Why The Face? – Austin Public Pools

Younger me would be very proud of the amount of time I’ve put into my swim training for the Austin 70.3 in October. Just last week I swam six times in seven days, including the longest swim of my life! All this was made possible by Austin’s free public pools. Case in point: there’s a pool just 2.5 blocks from my house and another less than a mile from my office, so the logistics of my tri training have been a non-issue.

Well, all that’s a-changing. Starting now the pools are closing

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for the season. And by season I mean the entire year until next summer. Maybe it’s because the weather here in Central Texas gets too cold to be outside after mid-August. Or maybe it’s because everyone who had enjoyed swimming all summer have suddenly and in unison decided they don’t want to swim anymore. No, it ultimately comes down to budget. The city only budgets for the pools to be open a certain number of hours, and once the money is gone, the gates are locked. Only two pools remain open year-round, neither of which are near my house nor my office. Alas, some early morning commutes to the pool are likely in my future.

I can think of some ways these pools could stay open longer. For one, charge an admission fee to use the pool to make each pool self-sustaining. I mean, who closes public pools when it’s still 100*+ every day, and will be for the next month?




Why The Face? – McDonalds

Oh irony, how I enjoy you.  Recent news says that McDonald’s is the new Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon partner.  Sounds innocent enough until you realize that a fast food company responsible for a sizeable part of the obesity epidemic is partnering with an endurance event management company.  As Runner’s World reports “McDonald’s will be the “official quick service restaurant sponsor” of the events”.

I’m not a fan of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s parent company, Competitor Group, but not because of this.  I don’t like them because their events are bad.  And this doesn’t help how I perceive their image.

Idea!  I can see a great joint venture in the near future along the lines of a 26.2 Big Mac marathon for those who can’t run but who can eat 26 Big Macs in one sitting.  To be fair, McDonalds says this is about spreading the word of their more nutritious options and promoting a balanced diet.  Regardless, this is on Rock ‘n’ Roll and Competitor Group for making money-guided decisions rather than sticking to principles.


Why The Face? – Mental Case

Today I was supposed to go for a hard workout at the track.  Instead I slept in.  My legs (and really my whole body) were just tired, and there was very little chance of actually getting out of bed when my alarm went off at 5:15am.  Well I’m sitting here, anxious as all get out (that’s a saying, right?) about having skipped a run.  I think a big part is because I haven’t missed a run yet, except for two days after the Texas Independence Relay to recover.

Normally I’d go at lunch or after work to make it up, but neither option works today.  I realize it’s a tiny bit ridiculous, but I can’t quite shake it.  All will be right in the world.  I’ll just go for my run tomorrow.  But it turns out skipping a run has made me into some kind of mental case.  WTF running?  What is this spell you have over me?

Why The Face? – Trains

I’m fortunate to have showers at work so I can run during my lunch break.  There’s a route through nearby neighborhoods that take me over train tracks right at the end.  As I was finishing up I saw a train coming.  Not one to risk death to save 3 minutes, I decided to let it pass rather than jump the tracks.  Smart, right?  BUZZ.  Just after the engine passed me I heard it downshift and start braking.  A minute later, it was stopped.  I saw 4 options:

  1. Run to the front of the train and go around the engine.
  2. Run to the back of the train and go around the last car.
  3. Wait.
  4. Go over / through the train.
I stood there for a good 5 minutes debating:
  1. What if the train starts going while I’m running towards the front?  Longer wait.  No.
  2. How long is this thing?  Is there even anywhere to run alongside it?  No.
  3. No.
  4. Obviously yes.
In true Wesley Snipes fashion, I tossed my water bottle through the train, hoisted myself up onto a train car, and shimmied through to the other side.  I hopped off and wrapped up my run.  No big deal.  But seriously?

WTF!  Stupid trains.

Why The Face? – Sheltered

This past weekend a froworker had some in-law relatives

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in town from Chicago. As the resident food person on the team, I sent him a list of must-eat restaurants to take visitors. I chose places that would give a well-rounded picture of what Austin has to offer. I was given real-time updates where they decided to dine:

McDonalds. Buffalo Wild Wings. Cheddars. McDonalds. Chick Fil A. McDonalds.

WTF! Enjoy the pink slime.


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Why the Face? – Milky Way

Some major bad news just got dropped up in here.  After this morning’s 20 mile run to work (badass!), I had a post-lunch craving for a candy bar.  My go-to is a Twix, but knowing it has cookies in it (and therefore not gluten free), I opted for my second favorite: a Milky Way.  It was delicious.

The bad news that Colin busted out is that a Milky Way is not gluten free either.  Most candy bars are, including Snickers and Reese’s, but apparently the chocolate-malt nouget comes from malted barley (i.e., wheat).

WTF, Mars Inc?  WTF.

Why The Face? – Colin in DC

In a new series called Why The Face? I’m putting together right now with no promised regularity I will point out things that are so ridiculous and out of the realm of normal that they deserve their own category.

Today’s issue of Why The Face? we visit Colin’s performance at the Rock ‘n Roll DC half marathon yesterday.

His time: 1:25:27.  WTF!