Wednesday, June 19, 2019

These are the Days

First, I did get to the Orthopedist on Monday, x-rays show that nothing was broken in my leg but there was some tenderness. They want an MRI to see if there is any tearing of the muscle or ligaments that connect right behind the knee. I got a knee brace, I'm wearing an ankle brace too just to be safe. It's harder getting around so I'm taking everything slow and generally trying to fight the mental fatigue that my body is falling apart. Falling off of the roof is a major trauma, and it could have been much worse.

This time of year, the days are upon us and I am way behind in posting family photos. First, we had Mothers Day

with my youngest niece


and back home - Kelley, Ella, Evil Genius, and Neena
Neena moved back to SC. After 3 years of living primarily in Raleigh near us, she sold her condo here and moved back permanently into the lake house that she's always had in South Carolina. We hated to see her go, especially now that we don't have a guest room anymore. After we loaded the uhaul, drove the 5 hours down to Lake Murray, then unloaded the next day, we drove up to greenville to see my parents on Mothers day. Hence the picture with my niece. Neena came back to Raleigh with us for the closing a few days later, then eventually EG's birthday! She turned 12, and I don't think I got any pictures from my phone.

Kelley and I had a nice getaway. One of my fraternity brothers opened a brewery about an hour outside of town, so we stopped in to see him on opening day, and then went on to Boone for the night. It was nice to get away, even if only for a short time.
Inside Bright Penny

I got a hat

Kelley driving my drunk ass up the mountain. Note the super cool reading glasses hanging from my rear view mirror

Bright Penny Brewing is a beautiful place, I hope the small town of Mebane is enough to support such a venture for a long time.

also noteworthy, I got no pictures of the mountains. The car said it was 95* when we left Raleigh, and 69* when we got to Boone. The next day it was the same story, 65* when we left Boone around noon, and 93* when we got back to Raleigh. it was a beautiful trip.

Next, I got an unexpected visitor at the office

This tiny baby deer got separated from her momma, I hope she found her again. A deer this small on campus at NC State university won't last too long, but it sure was cute!

Ella had her 8th grade graduation and semi-formal. This is terrifying, I have a high school kid now. But the dress she wore to the dance was adorable
She looks like an actual adult now

EG's outfit was cute too

Kelley and I at graduation

Ella walking across the stage during the ceremony
So this is completely terrifying. Only 4 more years before I have to start paying for her college and it will just be the three of us at home. High school sports. High school BOYS! She's about to turn 14, that's only one more year until she's driving. This feels like a roller coaster that just started going downhill and is really picking up speed. That was a day!

The last day to note was Fathers Day this past Sunday. I really wanted to get down to SC to be with my dad on Fathers Day, but it just didn't work out. Kelley's sister came up to visit us for the weekend, and I got to spend plenty of time with my girls. Of course, I got the annual picture with them on the couch.

They are growing up so fast, I am so proud and love them very very much
The best way to wrap up this picture heavy post may actually be more pictures. Here's some random other stuff I've got in the photo bag

Out on one of the long runs at the NC Capital building

My hair was angry that day

Yes my hair is growing longer on purpose. Not sure how long I want it to get, but it's hitting ponytail length now

The Evil Genius on the porch

Holy shit my wife is hot

The offending wall along with all of the stuff that I managed to avoid when I fell

My new fashion accessory
The wall - All of that lumber and shingles are full of exposed nails. If I had fallen to the right of the ladder I would have landed on that. The ladder was over that hose pipe reel, I could have landed on that. Another 6" to the left and I would have landed on that big pile of rocks. There are stumps from azaleas and boxwoods next to the path, I landed inside of them. Since I spun around to land facing the yard I didn't hit that window ledge on the way down - that could have been really painful. I did get that gutter repaired today. Scary stuff, I got really lucky.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Shut down for a while

Running has been difficult for the last few months, really below the knees. I got in a 13 mile long run, marathon training is in full swing. Then I limped for the next 2 weeks. Got home from work on a wednesday and it was only 73* outside, so I got in a quick 4 miles. Limped around after that for 2 more weeks. There's just no way to feel good anymore, it seems.

I'm almost finished with this front porch project. I finished the cedar on the front side, and had a bird nest in the roof framing. The little baby birds finally flew the nest on Friday, so I could go ahead and finish the ceiling this weekend. Run trim around that, paint the whole thing, install the ceiling fans and I'm done. I just have to fix this pesky roof leak on the last cool day in Raleigh before the summer heat sets in.

Happy to be done with that cedar siding


I got up to the roof and ripped off all of the problematic area of shingles where I was getting the leaking. Then I got rid of the framing. So now there are a lot of tools on the roof, and I need to start measuring to install new framing members.

More tools in hand, I get up to the top of the ladder and get my hands on the shingles. That's when the ladder shifted underneath me. I tried to grab onto the gutter as I was going down, so now I have to repair the gutter too. That spun me around, so I landed on a pile of rocks & bricks with my back to the wall. I remember thinking that I needed to land soft on bent knees, and crumple into the ground to soften the blow. It's an 11' high wall, I'm 6' tall, so I really only fell about 5 feet down, but that was plenty to do some damage.

Kelley was working in the yard so she saw the whole thing. The kids were drawing on the porch. How strange that after building this entire porch by myself the entire family gets to witness me seriously injuring myself. Kelley came running, she saw the whole thing and said that my left leg hit first and bent in a way that knees are not supposed to bend. It kind of crumbled under me.

Kelley spotted some scrapes on my right hand & wrist, and bandaged them on the ground. I gently moved off of the rocks onto a softer surface before trying to stand. After a while the adrenaline rush went down and I was able to get a valid assessment of what was wrong. It didn't feel like my leg was broken so I did try to stand and walk back inside. After ice and rest for the afternoon I was able to gimp around some.

The offending gutter
The pain starts behind my knee on the outside back of the leg, and runs down towards the heel. No clue if it's muscle or tendon, will require PT or a cast or a knee brace. I know I won't be able to run for a long time. My September marathons are probably shot. Tomorrow I'm going to call the orthopedist if this pain persists. If it is muscular, rest may be all that is required. Falling off of a roof is no joke, I'm usually resistant to these treatments but I could have some real hidden damage here. This is pretty scary.

On a lighter note, today is Fathers Day. I hate that we didn't get to go down to SC to see my dad today. He had a very bad car accident last weekend and spent a few days unconscious in the hospital. Then today he fell down the stairs, just rolled into a ball and took a bad hit to his ankle. Parkinsons and diabetes is really kicking him hard right now. Ok so that's not a lighter note. But mom & dad don't need the four of us underfoot while he's recovering like that. I got to spend plenty of time with Kelley and my girls!


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

an actual swim race!

My friends are a bad influence. I haven't swam on the RAM team for a year. Literally, it was last May when the arthritis got so bad that I couldn't finish a practice and decided to drop the team. Well, this may they came around again and talked me into signing up for the Jordan Lake Open Water Challenge at the last minute. This is the first race in the local swim series here and I've done this race several times. It's usually early enough in the year to require a wetsuit, but this year the water temp was around 72* so I opted to go only speedo.

Really this was a social event for me. Yes I came and I swam and I totally expected to spend the rest of the day in the fetal position on the couch crying in pain. But the cool part was getting to see some friends that I hadn't been able to to hang out with for a while.

Beautiful day to be in the water


It wasn't a huge crowd this year! Daniel is a coworker and in my age group, this was his first open water swim race. The course was a bit short this year, which worked to my advantage. I've taken age group awards at this race before, but it's really hard. Daniel took 2nd place in his first race! Those RAM practices are really paying off for him.

My only hope was to get out there and not end up with horrible pain. I was able to hold my stroke for the entire course, didn't really end up with any joint pain, and finished the 1 mile course (for a 1.2 mile race - hey it was short) in 38 minutes. My previous slowest time was around 34 minutes when it was 1.2 or 1.3 miles, so that was hard to accept. I finished 6/7 in my age group, Daniel took 2nd

Me, Lisa, Rebecca (Kristen's sister), Jennifer, Tom, and Kristen the RAM coach

The whole RAM crew L-R - Tom, Amy, me, Jennifer (coworker), Daniel (coworker), Rebecca, Jen, Coach Kristen, Chris, Lisa, and Barker
This was a large crew of friends from the RAM team. It felt amazing just to be out there competing again, and having fun with old friends. I also ran into some other surprising friends, one of whom had recently lost 45 lbs and it took me a minute to recognize him. For a social event, this was wonderful. For a race, my performance was disappointing, but I was glad to just be out there again.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Umstead 2019

So I've been a bit lazy in blogging lately. My good friend Tammy Massie talked me into pacing Umstead 100 again, and I actually did it this year. After only 1 lap, I was in a lot of pain and ready to get home.

Showing up at Umstead is always a good time. I got there about an hour before Tammy finished the lap with our friend Susan. I ran into so many friends, including an old coworker who actually finished the 100 last year! Now Merrit is training for Western States - insane.


Me and Merrit

Me and Tammy before we got out there
Susan also convinced another runner to go out with us, so I got to meet a new friend. Kim turned out to be a blast to run through the woods with. The 3 of us hit the trail about 10:30 pm, and finished the lap around 3 am. I was pretty good for about 10 miles then the arthritis really kicked in and my hands swole up pretty bad. Once again, spending time with friends in the woods is the best part of this race, the running part was pretty unpleasant.

Now here's some other random pics that I've been holding on to

Kelley in the kitchen. Really I was just testing out the camera on a new phone


selfie at work

selfie at home

The kids were surprised that I got a skull phone case. I'm surprised my belly has gotten to this size

selfie in the car. My hair is getting longer!

So yeah, I'm still carrying around this big belly and a lot of pain when I run. Fun times. But I did get into a swim race (next post)

Monday, March 11, 2019

Back on the horse

Wow, I haven't posted anything here since January! That feels wrong, but I also haven't been doing much training recently either. That's the good news, marathon training has begun again in earnest already. This years' marathons are on consecutive weekends in September, the Boring Marathon in Oregon and a 12 hour race outside of Knoxville. So one training cycle should be good for both states.

September is still a long ways off, so I'm starting with some base building. For the first 6 weeks, the long run is only 5 miles. I've got to build some kind of base for weekly/monthly miles before trying to ramp up the distance. In February I had 32.5 miles total, which does exceed the 30 mile month streak I had been putting up.

and yet those 170 mile months don't seem like so long ago....

it will come back. it has to come back. Right now it all hurts. and I really do love base building.

Some recent family updates too - Morgan's wife is pregnant with their first kid and we are all very excited for them. It's a boy and will be the next John Flynn after Michael and I had nothing but girls. I got to chaperone my first field trip. Ella and I with about 100 other 8th graders got to go up to Boone to visit Grandfather Mountain and Linville Cavern. It was a trip. And I finished the masonry on my front porch recently. Woodworking should wind down when it's time for marathon training to really ramp up. And grad school is going well - I got an A in corporate finance, supposedly the hardest course in the entire program.

Framing the roof rim - this is totally safe

The last brick column is as tall as I am!

Nice sunset

Ella is insane

Outside of Linville Cavern

On the swinging bridge at Grandfather

the bridge

Here's a little practice roof I built over the driveway

Front porch is coming along really well too

Sunday, January 13, 2019

2019 is here!

So how did 2018 turn out?

Swim: 65,926 yards (37.45 miles)
Bike: 57.5 miles
Run: 471.3 miles, 2 marathons, 1 5k
Strength training: 6 times
Yoga: 6 times

Overall, 2018 was not a bad year. I got promoted at work, started grad school at UNC-W, finished 2 marathons in 2 new states, and had surgery to repair a umbilical hernia. The kids got good grades, they are both in middle school now, and happy wife, happy life.

But the disappointing parts. Arthritis forced me out of the RAM swim team in May, so I stopped adding to that swim total on 5/25. Arthritis also kept me off of the yoga mat, every time I tried it ended in tears after less than a minute. Joint pain sucks. My weight maxed out at 220.4 lbs, low point was 202 lbs. So I was over 200 lbs for the entire year, compared to the 177 lb average from 2015. I spent most of my Ironman training days around 170 lbs. So to be over 200 for the entire year is still shocking. It also meant what little running I was able to accomplish was slow and cumbersome, usually painful.


wrong on a whole lot of levels?

My goals for 2018:
1. Run 800 miles - fail
This wasn't really because of an injury. The arthritis sucks, but I also had surgery, and tons of stress related problems. I took care of the marathons in the spring so I didn't have anything to train for during the fall. Plus grad school takes up a TON of time. So I just didn't get in as many miles as I wanted. 471 is just over halfway there.

2. Delaware - Success!
Ran the marathon at Trap Pond, fun race, fun trip with my sweetheart.

3. Colorado - Success!
This was an amazing trip, beautiful race, and I can't imagine a better way to knock CO from the state list. And now I can't wait to go back.

4. Get under 200 lbs - fail
yeah. above. I came close, 202. After the surgery I really tried the weight loss phase setup that I used to do before starting ironman training. But I couldn't put in the time for workouts, and after a few weeks the stress really got to me so I started gaining again.

So I was 2-2, and that's not good enough. 2018 was still on the positive side of the arch, but I can do better than that.

Halfway there!
2019 Goals
Since 2018 was racked with stress and change, without actually changing much. I need to channel that into some actual change in my approach to the year.

1. Grad school - pass my classes
Setting this as the first goal because I'm not going to graduate until 2020 and it is the most important non-work activity going on right now.

2. Oregon - I'm registered for the Boring Marathon outside of Portland

3. Tennessee - I've been holding out on marathoning in TN just in case I wanted to do another Ironman (Chattanooga). That's never going to happen, so I've registered for a 12 hour race outside of Knoxville the weekend after I get back from Oregon. I like the 12 hour option to *either* get really slow laps to finish marathon distance or get in my first ultra in a few years if I'm feeling good.

4. Run 800 miles on the year

5. Finish the front porch
I'm in the middle of a project to rebuild the front porch. Finish it safely. After that, I will be able to get in more mileage and should be able to hit 800 or 1000 (super secret goal) for the year. Here's the current progress on the project:

The front porch
That's most of the brickwork on the left side. Still have a couple of stairs to go, 2 more courses on the left wall, then the entire right half of the front, a 3rd column, and the right side of the brickwork. Then stand up a rim and build a gable roof over the whole dang thing. Should be done in the spring, just in time to landscape the front yard.

I'm putting every spare minute into the porch, especially until grad school starts back up on MLK day.

6 De-stress some
Running injuries got me back into some major woodworking projects in 2017, now obviously I'm still really deep into projects and loving it. Work stress rose pretty good last year, especially the 2nd half of the year. Combine that with starting the MBA program (which is never stressful, right?) and that means I'm not setting a weight goal for this year. Just try to manage the stress. Running really helps. Hitting milestones on the porch project really helps. Hitting milestones on the work project really helps. I'm waiting for my next work project to kick in as well, likely that will spin up over the summer and lead into work over the fall.

Stress and workload both have a dramatic effect on bodyweight. I can eat better and move more, sure, but keeping stress at bay is really going to be the key to maintaining some decent weight.

Cheers to a happy and light 2019!