Archive for the ‘Physical activity’ Category

I figured I should warn y’all that this post will have a picture of a foot. So, if you’re foot-averse, be warned.

So, it’s Monday. That usually means the weekend is done and it’s time to get back to work. Sadly, it’s the beginning of November, and for the big cheeses at the soulless corporation I work for, this means a chance to compel us lowly worker bees to work overtime.

I have a love/hate relationship with overtime.

The paychecks are nice. VERY nice. But you wonder if the headaches are worth it. Being ordered around by people who like to THINK they are supervisors is always a drag, as is actually starting at paperwork for extra hours. The seem to think it’s life or death, but the fact of the matter is that what we do doesn’t really have a huge impact on the safety and well-being of the majority of people in the US.

Enough about that, though.

The Boo to Cancer 5K medal

The Boo to Cancer 5K medal

I signed up for and completed another virtual 5K this past week. A friend and teammate had put together the Boo to Cancer Virtual 5K to benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. I did things a little differently, opting to cover the distance on the elliptical, since it was my second day out of the boot and I didn’t know how the foot would behave with full-length toes for the first time in years. I managed to get the 3.1 miles done in 21:16, which was pretty cool for me.

Chickie's Rock anticline

Chickie’s Rock anticline

I also managed to get up to the Chickie’s Rock Overlook again last week. I was hoping for more of a foliage change, but I think I beat that by a few days. I did manage to get a slightly different view, as it was pretty deserted and a lot of the leaves had fallen. One of the highlights was looking at the exposed rock face. I’m not sure what the exact geological composition of the rock is, but it’s enough to make you contemplate just how insignificant humanity’s time on the Earth has been. Knowing that this anticline has been eroded through over millennia by flowing water, and that erosion will continue for millennia after we’re gone. Really puts things in perspective.

The freshly straightened toes (with Stubby to the left)

The freshly straightened toes (with Stubby to the left)

Speaking of the foot, I’m attaching a picture where the toes are not all bandaged up. The toes are nice and straight and it was really weird, actually feeling the texture of a sock with the bottom of my toes. They had been curled for so long, I didn’t really remember the sensation.

So, that’s pretty much what’s happening here in cow country. I would like to give a shoutout to my friend Brad who not only completed the NYC marathon on Sunday, but did it while enjoying himself AND followed up by getting interviewed on GMA. Way to go, Brad!

One other note. I’ve been talking about my Team AllEars fundraising. I’m pleased to announce that due to an unusually generous corporate match, my fundraising total has eclipsed $1,000. This is more than double my original goal. I have to give thanks to everyone who has contributed, and if you haven’t, there’s still time. Feel free to donate here… any amount $5.00 or greater is most appreciated.

I’d also like to take a moment to offer belated birthday wishes to the lovely and gracious Supportive Partner Woman. She had a birthday on Halloween and we’ve now entered the four months of the year when I can get away with busting on her for being older than me. I should also mention that the day prior to her birthday we celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary, which, I think, is the Styrofoam anniversary. It hasn’t always been easy, but we’ve made it this long and the good days far outnumber the bad days. Some days that’s all you can ask for. I will note that I love her more today than I did on our wedding day.

That’s really saying something.

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 

Yes, I'm flying the Jolly Roger

Yes, I’m flying the Jolly Roger

Avast, me hearties!

Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and I thought I’d get that out of the way before I got into the meat of the post.

In a surprise move, it’s about grog. Or booze, or hooch, or whatever else you feel like calling it.

I’m not a big drinker. I feel that once I turned 21, the fun wore off. As such, I haven’t minded not being able to drink on a semi-regular basis. It’s one of those things with a bypass. They do warn you that your tolerance is impacted post-surgery.

They weren’t lying.

See, Supportive Partner Woman got some news worth celebrating yesterday. After work, we adjourned into the Nerd Lair, she opted for tequila and I opted for my old standy, Jagermeister.

Normally, I’m feeling buzzed after three or four shots.

Not last night. One shot, I was lightheaded, flushed and feeling very warm.

So, moral of the story is that I have to be really careful if I opt to drink and should never drive.

In other news, iOS 7 landed yesterday afternoon. So far, it has a lot of features I like. There’s a few that are going to take some getting used to. It’s a little more stripped down, so I’m going to miss the subtle touches, but I’ll survive. Since I’ve only had it for a day, I’m not prepared to pass judgement.

Oh, and finally, I covered over 26 miles last week. That was a goal of mine… I still don’t know how some folks can cover that in a day and still be alive afterward, but maybe that’s just me. I’m trying to break up the training between walking, the dread mill, and the elliptical. In that regard, SPW and I tried a new rail trail (to us) yesterday and got an exact 5.000 miles in. Felt pretty good, although too much walking really does a number on my ankles. Just need to get them stronger.

At any rate, hope you have a great day, ye scurvy dogs!

Song of the Day: Take Me to the River – Talking Heads

Currently reading: Atlantis Found – Clive Cussler

Hit a major point in my burgeoning career as a wogger.

I accomplished the week marathon.

Basically, I covered 26.2 miles in seven days.

For a reformed fattie like myself, this is a pretty huge deal. For me to drag my tubby butt out of the house and either hit the gym or the trail is something that would’ve been laughable eight or nine months ago. Back then I was struggling to do a mile at a time on the dreadmill. That wasn’t every day, either. That was twice a week.

My average per day now? 3.78 miles.

It’s pretty cool. As one of my Team AllEars teammates has told me, there’s a lot of the population that isn’t hoofing it that far in a week and I should be proud of myself.

It’s just that I can’t take the credit.

The credit goes to the people that encourage me… my family, my teammates, my coworkers. They deserve the credit, because without their encouragement, I’d probably still be sitting on the couch getting fatter. Thanks to the support and encouragement I have been given, well, I spend less time on the couch and more time being constructive.

Spectators lined the course

Spectators lined the course

The highlight of today’s travels was the fact that I managed to jog around 1/4 mile of the 4.28 that I logged. It was a good day on the trail… perfect weather, spectators (of the four-legged variety), and not too many horse mines to dodge. It seemed like some of the spectators were hanging out just to watch the folks on the trail, and maybe offer a whinny of encouragement. All in all a good day.

So,going forward, I have another week until the Banned Book Half kicks off. I’d love it if some of you folks could see fit to help the cause by donating to my Avon Walk fundraising page. Every little bit helps, even if it’s only $5.00. I would be grateful, as would those the foundation helps.

Have a great week, everyone!

P.S. I found myself sitting in the Nerd Lair at 4 AM watching The Jazz Singer on one of the Encore channels.

Song of the Day: Short Skirt/Long Jacket – Cake

Currently reading: Atlantis Found – Clive Cussler