Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dad of the Year I am not…

We love us some Halloween up in here. Each year we have been the only house in the cul-de-sac to decorate. Until this year. One of our neighbors also made a graveyard in their front yard, which was really cool to see. We do up the deck, yard, and street-side windows. Inside, we hang ghosts from the ceiling, have craft-y pumpkins around the house, and a themed table cloth.

Somehow, though, we always seem to be behind the curve on pumpkins that we carve. This year we did them on Thursday. Bryce got into it, for about 2 handfuls, then was ‘done’. His face looks like we just played a game of ‘got yer nose!’

IMAG0837Mom did hers a bit less detailed than in years past, as she was feeling a bit under the weather Thursday evening. Z convinced Mom to do his, too, and B convinced me to do his. Truth be told, it was probably safer that way anyway….Mike is in college, so we are short one this year, but in case you can’t come see, here is our ‘offering’ for 2011:


So about the award? Yes, well….

Our town has a Egg Haunt and Costume parade at one of the downtown parks. This year was the 10th anniversary, and it is sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department. I am on the Commission, so I thought that it would be important for me to make a showing. Oh, right, and I thought that B would have a good time. Primarily that. Really. So anyway…I knew that T would be out of town with M, and that Z would be,….well, I really had NO idea what he would be up to, but that is for another day. I did figure that he wouldn’t want to go, so it would be a great chance for B and I to spend some fun time together. When I told him about it on Friday, he was psyched!

Tonight we started to get ready at 530, in anticipation of the 6 pm start. I found some old plastic eye mask, and helped B get into his costume. We were in great spirits, and he posed for this photo before we left the house:

IMAG0843Darling, isn’t he? He’s never seen an Iron Man movie, but that was THE only thing he wanted to be for Halloween…So after some last minute adjustments (boots, mittens, hat), we piled into the car and headed off. There is something HYSTERICAL to me about having a mini-IronMan in the booster seat….no?

He looks like he’s ready to blast off somewhere!


So we get downstreet, and the park is EMPTY. It isn’t a big park, maybe half the size of a soccer field, so it isn’t like we can’t SEE the people. I whipped out my {droid} and pulled up the web site. WHAT THE……SATURDAY? THE PARADE WAS SATURDAY???? ARE YOU FLIPPING KIDDING ME???

how the heck was I gonna ‘splain this one? So I turned to B and said, “Dad goofed. The event was yesterday.” Dejectedly, the little Hero hung his head. He said, “that’s ok. we’ll do it next year.” I swear I almost cried. Instead, I thought quickly and said, expecting the answer ‘no’, “You want to have our OWN parade? Just you and me, walking up and down the street?”

“SURE!”, he yelled, and was opening the door before I could turn around. We met on the sidewalk, looked both ways, then crossed the street. We skipped up the street, hand in hand, laughing at each other’s lunacy. I said things like, “hey, that’s a great costume!” and “I hope you have a great time!” and he laughed along with me. Once at the end of the street, which serves as a parking lot for the courthouse and train museum, we went over to one of the static displays for more photos:

IMAG0845Good thing he came along, as a runaway train was about to crash into downtown, killing hundreds of innocent men, women, and children (and likely some guilty ones, too!)

One can never be too sure, and it is great to have a good guy on your side when the going gets tough!IMAG0846

Then, because Iron Man is such an iconic American Hero (I think. I honestly have NO idea of his story….), we took this opportunity…


Suddenly, the wind started to pick up and blow VERY HARD. Debris was flying all around town. Small cars were being tossed about like toys! A tree was just about to fall onto a small crowd of children who had gathered seeking an autograph! WHAT COULD WE DO?????

IMAG0847Problem solved!

Have a great and safe Halloween!!!


Monday, October 17, 2011

"I'm Just Lumpy"

Today's post comes to me via email from a running co-worker in Montana. She's been a distance runner for much of her life, and is now works as an RN at a VA in Montana. We met at the coaching course that I took last spring. Here she shares a story that ties in with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Ladies and gentlemen, please give a nice, warm "Accountability" welcome to Tova! Take it away, Tova...

I would like to start out with a disclaimer before I dive into my story.  Please be advised this is my own story I am sharing when I underwent “further evaluation” for a breast lump.  While it will be seemingly entertaining for you to read, please understand breast cancer affects several women and men and it is something I don’t mess with.  It is the most common cancer for women and is the second leading cause of cancer death for us too…over 40,000 women die yearly from it.

I had just turned the ripe old age of 30 and found myself rapidly falling apart.  You could say maybe I was going through a midlife crisis because my young adult life was over.  On the day of my birth, 30 years weighed heavily on my shoulders.  I had just started running again, wasn’t eating well, and at the time was stressed over the fact that my life flashing before my eyes.  I came down with a cold.  Looking the polar opposite of “the picture of health” I sat in my doctors office.  The nurse called me back and weighed me.  Awesome.  Let the humiliation begin.  She escorts me to a room, takes my vitals, asks me why I’m there.  Then leaves me to feel and look like death warmed over. 

I had thought I had an understanding with my doctor.  I don’t get in his way.  He doesn’t get in mine.  I tell him what is going on.  “I have a cold.  Maybe cough too.  I’ve had it for a few weeks-maybe six.  I’m training for a marathon and I can’t run ‘cause I’m having a hard time breathing.  What do you think about a Z-Pack and a rescue inhaler?”  His reply:  “Huh.  Well let’s take a listen to you.”  At this point I whine to him about not needing to…blah blah blah…and like a good doctor he tells me I have no choice and to get up on the table.  While he’s listening to my lungs he says, “When was your last breast exam?  Do you do self exams?”  Hmmm.  Not sure where he was going with this…I replied, “I’ve calved out four kids.  My last breast exam was the last time I had a baby.  A few years ago.  I’ve felt some lumps but I think their just fibrous.”  He removes his stethoscope from his ears, pauses for effect, then hands me a gown to put on and leaves the room.  Oh no…

After the mortifying experience of a breast exam filled with blushing, holding my breath, and gritting my teeth while I answered more of his questions, he suggests I have a mammogram.  Oh.  And he’ll give me the z-pack but I’m banned from running for 10 days to give my lungs a rest.  “A what?!?!?  I’m 30 years old!  I’m just lumpy!  And I can’t run?!  Who are you?!  The Grim Reaper?”  Chuckling at my obvious dismay, he tells me there are two areas that don’t “feel normal.”  While it could be nothing it could also be something.  And he needed to know for sure.  And he told me I needed to know. 
With a sickly feeling in my stomach I arrived at the hospital for my mammogram.  What was going to happen?  I may have had four kids but I have “little going on up top” if you catch my drift.  How were the jaws of life going to produce any discernable images of cancer when I had little to offer to the machine?  After much manipulation and stellar range of motion on my part, I felt as though any excess skin starting at my wrists was scraped up toward my breasts.  Excess skin under my chin was scraped down.  Concerned my nose would be included in the image because I didn’t realize EXACTLY what was considered breast tissue at this point, I relayed my concerns to the tech and nurse.   They were wonderful, got my humor, and assured me only my ears would be included in the films and not my nose.

I ended up having a normal mammogram.  During the whole experience I began to reflect on what I had done and what I still needed to do…as a mom, as a daughter, as a sister, as a wife, and as a nurse.  Scares like a lump, a bump, a bleed, or an abnormal lab value really put life in perspective for us.  This is good-the silver lining.  The normal mammogram for me was a get out of jail for free card.  The event wasn’t to be ignored-I considered it a wake-up call. 

Thank you for allowing me to share your story, Tova! And now, back to my regularly scheduled mindlessness.
Be Well,

Friday, October 14, 2011

GET OUTSIDE! (please)

See that picture over there? Yea. I need to attend a workshop on taking self portraits with my {droid}. I stink at it....and no, i don't have gas (at least not in this picture).
I took myself out for another trail run on wednesday while my wife and youngest son were gone to watch our middle son and his Freshman football team whoop a$$ on a team that beat them earlier in the season. I missed the game, but was very happy to hear the results and the highlights as acted out by Bryce in the living room. Good times!
Wednesday was streakday #11 for me. A new record. Such a great feeling to get a run in every day. Pretty much my only criteria was that the run needed to be a minimum of 2 miles. Some days were exactly that, but mostly because of time constraints, and not energy or fitness levels. I do, though, need to get more GenUCan. Could always use more of that, so if you are looking for stocking stuffers, etc....hint hint........I like Lemonade, Chocolate (who wouldn't?), and the blueberry...
Anyway, I ran on a trail system in Lebanon, NH. Pretty darned hilly (1328ft elevation gain over the 10k loop), but I really like it out there. It is one of the first systems that I ran on when I started back on this running thing. The 'out' loop runs along the ridgeline, and the original plan was to run the same trails on the way back, but due to some concerns about the darkness on the trail (no light with me!), I chose the 'lower' trail that stayed just downhill from the ridgeline. I'd never been on that particular trail, and found that i really liked it! At one point I ran pretty much straight into a bog (luckily, I didn't fall and die, because that sort of thing actually As I tried to scramble out along a rock, it turned out to be a FAKE ROCK (piles of leaves), and my feet got muddy anyway. Normally I wouldn't care a bit, but I had to go get some items at the grocery store on the way it was, my lower legs were splattered with trail mud and sticks, so that was cool. oh, and I had TWO hitchhikers. yep, TICKS. thankfully I felt them before they started digging into my flesh.
Here's the trail, about 1.5 miles from the car, on my way back. I must say that I really enjoy running in areas like this, and wish that I could make a living at it, because I would love that. Just sayin'....if someone wants to pay me to just run around the woods every day, testing things, writing about them, etc...well, pop a note in the comment section! HAHAHAHA...yea, well, i know that isn't going to happen, so i'll stick with my day job! In the mean time I'll keep going back out into the woods as often as I can, huffing and puffing like a mad man, trying to outpace myself.
I've thought of some pretty cool things for 2012 on my recent runs, but need to run them by my training/events manager (Love you +1) before I go public with them. You know how it is....
I leave you with a thought:
Do what you like to do, as often as you can do it, because there WILL come a day when you can't. For me, that day will suck, so I am going to try to do the little things more often. (Heads up.....)

Be Well,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Longest far!

See what I did there?
Yesterday I ran the greatest distance that I have ever run. I had planned to run 18 miles. Up until I left the house, I wasn't quite sure where I would run. I had two options in mind: 1) run the CHaD Half Marathon course, then do one of the loops twice to make up the extra miles, or 2) run along a rail trail that I have heard about in a nearby town. Not being very fond of running in traffic or on boring roads, I opted for the unknown; the rail trail.
I knew that started near a community style gym in Lebanon, NH, so i drove over there around 9. I found a little trail out back, so after getting my shoes on, making sure that my hydration packs were all set, and starting my Garmin....((*#&*$^(#$(*& GARMIN!!! WTF???? seriously???? WHY WHY????? you were on the charger ALL STINKING NIGHT and when i double checked, you said "Battery Charging Complete" on your cute screen!!!! WHAT DID YOU DO IN MY GYM BAG THAT DEPLETED YOUR BATTERY?????
oh. wait. press POWER, MODE, and ENTER button all at the same time....right. i recall having done that if i can just contort my fingers....oh. duh. take the flippin thing OFF first....ok, ok, ok. no stress. just an 18 miler looming......
ok. Thank you, Teri (GARmin) for joining us today.....BEEP!
So off i trotted....for about 1/4 miles, then....heap big pile of debris blocking my way. I peered around the more trail. WHAT? i back tracked and went into the gym to ask about the trail. Oh! the OTHER side of the parking lot. yes, by that BIG SIGN announcing the rail trail....duh....
So off i (finally) went. I had set Teri to beep at me at 4.5 miles, at which point I would turn around, go back to the car, restock my water, drink some GENUCAN, and run back and do it again for a total of 18 miles. Seems simple enough.
The trail is hard-packed gravel. Mostly. There are some places that are a bit wet and therefore muddy, but that was ok with me. The morning was still chilly and foggy in parts. This made for some interesting scenery along the trail, and helped to keep my mind occupied. I tried very hard not to look at Teri until the turn around BEEP. I was happy to learn that I covered that first 4.5 with relative ease!

Beautiful morning for a run!

One thing that I did notice was that it was a bit of a challenge for me to keep an even pace that was where it should be. I am not used to running long distances, and I know that I should keep the longer distances at a slower pace than usual. I decided that a 10:00 mile would be 'good', and bounced around that for most of the trip.
give me pain in my right foot! :(
When I got back to the car I noticed that Teri hadn't beeped for the second leg, which was a bit confusing...but I drank my drinks, took some gels, and swapped my shoes. I had been running in my Asics Gel Speedstar5's, and as ususal, right around mile 8 i started to get a pain in the ball of my right foot. I switched to my trusty Adidas something or others, and off I went.
About half a mile from the car, Teri beeped. Confused, I plodded on. The day was warming up, but I decided to keep my clothing the way it was. Long sleeve tech tee topped with an ArcticEase sleeveless tech tee. The same one I am wearing in this photo. Yea, that's me, chatting it up with Gronkowski. Hohum...ahahaha...

 Where was I? Oh! running along the trail. Yea, my mind was all over the place during the run. I was listening to Marathon Talk, specifically the episode with Bart Yasso. It was very entertaining and informative. I got back to the place where Teri first beeped, and of course, no beep. So i went a little farther (further?) along and came to a really nice spot along Mascoma Lake. This reminded me of one of the best reasons to live in New England. (I keep wanting to say "live in Vermont", but the picture was taken in New Hampshire, so....anyway, I decided to keep going and see how I did. I tweeted something like "longest run ever! at 14 miles and the car is at least 5 miles back!" and kept going. I sent Tracey some messages letting her know that I was indeed still alive. Off I went.
The next few miles just rolled along, and before I knew it, I was at 16 miles. Only two miles left to reach my goal!!!! THIS WAS SOOOOO EXCITING....but wait, there's MORE!!! yep. Car was now at least SEVEN miles away....silly, silly math. (This, my readers, is why you need to pay attention in Algebra class!) So I turned around at the 16 mile mark and headed back. Nothing really special happened on the way to the car, except that I ran out of drinks at around mile 21. I musta been a bit delusional, because I kept thinking things like, well, looks like this will be right around 23 miles. why not just keep going until 26.2, just to say that I did it? Luckily I have a lot of common sense, so i stopped when i got to the car. Distance? 23.35 miles in 4:03. The last mile and a half were TOUGH. I'd run 100meters, walk 25 or so, repeat. The heat was getting to me, and my hips were aching.
But I DID IT~! I did my 18 miles, and then some. And i lived. And i felt alive! What a great feeling. Of course, as the day wore on, my legs got a bit stiff, but I wrapped with ArcticEase, took a 30 minute nap with my legs up, and then moved around and stretched all evening until i fell asleep.
And I slept through the night.....
Today, my legs feel great! A little knee soreness, but otherwise they feel great! 2 mile shakout planned for after work, then back into some medium distance tomorrow morning!!
Anyone figure out why Teri didn't beep when I thought she would?

Be Well,