Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Long Run Dread, Deadlines, Neglect, Decay, and Redemption!!

Friday night, looking at 14 miles the next morning. Skipped run on Friday morning, hit with long run dread.  Had not had that at all since before Boston.  Worried that it was a bad sign, but you can't overly worry about feelings that arrive unexpected.  You just deal with them and take the best actions.

Re-potted the cutting from the rubber tree plant (which is now much taller than the original plant)
Plant from Cutting (note original plant in background)
Original Plant

I bought the original plant shortly after moving to Dallas and before getting married.  It is a special plant to me.
The cutting has gotten huge.   Jenny's dad bought this nice big new pot for me.  I also took  another cutting and started it growing:

I need to spend some time working on the original plant.

Saturday  (16.62 mi 02:21 08:28 pace)
morning - the run went great.  I did 16.6 miles.  I figured out the problem.  It wasn't long run dread but "medium long run dread" - it's a feeling where you've been climbing up and each run is getting better, faster, or farther.  Then all of the sudden you have to do a run , which is still pretty long but seemingly nothing special.  That was today's run.  But, it did turn out special.  There are no ordinary moments and no ordinary runs.  It all adds up and everything has meaning.

I spent some time looking for the bathroom leak, that had been very slowly happening, just enough to ruin the tile grout, cause some mildew on the moulding and drywall, and ruin part of the vanity.  The original problem leak was thought to have been plugged over a year ago.  So, I fixed some drywall (my first ever attempt at that, replaced the mildewed molding, and repainted the bathroom.  But the leak was still there and the mildew came back and I could feel the moisture.  I talked to the plumber that was out to fix the shower and he gave me some ideas but basically told me that plumbers fix leaks, they don't find leaks.  So, I looked and looked, and ripped out some rotting stuff.

 I tore out the ruined section of drywall:

Then ripped out the ruined section of the vanity so I could peak underneath for signs of a leak:

I became overwhelmed and stopped and thought about what to do over a beer before I cut open the drywall from the garage side.

 But, this problem had gone on too long, neglect which led to decay and would only get worse.  Sometimes problems go away on their own.   This one wasn't one of them.  It was time to stop being overwhelmed and just fix the problem.  There are people who can do this I thought, I just need to find one.

I called the plumber's office who gave me the number of a guy that specializes in finding leaks, Dave from "iFindLeaks".

So, he narrowed it down using infrared camera, a pressure gauge, and some intuitive problem solving - it reminded me of the process I go through at work to find bugs which are hiding somewhere between the hardware and software, could be either place.

So, next, made an appointment to have a contractor come out to write up an estimate to put the bathroom back in shape.  Get it done and taken care of.

Sunday - (7.46 mi 01:05 08:41 pace)
did my follow up run from Saturday's long run.  A little bit over 7 miles along Trinity Blvd on the grassy portion which I used to avoid, but now makes somewhat of an "off road" trail.  It actually feels pretty good.  Maybe feels a little slow at first but then I forget about it and the pace gets easy and feels natural.

When Jenny was at work, ran out to Home Depot and bought some outdoor plants and some new mulch to fix up some spots in the backyard, a tomato plant for the upside down pot, and a Poinsettia for the outdoor table to make it look nicer.  I bribed the boys to help me carry stuff out back, weed, and plant.  Oh, and also bought a replacement stone for one missing from one of the small retaining walls.

Monday morning no running.  Did boot camp with some awesome sprints in the evening.

Tuesday - (7.57 mi 01:05 08:32 pace)
ran with Jenny, Lisa, and Chris.  Kind of disjointed 400m repeats because we were all sort of doing our own pace.  I ended up doing 7 due to miscounting.  Here's the splits for the all over the place intervals:
  1. 6:31
  2. 6:35
  3. 6:40
  4. 6:54
  5. 7:05
  6. 5:20
  7. 5:47

Wednesday - (7.62 miles, 1:05:24, 8:35 average)
Met Raj at the track.  I declined on the 4th mile repeat, realizing that the 400m repeats weren't nothing yesterday, especially with a couple of them being all out.
Paces for the three, 1600m repeats that I did do:
  1. 6:22
  2. 6:18
  3. 6:14

Nov 30th has been looming over my head with another work deadline.  Sort of hanging over my head since just before Thanksgiving when I could feel the pressure building.  But I worked at it, little by little which made me more productive and I delegated out some of the work which really made a huge difference.

Well, things don't always work out in the end, but it sure helps when we spend less time worrying and more time doing, even if just a little bit at a time.  So, maybe at the end of all of this there is redemption.  The long run dread becomes just a memory, the damage gets fixed, the decay cleaned up and hopefully we learn to not neglect the things that need attention.

And to make sure I end this entry on a positive note, here is Sammy enjoying a good dog's life (also, there's a little bit of Barbie in the background if you look closely)
Sammy Enjoying the Day

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanks Giving Week

Great week and lots to be thankful for!  There was family, friends, good times and of course lots of running and exercising.  There is even more than that to be thankful for but I could spend forever on that, so I hope everyone knows what I mean.

Sunday - cheered on Jenny and her Mom at the St. Pete Women's Half Marathon.  Drove down there with Jenny's dad, the boys, and Allie.  We some how missed them at the start of the race.  We saw the 2:30 pace group all the way to the tail end of the group.

Eventually saw them just after mile 7 -

I tried to chase after them for a picture of the back of their shirts (very cool shirts!)

Here's a great close up of Jenny smiling (always makes me smile when I see her smiling!)

Just up the street from this spot is a big tree great for climbing.  I always stop by there with the kids.  I thought maybe they were getting too old, but Thomas asked if we could go.  Here he is :

Here I am with Allie

Andy in front of the tree

And a picture which looks like one very tall kid!!

I decided, that since the kids might not ever want to come back to this tree (who knows maybe they will), I decided to take my turn in it:

After the tree fun, we headed over to intercept them on the home stretch

They stuck together the whole time and neither one was wearing a watch, just wanted to enjoy the half marathon.

Monday morning, about 5 miles at 9:06 pace.  Had lots of work to do, but made sure to leave in time to make it to the evening boot camp at Flex One.

Tuesday - Chris came over to run as well as Lisa, we did 6.2 miles at about the same pace (9:08 this time).

Wednesday - ran another 6.3 miles, started out with Jenny, Kathryn and Lisa for about the first mile and a half, then did the rest by myself.  Then, Wednesday evening, after finishing enough of my project at work to let me know I could make the end of the month deadline, made it to Jenny's boot camp where we had extra people.   It was a very demanding fitness test.  I had to hold back just a little bit (especially the walking lunges), since I was going to race the next morning.  Still, a little worried about whether or not I had fried my legs.

So, Thursday morning, Jenny got up early to run with some friends nearby.

I had decided to try the St. Pete Times Turkey Trot 10K, which I had never done before.   Some sort of miracle happened and I did much better than expected.  All I wanted was this mug, which they give to the top 125 men and women.

I wore my green silence shoes which I love for racing and often get comments about (usually good comments!)

Here's me with a group of people, some of which I kind of know.  The guy with the tatoos, Mike, had a lot to do with my better than expected time.  I could see him and followed him in, slowly closing the gap but never quite catching up, today was a big PR for him and his first time under 40 minutes, his goal was to just break 41 minutes.  So, when I followed him to the finish line I was surprised when the clock still had a 39 on it with enough seconds to make it in time.

Race report:

Weaved through the first mile but manged 6:24 pace, 2nd mile was 6:10 and felt great. Hung on after that until I could see tattoo Mike, closed the gap a little but didn't catch him.
 Mile splits:
  1. 6:24
  2. 6:10
  3. 6:28
  4. 6:35
  5. 6:31
  6. 6:23
  7. 1:24  (0.23 @ 6:00 pace)

Got out-kicked at the very end by my sports doctor (Dr. Bill Cottrell). I got a mug with 44th place. I wasn't expecting to do so well after Jenny 's hard core boot camp last night - or maybe that is why I did well, along with the shock top with my father-in-law after the boot camp!

2,729 people ran in the 10K this year.

In the evening had a nice (but not over the top) dinner, with a surprise dinner guest (ok, not that much of a surprise, but still nice!!)

Here is my mom and Jenny's dad catching up

And finally for after dinner, Thomas enjoying a cup of decaf coffee

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Friday - I did not run.  Jenny did a short run on trails and her knee finally seems to be getting almost back to normal, combined with running on the softer trail surface instead of the roads.

So, I'm thinking that my running feels different these days.  I can't quite explain it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

New Trails

Woke up at 4:40 a.m. on Saturday, let Sammy out and noticed that it was raining, but fortunately it stopped the by the next time I was outside.

Met Keith and Greg at Longleaf and we headed up Starkey Blvd, then we ran to Diane's house for a quick stop before continuing into Starkey Park.  We planned to keep a pace around 8:45, but it ended up being 9:10.  At one point I asked if it was too slow for them, but they said no.  It was fine with me since I was planning on trying for 22-24 miles today.

We got into the park and ran on the paved bike trail for a bit.  Not long before we split up, Keith had turned back and said, "hey, look a rainbow!" (looked much nicer, but it's the best I could do with an iPhone)

Just before the power lines I stopped to top off my water, then was on my own. Turned left at the power lines and headed north.

It was a beautiful run, nice weather,  peaceful, new scenery and lots of wildlife (but nothing dangerous).
I soon found a nice shaded dirt road which I was pretty sure headed to the park I was trying to get to

 Got to SR 52 and the official park entrance.

Also, across the road, there was a Publix which could come in handy if I'm ever low on gatorade or something:

ran through the park up, stopping briefly to look at a map

there before heading back.  The trail signs I had seen on the way up now made sense to me.  It's funny how things are like that, how the details don't make as much sense until you've seen the big picture

The run back was just as good as the run up.  Better in some ways since I knew exactly where I was going so I could better take in the scenery around me.  I saw more birds, and more deer and was also grateful that it was a north/south route, so the trees to the left of me made a nice block to the rising morning sun.

So, I ended up with a little extra, beyond the 22-24 miles that I had hoped for, but with the slower paced 9 miles at the start figured I should be ok.  But, it was all worth it since I was able to see some place new.  It was almost like being in another world for the 12 miles on the trail north and then back to the usual and familiar paved bike path.

After the run, stopped by the Striders area where Karen and David offered me a muscle milk (thanks!) and was able to get a ride back to Longleaf (thanks Denise!). Also, thanks go to Jenny 's parents for taking Thomas to bowling so I could go a little extra this morning. I'll find out tomorrow if I ran this too fast or too far, hopefully not!
(I'm going to cut back a bit on miles next week)

Oh, and here is a very shaky video I took while running on the way back:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Unplanned Tempo

 Sometimes the best things are not planned!!

This morning I did a tempo run which I hadn't planned on, but the opportunity came up to run with someone else who was doing a pace and distance that worked for me and another guy joined us, someone who was in town on business.  He didn't speak any English but understood a little.  Viviano was very fast but also had a humility about him that made you instantly like him.  One of the other runners in the group spoke Spanish so could translate a little for us.

My mom had her procedure on Tuesday which went well, so that is one less thing to worry about for now.  She was in good spirits afterward.

Jenny's parents are on their way out for Thanksgiving and for the Women's Half Marathon in St. Pete this Sunday.  It will be great to see everyone and I can't wait to cheer them on this Sunday.  Being a runner myself gives me extra appreciation when I cheer people on and makes it as rewarding as running the race itself in some ways.

(10.07 mi01:25:14,  08:27 pace, plus 1 mile at boot camp in the PM)
Started with Jenny and Lisa R. out to the water stop, then said bye and headed out for some more miles.
This was a much better run for Jenny than the last time we ran together.  Lisa's knee has been a bit bothersome also so she kept it short also.  But it felt like summer when it seemed like we all ran together every day.

I did some of the run along the grassy part along Trinity Blvd again.  I'm starting to really appreciate it. 

I only had time for some really quick stretching and mobility exercises, no weights or pull-ups or stuff like that.  Was ready and out the door in less than half an hour to drop Andy off at his bus stop.  I did forget my workout clothes for boot camp tonight but Jenny is good about bringing them if I've forgotten.
Received the extension bar I ordered for the pull-up bar I got for my office.  I had bought it because it was half off and it does not need to screw in to the frame.  Still came out ahead even with the extra cost of ordering the bar (Iron Gym).  It's also good to hang from for a good stretch.  Sitting for most of the day is not a good way to improve athleticism!!

Went out about lunch time to meet Jenny and Thomas for a doctor appointment for Thomas which he was not happy about.  Although I'm glad I went because when I asked him the night before if he wanted me to go he said he did - oftentimes he is very non-committal (e.g. "I don't know", "maybe"), but this time it was a definite yes.

PM - went to boot camp which was about 1 hour and included about 1 mile of running.
(7.23 mi 00:53:00,  07:19 pace)
Originally I was planning on just doing an easy 6 mile run from home, but one the people I was going to run with had to cancel and I knew the other person was probably iffy so I cancelled on her and took up Raj on a late invite  for tempo run starting out at Longleaf.

1.5 mile warm up then 5 miles between 6:38 and 6:51.
splits: 6:48, 6:50, 6:51, 6:39, 6:38

Also ran with Viviano from Puerto Rico. He had no problem keeping up - it was a medium pace run for him. On the fourth mile I felt really strong, but felt a little bit lagging on the last mile and the other two guys were picking it up.  I didn't want to make it a race so I dropped back just slightly but not far at all.
Cool down about .7 miles. A bit warm for a tempo run, but you get what you get.

Once I got home, as I got out of the car, the sky was a very brilliant pink.  In fact, it wasn't just the sky, it seemed to be the air itself, but it must have really just been the sky.  I couldn't quite capture what I saw with my iPhone camera, it was a bit lighter than what the pictures show below:

A little bit after that a heavy rain came rolling in.

Big weekend and big week ahead!  Lots of challenges, lots of fun things, work family, life, it's all good.  Once again - looking forward to watching Jenny and her mom at the Women's Half!!  And then joining in all of the post race festivities and enjoying the family time together going into Thanksgiving Day when we'll have everyone over to all give thanks.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monday/Tuesday Runs

We've been going between cool, almost cold and then back to warm and humid. The humidity in the air made me think of science fair project and clouds - although those were clouds in a bottle like this -


6.65 miles, 55:04, 8:16 pace

Ran by myself this morning.  I made two attempts to get people to run with me.  Jenny says I should do a better job about getting people to run with.  It is sometimes nice to run by yourself to enjoy the solitude.  I wasn't entirely motivated to run this morning but was glad once I was outside with the almost full moon and stars which would soon fade and be replaced with a clear morning sky.

I ran out and back to Trinity Blvd and then continued on the grass next to the shoulder.  I realized on Friday that this was actually a great place to run because it is kind of like running on a trail.  It varies between flat and grassy, to gravelly, sometimes very flat and sometimes uneven.  The trails in Starkey Park are very nice but it doesn't open til 6:30 so I can't always get there, just on the weekends if scheduling permits.

After my run I did some of the usual post run stretching/mobility exercises along with some push-ups, weighted pull-ups, presses, curls, and walking up and down the stairs 5 times carrying the 25 lb dumbbells.  Oh, and then some step ups on and off the bed.  That is all.


6.02 mi 00:58 09:40 pace
Nice relaxed run with Chris H. in the neighborhood using the classic t-route. Humid out but it actually felt kind of nice. Made the morning extra dewy, kind of misty out.

We had a slight chance of Lisa joining us.  Jenny is thinking of running tomorrow and Friday since she'll be up early anyway.  Hope she has some good runs this week.  We haven't had very many for a while although her Sunday runs usually turn out well - except for the one a week before her marathon.

It was a good opportunity to slow things down today.  My easy run paces have been getting faster but that can be kind of dangerous and sometimes meaningless.  I'm happy that my runs have been feeling good.  I've been keeping the pressure off of myself.  But eventually I need to do some races to see where I'm at.
Going to go a bit longer tomorrow and try to get in some good miles for the  week.

This morning's run didn't look like this but somewhere on the inside it felt like this and I think that's what counts more, right?

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Nice Fall Weekend

(Pretty much just a repaste from Daily Mile entry)
5.42 mi, 00:44,  08:08 pace
Ran alone in the neighborhood. I went outside this morning, then right back inside to get some gloves because I didn't want to change into long sleeves. Very nice once warmed up. Enjoyed seeing the sky lighten as the sun came up. Savor these moments

  On Saturday I ran  17.58 miles in 2:25 for a pace of 8:14
I started out at Longleaf not knowing if anyone else would be there.  There were a few people including two that I know, Mike and Renee.  We ran together about 3.5 miles to get to Craig and Diane's house who put out drinks for runners which everyone calls "the lemonade stand".  After that, continued on by myself into Starkey Park and headed towards the horse corral and beyond that to the off road trails.

Feeling more familiar, but at the same time wanting to be careful not to accidentally extend my run, I took note of which trails I turned on and the landmarks I passed.  I made it out to the power lines and thought how if I had more time I could turn left (head north) and keep running and running.  It was such a nice morning.  Although I had started out feeling chilly (low 40's) I was soon quite comfortable.  Running through Starkey park, I often feel "cold patches" where the temperature seems to drop by about 10 degrees.  I saw on the ground what looked like patches of frost.  Thought maybe it was just the sun's reflection off the dew, so I reached down and found actual frost, kind of weird because I didn't think it had gotten quite that cold even with the "cold patches".

Before I  knew it I had gone 10 miles, it was a bit after 7:00 and I had to be back by about 8:00 in order to get Thomas to bowling at 9:00.  Jenny had some early morning clients so I said I could take Thomas bowling.  I don't want to stand in the way of Jenny's success at work and although she's doing awesome she is still in the building up stage.  So, I didn't have to say yes but I wanted to say yes, and therefore I had to be back on time which meant I'd have to pick up the pace.

So, I turned back and kept up a decent pace but was also a bit careful since I'm still very much a newbie when it comes to off road.  Made it back to the horse corral and then was able to pick up the pace a bit more.

Here's a picture of the horse corral.  I didn't take this picture, but Chris H. did the next day when he ran with Jenny and Sean, but it's pretty much exactly what I saw, with the sun coming from the east lighting up the morning sky as you look back from where you just came.

 So, made it back just a bit after 8:00 and rushed back home.
Took Thomas bowling.
Later in the afternoon took my first bass guitar lesson while Thomas did his drum lesson.  Learning something brand new always feels a bit intimidating in some ways, when you are totally clueless about it.  But, that's part of the learning and growing.  The instructor, Joe, spent some time getting it tuned up including adjusting the truss bar, then went onto show me some basics and the chords from Black Magic Woman by Santana.
I've liked Santana for a long time ( I saw them once about 1987, and they were one of my first CD's I ever bought).  So, it was a good song for me.

There was a bit more science fair work to do as I had kind of messed up on some of the tests.  Redid them in a more methodical manner than when  we worked on it last week.


I did not run on Sunday.  I had planned to but decided against it for a number of reasons:
  • Jenny said not to do back to back weekend runs every week, so I listened to that
  • My pace for Saturday's run was a little faster than it should have been.
  • I had 47 miles for the week already
  • Sammy was being snugly after Jenny left for her run with Sean and Chris.
Jenny's run went pretty well considering how she was feeling on her last run.  I was glad when she didn't come home early.  She was hoping for 8-10 miles, but was worried she wouldn't come close.  Her knee was bothering her but it would let up at times.  She kept the pace slow and easy.  When she walked back in the door I could tell the run had not been a disaster since she was much happier.

There was a little more science fair stuff left for me to do, then I turned over the data, the printouts, and some pictures to Jenny and she somehow miraculously got it put all together into something pretty amazing!!

Forward Progress? - no, I don't think there was, I could be wrong though, but at least it was a nice weekend and Science Fair is over with!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Week So Far

 Here's how the week has gone so far -

Monday - When I woke up, my back was sore in one spot.  I've had this before.  It usually goes away.  I decided I'd try and go to the Y and lift some weights, taking the day off from running.  I warmed up on the bike once I got there, did one set of lat pull-downs and quickly realized it was not going to work very well, so I headed home.

That night, after work, I headed to boot camp and was feeling much better by then.  The naproxen, and then another dose of Advil while at work helped and it was back to somewhat normal.  We did about a mile of running during class, doing "Indian drills" where you run in a line and the last person in the line sprints to the front of the line.  It was a lot of fun.  This was the first class where it was completely dark at the start.

Tuesday - ran a  "new" route (9.5 miles, 8:29 pace), from my house to the Y and back.  Actually not really new, but it had been so long since I did this run it felt like new.  My back was pretty much back to normal and it was a nice morning out for a run.  When I got home I thought to myself "Happy to be alive" today.

Wednesday -(6.48 miles, 8:26 pace) - I was surprised when Jenny said she was going to run with Kathryn for a few slow miles.  I was going to start out with them and run maybe a mile or so since I often start out my runs pretty slow and it doesn't bother me.  We headed towards Kathryn's house and Jenny quickly realized it wasn't going to work out.  I ran towards Kathryn's house, saw her, then we headed back towards Jenny.  I said goodbye then kept on going by myself.

After the run, I did a few weights around the house including some weighted pull-ups with a 25 lb. dumbbell.  I also tried one rep with Thomas hanging from my back.  I almost made it but not quite.

I downloaded and then watched a live version of this song I had heard and thought was really great called "Keeping Warm" by We Were Promised Jetpacks, it's a pretty powerful song, but it is also long and takes about halfway through to get to the words.  The premise of the song is that the odds of any of us ever being born are so slim we should take heart at being born.  And for some reason, thinking about keeping warm and being born reminded me of when each of the boys was born, and how they put little hats on babies to keep them warm and their whole life is ahead of them.  It kind of brought a tear or two to my eye.   I was also captivated by the bass guitar line.  The sound quality is kind of poor in this video but there are better ones out there.

 In the evening after work, I headed over to Jenny's boot camp again.  Great class as usual and a great way to end the day.

Thursday - 7.2 miles at 7:21 average pace,  tempo run (I just remembered how hard those are, how discouraging mile 2 or some other mid mile can feel, but that's what it's there for right?) at Striders group run.  I did 4 miles at a tempo pace - splits of 6:48, 6:52, 6:45, 6:36

Short cool down after that to put the total at just over 7 miles.
It was nice to see a few friends after - Mike, Raj, Diane, Barb, Melanie, Rudy and Randy (the PTs) and many more.

Got home fairly early and saw Dave out front - he was putting in a tree in our front yard to replace a bush I planted a while ago.  Went over where it was going to go.  I went back inside and then Andy asked from the bathroom "Hey Dad, why is the water off?"

I went outside and saw water bubbling up from the ground.  Dave shut off the water, finished extricating the bush and said he'd be able to fix it all.  Someone (me) had planted that bush too close to the water main, d'oh.
Andy finished his shower by rinsing off in the pool.  Fortunately, Jenny did not have any morning clients.  Thomas and I took a dip in the chilly pool to wash up.

 Later in the morning, Dave had finished putting in the tree, hauled off the old bush, and had the water fixed, yay!

 It's life.

Weekend  Plans:
Friday - short easy run, in to work early, home early
Saturday - I'm going to do a long run from 5:30 to 8:00, I'll run on paved road/trail and then some inside Starkey park, however many off road miles I can fit in there.  Have to get back in time to take Thomas bowling.  Then, in the afternoon I go for my first bass guitar lesson, right before Andy does his guitar lesson.  I hope I can get the hang of it this time.  I love hanging out at the music lesson place - Ramblin' Roades, and the instructor is great, always enjoy listening to him play when I'm waiting for the boys.

Sunday - short easy run around the neighborhood.

Question I hear, "Are you back to where you used to be?"  I'd say yes and no.  I think physically I'm close but at the same time I don't want to be exactly where I was before I had to take some time off.  I want to be better than that.  A little bit stronger and more well-rounded.  One problem I had identified, something that is common that happens to many runners, they lose their athleticism - in my mind, the ability to jump, and move on different planes, to feel strong and capable, to feel agile and quick.  The image in my mind when I think of an athlete is a pole vaulter.  I'm not planning on doing any pole vaulting anytime soon, but it's that concept and image and everything involved with that.

Inspiration - Walter is a runner I've know of, although I don't really know him.  I've always known he is fast, but just recently found out his story.  He is a friend I know from Daily Mile.  He has run a PR marathon of 2:31 and is competing in the masters national championship.  What I didn't know was about the terrible car accident he had been involved in during the early 90's.  He broke his pelvis in 32 places after being hit by a drunk driver.  He was paralyzed for a while and doctors never thought he would be able to recover fully.  Here is his story:

Forward progress?  - not sure, but I know I need a vision and plan, but there certainly is inspiration all around!!

Monday, November 7, 2011



Lots of stuff went on between Thursday night and this morning.  I could never do justice to everything that happened but at least if I put down a few notes it will be enough to help remember some of the details in between.  After all, it's sometimes more important about all the little stuff in between.

Friday - 
  • Morning - up early, saw Jenny off on her trip, thought about scratching my run due to rain, then went out for a short and fast run. I ended up doing an impromptu 5K in just under 20 minutes, with the last .11 kind of jogged.  I was kind of spent afterward so I didn't do any weights at home like I sometimes do on Fridays.
  • Later morning - saw the kids off to school and headed to work
  • Afternoon - left work to go pick up Thomas, got home just in time as Andy was coming home
  • We headed back to work, I did some work, then we had dinner at Wendy's.   There was a hearing impaired couple in front of us and due to miscommunications between them and the worker it took about 20 minutes before we could order.  The husband and wife both had special orders and the workers kept on messing it up.  The husband was getting angry, the wife was getting frustrated, and the worker at the counter was getting scared and exasperated.  I could see the couple angrily signing towards each other.  I thought the whole place was just going to explode.  Finally it was over and we were next.  Andy forgot to mention no mayonnaise on his burger, so when he got it he just wiped it off with a napkin, he did not want to say anything after what we just saw.
  • Headed back home to hang out for a bit.  Ran out to Target because I wanted an armband so I could run with my iPhone.  I wanted to make sure I didn't miss any race updates.  
  • I felt really wiped for a bit and just kind of collapsed on the floor.  Then I got a second wind and joined the boys upstairs for video games.  I was finally starting to understand Andy's new game Portal which he got for his birthday.  It is a maze/problem solving game.
  • There was a message from my mom on the answering machine so I called her back, she said she had some "news"
  • She had been to the dermatologist, needed a biopsy and was hoping to have everything all cleared up by today but things were a little more complicated than that and still had some more to go through.  Hopefully it will all turn out ok.  She had gone there on sort of a spur of the moment since she doesn't usually go, but my dad does.  I'm glad that she went.
  • I had texted Jenny a few times throughout the day as she was driving to Savannah with her friends, busy with the driving, the race expo and then getting checked into the hotel room.  I wished I was with her.   She called in the evening and talked for a bit which was nice to hear her voice.  Wished her good luck once again.  From what I could see, her running has been feeling very flat since the 50K, along with work stress and the loss of Barbie, and much, much more.  Wasn't sure what was going to happen.  Would race day magic be on her side?  We are all stronger than we think we are and are capable of much more than we know.  I would have to wait until tomorrow to find out.
 Saturday - 

  • Woke up about 4:30, wanted to start running by 5:00, spent way too much time screwing around with the iPhone armband, before I gave up on it and just put my phone in the water belt pouch.
  • Headed out for the run, then texted Jenny about 5:45, didn't want to wake her but didn't want to miss her.  Here she is getting ready to start the race, the outfit captures her essence! -
  • I kept a nice, easy pace.  I saw a few runners I knew and was also looking out for my friend Raj who was a possibility to run with (but it turns out he didn't run).
  • I stopped by "Craig and Diane's lemonade stand"  I was just in time before it closed.  I had missed Diane, but Craig was still there about to leave for his bike ride.  They put out stuff every Saturday for the runners who want to stop by, so nice of them!
  • I made it into the park just a little bit after it opened and then headed to an off road trail loop course, doing about three miles.  I did not get lost.  The off road felt great but I had to slow down quite a bit since it was so dark and I didn't want to go screaming through the trails, and then either fall down or get lost, I couldn't afford to do either one.
  • Got back on the road and headed home as it was getting light.  My pace picked up but I was able to keep it feeling light and easy.  With a few miles left, started to receive text updates from Jenny's race.  She was on her way!
  • Home in time, took the kids to bowling.  Glued to my phone, waiting on updates.  She kept on nailing her splits.  She was hanging with the 3:40 pace group.  I was so happy that she was going for it.
  • Stopped by Walmart to return something and pick up a few things and Andy found a new game to buy with his own money.   Finally, Jenny's final time came in - 3:48!
  • As the splits between 5K and 20 miles arrived, and she hit each one perfectly, I knew that I would have no idea on how things would turn out.  20 miles to 26.2 to a spectator just tracking numbers is a big black hole.  It's the critical part of the race, some people say it's the "real" race and the first 20 miles is a warm up.  I didn't now how she was feeling or holding up or what the conditions felt like.  Here's a picture a friend took in the finish chute -
  • So, the race was over, she had held down and stayed in the 3:40's.  It can be so discouraging to have to slow down, but can also feel good to know that you fought through it and did not give up.  So proud of her.  Couldn't wait to see how she felt.  After a while, exchanged a few texts for some updates, she had some troubling finding her friends but she did get to see Melinda and was able to see Elizabeth cross the finish line.
  • Took the boys to music lessons, and after the lessons were done I talked to Andy's teacher and asked about bass guitar lessons for me.  Felt kind of awkward asking but was glad I did.  Andy and his teacher are both excited about it because then we can work on the same songs, that would be really cool especially if I get to play in one of the monthly contests.  Jenny bought be the bass years ago for Christmas.  I was so excited to get it and tried to play it but couldn't get the hang of it and unfortunately did not persist through the feeling dumb stage, so I gave up and it sat collecting dust.  I've always wanted to get back to it "someday" which I am told is not actually a day of the week.
  • As I was leaving a got a text from Jenny and then the phone rang.   She had been trying to call me for half an hour but the phone reception for me in the music lesson place is terrible I get either one bar or "no service".  Talked to Jenny for a bit but I had a hard time hearing her and kept on having to ask her to repeat things.  I must have sounded like a terrible listener but I was glad she called and we were able to chat a bit.
  • Took the boys out to Brick Oven Pizza.
  • Worked on Tom's science fair project.  Finally was able to get a good seal using a grape juice bottle (64 oz), a sports ball needle, and a hot glue gun for cloud in a bottle: 
  •  Last week I was going to run with Sean on Sunday and do 16 miles, then decided to do my long run on Saturday so I could keep Sunday open.  The boys wanted to go to Universal for one last trip before the passes expire.  Planned to leave the house at 8:00.  Was going to run about 6 miles on Sunday morning from home and then decided I could run the trails at Starkey with Sean for some miles and still get back home in time to leave at 8:15.
  • Weeded the square foot gardens, trimmed the robelini palm (ouch!), and took down Halloween decorations.
  • Texted Jenny a few more times in the evening.
  • Just before going to bed noticed that it was time to change the clocks, grateful for the extra hour of sleep.
  • Up nice and early and arrived at Starkey park gates about 6:15, but they were not open yet.  Waited until almost 6:30 when they opened, Sean had pulled up behind me so we arrived at the parking lot together.
  • There was a possibility of one more person showing up so we waited just a few minutes then got going.
  • Sean was going to be doing a big run and I was just looking for about 6 miles.  Parts of the trail had been tilled so it was very loose and deep in those sections and a little bit slow going but not terrible since most of the trail was pretty nice.
  • We ran 4.5 miles together, then he pointed me towards the way back with some landmarks to look for.  It worked almost perfectly.  I made a wrong turn toward the very end and ended up with just over 7 miles.
  • Got home a little bit later than planned but the boys were all ready so we ended up hitting the road at 8:33 instead of the planned 8:15.
  • Stopped at McDonald's for a second breakfast, then onto Universal!!
  • The boys on the way into Universal
    I don't know how I managed it but I caught them both smiling while waiting in line for the Harry Potter ride.
    I'm trying to look like something is hanging over my head so to speak.  Didn't quite achieve the look I wanted, just look a little angry instead :(

  • We were pretty much done with what we wanted to do and the boys didn't want to get home late so we got going about 2:00
  • Stopped at the store on the way home.  Jenny had said she was good with eating at home, so I got some steaks and things.
  • Dinner was sirloin, asparagus, grilled portabellos, and roasted potatoes and salad.
  • Nice way to end the weekend, sitting down for a nice dinner and hearing more about Jenny's marathon in Savannah!
So,  what does it all mean?  Lots of little things and big things going on.  It went by so quickly, there was a lot to do and a lot to think about.  Definitely no time to be bored.  No big plans for me other than to enjoy the weekend doing things with family and friends.  Doing my best and hoping it's all worthwhile.  I guess it is what life is all about.

      Thursday, November 3, 2011

      Mid Week Reflections


      This morning I ran a little bit over 9 miles.  I did not run yesterday, had an early morning flight to catch for a 1 day business trip.  I thought about waking up at 4:30 instead of 5:00 and getting in at least a short run, but thought better of it.  I'm still in the building stage.

      I did weights at the Y on Monday instead of running.  I haven't been there in such a long time and we were thinking of cancelling the membership there.  The kids barely go especially now that Tae Kwon Do has moved from being held in the Y.  Jenny works out at Flex One (when she has a chance to).  I have some weights at home but like to lift heavy sometimes.  The heaviest we have at home is 25 lb dumbbells.

      Tuesday I ran a little over 10 miles by myself. Running weather has been incredible.


      This has been a week of adjusting.  Our remaining dog, Sammy, for the first time in his life does not have other dogs around.  He was fostered on a farm which took care of something like 25 dogs or so.  He didn't have the best care there, but was around a lot of dogs.  When we got him, he was very hot from infections including a couple different kinds of worms.   Since then, he has lived with his two "sisters".  He had one dog to push around (Chelsea), but for whom he also looked out for.  Kind of an odd relationship from a human perspective.

      We lost Chelsea toward the end of September.  Now, Barbie has passed also.  Monday was his first day "alone".   No dogs around, Andy off to school, Jenny off to work, then Thomas and I off to school and work until Jenny is able to come home again.  Repeat Tue, Wed, Thu.

      One of the few certainties in life is that things will change, we can either adjust and move forward or do nothing and see how that works out for us (probably not very good).

      Jenny's advice to help Sammy move forward - lots of walks!  I think I will definitely listen to that one.


      At the Savannah Rock n Roll Marathon!!  Her sixth marathon unless you count the 50K that she did (not sure what the "rules" are on that one, certainly counts to me).

      No time goal for this race, but a lot of good things can happen over the course of 26.2 miles.

      I'll be running Saturday morning at some of the same times while she is running and will have my phone with me eagerly awaiting text alert updates.    I remember doing this for her first half marathon in Disney, it's exciting when you hear the text sound, stop look and see where she's at.