Wednesday, September 28, 2011

We don't need no stinking shots~!

Yes, FLU season is right around the corner.
Yes, I think that you should get a shot, ESPECIALLY if you are older (than me), a small child (could you read this if you were?) take care of small children (yes, Home Day Care Provider, I am looking at YOU....), take care of older people, work in health care, care about health, etc. etc. etc.
In short, get your Flu shot.
But that's not the immunization I am looking for.
The one I am talking about, at least for me, doesn't exist. Which can be good, and bad... Have you ever gone to a museum, for example (that's those buildings where they keep old stuff for us to look at. Just think, some day (next month?) the iPhone5 will be in one...) and gone home wanting to look up all kinds of things, just to learn MORE about them? Anyone, Anyone? Beuller? Ok, maybe just me. But what about that time you took your wife, her grandfather, and the two youngers to see monster trucks? Didn't you want to run home, sell all of your running/climbing gear, buy a piece of crap truck and fix it up so that it could stomp all over the new school buses parked in a field not too far from your house???? Anyone? No???? WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE????
Fine. Let's keep it more realistic. (and by realistic i mean far-fetched)
In 2010 I went to Boston to watch the Boston Marathon. While there, I was overwhelmed by the support, the engergy, and the determination of the people running as well as the people watching. So in 2011 I went back, this time dragging my wife and youngest son with me. Well, I brought them to the Expo. Once again, I was bit by the energy, etc. The next day I went back down for the race, and then hung out with some people after the race. During that time, I managed to talk myself into running MY first marathon in Philadelphia this coming November with some other people who i hadn't even met. Seems reasonable, right?
I had caught the fever.
This past weekend I was fortunate enough to crew for Sarah Stanley as she ran in the Vermont50, a very tough 50 mile trail Ultra. I like to think that I am in pretty decent shape. HA! I was ever so humbled by the people who ran this race. Just milling around the Expo on Saturday was enough to make me want to curl up in the fetal position, suck my thumb, and rock back and forth take a serious look at my training schedule. So I steeled myself for Sunday, knowing that I was going to see these people in action, and that I would likely get bitten again. I must have some sort of crystal ball or something.
I caught the fever again.
What was the clincher? I gotta say, it was the running of that last 3 miles with Sarah. I was running in the woods, I was running up hills, over mud, through mud. Trees all around, except when it was fields. Bugs, bees, flowers, trees. I won't go into details of the course; I'll let her tell you all that stuff. Heck, I saw less than 10% of it. I WILL share, though, that if you run with someone who has just done 47miles, don't be surprised if they start talking about elephants, monkeys, deer shaped ferns, and waterfalls.
In conclusion, get your FLU shot. As for the other 'disease'...too late for me! I am fully ready to begin the journey to early evening hallucinations!
I have a fever....
What have you gone to see that has infected you?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Procrastinate Later....

I am SO FAR BEHIND in my training for my debut in the Philadelphia Marathon. Does this surprise me? No. Am I paniking? No. Although i typically like to be a planner and list checker-offer, preparing for races has always taken a back seat. Time to step it up, though~!
Yesterday I went out for a long run. According to most of my #runnerd pals, the long run is meant to be done at around 2 minutes per mile slower than your regular pace. This put me right around 10:30 per mile, which I tried really hard to maintain. When I look at my garmin stats, the first loop (5 miles) averaged out to be 10:16 (moving pace). so...BAM! pretty good. I think that the things that saved me from going too fast were the walk breaks that I took (with increasing frequency toward the end), and the hills. Yep. This long run included some hills. Why? I live in Vermont. Kinda tough to map out that kind of distance without hills in there somewhere.
Oh, and since I really don't like the monotany of roads, I included some trails, too. One of which includes a nice, long (you guessed it) hill. On the map below, I started and finished at the red dot-thing. I parked in Bryce's school's parking lot, and the plan was to do 3 5-ish mile loops. This was to be the lower loop on the map. Course starts out running north along a road then turns east (right....) under the highway, then south (right again) into the parking lot of the Montshire Museum. I continued south along the trail that i love so much, the Hazen Trail. Because I am such a good sport and know that Adam can't get enough of it, I snapped a picture of my Uranus and sent it along to him.
Back on the road, I ran back to the car to grab some water, text Tracey that I was still alive, and update her on my change of plans. Why the change in plans? Well...lemme tell you. I was running in my...ummm....Asics something-or-other road shoes. I will say that they, for the most part, feel great on the road. Just enough cushion, light weight, etc. BUT....they are SO not meant for the trails around here. Perhaps on a rails-to-trails place, or a paved path along the river masquerading as a trail, but not in a trail that is narrow, rooty, rocky, and sometimes muddy. I felt every rock, pebble, stick, and twig. My oringinal plan called to do the loop 3 times. FRAGO! (FRAGmentation Order, meaning a sudden change in plans. The Army is famous for them....) I decided to go north this time, and loop around Norwich village, staying mostly on part of the course for the CHaD Half Marathon, my first ever half.
As I came back into town (near the 5, where I turned East (left), i developed a sharp pain on the ball of my right foot, between the Roast Beef piggie and the hungry piggie. I stopped for a bit to massage it out, but the pain never really went away completely. Hurray....anyone have any suggestions?
The run from there back to the car is pretty lonely. Not many houses, not a lot of traffic. Ho hum...left, right, left, on back to the car. For the last two miles I daydreamed of these chicken fingers dipped in bbq sauce. When i got home, i put some in the oven while i showered and wrapped my aching calves in ArcticEase.  The run was great; i am very greatful to Tracey for allowing me the time for the run. She rocks.
Lessons learned? I need to NOT eat sweet sausages with onions and peppers the day before. Not because it was nasty, but it just didn't give me any energy. Carrying my water bottle without my holders is not fun. I need a longer playlist on my mp3. Trails need trail shoes. It is ok to open up the pace every now and again, just to keep things from getting dull. (it is also ok to close it up a bit to balance it out....) Most important thing learned? GET OUT THERE AND RUN!!!
Here, then, is the map. Link to the deets here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Never mind the hairy arm.....

ANOTHER REVIEW??? yes. get over it.
I am pretty sure that we have all heard of or even have a wrist or shoe tag identification thing-y. I don't want to use the other company's name, but if you look over there on the right......OK! that's long enough. I believe in CHOICES, not monopolies (i don't even like the game!). But until lately, there was no choice for a safety band. I was either (those other guys) or Sharpie. As you can see by my forearm, a Sharpie really isn't a great idea for me.....
Then on twitter one day (go figure, i was on twitter!), a NEW COMPANY announced that they have a new product coming out that will be BETTER than the....other guys. Stop looking over there! So i jumped at the chance to enter a contest to win one to try out.
Annnnnd I won. Don't get me wrong, I am happy abou this. Still waiting to win that college loan repayment contest, though.....but i digress....often.
SO....I must admit that it is much smaller than I expected (TWSS). I wasn't sure if I would put it on my Garmin or my watch, but rationalized that since my watch goes just about everywhere (sorry, Tracey) with me, I should put it there. So I did. Took me some time to figure out which way it should face, but I eventually worked it out.
The inscription contains my name, town, two contact numbers, and still had 2 lines left over for something else. I added #nomorebs and #noexcuses. In retrospect, I might have added DNR/DNI (just kidding, T!), but I don't think it would have carried any legal weight anyway.
Because I have this attached to my watchband, I was able to eliminate the 'other' band from my arm. When I first got that one, I would often forget to put it on while running, etc. So i just started to wear it all the time. I went from forgetting to put it on to forgetting to take it off. It scratches other people. Not good for morale, if you know what i mean.

1BandID, however, fits stealthily on my watch band. It washes easily, and hasn't rubbed me (or anyone else) the wrong way.

If you are looking for an alternative to those other guys (who are great, by the way. I like both of them equally, for different reasons!!!!), then 1BandID is worth looking into. Check them out on Twitter or FB. Check back to their website often, as at the time I am writing, it is not quite ready for prime time! Go with 1BandID!!

**this just in! communication with 1BandID last evening suggests that their site will be operational TODAY! Check them out......!!**

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Long overdue SPIbelt review.

Hey, I'm a poet, and didn't even know it! (but my feet do show it;, they're Longfellows.....ahahahaha)
Not really. 8.5 or 9, depending on the brand...

A bit of back story, if i may. Ya'll remember that I coached a running class this summer, right? During our 4th class, we decided NOT to run around the football field, as the grass was soaked from rain earlier in the day. We stashed our keys/waterbottles in the usual place (end of bleachers), and took off to run around on pavement. We got done with the class and went to collect our keys. But they were GONE. While we were out improving our health, someone was playing a joke on us. The cars were still there, and a quick check revealed that the contents hadn't been disturbed. We contacted the town's police who eventually sent an officer. I jumped (climbed) the fence to the pool to look for keys at the bottom (half hoping to be able to take a dip!), and even climbed onto the locker room roof. No keys. We searched the football field. No keys. After about 45 minutes we found the keys under the stairs on the opposite side of the bleachers. If i hadn't been impacted, (by the joke, not as in bowels...) I would have thought it very clever.

Later that evening I wrote an email to the great folks at SPIbelt, asking if they could do anything to help. They offered me a choice of belt to trial, and then a nice discount for my students. I was psyched! Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I requested the water resistant energy belt. The narrative said that it was a good choice for those who are in the rain a lot, or for those who SWEAT a lot (raises hand...). I was very happy when it arrived in the mail, much sooner than i expected. I brought it to my next class, and put EVERYONE's keys in it. Then we ran. I must say that after some minor adjustments, I forgot it was there!
Honestly. 5 sets of keys. No bouncing. No rubbing. Just....comfort.

SPIbelt Energy Belt, Product Code: 7BL-A001-001-ENERGY
 On my solo runs, I'd put some GU packs on the belt, keys and {DROID} Incredible in the pouch, and off I'd go. No worries! I did get caught in some rainy weather, and everything stayed dry! And sweat? yep, I sweat. Inside contents remained dry.
Then there was the time I got caught in the IRENE mess. I brought my SPIbelt with me. While we were working on our camp's road DURING the storm, I was drenched from head to toe. If I had been wrapped in the material used for the SPIbelt, I would have been bone-dry, much like the keys and phone in my pouch.
I was pleasantly AMAZED by this.
AAAANNNNDD another thing. SPIbelt is MADE IN THE USA. That's right. ANOTHER great product (the other is ArcticEase, see review earlier this week!) that I enjoy that is made RIGHT HERE!
So take a few minutes; follow them on twitter (@SPIbelt), check out their website. And not just the products. Get to know the Company, the owner/inventor. Sure, there are good products out there, but if the company isn't personable or the owner/marketing people are stupid, I just won't use their stuff. THIS company, SPIbelt, and the owner/inventor, Kim Overton, are the real-deal.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ok class, time to pay attention.....

"Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." -Eleanor Roosevelt-
Here, then, is my mistake gift to you:
Daily, I take medication. The why isn't important. (no, not hormone pills for my upcoming gender change....) (wait! i'm not having a gender change. i'm not even due for an OIL change in my car...)
Anyway, I should have said that I am prescribed to take medication daily. To say that I actually take it every day is a bit of a stretch, but i would say that i miss maybe 4 doses a month. I am mostly ok with that, because a year or so ago i would be lucky to TAKE 4 doses in a week. But things changed a few weeks ago.
Remember when Irene hit, and I was stuck out of town for 2 days? That's when i started to forget. I missed a total of TWELVE doses. The medication warns NOT to stop taking it suddenly, and NOT to do so unless under the close supervision of a Doc. (MD, not PhD.) In reality, when people are taken off of this med, they are tapered down to nothing. Huh? Let's say that the dose is 20mg per day. You might taper down to 10mg per day, then every other day, then every 3rd day, etc., but you SHOULDN'T go from 20mg per day to NOTHING. Why did I do it, then?
Because I am forgetful. I have discovered that keeping the pill bottle on my headboard, next to where i put my coffee in the morning, has helped me to remember to take it. Apparently I knocked the bottle off of its place, and therefore didn't see it. No visual cue, no med. Dumb.
Then last week (remember the tweets about PVC's?) i started to experience Premature Ventricular Contractions. In a nutshell, your heart is supposed to beat like this: lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub. MINE was going lub-lub-dub, lub......lub-dub, lublubdub, etc. Not constantly, but probably twice every five minutes. Very annoying, very scary. Very fun, actually, to watch on an EKG while you are having them. Totally cool.....See?
 It wasn't until i received an email warning about a high dose complication for the same med I take. The warning stated that people should NOT be given more than 30mg per day,  "as higher doses have lead to abnormal changes in the electrical activity of the heart". inquisitive mind started to wonder that if high doses caused this, might not suddenly LOW or non-existant doses cause the same? Well, the literature from the drug companies doesn't say that, but I can personally attest to the fact that it does. Common listed withdrawl symptoms include: "dysphoric mood, irritability, agitation, dizziness, sensory disturbances, anxiety, confusion, headache, lethargy, emotional lability, insomnia, and hypomania". Good times!
So I found the bottle and started taking it again. After 4 days, the PVC's have all but stopped. As for the other things, well, i THINK that they are better.
Why did I tell you this? Because I don't want you to make the same mistake that I did. Yes, after i came back from being stranded I should have started taking the med again. I would have only missed 1 day, and not experienced any withdrawl effects. But i completely blew it off. dumb, dumb, dumb.
I promise that my next post will be more FUN!
Be Well,

Monday, September 12, 2011

Arctic Ease new REVIEW!!!!!

To those of you who follow me on twitter or even here on my blog, it should be no secret that I am a HUGE fan of a revolutionary product called ArcticEase. Their tag line, "Bag the ice...ease the pain" is very descriptive. We've all been there-done-that with bags of frozen peas, corn (though not frozen corn on the cob...just sayin'), crushed ice, or, heaven forbid. a frozen BAG of water. Yep. Essentially a cold brick that you have to try to figure out how to balance on your body while doing difficult tasks such as lie on a couch or the floor. Oh, and let's not forget the towels. OH!, the towels. Water, water everywhere.
Every tried to SLEEP with an ice pack? I have. It usually ends up either on the floor or waaaaaaaaaaay down in the bottom of the sheets. In either case, it is nowhere near the affected body part, and turns into a big waste of time.
"But Gene, what about those wonderful creams? Don't they work, too?" I suppose they do. If you like to be all gooey, stinky, and sticky. Perhaps you'll get it all over the inside of your jammies. BE CAREFUL getting in and out of them, though. YOWZA!
Enter ArcticEase. It is a wonderful, re-usable, eco-friendly, EFFECTIVE, and (and this is very important to me...) MADE IN THE USA. Wraps can be applied all over the body, but I find that I use them more often on joints than anywhere else. My knees aren't what they used to be (yes, they are still KNEES, but i guess they don't have the same resilience that they used to...) Recently I was sent a new version of thier wrap to try out. I was very excited to hear the news, and anxiously checked the mailbox every day. Neighbors must have thought I was waiting for the SI Swimsuit Edition a letter from Santa or something....
After my little run this morning (hill sprints), I couldn't WAIT to Arctify (a term one of us conjured up after trying these out) my right knee. As I was running short on time, I decided to wait until I got to my office to wrap up. Since there is no need to refridgerate the wraps, I had no worries about it still being effective. Once in the comfort and privacy of my office, I wrapped my knee in the classic "figure 8" style recommended in the product's literature.


Wrapping like this gives the knee the flexibility it needs to perform normally. Here it is as seen from the back of my knee:

I have it on under my pants, and no one can tell! I can walk normally, even run up the stairs! I don't smell funny, my pants are dry, and my knee is COOOOOOL. Can you tell which knee is wrapped? No? Then I'm not going to tell you....
Products are available on their website, some Walgreens locations, and I hear tell that they will soon be available in many, many more places. I invite you to get to know the company, the owner/inventor, and their product by checking out their web site, FB page, or by reading their latest press release. VERY COOL things happening for this great AMERICAN company.....

FCC: I recieved the product free of charge, but the review and opinions are entirely mine.

Be Well, ARCTIFY!!!!!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Day of School

Today Bryce started kindergarten.

Last night we got clothes out, got his backpack all ready (change of clothes, towel for rest time (me, either), and talked about lunch options.

This morning he was up right on time, didn’t even need to go in and wake him. Mom helped him get dressed, but he didn’t really need it.

IMG_0564 The morning was actually a little chilly, so we changed into jeans before leaving. Bryce and I sat at the table together and had breakfast. That was pretty cool. I remember that when I was a young warthog, my family would eat breakfast together, too.

After a quick round of FDOS pictures, we were ready!!! IMG_0566IMG_0567IMG_0568IMG_0571IMG_0573As you can see in the last photo, I DID put his jeans over his boots…that other kid is his older brother, Zach. He started high school today……let the gray hairs begin! As we were about to all walk to the bus stop, we saw neighbourhood kids already headed down. B and Z headed down the driveway, then started to RUN…the bus was EARLY!!!

IMG_0574Off we all ran, and barely made it to watch little man get on the big bus…IMG_0575No, he isn’t lost, looking around for the bus. I had called his name….sheesh…

All day long I found myself wondering what he was doing, if he was having fun, if he was causing trouble….

Then we all went down to the bus stop when he was supposed to be coming home. The bus was almost 20 minutes late!!! But there he was, trying to get his bag all situated…

IMG_0580That other dude is our neighbour, Austin. Almost looks like the bus is smiling…anyway, we called his name and he came RUNNING across the road, jumped into my arms, then started to cry!!!IMG_0581Doesn’t that tag around his neck look like the ones the kids wore in London during WWII, as they were shipped out to the country for safe keeping?? London-evacuations-1939Seriously. Turns out, they have an image of a bus, with the student’s name, address, and bus number. WELL…this would be a good idea, BUT….they had Bryce’s WRONG bus number, so the poor kid got put on the wrong bus….but he was ok with that. why was he crying? he left his boots on the ‘wrong’ bus…..we calmed him down, called the bus garage, and made a plan to get his boots back tomorrow.

In the evening, he was very excited and animated while telling us about his day, and was able to recall the names of 7 of his 15 classmates. Very cool. Before bed, we got his clothes ready for tomorrow. I think that it will benefit him to get into a routine early in the school process… least the routine will help ME….

Be Well,


Thursday, September 1, 2011

just a little update…

Thank you, all of you, for your kind, supportive words during this past week of flood and disaster recovery. I am trying to keep my head on straight, so that i can help maintain sanity here at home, try to stay in touch with friends and family who have lost everything and need help, and still keep the little guy entertained.

If you recall, this past winter/spring i posted photos of ice that had backed up along the river nearest our home. I am posting photos of that same bridge that were taken today, and am trying to get them side by side with the ones taken during the ice jams. Never ever disrespect the power of water. It will win, every time.

Well…HELLO! these aren’t from the same angle, but they are the same bridge. I thought that the ice was high. See the logs within the structure on the left? wow. holy water. the river is still a little higher than normal, but VERY low compared with during the storm.IMG_0449

Looking upstream, the river looked like this….but NOW, it looks like this… IMG_0451

Again, thank you all for your support. Stay tuned for updated photo albums online, too.


Be well,