Archive for the ‘Team AllEars’ 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.

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.

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

The pedometer screen

The pedometer screen

That’s right, campers… yours truly completed a 10K yesterday. It wasn’t the fastest on record, but for me, it’s a pretty big deal. I did it on the rail trail, so it was nice and shady, there was a breeze going, and it felt pretty good.

Until the last half mile.

That’s when the ankles started barking, and everything hurt, but the only way I’m getting back to the car is by finishing the walk. One of the good reasons to do this stuff on the trail.

My Harry Potter bib

My Harry Potter bib

The little 10K jaunt also marked the completion of the second part of the Nerd Herd virtual racing series. This one was Harry Potter themed, and I’m glad I managed to get it done. Next up is that banned book half, but I’m sure I’ll be doing that over two or three days.

I spent this morning at the Harrisburg Half Marathon cheering on two of my Team All Ears teammates. It was TAE teammate Joe’s first real half, and he was running it with his mentor, Brad, a good friend of mine. They both finished the course in under 2:30, which really puts into perspective how slow I am, and how far I have to go. Then there are the really fast people, doing it in under 90 minutes. To put into persepctive, they did 13.1 miles in less time than it took me to go 6.2.

Yes, how far I have to go.

See, I’m looking at 2015 to run the Disney World half AND the Disneyland half. If I’m going to do it, I want the coast to coast bling,

There. It’s in print.

That’s my goal.

I have no idea how I’m going to accomplish this, just that I have to do it somehow. I think it was in the back of my mind when I first thought of doing the 5K. Either that or Melanie planted that seed somewhere on a ship in the Caribbean way back in 2010.

In other news, Supportive Partner Woman and I were able to join TAE teammates Matt, Brad and Joe, along with their families, for a lunch at TJ Rockwell’s in Elizabethtown. Special thanks to Matt who drove the farthest, and it was especially great to see him, as it’s been around four years. Wasn’t even too bad a food day. We all shared a huge appetizer platter (sliders, onion rings, boneless wings, pretzel logs and the rhino fries. I managed half a pretzel, half a slider (left the bun), two onion rings and three fries. For a main course, I ordered a crab cake sandwich, of which I could only eat half.

So, folks… there you have it. I’ve set a pretty big goal for myself.

Now to make it happen.

I’ll keep you posted.

Song of the Day: Without Me – Eminem

Currently Reading: Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football – John U. Bacon

Way to go!

Posted: August 31, 2013 in Inspiration, Team AllEars

team-allears-logo-rgbJust wanted to give props to my Team AllEars peeps who are participating in the Disneyland races this weekend. There’s a 5K, 10K, and half marathon, not to mention the Dumbo Double Dare (10K and half on successive days). These folks are the real heroes and one day I want to be like them.

So, hats off to Dave, Matt, Lee, Eddie, Christine, Sara, Michelle, Mike S., Tom, Molly, Charlie, Laura, Jill, Julie, Kim, Judy, Evelyn, Stan, Rich, MaryJean, Mike P., Phil, Ana, Jason, and anyone else I might have missed because not everyone is posting and I’m kind of slow today.

You guys are awesome!

P.S. There’s also some celebrity sightings… apparently, Joy Fatone and Sean Astin were spotted. Woot!

So, it’s Saturday, and it wouldn’t be a good Saturday without some entertainment.

Here’s my story:

We live in a townhouse. We don’t know all of our neighbors… it’s kind of hard to keep track, because there is a certain level of turnover. That kind of sets the stage.

This morning, I was cleaning/packing up the freshly repaired mixer. I noticed some commotion across the street. There was a lot of people going in and out of one of the homes. I also noticed a lot of strange cars. I assumed that they had a house party, no worries. As I let the mixer spin and work the grease throughout the gear system, I saw a guy come out of the house carrying a very long, white garment bag that he proceeded to put in his low-riding. buzzy-mufflered street rod. He shut the door, which was followed by a very loud, “Oh, shit!”

He locked the keys in the car.

With the wedding dress.

Whoopsie.

He first tried to get in the car by pulling on the (locked) driver’s door. Now, keep in mind that door latches are designed to stay latched in the event of a severe collision. The fact that a 160 pound guy is yanking on the door is probably not going to work out well.

As he’s yanking futilely at the car door, the bride-to-be and countless bridesmaid-types file out of the house. Each time a new one comes outside, the bride has to fill them in. Loudly.

There are some other dudes present who keep offering advice. Ranging from the helpful to the “Seriously?” At one point, there were eleven people standing around the buzzy POS, all trying to get in to rescue the dress. Maybe I’m getting old, but I would’ve called AAA by this point. I know it doesn’t build character, but it’s probably a bit quicker

Finally, a random stranger manages to get the lock popped. All it took was a coat hanger/dowel rod combo and about three guys prying at the driver’s door with screwdrivers. Probably real good for the finish and for the watertight integrity of the door seals.

The capper on the whole thing was that the aforementioned POS did not start and it took about five people to get it push started.

Hope the marriage goes smoother.

So, later tonight, it was decision time. It was lunch time and I had brought some pulled pork carnitas. It came down to taking a walk or eating my carnitas and reading a book.

I’m pleased to say I opted for the walk. It was only about 1.3 miles, but I did it with enough time to heat up my pork and it was yummy. See? Best of both worlds. But, looking at my Daily Mile totals, I see I’ve covered 11 miles this week. Used to take me a month to walk that much. And, there’s still another day in this week (by their bizarre accounting), so I could easily make 13.1 miles, or the distance of a half-marathon.

This got me thinking about something.

There’s a group that runs a series of virtual races called Nerd Herd running. They do three races with a decidedly nerdy flair. There’s a Star Wars themed race, a Harry Potter themed race, and a Banned Books race. I’m so thinking of the Banned Books race. I could read some really subversive stuff, like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in order to get ready for it. The best part is that the virtual races benefit Stupid Cancer, which is a cause near and dear to me.

I’ll keep you posted.

Went on to have a reasonably active weekend. Since Supportive Partner Woman (owner of a synovial cyst!) is on the DL, I went to the Lancaster Junction Rail Trail yesterday and proceeded to walk the length of the trail (just under five miles), then went to the in-laws for a yard work party. I think it’s safe to say that I got some exercise. I did notice that my old New Balance 1123s are finally dead. I kept them around for working in the yard, but by the end of the day my ankles and feet were so sore that standing was painful. When we got home, I switched back to the Beasts and I was ready to go. Go figure.

IMG_2133The final bit of good news is that I weighed myself today and the scale said 272.2.

That’s 108 pounds since I started, and I feel pretty darn good.

That’s all you can really ask for.

Once again, I’d like to encourage you to support my fundraising efforts for the Avon Walk. If folks would be willing to pledge $1.00 per kilometer that I’m doing in January, that would be $5.00 and it does add up. Thank you in advance, and if you already have contributed, thank you for your kindness.

http://info.avonfoundation.org/goto/BrianT

Song of the Day: Peace and Love, Inc. – Information Society

Currently Reading: The English Girl – Daniel Silva

So, actually walked outside today for a change.

It helped that the temperature is pretty moderate, the humidity better than normal, and a nice breeze blowing. Oh, and the trail is very shady.

That’s right… I said trail.

Supportive Partner Woman (Getting serious!) and I have noticed a walking trail a few miles from our house for the six years we’ve been here. About damn time we used it. There’s a nice parking area near the county’s public safety training facility, along with some public restrooms (which we did not have to use) and easy access to the trail.

A curious bovine looks on

A curious bovine looks on

The trail itself is well-maintained. Mostly gravel and cinders, with some muddier spots for good measure. The weeds are well-controlled and the bugs were not bad. It parallels the creek for a portion and it’s nice to stop for a minute and hear nothing but the birds and the rushing of the water. It also runs along some farms and pastures, so even though there are portions with more “fresh country air” than others, it’s not so bad. Plus, you get a curious bovine checking you out, not to mention multiple chipmunks and other fauna.

The best part about the trail is that it’s flat and there’s plenty of places to break into a jog. We managed to do that several times. SPW even managed to capture some video. I warn you, it’s not pretty and you can see how my feet problems have caused my right foot to go to the outside to compensate for the missing toe. Here’s the 12 seconds in all it’s glory.

Like I said, it’s not pretty, but it will improve. Practice!

Quick note… I’m pleased to start working with my Team AllEars mentor, Rich. I look forward to learning from him and getting the benefit of his experiences with various running events. Thanks in advance, Rich!

Again, please consider donating to the Avon Walk. My personal fundraising page is located here.

At any rate, that’s about it for today. Hope you all have a great weekend!

So, it was a helluva week last week.

I not only killed it at the gym, I managed to wound Stubby as well.

See, on Thursday, I was actually running on the treadmill. It felt pretty good… the left ankle was barking a little, but that was the extent of my pain.

When I got home from work that night, well, I found that Stubby had a pretty substantial blister that had developed where there was a corn.

Cue frowny face.

I had Supportive Partner Woman (tender of my feet!) give it a Betadyne bath, then slept with my foot hanging off the bed, allowing it to air out. The next day I called my podiatrist and scheduled an appointment for this morning. He was impressed at how well it is healing and told me I could get out of the Boot of Shame. So I have that going for me. The bad news is that I’ll need to spend a week in it in early August. The doc wants to straighten the two remaining hammertoes on my left foot. Not something that I’m really looking forward to, but what can you do? This will hopefully prevent any more corns from forming.

In the other news, it’s time for a rant.

Got another letter from Evil Bitch Queen Wanda of our homeowner’s association. This time saying that we need to put down a “mulch” barrier to prevent damage to the siding from the lawn crew trimming.

My first thought was, “Seriously, this is the first you mention it after the lawn crew has had SIX YEARS to jack up the siding?

My second thought was a lot less charitable.

I posted about this on FB and one of my friends had the winning comment regarding the “mulch barrier.” She said, “Four foot bunker made of bags of mulch. Check.”

Amen.

So far we’ve established that the foot is healing nicely, me running isn’t pretty,and, oh, yeah, Wanda is an evil bitch.

Not bad for a day’s work.

So, on to the fun part of today’s post… Another fine inspirational story.

When I was in elementary school I had a very good friend named Mark. We played together pretty often and we kept in touch well through elementary and middle schools. At that time we went to different schools, and as frequently happens, we lost touch. Fast forward 20 years and we reconnected via Facebook. I’ve been very open about the health issues I have faced, and he had faced some similar issues. It’s been a long road for both of us, but he’s done some running and it inspired me to get in better shape. It’s kind of funny that I can find inspiration from someone I haven’t seen in over twenty years but still think the world of.

Thank you, Mark, for your friendship, inspiration, and also your donation to the Avon Walk. Every little bit counts.

Speaking of which, if you want to contribute, visit my personal fundraising page at

http://info.avonfoundation.org/goto/BrianT.

Have a great day, everyone~

Had a great Independence Day. Spent the day at Hersheypark with some friends at my company picnic and it was actually fulfilling. Not only that, 16,472 steps and no blisters. Woot!

Right up until the end.

The day was oppressively warm… there was a fleeting breeze, but it was not always dependable. It took about as long to get into the parking lot as it took to drive to Hershey. So, you could say it was busy. We started the day with The Scrambler, a special request of Supportive Partner Woman. Line was a little long, but the ride is always fun. After which, we scouted out Skyrush, which is the latest entry in the Hershey coaster pantheon, while we waited for our friends to arrive. I was pretty sure I was going to attempt it, if one big hurdle could be overcome… if I could fit.

They have a demonstration seat at the head of the queue, so I sat in it and was pleasantly surprised to actually fit.

This would come back to haunt me.

After our friends arrived, we made our way to the back of the park to ride one of our favorite wooden coasters… Lightning Racer. Lightning Racer is a dueling wooden coaster that usually ranks in the top 15 wooden coasters in the world. It’s a lot of fun, and doesn’t beat you up like a lot of other woodies.

After that was the picnic lunch. It was kind of a challenge, but I managed to eat a little bit of chicken BBQ and half of a hamburger patty. I also had some fresh fruit. It was pretty tasty, but I can’t help contrasting it with what I would’ve eaten back in my heyday. That would’ve been multiple hot dogs and burgers, all with rolls, chips, washed down with lots of diet soda.

Yeah.

And to think that was normal. I’m liking the new normal that much better.

Following lunch, we wandered over to The Claw. This is an evil beast that I kind of looked at and said, “Oh, HELL no.” We hung around while our friend Hollie went for a ride, then we wandered to the arcade to play some SkeeBall. Post SkeeBall, it was off to my favorite coaster in the park… Great Bear. Great Bear is smooth, yet thrilling, and I even managed to get SPW (Brave little toaster!) on board for the ride. As with many things, there’s a backstory. During my yo-yo weight loss years, I went to the park. Paid admission and all that, then decided to try to ride Great Bear. I waited nearly an hour in line, climbed on board and they couldn’t close the restraints. I was too fat. I left the park immediately, totally ashamed.

The last time I rode it, I managed to fit, but it took two people to get me in, pressing on the harness until I could barely breathe, until the belts would actually close.

This time, there was even some extra room.

The ride is smooth and thrilling, and due to the design of the coaster, it roars like an angry bear. This is due to the lack of sand in the supports and the design of the track itself. Following Great Bear, I was hoping to take my first ride on Storm Runner. This was not to be, however. The seat harness is supposed to touch your thigh and I needed another inch or two. Gives me something to look forward to next time.

The Skyrush train

The Skyrush train

We closed the day with a visit to Skyrush. The motto for the coaster in “Ride the edge” because the two outboard seats are floorless. I opted for a trip on one of those. SPW (Kind of a coaster chicken!) was having no parts of this, so there were only three of us. The train is pulled out of the station with a cable lift rather than the typical chain lift. You are moving up that hill at a pretty good clip. The cable system pretty much throws you over the top and into an 85° drop, reaching speeds of 75 mph. That’s awesome. Then the airtime kicks in, pretty much throwing you out of your seat. This is what caused the problem. I hit the restraint with my left leg so hard, it bruised the quadriceps. This has made walking a challenge, not to mention getting into and out of a car. It will heal, and I now have more of an appreciation of what to expect, should I ride it again. I’ll leave you with the front seat POV.

After our park time, we stopped at the Troeg’s Brewery in Hershey to meet up with the subject of today’s inspiration section, Brad. Brad is a fellow Disney enthusiast, fan of quality beer, as well as an all around great guy.

We met some years ago at Magic Meets (are you sensing a pattern here?) and we just hit it off from the get-go. He and his family live in the Central PA area as well and we get together periodically, although not as frequently as we would like. Brad is one I refer to as insane, as he is a running nut who’s been known to do the Dopey before it was officially the Dopey. What that means is that he would often run 42.4 miles in one weekend. See? Insane. That being said, he’s been incredibly supportive of my efforts with Team AllEars and has offered much in the way of sage advice and patience for a complete novice runner (me). I’m really psyched for January now… I think that crossing that line will really make an impact on my life and maybe illustrate that I can succeed at something I thought insurmountable. It will be because Brad (and many others) believe in me, so much so that I might start believing in myself.

Scary, huh?

I’m going to do it. Failure is not an option.

Song of the Day: Sole Survivor – Asia

It’s Tuesday and I’m a little loopy from sniffing polyurethane. Yes, I was in a well-ventilated area, but that stuff is pretty potent.

Progress continues to be made on my shelf project. All parts are cut and sanded, and all but a couple of sides are stained and polyurethaned, It should look pretty good when it is finally complete. Next job will be to find a place to hang it. Yikes!

So, I had some more inspiring folks I wanted to give a shoutout to. Todays co-honorees are my Team AllEars co-captains Michelle and Mike.

These are folks I again met through Magic Meets (are you sensing a pattern?) and they’ve always been great friends to myself and Supportive Partner Woman. Michelle is actually a frequent Words With Friends opponent (she usually wipes the floor with me) and has been subtly encouraging me to join the team. They have seen my struggles to keep up with the crowd at Reunion and seen me suffer through the blisters from hell. While I was in the program, both Mike and Michelle would check in with me to see how I was doing and it was hard to tell who was more excited when I committed to join the team from my hospital bed. They even sent a lovely flower arrangement that lasted over a month.

It’s hard to express how much their encouragement has inspired me, but if you want to talk about great leaders leading by example, I would be hard pressed to find a pair of co-captains who exemplify that adage more than Michelle and Mike. I’m proud to call them my friends and my inspirations.

So, second shift is going well after one day. It’s not a crazy busy week with the upcoming holiday, but it works just the same. I even got out for a 1.5 mile walk on break with a nice detour through Home Depot for air conditioning. Have to do it again tonight, assuming the weather stays dry. The foot looks fine, so I think it’s safe to say that the blister crisis is averted.

More a little later in the week.

Song of the Day: Nineteen Forever – Joe Jackson