablet this week, except I dropped it in the grocery store parking lot rather than the kitchen.

So that’s a complete list of all the phones and computers I’ve lost or broken in the past three years and change.  Really, it’s a bit depressing. I’m not sure that there’s a moral to the story, but the lesson is that I’m the kind of person who really should by the accidental damage protection.

Hi Friends

One thing the broken arm reminded me of is just how friendly Moo is. When we went to the pediatrician, the first thing she said to the pediatrician was “hi friend.” When we sat down to wait to see the doctor she struck up a conversation with the little boy next to us and his mom (“hi friends!”). The same thing happened at the radiologist, and the next night when we were at the InstaCare to get a sling, Elliott was busy making friends with a group of teenage boys and the father accompanying them. It’s all very typical for her. Even when her arm is broken, she’s on the lookout to meet new people. And as far as I can tell, she wins over everyone she talks to.

Of course, part of her charm is the fact that she’s one cute little toddler. (Yes, I’m biased, but I’m also right.) But I believe that the key to her success in making friends is that she approaches everyone as though they were already her friend. If you spend enough time in public with Moo, you’ll realize that to her there are only two kinds of people–friends she knows, and friends she hasn’t met yet. I don’t think it’s ever occurred to her that someone might not be her friend.

Because she’s a toddler, there’s an undeniable sincerity in her friendship. And I believe that’s what wins everyone over.

I love that Moo is so outgoing and friendly. I think it’s one of her best qualities, but I’m also worried she might lose it someday. My parents tell me that I was just like her when I was her age, but I’m certainly not as an adult. Somewhere along the way I stopped assuming that everyone could be a friend. I know that at some point someone will not be Moo’s friend. And when that happens, I sincerely hopes that it doesn’t change her view of everyone else in the world.

But regardless of what happens in the future, I can learn at least one lesson from Moo now. When you treat everyone like a friend, everyone is more likely to treat you as a friend in return.

Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones

This post has been delayed a few days, but it’s one I can’t skip.

Because something big happened on Monday–Moo broke her arm. She was monkeying around in the living room, as usual, and she fell down, as she often does (this time, off the rook of her Cozy Coupe). But we could tell things were different when 30 minutes later she was still crying and holding her arm. I decided to take her to a pediatrician, just in case. After a couple of hours (we had to run over to the hospital for x-rays), we got the diagnosis I was expecting.

At first it was very sad. I hated to see her in pain, and I hate that she has to have only one arm for a few weeks.

But in the long run it’s funny how not a big deal it’s turned out to be. The doctor put her arm in a splint, and since then Moo has carried on like nothing is wrong. The greatest effect seems to be on Catherine and I, because we have to worry about Moo getting hurt again since she won’t, and she won’t get a cast for another week. (I had no idea that you can’t put a broken bone in a cast right away because of swelling–I guess that’s comes of never having broken a bone myself.)

The whole incident has left me torn. On the one hand, I’m proud of Moo for how adventurous she is and how tough she’s been about the whole thing. On the other hand, I worry that she hasn’t learned anything about being cautious.

I guess time will tell. But if I had to choose, I suppose I’d rather have her be a little too bold than too cautious.

The Plan

I mentioned earlier this week that Catherine and I will be running the Saint George Marathon in October. I’ve run only one marathon before, and there are a few things I plan to do differently this time. But one thing I’m mostly leaving alone is my training plan.

There’s nothing scientific about my choice to follow the plan I do. It was one of the firs that popped up for free when I did a google search, and the mileage seemed reasonable–enough to get in shape, but not so much that I couldn’t stick with it while in school. And based on my results, I think it worked well enough, which is why I plan to give it a second chance.

Of course, last time I followed the plan religiously (at least, right up until the last three weeks, when finals and a trip to LA derailed me). This time I plan to be a lot more flexible. I’ll use the plan primarily as a guide on the mileage and intensity I need to be getting. And I will do a lot of the speed workouts (as much as I hate them). But I’m also planning to have fun this year, and if all goes well that means I’ll be replacing a lot of tempo work and long runs with trail time. Because what’s the point of getting in shape if you can’t have fun with it? And trust me, when it comes to running, there’s not much better than mountain trails.

The reason I’m thinking of all this is that I realized today (or maybe yesterday) that my memories of the plan are a little off. Specifically, I remembered it being a three-month plan, and I thought I could just run around aimlessly for the next month or so before it was time to start training in earnest.

But it turns out that the plan is longer than that. So much longer, in fact, that I need to start on Monday. Which is coming up really fast.

On one hand, I’m a bit disappointed, because I was looking forward to having unstructured running time. On the other hand, I’m looking forward to the training. It’s been a while since I’ve had a race to prepare for, and I miss it.