Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category

I had a follow up with my podiatrist yesterday, before the snow got to be too bad. I went totally redneck, though, wrapping my left foot in a plastic sack before putting on the Boot of Shame. It worked, too… kept the foot mostly dry.

To make a long story short, Stubby has been released from care. I still need to keep an eye on him, but he’s really shown improvement. Wayne has also shown improvement, but nothing like what Stubby has achieved. Wayne’s wound measured 12mm yesterday, which was less than the 16mm it measured last week. I’m taking heart in this, hoping that I will be able to get back to training sooner, rather than later. The other good news from the appointment concerns footwear.

Dr. Miller said that I really needed to get fitted for better shoes. I restated my objection that the shoes are simply butt-ugly. He asked if I’d take a look at the selection before I dismissed it as out of hand. I agreed.

Brooks-Adrenaline-14_3In a bottom corner of the display rack, I found something I could more than live with… the Brooks Adrenaline GTS. I’m more of a Beast guy, but if I can get a pair, fitted to my particular feet and have my insurance cover part of it, well, I’m OK with that. I just want to stop the blisters. If they can’t do it right, there’s also a selection of New Balance that I can work with. The point is that while I’m not very vain about what I wear, I was drawing the line at plain white grandpa sneakers with velcro closures. I’m 43, not 73.

I did manage to get my cardio in today… in the form of shoveling snow. For whatever reason, Wanda, evil bitch queen of our HOA, didn’t dispatch the crews throughout the development until late and they never got to our house until late morning. No worries… I just did the whole driveway, sidewalks and out into the street. Felt pretty good to get 90 minutes of cardio. The downside to the whole snow thing is that Supportive Partner Woman was stranded at the office. Fortunately, she was prepared and had food and a sleeping bag, but I’m sure she can’t wait to get home. I opted to not even go in yesterday, when it took me just under an hour to make it home from the foot doctor (it’s normally 10-15 minutes tops). It means that I had to forgo holiday pay for Monday, but my life is more important to me than a day’s pay.

I have my show fitting appointment as well as another followup with the podiatrist next week. I’ll keep you posted.

I also have have wonderful team news to report. A teammate of mine, Ed, was told by his doctors that he was not to run anymore. Undeterred, he got a handcycle on December 26 and was at Walt Disney World to complete the Dopey Challenge two weeks later. His is an inspiring story that I hope to share in more detail in the future, but he was able to let the team know that his regional VA has asked him to represent the regional VA team at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Philadelphia. If he finishes well there, he can earn a place on the national VA team. That is such an amazing opportunity for such an inspirational guy.

At any rate, going to call it a day for now. Hope you all manage to stay warm out there.

 

It’s been a long time since I wrote about the trials of my personal journey, leaving many of you to assume it’s going perfectly.

It’s not.

Truth of the matter is that due to all sorts of external stressors, I’ve been fighting a losing battle on the food front.

Oh, it starts innocently enough… the thought that having a rough day somehow entitles me to eat a Tastykake or ice cream or something like that. Then it becomes less of a treat and more of a constant. Next thing you know, the scale starts creeping the other way.

This ain’t a good thing, y’all.

During my last visit with the surgeon, I mentioned the troubles I’ve been having and he put me in touch with the psychologist that the practice is affiliated with. It took awhile, but I finally got an appointment to see Dr. Collins and it was eye-opening, to say the least.

See, the sky is not falling.

The train has not wrecked.

Dr. Collins thinks that I’ve gone a little off track, but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed. As such, I’ll be starting a “Back on Track” program next month that will reinforce the stuff I’ve sort of forgotten and hopefully get me motivated again.

While we were chatting, I realized that what problems I’ve had with my feet are so minuscule compared to what I saw over the weekend. Seeing cancer patients like Kim Markey (who did her last chemo the week before the Dopey Challenge), or the folks on full prosthetic limbs… they have problems. I have inconveniences. Big difference.

Regardless, this program gives me another chance to get it right. To learn to stop the mindless eating and the stress eating.

One other thing Dr. Collins told me as we were wrapping up. She said, “Those people you finished that race with? They support you and love you and they know you can do it. That’s a big part of your support structure and if they did that race with you, they will be there for this race, too. Don’t throw all that support away by thinking you have to do it alone.”

Once again, Team AllEars FTW.

More soon.

 

The morning, I completed my first ever 5K.

I know… it’s hard to believe.

Mr. “I only run if chased” actually did it and even ran a bit of it.

I’ve been wanting to do this and working toward it for so long that I didn’t think I could get too emotional afterward. Then I reached that point where I just overfilled with emotion and starting crying. Tears of pain, relief, and joy. What a combo.

See, in a surprise move, the dastardly tag team of Wayne and Stubby have been acting up.  I mean, why wouldn’t they? I’m in my supposed happy place and I would have no desire to not have to wrap my toes like an Egyptian mummy, right? So, as late as Tuesday night, I was thinking about bailing on the whole thing. Then it really struck me just how much it meant for me to do it. Then yesterday, we hit the expo. Things really started to click at that point. We met up with our friends from Colorado at the expo and braved the chaos. I never saw anything quite like that. Just a sea of people milling around the Wide World of Sports complex. It was pretty freakin cool. I also met some other folks from the team and to have strangers telling me how proud they were that I was doing this started pushing me toward the happy scale.

I didn’t want to let my teammates down.

Team All Ears and friends before the start of the 5K

Team All Ears and friends before the start of the 5K.
Photo courtesy of Tom Troost

So, at 5:30 this morning, Supportive Partner Woman (5K finisher!) and I were at the team photo.

See? Lots of people

See? Lots of people

Then the waiting begins, because, as it turns out, there are a LOT of people doing this race. We were, of course, in corral E, which was the last one. Thankfully, a lot of my teammates stayed with us and walked along. I wasn’t planning on running, you see, due to my issues with Wayne and Stubby.

As we plodded along, the rains came. Not a heavy rain, but one that was starting to dampen my spirits. My inner Debbie Downer started to gnaw at me and I fumed to myself, thinking, “Well isn’t THIS just ^@$## perfect?”

I kept a smile, but that voice kept yelling at me, “What were you THINKING, you dumbass?”

Still we plodded along.

Then something magical happened. We came across a single team member standing by the International Gateway and she was just screaming for me. That’s what started my inner bitch-slapping of my inner Debbie Downer. (Big thanks to Laura Ozo!)

I realized I only had another mile to go. My pace started to pick up… the heavy feeling in my legs started to dissipate… We came around Spaceship Earth and hit the three mile mark. I saw a group of teammates and I started to hear them cheering for me. Just then, that huge lump of self-doubt flew out of me. I looked at Mike and Brad and said, “I got this.”

Then I ran.

Lumbered, really, but is that really a bad thing?

Getting a medla and hug from Lori was a great ending to an amazing morning.

Getting a medal and hug from Lori was a great ending to an amazing morning.

I crossed that finish line in stride to be greeted by a dear friend who was volunteering with a big hug and my first-ever medal.

See, they may say that running events are a solo thing. Maybe they are, but in my case, my team made me able to run.

This was followed up with congrats and pictures and a tasty brunch. Supportive Partner Woman went off to the parks, I came back to the room to write and to rest the toes.

This little bit of time has allowed me to reflect on what has happened to me today. Oh, and also to start thinking of how I’ll handle a back to back 5K and 10K next year. Because runDisney has its hooks into me now. I want that feeling again.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a few people who have really helped me. First off would be our team founder, Deb Wills, and our team captains, Mike Scopa and Michelle Scribner-MacLean. Also, my friends Melanie and Bryan for putting the bug in my ear and just generally being awesome. Brad Garfinkel for being a friend and pushing me to do better. Rich Gairing, for being a great mentor and just an all-around awesome human being. It also goes without saying that the rest of my team gets credit. They are all rock stars and it would take too long to list every one of them individually.

I also wanted to thank the Nerds for a great virtual series. These folks have been so supportive as well (and yes, there’s a lot of cross-pollination) .

A "We did it" selfie

A “We did it” selfie

The real rock, though, is Supportive Partner Woman. She thinks I deserve all this credit, but the fact is that it is due to her support and encouragement that I was there at all today. I was truly blessed to have her in my life.

So, the rest of the weekend will be taken up by cheering for my teammates as they finish the other races. I hope that I can give them the same lift that they gave me. There’s also the other event coming up… the big reveal of this year’s fundraising total. That becomes available on Saturday and I will be sure to keep you updated.

After that, well, there’s the brand new Mickey Milers team, an offshoot of the Mickey Miles podcast. This will help to fill the void of Team AllEars. I’m already signed up and I’m sure I’ll be begging for donations to help Give Kids the World before too long.

Until that time, keep on moving.

So the last post was me feeling kind of sorry for myself. This one will be better.

See, I got a package in the mail yesterday. That package contained my medals from the Nerd Herd Running Virtual Racing Series.

These are the first medals I ever got and it dawned on me that it is a big deal. At least to me.

My medals

My medals

The medals themselves are of good weight and fit to ether to form the Nerd Herd logo. There’s one for the May the 4th Be With You 5K, the Happy Birthday Harry Potter 10K and the Banned Books Half, as well as a fourth medal for completing the series. It really filled me with a sense of accomplishment. I know some marathon snobs would say that it wasn’t a “real” race and I didn’t have a stellar time, but it’s a big deal because I did it.

In short, that package was a vindication of what I’ve been trying to do.

Next up will be the real 5K. I’ll get a medal for that, too, but it won’t have the same impact because it won’t be the first one.

I can see how this can become an addiction, though. Guess I need to find a place to display the bling that’s sure to come my way.

There are worse things.

So, in closing, a huge thank you to the Nerd Herd… Sara, Julie, Jamison, Mike, Joelle, Christina, Brad, Erinn, Dan, Jeff, Christine and April and all the folks who participated in the series that raised $15,000 to benefit StupidCancer.org. What an amazing journey!

So, Supportive Partner Woman and I tried something new the other day. I’ll get to that in a bit. First off, I set a new record for distance in a day. Well, not totally, but since I started this little project, After going to the gym and doing 4.3 miles on the elliptical, I went home and decided to go back out with SPW to the Lancaster Junction Rail Trail and did another 4.993 miles. All told, over nine miles (intentionally) in one day. Woot!

So, Wednesday, we decided to try something different. Most of the rail trails are, by necessity, flat or have a very minimal grade. There might be a few spots where the trail has a slope to cross a road, but that’s about it. The slopes are only in there because an underpass was opened up when the railroad abandoned the right of way. So, in search of a challenge, and a good view, we headed to Chickies Rock Overlook Trail.

We were slightly underprepared, not knowing what kind of terrain we would be looking at. For future reference, any future return to the site will involve hiking boots, as running shoes and rocks don’t necessarily make for good bedfellows. The climb is not a long one (only about 1/2 mile from the trailhead to the overlook) but for the two of us, it was challenging enough. The view proved to be worth it.

Panorama from the top of the rock

Panorama from the top of the rock

From one of the secondary viewing areas

From one of the secondary viewing areas

The actual overlook itself is on a couple of levels. The easier ones to approach are set back from the edge of the rock itself. They still provide some views, but with the trees still in bloom, you are limited to seeing what’s right in front of you. This makes me want to go back, both when the leaves start to turn and when the trees are bare. It should make for some good photographs.

There’s apparently another trail at the base of the cliff that runs about 1.5 miles. We did not try that, as it doesn’t quite meet our distance needs. Might try it in the future.

Mr. Tortoise

Mr. Tortoise

Thursday, we went back to the Enola Low Grade Trail. Sadly, we were unable to get the full distance in, due to a forgotten appointment. We did, however, come across a very cute little turtle (tortoise?) just kind of on the trail. I’m not sure if (s)he was alive or not, but was very tiny. If I would’ve had something to put in the picture to establish size, I would’ve. Given a chance to search Google images, I think it’s a baby snapping turtle.

One thing I have yet to mention about our visits to these trails are the sheer number of raptors seen. There are hawks aplenty and I’m pretty sure I saw a bald eagle. It makes me want to return to Hawk Mountain just to see the birds. It would be worth the trek up the hill and yes, I would wear hiking boots.

Hope you have a great weekend, folks!

I’m proud to report that I completed the Nerd Herd Racing Series by finishing a virtual half marathon this week.

Yes, Captain Fattie did 13.1 (actually 14.17) in 3:39:26.

That’s not a typo.

I actually feel pretty proud of myself… I accomplished something I never thought I would do. Granted, it took me three days, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. There’s obviously some room for improvement, including actually pounding the pavement for 13 miles, or maybe doing it in the same day, but I’m on the road.

So, Supportive Partner Woman and I visited a new rail trail today. The Enola  Low Grade Rail Trail runs for 5.25 miles through southern Lancaster County. It parallels the Susquehanna River and also the existing Norfolk Southern rail line. It’s a very scenic trail, with a wonderful panorama of the broad Susquehanna and the wooded bluffs on the York County side of the river.

We didn’t see too much in the way of wildlife… there were raptors soaring over the updrafts and plenty of grasshoppers. The scenery, though was top notch. The township has placed numerous viewing platforms along the trail which allow you to see over the fence.

View of the Susquehanna Valley south of Columbia

View of the Susquehanna Valley south of Columbia

One of the wind turbines

One of the wind turbines

One of the other sights along the trail is at the northern trailhead. The local electric co-op has installed two large wind turbines. They are actually the tallest structures in Lancaster County. The power goes pretty much exclusively into the Turkey Hill Dairy and they provide a good part of the facility’s power needs.

1948 PRR caboose

1948 PRR caboose

One of the other nice touches that the township has provided is a large piece of railroad nostalgia. This 1948 Pennsylvania Railroad caboose was restored to its period appearance and is joined by some historical data concerning its history and its restoration.

waterfall

Waterfall

The final highlight are the rocky streams and waterfalls. They pass under the trail, then through a small aqueduct that carries the water over the Norfolk Southern line and falls into the river. It’s just an extra nice touch on a trail that has a lot of them.

The sole issue that we found is that there’s not a lot of shade, which would make a long walk in the dead of summer somewhat toasty. The saving grace is that the mile-wide river valley seems to funnel air through it, creating a steady, cool breeze. If you are folically-challenged, like myself, I would recommend a hat and some sunscreen, otherwise your melon might get a little crispy.

As an editorial note, I’m really thrilled with how well the rail trail program has taken hold in this area. There are three nice trails in the general vicinity and there are plans to connect them to a wider network of trails. It makes sense in Pennsylvania, seeing the sheer number of unused rail lines. It’s also nice to see the cross-section of people using the trails, whether it be for running, walking, or biking. I look forward to getting to the southern end of the trail so I can check out the dam.

Soon.

I’ve been neglecting my inspiration segment here of late. With that being said, today I’d like to give a shoutout to Joe. Joe is a reformed big guy who’s also a part of Team AllEars, I met him at the Harrisburg Half Marathon a few weeks ago and was really taken by how open and genuine he is, not only about his running, but where he’s been. It really inspired me to commit to the Disney races in 2015, so it’s really his fault.

Thanks, Joe. Looking forward to catching up at Hershey next month.

So, Supportive Partner Woman and I hopped in the car and headed to Philadelphia to see the Steely Dan show at the Mann.

The Mann Center is a Philadelphia landmark. established in 1935 as a summer home for the Philadelphia Orchestra. Since 1935, it has sat in Fairmount Park, still hosting the orchestra, among many other shows.

This was not our first visit to the amphitheater (built in 1976). We once caught John Williams conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra as they performed many of his movie classics. This was the first time, however, we needed an ark.

The weather was threatening all day, but it held as we headed down to Philadelphia. We swung through University City and paid a visit to Bobby’s Burger Palace. Excellent food, and I could even eat it. I opted for a Palace Classic (burger with American cheese, tomato and onion. SPW went with a crunchburger and a chocolate/vanilla malted milkshake. We split an order of onion rings. Food was fabulous, and the restaurant was located next to a Chipotle, so it was like quick service nirvana.

Following dinner, we headed through the hood and up to the park. Parking was a reasonable $15, and we weren’t far from the venue. We packed up our disposable ponchos and headed in. For the summer concert series, the Mann was passing out a series of collectible baseball cards.

Regardless, we found our seats and settled in. The skies grew gloomier and showtime came and went. The Deep Blue Organ Trio took the stage as a warmup act and played some phat blues. Comprised of a guitarist, drummer and a big ole’ Hammond B-3.

They played about three or four songs, then it was time for the main event. The skies had opened and a steady rain was falling. Yours truly and SPW were huddled under cheap plastic ponchos from Walmart, gazing at some douchenozzle’s giant-ass golf umbrella.

The band, known as the Bipolar Allstars,  took the stage first, launching into a very jazzy cover of Gerry Mulligan’s Blueport, they were joined by cofounders Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, along with the three backing vocalists. They launched into Your Gold Teeth, followed immediately by Aja. There was a slight break at this point, as Becker launched into a monologue before segueing right into Hey, Nineteen.

This parade continued uninterrupted through 20 songs, ranging from newer songs like Godwhacker and classics like Time Out of Mind, Black Friday, Josie, My Old School and Reelin’ in the Years. The obligatory encore was Kid Charlemagne.

The band was exceedingly tight, as can be expected for playing together so long. The horn section, comprised of Jim Pugh on trombone, Michael Leonhart on trumpet, as well as Walt Weiskopf and Roger Rosenberg on the saxophones were amazing. Their brassy, sassy sound brought a level of depth to many of the songs, especially My Old School. The percussion, provided by jazz notable Keith Carlock, was a little heavy at times, but Carlock showcased amazing skill on par with any rock drummer I’ve ever seen. John Herrington on the guitar brought a certain edge, along with virtuoso skill.

All in all, an amazing show that would’ve been improved without a big ass gold umbrella right in the sight lines.

My current project is the Nerd Herd Banned Books Virtual Half Marathon. I did the first 4.8 miles today on the Lancaster Junction trail. Weather was fine, and the trail was actually kind of deserted. Wildlife sightings included innumerable cows and sheep, some goats, multitudinous grasshoppers and a quasi-curious woodchuck. Oh, and a pony!

I completed my 4.8 miles in 1:29:46. I’m getting a little faster, so that’s a good sign. The ankles are still not cooperating the best, but hopefully they will come around.

I’ve got two more legs to go to complete the half… so I’ll be back with those results in the next couple of days.

Song of the Day: Janie Runaway – Steely Dan

Currently Reading: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn