Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween is here

First the bad news. My 5 miler yesterday sucked. Oh, the pain. I only made it 3 miles before giving up. Both ankles were grinding. Shin splints in both legs. And some knee/hip pain in my right leg that today feels like a tight IT band. ouch. So my plan for today is to stretch a ton, and maybe even see if i can find some yoga on TV to follow along with. Tomorrow is supposed to be 12 miles, but it won't happen in this much pain. and that really really sucks. fo really reals, yo.

Wednesday I ended up pulling a 12 hour shift at work so I missed my cross-training day. I think that's part of the problem. Just running with no different muscle stimulus is bound to create patterns in muscle tear/rebuild and bone impact tolerances. That's why every marathon training plan out there has at least one day per week of cross training or active recovery, right? So do you guys think more stretching and cross training will take care of this?

I also ordered The Stick yesterday, a foam roller muscle massager. It was recommended by Marcy and Wes to roll out my legs after a good run. It is supposed to aid with lactic acid soreness and recovery times. So I'm really looking forward to using it.

Tonight for my Atlanta peeps, my brother Michael is playing a show at Eddie's Attic. He doesn't tour very much anymore now that he's married and off the record label, so go see this show if you don't already have plans. Paste Magazine is sponsoring the tour with William Fitsimmons and Caitlin Crosby, and they are going all over the country. Tour details are on the Paste website, and this is a really big deal. William is playing with him as the opening act, and Slow Runner is his band during the headline act. You want to go see this show, it seriously kicks ass. Slow Runner has some songs on MySpace if you want to check out his music.

So last night we took the girls to the Halloween festival at the church where Bigun goes to kindergarten and had to snap a few pics in their costumes:

I'm growing the winter coat again. It really does protect my face when running outside on a windy day. Littleun was a cat, and here's the witch with her cat:

That is so cute! Speaking of what's not so cute, I found this pic the other day and scanned it in. THIS is hysterical. It's me with my high school sweetheart Christie (she's married now) at a prom we went to with a 70's theme. So this was taken in May 93, and is proof that I was thin in high school.

OMG that is too funny. I still have that jacket hanging around somewhere, but it doesn't fit anymore.
Good luck to anyone racing this weekend, I'm still thinking about signing up for a 5k race that benefits lung cancer research next weekend.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I've been pondering this post for a while now. It seems I have found a combination of food that promotes running energy and aids weight loss, which is the right combination for me right now. And when I've found something that works, I want to put it out there for public scrutiny. So please comment and tell me where I went wrong or right. And if you can get a few new ideas or perspectives, that's great!

First, the boring stuff. I did my 3 mile run yesterday outside from the house and boy it was cold. I mean nipple freezing cold, lungs itching cold, holy crap I need to get some warmer running gear cold. I didn't time the run, but I did pretty well. It was just a recovery run, so I didn't push it too hard. Knees and ankles feel ok, feet are ok, but those hills around the house just shred my shins. I need to get back to the chiropractor soon. and one day I'll post the story of why I love my chiropractor soooo much.

Today is cross training day, which usually means a bike ride to the gym and back for some weights. Since it's only 45 degress outside today, I'm seriously thinking about driving. Then tomorrow is a 5 mile tempo run.

My food strategy is a big mash up of other plans. Wifey is a lifetime member on Weight Watchers, and she does most of the cooking. So I get tons of WeWa healthy food. I love Men's Health magazine, and after the Greeville Sprint tri I started their Abs Diet, which centers around 12 Power Foods. But neither of those focus on runner's caloric demands, so I had to find some runner's fuel sources and learn a lot about muscular endurance and how the body handles running. I swear I could have been a doctor if I hadn't gone into the IT world, and I am a research junkie. There was even a time when I was basically a Reproductive Endocrinologist without a medical degree, but that's another post for another day. But that whole process made me learn how the body works and all operational aspects of muscles and now endurance.

WeWa is basically low fat high fiber. Fiber acts like a toothbrush for your large intestines/colon. So all of these body cleansers/home colonics/bacteria cleaning plans can actually be outdone by some fiber in your diet every day. Here's Wifey's daily breakfast and why it works. I use it as a mid-morning snack sometimes:
  • 1/2 cup Fiber One cereal
  • 1 cup Dannon Lite Vanilla Yogurt
  • 1 cup Cherios
  • 2 Tbls ground Flaxseed

The Fiber One is your colon toothbrush, Cherios and flaxseed are great cholesterol fighters, and the Yogurt instead of milk adds active cultures/bacteria and tons of great protein. So it's only 2 WeWa points and has tons of good whole carbs for runner's fuel.

The Abs Diet is based around 12 Power Foods that are supposed to provide enough carbs for energy and protein to build muscle. Big weightlifters & bodybuilders eat as much as 1 gram of protein per lb of body weight daily. This means I used to eat 6 eggs and 4 chicken breasts every day, plus 2 turkey sandwiches.... I used to be really into heavy weighlifting, so I packed on this many pounds on purpose. More on that later. To get six pack abs in six weeks, you have to combine at least 2 power foods in each of 6 meals a day. Some of their power foods are high in fat (like almonds and peanut butter) and not WeWa compatible. They also actively push whey protein powder (a synthetic) which I won't use anymore.

As an aside, it's worth noting that when I was into heavy weighlifting I took creatine and whey protein powders twice a day on all lifting days. These made me fart like you wouldn't believe. I mean I could really clear the room. Wifey was not exactly "on board" with me taking those things. But they did get the job done. The muscles were stoked for growth and strength building.

I did the Abs Diet for 6 weeks, lost 2 lbs and 2 inches from my waist. So no 6 pack abs, but it was nice to have the pants fit again. They push weighlifting as a calorie burn medium instead of cardio so I knew I would have to adapt it for runner's fuel. So I've found some of my own runner's power foods.

  • 1/2 cup Oatmeal (power food)
  • 1/2 cup Milk (power food)
  • 1/2 cup Water (power food)
  • a handful of rasins
  • 1 whole bannana cut up
  • 1 Tbls brown sugar

This has become my breakfast every day (thanks again Caitlin). When I changed from a big ol' Jethro bowl of cold cereal (~500 calories) to this oatmeal mix (~180 calories and tons of fiber) is when I finally broke through the 200 lbs barrier a couple of weeks ago. The oats have good whole carbs and is a main source of glycogen replenishment for muscle development. Milk is a key source for low calorie protien (fat free skim milk of course), and the rasins/bannana give me great fiber scrubbing power and good whole carbs too. You really can't eat too many natural fruits, I think. The brown sugar is in there just for flavor and some carbs. Recent studies have shown that there's no difference (health-wise) between brown sugar and plain white sugar. But the brown sugar just doesn't taste quite as sweet to me.

So the basic outline is to eat six smaller meals a day, supplement when necessary and use whole foods (not bars or shakes) for each of your six meals. Try to incorporate some power foods into each meal, and be sure to have some runners fuel OR fiber in there too. It's tough to get both runners fuel and fiber in the same dish.

So after that great breakfast I typically snack (meal #2) sometime between 9 am and 11 am, or about an hour before that day's workout. Sometimes I'll have Wifey's breakfast meal for a snack, I've also been really into these:

  • 3 Whole graham crackers broken up into 12 pieces
  • spread Peanut Butter on each piece
  • sprinkle the whole thing with rasins

Peanut butter is a Power Food, just don't get the Jif crap. Go all natural or organic, as regular Jif is full of HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) and partially hydrogenated oils. But PB has a beneficial fat, tons of good carbs for runner's fuel, the graham crackers are low calorie and full of good carbs, and rasins have tons of fiber. Use celery instead of graham crackers (called Ants on a Log) for more fiber less carbs if you want. This is also great Kid's fuel. My girls love it for breakfast.

I work out mid morning, and the harder workouts (5 miles or more, or weight lifting workouts) are usually followed by a protein bar. I don't count this as a meal or snack because the protein/calories are being absorbed within 10 mins of consumption for muscle recovery, and I am usually hungry for lunch by the time I get home from the gym.

Low fat is the key for lunch, I think. I love a turkey sandwich on whole wheat with mustard, texas pete (yes, I'll put hot sauce on anything), dill, and 2% milkfat american cheese. Turkey is a power food for the low fat, low sodium, high protein content. And the lowfat cheese and good carbs in the bread are also very beneficial. Add a side of Baked Lay's potato chips and the whole thing is only about 400 calories, low fat, high protein. Great diet food.

I'm also really into omlette's. Mix 3 eggs with some milk, texas pete, salt, pepper, dill and put into a hot pan. Top it with 2 slices of turkey, lowfat shredded cheese, and spinach (and maybe basil if I've got some in the garden). Slide it off of the pan onto a plate and fold in half, top with more cheese. Add a side of whole wheat toast and that's a great lunch. High protein, about 200 calories, low fat. Power Foods are spinach, ww toast, turkey and eggs. But there's not a lot of runner's fuel in there.

I tend to eat the afternoon snack at my desk while I'm writing code. All afternoon. So my surprise power food is pretzel sticks. Yes, pretzel sticks. I also love baby carrots. I've been known to eat almost a pound of carrots at a time, and I like to eat a few carrots then some almonds. I ran out of almonds and switched to pretzels about the time I switched my breakfast to the oatmeal. And that's when the pounds really started falling off.

So for about 3 hours every day I keep a small pile of pretzels on my desk and between lines of code I'll grab a carrot. Every 2 or 3 carrots I'll throw in a few pretzels. The combination of salty and sweet is unreal. The carrots are high fiber & have almost no calories. The pretzels have tons of good carbs and are great runners fuel. WeWa lets you eat all of the raw veg you can stuff down, so I don't limit my carrot intake. The combo ends up being about 200 calories for 3 hours worth of food. wow. And sometimes, I'm so full I end up eating a smaller dinner as a result. Since I work out in the mornings, the carbs go directly into my now depleted glycogen stores. You couldn't design a synthetic supplement to perform any better than that.

Wifey cook's dinner, we eat vegetarian at least one night a week. It's usually 7 WeWa points or less, and I've got so many recipes I can't post them all here. Last night it was meatball subs and onion rings. 5 points. yea, that is amazing. Email me if you want the recipe, I'll have to get Wifey to write it down.

Finally after we get the kids to bed we both have a snack. She likes lowfat popcorn, I usually go back to my jethro bowl (just freakin huge) of cold cereal. Not all cereals are bad. I like cherios, corn flakes, special k, which are all low calorie and good carbs. I admit I still blow the portion size here. But sleeping with carbs on your stomach will fuel the muscles for the next day's workout, and I usually need to get another serving of milk in.

Final Thoughts:

The basic plan is low fat high fiber high/good carbs. Get at least 3 half cup servings of milk every day, more is better. Get some power foods at each meal. Be sure to get plenty of runners fuel the day before a workout (any workout) and the afternoon after a workout. Which really means plenty of runners fuel every day. Stay all natural or organic wherever you can. No HFCS or partially hydrogenated oils. ever. Get some protein within 10 mins of finishing your workout, I take the bar before getting a shower. I also drink at least 12 glasses of water a day. And Jethro is a reference to the Beverly Hillbillies.

Final power food:

Gummy worms. Yep. 12 gummy worms (Publix brand) is only 1 WeWa point. They are addictive, and will satisfy any sweet tooth if you like the texture. I love the texture.

So that's how I fuel. I've been making good speed and endurance gains on my runs, and losing weight like crazy on this plan. And I love it. I'm never hungry. Hunger means there is a caloric imbalance (you need some) which leads to a swing in the other direction (eat too much). So by eating when you aren't hungry, you stay much more balanced. I loved the Abs Diet for men, there's also an Abs Diet for Women if you are intersted, pick up a copy. It gives a very solid explanation of how active people process food.

I also want to throw out there that the office wants me in Atlanta next tuesday and wednesday. Stu at the office is also my long distance swimming coach, so we're going to get in the pool. But if any of you ATL folks want to get together for lunch, drinks after work, or other horseplay like a workout, please let me know. I'd love to meet up with anyone, and it's only the second time in 15 months of employment there that I've had to spend the night in atlanta. So it's a rare thing that I have after work time to meet up. See you soon!

Monday, October 27, 2008

11 down, 12 to go

Why do I always forget about nipple chafing until it's too late? OUCH!

So there's tons of good news to report on today. We had a garage sale saturday and took in some extra spending cash, more than I was expecting! Then I took off for my 11 mile run. Wifey did hers friday, and just reported that it was a heck of a long way. So I was ready to roll.

I split it up into 2 segments. It was raining until the football games were on, so I went to the gym to use the treadmill and watch football. We've got to set some priorities here, there's only 3 or 4 games left in the college football season for most teams. The treadmills only let you program for one hour, so I figured I would do 5.5 miles, reset the counters and do another 5.5 miles. The first block went by pretty good. I hit 3.1 miles (5k) in under 30 mins which I've never done before. So now I'm looking for a 5k race to PR at. I hit the 5 mile mark at just over the time for the Ache Around the Lake race, and finished the 5.5 mile block in just over 53 minutes. Not too bad! I burned 790 calories during that one, and most of the time my speed was set at 6.5. I slowed it down to a 3.8 walking pace only twice.

While I was waiting for the machine to reset the counters I did a little bit of stretching just to stay warm. Then it was back on that horse for another 5.5. This one took 59 minutes and 810 calories. I stretched the speed up to 6.7 for quite a while, but had to walk more too. Still, I ran the entire last 2.5 miles at a 6.7 so I wouldn't have to reset the counters again when they hit 60 mins. That means I did most of my walking early in the segment, so I had energy to finish strong. Not exactly a negative split, but I'm ok with that.

Still, 11 miles in 112 minutes is just over a 10 minute pace and I burned 1600 calories. Holy crap, that's not bad. And while some nipple chafing crept in towards the end, it wasn't nearly as bad as it was during the 8 mile and 9 mile runs from a couple of weeks ago. Still, I have got to remember the band-aids for next week's 12 miler. This stuff doesn't play.

Then yesterday we had to go to a family reunion in Charlotte that took all day. Why do they always plan these things during Pather's home football games? So the drive was a bitch, the girls were screaming most of the time, but we all had a great time while we were there. Wifey's dad always drools over the girls which is wonderful. This time he actually told us that we couldn't leave as long as he was holding Littleun. Like she was ransom or something. He's nuts and so much fun. Everybody was glad to see us, and it was great to hang out with those folks for a bit. But I was standing for way too long after an 11 mile run the day before.

So today the lactic acid has really set in. My quads are really sore, hams and glutes are feeling some age. My feet were killing me by the end of the reunion and they still hurt some. Ankles and knees are ok, calf muscles are pretty sore. Most of the family was blown away that we were training for a marathon, so they excused the picky food choices and constant need to sit down.

Work is busting chops today. But the next post has fuel updates & an anniversary question. no time left today! I weighed in at 196 at the gym saturday, 2 lbs down from tuesday's weigh in! How exciting! I think I've found a food pattern that works pretty well. More details to come.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tag, you're it

Thanks to Girl On Top for tagging me. I love these lists (making them and reading others) and this is kind of a cool one to start with.

Rules: Each player answers the question themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blog and leaves them a comment letting them know that they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve answered the questions on your blog.

10 Years Ago (1998):
1. I graduated from Appalachain State University
2. Moved from Boone, NC to Greensboro NC
3. I was a truck driver. Actually, I was in the management trainee program for Wilson Trucking. I started out by pulling a pallet jack on the loading dock floor from 6 pm - 4 am, then I moved up to driving a forklift, then a large u-haul, then finally (by october 1998) to 18 wheelers. That's a fantastic use for a degree in Communications, Radio and TV Production!
4. Wifey was still Girlfriendey, but we had been living together for 2+ years by then.
5. I was completely miserable. Greensboro can be a dirty filthy place. Most of my coworkers were heroin addicts. I was the only one with a college degree. And I decided I didn't go to college to end up working as manual labor.
5a - z. Most importantly at the time, I was still smoking well over a pack a day! stupid, stupid, stupid

5 Things on Today’s “To Do” List:
1. Teach Advanced Crystal Reports to my one student at Spartanburg Community College - Done
2. We're having a garage sale tomorrow, so go through the books and put out ones to sell
3. Clean the desk in my office - desparate!
4. Fix a web site for a client in S'burg, and debug a program for a client in Florida
5. It's a rest day. Wifey did her 11 mile long run this morning, mine is up tomorrow. Eat smart to prepare for the long run.

5 Things that I would do if I were a millionaire:
1. People want to be a millionaire because of the percieved lifestyle. It's not about the money itself, its about the freedom that the money brings. Read the 4 hour work week for more info. But if I got Tommy Bowden's $2.3 million severance pay check, I wouldn't look for another job.
2. Pay off the mortgages (I have 5 of them right now, including rental property)
3. Max out the 527 College Savings plan contributions for the girl's college funds
4. Buy a nicer bike and ALL the accessories
5. Spend more time with the kids, join the PTA when they get in school, coach their soccer teams (or softball, whatever they want)

That should really be 5 things I would do if I didn't have to work or pay bills.

5 Places I have lived:
1. Greenville, SC
2. Boone, NC
3. Greensboro, NC
4. Oconee County, SC
5. Pumpkintown, SC (Pickens County)
then back to Greenville. That's it, everywhere I've ever lived. Wifey grew up in Raleigh, NC then we met in Boone.

5 Jobs I have had:
1. I've been an IT guy for 10 years now. Software developer for Advanced Automation currently. Before that I owned my own firm(s), first as Flynn Technology Consultants, then rebranding as Structured IT. As the owner I had to do everything. Sales, fix pc's, pull cable inside of walls, setup server and pc's, and write code for databases and web sites.
2. Teacher - actually, a technical instructor for New Horizons Computer Learning Center. This was the same school I went to after leaving Wilson Trucking to get all of my IT certifications. I taught programming, database design, pc repair, network engineering; both here and in Columbia SC
3. 18 Wheeler driver - I hated driving a truck so much that I got married. But that's another post for another day
4. General Self Employment - I've owned 11 businesses besides the consulting firms listed above. I had a live DJ service, owned a retail store, owned a recording studio, a carpentry service/home rehab business, and I used to build furniture and sell it in the store. plus a few others
5. Customer Service - this gives you a whole new perspective on why that soup came to you cold. I was a restaurant cook, dishwasher, small store retail clerk & stock manager, and warehouse worker for a grocery store chain. That stuff teaches you how to work really hard for very little money and become very nice about it. I think it affects your entire attitude.

Now I’m tagging:
crap, I don't know anybody
1. Leigh
2. Katie
3. Wes
4. Hot Thick Chick
5. Frayed Laces

Wow, that was fun and made me think. The two don't usually go together. Some of those things in the list can be posts by themselves. So many stories to tell.

On the running front, I missed the cross training workout on wednesday. I hate this, because it's the only day I don't have to just run. Part of the multi-sport lifestyle is enjoying to do more than one sport. But I smiled and did my 5 miles on the treadmill yesterday in 51 minutes and burned 751 calories. Today is a rest day, and then tomorrow is the big 11 mile long run for the week. Wifey did her 11 today, and she said it was "a really long way to run". So I'm looking forward to it. But the BEST part:

I weighed in yesterday at the gym at 198 lbs!!!!! WOW, I've been trying to break through 200 for how many weeks now? like 5 weeks I've been trying to get from 203 to under 200, and you guys kept all commenting, hang in there. stick with your cardio. make small diet changes and it will pay off. I'm not going to really believe the hype until I see a second weigh in sub-200. I've been known to take a 3 lb swing from thursday to tuesday in either direction. But ah, just knowing that there is finally progress makes my knees feel so much better. So thank you for all the encouragement, and let's hope it is a trend, not an anomaly.

I also want to say thanks to Displaced, who swung by the blog the other day. She didn't leave an email address for me to reply to. She has a neat blog about the family, and they are fellow Greenvillians who moved in here from someplace else. I like seeing outsiders come to SC, it creates a little diversity in the gene pool. We've been inbred with a red state conservitism for so many generations now that most people are scared to live here. With good reason, it scares me sometimes. But anytime you want to go for a run, or just let the kids play together we're always here in Taylors.

South Carolina people tend to think that there is nothing better than living in South Carolina. It's not a bad place to be, but that doesn't mean it's the best place to be. For instance, when you ask a "South Carolina person" if they knew that our public school system ranked 49th in the nation, the most likely response is "out of how many states?" Good grief. Then they normally tell me how there is nothing wrong with our public schools because I graduated from them and I turned out ok, so why would you really want to live anywhere else? Plus the overwhelming, crushing conservative environment. Oh, the judgement that gets passed on the outcasts and lepers... I mean anyone who has a dissenting opinion or doesn't go to church every sunday. forget about it.

So wish me luck on the 11 miles tomorrow. and good luck to anyone who's racing this weekend, I know there are a bunch going on.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It feels good to be a Gangsta

So apparently the last post not too much was funny? THAT was funny? Come on now, people. Ok, I'll admit that was a pretty good one. But I was boldly reminded by several friends what was left off of the "what makes me gay" list. So I have to add these amendments:

  • Favorite Movie = When Harry Met Sally. Even our home email address is babyfishmouth at worldnet dot att dot net, we've had it since 1998 and it is a reference to that movie. Name that scene, anyone?
  • Working from home allows me to watch "The View" and several soap operas daily. Days was already in the middle of a big murder whodunnit when they killed off the town mayor? are you kidding me? Fantastic stuff for a gay man. We also TiVo All My Children. I feel like a housewife with a job.
  • The Biggest Loser makes me cry. Every episode, every time. even last night (did you see it? holy crap, Colleen!)
  • From Stu at the office: I know youre gay because when I asked if you played an instrument you offered to give me the rusty trombone

That boy's not right in the head. Web designers, I swear. Neither is Wes. He and I are both IT consultants, so I kind of expected that. But he really takes the "man" parts out of "gay man" because he has a "soft soul" and can't fix up his own house. Of course, in a couple of days he's going to replace "gay" with "iron" when he steps up on Ironman Florida. So I'll help you out with the house if you can help me train for ironman in 2010. At least with some motivation. I'll be behind you the whole way out there (insert gay chuckle here).

The final verdict is that I love boobies too much to really be gay. Ah......... Boobies......... and, you, know, the wife and kids. they are all girls too. Even the dalmation and stray cat that won't leave our house are both girls. So I'm surrounded by estrogen all day, every day.

And eventually I'm going to have to write a "100 things about me" segment you see on so many blogs. You can bet some of these will be on there.

And I'm now a Gangsta of Code. My boss is back from the trade show in Texas with at least one closed sale! This is very exciting yeah! but it has to integrate with some other software that I haven't written yet boo. So I've got thousands of lines of code to write for multiple projects for multiple clients that are all waiting on something to get finished. By halloween -- next friday. Oh crap. Looks like it's nose to the grindstone time.

Nah, I'm not going to do that. BPD (Bipolar Posting Disorder) is creeping back in. For the upswing, I did make it for a workout yesterday (trumpets blaring)! After 5 rest days in a row to let the shins heal up and catch up on work, I jumped back onto the marathon training plan with an hour on the elliptical at the gym. This was supposed to be a 6 mile long run on saturday. But I figured for my normal 10 min pace that an hour of solid cardio would accomplish the same task with no impact on the knees, ankles or shins. Tha stats: 7.2 miles, 723 calories, 62 minutes including cooldown. I didn't get a good heartrate reading from the machine. I'm not really "feeling" elliptical today. It just doesn't make me sweat as much as running outside or on the treadmill do.

Today is cross training, I think I will bike it to/from the gym and lift weights for about 30 mins while i'm there. Then tomorrow is a 5 mile run to warm up for Saturday's 11 mile long run. That will be my first foray into double digit milage, and any advice or memories you can share will be greatly appreciated.

Instead of 11 miles on saturday, I was hoping to do either the Leaf Tour Ride or maybe the Spinx Run Fest half marathon. But I can't decide between those two, so I'll just run my 11 and be happy with that. The leaf tour should be fantastic if any of you are in the area and want to try it. It's a free ride from the Greenville Spinners Bike Club. I think I will join the spinners once the marathon is over and I'm back into tri mode. And when I ran the Greenville Tri in august I was talking smack to some new friends about running the Spinx Half. Watch, they are going to show up and I backed out. At least I haven't seen them since the tri. But I don't want to push the milage past what my plan has laid out, that's how people get injured.

'Til friday, see you on the road!

Monday, October 20, 2008

not too much

So my kidless weekend was almost fantastic. A nice dinner out friday night just me and Wifey, we stayed up way too late watching the Sex and the City movie. I might be the only guy out there who loves sex and the city like I was a girl, but damnit it's true. My wife thinks I'm gay.

Saturday we slept in and I jumped on the outside work. I love woodworking and carpentry, so I started my power-tool-fest with a shelving unit for the bathroom. I used dadoes on the side pieces for a really clean, finished look. It turned out beautiful. After a few coats of paint, it was time to get up on the roof. I had to add fire caulking to reseal the flashing around the chimney, and the concrete cap had worn off of the top so I had to mix up some concrete and the trowels and rebuild that sucker. I did a few other roof repairs while I was up there. I ripped down all of the gutters last weekend and had to fix some shingle problems. While I was on the deck mixing up the concrete before carrying it up onto the roof, my boss called wanting an update on the software project I was working on. oh, busted! He was on the floor of the trade show in San Antonio, and I told him I was mixing concrete for a chimney repair. Nothing like swinging a trowel 40 ft over the concrete patio when you don't really know what you're doing.

Then to the next extreme, I finally got down to pull some weeds in the garden. I cleared out what was my corn patch this year, and planted garlic there instead. I had a bush cherry arrive last week as well (ordered online in January) that was a surprise, and I still haven't figured out where to put it. The plan was to cut the grass and use the clippings to mulch in the garlic, but the dang lawmower wouldn't start! I've had that thing for 4 years and it's never not started. So it's off to the repair shop today. I took that as a sign, so I went in to work on the dental software and watch some football.

Made some good progress on the software, and the Appalachian State game was on TV. They beat Georgia Southern by 1 pt, that's a huge rivalry for those of you that don't keep up with southern conference or FCS football. Then I crashed hard after dinner. Fell asleep in the chair.

Sunday we were late picking up the girls. But I still got a few things done. And after we got them back I worked for another 4 hours on the dental software. So why almost fantastic? What was missing?

RUNNING. I didn't get in the 6 mile long run (Wifey did) on saturday. I didn't get in the 3 mile recovery run on sunday. I didn't get in the makeup crosstraining day on Friday. I did bill 7 hours over the weekend, when I'm not supposed to be working. So the nicotine levels are pretty high today.

So 6 things you didn't know about me before today:

1. I'm really handy around the house. I own rental property here in SC and flipped several houses a few years ago right when the real estate market started to fall apart. you know, just in time to lose a ton of money. But I can fix anything and making home repairs, building decks, that kind of stuff is something I learned many years ago and still enjoy.

2. I am a plant junkie. I spent summers in college working landscape construction, so building retaining walls, landscape design, all lead into the organic garden fetish I'm currently cultivating.

3. I love to build furniture. Fine woodworking is something I have to struggle to contain. Now that we have kids I can't just run the power tools anytime of day, even though I have a whole 'nother medium (kid's toys) to build on.

4. Outside is better than inside. Maybe I've been a software developer for too long now, but riding the desk staring out of a window is getting old. Anything that can be done outside should be.

5. I work from home. Wifey is a stay-at-home mom, so besides having Bigun in 3 yr old kindergarten nobody ever has anyplace to be. We never leave, but sometimes get visitors. So I stare out of the window at the backyard all day, wondering when I'm going to get the backyard in better shape. The company I work for is a small company in Atlanta, so I go down there periodically to meet with clients, etc. Otherwise, I sit in the basement and write code all day. That's why I love your comments so much, some days it's the only social interaction I get. And some days I miss going into an office with other people in it. Then I play with my kids over lunch and am glad I work from home again.

6. My wife thinks I'm gay. Just because I like broadway musicals, sex and the city, a preference for chick flicks, most of my friends are girls, and I like female-typical things like expressing emotion and shoes, that doesn't mean I'm gay. but it's not a far stretch, I'll admit. If it were socially acceptable to be gay without having sex with dudes, then maybe.

Congratulations to everyone who got in a run over the weekend, and really if you got in a race! See you soon.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I Love October

Does anyone else have BPD (Bipolar Posting Disease)? I've noticed that the more of these I write, they get postitive for a while, then really really positive, then negative. Oh the pain. then pain heals and the postings get positive again. What a roller coaster! LOL. But I guess that's how life is, sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you (name that movie).

October has always been my favorite month of the year. We're mountain people who have to live in the foothills to find work. That means we only visit the beach every 4 or 5 years usually during the winter but head to the hills about once a month. We even have a vacation house in Banner Elk NC that we're trying to sell right now. So when the temperature gets over 80 degrees it's just another excuse to stay inside where it's air conditioned. Once last year I was working on the siding of the mountain house in a short sleeve t-shirt when it was only 26 degress outside and was completely comfortable. it's a dry cold up there sometimes. So screw the heat, you beach people can have it. it's also why I don't like to race in the summertime.

But the Glory of October sweeps in and the heat is gone, finally. Baseball moves to the postseason (and my Mets blew it again). College Football gets into full swing. NHL hockey starts the regular season again finally. And the NBA starts towards the end of the month. I'm not a huge basketball guy though. Halloween is awesome, moreso now that we have young kids to dress up. Bigun has really gotten into the decorations this year too. Pumpkins everywhere. And the high temps are usually in the mid 70's. We can leave the windows open most days, and the fresh air does this desk jockey good. Plus it cuts down the heating and a/c bills (which i had to pay this morning... ugh. so glad we're not in a recession? wtf?) which is always nice. Especially when you have to pay utilities on two houses. And it's finally comfortable enough to run and bike outside more often. Being a cold weather person, I sweat a ton in the heat. Seriously, I've had sweat show through my shirt walking from the parked car into the grocery store in our summer 96 deg heat. Then last saturday's long run sweat didn't show through until I was over 3 miles in. Awesome, I Love October.

So that's the high part of BPD. Now for the mood swings (haha, wait, what do you mean mood swings? screw that). Ah, the pain. Work caught up with me wednesday so I didn't get my cross training in. Actually, I was solid coding until about 6:30 that evening. No lunch or anything. It was crazy. But my boss made the first sale of SDF yesterday, so it was worth it. I"m hoping he comes back from the show with 10 contracts. I did get my 5 miler in yesterday, but it was fairly painful. My usual 10 minute pace was down to almost 13 minute miles. This is all leftover pain from monday's recovery run in the old shoes. There was a fairly sharp pain in my left knee, severity 2 (of 10). and the big boy is in the shins. Bone(?) pain on the interior part of the shin, and muscle pain on the outside part. on both legs. severity 6 or 7, enough to add 3 mins to each mile on my normal course running from my house. any idea where that's coming from? Recovery suggestions? any help here is appreciated, this has been building for a while. I should also mention that nicotine levels were about a 9 of 10 severity, so i was already pissed off at the entire world and nobody could do anything right on that run. Cars passing by were painted the wrong color, the sidewalks were full of leaves and acorns ripe for slipping... but at least that shitty run made the cigarrette demons go away.

Today's supposed to be a rest day, but I think I will make up the missed cross training instead. Being a tri guy, I like the cross training better than running alone. But no impact! The dude abides. Saturday's long run is only supposed to be six miles, so I don't think it will be a problem. Still looking for a route though. If I can find a route with minimal hills (tough here in Greenville), I might try to break one hour.

and the best part: MY FOLKS ARE KEEPING THE KIDS FOR THE WEEKEND! Ah, this is going to be fun. I've mentioned before that I love organic gardening. I spent my summers in college working for a landscape construction company, which might be why I hate the heat so much (I went to Appalachian State University, average summertime high temp 82 deg) but worked for a landscaper here in Greenville (average summer high 96 deg) during the summers. So without having to worry about my chainsaw or lawnmower or tiller or power saws waking up the babies, I am going to rig up a TV outside for football and spend the entire weekend working on the yard and house. Except for the 6 miler on saturday and 3 miler on sunday. I can even set up a tent and camp in the backyard if I want to. Oh, I love October!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Too Cute

Since sunday became a rest day instead of monday, I had to makeup the missed workout. I've been in a great mood all week, because my boss went to Texas today for a trade show where he's going to sell a ton of licenses for this software I wrote and come back with a fistful of contracts next week. So I can't post anything negative today. Hence, I won't be talking much about the runs this week. I figured instead I would put up cute pics of my girls. That's much more positive than monday's recovery run.

I commented something to Girl On Top that I think bears repeating (because it's funny and true, people):
Running shoes are a lot like an expensive hooker. You have to grit your teeth and pay up front, but the ride is soooo worth it. Then in 6 months you have to go back for more - but i joke!

So I am so glad I got some new stomps. I wasn't really sure if the old ones were really done or if I could get a few more miles out of them. So monday I thought it's only a 3 mile recovery run from saturday's long run. I'll see if these old shoes have any life left in them. They did not. Oldies had definitely exhausted their last mile. The tread isn't very worn, so I think Run In can add some arch support and pronation correction stuff and make them runnable again, but it's been a long time since I was in that much pain. The road I live off of has a giant hill going up to an elementary school, and I ran all the way up the hill, turned the corner and almost made it to the school before stopping to walk. Then, I limped all the way back home. I technically did the 3 miles, but wow. serious ouchie. Yesterday I did the elliptical for 30 minutes, 3.5 miles, 400 calories. I still couldn't take any impact. Today is cross training day, so I'm going to bike it to the gym and back, and lift weights while there.

Now, cute pics:

The cutest girl to ever come home from kindergarten just a adorable as she could possibly be. I love those pigtails!

They are so sweet at that age

And how quickly it turns to laughter (or is that rage?)

This looks like I am doing something dirty, but I'm really not. Bigun like to take pics with our camera, and she took this one. I'm just making faces at her. We use a Nikon D40 and love it.

BTW, that Slow Runner t-shirt is really cool. My brother Michael lives in Charleston, SC and has been a professional musician for years. Slow Runner is his band. They were even signed to a major record label for a while, and did several nationwide tours as the opening act for larger bands on the label. It's great stuff.

Wifey lounging among the Lantana

Watch out, they spit! Littlun is so adorable at this age (~16 months)

Playing among the celery. I love that celery. It's an organic, heirloom variety and is the first thing I have ever sucessfully grown from seed! I really got into organic gardening this year. And that celery got almost as tall as the girl!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Perfect Taco

Saturday's long run was fantastic! I went 9 miles from Pelham & E. North St to tooling around the neighborhood behind Eastside High school and back. I just extended my 8 mile route from last saturday. I think this basic route might be flexible enough to float me through until the Swamp Rabbit trail is finished around the first of the year. But wait, the best part is:

It only took 1:31? I felt like I was floating more than running. No pain, nice long strides, and very little walking. This was considerably easier than the 8 mile run from last week that was basically the same route. That's a pace of 10:03 burning 1273 calories. That was amazing. the 9.5 mile run in raleigh was over a 14 min pace, then last week's 8 miles breaking in the new shoes was a 11:50ish pace, then back down to 10 mins here? are you freakin kidding me? It felt good, it was a nice cool day, there was a good breeze blowing around, and my lungs just felt right. I was over 3 miles in before the sweat even broke through my shirt. Wow. I've got the route up on Map My Run if you want to scope it out.

Then Wifey made the Perfect Taco for dinner. After I called it the Perfect Taco about a dozen times, she told me rather flatly that she knew what she was doing when making the recipe. I'm going to share it, as this is the most desirable balance of macro and micro nutrients.

The Perfect Taco:

  • 1 package ground turkey (about 1lb)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 packet taco seasoning

Brown turkey, add beans & seasoning and simmer. This mix can get a little dry if you don't keep a close eye on it. Then toast hard taco shells, make some homemade guac and serve with these toppings:

  • Organic salsa
  • fat free sour cream
  • homemade guacamole
  • lowfat Mexican Blend shredded Cheese
  • Baby spinach
  • Cilantro

Did you know hard taco shells are better than soft? The white flour in soft taco shells ups the calorie count way to make it much worse than the fat content in hard shells. Plus the corn in hard shells adds a little more fiber. And homemade guac will use fresh Avacado (I don't know how she makes the guac but it's f'in fantastic) which has a very beneficial fat. So the only fat in these taco's is good for you. The ratio of carbs and protein is perfect runner's fuel, and the dark leafy greens and herb adds a good fiber count. Thus, the Perfect Taco. Make some after your next long run.

Of course, Wifey also did her 9 miles on saturday at the gym. And then she stuck with the plan and did her 3 mile recovery yesterday. I suckered myself into 4 hours of yardwork instead of a recovery run. A couple of trees fell down in the vacant lot next door and one of them came across my fence. So I had to bust out the chainsaw and have some fun. While I was at it, I did some work on the roof and ended up ripping down all of my gutters. We're about to redo the outside of the house with a fresh coat of paint, new roof, and some siding repair. Gutter removal was the first step. So I'm going to get my 3 in today instead of taking a rest day.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Back on that horse

Well, the cold has finally cleared. My voice is still gone, but I got in a run yesterday and it felt GREAT! I was at the gym, and did my 5 miles per the training plan in about 53 minutes. It burned 800 calories, and the incline was set at random level 2 and didn't get over a 2.9. But it was still amazing and fantastic just to feel like running again.

There is something going around Greenville apparently. Several other G'town bloggers are also reporting being down with colds. My answer: pomegranate juice. Get the stuff with blueberry if you can find it, there's more anti-oxidents. This stuff is like OJ times 1000 for it's effectiveness. My chiropractor got me turned on to it a couple of years ago. He actually has cured colds for me several times just with adjustments. But this time I just went with the pomegranate juice.

And I've got to give some serious props to See Bride Run. Small changes make all the difference in the world of weight. For example, my youngest daughter wasn't gaining weight fast enough to even be on those percentage charts for weight/height/head things that the pediatricians use. She was 40% in height, and 45% in head size, but her weight was at -3%. Apparently 16 month old happy babies are supposed to weigh more than 16 lbs. So we switched her from the reduced fat cheese we normally buy for ourselves to the full fat cheese. This was ok'd by the doctor first, along with a couple of other small things going from reduced fat to full fat. And after only gaining <1 lbs in 3 months, she gained 1/2 lb in 3 weeks between weigh ins. The doctor was happy. She's still not on the chart, but the doctor is happy.

Oatmeal is a staple runner's fuel. I made a small change starting tuesday. I switched my normal morning cherios or other breakfast cereal to one of Caitlin's oatmeal recipes. It cut my 400ish calorie breakfast down to about 180 calories. And yesterday at the gym I weighed in at 201!!!!!!! (insert trumpets blaring here and general fanfare) This is the kind of thing I have been waiting for! A small change can make a big difference. What kind of small changes can you make to speed up a small goal? I'm going to be under 200 lbs next week I bet just from this one small change.

I'm teaching out at Spartanburg Community College today and it's a rest day anyway. Long run coming on saturday, so have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Carlin did a routine on being *sick* that was hysterical. I'm reminded of this one run into my marathon training program by getting **sick** and a bad case of the blah's. The body pain started on saturday, but I blamed that on the run. I should have been a better listener. The sinuses started on sunday. Monday night I lost my voice. Now this is particularly bad timing because I have to teach a class at Spartanburg Community College on friday. It's only a one day class, but it will still be difficult to whisper through if I have no voice. No voice on Tuesday, which meant no phone calls from the office in Atlanta. That was a nice break. They tend to leave me alone to write code anyway, but it was a nice piece of mind. And I made some serious progress on this big project due COB Thursday.

So sun, mon, tues with no workouts really. I did take a nice, lazy ride on the bike around the 'hood here last night after work. It was such a cool evening, and just a nice time to be outside enjoying the fall in Greenville. I did maybe 5 miles, about 20 minutes, and barely broke a sweat. I wasn't trying to work through anything serious.

So now it's Wednesday morning, I still have no voice, my sinuses are really stuffy, and the head is about half swimmy. It's fun writing code with about half a brain. The good part about being sick is that the body's natural response is to focus on removing the bacteria or virus matter that is causing the sickness, not focusing on satisfying addiction. So even with no exercise the nicotine demons are still at bay. I'll know I'm over the cold when I start having cravings again.

I think today will be the day! This stuff started breaking up some early this morning. If everything goes well, I'll try to get back onto a run this afternoon and hopefully get back on the training schedule tomorrow.

But, I did get the training plan into a jpg:

email me if you want a copy in excel.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Prostitutes Welcome

So Saturday marks 20 weeks exactly until the MB Marathon so we started our 20 week training program. Wifey and I both did an 8 mile run on saturday, she did it in the gym on the treadmill so she could use the zero incline, and I pulled out the old road route (more on that later).

We call the kids Bigun and Littleun (southern for Little One). They are 3 and 1 years old respectively, and are some of the cutest kids you will ever see as evidenced below

That's me with the girls last month at a picnic at the park. Yes, they are adorable. Thanks!

So bigun came home from kindergarten the other day with some kind of bug. and I don't mean an insect. Something has wreaked havoc with my apparently depleted immune system. These things take 3 days to grab hold of you, and my run saturday was full of strange pains and annoyances. I did get some new running shoes from Run In with fresh arch supports and pronation correction. So I chalked up the new pains to that. I still covered 8 miles in about 95 minutes, or just over an 11 minute pace. So I felt pretty good about that. But then sunday I did not feel good about anything.

Supposedly, we were to run 3 miles sunday, rest today, and run 3 miles tomorrow to recover from the long run saturday. Wifey did it fine. Actually, she has to be up and going early on tuesday so she did her second 3 mile run today. I have been curled up in a blanket playing the part of a pile of mush on the couch for 2 days. I guess that's one way to recover from a long run.

I am so excited about the start of the marathon training plan it's not even funny! This. Will. Be. Awe. Some! It got Katie Approval the other night, and she sent me another spreadsheet to log bike and swim miles/times. I'll eventually get the plan into a jpg and push it up here. Being a programmer, I'll also see if I can rebuild her spreadsheet with more calculations I used to be more of an excel junkie than I am now, but there's still a few tricks up these old sleeves.

So a while back I mentioned that 90% of the street corners in Greenville contain churches? Sometimes living in the bible belt can provide some humor. That's the truth, there are like 3 churches for every woman here. And if you don't attend one regularly you are some kind of outcast leper. We don't attend a church regularly because I can't find one that isn't filled with ultra-conservative judgemental bastards. I'll go when I can find church people that don't make me want to punch them in the throat, Wifey and I are both baptized Christians. And Bigun goes to kindergarten at a church a few miles from the house.

But on my 8 mile run saturday, on only 2 roads I went past about 12 churches. One of them had a marquee with flashing text that made me laugh so hard I had to walk for a while. Somebody put way to much thought into attracting new members to make them non-lepers. Even at a running pace I couldn't read them all, but someone used alliteration to make the point that we are all sinners and everyone is welcome. Dad's Welcome, Drug addicts welcome. Mom's welcome, fat people welcome ..... and on down the line. Some of the funnier ones were alcholics, prostitutes, drug addicts, pedofiles, necropheliacs, podiatrists.... and they all started with the same letter or rhymed with something "normal". That's my kind of church. Give me your sex addicts and crackheads, they're just like us!

I'm going to throw a before and after pic of Wifey and the Girls because I just stumbled across these earlier today. The before pic is from 6/15/2007. Wifey started weight watchers 9/26/2007, so with her one year anniversary recently passed (she's a lifetime member now) I thought it would be appropriate:

This is from last month playing with the girls out on the front porch. Pretty amazing, huh? I'm really proud of her for sticking with it for the entire year. Now our dietary approach has completely changed. She's still losing weight, and I still can't break 200 lbs.

I think I'm going to keep a dietary log this week just to see if I can figure out what I should watch for.

It's also cool to see how much the girls have grown in a year.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Hit it Hard

Wednesday we had some problems with the house, so I had to deal with an electrician instead of getting a run in. Ah, good times. So by thursday morning my nicotine threshold was reaching a dangerous level. Also, wednesday was World Vegetarian Day, so I went veg for the day. This had both caloric (fuel) and intestinal consequenses on thursday. Ah, more good times. It was actually pretty cool to eat vegetarian for the day. I'm not far from it normally, only chicken or turkey sandwich for lunch and chicken, turkey or fish for dinner. 2 of 6 meals a day with meat is a pretty low ratio anyway.

Combine that with some weak fueling thursday morning (only about 500 calories) and I hit the wall during thursday's workout. I got dropped off at the gym because Wifey was going shopping in that direction anyway, so I thought I could work out a little harder in the gym. I did an hour on the elliptical (7.5 miles, 700 calories) then took the bike 4 miles back home. With less than half a mile left on the bike that wall came up and smacked me hard right across the face. wow.

They say everybody hits the wall sooner or later and you don't really know what it feels like until you definintely know what it feels like. Holy shit, they are right. I was biking it uphill on Taylors Rd towards Taylors First Baptist Church when it hit. I stopped in the church parking lot to rehydrate, catch my breath, take off the sweatshirt and regroup. I felt like I was going to vomit, pass out, and crap my pants. The street corners in Greenville are 90% churches, 5% gas stations, and 5% CVS & Walgreens drug stores. This particular church is the one that I grew up in, so it seemed like an appropriate place for someone to find me dead in the parking lot. I'm just glad I made it up that hill to the parking lot. So let's call that one a lesson learned. Fuel fuel fuel fuel fuel fuel fuel.

Having said that, I'm really getting pissed on the weight loss front. 4 or 5 days a week I burn 700 - 1200 calories each workout. Yesterday I weighed in at 203. Monday it was 205. Last week it was fairly consistent at 204. My caloric threshold is 3300 calories a day. Eat less than that and I should lose weight. Since Wifey just hit the one year mark on weight watchers she only buys low fat high fiber food, mostly all natural stuff. No HFCS, mostly organic. Organic gardening is another passion of mine, so we eat a ton of fresh veg from the garden. I have seen a loss of body fat from my arms and legs and around my waist. But that doesn't help my knees, shins, and feet when they are in impact pain. The only thing that can do that is less weight beating them up.

I got this big on purpose. Back in 2001 - 2002 I was really into bodybuilding. I took weight gainers, whey protein, creatine, and plenty of other manmade synthetics. I packed muscle onto my frame and was fairly scuplted except for some belly fat. I did no cardio because that would make me lose muscle mass. So now that I do nothing but cardio, why am I not losing muscle mass? When I stopped lifting weights, I gained a bunch of bodyfat and put on another 10 - 20 lbs. That's what got me up to 235. When Wifey went on weight watchers and changed her grocery habits, I got down to about 195. Now I would love to get back down to 190 for total smoking ripped hotness. I'm 6'1", so 180 - 190 lbs on my frame would put me in the single digit body fat % with decent muscle mass remaining. I honestly thought after 3 weeks of weight loss workouts and closely watching what I eat I would have gone below 200 lbs. So what's a runner to do to lose some lb's? Comment your advice please, it's all welcome.

I've also started reading See Bride Run for food advice. I really like her approach and recipes.

And finally, tomorrow marks officially 20 weeks until our marathon in Myrtle Beach. So I adapted a Hal Higdon training plan from 18 to 20 weeks (his Novice2 Marathon plan) which kicks things off with an 8 mile long run tomorrow. I feel pretty good about the plan, and I've already got an 8 mile route mapped that's close to the house. Going down East North St from the Fresh Market to Eastside High School (my alma mater) and back again. I should be leaving about 9 am if anyone wants to meet me out there.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Good clean power

So Greenville is out of gas. We've joined the club. Our one family car has a mostly full tank so I'm not really worried. We're also not going anywhere. It's one of the benefits of working from home, we normally only fill up about twice a month anyway. And we only drive typically going to the grocery store or the gym. Which means the only time we have to drive is if we take the girls with us somewhere or have to carry something back.

So yesterday I wanted to go gas-free. It's 4.1 miles each way to the gym, and that was the only place I had to go. I biked it there, did 45 mins on the elliptical (5 miles, 500 calories) and biked it back home for a nice 13 mile day with no impact on the knees, feet, shins, or environment. That is what I call clean energy. The tree hugger in me was proud.