Wasp Nest Saga

So, the wasps are finally gone.

Here's the nest!I was amazed when I tipped over the basketball hoop and saw the nest. Huge, but, once I was sure I wasn’t going to get swarmed, what struck me was the different color pulp that the critters had used, and how it was a neutral brown color, not having been weathered by the sun.

Big as a basketballThrew the old Gallery Furniture basketball in the frame for size.


As big as the shovelWhat knocked me out, though, was that even after two separate poisoning attempts, there were still wasps and larvae wriggling around. Look at that thing – big as a shovel!

More closeupExtreme CloseupI’m also grudgingly in admiration of the pests. They’re amazing architects, and the structure is phenomenal. Just enough material to make it stable, no waste. All recyclable by the user.

Four miles yesterday, even though I spent the whole day building on the boys’ playscape. The roof that should have gone up two or three years ago is finally up. The four miles was good running, but miserably physically. It is wet, wet, wet.

Joe Papp – Real world Doping

VeloNews’ interview with Joe Papp, who crashed while taking blood thinners and an EPO-like substance, is absolutely riveting. Go read it.

I’d like to highlight one of Dr. Richardson’s points, though, as it emphasizes a thought that I’ve had for a while; namely that, for riders currently doping, the incentive is to continue, as coming clean publicly can mean a lifetime ban:

Realistically, most of those involved in doping are using many products at the same time and for long periods of time before they are caught. They are currently penalized for one positive test per substance. That means that there is a built-in disincentive to be honest. Indeed, if a rider were to reveal the whole ugly story he or she would risk being charged with a second (non-analytical) positive and a likely lifetime ban from competition.


Augustathon is over, or at least chalked up as a not quite achieved goal.

I actually dropped it last night – really, really long day at work, and all I wanted after the kids were asleep last night was to be asleep too. So, I slept. Clear on through from 9 until 5:30, 8 and a half hours of bliss.

I’d intended to pick it up again today, maybe even see if I could leg out six miles to make up for yesterday’s slack. I got home even before supper was ready, got to enjoy some sunshine and green grass with the boys. Life was good.

We were shootin’ some hoops on the driveway, when, suddenly, we were surrounded by wasps. Turns out that some yellowjackets had built their home under the middle basketball hoop (We’ve got three – a 10 footer for me, a mobile 8 footer for Jake that one of the neighbors was giving away, and a tiny plastic hoop for Nate), and were making even more of an objection to our playing basketball than folks who knowingly buy homes in the flight path of an airport’s runway do to holiday air travel.

I got stung twice – once on the temple, and once on the left pinky. Luckily, neither of the boys got stung (again – both of them had gotten stung this week, but I hadn’t had a chance to find the nest). We zipped on down to the General Store, bought some heavy-duty Raid, and sprayed the nest.

After supper, as the sun was going down, I tipped over the hoop so I could make sure to saturate the nest. It’s huge. I took a picture, and will get it up on flickr this weekend. It’s really pretty cool – can’t wait to dig it out. I hadn’t realized that the wasps would burrow like that.

So, again, tonight, I don’t feel much like running. I don’t necessarily count this as a failure, though – I’ve been doing an install at work the last couple of days, and have been fetching this and moving that – very un-engineer like, but enjoyable. I’m most proud of having figured out how to get lumber out of Shipping and making a protector for our power cable so it doesn’t get crushed while it’s crossing the pier.

The remaining 9 days of Augustathon should be no sweat – I’ll be rested, and I think I can reach the 93 miles for the month that I would have if I’d done a straight 3 miles per day. My legs feel strong – no twinges from the PF at all.

So, thanks for the support, feel free to mock if necessary, and go read Jeff’s post on confidence. If anything, even an attempted Augustathon and a resolve to salvage makes me think that this has been a great month.

21 days is a habit, right?

Augustathon continues, with the 21st day (22nd, actually – I ran on 31 July). Ali said that this ought to be a habit by now. Not sure that I’m buying that, but, in the idea’s defense, I haven’t exactly been in a routine. Catch as catch can isn’t conducive to forming habits.

I almost blew it last night, ‘cept Melissa, my lovely and talented wife, “encouraged” me to hit the road. So I did, and legged it out for 4 miles! Yeah, baby. Felt fine this morning.

Busy, busy, busy at work today. This evening it’s 56 and raining, so I did 5K on the dreadmill. AND, even though it doesn’t count, I came within one second of my Nike+ personal record – 26:06. Not fast, by any means, but something to shoot for.

I’ve been thinking about goals for the next year. Dave, over at Eager Feet (Another engineer/runner) used his 34th birthday to set goals. My 35th (AHHH!) is just around the corner; New Haven, my recurring race, is just around the corner; and I’m about to gear up for another Marathon campaign. So, here goes:

  1. Two hours at New Haven. Not ambitious – it’s on par with what I did last year, 15 minutes slower than my 2005 PR, and a minute/mile slower than I’ve been averaging. It’s also slower than I ran the Blessing of the Fleet (9:30 miles). But, I don’t think I’m going to get a longer run than 5 miles before the race, and I think the second half of New Haven is going to kill me. In a good way
  2. 20 miles per week base Assuming that I survive Augustathon, I like the idea of maintaining a 20 mile/week base. It’s three five milers during the week, and a 5 miler on the weekend. Or three four milers and an 8 miler on the weekend. Add two days of cross-training, and a day of rest, and it should be good. Again, the assumption here is that I can finish Augustathon healthy, unlike the last time I sustained 20 miles/week
  3. Stick to a training plan. Yeah, this is going to be a tough goal. My achilles heel, so to speak, in the past
  4. Diet. Yep, I think that it’s time to accept that running alone isn’t going to get me where I want to be. So, 1 September, I go back to counting calories. My goal is 160 by 1 December. After that, I’ll have 5 months to train for Oklahoma City
  5. 4 hours at Oklahoma City This is a long, long stretch. I plugged my recent 5K times into a race time calculator, and 26 minutes predicts a 4:30 marathon. Hmmm – checks with chart (4:34 at Mystic Places in 2005, and 5 hours at NYC two weeks later). Both of those races were at 165 lbs, give or take. Maybe if I can take off another 15 lbs and hit 155?

WOW – kick butt. Mystic Cycle is running commercials on local cable. Good spots, too.

So, I think that’s about it. Check out Chris Lydon’s interview with William Gibson. I’ve just started reading Spook Country, and it’s good. Re-read The Difference Engine while I was waiting to get Spook Country from the Groton Public Library, and really enjoyed it. The new one’s taking a little bit to get going, but that’s one of the things I’ve found from Neuromancer on.

unstructured and less than committed

Courtesy of Warren.

My thought upon reading those words was pretty much similar to the first time I saw Animal House and heard Dean Wormer’s dressing down of Flounder – “Son, fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life”.

What lines have tapped your inner slacker?