Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Volcanus Vomitus

Wow. Talk about a whirl-wind weekend. Saturday we had new carpet installed at the rental house. Sunday I got an hour-long run in. And then puked my guts out. And then shit my brains out. And then spent most of Monday in bed.

So, what went wrong? I have no idea. My son got sick on Friday, puked most of the night, and was better by Saturday. Saturday I supervised the carpet installation. Sunday I got up, ate breakfast, and went to run. We assumed the culprit behind my son being sick was a slightly different, yet still dairy free, butter. I had the same butter Sunday morning but didn't think much of it. After my run, which was after breakfast but more than an hour after eating it, I felt queasy so I laid down. I figured the heat had gotten to me and I needed to rest. Well, a few hours later and I still felt like shit.

Queue the volcano-like vomiting. I haven't puked that much since my mother-in-law accidentally tried to kill me with turkey sausage nearly a decade ago. As I puked my guts up, I prayed that the next time I got sick I'd just shit my brains out instead. While that did come later, the puking really wiped me out.

So after Puke Fest 2014 was done, I cleaned myself, and the toilet, and crawled back into bed. I dozed on and off the rest of Sunday and all day Monday. Sadly, my wife got sick about the time I was getting better. Thankfully she's on the mend now (Tuesday) and seems to be almost back to normal.

As for the run itself, well, I took off down a road that used to be part of my old stomping grounds. I meandered a bit into the new power line then headed back. I made another pit-stop at a local fishing hole before finally making it home. There was a short bike ride after that then recovery time. Saw a bike rider out on the road which was cool. And that was about it.


The local fishing hole.

Temps were about 80F. Humidity was moderate. Winds were light. Sky was partly cloudy.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was waffles, eggs, and yogurt? After at least an hour, I started the run with a bottle of ice water and a bottle of iced GenUCAN electrolyte mix. Recovery was half a bottle of GenUCAN followed by lots of barfing later.

Aches and Pains:
Right ankle was a little tight the first mile or so. After that things were fairly normal. Aside from the queasy stomach.

No special gear. But I did remember my sun screen!

Heart Rate:
Stuck to the plan with my zones and timing. Pretty easy to keep the heart rate up in the later stages of the run, especially with a giant hill on the route.

20 minutes - 20:07 (AVG HR 140)
40 minutes - 48:57 (AVG HR 162)
10 minutes - 5:45 (AVG HR 162)
Finish - 1:14:50
AVG HR - 156
MAX HR - 183
MIN HR - 92

Friday, August 08, 2014

Painting Fort Max

I've painted with my father, mother, step-father, wife, and kids. I've painted in school, for fun, and for work. I wish I was an expert, but I am not. I'm not very creative and I'm very much a perfectionist. Because of this, I quickly learned that I should not paint with anyone else in the house. They disturb me and interupt my workflow.

So when it came time to paint Fort Max, it became apparent that everybody just needed to leave the house so I could get some work done. There were several times I painted late into the night just because I was alone, I could crank Eminem, and I could throw paint on the walls.

And sometimes that's how I felt, like I was just making a giant mess. But it got done and I'm happy with how it looks. There's still a few spots that need touch-ups but overall, it's done. Now to share a few things I learned along the way.

My son picked blue for his accent wall. Having the kids pick a color (for ONE wall) and helping paint that wall kept them semi-entertained.

Supplies. You'll need a lot more than you think you'll need. One brush per color per day. Don't try to wash out your brush or stick it in the fridge or re-use it the next day. Just use a new one. Same with pretty much everything else you use like tray liners, rollers, and more. The basic stuff you'll need to buy quality versions of are your roller holder (that thing with a handle), a nice wooden handle that screws into your roller holder, a paint can opener (you'll need one for the gallon metal cans and one for the 5 gallon plastic buckets), a hammer for the metal cans and rubber mallet for the plastic buckets, a pour spout that fits into your gallon bucket and one that screws onto your 5 gallon bucket, a metal paint tray for your roller, and a small paint container for your cut-in work. Phew! Quite a list. But trust me, that's just the quality stuff you want to buy.

For the cheap, disposable stuff, you'll need tray liners, a box of rags/paper towels, paint brushes, blue painter's tape/frog tape, and rollers. And expect to buy more paint brushes than you ever thought possible. So far, we've gone through close to 30 or so but that's mostly do to the doors needing lots of coats of paint. Anyway, plan on spending more on the disposables.

My daughter's accent wall is pink.

And plan on paying an arm and a leg for paint. We got nearly $1,500 in paint and that's just for most of the house, not all of it. We have some left over but we'll likely use that at the rental or in the kitchen. Either way, it's a ton of paint. So try to catch it on sale or when there's a nice rebate.

As far as your process goes, I found I worked best when I started at the top left corner of a very busy wall. By busy, I mean a wall that had the largest number of obstacles requiring cut-in work. By cut-in work, I mean working with a paint brush to cut-in or trim the area I'm painting. So windows, doors, vents, and anything else you need to paint around with a paint brush. Once I picked a wall to start on, I'd use the brush on the corners (the inside corners) and brush out the heavy strokes on the wall I'm not painting. Then, moving left to right and top to bottom, I'd cut-in along the ceiling, around windows, etc. Except for a very long wall, I could trim one wall before using the roller.

The rest of the house is a plain brown, although it has a touch more red/pink than I expected.

When it came time to use the roller, be prepared to use two coats. It depends on the paint, the wall, and your technique. What worked best for me was to use the roller to get the right texture on the horizontal lines, like along the ceiling and the floor, tops of windows, and doors. Then I'd do the vertical lines like corners, windows, doors, etc. From there, I'd again work left to right and top to bottom. I'd throw some paint on fairly thick, get a good 5 to 8 feet (horizontally) of the wall covered, then go back. When I went back, I'd add more paint, but I'd treat it as my finish coat. I'd go floor to ceiling getting the right texture but when I'd get to the end of the section I was working, I'd kind of brush it out like I would with the paint brush. Hard to describe in words but you're basically taking the roller (or brush) off the surface you're paining but without coming to a full stop. Kind of like a plane taking off, it leaves the ground gently, it just doesn't stop then take off like a rocket.

A few pro-tips. First, that light on the left will turn your room into a sauna and dry your paint faster than you want. Second, that coffee is essentially for late nights. Finally, that platform on the right is ideal for painting.

Once you finish a wall, you simply (ha!) repeat the process a million times until you're done. A small mini roller may help if you need it but I found a normal sized roller will fit above doors and windows and the mini roller only got used once or twice. Once the paint dries, go back with a nice light and see if you  missed a spot so you can touch up as needed.

When it comes to painting trim, especially windows, don't be afraid to lay down on the floor to get it all.

When it comes to clean up, this is where the disposable stuff comes in handy. Dump the extra paint back into the can/bucket, but don't scrape all the stuff that's dried back in there. Leave that scum right where it is. No sense contaminating that small fortune of pigment with crap. Using the tray liner as an awkward glove, grab the roller and muscle it off the holder. Then toss them and the brush into the trash. Now all you need to clean up is the roller holder and the pour spouts. Pretty easy.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

2014 DRHT 50k Race Report - DNF

Yet another DNF. But this one was totally planned well in advance of race day. It still hurts though. I know I can do the distance. Even up to a few minutes before the race started, I was tempted to go the full length. But I knew in the back of my mind that that was not the plan and that even though I would finish, I was not prepared. I didn't want to risk doing anything too stupid and that's what I would have been doing. So I dropped at Mile 4 as planned and returned back to the Start for a full 8 miles of running. A quarter of the distance I could go but those damn cutoff times were looming over me the whole way and I knew I wouldn't make them.

I'll post my full race "report" below the dotted line but I wanted to go over something that happened on race day that made me proud, sad, and inspired all at once.

Have you ever had a complete stranger come up to you and know your name? Kind of freaky, right? Have they ever known more than just your name? You know, like your wife's name or kid's name or where you work or knew of some accomplishment that you made recently? Super-freaky, right? Well, that's happened to me a few times over the years. And yes, it freaks me out. Like when I ran the Oil Creek 100 last year, somebody knew me from my race report from the year before. I felt so honored that they knew me and appreciated my race report but it was like an out-of-body experience that they knew so much about me. Yes, I know, I don't exactly hide behind a curtain and feel comfortable sharing my life online, but you get the idea.

Anyway, I had several people that either knew about my planned DNF or that were concerned about my DNF on race day. It was crazy. I never knew that many people even knew who I was or would remember me after last year's race. I mean, these are people I see once, maybe twice a year. And to have them care about me enough to either ask why I planned to drop or to ask if I was okay made me feel great.

And a bit like an ass. I mean, some of these people I just don't care about enough to even think of until I see them at a race. Well, now that they've shown me this much kindness, I'm sure I'll be thinking about them for awhile.

Race Report:
A planned DNF, meeting the legend MikeWardian, and a day of volunteering. Wow. Where should I start?

Let's start with the planned DNF. Even though I was seriously considering attempting to run the whole thing right up until the start of the race, I realized (and my coach confirmed) that running the whole thing wasn't a good idea. Taking 2 weeks off to move and not quite being up to where I needed to be before that meant that I just wasn't at the training level I needed to be at to finish the race. Well, that's not entirely true. I knew I could finish the race, I just knew that my lack of training meant that I'd likely not make the cut-offs. So I started the race and turned around at the first aid station and ran back. It was a tough decision but it was one that I knew I needed to make. And at the end of the day, I was glad I made the right decision.

Meeting Mike Wardian was a great opportunity. I had sent a tweet ages ago when the race director did an interview on a show he helps produce but I never expected him to show up. He registered at the last minute and as soon as the news broke, I about crapped my pants. I mean, to see such a big name show up at such a small race is incredible. So as I directed cars into their parking spots, I got out of his and asked a question. I knew his voice right away from various podcasts and interviews but I didn't recognize his face. A beard, no backwards hat, and the pre-dawn light makes a great disguise. I caught up to him again as he was waiting in line for the porta-john and he offered to take a picture right there. Well, timing worked out a bit different and I managed a picture after he went. It must be weird to have people stalk you outside of a toilet waiting for a picture.

See? I told you I stalked him near the bathrooms.

When it came to volunteering, it felt nice to return something to the community. And better yet, to a race I really enjoy and have fallen in love with over the years. After all, this was my first 50k five years ago. So to be able to help out here and there felt nice. I did my best to take pictures of all the finishers and got to listen to some speedy people (and not so speedy) talk about their race. Wardian broke the course record then promptly turned around and ran a few more miles. The first female totally crushed the course record and came in 4th overall. Amazing to see these people run so fast. And just as amazing to see the slower folks tough it out over a long course on a hot day.

That's Joyce Ong in the pink. She's a fucking rockstar.


Temps were about 65F at the start and got up to about 75F at the end. Sky was overcast. Light breeze. High humidity.

Fluids and Fuel:
Had a banana, yogurt, and coffee before the run. Drank a serving of GenUCAN during the run. Recovery was another GenUCAN serving.

Aches and Pains:
Nothing really hurt. Generally felt good.

No special gear but I did wear my new JWalkingDesign kilt over my TStarRunning shorts. Got a few compliments on both.

Heart Rate:
Didn't wear my HRM but I'm sure I was in Zone 4 most of the time. After the first couple of miles I took more walking breaks but felt more at ease with the faster pace.

Mile 1 - 11:23
Mile 2 - 12:50
Mile 3 - 13:04
Mile 4 - 13:02
Aid Station - 7:36
Mile 5 - 11:36
Mile 6 - 11:56
Mile 7 - 13:05 (includes pee break)
Mile 8 - 12:41
Finish - 1:47:48

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

More early days of Fort Max

Previously, I covered the stripping of the carpet, padding, and a million staples. Let's move on to the walls since that was the next big project. Once the carpet was out, we had to clean the walls off. That meant clearing any hooks off the wall, removing any hardware on the wall, and essentially gutting everything down to the drywall.

Sounds like small stuff but like the carpet, the project grew with every passing second. Take a closet for example. We had already removed the bi-fold doors to remove the carpet. But now it was time to remove the shelves. And the brackets. And that odd cable that ran from the attic to the basement. You get the idea. The only brackets we left up were the ones in the master closet (we ended up taking them down anyway later).

We're quickly learning that we hate bi-fold doors.

Other hardware we removed included the doors, the hinges, strike plates, outlet covers, and a few other things I've forgotten. You never realize all the little things that are there until you go to remove them and suddenly you're left holding the bag with a ton of stuff to keep track of. Fortunately we knew in advance that we wanted to replace the outlet and light switch covers so we just bagged those and donated them. But we also had window blinds, closet hardware, and more.

You get the idea. Lots of stuff to take off the wall. Once that was all done, we then had to clean the walls. Just some simple dish soap and hot water. We'd attack a room with a couple of mops and do the ceilings first, then the walls. We quickly learned that one room was shut off from the world but also appeared to have the most dirt on the walls. Haven't figured that on out yet but it almost looked like somebody smoked in just that room (even though it didn't smell like that).

Probably should have mentioned that before we washed the walls, we vacuumed the floors. No sense washing the walls only to spray dust and dirt all over them again. So the floors got a good vacuum which in turn gave us a great opportunity to find staples that we missed. We did pretty good and only found a few that were missed.

During this time we also had to deal with other distractions. Like chimney swifts in the fireplace, DirecTV installing a new dish and line to the house, getting new locks for the doors, and installing a new mailbox. I drafted the kids to help with the mailbox because it was a fairly small job and they were getting bored. I mean, it's a rough a life swimming half the day and playing the other half.

My helpers for the new mailbox.

Speaking of door locks, the old ones were a pain in the ass to remove. They were the old school Schlages and had these small covers over the allen screws/bolts that you needed to get to in order to remove the locks. Well, after using a hammer, prybar, drill, and lots of muscle, we were able to remove the old locks. Only to find that we needed to drill new holes so the new locks would fit. Which meant more drilling and more muscles.

Those damn metal covers in the top lock were a bitch to remove. Totally trashed the old lock beyond repair. We didn't install them in the new locks.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Recycled Bi-Fold Doors

A quick and fairly easy, not to mention cheap, project that was completed here at Fort Max was installing some shelves in the laundry room. We've been removing bi-fold doors like crazy in this house and knew we could re-use them elsewhere as shelves so we just filed them away in the garage for later use. Well, the time came to install them.

These particular doors came from William's closet but we also have doors from our bathroom, our closet, Elizabeth's closet, the living room closet, and as of last night, the utility room. So, plenty of spare material to work with. They aren't painted pretty but that wasn't a strict requirement before installation.

Supplies needed were fairly simple. The spare bi-fold doors (in this case, one side of the closet gave me two shelves). The screws from the hinges that came off the doors. Some new brackets to hold a rod. Scrap rod from our closet (we didn't have the right size so we needed to buy more). Scrap shelf brackets from some unknown shelf in the house we ripped out. Spare nails left by the previous owner.

Tools needed were a hammer, level, tape measure, and cordless drill. A helper was also needed for some of the awkward reaches.

I measured the master closet to see how the spacing was between the upper and lower shelf. I then added a couple of inches to them so that the bottom shelf in the laundry room isn't too close to the ground. Don't want clean clothes to sit on the floor. Anyway, once I measured my two starting points, I put a bracket in the wall. from there I leveled to the next one and installed that. Since only two of the three brackets per shelf were going to hold a rod, they were pretty easy to install and keep level. The third bracket was recycled and a bit different in design but it went in well enough.

Because I didn't want the shelf to fly off, I re-used the screws from the hinges to attach the shelf to the bracket. I repeated this process for the bars. No sense having them slide off.

And that was it. Presto, two shelves, two bars, and the only thing new was a couple of brackets.