Friday, August 28, 2009

Fluky Friday Flash

<>Tropical Storm Danny is gracing us with his presence today along the east coast of Florida. I was able to sneak in a couple hours session this morning before work. Out front and at the inlet looked like the ocean had a bit of morning sickness with the low tide so we headed south to the wall at Bethune. It's amazing how much better it looked. We paddled out. The crowd was thin. The first five rides I had were "turn-in-burn" right after another bang bang bombs! Super fun lefts and rights. The waves aren't quite hollowing or pitching out like from Hurricane Bill, but they are still overhead and semi-clean. The classic Florida sun shower happened and the rain glassed out the ocean just in time for a monster set to roll in from the horizon. By my judgment the waves were pushing 6-8 feet. This week has turned out to be an excellent warm up for my next week in Puerto Rico!

<>I work in real estate. The past month has been insanely busy compared to the last two years. Through the "boom" I worked my butt off and was very good at managing my time and prioritizing deadlines. Currently, I'm working my butt off, but the difference is the pay checks just are NOT coming through so it's hard to find the motivation to keep up the level of service I was able to provide during the "boom." Right my team has about 8 transactions in different stages of progress. Each one of these involves one or more of the following: short sale, REO, pre-foreclosure, court ordered estate sale, FHA Financing, VA Financing, FHA 203k Rehab Financing and even a cash deal on a home with a normal seller, but the home keeps flooding for unknown reasons (No Bueno on getting it closed). Each one of these transactions is like going to war to get it closed. Each time something changes usually results in about a dozen phone calls back and forth between all parties (last week I literally talked by cell phone battery dead multiple times during the day). So this week I discovered a major break through. I'm going to call it the A-hole break through because I felt like a bit of an A-Hole doing it, but it worked. Here's the example:
-Buyer's lender will not respond to direct questions about getting repairs made to house per VA Loan guidelines. Furthermore, lender will provide no guidance about possible solutions to repair issue.
-Seller is actually a bank. Property was foreclosed on (REO) and the bank has now listed property with a Realtor.
-Seller's Realtor is an arrogant A-Hole that thinks he is God's gift to real estate.
-Buyer is simple, nice and a retired veteran that gets confused easily resulting in many phone conversations (should I say counseling?).
Basically the problem stems from two banks with their "rules" no budging one bit to break said "rules" for either party. Buyer's bank requires repairs made prior to closing. Seller absolutely allows no repairs prior to closing. Any repair cost will be escrowed at closing and made after closing. Can I just say the one single repair is a 4x4-inch section of wood rot in an exterior doorway?
So here's what I did. I wrote an email to God's Gift to Real Estate explaining that I'm getting no guidance from buyer's lender and all the other details of the issue. Then, instead of calling everyone else to give a status update, I just copied it to all of them including the buyer's lender who was not returning messages. With in a minute the buyer's lender emailed me back in ALL CAPS yelling at me that she is doing her job well, but also gave several key pieces of information that helped get the problem solved. She then sent two additional emails yelling at me. I copied her emails and sent them out to all parties again and thanked her for updating us. Today she apologized and also relayed some more helpful information. I'm going to start doing this on all my deals. If it pisses off some people so be it. The best part, my cell phone battery still has a charge!

<>Two more days and I'm Rincon bound! Yup, Puerto Rico here I come for five whole days! It's a win win situation. If there's swell in the water I get to surf amazing point breaks and reef breaks. If there's not I get to snorkel over amazing reefs in crystal clear Caribbean water and have tropical drinks on beautiful beaches! Plus, I'm off to Universal Studios tomorrow with some friends. It'll be my first time ever to Islands of Adventure. I'm sooooo stoked! And Sunday plans are shaping up to look like some fun possibilities too! Better finish packing tonight!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hurricane Bill, I think I love you!

(In this post I'm going to attempt to describe the past week of energy and vibe here in New Smyrna Beach as the Hurricane Bill swell graced our beaches with some truly epic surf)

Monday and Tuesday (Aug. 17-18) -- To an outsider, novice surfer or normal person nothing appears to be out of the ordinary. The weather man on the local news says something about a tropical storm thousands of miles away being officially named "Bill." To an experienced local surfer now is the time to check various forecasting websites and computer tracking models to learn the storms possible trajectory. Talk between the surfers "in the know" begins about the possibility of a swell.

Wednesday (Aug. 19) -- most surf forecasting websites start to show signs of a long period swell with offshore winds for Saturday. New Smyrna Beach becomes abuzz with anticipation. There is a vibe in the air only experienced, not described. One forecasting site even goes as far as saying that if the forecast track holds true that this swell could become "Bertha on Steroids." (Hurricane Bertha was one of the most memorable storm swells of 2008)

Thursday (Aug. 20) -- Excitement is in the air. Every single person (even non-surfers) seem to know something is coming. People you don't even know surf are talking about the swell. We're close enough now to know that the forecasts are going to be accurate. My cell phone rings with calls from surfer friends that I haven't talked to in months all wanting to know the same thing, "where ya going to hit it man?"

Friday (Aug. 21) -- The town is abuzz. Surfboards can be seen strapped to more vehicles than not. All eyes are upon the ocean. All day long the waves grow in size, the timing between waves (period) increases and more and more surfers take to the water. By evening the ocean is glassy, the waves are hollow with long periods and pitching out. A classic beach break with rights and lefts are everywhere. It looks like California. But, more is to come. Some surfers save their energy.

Saturday (Aug. 22) -- At dawn you can hear the waves several miles inland. The ocean does not look angry. It is glassy and even clear blue water can be seen toward the outside break. The waves are beautiful and do not look that big to the untrained eye until a surfer is spotted riding a wave. "Holy sh*t, that's huge," is heard by more than one by stander. Near the inlet and the beach out front does not hold up to the 15-16 second period and mere size of the swell. The waves start to close out (break all at once) and become difficult for weaker surfers to paddle beyond the shore break. But to the south, where the beach curves out at the beginning of what will become Cape Canaveral, the southeast swell direction holds better with deeper water and a northeast facing direction. Long rights several hundred yards offshore are being taken by hundreds of advanced surfers. It is an amazing site that does NOT look like Florida. Perhaps Mexico. There are two types of surfers coming out of the water right around the peak of the swell.
Type 1 -- stoked out of their mind. Talking about how "amazing and awesome and fun" the session was for them and their buddies.
Type 2 -- frustrated, defeated and dragging their surfboard up the beach and saying stuff like, "Oh my God that was horrible. I almost died."

Sunday (Aug. 23) -- Hurricane Bill is now near Canada and leftovers from the swell are still to be head at the beach. The period is still long, but the waves are weak and smaller. If Saturday was an African Lion then today is a common house cat. The good news is there's good surf to be head everywhere on the beach. The bad news is all types of surfers can physically paddle out past the shore break. It's a fun day, but also a circus as everyone is out surfing today.

That's my recap of the 2009 Hurricane Bill swell, which will likely be talked about for years to come. I know that I won't forget it. It was the first major swell I attempted to ride a long board, my 9'0" epoxy Walden Magic performance longboard. I'm 6'6" (tallguysurfing duh) and the wave faces I rode were at least 4-6 feet over my head Saturday morning. Three of my friends broke their boards, two of them being epoxy (stronger than poly boards) boards just like mine. The speed generated from making the drop on these waves was amazing. I started the morning with a 9' leash and by the end of the second session my leash was stretched out to about 15-feet. The outside break at Bethune (Near Grouper Avenue) was about 400 yards offshore. The water was turquoise and beautiful. Dolphins could be seen riding the waves. The shear power of having one of these 12-14' waves close out on you was truly humbling. I was luckier than some, but I think it's safe to say we all got pounded and tossed at least once. At one point I found myself paddling back out to be confronted with a huge set wave crashing just a couple of feet before the nose of my board. I had no choice but toss the board away and dive to the bottom. Instantly, I was sucked up by my leash and tossed around like a ragdoll. It's funny how instinct takes over in this kind of situation. All I remember is having the little amount of air I got knocked out of me from the impact and thinking this simple thought, "don't waste energy fighting it, just relax." I start counting and get to 15 before the ocean releases me and I can swim to the surface. It's humbling to go through something like that and then think of the big wave guys that experience multiple wave hold downs. The day after I notice several bruises in different locations on my body. I do NOT bruise easily. I call these U.S.I.s or unidentified surfing injuries because I have no recollection of when or how I got them. Adrenaline is an amazing thing!

Here are some pictures from the swell. I took most of them, but Julie and Joe also used my camera a bit while I was surfing. I wish I had some better shots, but my top priority Saturday was surfing, not picture taking. Enjoy! (click to enlarge any photo)

This shot gives some scale to the size of the waves Saturday morning.

This is my friend JB. He's about 6'3". Not a short guy and this was a smaller wave.

I saw this kid stuck in the impact zone for what seemed like forever. I guess it wasn't his day.

This guy is about to learn what a close out is all about!

This is my buddy Brian. He was having a bad day. You can see that he has broken (the buckle near his arm) his epoxy longboard in this picture.

Brian has a great personality! Right after he broke his longboard he grabbed his shortboard and paddled back out saying, "If I don't laugh about it I'll cry!"

One of the few pictures I have of me surfing Saturday. Hopefully Julie has some more of me from her camera as this one I'm just about to get closed out on a smaller wave.

Here's my poor stretched out leash after Saturday morning. Before paddling out it only stretched to the nose of my board.

This is the only picture I'm going to post of this, but I felt it worth mentioning. Late Saturday afternoon, about 100 yards to the north of us, a swimmer drown. I had to look through my camera lens to see what was happening. The man, who was apparently bodysurfing, was spotted by bystanders floating in the water and pulled to shore. Despite what the newspaper story said, the Beach Patrol did NOT pull this guy out of the water. It was surfers and bystanders. I will refrain from posting the pictures of the beach patrol guys walking (not running) down the beach five minutes later. The man was pronounced dead upon arriving at the hospital. It was a sad sight to see, but also a remind of how unforgiving the ocean can be. If you don't respect the ocean, it will kill you and sometimes it'll kill you even if you do respect it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Boston or Bust.... Boston Avenue that is...

(Before I get started, just wanted to say I'll have a full recap of the Hurricane Bill swell up in the next day. Got some great pictures and I need a little more time to get them organized and posted with my recap so for now... the story of my first 11-miler)

Apparently, everyone in the running world talks about the Boston Marathon like surfers talk about Pipeline (Hawaii) or Teahupoo (Tahiti). It's the Marathon to judge all other marathons and just qualifying for it is HUGE! I recently realized this after reading one of my friend Redhead Running's blogs or one of her friend's blogs; I can't remember which, and also while out on a really FUN date recently with "MyrtleMaude," whom is experienced in the ways of the marathon. ;-)

With that in my head (and never ever EVER having any desire to try and qualify for it) I saw a road named Boston Avenue while plotting out my scheduled 11-mile run for this weekend on Boston Avenue is almost exactly the halfway point and near the southern end (one block away) of Riverside Drive (a scenic riverfront road that runs between New Smyrna Beach and Edgewater, Florida). What a perfect place to have a turn around? Plus, as I was mapping it out a friend sent me an IM saying he is moving to Boston. Could this be a sign? I'd say so... Boston Avenue it is! And how cool is it to say I ran Riverside Drive... ALL OF IT... TWICE!

Now I didn't get a chance to do my long run neither Saturday nor Sunday because of some amazing swell conditions. Yes, I was surfing (6-hours on Saturday and 5-hours on Sunday). That being said, my upper body is extremely fatigued. I have a few USIs (un-identified surfing injuries) consisting mostly of random bruises that I know not how I got them due most likely to addrieneline prohibiting me to feel pain at the time of said bruise*. And as of Sunday night I was a little sleep deprived. I did my best to carb load with some Mexican food (lots of rice) from Clancey's and a couple of Yuengling largers the night before (not smart, but it seemed like a good idea at the time).

This morning at 4:45 a.m. all of my alarms I had set sounded. I seriously questioned my sanity, but something deep inside pushed me to get up and get ready. Why is it that the earlier I get up for these long runs, the longer it takes me to get ready??? I mean, I get up at 7 a.m. for a short run and I'm out the door in less than 10 minutes. I get up at 4:45 a.m. and it takes me 45 minutes to pull myself together and start and I don't even drink coffee or anything!

At 5:30 a.m. I'm out the door and it's Boston Avenue or bust! It's super dark and amazingly quiet. I can see lots of stars in the sky. I love living in a small beach town with little light pollution and noise pollution! As I do more of these early morning long runs I am coming to the conclusion that sprinklers are either my enemy or my friend. Early on in the run down a dark sidewalk I catch a sprinkler spray right in the face. Come on! I'm not even sweaty yet. It was like a silent intruder in the night. Or, perhaps I have the iPod turned up too much to hear the sprinkler. By the time I'm super hot, super thirsty and giving Bikram Yoga a run for its money with the sweat factor all the sprinkler systems are done for the day.

The first half of the run is fine. I'm feeling good. I start off slow and speed the pace up to around a 9 minute mile by my guess. I pass up the first water/restroom stop because, well, I'm not thirsty and I don't have to go. BAD DECISION. The next water stop about 45-50 minutes into the run is locked up. Yup, that refreshing water fountain is locked behind a door because it's too early. FAIL. I'm starting to wonder where the hell Boston Avenue is when I ask a walker. He doesn't have a clue. It didn't look this far on the map. Am I lost? Is there a garden hose nearby because I will full on rape it for water at this point! FINALLY, through my sweat-blurred vision I see the Boston Avenue sign. This also means there should be a park nearby with water. SUCCESS! It's the 1:15:00 mark. Can I just say that's way to effing long to go without water? I slam down a Cliff Gel and drink probably too much water and continue the what now seems to be extremely long run home. I question myself if my legs can make it and then I start to think how freaking long it's going to take to run an entire marathon. I get into a groove and zone out for a few miles, hit my final water stop (the one I originally passed up) and make the last two miles feeling pretty good and without walking.

Final time is 1:48:08.

That's a 9:48 average pace. A little on the slow side for me, but I'm officially blaming it on all the surfing this weekend and the beer and Mexican food! What matters is I ran 11-freaking-miles! That Half Marathon distance doesn't seem far at all now!

*Must remember to check surfboards later for dings caused by my body.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fluky Friday Flash

<>My phone rang this morning at 6:15 a.m. Yes! 6:15 a.m. people! It was a customer trying to send me a fax. Lucky for him I was inspired by a late night text message from "Helen Keller" saying she was in for a 6 a.m. butt kicking by her trainer, so I was already up, shoes tied and about to head out the door when it rang. I wasn't going to run this morning, but that text message got me motivated and I hashed out an easy 4-miles or what I'd like to think as a warm up for the surfing fest the eastern coast of the U.S.A. is going to experience tonight, tomorrow and Sunday! Thanks "Helen Keller" and I hope you survived your workout! ;-)

<>I took my camera running this morning in the hopes of catching the bats again. My timing was off again (story of my life in more ways than one), however I did catch the most AMAZING sunrise as I was jogging down Riverside Drive. This made carrying the camera worth it!

<>That's it for this week. I've been so busy working that I have no other random ramblings. The only other obvious thing to mention is the approaching Hurricane Bill swell. The storm is lining up perfectly for epic surfing conditions. We're already starting to see the effects as the waves are starting to fill in with size. By this evening it should be fun and tomorrow it could be the swell of the year so to all my surfer buddies out there HAVE A BLAST, GET BARRELED AND BE SAFE!!!!! I'll be heading south to a couple secret sandbars my friends and I have discovered! Stay tuned for what should be a great story and plenty of pictures!

And so it begins...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


The latest forecast on Hurricane Bill, now a category 4 storm!

If this isn't PORN for surfers I don't know what is!!!!!!!This is for the east coast of Florida for Saturday. I'm drooling already!

What a perfect path projection. Not making landfall, but giving us the swell. Even Bermuda will luck out, hopefully, with the weak side of the storm.

Part of the story on MSW:
"HURRICANE Bill is now a 'major' Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 135mph and producing swell in excess of 45ft. Perhaps the best hurricane surf for a over decade? As forecasters it's difficult to withhold and damp down our excitement over a storm of this magnitude following such a perfect track.

This is no Katrina, it will not devastate large areas of land if it holds course 500 plus miles off the Eastern Seaboard - but it will pump high quality surf in the double overhead range at the coast. High pressure is set to dominate closer to the coast, serving a dual purpose of keeping the hurricane out to sea whilst delivering sunshine and offshore winds. If these factors all continue to come together it could be be 'the' perfect storm for East Coast surfers."

If anyone knows a media outlet that would like to hiring a contributing writer/photographer to cover the surfing side of the Hurricane Bill story I am ready, willing and able to jump in my truck and chase this storm up the Eastern Coast of the USA!!!! How awesome would it be to hit up Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey/New York and Maine all in a few days??? It's going to be going off. I can't wait to see everyone's pictures including my own!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hurricane Bill.... bring on the swell!

Can I just say how EXCITED I am about Hurricane Bill! It looks like all the stars and planets are aligning to give us the classic hurricane swell we've been waiting for all year. The current forecast has it going up toward the North Atlantic, which should send great waves our way and keep the property damaging wind far from shore! I woke up this morning to see this before my 3-mile run on (my favorite forecasting site):

"Hurricane Bill is still on track to deliver a very significant swell event to the East coast for the end of the week which we expect the forecast data below to under call, think Bertha on steroids and, if it comes off as currently forecast, swell of the season stuff."Bertha was the first tropical swell we had last year. It was amazing if I remember correctly. I'm talking overhead glass out front. Take your pick... everywhere was going off! If this is going to be better than Bertha, I'm going to be stoked out of my mind! Check out that 13 second period for Saturday! We might have to hit up some secret sandbar spots down on south beach. All the Orlando weekend warriors will be here since it's on the weekend along with a few really out of towners from the Surf Expo. Regardless, I'm stoked! Hopefully, I'll have some amazing surfing pictures to post after the weekend!

In other news:
Oh Otis Spunkmeyer... I hate you, but I love you.
The local title company girls bring you in each week...
Hot and fresh and soft, completely irresistible
White chocolate with cranberries, yum!
I ran 3-miles before the sun came up today...
It won't hurt to each just one of you.
But each week I find myself eating more,
like today I just had to have EIGHT!
Seriously, these cookies are my downfall. I ate eight of those bastards today before I knew what hit me and now I'm not even hungry for lunch. But, I am hyper as hell!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

9-Miles... piece of cake!

Several times this week I've admitted to friends or co-workers that I've been doing some "long" runs. When I say, "Oh I'm tired or I'm sore because I ran 10 miles this morning," or for example this morning while surfing I said to a friend, "I ran 9 miles before coming to the beach this morning," they all are saying the same thing:
"Whoa...what? Are you training for a marathon or something?!?!?"
They say it with a sarcastic timbre and a you're crazy expression on their faces.
I say, "yeah, ummm, I am training for a marathon."
So I guess I haven't been very vocal about my "top secret" training activities, but for the record: Yes! I plan to run and finish the Disney Marathon in January. I also plan to run the Daytona Half Marathon in November. And yes, I am still surfing as much as Mother Nature will provide clean waves to be ridden!
And you know what? After stepping it up with a running training schedule and continuing to surf 3-4 times a week and even throwing in some Bikram Yoga and Co-ed Softball games I FEEL FREAKING GREAT!

This morning I got up at about 5:15 a.m. Downed some cashews, honey and a Shot Blok with some VERY cold water, stretched and hit the pavement and beach sand for 9 miles. Last Monday I ran 10 miles when I was scheduled to run only nine. Something about 10 that I just had to do and get over with. This week I was scheduled for 10, but I figured I'd do nine (I'm sore from playing 4 co-ed softball games) and then get back on schedule next week with 11 miles.

The run went well. It was mostly easy. Every long run has it's moments, but it's getting easier. I do believe that sprinting in the softball games may be helping my time.

On previous runs I've encountered hundreds of bats returning from a night of hunting near this one house on my route and a big ancient oak tree. This morning I decided I'd bring my camera along and try and get some shots. What happened was disappointment. I was too early and there were only a few bats flying around... not the amazing numbers that would show up as dawn approached. I did manage to get one good picture of only one bat and then found myself stuck with my camera in hand. Yup, I was stuck carrying that camera for 9 miles!

(By the way. I did surf the inlet for a couple of hours post run this morning. The ocean was strange with morning sickness and a little crossed up with short periods. I think the tropics are heating up and we should be in for some exciting swell action this week!)

So why not do a little photo essay on my 9 mile run?!?! Here you go... hope you enjoy!
Here's the bat. He looks lonely without all his friends. I WILL GET A PICTURE OF THEM EVENTUALLY! I was just too early today, but it was nice getting 75 percent of the run over before the scorching sun arrives.

I think when people ask or tell me I'm outta my mind for running so much I'm just going to show them this picture in the future! Haha... the things I do to entertain myself. Man, it'd be nice to have a running partner on the long runs for some conversation.Riverside Park and the Intracoastal Waterway as view from my "hill portion" of my run up and over the South Bridge.

Somewhere around mile 5 I hit the beach. It's so refreshing to feel the cool morning air hit your body as soon as you start running down the beach, of course you have to get there before the sun rises....
I'm going to close with my little sunrise picture. I'm calling it, "Three Little Birds."

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fluky Friday Flash!

<>Oh cumulonimbus cloud thank you for blocking out the sun this morning. You must have been unleashing thunderstorm hell somewhere offshore, but here.... HERE in my little beach town you provided some much needed shade as I was late to getting up and out the door this morning for my run. Cumulonimbus cloud, without your 40,000 feet tall peak on the east horizon that sun surely would have been beating down on me with all its might! It's been a rough week for me starting out with a 10-mile run and followed with four softball games in two days and a mid-week late night concert involving more than normal adult beverages... my body thanks you cumulonimbus cloud for making my run easier!

<>A friend of mine whom is just beginning to dabble into the world of journalism, or should I say getting "paid" to write, wrote this article this week about running and sex and how the two can be related. Titled "Is Running Better than Sex," I found it a good humorous read and decided to share it with some friends via email and help my runner friend get some "hits" to her article. Here it is if you care to read it:
But my real reason for mentioning it this morning is the responses I got back from my email. I'll share two of them, one by a guy and the other buy a girl, both married.
Married girl, "That is funny. My husband used to run a lot when we first met; several miles a day. Now he never runs..... And men say women let themselves go when they get comfortable. lol"
Recently married guy, "No wonder so many married men take up running — it fits in where the sex used to be when he and his wife were still dating."
Hmmmmm.... conflicting reports from the marriage front. Maybe being in my shoes and single for what seems like FOREVER isn't so bad....

<>What's this I see in the tropics? A tropical wave? A tropical depression? A low pressure system? Seriously... this hurricane season has seriously been stalling. We don't even have a named storm yet! Last year by this time we were getting hurricane or tropical storm swells almost each weekend, as if they were perfectly timed. I haven't rode my shortboard since Spring! I have high hopes that something is brewing out there for next week. Could we have Tropical Storm Anna? Time will tell!

<>Donovan Frankenreiter made an appearance this week at Beachside Tavern. I was lucky enough to get a ticket and see him play at this super small local venue. Honestly, I went to see the famous hippy-like surfer that makes me laugh when I watch the Drive Thru series on FUEL TV. However, after the concert I am now a fan of Donnie, the musican and I'm definitely going to be downloading some of his songs. I'll leave you with this video I took of the last song he played at the end the show called "It Don't Matter."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What it's like to feel old...

Yesterday I mentioned I ran a self-inflicted half marathon when I was 19-years-old. I do not remember being sore back then. I remember being tired after the run, but not very sore.

Yesterday I decided it would be a "good idea" to run 10 miles (not even a half marathon) before work. This I did with flying colors. I mean, I rocked it. Got a huge runner's high and felt great for most of the day. Unlike when I was 19-years-old I made sure I properly hydrated, carb-loaded the night before and got at least 8 hours of sleep. I also thought it'd be a "good idea" to play softball last night.

Not only was it our first softball game, but it was a double header AND the team manager put me on shortstop (mixed with a couple innings of left field), which meant more running. Unlike the long run, this softball business is all sprinting and "fast-twitch" muscle use. I have to say for not playing softball in more than 2-years I did pretty damn good. I batted 1000 for the night and I didn't make any errors. However, I hit a wall the last couple innings of the second game. Despite a gallant effort to fuel my body with the best sources of energy, I hit the wall and was about as useful as an elephant hunter with a BB gun!

This morning I woke up. Stepped out of bed and almost fell to the floor as I tripped over my two nearly nonfunctional legs. My hamstrings are as flexible as a 2x4. My ankles and calves feel as if someone has injected them with liquid fire. My abs and obliques feel like Mike Tyson went to town on like a punching bag. It really is amazing that nothing is torn, ripped or broken. I am declaring that I have achieved a new level of personal soreness!!!

The first thing on my list today was to hand deliver a contract extension to the Clerk of the Court in DeLand, get it docketed and attempt to deliver it to a judge. Walking through the parking garage at the pace of a fast sloth, I noticed a woman holding the elevator door for me about 50 feet away. I tried to run, hustle or jog.... anything to show gratitude for her kindness and not being a slow poke. Again I almost fell down over myself as pain shot through my entire body. She gave me the "are you alright look" as I hobbled into the elevator. Lady, if you only knew!

Lesson learned:
I am NOT 19-years-old anymore.

New mission:
How to get over soreness quickly???

There is a swell coming this weekend and I want to be ready to surf it! Not to mention another softball doubleheader on Wednesday, plus a 3-mile run. Hmmmmm....

Monday, August 10, 2009

10 Miles is SO much cooler than 9

When I was 19-years old I ran a half marathon. I did not train for it. I did not time myself. I did not hydrate properly or "carb load" beforehand. I did not even run in an official "Half Marathon Race." I simply clocked out a 13.1 mile route in my truck. Then I ran it, called it a day and went to class. I was living in Gainesville at the time and attending the University of Florida. It was more of the "can I do it" idea than anything else. I only remember thinking after the run a couple of things. First, "damn that took forever!" Second, "that's probably not good for your knees, oh well."

I never ran that far again.

This morning I ran 10 miles in 1:35:15. After the run I came to one conclusion. I am NOT 19-years old anymore. In fact, I might be stronger and wiser at 31-years old, but my body is NOT as bulletproof as 19! I'm gonna be sore for a few days!

I was supposed to run 9 miles, but the 10-mile barrier has been lingering in the back of my mind for a while now as I train to run an "Official Half Marathon" in November and most likely a real marathon in January. Really? What's one more mile when you've already gone 9 miles? So I set out to run 9 miles with that possible 10th as a sort of backup plan.

Here's the recap!

5:45 a.m. - Alarm sounds. Check the surf report (yes, I actually considered going surfing instead). Eat a handful of cashews followed by a tablespoon of honey (my old running trick) and drink a full glass of COLD water with a Shot Blok. Use the bathroom, put on running shoes, iPod and I'm off by 6:10 a.m.

Miles 1 and 2 - It's still dark. Like last week, I witness hundreds of BATS flying in a circle in the same spot. They must sleep somewhere around here. What's it called when a bat turns in for the day, ummm, morning to sleep??? Can you say they are going to roost??? Anyways, I think I'm starting to like seeing these bats! I cross a water fountain in a park at mile 2, take a sip, swish it around in my mouth and spit it out. Time for the big bridge!

Miles 2 and 3 - Hitting the big bridge at the beginning of a run is much better than toward the end. Super good call on that plan Sylvan! There are two ladies walking the bridge. They take up the entire path. I'm a big guy (see blog name) and I try to make a lot of noise as I approach them from behind in an attempt not to startle them at this early predawn hour. They are just chit chatting away and I'm forced to say "excuse me" as I'm only a few feet behind them. They both instinctively look behind them and then jump as my tallness has startled them a bit. FAIL.... but seriously, how could you not hear me coming???

Miles 4-6 - I try and pick up the pace a bit as the sun makes an appearance over the ocean. I'm just getting to the beach and I've got to run at least a mile on the beach exposed with not shade. There are no turtle tracks this time. I only come across a bum sleeping in the sand. My shadow is long. The ocean is glassy like a mirror. I stop at the beach patrol station for a water break. I sample my first ever Gu. It's orange flavor and contains caffeine. It doesn't upset my stomach, goes down well with water and in my opinion tastes better than the Powerbar Gels. A+ to the Gu!

Miles 7-9 - Nothing much happens worth noting. I make it to the park at Sapphire Avenue and start heading back to Flagler while I'll cross over the North Bridge (easy bridge) and eventually head back down Riverside Drive toward my house. I'm running slow and taking it easy, but I feel great!

Mile 10! - Of all things... MY iPOD BATTERY DIES! If almost on cue or in protest to me making it a 10 mile run, this happens now when I need my music the most! I frantically push the on button like that's going to help. Argggggggg... time to suck it up. Nothing's going to stop me now! I remove my ear pieces and try to find a tempo without music. I hear my feet pounding the pavement. I hear birds singing, car engines humming and sounds of the city coming to life. It's now that I realized I blew right past my last opportunity for water somewhere around mile 8.5 because I was mentally assessing my poor luck in timing with women in my dating life. Avoiding "water panic" I focus on where I have to go and hump it out!

Soon I'm finished. I pull off my "water wicking" shirt, which is drenched as if I swam in the ocean and it slowly starts to hit me: You just ran 10 'effing miles!!!!!!

My friend Redhead Running later tells me in a text message (after I send her a running high induced text proclaiming my accomplishment) that I'm entitled to have bragging rights all day so I've been telling everyone at work today, "I RAN 10 MILES THIS MORNING BEFORE WORK!" So far I've received a lot of confused and "your insane" looks followed by a lot of questions like, "what, why, how?" Hahahaha... If only the knew I intend to play a double header softball game tonight after work and they'll most likely stick me in left field because I'm fast and can run down pop flies. Oh joy... time to get in some speed work in the outfield!

I was supposed to do this run on Sunday. I planned to do it Saturday morning, but a weekend full of (you guessed it) surfing and other social events didn't allow that to happen. I managed to surf about 3 sessions on both Saturday and Sunday. The first session on Saturday was again inside the inlet. This time with only my friends JB, Brian, Blythe, Morgan, Austin and myself out there. Again, we had it all to ourselves. It's like a secret spot, but the great part is it's NOT. It's in plain site of the other side of the inlet where several hundred locals, Orlando kooks, weekend warriors and "I'll kill you with my foam board" beginners are fighting over waves. It only lasted about an hour and promptly turned off. You have to be in the know as far as the swell direction, tide and wind goes....
I manged to do my FIRST EVER heels nose ride. Yup, walked to the nose of the board, turned 180 degrees around and for a second it felt like I was flying backwards with my heels off the tip of the board! On the very next ride, almost as if Mother Nature was knocking me back into the realm of mortals, I busted ass (literally) so hard falling backward that I bruised my bum. Then I lost my board (I rarely wear a leash) and had to do the Swim of Shame* back to the beach to get it.
All in all... super fun weekend. Stoke level 10!

*Swim of Shame - coined by Sylvan 2009 and now used by several local longboarders!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Fluky Friday Flash

<> This morning I got up before dawn, ran my three miles along Riverside Drive, returned home and set down in front of the computer with breakfast in hand to check email. Waiting for me in my inbox was hands down the best news I've heard all year! My second cousin, Bob, who is like a living father figure to me (my real father passed away when I was a child) was diagnosed 8 1/2 years ago with multiple myeloma. It's a rare cancer of the immune cells of the bone marrow and blood. At the time they gave him 3-4 years to live. Thanks to a wonderful support group and excellent treatment from the Dana-Farber Cancer Clinic in Boston he is announcing that he is cured. This summer he had a pretty insane procedure done called an autologous stem cell transplant. They basically took the stem cells out of his bone marrow and transplanted them with isolated and condensed ones from his blood. He lost 30 pounds and all his hair from the radiation, but his test are finally back and there is no indication of any remaining cancer! This is truly an amazing story of survival and I'm trying to convince him to write a book about it. I'm so stoked for him and his family. What a great reminder for all of us to live, love and be thankful for what we have and those in our lives. Everyday is a gift!

<> Text message of the week:
(This is the funniest part of a lengthy conversation. Use your imagination)

Me: "You know... most pilots have big ones!"

Jeanie: "Oh well they do inflate as u go up so that makes sense."

<> Photo of the week:
(This is a series showing the type of drop ins that occur a LOT at NSB inlet in the crowd, click the photo to enlarge)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Point Break in New Smyrna?!?!?!

Today is my day off from running.

My alarm clock rings at 7 a.m. (hell yeah, sleeping in!) and instead of going straight to work I decide a surfing pit stop is necessary to get the day off to a good start.

I meet my buddy JB as the beach ramp opens at 8 a.m. The inlet is already crowded at New Smyrna Beach. We paddle out. The ocean is as glassy as an oil slick with the sun glaring intensely off the surface. The choice waves at the best spot are about chest high, but there is a strange vibe in the water today. It's not negative, just strange. JB feels it too. The normal crowd is not out. We paddle south to another sand bar that is a little shallower in hopes of picking up some longer lines to surf. After an hour I'm just not feeling it and I tell JB I'm headed in to go to work.

Drying off at my truck, I decide to cruise down to the jetty and climb up on the rocks in the hopes of getting a few decent or amusing pictures of the short boarders aggressively dropping in on each other at the most crowded and peaky spot. It's something I've been meaning to do for a while and today is perfect since it's right around the full moon high tide. The water is high and I'm able to get out far enough on the rocks to be shooting down the line at the surfer for a different perspective than the usual direct from the beach shot.

Immediately I notice Austin, a local college student who works part time at a surf shop, sitting on his long board INSIDE the inlet completely alone. Earlier I saw him paddle north, away from the pack and wondered where the hell he was heading since it looked as if he was going out to sea. He's a phenomenal longboarder and when I see him I know what's up. New Smyrna Inlet rarely breaks on the inside where the boats come and go from. The swell has to be from the right direction and the tide has to be high enough. Right now there are both! I take a few pictures and then notice a local pharmacist that's another amazing longboarder along with his wife a couple of their daughters paddling out. I'm getting some really great pictures of all of them and starting to muster up some energy to join them when JB climbs up the rocks behind me. He's also wondered down the beach and found me. It's on! We grab our boards and join the fun.

It's a super fun vibe now as there are only eight of us with the entire inside of the inlet to ourselves. Only 100 feet away on the other side of the rocks lie about 200 guys on short boards snaking each other, fighting and dropping in on each other for a wave that's not nearly as clean and long as the one we are surfing. Stoked out of my mind I ride wave after wave with these wonderful people. The vibe in the water is everything! The rides are long... nearly the length of a football field and they all begin at one point near the rocks and peel off to the right toward the Intracoastal Waterway. Point Break at New Smyrna Beach??? You bet!

After a half hour the tide starts pushing out and the wind picks up out of the south. That oil slick glass turns into a slightly bumpy texture and the consistency of the wave deteriorates. The fun is over, but I'm stoked for the rest of the work day!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Rincon Rocks

This photo feature was published a few months before I started this blog. It's about a trip I did last March to Rincon, Puerto Rico. We lucked out and experienced a massive North Atlantic swell. I'm going back in a month and I can't wait!

Rincon Rocks

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Holy Smokes Batman - 8 Miles!

I've run 8 miles before. I have not run 8 miles in say, the last decade. Coming to terms with the fact that my body is not as bulletproof as it was when I was 21-years-old, I start my "long run" with a very conservative-slow pace. I don't have any fancy running gadgets. All I have is a cheap Timex iControl watch so I'm guessing my pace is around 10 minutes to start out.

It's Sunday morning, 5:45 a.m. It's dark. Things immediately get strange not even a 1/2 mile into the run. I cross over U.S. 1 and pass the Audio Vision building when I notice an object buzz past the back of my head. Just a few feet over my head between the building and an ancient oak tree are about 100 small birds flying in a circle. They seem to jaunt back in forth and are flying so erratically that it's amazing they don't have multiple mid-air collisions. Deja vu hits me. I've seen this before. Where? India... Nicaragua... I can't remember. One of the small birds breaks away from the chaos and flies higher and I see it clearly with the early morning sky in the background. IT'S A FREAKING BAT!

I stop running and just kind of gaze at them. Hundreds of bats flying around just feet above my head. They are completely silent, unlike in the movies. I've seen bats in Florida before, but usually only one or two flying around. NOT HUNDREDS! I continue one with my long run.

WILDLIFE #1 = Hundreds of BATS!

Mile 1 comes amidst a peaceful section of Riverside Drive. It's quiet and still dark. I'm feeling really good so I pick up the pace to probably around 9:30 pace. I conquer the North Bridge and with that comes mile 3. I'm still feeling great, but I begin to notice something. I have to pee. This is strange because I used the bathroom before I left and I'm almost always fine for my runs without having to have a bathroom stop. Soon I realize what I did differently. Before leaving I ate a Shot Blok that had caffeine in it. Normally, I eat the regular ones with no caffeine, but since I was up a little late the night before with friends drinking beer of all things I needed an extra boost this morning. It's gotta be the caffeine! TallGuySurfing rarely drinks anything with caffeine in it as I can hardly sit still as it is normally!

CAFFEINE & SYLVAN = bathroom stop.

Soon I'm at the beach ramp so I jog over to the beach patrol station where I know there are bathrooms and showers. The sunrise is just beginning. There are about two dozen people standing on the beach staring at it. It reminds me of a scene in the movie, City of Angels, where all the angels gather each morning for the sunrise. I notice some of these people are still dressed in the close they wore out last night to the party scene on Flagler Avenue. Classic! I'm glad I'm not one of them. The bathrooms are still locked. Damn it. I'm here before the beach patrol take duty for the day! Argggggg.

As I head down the beach the sunrise is absolutely beautiful. The last time I watched a sunrise on my own beach here in town I had been up drinking and partying all night long. Today is a much better way to watch the sunrise. I notice some odd tracks going up the beach. They look like 4-wheeler tracks, but a little different. They are turtle tracks. Probably a loggerhead. There's a mound of dirt where she has laid dozens of eggs several feet below the sand only hours ago under the cover of darkness. The turtle patrol people have not arrived yet and I feel like I'm the first human to see them. A short distance further I see where she returned to the ocean to leave her eggs and eventual hatch lings to discover the cruelty of the ocean.

WILDLIFE #2 = Endangered Species Turtle tracks

Another mile down the beach and I find a port-o-potty to put to use. It smells like a landfill. Then it's heading back west toward the South Bridge. This is the biggest incline for miles around. It's a high rise bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway. I'm not sure what the pitch and rise of the slope is, but the height at the top is about 80 feet and it's about a quarter mile run to the top. As I'm running up the bridge the sun breaks the horizon almost on cue and starts beating down upon me. The temperature seems to rise 10 degrees and I start to feel nauseous. What's worse is my planned water stop is in Riverside Park on the other side of the bridge. I can see the bathrooms and even the little water fountain below in the park not even a 1/2 mile below. It's like the water fountain is yelling at me, "come on dude, you can make it. I'm waiting for ya!" Reaching the top of the bridge I stop and walk. I have to. It's not a choice. Perhaps if I had a running buddy with me I would have humped it out, but by myself it seems involuntary. Must walk now! Down below I notice movement in the water. Many years of surfing and fishing has taught me to notice these things. A mullet jumps wildly out of the water again and again. A large boil follows the mullet. I know this to mean impending doom for that poor mullet. Then a large tarpon, probably five feet long, swallows the mullet whole in a violent attack sending water spraying across the surface. I think to myself, "things could be worse, you could have just been eating by a large tarpon." The water fountain doesn't look far now and I start to run again. Peace out mile 6!

WILDLIFE #3 = Large tarpon and mullet/life and death motivation.

The water is super cold and hits my lips with a freshness that is indescribable. It's good. REAL GOOD. I force down a Power Bar Gel packet and drink more water. There's a drunk guy on a nearby bench smoking a cigarette. He's staring at me like, "what's your deal man?" I give him the "Screw off loser," stare back while nodding good morning to him and continue my run. Only 2 miles to go!

WILDLIFE #4 = Drunk man on park bench smoking cigarette.

The last two miles are uneventful. I ease into a zone. Perhaps I'm at the point of NOT noticing my surroundings. I'm focused on finishing. Tunnel vision for sure. I pick up the pace a little and my body makes me slow back down after a short ways. My knees are fine. No cramps. I just have a little bit of "get-there-itis." The final stretch is before me and I can see my own finish line in the distance. My Chemical Romance's, "I'm Not Okay," starts playing in my iPod. I feel okay as I cross the finishing point, tear off my drenched shirt and headband, start walking for my cool down and start to feel the "runner's high" hit me. I just ran EIGHT FREAKING MILES and most of my friends are still sleeping! Am I okay? I feel fine, but somehow I relate to the song on a small level. I feel like I can eat a small animal. Who knew running would make me so hungry!?!?

I manage to surf for three hours later in the morning with some friends that give me the "you are NOT OKAY" look as I paddle up and tell them I just ran 8 miles. Later in the evening as the sun is setting I surf again, this time because my roommate wants to learn. He takes a pounding and after an hour looks more beat up than myself. He gives me the "how do you do it and make it look so easy," look. It's then that I know after burning about 2,500 calories and still going strong, sunrise to sunset, that I know that I am truly OKAY!