Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Scattered

A shotgun blast of a day. High velocity pellets hitting from too many directions. Nearly non-stop at the office. (Though my new plan is to only open email two or three times a day and avoid it as a constant distraction.) Mom calls while driving, tells me she is trailing an ambulance and G'Ma is en route to the ER, for chest pains. Many worrisome hours later it isn't a heart attack, but possibly intra-cranial fluid. That particular issue may linger for days. Cindy keeps taking tests. A friend's sole server at work gets completely ransacked by a Russian crypto trojan that encrypts the entire system and holds it hostage until they pay an anonymous account with fresh bitcoins. And another friend has voodoo invade his home network after a rainstorm so now all the packets are soaked and nothing works consistently. Feels like Monday all over again. 

On a good note, Dr J popped my back so well yesterday that it completely stopped hurting, at least for now. My knee isn't hurting when walking. And a test run is on the agenda for tomorrow. Still time to train for the 70.3 in May. But it is going to be close.

Things are always close in my life.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Entangled

"Hey," he said, "I was just thinking of you."

"Hi," she responded, "I was just thinking of you."

We're all entangled. You, me, them, us. Everyone. On levels we can neither see nor fully understand. And we feel it every day rarely considering how or way.

If you chose the path of religious belief, the universe as we know it was created by a divine being collectively called God who (depending on your faith) spoke his/her name or sang creation into existence.

If you chose the path of scientific belief, the universe began with a Big Bang and everything flowed forth from that immeasurably small point in space and time.

So previously we were a song. Or a name. Or a sound. Or light. And everything that has come since comes from one single point where everything we were, are, or will be existing simultaneously and collectively. We were light, once. We were sound, once. We all occupied the space of a name, once.

We were entangled together then. And we're entangled together now. We just have more space between each of us.

But in rare moments of selfless clarity, we can feel the connections.

We think about that person, and they call.

We send them a message to she how they're doing, and they say they were thinking of us.

One day, after the passing of our egos, we'll figure out that none of us ever existed and cannot exist, without the others. But it will be a long time from now.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Road To Traditions 2014 - Week 7

Woke to mid-40 temperatures. Warned to nearly 70 degrees by mid-day. Lunch with my parents, and Great Grandama. Everyone doing well and no complaints worth mentioning. A dozen buffalo wings for Your Humble Narrator. And off to the lake after.

Team assembled early. Bright and sunny. Then we hit the water. The FREAKING COLD water. After several days of rain, we muscled through the second coldest swim of the season. Barely above sixty. With several spots even colder. Crisp, painful cold. Not enough to numb you. But cold enough to resemble a burning sensation as it bites along the length of you.

Funny thing about the lake, when you're in it, the water doesn't LOOK that dirty. From above, it is like an ugly mud hole. Cleaner than Robinwood, though! Tradition never affects my sinuses, like our usual haunt.

One of the team members offered a running clinic. Bunch of the first-timers talked it. Some of the new club members, too. Running drills, techniques, and a bunch of Q&A. Good stuff from a great coach.

Meanwhile, several of us hit the bikes early. Started off strong. Pulled away from the pack. They (Jack & Luke) caught me at the mid-point. Then we hauled ass back. Full trip, we averaged 19.1MPH. Likely a new PR for me. If you discounted the first and last quarter mile, through the neighborhood where we have to slow, then our average jumps to 19.7! Definitely a PR for me.

Great day. Great training. Great friends & family. Life is good. And not everyone can say as much.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Recovering

So this is my new normal: Ice the affected area for 20min, electric stim treatment for 7 minutes, couple of minor strength moves on the left side, and trigger point treatment across the roller. Twice a day with all of that. No running in the meanwhile. Biking is okay. Swimming is okay. Rinse and repeat each day. Until further notice.

Best guess for recovering? 2 - 4 weeks.

Then decide what to do about the Gulf Coast 70.3. It might have to be skipped...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Dad's Birthday - 2014

Dad isn't big on celebrating, or even acknowledging, his birthday. Was lucky he even showed up at my office today. Not unusual for him to avoid attention. But, right on schedule, he peeked around the corner to see what was happening. Had a card for him. And a present. Nothing major. Just something to hold the skyrocket of loose bills he keeps in his pocket. Funniest part? He shook the box and said, "It's a Gerber?" Then couldn't immediately figure out that it was a money clip. And took him even longer to press the somewhat-concealed catch to release the blade. Neat little widget: Gerber GDC Money Clip. He seemed to like it. Hope hit makes him happy and he thinks of me on occasion when he uses it.

Happy Birthday, Dad. Glad to have you around for another orbit of the sun!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Finding The Problem

Second day of finding the problem, with Dr J. Yesterday's x-rays point to several minor issues: improper curve in the neck, shoulders aren't level, slight kink in the upper back, lower back too straight, and hips aren't level. The back issues could be causing less force to be properly absorbed in the upper body, thereby transferring it to the legs. The shoulders and hips are bringing up my right left, making my left leg absorb excess force. With two different problems there's no wonder my left knee is complaining.

Pretty simple plan: treat the back with standard adjustments. Treat the knee with stim therapy. Should be much closer to normal in 4 - 6 weeks. In the meanwhile, training shouldn't be affected. Other than the diminished running.

video
Electric stim was pretty wild. Muscle jumping uncontrollably. Fun to watch. Had no idea what was really injured until they lit me up. Some muscle or tissue deeeeep beneath the surface would holler like a banshee when the current hit it. Probing the knee manually doesn't reveal anything. But the electricity finds it. Then they get into a slobberknocker fight. Hopefully the treatment will get me back on the road.

Tune in next week to find out!

Monday, March 24, 2014

The 4HB "5K to 50K" 12 Week Program - On Hold

Completed Week 7, but too far off schedule. The issues with my left knee/leg aren't conducive to thousands of meters of sprinting. Or clean & jerks. Or jump ropes. Or much of anything other than swimming and biking, right now. And neither of those two activities are actually part of the official training.

So with a heavy heart, this initial at the 4HB Challenge needs to be cancelled. Have to fix this lingering issue. Then finish a 70.3 in May. And start back over.

For now, many of my my initial thoughts remain the same: the program is too difficult for the vast majority of people, involves skills most people have not developed, and the program is the furthest thing from making somebody "effortlessly superhuman."

But, if you can master the basic skills, and if you can stick to it, the program will make you faster. It certainly started to improve my sprints and my longer runs.

Will it have you prepared to run a 50K? Still not sure about that. Have to find out, next time.

In the meanwhile, if anyone has actually completed the whole thing, pleas contact me! Otherwise, there is still a chance Your Humble Narrator will be the first.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Don't Drown

The number one secret to being a successful triathlete? Don't drown. And not just at the race. Or the training. Or the details of coordinating everything. Or with the family. Or with the friends. Or with work. Or with any other facets of your complex and highly sensitive life. You have to keep breathing and fight your way through it with as much poise and strength as you can muster on any given day. And as long as you don't drown, you win.

Minor victory of the day for Your Humble Narrator: No damage in the left leg! After an early morning (and very cold!) swim, Dr. Kat checked out the wounds and gave me the thumbs up for further training. Just have to work on more stretching and strengthening the left side to be as strong as the right.

So mostly good news. Just have to re-educate my legs. Somehow. And we'll see how that goes...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Stupid Leg

So despite the somewhat-slow pace last night, my left leg did not do well this morning. Unsure of what hurts, though. Very weird. Moving onto my toes results in very pronounced soreness around my shin and deep in my calves. Much more aggressive levels of hurt than previously experienced after the Seaside Half Marathon. Smacks me as double odd that running less than half the distance creates significantly more unpleasant results.

Spent a bit of time lining up an ortho visit for tomorrow. First call: April 1st, almost two weeks. Second call: March 26th, one week. And then I get (of all things) a Facebook message with an offer to see me tomorrow at 1:30P. And that's the plan.

My own current theory is that the inserts in my shoes (for high arches) are not needed, because the shoes themselves already have support for high arches. And the double dose is negatively affecting my form during running, which results in extra stress and strain. Hopefully the doctor can confirm nothing is torn or damaged, and then we experiment.

More as it becomes available.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pub Run - 03/18/14

Trying to remember my last run at the pub. Late January? Early Feb? Either way, just not the same without the alluring comfort of a cold beer afterwards. Not to mention the foodery is closing (again) and what remains is only passable. At best. So little to entice a nerd to get his run on. Except the company. The main draw is social. Since training solo sucks.

The run went okay. My first one since Seaside. Took it easy. 5 miles. 9:26/mile pace. Even with several breaks along the way. Would have been closer to 8:30/mile, without slowing. Felt good. Just tired from lack of sleep and too many wasps buzzing behind my eyes. Good starting point for the final eight weeks before my next 70.3 (in early May.)

The rest is just rust and space dust.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Saint Patrick Hates My Sobriety

Made the decision to stay away from Da Booze on February 1st. Been sticking firmly to that decision. 44 days!

But Saint Patrick hates my sobriety. He taunts me mercilessly. "Stop by the pub, Jon!" he says. 

"It's okay," he says. "You can relent. For one day. You will be forgiven." His hands form the Warding Signs. Soothing my nerves. Lowering my defenses. 

"Have some delicious corned beef. And drink these sacred green beers," he says. 

Mainly, it is the the cider which calls me. Not just the taste. But the calming embrace. The serenity. Softening all my edges. 

Thoughts of moderation begin to infiltrate my local philosophy. Just lapse for one day. My will is strong. Three is my limit. That will be okay.

But it isn't okay. Too many calories. Too many sugars. Too many carbs. Totally NOT worth the damage it will do to my training and healthy efforts. 

My brain knows the juice not worth the squeeze. 

But my heart needs its embrace. To hear its song whispered so softly in my lone good ear. Feel the warmth. The glow consuming me. Turning my outside in. 

(sigh)

Moderation isn't really moderation if the cider sings to you on a daily basis. Maybe my non-problem is a problem despite my protestations and claims of self-imposed moderation. Only way to know for sure is to maintain the sobriety. Stand on the wall. Shake my fist and scream into the night: Leave me alone, Saint Patrick! Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up, here.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Road To Traditions 2014 - Week 6

The morning wasn't pleasant or cooperative. Several inches of water in the front yard. Tornado warnings. Thunderstorm warnings. Shakespearean skies. My weather app reported 60% chance of rain at 2PM. Not good odds. So RtT was officially cancelled for today.

The Brave & The Bold went out, anyway. Mostly team members: Luke, Lisa, Jack, Onnie, JG, Eddie, Allen, Meg, Jaci, Peggy, me, and more.

Top of the water registered 67 degrees. Probably closer to 63 on the face and hands and feet. Then, as we skirted the back stretch, several natural streams dropped it by at least 5 degrees. If not more.

Four laps for Ye Old Nerd. Roughly 2400 meters. A personal record, in the lake. First one was with the men. Second and third were escort missions for newbies. Last one was solo. They all felt good. And strong.

Rain threatened by the time we finished. Some folks ran. Some folks biked. Jon just left. Wasn't going to risk the weather. My luck, it would have gotten ugly.

Six weeks until Traditions. Looking like a record year.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Our values

Me: Thanks for picking up new shoes for me. Needed them. Have you seen these old ones?
She: (looking at the worn soles) Should have done it sooner!
Me: We couldn't afford it.
She: You could have just spent less on training.
Me: Rather have holes in my soles.

She?New stuff. Me? Health comes first.

And those are our values.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Pi Day 2014

March 14th. 3.14.. Pi. Liam says the school used to celebrate it. Not this year, though. So we had our own celebration. He and Bryce joined me for a brief jaunt over to Irish Coast Pub. Burgers and chocolate cake topped with candles 3 -  1 -  4.  No drinks or free shots  (not a drop for me since quitting on Feb 1st!) But some unexpected life lessons for the lads from a nearby table of mildly inebriated but terribly angry 30-something women who loudly and venomously disclosed their not-so-private thoughts about the value of my particular gender.

We'll have a bigger celebration next year. 3.1415!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Recovery

The recovery of my left leg has taken longer than expected. Complications of age? Severity of the issue? (shrug) Rest. Ice. Ibuprofen. They are my friends as of late.

The tendinitis resulted from over-aggressive training and pushing personal limits too hard for too long. Should have iced it sooner. Didn't get enough advice soon enough.

The week after my half marathon, the ache migrated north, deep into the left inner thigh. It may (or may NOT!) have been aided by overly-aggressive Crossfit. Especially back squats. And lunges. Either way, very unpleasant and unexpected results. Further training wasn't advised. (And may not have been possible.) So Tuesday and Wednesday became additional rest days.

Greatly improved today, however! Two days of rest has all but eliminated the previous aches and pains. Tested the leg with a 17 mile spin and then a long walk. If it had not been bordering on injured earlier in the week, there would have been a run on the agenda. But no need to push my luck.

Current plan is a bit of a swim tomorrow. More ice and anti-inflammatory doses. Then a 5K on Saturday morning. Anything after that is open to debate.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

AWOL

My Muse has been absent recently. No energy to write.  No inspiration. Nothing even remotely creative.

Most nights, after training, there is little left in the tank. My routine is usually: hang with the kids while eating, decompressing briefly on the sofa (often while catching up on the DVR.) read for about an hour, then sleep.

The thought of getting on the computer after work has no appeal. None. It borders on torture. The intention is there. But the spirit is not.

However, it is time to catch up. Get this cob-webbed ol' brain of mine decluttered. Can decompress some other time...

Monday, March 10, 2014

The 4HB "5K to 50K" 12 Week Program - Week 6 (Parts I, II, and III)

The 12 Week Program hit a speed bump for several weeks (likely to include this one.) What should have been the ACTUAL Week 6 was hampered by what turned out to be pretty severe tendinitis. Plus, the end of the week was for recovering before a half marathon. The following week was better, but not according to plan. And this (the third) week was off the plan, too, due to different pains in the same leg. Likely caused by over compensating from the tendinitis. Overall, a bad drag on the training. Hoping to get back on track starting this coming Monday, with Week 7.

Week 6 - Part I only had a couple of sessions in the gym, then three days of rest, ice, and ibuprofen.

Week 6 - Part II had a swim on Tuesday, Crossfit + running + rowing on Wednesday, biking on Thurs, and another Crossfit session on Friday.

Week 6 - Part III (this week) will be somewhat bare, too, due to recovery.

Week 7 will get started on Monday the 17th, and details will be forth coming on Monday the 24th.

Sorry for the delay and deviation from the course. But the injuries were not expect. Nor welcomed!


Monday, February 24, 2014

The 4HB "5K to 50K" 12 Week Program - Week 5

A strange thing happened on the journey through Week 5: it transformed into a week surprises, small victories, and multiple personal records.Significant progress. At last!

Monday started off with a bang. Not one, but three workouts. Lifting in the morning (which actually SUCKED because my brain wasn't all the way up to speed and the workout was half-ass, at best.) Then 18.5 miles on the trainer. And finally, some magical, amazing 200m sprints. Not sure whose legs were bolted onto  my waist, but my sprints have never (EVER!) felt so strong or fluid. Knees rising. Breathing well. Arms pumping. Right pace. Right timing. Everything just clicked and the average was somewhere south of 39 seconds each. A new personal record.

Tuesday was a long run. Nearly 10K. 54 minutes and change. Foggy and humid, it required several stops just to clean my damn glasses. But Peggy said she couldn't keep up. Rachel said it was great pacing me. And Nancy said she'd never seen me go so strong. Ended up last across the threshold, but mine was the longest run. But still an excellent workout. Lots of strength throughout.

Wednesday haunted me all day. The workout was supposed to be: 5 rounds of 100 double unders + 20 burpees. To me, not being able to do double unders (where the rope passes under you twice each jump) means you have to double the count, to 200. Coach Sara said otherwise. If you cannot do double unders, you TRIPLE the count. So my workout would be 5 rounds of 300 jumps + 20 burpees. My previous record on jumps was one round of 200. Thinking of 5 x 300 wasn't good. But Sarah said to do it. And it was done! Over 44 minutes from beginning to end! And 1500 jumps along with 100 burpees leaves an explosion of sweat on the floor. Once again, the impossible became my new reality.

Thursday had 17.5 miles on the bike. And helped one of the newbies with swimming. Don't miss the days when more than one unbroken lap was impossible. But do enjoy watching people improve. And pleased to know that people are finding a new appreciation of all my efforts across recent years. Saying you can do this is definitely not the same as doing it.

Friday was a rest day. Feel asleep late Thursday night, and then a massive thunderstorm at three in the morning wrecked me for all of Friday. But some rest was deserved.

Saturday was biking in Pass Christian. 19.6 miles. Except it was all spent sweeping the newbies in the rear, so that nobody got lost. Enjoyed helping folks and encouraging them. But it was not much of a workout for me. Thankfully the seat didn't destroy me.

Sunday. Wow. SUNDAY was so full of awesome that it could be a post all to itself. Started with a decent 1200 meter swim and concluded with an epic 15K run. Broke my previous training 5K record with a sub-27min run. Broke my previous 10K (of any kind) record with a sub-54min run. And likely completed my fastest 15K ever and fast pace ever at 9:18/mile for nine miles. The spirit was upon me that night! Never felt so strong or fast or full of energy.

Hopefully all of this is a good sign. Midway through the program my mind is changing about it. Didn't have much (if ANY!) faith in it before. Starting to become a believer, though.

Tim Ferris may end up getting a written apology from me on here...

Week Six will be weird because of family events and the Seaside Half Marathon, but it still won't be easy. Never is!


Monday, February 17, 2014

The 4HB "5K to 50K" 12 Week Program - Week 4

Week Four was great with only one notable exception. (More on that later.) The workouts remain fairly quick and clean. Few significant surprises.

Been sleeping so well that it borders on unbelievable. In fact Saturday's workout exhausted me to the point of getting 10 hours of sleep that night. Something that hasn't happen in many years.

Eating like a bear but losing weight! Pants fitting differently. Shirts fitting differently. Waistline dropping back down. All around: significant levels of happiness!

If it hasn't been said previously, please allow me to stress: DO NOT TRY THIS UNSUPERVISED! Your interpretation of the 4HB Challenge may differ from mine, but my reading gives me the impression that anyone should be able to do it on their own. That's so far from the truth that suggesting it  pushes the book towards the fantasy genre. Your Humble Narrator is fortunate enough to be wed to a highly trained medical professional. My power lifting is directly supervised by a trained professional. And all of my workouts are done in a controlled, professional environment. It continues to be my opinion that only people in excellent physical condition should attempt these workouts. At a minimum, each workout should be personally adjusted to your specific abilities, rarely taken at face value. Some of them are significantly beyond my abilities and have to be throttle back to more reasonable limits. Your mileage may vary, but consider yourself warned.

How about the specific workouts for Week Four? Here are the highlights:

  • Monday - Front squats, one on the minute for 5 minutes, then deadlifts on the minute for 8 minutes. Really wild because my legs and back were terrible when starting the workout but felt 900% better by the end of it. Very doped up on adrenaline and awesome sauce after this one.
  • Tuesday - 7 Rounds of 7 hang cleans + 7 handstand pushups. Brutal and sweaty and very barbaric. Wanted to crush my enemies before me after finishing.
  • Wednesday - OH NOES! Totally craptacular run. Worst in many moons. Supposed to do 5 miles and could barely do 3. Very depressing and had to eat mac and cheese to cheer up.
  • Thursday - 1200 meter swim. Hate to say this but swimming is nearly effortless, now. Perhaps my pace needs to increase? Not sure but did 24 laps without getting winded. Supposed to do Tabata Runs on the treadmill, but skipped it after the terrible performance Weds.
  • Friday - 6 rounds of 5 power snatch + 200m rows. Quick and sweaty. Actually enjoy rowing!
  • Saturday - Ladder! Deadlifts then cleans then floor presses. 1 round x 10, 1 round x 9, 1 round x 8, all the way down to 1. Took 22:48 and felt like two hours. One of the longest workouts yet!
Being a middle aged Super Nerd is not conducive to power lifting. Squats do NOT come naturally to me. My coach politely yells at me all the time. But it is getting better. And the mechanics are slowly becoming natural. There's literally a complex, very specific science to it. Thrust with the hips, shrug the shoulders, pull up but close to your body, don't pull too soon, don't pull to far out, just as your momentum stops... ...slip UNDER the bar, land with your knees out, land on your heels, land with your butt out, land with your chest up... and all of this takes place in a split second. If you have not grown up with it, it isn't pretty and it isn't easy.

But here comes Week 5!

Monday, February 10, 2014

The 4HB "5K to 50K" 12 Week Program - Week 3

Week 3 went far better than Week 2! Despite recovering from a half marathon, eight different workouts still landed on my schedule!

  • Monday - Recovery super set of Kettlebells, dumb bell press, and chin-ups. 3 sets x 15 reps. But nothing crazy on the weights.
  • Tuesday - 10 x 200m sprints (which were brutal) and 2 Good Mornings on the minute for 10 minutes.
  • Wednesday - Rowing in the morning. In the evening: 5min of jump ropes, 5min of Turkish Getups, then 100 Hand Stand Pushups, separated every two minutes by 5 x Pendley Rows and 5 Hanging Power Cleans. 
  • Thursday - More ROWING! in the morning. And a 2000m swim in the evening.
  • Saturday - Deadlifts & Hand Stand Pushups: 21, 15, 9. 
Sunday was an Off Day, thankfully. Greatly needed it. With only ONE a week, they're like a Godsend when you finally get there.

The workouts are still mostly quick and (once you are used to them) not very complex. Being a middle-aged, frumpy nerd, my output isn't the same as a 20-something. But there is still a tremendous effort. 

Feeling stronger. Maybe feeling faster. (Springing is getting easier.) Hungry all the time. Popping Ibuprofen like candy. But sleeping better than ever.

Nearly 1/3rd the way into the program, as Week 4 beckons!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Dipped

Perhaps this secret has been shared previously. If so, here it is again: cold & hot, cold & hot.One of my favorite secrets to rapid recovery involves alternating long exposure between the cold dip and the hot tub. The dip is between 40 - 50 degrees. The tub is around 100 degrees.

Exposure to cold makes your blood seek refuge in your core and major muscle groups, going as deeply as possible to remain warm. Exposure to prolonged heat makes your blood go to your extremities and where your skin is the thinnest so that it can radiate the heat and protect your sensitive organs from thermal overload. Alternating between the two causes lots of awesome blood flow to your major organs and muscle groups, helping with oxygenation, repair, and helping get rid of inflammation.

Here's my current routine: Twelve minutes cold. Twelve minutes hot. Within six minutes of being in the cold, you're numb to it. "Legs? What legs?" Within three of four minutes in the hot, your muscles will unwind and there will be lots of pins and needles as the blood circulates through.

Repeat at least twice.

Do daily. Or as needed.

Thank me later.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Turkish

Challenging couple of days with strength & conditioning. Especially on the heels of a half marathon. Recovery workout Monday. Two sessions yesterday, including 10 x 200m sprints. Two more sessions today. Including something completely new to me: Turkish Get Ups.

Start on your back, face up. Hold a 28lbs (or heavier) kettle bell in one hand. Do not let it down as you do the following: Sit up. Come to one knee. Stand up. Kneel back down. Sit down. Lean back to get completely prone. Then switch hands. Repeat. Over and over. For five minutes. That's Turkish Get Ups.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Cleaned Up

Haven't really shaved since NoShaveVember. Three months? Longest streak, thus far. Cindy said she liked it. Though she wanted more gray. (?!) That certainly isn't going to be allowed to happen. Not interested in "salt & pepper." Or "looking distinguished." Though, Cindy reminded me a couple of times a week that she liked it. So I kept it through December. And January.

Anyway, three months was enough. For me. Felt like Cookie Monster. Or a geeky wanna-be Duck Dynasty reject. So it all came off tonight.

Feels good to be cleaned up. Maybe it will help with my swim times? Or run times!

Until next November.

Monday, February 03, 2014

The 4HB "5K to 50K" 12 Week Program - Week 2

Week 2 of the 4HB Challenge fell on bad times. Between irritating work projects and aberrant weather (ice in South Mississippi?!?) only 4 out of 6 workouts made it onto the corpse of my schedule. The workouts that did make it were great! Like the first week, they were over quickly (rarely more than 15min each,) and very exhausting.

The lone bonus workout this past week was a half marathon. No small task!

Week 3 promises to be significantly more challenging. Tune in next week for details and feedback.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Big Chill Day Two

See the white snow-like substance covering my car and most of the ground? Yeah, totally not snow. Solid ice. As in: multiple layers of wicked-hard frozen rain. From the over-night rain storm that swallowed several hundred miles of the South Eastern United States. Including, of course, us rednecks.

Due to my unfortunate lack of deep ice experience, today's technique of car cleansing involved a rubber mallet. And the precise application of force at clever angles. Which, surprisingly, worked well. The roads, however, were never cleared (since South Mississippi has exactly ZERO salt or sand trucks) and my car hasn't moved since Sunday.

And thus, Ye Ol' McDougal Family spent another day together. Television. iPad. Computer. And some DVR. Though we did have some relief as Cindy braved the elements after lunch and crept over to her mother's house for several hours. Otherwise nothing blew up, there was no bloodshed,  nobody was hurt, our supplies of pizza & leftover Subway fed us as planned, and the house didn't burn to the ground. That is a significant victory by anyone's measure.


For your viewing purposes, on the left, Molly is modelling the latest winter wear for small McFurryButts. And above is a long distance shot of Meg walking said-dog. In capris, and sandals.. While the temperature hovers just below freezing. That's how we McDougals roll during a crippling ice event in Southern Mississippi!

The plans for tomorrow include: Cindy returning to work, kids returning to school, and Your Humble Narrator returning to training. At least until the next climate-controlled adventure.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Big Chill 2014

One of the perks of living on the MS Gulf Coast is the ultra rare incursion of winter snow or ice. Since our return (in 2005)  we've only seen ice once. And it has not snowed south of I-10 in more than a decade. The local governments have no ability to manage such weather events. No snow plows. No salt for the roads. And most folks, including myself, do not have ANY "cold weather gear."  As a result, the entire three county area grinds to a complete halt even under the faintest SUGGESTION of such inclement conditions.

The predictions for today ranged from "less than an inch of snow," as reported by Impact Weather, to "as much as five inches of snow," by The Weather Channel. Which elicited several emergency responses including: 1) Schools were closed, 2) Government services were halted, 3) Cindy's job canceled all appointments for two days, and 4) my job sent us nerds home to work remotely until Thursday. And the rest of the citizenry of South Mississippi made preparations to huddle in their homes with their animals and plants and Internet-addicted children.

Did Cindy use the phrase, "Stir crazy," at least once an hour? Yup. Did snow appear? Nary a flake. Did ice appear? Yeah, pretty much. Especially that odd sleet-like stuff. Did every Southern Fried Redneck on Facebook mistake the mounds of tiny ice balls for snow and post pictures of icicles clinging to the mud trucks? Absolutely! Twenty first century in Mississippi, yo!

On a potentially grim note, we're supposed to have more of the same tomorrow. Temperatures dropping as low as 22 degrees by five in the morning. Then slowly climbing to a high of 34 by noon . Couple of hours of maybe thawing the frost, and back below freezing until Thursday. The truly scary part is the specter of spending another day with Cindy chanting "stir crazy," intermingled with, "I need a drink," because we're all home at the same time on any day other than the weekend and it skews her mojo. Thank you, Winter Storm Leon, AKA The Big Chill of 2014!



Monday, January 27, 2014

The 4HB "5K to 50K" 12 Week Program - Week 1

Today, after months of pre-training, Your Humble Narrator started the 4 Hour Body "5K to 50K" program!

The good news? Once you understand the Crossfit shorthand, they are easy to understand. They're usually very simple exercises. And, best of all, the workouts are VERY quick.

The bad news? While easy to digest, the workouts are HARD! The idea that anyone is going to become "effortlessly superhuman," as Tim Ferriss promises you, borders on the offensive when you're on the floor, panting like a dog and drenched in sweat.

What was the week like?

  • Monday: AM - Good mornings. Only took five minutes. Seriously. FIVE MINUTES. But, for the unfamiliar, good mornings are something of an advanced movement and need to be performed properly. PM - Double Unders & Sit-ups. Most people cannot do double unders. Let alone an unbroken set of 50 of them! To compensate, double the number and single jumps. So my second workout was: 100 singles, 50 sit-ups, 80 singles, 40 sit-ups, 60 singles, 30 sit-ups, 40 singles, 20 sit-ups, 20 singles, and 10 sit-ups. No rest between! This evening workout wasn't quick or easy. But 300 jumps and 150 sit-ups take a while when you're an old, frumpy computer dork.
  • Tuesday: AM - Push press + chin-ups. 21, 15, then 9. This workout took less than ten minutes, but it was brutal. My shirt was soaked afterwards. PM - 8 x 200m sprints on the 2 minute mark. After Monday's 300 jumps, this workout HURT! Starting each sprint felt like wearing lead sweat pants. The sprint would take roughly 45 seconds, and then 75 seconds before starting the next one. Total time: 16 minutes. Lots of sweat here.
  • Wednesday - Only one workout! So thankful to give my legs something of a rest. But that doesn't mean it was pleasant. First a 1500m row to warmup. Then 30 power cleans. Focused on form with the cleans. By the 30th, they sucked.
  • Thursday - 5K run. Nothing special here. Was doing 5K runs anyway. 27 minutes and change.
  • Friday - Ice storm! Couldn't drive to the gym or the track. Had to skip a workout.
  • Saturday - Bench press, but only at 50%-60% max. Quick and easy. Followed with my new nemesis: Tabata rows. 20 seconds full speed, 10 seconds of slow rows to catch your breath. Repeat 8 times. That's four minutes. But try it. It was brutal. Anyone that can hop of the sofa and do those with any significant success deserves a medal. Much panting and sweating resulted.

    Bonus: Threw in a 2000m swim. 40 laps.
  • Sunday - Thrusters and box jumps. Yuck. The program recommends 110lbs on the Thrusters. Nope. Not happening. The average person is not going to be able to do three dozen thrusters with that much weight. Don't see it happening. You have to adjust and be able to pace yourself.

    Bonus: Threw in a 9 mile trail run. Mostly run. By 7 miles my arches were hurting and there wasn't as much running after that. 
And that was Week 1. Enjoyed the majority of it. Total workout time was surprisingly low. Nothing outrageous body breaking. Soreness wasn't TOO bad. Even with a couple of bonus activities.  Just hoping it proves beneficial to my 70.3 in May.

On to Week 2!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tuxachanie Trail Run

After a briefly exciting round of  powerlifting this morning, Luke talked me into a trail down the quiet Tuxachanie. Thankfully the weather was extremely cooperative. High fifties. Low sixties? Just enough sunlight to warm us up. Not enough to overheat, or sunburn, us.

Turned out to be a decent crowd. Especially for such short notice. Luke said it was Tugboat pace. Inside joke. Tugboats are his term for folks (like me!) that train a good bit but will never be on the podium. Pretty much: normal people! But non-obsessive people, Luke would likely say. Not obsessive cavemen.

Anyway. Informal group met after lunch. Warmed up. Checked our supplies. Put in the earbuds. And hit the trail.

Fairly easy pace. But Your Humble Narrator gradually fell behind. And by the three mile mark he was all by his lonesome. Never fear, loyal readers, he was fine. By four and a half miles, it was time to turn around. The rest of the crowd had likely reached the end. With their pace, they would likely catch me on the return trip.

By the seventh mile, my arches were starting to hurt. Wasn't much "running" on the trail after that. A little. But mostly walking. As the second hour approached, so did the entrance.

All in all, a great little excursion. Something different than the normal. And challenging. With some friends and fellow Tugboats. We'll have to do that more often. Until the sun and mosquitoes spoil it for us.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Unwork

On the heels of last night's ice & woe, we had a lazy day at Chateaus McDougal today. Cindy & Meg went to the Edgewater Mall for an adventure with The Builder's Club. A  while ago, Meg had written several skits and performances. Then the club spent several weeks practicing. They did the live performance today. In front of a crowd of shoppers, parents, and a local camera crew from WLOX. No idea how long the link will last, but here is the broadcast. Meg's in the back of the photo I grabbed. And in the actual video she does a fashion walk. They did a great job for a great cause and I'm super proud of her efforts. And her contribution to the community.

Meanwhile, us lads slinked off to my favorite pub for some burgers and brews.A lone cider and Buffalo Chicken sammich for me. A coke and a huge burger for Liam. Of course he didn't want to go, at first. Would rather stay at the house. But once we were seated and started grubbing, he sang a different song. "We need to do this more often," he said between bites. Little does he know my plans to have him playing music there when he's 18 and his profits will go towards my bar tab!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Iced Over

Pisser of a day. Non-stop adventures from the get-go at the office. Co-worker out of town. Far too sober. And as the daylight starts to fade, South Mississippi finds itself iced over. For whatever freak act of science and nature, the freeze affects mainly our bridges. Probably something to do with construction materials? At any rate, the quickest road to my gym requires a trip across a four lane bridge. Seen to the right, it was backed up for miles. The slow road to my gym requires a trip across a two lane bridge, which was completely shut down. So no training for Your Humble Narrator today.

Meanwhile, in outlying areas, there's a 25 car pileup at the MS/LA border. And just one county north of here, an accident on some takes the lives of three people.

We're hunkering down for the night. But preparing for even worse conditions early next week. Stay tuned for THOSE adventures.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Prep Work For The 4HB "5K to 50K" 12 Week Program

My athletic experience approaching the 4HB  "5K to 50K" 12 Week Program came from training as a triathlete for the past three years and recently completely the Augusta 70.3 Ironman. My fitness levels were to a point where an hour swimming or two hours running or three hours on the bike were common place. My previous regiments also included strength training and advanced yoga practice. And all my metabolic conditions (for my age and background) were considered excellent by my personal physician who had seen me go from 220lbs down to as low as 175lbs, the week before Augusta.

Overall my goal with the 12 Week Program was to improve the speed and quality of my running. But immediately, from the first sentence, the program was trouble. As mentioned previously, it is written in a cryptic shorthand, with no readily available translation. Before making a serious commitment to the program, Your Humble Narrator had to first figure out it was based on Crossfit workouts, and then find a Crossfit instructor to break it down into digestible pieces. Easier said than done. 

Perhaps some aggressive Googling could have helped me make sense of it, but the easy road is rarely fun. Instead, after checking out three different gyms, never hearing back from the first (after MULTIPLE attempts,) getting nothing but the cold shoulder from a visit, an email, voicemail, & texts to the second gym, the third gym (CrossFit Portside!) turned out to be an excellent fit with my schedule and daily commute. 

Sara Carter, owner and instructor, looked over the plan with me. Without any hesitation, she politely, yet firmly let me know that it would be COMPLETELY INSANE for me to try to do this one my own. Ironman or not! Sara smiled and suggested the very first couple of days would "crush me." And if power lifting wasn't already on my list of skills, the result would be painful, long lasting damage. She suggested at least one month, if not more, of getting a good grip on the fundamentals of Crossfit, finding my existing limits, then adapting the program to more reasonable exercises while still using the majority of the plan.

Which is what has been happening for the past two and a half months: lifting and sweating and all but puking multiple times a week at Crossfit Portside. After working closely with Sara, it only strengthened my belief in her opinions of the 4HB program and helped me see that it was actually very advanced and very difficult. So while Tim Ferriss might suggest "anyone can do it," it has taken me about 10 weeks of Crossfit (on top of 3 years of triathlons) to get to the point where the program is doable.

And in 12 weeks, we shall all know see the results of this challenge.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Why The 4HB 12 Week Program Is Mostly Impossible

It is important for folks to know why Tim Ferriss' "5K to 50K" training program is mostly impossible for the average reader.Or virtually any reader.

First, the program is (by my estimate) about 60% Crossfit, 30% running drills, and 10% long runs. Anyone who is not familiar with Crossfit will not even be able to decipher the program, let alone attempt it. Here is an example of one workout: "Tabata row 20:10 x 8," which translates into "Hop on a rowing machine, row full speed for 20 seconds, then row easy for 10 seconds, and repeat 8 times." Another example: "Box Back Squat: 10 x 2 on min w/ 80% 1RM" which means, "Do 10 sets of 2 reps on Back Squats, hitting a box, using 80% of your 1 Rep Max weight." And the program is 12 pages of Crossfit shorthand which is never directly explained.

Second, the program assumes you have access to not only a serious gym which includes squat racks, rowing machines, chin-up frames, jump ropes, boxes, and plenty of weights, but also a track or some place you can perform sprint drills. You are also expected to have fairly excellent working knowledge on a multitude of complex power lifting moves, which few people understand, let alone have perfected. Some examples include: good mornings, dead lifts, front squats, back squats, power cleans, presses, push presses, and kettle bell swings. If you have never done these exercises, they are not likely to come naturally. And practicing bad form with them is likely to do more harm than good. Seriously. Like, pulling or tearing muscles. Damaging your spine. These are not simple exercises, but Tim thinks you should be able to hop up and start cranking them out.

Third, the program assumes you are in PHENOMENAL condition already. It expects you to be able to do 150 double-unders on the jump rope (where the rope passes under you twice with each jump) on Day One. The program expects you to do 45 kipping pull-ups on Day Two. It expects you to do three dozen Thrusters with 115lbs over your head by the end of Week One. And that is where you START. Not the final week, but the very first week of the program.

After discussions with a dozen very athletic friends, exactly NONE of them can do one double-under with a jump rope, let alone the 150 suggested on Day One. Exactly NONE of them can do more than half a dozen pull-ups, let alone the 45 suggested on Day Two. Exactly ONE of them knew what a kipping pull-up was. And exactly NONE of them knew what a Thruster was or would be likely to do three dozen of them. And these are very athletic folks that compete as hard as they train and have years (if not decades) of experience each. But the 4HB program suggests (and Tim himself has said in interviews) that "anyone" can do it, becoming "effortlessly superhuman."

In short, NO ONE other than a very avid Crossfit enthusiast is going to have the vocabulary, skills, or strength to even attempt Tim Ferriss' program.

To think that the typical reader can go from doing little, if any exercise, to completing each of the workouts for twelve weeks is the height of egotistic aloofness and shows a complete detachment from anything even remotely resembling reality.

And yet, Your Humble Narrator is going to attempt it...

Monday, January 20, 2014

Trying Tim Ferriss' 5K to 50K Training Program

One of my sillier ideas: attempt Tim Ferris' program that (he claims) will get you ready to run 50K in 12 weeks. And Tim's assuring his readers that anyone can do it. Anyone can go from zero, to an ultrathon in about three months.

First, let me say: NO WAY! Absolutely no way. Don't believe it at all.

Second: Ferriss himself has not completed an ultrathon and does not know from experience if it will work or not. He has promised to post here when he does complete such an event. As of 01/20/14, he has not updated the site. Try it for yourself. You'll find, "Coming soon."

Third: Aside from lots of articles referencing Tim's program, there appears to be very few (if any) articles from people who have successfully completed the training and done an ultrathon. At least nothing of note appears on the first couple of Google pages of my searches.

Fourth: There is no ultrathon in my future. But there is a 70.3 Ironman. This may be wrong but it seems to me that if the training can prepare a person for a 50K run, it should also prepare me for a 21K (half marathon) at the end of a 70.3 event.

So in order to prove it, Your Humble Narrator is going to DO THE PROGRAM, proving updates along the way, and conclude at The Gulf Coast Triathlon in early May.

More to come. Much more!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wanna Be Healthier?

Here's a very simple secret to keep in mind if you wanna be healthier: EAT REAL FOOD!

Here's my weekly grocery haul, almost directly from a farm in Pearl River County to my kitchen with a brief stop at the Biloxi Farmer's Market. A half gallon of whole white milk, a gallon of whole chocolate milk, an 8oz of butter, 12 or so ounces of tomato basil cheddar, and a pound of ground beef. All of which comes from grass-fed, local cattle. None of which are given hormones or steroids.

Is the Farmer's Market more expensive than Walmart? Having never shopped for such food there, your guess is as good as mine. Though Cindy would likely say everything is a dollar less if you're willing to donate your paycheck to the Walton family. However, Your Humble Narrator would gladly point out that money spent at the Farmer's Market stays in the community. And any report you're likely to dig up on the subject will demonstrate that the nutritional content of grass-fed meat and dairy products is exponentially higher than hyper-industrialized products.

Shopping at the Farmer's Market is a win-win-win situation. Better nutrition. Superior taste & quality. And the money goes to your local farmers. Oh yeah, and no waiting in line at Walmart! Bonus!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Endless Tech

There's an unending stream of technology empowering and consuming my semi-simple life. It is so pervasive it only gets noticed when it is broken or absent. Take work. Of course being a Super Nerd requires immersion in such things, but my day goes from crawling around inside a robotic tape library to spinning up cloned virtual servers and adding them to the Citrix Xenapp farm without any user downtime to proving to vendors that they don't know the difference between a firewall, a switch, and a packet shaper.

Later, once the office is left behind, technology is at the heart of my fitness. From the elaborate indoor training cycles to the music the instructor users to the tracking software that records every sweaty mile under my aching feet.

Shift to the homestead. Or carousing time. And once again little happens that doesn't have some digital element. My triathlon team operates almost exclusively on Facebook. My email archive dates back nearly a decade (July of 2004) and it is constantly available on everything around me (phone, tablet, PC.) Messages fly constantly: Google Talk, FB Messenger, corporate email, SMS, and more. Reminders. To Dos. My calendar. My alarms.

Your Humble Narrator sometimes prays for an EMP to bring it all to a screeching halt. And then the fun would begin.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Icy Pints - Gulfport

Inaugural run of the Icy Pints Athletic team from its new Gulfport chapter at Irish Coast Pub. Got there early. Brought running shorts AND pants, in case of weather. Brought a big ol' jug of water to hydrate. Pre-fueled the rocket with some Xyience. Then discovered a complete lack of running shoes. Which promptly cranked my usually repressed levels of anger from 2 to 11. And the profanity began...

Eventually, the rage was re-repressed by copious amounts of cider and pleasant company. Turned out to be a pleasant night. Despite my lack of training or sweating or cardiovascular conditioning.

Your Humble Narrator will like return for additional Icy visits. It's the usual Tuesday run with the usual Tuesday people on the usual Tuesday route outside the usual Tuesday pub. Just new management. Same ol sweat. And same ol' Jon still attempting to be an athlete.

So, welcome Icy Pint. Gulfport is glad to have you!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Curse you, lungs!

Respiration is greatly over-rated!

On my 10th day of issues. Primarily isolated to the lungs. Left upper lobe, methinks. Physically strong. Physically energetic. But cannot run the engine in the red for very long until breathing becomes an issue. Mostly a matter of taking things VERY slow. Not getting winded. But, you know, THAT SUCKS! If it weren't for the whole lack of oxygen thing going on, the engine would be firing on all cylinders. Curse you, lungs!

Swam yesterday. Lifted today. Bit of a power test. Back squat maxed out around 205lbs. Push press maxed out around 95lbs. And deadlift maxed out around 245lbs. May have been able to do a few pounds more on each, but not many. Not without risking injury. And injury ain't cool at this age.

Still getting stronger. Still developing better form. Cleaner technique. But still much room for improvement.

Hoping to finalize on the 12 week training program in the next day or two, then start on the 20th. Follow the 12 week general program with a 6 - 8 week focused Ironman program. And see what happens from there...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Plans

The Gulf Coast Triathlon looms on a distant horizon. Another 70.3 event. Team members converging en masse. My brain going sideways with thoughts on training. Wanna focus on the run. Wanna make sure to train several open Gulf swims. Don't want to over-train. (Easy to do.) Don't want to under-train. (Easier to do!) Thinking about incorporating Crossfit. Thinking about buying a new watch. (Actually my first watch!) Thinking about new goggles.

Meanwhile, on a different frequency, Traditions approaches. With a multitude of folks asking me for guidance, support, help, suggestions, and/or material aid. Problem is, Traditions is a sprint, and it is two weeks before Gulf Coast. So any training spent with folks prep'ing them for Traditions is going to be significantly less than the training plan for Gulf Coast. The tri team is planning to offer another round of The Road To Traditions. And Your Humble Narrator would like to help. But there are so many thoughts and machinations bouncing through his head, he's not able to think straight, let alone train straight.

But the plan will be finalized this week. Gotta get the calendar fixed and finalized. One way or another. 

More on that, as it develops. 

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Perspectives

Constantly spinning between perspectives as people move through my life. Each in their own gyre. Accelerating or slowing, To their own internal soundtrack. 

A vendor took us to lunch yesterday. Six months ago she was hit, and very nearly killed, by a car while casually bicycling through her neighborhood. Barely remembers the two weeks after that. Especially the time in the ICU. Has a list of multiple surgeries to schedule, when possible, in her immediate future. Including partial facial reconstruction. And she walks only thanks to the support of crutches. On the other hand, she doesn't want to talk about all her woes, she wants to hear my plans for the coming triathlon season. While my internal dialog is conflicted about mentioning my complete hatred of running because she isn't able to get around without any mechanical support. Just walking upright, unassisted, is her next milestone. But Your Humble Narrator laments not being ready for the Rock N Roll Marathon in New Orleans in a couple of weeks. 

A friend further north lives paycheck to paycheck. In a hotel. For a year. With two kids. Subsisting on Ramen & Bunny Bread. While an absentee-spouse spends every available penny on Oxy. Mid-life. Nearly rock bottom. No Christmas. No holidays. Too scared of the other hotel guests to let the kids do anything other than play a dying X-box or watch TV behind constantly locked doors. But it's a hassle that my weekends are entirely booked through May and the biggest challenge ahead is deciding which condo to rent at the next big race. 

Another friend rebuilding a personal life, again. Had previously tried to get into triathlons. One successful race. Then the world went sideways.Unexpected ailment after ailment. Some minor. Some not. Some still not resolved. Compounded by a mis-represented inter-personal relationship that took a lot of time and effort to go nowhere. How do you pour all your heart and energy and hope into somebody, just to turn around and be forced to create a peaceful way to watch it all get flushed into oblivion? Starting all that over. Maybe the third time in two years. With uncertainty looming behind every one of the many blind curves ahead. Wanting help. Not wanting to ask for it. Fear of rejection. Or yet another loss if you let somebody else get close. 

And one more. This time somebody pretty close. I train with them as much as possible. Draw strength and inspiration and motivation. Gets bad news about a recent pain that isn't as simple or easily corrected as everyone hoped. Maybe it won't be career ending. But it could be. Talking about somebody who ate, drank, slept, and breathed fitness. A self-made person. Little, if any, outside support. Few, if any, family nearby. A fragile, if not irreparable, relationship that rarely, if ever, gets discussed because of the gut-wrenching implications. And several long term plans that may or may not get completely erased, based on the outcome of a recovery program which has no certainty of success. 

Puts my life into a different perspective. A very thankful and appreciative perspective.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Doing Laps

The pool at eFitness has been informally closed for a couple of weeks. Informally meaning that  the heater was broken and the temperature dropped south of 68 degrees but they still kept it open so nobody would request refunds. When they did finally fix it, a plague before your Humble Narrator. So tonight was my first swim of the New Year.

After maybe ten clumsy, half-flailing laps, my chest managed to dislodge the final lung goblins which had been clinging inside me for several hundred meters. Then the old familiar rhythm: reach, pull, breath. Focus on covering space. Minimize drag. Steam streamlined. Reach, pull, breath. Don't lose count. Reach, pull, breath. Twist. Sight. Reach, pull, breath. Crap, I may have lost count. Reach, pull, breath.

And somewhere close to 1800 meters was covered in that fashion.

A fine return and a good sign of things to come. A mile without difficulty. And 21 weeks to go before my next 70.3. Another minor victory.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Not Smart

Doing Crossfit with a diminished lung capacity was not smart. Felt nearly recovered. At first. But just starting the warm-up routine was taxing. Did a couple of snatches. Worked on my form. Then went on a express elevator to the pain cave. 22 wall balls (started with 20# and went down to 14#.) 16 burpees. 10 one-handed kettlebell clean & press. Rinse and repeat. Five times. End of the third round: couldn't catch my breath. End of the forth: sweating non-stop. End of the fifth and final round: half a gasp from puking. Actually walked outside, just in case, arms above my head. Praying nobody saw or heard anything.

Wanted to stop after three rounds. Just tap out and admit defeat. Didn't. Fought through it. Without puking, crying, or dying. One minor victory. More to come. Many more.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Recovery

Whatever assaulted Your Humble Narrator was a devious beast. No clue what it was. Where it came from. But it appears to be on the retreat.Far less coughing. No chills. Minimal sinus issues. Mostly lingering pain in the major muscle groups. Back. Calves. Thighs.

Forty eight hours to fight it off. Without prescription meds. Only sacrificed the bulk of a weekend to it. Still managed to catch a movie and spend time with the kids.

And Monday draws close. The dragons array themselves on battle lines. Motioning me to come forth. Once again.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

All Geeked Up

Finally wrestled with my lone XMas present: hard drives! OCZ Vertex 4 solid state drive for the Operating System, and a Western Digital 2TB Black drive for everything else. (Quite an upgrade from the petite 250Gb drive originally in the box!)

Installed the little drive. Cloned the old C: drive onto it. Rebooted. OS came up clean on the new drive. Installed the second drive. Re-slaved the original. (Can't just waste that space...) Cleaned up dust bunnies. Re-routed cables. And thanked my dark computer gods that nothing died or fried and nobody cried.

Speaking of crying, still feel TERRIBLE.  Definitely fighting off a major bug. But at least I was still able to get all geeked up.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Under Assault

After work, just over 24hrs ago, it was Kettlebell Swings, Box Jumps, and Knees To Elbows. By eight o'clock something foul took up residence in my belly. (New Year's Ham, Greg says!) And by eleven o'clock  a torrent of ichor was flowing into my lung. Your Wayward Narrator was fully under assault!

Barely crawled out of bed. Moving like a frozen corpse. Late to the office. Hurting in my joints. And my chest. And my face. No fever, thankfully. Local Doc In A Box doesn't carry flu tests. But the NP suggested a couple of OTC concoctions to try.

All amped up to begin training in earnest, then ten thousand angry bees take up residence in my sinuses. Praying for sleep. Praying for relief. In 2014.


Thursday, January 02, 2014

Great Grandma

Looking back, one of the worst parts of 2013 was the rapid decline of Great Grandma. (Who is actually my Grandmother, but my kids call her Great Gradma and my niece Morgan calls her G.G.)

A bad combination of medications gave her bleeding ulcers. The blood loss made her weak. The weakness put her in the hospital in September and didn't get out until late November, or even early December. . And she spiraled almost out of control, briefly landing in the ICU with severe pneumonia. For a few weeks she was in rehab to regain her strength. Then back into the hospital. Then rehab again. And finally, after six or eight weeks, back home. 

But she's frail on the best of days. Easily fatigued due to several heart conditions. And her short term memory is shot. 

My mother pretty much spent four or six straight days trying to watch over Great Grandma. But couldn't do it alone. An around the clock effort was too much work. And neither of Mom's siblings would contribute enough of their time to make a difference. And ultimately they decided to put Great Grandma in a local assisted living facility.

Great Grandma has always been in my life. We were pretty much raised by my grandparents. She has always been strong. Always been supportive. There for any of us when we needed her. 

Not used to seeing her so weak. Or forgetful. My stomach rolls at the thought of her alone, in some foreign facility. How often does she come out of her fog and wonder, "Where am I?" How often is she lonely? Or afraid? Not sure when, if ever, such notions will sit well in my head. But they have to be accepted. The outcome isn't optional. Or avoidable. 

In the meanwhile, I see her on the weekends. Tell her that I love her. Hold her hand. Remember all the wonderful years I had with her. 

I hope we can somehow make her remaining days as happy as she made us.