Saturday, January 29, 2005

Bravin' the Cold, Part II

A week ago, I wrote about getting out and running in the cold. Well, wouldn't you know that today would be even colder and the run would be even longer? When I went out to run at 7:30 this morning, it was 20 degrees with a wind chill of 11. I layered up and ran 16.2 miles in just under three hours. Afterwards, I was exhausted, so I treated myself at the Golden Corral breakfast buffet. Sixteen miles is a long way, but I cringe a little to think that a marathon is 10 miles longer.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Back to School

Signed up for classes at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary today. Enrolled in three classes -- Church Planting; Christian Philosophy, Worldview, Western Thought & Apologetics; and Marriage and Family Foundations (can a single guy take the last class I mentioned?). It's going to be a busy spring -- working full-time, training for a marathon and now studying, but I'm excited about all that I have going on.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Mile Marker 100

So far this year, I've run more than 100 total miles -- 101.4 to be exact, according to my stats at I hit the 100-mile mark this morning, on my 7.2 mile run, which consisted of nine laps around the perimeter of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. Now I know what Joshua must have felt like marching around Jericho.

I went up to Wake Forest today to attend orientation for new students at Southeastern, but I got the days mixed orientation is actually tomorrow. Good thing, I had my running gear in the car. I enjoyed the change of scenery on my run. I guess I'll head back up there tomorrow for orientation. I'm planning on enrolling in a class or two to resume my seminary studies after a two-plus year hiatus. (I previously studied at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary's North Georgia Extension Center while I lived in Atlanta).

Monday, January 24, 2005

Legends of Rasslin'

During my pre-adolescent and teenage years I followed professional wrestling religiously. I lived for the hour-long weekly programs on Saturday mornings and for those special occasions when my dad took me and my brother to the monthly live shows at the Greensboro Coliseum in the pre-Pay-Per-View era. My early career goal was to compete inside the squared circle, and I honed my skills against my brother on our trampoline as a backyard wrestling pioneer. However, the closest I ever got to making it famous in the wrestling business was appearing on television during on one of the weekly shows holding up a homemade Four Horsemen sign in the crowd when I was about 12 years old.

Somewhere along the way -- much to my chagrin and my parents' delight -- I realized I did not have the size, strength or flamboyancy to make in professional wrestling. And sometime during high school or college, I eventually lost interest in the, ahem, sport. However, I still recall with fondness the glory days of wrestling from the 1980s, and I sometimes take trips down memory lane with my collection of now-grainy and snowy VHS tapes of vintage matches from days gone by. Thankfully, some of those memories have now been preserved on DVD with the release of The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection last year.

In recent months, my slumbering interest in professional wrestling has been stirred once again. Perhaps the rekindled flame is related to reading Ric Flair's biography To Be the Man last summer and getting my copy autographed by the "Nature Boy" himself at a book signing in Charlotte. Perhaps it's because of the nostalgia factor since wrestling was so much a part of my boyhood fabric. For whatever reason, I found myself tuning into WWE's Raw last Monday night and again this week.

Tonight's main event featured the legend, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, against the legend killer, Randy Orton. (See graphic above) Flair is no doubt a legend -- The Michael Jordan of professional wrestling, if you will. But like "His Airness," the "Nature Boy" has over-extended his stay in the sport. Both icons' places in the histories of their respective sports are unquestionably secure, but watching them perform in the twilight of their careers is sometimes hard, especially when memories of them performing at the top of their games remain so strong.

Flair's career has come full circle. In 1983, Flair was the legend killer when he defeated the legendary Harley Race in a steel cage to win the NWA world heavyweight championship at Starrcade '83. Now Flair finds himself playing the role of the legend whose best days are behind him, and Orton is in the same position Flair was more than 20 years ago, representing the future of the sport. At the tender age of 24, Orton has already become the youngest person to hold the WWE world title.

A lot may have changed since I last tuned into wrestling on a regular basis, but one thing hasn't -- the buildup and ending to a televised main event. After teasing the main event for close to two hours, the Flair-Orton match finally started about 15 minutes before the show's end. That could only mean one thing -- that the show would end with the match in progress while all hell is breaking loose just to make sure you tune back in next week to see what happened after the camera faded to black.

True to form, Flair and Orton went back and forth for about 13 minutes before the referee got knocked out, allowing one of Flair's henchmen, Triple H, to interfere. Flair, going to work on Orton's knee, slapped the "Figure Four" leg lock on his opponent, but Orton rolled over and reversed the move. As Triple H tried to interfere once more, Orton caught him with a boot to the face. Orton then delivered his finishing maneuver -- "the RKO" -- and pinned Flair as a groggy referee climbed back into the ring to deliver the three count.

Granted, I was shocked to see a rare pinfall in a televised main event, but the crafty scriptwriters ended the program with a stare down between Orton and current world champ Triple H. Of course, this is setting up for the main event at this weekend's upcoming Pay-Per-View in which Orton will try to regain the championship belt. Hmmmmm......kinda makes me want to tune back in next week.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Bravin' the Cold

I couldn't stand running 47 laps around an indoor track like I have done twice already this week, so I ran my seven miles outside today despite the cold weather. Since starting this marathon training regimen, I've been blessed with incredible running weather. I was especially spoiled by the two weeks of spring-like temperatures we had earlier this month. So far the coldest it's been when I've been out running was in the mid-30s. Today, the good folks at The Weather Channel reported a temperature of 28 with a wind chill of 22 when I went out at 10 this morning. Last week, I wrote about how running in the rain adds a little extra motivation to push through the run because you're not only going up against the terrain, you're going up against the elements as well. It's the same way with the cold.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Storm of the Century

How can an inch of snow cause this many problems? A surprise snowstorm has paralyzed Raleigh and the Triangle, turning Interstate 40 into a parking lot and surface streets into bumper car rinks all over town. There have been broadcast reports of people needing as many as eight hours to make it home and stranded students spending the night at their schools. Having lived my entire life to date below the Mason-Dixon line, I've grown up hearing all the talk about how us Southerners can't drive in winter weather we see from time to time. But in all my years I can't remember such a small amount of the white stuff wreak such a large amount of havoc.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Back on Track

Got back in the running groove today, after missing Sunday's run with my aforementioned sore knee. The knee felt well enough to run on, so hopefully the rest did me good. Instead of running in the freezing temperatures outside that has now replaced the two weeks of spring-like weather we have experienced, I opted to run on the indoor track up at Carmichael Gym here at N.C. State University. Seven miles worked out to 47 laps around the thing...I was literally going in circles. Still, it beat running on the treadmill and not going anywhere for all that time. Hope the knee holds up.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Sore Knee

Took today off from my scheduled 3-mile run to rest my sore left knee. I first experienced soreness after my 6-1/2 mile run Thursday night. I took it easy Friday and was able to run my 14-miler yesterday with only some minor discomfort. However, last night the soreness returned. I feel it on the lower portion of my kneecap and on the inner part of the knee, mostly while sitting down or when I bend or extend my knee. I had hoped to avoid any injuries that would set me back during my marathon training, but invariably aches and pains always seem to pop up. Hopefully, a couple days of rest will do the trick.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

14 Miles

My marathon training plan called for a long run of 14 miles today, which is the longest distance I've ever completed to date. I finished in 2 hours, 19 minutes and 52 seconds. That works out to about an average pace of 10-minutes per mile. Although I wrote in my very first post on this blog that my goal is simply to finish the marathon, I have a secondary goal to finish in under 4-1/2 hours. I would be even more pleased if I could average a 10-minute mile pace for the whole marathon, which would put me finishing in 4 hours and 22 minutes. But there's still lots of training left to do and lots of miles left to run.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Fool in the Rain

"I'll run in the rain till I'm breathless,
When I'm breathless I'll run till I drop, hey"
--Led Zeppelin

Anyone who saw me running in the rain this evening probably thought I was indeed a fool. But when I started training for a marathon, I vowed that I would run like the U.S. mail service and deliver rain or shine.

Since starting my training program in November, I've had to run in the rain three times. In a strange way, I enjoy running in the rain at times because it adds another element to work against and overcome.
My time in the 6.5 mile run I did tonight was actually more than a minute faster than my run on the same route on a clear night just two days ago. And besides, it may be raining on race day like it was on the morning of the half-marathon I ran in Nashville last spring.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Heels Wreck Tech

Sean May Just got back from watching No. 3 North Carolina dismantle No. 8 Georgia Tech 91-69 at the Dean Dome in Chapel Hill with my pals Corey, Ken and Ralph. Poor Corey....he drove four hours from Charleston, S.C. to watch his beloved Yellow Jackets take on my beloved Tar Heels. He's driving back as I write this. I wish the game could have been better (and closer) for his sake.

Granted Georgia Tech was without one of their top players in guard B.J. Elder, but a 22-point drubbing of the eight-ranked team in the country is impressive nonetheless. I'm no college basketball pundit, but I do like what I've seen from the Tar Heels so far this season. Several prognosticators have picked Carolina to win the national championship come tournament time in March, but it's only January and there's still lots of hoops left to be played. I expect the Tar Heels to face a stiffer test this Saturday when they visit No. 4 Wake Forest.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

In My Mind I'm Goin' to Carolina

And I'll be going to Carolina for real tomorrow night. I'm meeting up with some buddies and going to Chapel Hill see the Tar Heels take on Georgia Tech in a match-up of top-10 teams. This game will be a bit personal for me because it features my alma mater (UNC) taking on my former employer (Georgia Tech). But make no mistake...there's no question about where my allegiance lies. GO HEELS!

Sunday, January 09, 2005

That's Incredible!

No, not the campy early eighties prime-time television show that featured amazing human feats and stupid animal tricks long before David Letterman brought them to the small screen. I'm talking about Pixar's recent big screen creation The Incredibles. I finally got around to seeing it yesterday afternoon at the theaters over at Brier Creek here in Raleigh. Here's my mini review/synopsis...

Fifteen years after being forced into early retirement by a less than grateful general public, superheros Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl are still adjusting to marital bliss and their new lives in suburbia as Bob and Helen Parr. Bored with his new career as an insurance agent, Bob longs to return to his crime-fighting glory days. When he answers a mysterious call to don his superhero suit once again to fight an out-of-control machine on a remote tropical island, Mr. Incredible uncovers a plot destroy the earth. Confronted by a spurned fan turned superhero-wannabe now known as Syndrome, Mr. Incredible and his family must answer the call, thwart Syndrome's plot and save the world from evil one more time.

Engaging story, good animation and a nice blending of thematic elements from movies such as Superman, any James Bond flick and Misery -- think "I'm your No. 1 fan." I'll give it *** out of ****.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Productive Morning

I love getting up early on Saturdays and getting things done. So far today I've cooked muffins, had the oil changed in my car, went grocery shopping, ran six miles, got a car wash and read the Bible....all before noon. Now I can enjoy the rest of my day, which will include watching the North Carolina-Maryland basketball game, catching a movie and going out to dinner.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Y'all Check This Out...

North Carolina may have the most diverse mixture of dialects of anywhere in the United States, according to NC State linguistics professor Walt Wolfram. I helped Dr. Wolfram get the word out on his new documentary, "Voices of North Carolina," which airs on North Carolina public television this Thursday at 10 p.m. Dr. Wolfram discussed his project and fielded listener calls today during an interview on WUNC radio. For those of you residing in the Tar Heel state, tune in Thursday night for an informative and entertaining look at the way we talk. If you don't live in North Carolina, but still want to see the documentary, you can order a copy on DVD or videocassette.

Monday, January 03, 2005

"Spring" Cleaning

The calendar may say January, but with a recent string of daytime highs in the low 70s, it feels more like April or May. Despite the beautiful weather, most of my day was spent indoors trying to clean up and get organized.....another one of my resolutions, err goals, for the New Year. Any organizational tips and advice for this organizationally-challenged soul are certainly welcome.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Off and Running

Happy New Year, and welcome to my blog. I've been toying with the idea of blogging and giving myself a presence on the web for several months, and a post on my friend Adam's blog from Dec. 1 inspired me start my own blog in 2005. I'm not sure what shape this thing will take, but I'm sure it will be a work in progress filled with random musings.

Well, the first thing I did on the first day of the New Year was go for a 12-mile run. One of my goals for 2005 is to run my first marathon. I've completed a couple half-marathons and figured it's time to raise the bar. I've registered and have been training for the Country Music Marathon on Saturday, April 30 in Nashville, Tenn., where my goal is simply to finish the race without walking or stopping. But after today's 12-miler, reality is starting to set in that 26.2 miles is a looooong way to run!