Bustin' the deuce.

I recall David Letterman referring to his weight getting over 200 pounds as "bustin' the deuce." As I recall, he used that metric as incentive to drop that weight and get in better shape generally. (And that was before his quintuple-bypass at age 52.)

I am shorter than he is (he's 6'2"; I'm 5'9"), older than he was at the time of his bypass, and yes, I'm bustin' the deuce. I am trying to follow the advice I read a few weeks ago (either here or someplace else) about weighing oneself on Wednesday. Having done that, I'm at 204 right now. Sweet Jesus: I just looked up my BMI, and I'm now officially in the "obese" category.

I've got to move more towards eating vegetarian/vegan meals. That's not the solution for everybody, but it's the one that I feel will move me towards the change I want.

Ah, completion of something. About time.

Even as I was waiting for the start of the St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon, my primary thought was: My back. This is going to be a problem.

And it was, though in the persistent-dull-ache category, so anytime I felt like walking another half-mile through a water stop, I did.

But here are my general takeaways from the race:

Good course. Mostly flat--flat enough that the very minor hills seem like mountains out of nowhere.

Good support. Nuun and water at every stop. GU was promised, but I never saw it, but that's not a big deal in a half-marathon. Should've brought my own, anyway. (Unofficial but much appreciated course support: a microbrew had half-cups of its fine product. Yes!)

Emotional boosts: 1. Running through St. Jude and getting high-fives, cheers, and thanks from a patient in a wheelchair and lots of families of patients. 2. A young woman in her twenties holding a sign that said, "Because you run, I am a survivor." I teared up a bit at that one. 3. My oldest son holding a sign that said, "My Dad: My Hero from Day 1." Yeah, 'bout cried there, too. I am a lucky man.


Half-Marathon. It should be manageable.

Really, I think this may only be the second time I'll have been running since my disastrous crash-out in October. But I am doing the St. Jude Half Marathon in Memphis this coming Saturday.

I am told this is a flat course and an enjoyable run. A few days ago, the weather forecast called for rain; today, it says there will only be a 5% chance of rain. Should be about 40 degrees at the start, which I find quite tolerable, as long as I'm dressed appropriately.

Plus, I'll be spending Friday evening with friends and Saturday afternoon with my son (and, presumably, his girlfriend, who will be running the race as well).

Hopefully, a successful race Saturday will be the end-of-the-year silver lining of a dark-cloud-heavy 2016.

Enough already.

Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday.

Oh, and despite what they tell you on those days, they'll be glad to take your money the next day, or the day after that ("Black Friday price extended!").

Most of these had the opposite effect on me; not only did I not shop* or donate, mostly I unsubscribed from most of their email lists.

* Except for bow ties. Kind of went nuts there. Bought 'em for myself, in case you're wondering.

How did my Saturday go? Swimmingly, thanks.

IMG_3225 I'm still trying to locate the results of my second-ever swim meet (the first one was this same meet two years ago), but I had a terrific time. Doing this gets me thinking more and more about making swimming rather than running my primary exercise.

I had an unusual amount of trouble, comparatively speaking, with the backstroke. Trouble, as in my head kept popping underwater, and I was sputtering quite a bit in a 25-meter race. I'll have to work on that, which means I'll have to start showing up to swim practice.

The complete upside is that I'll have at least two PR's, as I had not ever raced the 50 free and 25 breast. I'll be interested to know whether my backstroke time beat my 2014 time of 26.44. My guess is that I'm stronger now but not necessarily a better swimmer.

Charting the future. (Or at least the next calendar year.)

What better time to map out 2017 running/triathlon goals (or, as I like to call them, PR's)?

First off, none of them include a running race of 26.2 miles, since I failed that distance twice already this year.


I have already scoped out 16 different races that I might do next year (I am including a 5K on December 31 that normally takes place on January 1).

Half-Marathon: This is my main time goal. Hoping to get under 2:30. I changed my registration for the St. Jude Rock 'n' Roll Nashville from the full to the half-marathon. I ran that race this past April on very little training but came within about 70 seconds of my PR. I'll consider this my "A" race, but I'm considering others in February and March as tuneups.

15K: I like this distance. It feels like almost as much work as the half. Ran two of these this year, one in February and one in April. I plan to do both of those same races again, as the latter will be two weeks before my "A" race. PR should not be a problem, as I was new to this particular distance in 2016.

10K: Would have to go at a sub-9:00 pace per mile to break this. The ones I might be running are April 8 and Labor Day. Might sit out the April race, since that's a week before the 15K I want to do and three weeks before the half. The PR came on a pretty warm day, as I recall.

8K: My hometown Chattanooga Chase is a tough, hilly course, but I hope to go sub-45:00.

5K: I'm not big on 5K's, as they feel like beginner races to me, but hey, if they're so easy, how did I not PR in this in 2016? Best bet on the PR for this one is the WSM/Springer Mountain Farms 5K. Boring but flat course, and you get to have your picture taken on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry afterwards, which is cool. You wouldn't think it would be that cool, but it's cool.

Triathlons: I only did two of these this year, so I wouldn't have qualified for the (low) USAT age-group rankings. (USAT requires three races for its rankings.) For now, triathlons are less of a priority race-wise, but I still want to swim (with NAC Masters) and ride my bike just for the cardio benefit.

I think I'm going to skip the Iron Nugget Sprint Triathlon, first, because it's not exactly a sprint (half-mile swim! Hilly 5K run!), and second, because it's going to be a week after my half-marathon.

Would still love to do the Olympic-length Rocketman Triathlon in Huntsville in August, but I'll have to see how my swim fitness is shaping up.