Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I don't have to run.

I think I'll officially declare today that I'm no longer on the injured list. (BTW, it was the shoes - it's always the shoes!!!)  It wasn't a long stay. I've been on it much longer than my recent six week stint on more than one occasion. I've taken a year or two off before just because I wasn't motivated. Not sure those were great ideas, but that time is past now, so it doesn't matter.
Being on the road again is nice. Running is integral to my identity as much now as it ever was. If I'm forced to go to a social event I can be counted on to sit in a corner and watch the clock until Mrs. Dave decides we can go. If she's not there, I don't even bother with a clock. Once my obligation is done, I'm out. Unless someone asked me about running, and that counts as my obligation.
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I think I mentioned how the Red Cross has been so ridiculously unorganized that I haven't been able to donate. There was a drive in the building yesterday, so I thought I'd try my luck again and hazard an hour or so of the midday. Best experience in a long time. Glad I went.
They'd set up at one end of the large cafeteria, walled off discreetly from the lunch crowd. I walked up to the desk, checked in and had a seat. There were four screening desks, but three of the staff were huddled around one of them, with one donor (I can only assume), answering questions. A phlebotomist in training? IT issues?
But I figured I'd give them 10-15 minutes before I was ready to give up again. Only 3-4 minutes later another nurse came up and I was in process. Bonus that I'd done their new Rapid Pass check in, pre-answering all the "I have not had sex with a prostitute" questions. Five minutes after that, Heidi lead me over to the donation beds and it was GO time.
I've been listening to Antony Bevor's D-Day, so I chilled out with some Normandy invasion excitement while the O-neg dripped. Before I knew it, they were cutting off the bag and bandaging my inner elbow. Saving lives feels good.
I'd had my braces adjusted that morning, so was an hour later than normal leaving for home. Coming in late also meant I'd had to park a quarter mile away from the building. Imagine my surprise when Abby refused to start. I never expect she won't be ready to go. Fortunately, Mrs. Dave was close by today and getting off work about the same time. Doesn't normally work out like that, so I called her for a jump and then tried to see if maybe it was just a connection problem - no easy task without any tools. But, after a little work, I was able to get enough juice flowing to fire up the engine. We got home, and I cleaned up and tightened the clamps. She started, but not exactly as good as normal.
So the rest of the evening I sort of worried and got up early to check, just in case. Trouble. Jumped her with the CR-V and let that do some charging for a few minutes while I ate breakfast. That helped, but I still wasn't completely comfortable.
I'm usually into work by 7:00, which happens to be when the local auto parts store opens. No meetings until 8:00 today, so I went straight to O-Reilly's and had them check out the battery, just in case. It was dead-ish. Back when I sold parts for a living, you could buy a car battery for $40, but that was before most of you were born, so the $140 wasn't a big shock. Anyway, Abby's got all her energy back and that makes me happy.
Oh, so now that I'm running again, I'm just trying to get enough miles in so I can feel like I'm not a poser with my IRUN262 license plate. When I'll actually run 26.2 again is uncertain. No plans have been made for the rest of 2017.
I did six on Saturday. Warm-ish and humid-ish, so it wasn't a fabulous run. I took a break at 3 and another at 5 when my breathing started to get sort of ragged. Still, good to get out.
Yesterday I was after five miles. No small task since I was a pint low on blood, but it was a tad cooler than it's been all summer, overcast, breezy, and I was careful with the pace, just trying to get done. Since there were no signs of stress, I kept going and made it through. Not pretty, but then neither am I.
Putting together a team for next year's Hood to Coast relay. Applications are due October 4th. I've wanted to do this since I first heard about it who knows how many years ago. Can't be more than 36 of course. That's longer than I remember anyway.

Monday, September 11, 2017


It's not a DNF or anything.
I suppose it's come at as good a time as any, if there's such as thing as a good time to not being able to run.
Scratch that. I can run. My heel just makes me suffer when I do it.
More accurate. At least, that's what happened this weekend.
So, I went in last week to see Dr. Fong. I'd been feeling pretty good and even put in a couple of short runs. After hearing my story, he poked around a little and agreed it was just PF. ("just PF" haha)  Gave me the sheet of PF stretches and exercises, recommended inserts or orthotics, suggested a Strassburg sock, offered an x-ray, just in case, made a follow up appointment six weeks out. Figured I'd cancel that since I'd started running again.
Put together a short little plan for a marathon in December if I decide to do one.
Ran two miles on Friday. Ran four on Saturday.
Then my heel hurt pretty much the rest of the weekend.
For now, I'll keep that next appointment and get serious about the rehab. Also, considering stopping to pick up some shoe inserts. I have my old boot from 2006 I can wear around the house and even sleep in now that the nights have cooled off.
Today's feeling a little better.
Maybe there will be no training this fall. No running in the fall? That hurts. Maybe there will be no marathon this fall or winter. That's not quite so bad since I did two already this year. Does reduce my opportunities to meet Loopsters, though, which is sad.
We'll see.
We have a med student from Las Vegas staying at the house this month. Saturday we took him on a little tour of Detroit. The good and bad that's there right now. Brightmore, Cass, Michigan & Trumbull, Indian Village, Mexican Town, Belle Isle, Comerica, the Heidelberg Project. A good day.
Still the clunk in Abby's undercarriage. Almost positive it's the ball joint again. Grr. At least I have plenty of time, what with no marathon training going on.
So there's that.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Good news and bad news.

First, the good news: I ran twice last week. Two miles on Tuesday and two more on Saturday. Saturday was kind of slow. I'll get to that in a minute.
I also ran three miles yesterday. The first two runs were with minimal pain and yesterday was 100% pain free.
I crossed paths with my neighbor, Nicole about half way through yesterday. She's been killing the Hansons beginner plan for her second Detroit marathon next month. She was doing an easy five that was no doubt easier than my easy three, and we stopped to catch up, since she hasn't seen me on the roads.
Last week I finally got around to looking into a clunk on Abby. Bad control arm bushing. I think I've mentioned once or twice maybe how much I dislike doing auto repairs. I do it because I dislike even more paying someone else to do it. Anyway, Friday after work I jacked her up and started dismantling things. Then, what so often happens when I do work on a car happened. One of the old bolts (17 years, 170K miles) was rusted solid to the bushing. Try as I might I could not get the bolt to break loose so I could remove the worn bushing. I have a 10 foot long steel pipe I use for really stubborn bolts, but this time it just wasn't happening.
This is the point where I think about friends I know who are better at this than I am, and about how much it's going to cost me to town her down to a shop, then wait for several days while they fix it for who knows how much money. I left a message for Tim, who I knew had a grinder. I was pretty sure that bolt wasn't coming out ever and would have to be cut off.
Then I went inside, giving up for the night.
Tim came over the next morning with his grinder and saved my bacon. The bolt was over a half inch in diameter and completely frozen. So we cut it out, and also had to cut off one of the stabilizer links as well. I hadn't planned on replacing those, but they have to be removed to do the bushing, so off they came. After that I went to a place where I could use a hydraulic press to punch the bushings out of the control arms.
Getting it all put back together again was the easiest part of the weekend. Oh, and since it was Saturday, we had to drive 45 minutes to the other side of town to get a new mounting bolt. But I saved $200 over what the bushing replacement would have been, plus I got new links as well. I'm trying to not need to let Abby go before we finish paying off Mrs. Dave's CR-V. So, there will likely be some more repair in the future.
That work is probably what made Saturday afternoon's run a bucket load slower than Wednesday's. 
Today is my Dr. Fong appointment. Of course, now that the pain seems to be gone. But, since I've already confirmed and with the holiday there was no way to cancel, I figure I'll go in anyway to make sure he thinks it's a good idea to resume regular running. NYCM is out, but I'd like to get another marathon in before the end of the year if all goes well.
December, I suppose. Options: St. Jude (TN), Rehoboth (DE), Rocket City (AL), Kiawa Island (SC), Tuscon, Hoover Dam (NV), Roxbury (CT), Three Bridges (AR).
Or maybe I'll let it go and just run a bunch.
The bad news: Mrs. Dave picked up a little bug on the ride home from Orlando last week and we've passed it around the house. I started sniffling yesterday afternoon and today I'm feeling pretty lousy. Was going to rest today anyway, so it's no big deal other than I don't have time to be sick.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Dave's Great Universal Orlando Adventure Report.

I ran two miles last night. The heel seems to take it fairly well. The PF symptoms are gone but there's still this little thing just inside of center that's not right. Going to keep my appointment on Tuesday to see what Dr. Fong has to say about it. Hopefully he'll recommend an MRI so we can get a good look at it. In the meantime, I'll give it a day off before trying again. I'm cautious like that.
It rained pretty hard on two of the days we were in the park and Mrs. Dave wanted us to run for the shuttle on one of them. I ran about a quarter of a mile from Universal Studios Florida's front gate to the middle of the entrance walkway in the rain.
That's the running portion of this blog entry, and that's all the mileage I've put in since July 23.
You're welcome.

Mrs. Dave has this thing about realizing dreams from her childhood. She gets terrible upset if a person's birthday (including her own) isn't a special, all things revolving around the birthday, sort of event. Christmas is a no holds barred, damn the budget, free-for-all of spending. I quit asking, "How much can we afford on Christmas this year?" long, long ago. There is no answer. There was never an answer.
Family vacations are another tradition that apparently was never done in her family growing up. Maybe because they lived in Seattle and frankly, why would anyone want to leave, even for a week? I don't know. But it traumatized her enough that she's always insisted that there be an extended, out of town excursion every summer. I think I could have retired by now on the money we've spent on family vacations.
No regrets, though. We've shared some amazing adventures as a family. Our kids have seen some important natural wonders and historical sites as they've grown up. I've visited and revisited a lot of this tremendous country.
With the nest empty, I sort of assumed that this seasonal nomadic itch would have lowered a notch or two. But, no. Last summer, for example, we sweltered a week in New Orleans for no other reason than we've never been there before. I had assumed that we'd go when I ran the NO marathon, but - get this - the trips that go along with my marathons don't count. 
Anyways, this summer it was decided we should skip Disney World and go to Universal Studios Florida/Islands of Adventure. Not that WDW is a annual thing, but it had become a sort of staple for us and the kids when we had them. We even celebrated our 30th anniversary there in 2012. But, that's Mrs. Dave for you - always mixing it up, zigging when you expect to zag.
Add one college freshman home for the summer, and one between-jobs lab scientist, and we had a throwback family trip for four. Big Mac flew out from Seattle, met us at MCO, and we all drove to the Fairfield Inn just off park property.
Our plan was to spend four days in the parks (with tickets that were buy two-get two free), and one day in West Palm Beach for Mac to meet up with a girl who'd shared a house with her in Salem two years ago.
And, with just a couple of hiccups due to the seasonal afternoon monsoons that cut two of our days a little short, that's exactly what we did.
I mowed the lawn on Tuesday before we flew out that afternoon, hoping there's be some rain while we were gone. I've been disappointed in the grass this year and it makes me sad. We treated for grubs, but I think we still have some. have to take care of those nasty critters.
One reason Orlando happened was that we got a killer deal on flights - $105 RT. OK, they were on Spirit, but still... $105. Made it worthwhile to pay for a checked bag and bring our own snacks.
But enough of the travel. This was all about Harry Potter and the other US stuff.
I will make a recommendation before beginning for touringplans.com. Mrs. Dave is all about the planning you know. She started with the book The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando 2017, and then their website and app. With no small kids, it was great to be able to skip all the kid-focused rides (and there are a ton of them) and do what we wanted (also a ton of those). The app was the best way to go to the rides with the shortest lines. The book had detailed reviews of literally everything in the parks. We didn't necessarily agree with their opinions, but didn't mind that they had them.
The biggest bonus was knowing what days had the least crowds. If there's one thing we hate, it's waiting in lines. Standing hurts my feet and I'm just a little bit impatient, despite the fact that I've mellowed over the years and not in quite as much of a hurry than I used to be. We never waited more than 20 minutes except once when there was an issue with a ride.
I don't do travel blogs, so I'll spare you the ride by ride commentary.Go read Kubersky's book.
Out of nowhere I had a weird headache and stomach issues for 90% of the time. That put a serious damper on the week for me, but other than that it was a great trip and I can recommend USF/IOA whole-heartedly. The immersive nature of many of the attractions was really well done.
Here's a photodump.
Diagon Alley. Wasted a half hour trying to get a picture of the Greengots dragon spewing flame. Finally gave up.
Hogwarts Express was a surprising favorite.
Anniversary ride.
Skull Island.
Who doesn't share pics of amazing eats? We had this Ben & Jerry's MiniVermonster on two different days instead of lunch because ice cream.
I never do the character photo thing, but then I saw Marilyn Monroe. Sadly, this is as close as those red lips came.
Miniature metal model of Hagrid's hut I took home for my work desk.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Dave's Great Universal Orlando Adventure.

Significant improvement the last few days, with most of the days pain-free except for the obligatory first few steps in the morning unless I'm patient enough to do a little stretching before I start to walk. (classic PF) If I do that, there's nothing. If I were in training now I think I'd be trying to run. Since I'm not, I've decided to stay sedentary until we get back from Orlando. At that point I'll decide if I still need to see Dr. Fong on the 5th.
We cleaned up around the house over the weekend. There's a med student coming into the area for a month and we volunteered to host him. T-Rex heads back to school about then, so we'll have two empty rooms and an unused bath, so why not?
I keep thinking that I should do some of that cross training stuff, especially while I'm not running, but I just can't get there. Maybe it's that old dog-new tricks thing. Back in my day (when we had horses and wagons and outdoor plumbing), there was no cross training. In college, the distance runners went into the weight room about once a week for 15 minutes or so. I suggested to Mrs. Dave that we should join a Gold's Gym and start hitting the iron together. We both laughed.
See you next week.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday at Work. What's wrong with the Red Cross.

On a normal Friday, I'd occupy my brain with plans for my Saturday long run. I was hoping to be back on the road by now, but I'd really like to have this PF 100% under control before I run again. At this point I don't even feel comfortable making plans for a fall or winter marathon.
On the other hand, back when my knee bothered me, I discovered that more mileage was very helpful. Maybe I should try a couple of miles to see if it will do the same for the foot.
Or, is that just crazy talk?
After yesterday, I'm in a quandary about donating blood ever again. Last time I tried, they were about an hour and a half behind schedule. This time (yesterday) I picked a different location, thinking that perhaps it was a local issue. Sadly, after waiting a half hour, I discovered that I was at least another half hour-45 minutes away from them getting to me. Nope.
This also happened to Mrs. Dave the last two times she's tried to donate, including once as the first appointment of the day.
We think this is an important service, so we try very hard to carve out a couple of hours in our schedules to do it. I'm O-negative, so I know my flavor is especially appreciated. And I'm comfortable waiting a certain amount of time. But an hour or 90 minutes before I can start? Sorry. The Red Cross has some real management/organizational issues going on.
I just can't.
I'll try again sometime when I have a half day to spare I guess.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Mostly not about running, since I'm mostly not running.

Seems like my writing mojo is in the same condition as my running mojo. That is, not quite on life support.
So, where am I?
Took Friday off work last week and spent the long weekend we created in Kentucky.
Connor's birthday was Monday. We couldn't quite work it out to be there that day, but having two days with him was great. He's had a rough go of things the last few months and needed some cheering distraction. So we went mini golfing, toured the Louisville Slugger museum and went to this amazing candy store on the Indiana side of the river. I helped him change the valve cover gasket on his Civic. Older cars are so much easier to work on.
Saturday afternoon we drove over to Lexington to get some granddaughter time. Went to church with them, then Connor came over in the afternoon for dinner and birthday cake.
We left about 8:30 and arrived home at 2:00 am. I slept until almost 7:00 before going to work. Not too crazy tired the rest of the day.
Mowed the lawn. I'm not happy with how the grass has gone this summer. It's still mostly green, so I suppose that's a victory. Somehow I look at it and want it to actually look nice and don't think it does. New hobby?
Guess it's close enough to announce Dave's Great Central Florida Adventure. Next Wednesday we're heading to Universal Orlando for a week of fun in the sun and Harry Potterland. We've always been a Disney family, but the draw of the wizards has sort of nagged at the back of our minds. So the summer of '17 marks if not a shift, at least a break from the big mouse and his friends. One of the joys of the empty next lifestyle is that school schedules don't have to be consulted when planning vacations. However, they can be taken advantage of, and that's why we're going to central Florida at the end of August. Local kids are back at school and the crowds/lines will be at their lowest levels of the year.
Bonus: T-Rex has another couple of weeks before she heads back to Idaho, so we get to have her with.
Double Bonus: Big Mac has time before she starts her new job in Seattle, so we get her, too.

In running news, this foot is still not 100%. This is week 4 of rest since TSFM if you're counting. I am. So weird to look at the city as I drive from place to place and all I can think of is running and I'm not doing any of that. Three days in Kentucky and everywhere we went I had pictures in my head of places I'd run the last time we were there, or places that I could run while we were there last weekend and yet there was absolutely zero running.
Also weird is not having a definite date for starting again. Some of the walking in Louisville had me sore. Still waking up with regular PF heel pain in the morning, although today was a better day than most have been recently. Good news is that the sharp, un-PF-like hurt on the outside of the heel is gone. Now I can concentrate on the normal PF like a normal PF suffering runner.
I may run a couple of miles on Saturday.
It looks like NYCM is not happening. Still haven't heard a reversal of the sponsorship decision. Since it's now 11-1/2 weeks to race day and I'm not running at all, ...  OTOH, I've run marathons on far less training, so if news comes in the next couple of weeks, maybe ...
Maybe no fall marathon this year. Maybe a winter one instead? Maybe Rehoboth in December? Maybe Disney in January?
Oh, last thing. I entered a thing on RUNINGWITHMUSIC's blog a few weeks ago and am now the proud owner of these bad boys.

Haven't worn them yet, but I did put them in an shook my head several times. They didn't fall out, which is the main thing, right? I'm not a running with music runner of course, but there are other places where a set of wireless buds will come in very handy. Can't wait to try them out. Will they hold up under the sweat machine?

And, here are some pics of the Schimpff's candy store/factory/museum. It's been in business at this location on Spring Street in Shelbyville, IN since 1871.

The store is three city blocks from the river. Note the flood level of the 1884 flood.

One thing T-Rex knows how to do is nap.

The store is three city blocks from the river. Note the flood level of the 1884 flood.

I don't have to run.

I think I'll officially declare today that I'm no longer on the injured list. (BTW, it was the shoes - it's always the sho...