No matter how hard you try ....

I succeeded in getting to the beach today but not without having to take work with me. I had a lot of homework to read and there was the matter of getting to the bottom of an incident that turned out to be most inconvenient for a lot of people. I will leave the details out but just say it made Memorial Day memorable in the wrong way.

Once I sat down in my beach chair, I closed my eyes and listened to the waves. The waves' rhythm helped clear my head of all the noise that rattles around in there. I dozed a little and then read my take home papers.

Central Florida has been mighty dry and brush fires have played havoc with road travel. Today I was returning from the beach and just as I was approaching my I-95 exit to head west to Orlando, I could see huge plumes of smoke blowing across my intended route home. Needless to say, the highway patrol closed the westbound road. Then they closed I-95 southbound too; which left me with two options: return north and find another way west or head east towards the intracoastal and find a way south to another westbound highway, the BeachLine, site of a 26-car pile up last week. I opted for the BeachLine figuring it must be all burned up by now.

I worked my way through the local roads to find the BeachLine and navigated home pretty fast but, I have to say, I got through all that mess in the nick of time. Closures, backups and detours on an interstate are never pretty and I would probably be still sitting there; or maybe sitting on the beach waiting out the fires. 500 acres of fire.


Clearing the pad but not reaching clouds

I have been waking up at O-dark-hundred most mornings; and if I went to bed by the time I want (before 10), then I'd be getting by on just about seven hours sleep. That's not really enough. At 500 I either run or roll over and worry about work stuff, then get up and read the paper to see what the paper says about work. I need a vacation in a bad way. I have not touched a beach since last September; and I live in Florida.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow I am going to the beach and I will dive into a book or the AM radiocast of a baseball game. Now that's something I can use.
When I run at 500 it takes a long time before I put one fast foot in front of another. I start by staggering to the bathroom, then dress, sip a tall glass of water while checking baseball scores, bring in the paper, glance at the headlines, then commit to the outdoors. It takes 45-60 minutes.
Saturday I ran as scheduled. I was supposed to go five miles. Slow and easy. I went medium and medium. At mile four I was out of gas. I am such a lightweight. I could not believe it. I walked it in.
Today I attempted my first back-to-back consecutive day workout in several months. It was not on my training schedule but pal Chris said I should try two-a-day workouts to build my strength back up. I thought I would attempt a B2B first.
I headed up to Park Avenue to fall in with my Sunday morning pack. We went slow and easy. My legs were telling me I was not fully recovered from yesterday's short four but I felt compelled to finish my fiver and do some more. I was hoping I could go six. At three miles, in thick humidity and low 70F temps, I was running on fumes. I parted ways with the team and headed the short route back to the car, walking some and jogging the last mile to finish.
Needless to say, I am a long way from ready to race anything. I know there will be a breakthrough somewhere but that mysterious veil is still all around me. Maybe I should hop over to the Middle East. They could at least tell me what my veil signifies. Or I could sniff out insurgents for the Army.
I am not a pleasant camper.
Meanwhile, back on the happy side of the face, older son T is home from USMA and we're having a burgers and beer fest tonight for any of his buds who are home and want to come over. To defend the castle (and afford everyone who asks about him all the time a chance to see him) I invited all my adult friends and neighbors. Most are at the beach but some will be here, with enthusiasm.
I should be at the beach.
Uniform of the day is bathing suit casual.
That is all.

No, that is not all: Someone please confirm they have received their June subscription issue of Runner's World. Mine never showed up.

That's enough. Later.



The week is not over and I have already logged a whopping 14 miles. That's the best week since the first week of April - BS (before sickness). I did 5 miles this morning following the training plan. It went well at about a 9:15 pace. I didn't push it and everything feels good. Stretching afterwards was a reminder of how running can make me tight. I stretched a little longer. I am officially healthy again and back on the training wagon. Woo-hoo!
Next race will be July 4, I think. The Watermelon 5K.


Training Plan Exhibit A

I ran about three miles this morning and it was about all I could do. To think jeff used to tease me about my indifference to a measley 3-miler. It was all the training plan asked for, so in my current state of undeveloped stamina and strength, I am following the Galloway training plan for 4 hour marathoners available on the MCM site. If it seems too "walky" I'll dump it for something else. I still have time.
One thing that is different for me is that I know how to train. The last time I was in this (lack of) condition I did not know enough about ebb and flow, stretching, variated paces, etc. It's like a new way of running. I have no injuries or anything to slow me down; just benign neglect to overcome and that will happen.


Two runs and a son are in the barn

Right after my last post I went out to run 4 miles. It felt good and went fairly quickly at a 9 minute pace, my usual easy pace. I was heartened by the good feeeling I had in my legs later in the morning. You know, that tested and energizing tingle you feel for a few hours after a run. That was fine until the afternoon when I started having a relapse of the saliva flood et al. It hit me as I was taking the stage at my second son's high school graduation.
First, to settle the medical issue, I took a benadryl before bed and slept 11 hours Friday night to recover. 11 hours. It was blissful.
Friday was graduation day. Being in a high level position in the district and having a good relationship with the principal, I was able to pull a few strings. Unbeknownst to son C, I was going to be on stage in my gown and hood to shake his hand and present him his diploma. On the stage, there were two school board members, the superintendent, the area superintendent, the principal and one or two other notables; and then there was me, father of C.
We were "treated" to 18 Valedictorian addresses of 60 seconds or less, a litany of great student and school accomplishments and the shaking of 740 graduating senior hands before a standing room only arena of parents and families. Phew.
When C. came through he didn't shake hands; he hugged everybody including the supe and school board members. He was all fired up. It was a moving experience. I got to see eye to eye with a lot of sharp young kids; as well as a few who probably barely made it through, judging by their demeanor.
Graduation was followed by a celebratory dinner and a weekend of grad parties of girls C knows but would wish to know a little better, judging by how he is dressing up and behaving, so far. C is moving out of the house in the fall to attend college and that leaves me and Mrs. T alone in the house with the dogs. Anybody see Failure to Launch? I have plans for the boy's room. No; actually I have to rethink some plans I had in my head a while back and see what I can make of them.
Back to Running. I made it out of bed by 615 today and made it up to Park Avenue to see my Sunday morning running buds. Yes indeed; they still show up. I ran with Jack, Marty and Chris. I covered about six miles very slowly. I had the strength, though not for much more. The heat and humidity is picking up again.
Comng home, I sensed a hollowness. I could remember the intense sensations I had last fall when I could see the sun coming up over the lake, hear the birds chirping, see green trees and foliage shimmering, feel the quiet streets and all the little things that made running in the early morn so special. I knew they were all there this morning but I didn't have the feeling. Something is not right. Something is missing. There is a veil between me and where I want to be.


Minor anxiety attack passes

So I registered for the MCM, was staring at the confirmation page and was being tempted by the "sale" of all their logo running gear. I clicked away to see what they had. I figured they'd email me a confirmation. Right?
24 hours later: nothing.
So I feverishly (no, I do not have a real fever) wrote to MCM and active.com last night; and this morning, voila, I am a bona fide semper fied registered fool to run 26.2 miles in October.
So now I will start training. Here I go. Bye.


It's Official - MCM

Okay loyal readers and lurkers. Tonight I signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon in DC on October 29. Son T promises to trick me out in official West Point ARMY tech running gear. Gotta show my own colors, ya know.
So next I need to plug in a training plan. The last one practically killed me (shock) so I'm open to suggestions/links to easy ones (ha; define easy). I would rather run four days a week if I can get away with it (who am I fooling?).
I need to start running one day a week. I have had it with this stupid chest/drip. I will get through it but it sure is taking it's damn time.


Cadet Boxer

I will not report on how I am still not 100%. It's monotonous.


Adventure Count

April visitors to the Adventure: 415
March 982
February 1,346
January 1,226

Total 3,969

Nobody likes a lazy sick guy. Guess I better sign up for another marathon. Marine Corps Marathon opens for registration May 17. That'll be the one.

From skirty flirty Mark back to cadet p0rn

I was a good boy last night. I drank no alcohol, ate a hot meal and went to bed early. I even slept with a shirt on for a change in case the AC and fan have anything to do with my bronchial condition. Needless to say I woke up at 455 and was ready to go. So I ran again, as scheduled. Another 4-miler on a different route. I dropped another 15 seconds per mile to be at 9:00/mile.
I did still feel weak and out of shape but things are falling back into place. I've made three runs in a row as scheduled. This weekend I'll add another mile or two.
The cough went away again. So I am having a beer tonight. Check in tomorrow for the roller coaster loop of my cough.
I was so taken with Mark's skirt pics that I had to go find some hard core stuff again. Fortunately, sonny boy #1 was kind enough to send me a pic of his boxing team at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point (proper names are important, ya know). He's standing, far right. Word is, he's knocked the poop out of most everybody in his weight class in boxing and will rank in the top 25 overall in his class for physical abilities. Anybody wanna test him? Not me.
Trash - the picture won't load. Thanks Blogger.
Well, as a consolation (until I get a jpg file from T) here is one of him on an American History class field trip, firing off a few hundred rounds on a Thomson machine gun. They got to shoot weapons from colonial times all the way up to WWII stuff. He loved that class. Amazing what they'll let young kids do in college these days.
Okay - screw Blogger. Come back soon after they allow me to load pictures.


Slowly maybe

I ran Monday morning. I went a mile further than last time (4) and at a faster pace, by 45 seconds per mile. That was promising. Today though, that cough is creeping back again and the feelings I've felt for a month. I believe it was from not getting a good night's sleep last night. I must be tired; plain old tired. Tonight I am going to eat and crash.
Yesterday had its highlight: I went in for the review of work-up data for my annual physical and got poked and prodded one last time. The doctor could not find one thing wrong with me. My cholesterol was actually lower than I remember it ever being. So that fired me up and I had a few drinkies last night to celebrate and maybe that is what did me in today.

I picked up a copy of Scientific American the other day. Lord knows how it got in the house (oh, we have a subscription now); but there is an article I read from which I will share some passages. A "skeptic" (perhaps like me) wrote it and it is called SHAM Scam. I thought it might apply to a few runners out there who have difficulty motivating themselves and rely on self-help mags or books.

"The most likely customer for a book on any given topic was someone who
had bought a similar book within the preceding eighteen months." The irony of
the "eighteen-month rule" for this genre, Salerno says, is this: "If what we
sold worked, one would expect lives to improve. One would not expect people to
need further help from us-at least not in the same problem area, and certainly
not time and time again."
Surrounding SHAM [the Self Help and Actualization Movement] is a
bulletproof shield: if your life does not get better, it is your fault.... The
solution? More of the same self-help--or at least the same message repackaged
into new products.
SHAM takes advantage by cleverly marketing the dualism of victimization
and empowerment.

In summary the author boils it down to this:

Patient, heal thyself--the true meaning of self-help.

by Michael Shermer in Scientific American, May 2006; also www.skeptic.com


Wishes do come true

Over the last two weeks I have been driving the roads and, occasionally, seen runners out enjoying the spring air. I wistfully wish to be with them, but alas, I have been grounded. Yesterday I was taking a shower and lifted my leg onto a step to apply soap and I saw the most horrible sight: the meat of my thighs was flabby. I was shocked. Now there's not much there to start with but it was less than three months ago that my legs were as lean and rigid as a guitar neck while I trained for the Miami Marathon. I took most of February off to recover (a necessity); got back into running some in March (60 miles) and was ready to crank it up again in April and was doing just so when the bronchitis knocked me out in mid-month. Now it is May.
The meds have run their course. I feel well enough to run which I did this morning within the time window of Susie's little half marathon jaunt. I ran a s.s.d. (slow-short-distance) just to see what I could do. It took a little effort. My strength is diminshed and my aerobic condition has been handicapped by the bronchitis. I remembered a few things about using my left leg more which gave me a boost in pace. Mostly, I just worked to finish, all the while plotting my ramp up program to get back in shape. It was a good day on the roads.



Okay, Okay, OKAY! The word "probably" was my word; not hers. She used her hands to signal quotation marks when she said the word bronchitis. I believe her. It seems like bronchitis and the steroids are working fairly well. No more tightness.And I will not run 13.1 on Sunday .... unless I can't help myself :)


I could not play for the Red Sox today...

... because I would flunk the drug test. The doctor was not in when I went in for my physical work up. They did the EKG, blood work, X-ray, specimen, H & W, etc. but the doc was not in. I demanded some attention and was told I'd get a call from the practicioner nurse later that morning. After lunch I was back in there and the P.N. listened to me tell my story, asked a few questions and listened to my chest. She was nice, the same nice nurse with the small fingers who checked my prostate last year.
Anyway she said I had no infection but probably a case of bronchitis with lung inflammation; and wrote me a scrip for a steroid regimen that will run six days. Can I share with you the possible side effects? I will spare you. But I did notice something about high sodium, strength loss, bad interaction with carbohydrates, low potassium and other running sensitive stuff. So I'll overeat for six days eating bananas.
I will try to run 13.1 miles on Sunday morning to keep Susie company. I might keel over but I'll be coaching her along.

Photo: die hard Red Sox fan on Tuesday telling Johnny Damon what for, for signing with Yankees.


SIck Ward

Update: I feel better ... then I do more chores; like clean out the rat nest in the garage, dig out the dirt around the French drain next to the driveway that had built up over five years, dig up the step stones and realign them in the back yard - you know, small stuff - and what happens? Can you say relapse?
Yup. My chest is tight again. My saliva glands are working overtime again. The cough is reminding me I am not fine. The tip of my tongue is raw and hyper sensitive (chocolate stings!) This sucks!
I could probably run if I went out but .... I am reluctant.