One of Harper's friends from work, DJ Jeremiah, is on the cover of the Datebook today. Been meaning to go see him.
So why has Twitter been so misunderstood? Because it's experiential. Scrolling through random Twitter messages can't explain the appeal. You have to do it — and, more important, do it with friends. (Monitoring the lives of total strangers is fun but doesn't have the same addictive effect.) Critics sneer at Twitter and Dodgeball as hipster narcissism, but the real appeal of Twitter is almost the inverse of narcissism. It's practically collectivist — you're creating a shared understanding larger than yourself.
As I write this, it's not quite 8 a.m. on the longest day of the year, and I've already been to the pier and back for a morning swim in the Bay. I swam the perimeter again today, past my friend the Balclutha and the open gate of Aquatic Park that points directly towards Alcatraz. The water was exceptionally flat and still today, and cold as well, and I can only hope for similar conditions on Sunday. When I jump off that boat next to Alcatraz, and head in towards Aquatic Park, I won't care at all about the water temperature. Cold water does not bother me. But the currents are another matter.
It was a little sad for me today, when I woke up before sunrise for the last time this season. I've been doing it for so long now, and it seems fitting to me that I finished my open water training on the longest day of the year; that I got to watch the sun rise over the Bay for the last time on the day when we both showed up there earlier than either of us had all year.
I met my friends from my team--Maria, Melanie and Dave--and we plunged in together. They have all raced already. I'm still waiting. I hope we can meet like this after I finish. I like it, in the cold and the dark. I enjoy the camaraderie. As we swam, I looked ahead at Melanie, and behind to Dave, across and over at Maria, and was conscious that this was coming to an end. I'm not ready for it to come to an end. The next time I plunge into that cold green wet, it will be to race.
This morning I stood shivering in the dark in front of the heater. For six months I've been getting up before dawn to push myself as hard as I can, before the day even begins for most people. Today that ends.
I'm going to miss it.
My race is this weekend, and nightmare scenario number one is getting a flat 1. To that end I went to Sports Basement yesterday evening and got some new tires, and put them on last night before dinner. It was goodbye to my old Continental Four Seasons, touring tires that have taken me upwards of
2,000 3,000 miles, and hello to shiny new Continental 4000 Grand Prix, racing tires. Red racing tires. 205 grams.
1. Actually, I guess it's number two. Number one is getting eaten by a shark. Silly, I know, but I saw Jaws at a formative age.
But there is a new development that I do view with worriment. Something that I wasn't really expecting yet, that has arrived (unbidden and unwelcome) a decade, perhaps two, earlier than I had anticipated.
Oh, Andy Rooney eyebrows, where do you want to fly, today?
After nearly six months of non-stop training, I can finally call myself a triathlete. I raced in the Tri For Fun Sprint Triathlon this weekend at Rancho Seco Park near Sacramento, and it was absolutely one of the best things I've ever done. The race was a half-mile swim, 18-mile bike, and three-mile run. I finished in 1:34:46. I rode at 18.5 miles an hour, and ran an 8 minute mile pace. It was brutally hot, at least by my coastal northern California standards, and I felt like I gave it all I had, nearly puking after I crossed the finish. Want to see pictures? They are here.
On race day they had me listed as finishing 98th, which I was incredibly excited with, but the results posted online (which I assume factor in the various start times for different heats) list me at 140 out of 531. Oh well. That was a bit of a bummer, to drop 42 places, but I'm still quite happy with that finish which puts me (almost) in the top quarter. I'm still waiting for the results to post to see how I did in my division. I don't expect it will be that well; it's a tough division: Four out of the top ten finishers were in the 30-34 age group (including the only female) twice as many as any other. [Update: I placed 19 out of 47]
I had hoped to use this sprint as a dry run for Alcatraz coming up in two weeks, and to that extent it was a great success. I learned a lot. Although I've practiced transitions, and of course all three events, relentlessly, nothing compares to the real thing. Here's where I messed up:
All in all, I felt like I could have shaved another three or so minutes off just by racing smarter. I'm going to try to take those lessons with me in two weeks. But it was a phenomenal experience, and I'm proud to have finished it.
It was also incredible to have Harper there with me. When I was running out of juice at the end, seeing her and hearing her cheer for me, helped me pick it up again at the end. She suffered through two long drives, an incredibly early morning, and I couldn't appreciate it more. Making her proud means more to me than just about anything else in this world, and I'm so glad to be able to do it. Thanks, Harper. I love you.