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Aaron's Crazy Race Diary - 2008 Day 24

It’s Not Getting Easier…
Monday, May 12, 2008
13 Days Until Bolder Boulder

What a beautiful day. It was 40°F or so early in the morning and the Sun was rising earlier every day. I just loved that. The rain we had a day ago had cleaned the air and it seemed to still be fresh. I got ready for my run, took the dogs out, and fought with my OUTLOOK software. Once engaged with the computer, time flies by for me and suddenly I heard the dogs barking.

Angela had arrived and I was not quite ready to shoot out the door so she got to meet the four dogs. That always was an experience. We headed out as the Sun was just about to begin its ascent over the horizon. There was a gentle wind – enough to cool us down but not enough to hold us back. It felt chillier than I had expected but that was fine. Overall, the conditions were perfect for a run.

The problem was, again after one mile (and it was primarily on a downhill slope), I was exhausted. At the 1½ mile point, I slowed down and started to walk. We were laughing about the instructor in one of Angela’s graduate courses and, between being tired and laughing, I could barely move.

Unfortunately, that set the tone for the rest of the run. I managed to somehow keep going but, at different points, I stopped and walked until I felt better. This was disappointing, especially after having had yesterday as a day off from exercise.

We had run almost 5½ miles on Friday but did so at a slow pace. On Saturday, we had gone over 6½ miles but had done so lethargically. With Sunday as a day of rest, I should have been tooling today. Instead, I felt the same malaise I experienced on Saturday – an overall body exhaustion and a high degree of discomfort in my stomach and chest.

My running partner didn’t object to walking some of the time. She said she, too, was tired but I knew she could have sprinted away of she had been running with someone better. I apologized for holding her back but she said she didn’t care.

We then started talking about how it may be possible we needed to do other types of exercise. Perhaps running all the time wasn’t best and it would be better to do some cross-training so we started discussing some possibilities such as the stationary bike, outdoor bicycling, weight training, et cetera. Right now I just wanted a couch to flop onto.

Somehow I finished the run. We ended up doing about 4 miles and it took us an hour. It was pathetic but it still was good exercise. I knew one of my problems was my weight – I was back at 206 today – and vowed to be a “good boy.”

I got Holly up, got cleaned up, made breakfast, took her to school, and then went back home to eat a bite and read the newspapers. The “bite” turned into four fried eggs, five honey and butter biscuits, and some milk. I knew I needed to buy some fruit today. And I knew I needed to try and avoid eating much more if I didn’t want to swell up like a balloon.

The day was spent dealing with e-mail software problems, doing prep work for tonight’s “live” show, reviewing the Websites and the Senate shows, and the usual host of daily crises. Dick Wadhams, the Campaign Manager for Republican candidate Bob Schaffer sent their acceptance of my offer to serve as a moderator if the campaigns agreed to have debates. I was waiting to hear back from Mark Udall’s campaign but hadn’t heard a peep yet. I did notify them of Bob’s acceptance.
During the day, one of Holly’s teachers called and told me she had gotten upset with the teacher. This was a “first” for Holly so the teacher, Holly’s art instructor, and I talked for a while. I thought it was great that she would call out of her concern for Holly. It was another example of what a great staff taught at Holly’s school, Peak To Peak K-12 Charter School.

I assured her art teacher that Holly had a long weekend with a friend and her cousin, was tired, and felt overwhelmed at times. I guessed a convergence of events and conditions resulted in her abnormal behavior. That afternoon, when I picked up Holly from school, she confirmed my analysis. It’s tough being a pre-teen or a teenager these days. Of course, it’s tough parenting one of these young people, too. But that’s part of the deal when you become a parent. You get the tough times with the easy times and the fun times with the terrible times. And you never know what that balance is going to be.

I had to go shopping and do some housecleaning as well as write up questions for the show with Governor Ritter and print them out on the special cards we used for the show. The usual myriad phone calls dominated the day but I was making progress.

When I took a break for lunch, I decided to be good and ate one tangelo along with some lemon-lime seltzer water. I decided that was going to be it until I had dinner with Holly. It would be a test of my willpower. An hour later, however, I wasn’t going to bet on myself. I was hungry and my fat cells were up in arms. I imagined them all being agitated with tiny, upraised forks and knives.

After getting Holly and helping her with her schoolwork, I went back to work myself. Then I made dinner. We had steamed broccoli, tilapia with garlic and butter, and curly fries lightly flavored with garlic powder and salt. It was one of the better meals I had prepared recently.

At 6:00 pm, I left for the TV Station in Denver. Several students from the Ohio Center for Broadcasting were coming to observe the show. After making arrangements to get everyone food (yes, it was McDonalds), I talked with the group for a while. They had good questions and were excited to see the behind-the-scenes process of doing a “live” call-in show.

They were especially intrigued by my discussions with my team and the KBDI staff about how we needed tougher questions. In the previous program with the Governor, he barely got one or two difficult questions. Most were so easy even the Governor was embarrassed.

Call-screening is a tough job, especially because I take so many calls compared to most Talk Television or even Talk Radio shows. I like the connection with citizens and the opportunity to hear what concerns them the most. And the excitement of not knowing what a caller is going to say adds an element missing on taped shows.

Our goal today was not to just get each caller’s name, municipality of residence, and subject matter but to try and put on the air those callers with questions which would give the Governor the opportunity to address a difficult or complex issue – preferably one which was of major concern today.

This was the only television call-in program the Governor did quarterly (or at all) as far as we knew. We usually put the program on our Website right after the show so people who missed it still could watch it (www.HarberTV.com). Bill Ritter always did a stellar job and tonight was no different.

When he arrived, I noticed he had more security than usual. Two rather large men accompanied him and I assumed at least one was a State Trooper. When he joined me in February, he had come to the Station alone so this was a noticeable difference. I didn’t get a chance to ask him if there were some new security concerns but I also had noticed his daily schedule, sent to the Press, recently began having less specific location information.

I hoped there had not been any threats or problems but, when you’re a Governor, all kinds of concerns arise. Later, on the show, he mentioned how an armed man had been shot and killed by a State Trooper a year ago right in the State Capitol. It was a vivid reminder of how vulnerable elected officials can be.

The show went well. I took a record number of calls and the call-screening was greatly improved. Nevertheless, we had two glitches. The initial problem was the first call came from a disabled person using an operator to assist him. Unfortunately, the operator garbled the message to the point it was unintelligible. In the meantime, precious seconds and even minutes were passing and none of the other calls were getting answered – and I wasn’t getting any caller information to be able to start taking calls.

Of course, viewers had no idea there was a problem. They saw the Governor and yours truly conversing normally so, as far as they were concerned, everything was hunky-dory.

Then, when we did get calls on the board, the phone system seemed to go haywire. I assumed the tremendous call volume had overwhelmed the system and calmly said we needed to reset the phone system. It turned out the system was working just fine. It had been rewired and, as a result, gave a different sound when a caller gave up waiting and had hung up. We quickly overcame that problem and I began taking calls again.

After the show, the Governor visited briefly and then left. He was a great sport to do the show. I knew he had a long day and was scheduled to travel to Colorado Springs early the next morning. On top of that, I knew he felt his family time was sacrosanct and had given me his evening to do the program. I appreciated his willingness to do that.

The OCB students wanted to ask me more questions so I stayed for almost an hour after the show and got home by 10:30 pm. I was wired, however, and didn’t get to sleep until 12:30 am. I knew I’d be dead meat for the run tomorrow but figured I’d do the best I could.