Saturday, March 22, 2014

Garden Update

It's that time of year again where I realize I'm falling behind on my garden and there's still a forecast for snow. Sheesh. So I looked through my seed packets and marked them with the planned planting dates. I was doing great with everything until I came to the tomatoes and peppers. You'd think I would have learned from last time but it looks like I screwed up. Again. I should have started the damn seeds weeks ago but didn't. So tomorrow I get to shop for a small greenhouse thing to get them started indoors and then I can transplant them to the "normal" garden after we finally make it into spring. And this year, who knows when that will come.

Below are pictures of the newly expanded garden boxes I built. I wish I had the ability to mill my own timber from downed trees but I don't so I just bought the lumber. After a few weeks storage in the shed, I finally got the chance to build them. William helped for a little bit but got bored and went inside. Elizabeth helped with both but still took a few breaks to play on the swing set. I guess swinging a hammer isn't very fun when your old man is swinging it. Although they did seem to be interested when I said a few swear words.

You see, I attached the brackets and the two ends to one of the boxes and then realized I built it wrong. So of course I said "shit" or something like that under my breath. Both kids perked up but I don't think they heard the word itself. Not that it really matters if they did since I'm sure they already know it. I think what caught their attention was my tone of voice. Anyway, I got it fixed and finished the build.

As for the design specs, there were none. I just went to store and bought lumber and brackets. They're 2x6 (I think) treated boards that are 8 feet long. For the middle braces, I just cut one in half. So all told, I used 7 pieces. For the brackets, I just went with some decking brackets and screwed them in with galvanized decking screws. The screws were a little longer than expected but they work. I had ot hammer the pointy ends a bit to make sure nobody cut a finger open. Underneath each corner and in the middle, I put some paving stones. Nothing fancy but enough to let some of the water drain out as needed. I used four square ones and two rectangles for each box. I cleared out the sod and put down the cardboard that was leftover from the treadmill. In between the new boxes and the old one, I left about 4 feet of ground, put down weed fabric, and covered with mulch. We'll see how it does.

The day was pretty nice for a build like this. The next day we got 5 inches of snow. I swear spring is never coming.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

The Hills Are Alive With A Chafed Dick

Today's run was much better. Probably because I got to run outside. It was still chilly but it wasn't too terrible. The worst part was the change in time and the dumbass drivers. My alarm went off and I promptly went back to bed for an hour. When it went off a second time, I snuggled with my wife for a good long while. And yes, we snuggled. No hanky panky. And I'm sure she loved the snuggle time.

Anyway, once I finally got my rear out the door, it wasn't too terrible outside. The sun was up and so was the wind. Woof. Had several stretches of road where I just about stood up because of the wind. And those damn drivers, I mean, seriously? You can't move the fuck over a foot or three? I had one woman I swear I could have high-fived her mirror. She had no reason to not move over and as far as I'm concerned, she has no reason to be allowed to drive. I understand if you're distracted. Like the guy that was texting on his phone, I know he didn't see me. I knew I needed to keep an eye on him. But this lady made fucking eye contact. While she was driving. And still didn't move over. If I had something in my hand, I would have thrown it at her. And I would have been more than happy to tell the police why.

Enough of the ranting. Along the way I saw a bunch of dead deer, both road kill and body dumps from hunters. Saw some old scenery on some old routes I haven't gone down in ages. And the one time I wanted to stop and wipe my ass, a car drives by. Figures. I eventually found some privacy and did the deed. I also made a pit stop at the local Sheetz to grab some resupplies. And that was about it.

No matter how tired I got, I was NOT taking a nap on that thing.

These are the new power poles going up across the county.

Temps were about 50F. Sun was out along with some clouds. Wind was high at 20 to 30 mph.

Fluids and Fuel:
Had half a bottle of GenUCAN before the run. During the run I had plain water, a bottle of Hammer Fizz, and apple sauce. The Hammer Fizz was in the second half of the trip. The first applesauce pouch was at the halfway point and the second was near the end. At the halfway point I also had a small coffee. Recovery was Hammer Recoverite mixed with chocolate ZICO and coffee along with two ham/cheese/lettuce wraps.

Aches and Pains:
Had some minor chafing down below. Nothing too bad but enough to make for a slightly uncomfortable shower. I also noticed at one point that the ball of my left foot was getting rubbed the wrong way and I suddenly realized that I was turning my foot to the side so I landed on the outside edge of my foot and then when I pushed off I was kind of scratching at the dirt like a chicken and pushing a bit to the inside. Weird. After that, things felt fine. Even during the last mile I was able to crank out a sub 12 pace. Felt nice. Hard, but not gasping for breath like I was going to die kind of hard.

Wore shorts, thermal shirt, t-shirt, gloves, two Buffs, and my Nathan hydration pack. Once again, the Buffs saved my face from freezing off in the strong head winds. The hydration pack helped carry any extra gear I needed but I didn't take much. Just my knife, my applesauce, and my Hammer Fizz mix. And some cash. Which got a little sweaty by the time I needed to use it.

First Half - 1:18:59
Aid Station - 8:53
Second Half - 1:31:24
Last mile - 11:36 pace
Finish - 2:59:17
RHR - 60
Weight - 222.4 (after the run but before eating)

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Memory Lane

I was recently brought down memory (or dragged) by digging up an old high school photo from Cross Country. The photo, the caption, and the extra caption, pretty  much says it all. While I'd love to delve into more of these trips to the old days, I'm pressed for time. So instead of tons of stories, I'll just bore you with this one.

In my sophomore year of high school (circa 1991-1992), I joined the cross country team. I left the soccer team hating the sport, the coach, and the lack of team spirit I wanted. There was team spirit, but not for a bench warmer like me. So I headed to the cross country team. It was the first time I felt normal being weird. In fact, it was almost a requirement to be weird to be on the team. I've heard it many times from many people that they've had a similar experience.

On top of feeling welcome, there was an odd personal-to-group symbiosis. So while I had to run each race as fast as I could and do my best as an individual, our team would win or lose based on those individual scores. It's something that makes the sport unique. Beating a teammate to the finish line helps the team just as much as beating somebody from another team. I liked that. I could do my best to help the team but at the same time I could do my best to put myself on the podium (not that I ever did).

And then there was the therapy of running. This is what would seal the deal and eventually bring me back to the sport. I never really knew it at the time but running helped me deal with all of life's shit. I know that now but back then it was a jaunt through the trees with my own thoughts or chatting with friends. I didn't quite grasp how important it was to my mental health.

In the end, I stayed on the team through my senior year. I should have tried out for my college team but gave it up to pursue other activities, like computer games and girls. Out of all the crap I dealt with in high school, my time running our home course is among my favorite and most memorable. So despite the look on my face in this picture, I really did love it.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Podcast - Mile 79 - My New Studio

Welcome to my new indoor studio. Which is my kitchen. Where my giant treadmill, aka Darth Vader, is located. I still hate him and love him all at the same time. I digress into why I named him Darth Vader and why I name things in general.

I mention some of my jealousy of my wife working out with Darth Vader, how heavy he is, and how the delivery of Darth wasn't quite what I had hoped for. I sure as hell could have used a Jedi's Force powers to lift it up the steps. And then of course we go into where the hell to put Darth. He's larger than life and thankfully we found a spot for him. I'm sure Jabba went through some similar issues when he wanted to find a spot to put Han in carbonite.

And then I spend some time doing a bit of a review of the treadmill. If you'd like to see what it looks like on Amazon, click here. Otherwise, you can head over to SoundCloud to listen to the show.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Mud Run

It wasn't the best run but I still felt great when I finished. Felt pretty darn sluggish but, as usual, I think I know why. I think my wife gave me her sinus infection and I think the last few weeks of low-end training has sucked a bit out of me. And the unusual weather didn't help. And, well, I could give lots of excuses but none really matter. In the end, I got out the door, got on the trail, and ran. And I loved it.

Along the way I saw a family of three walking two dogs, a cyclist that appeared and disappeared, and two downed trees. I checked in on my trail cameras, water cache, and then headed to the other road crossings when I finished. The hilarious part was I was stopping at the other road crossings to post signs and when I got to one of them, there was a huge puddle there. When I ran the trail was nearly bone dry but when I got to the road crossing, I nearly lost my shoes in the mud. I almost wish I had the mud to run through on the trail but I'm glad it was just at this one section that doesn't get much use.

Outside of that, things were pretty normal during the run. I'd periodically stop for walking breaks to lower my heart rate, or enjoy the view, or just enjoy the wind through the trees.


These were the signs I was posting.

And this is what my toes looked like after going through the mud.

I dressed for 40F but when I went outside it was about 60F to 65F. Winds were light. Sun was out but there were clouds moving in.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was two cinnamon rolls, yogurt, and coffee. During the run I had plain water, Camelback drink mix (berry, yuck), and an applesauce pouch. Recovery was later than normal but it was a latte and a salad.

Aches and Pains:
My right knee hurt  before the run and a little during the run. I think I tweaked it at some point yesterday. Pain wasn't bad so I didn't worry. Top of my left foot hurt a little towards the end of the run. Nothing major. Everything else felt fine.

Wore shorts, pants, thermal top, short sleeve shirt, winter hat, gloves, and Buff. The hat, gloves, and Buff never made it out of my car. My pants made it barely a mile before I took them off. Took my Nathan hydration pack and knife.

Mile 0.7 - 10:26 (AVG HR 138)
Mile 1 - 15:45 (AVG HR 146)
Mile 2 - 17:03 (AVG HR 152)
Mile 3 - 12:56 (AVG HR 157)
Mile 4 - 13:26 (AVG HR 156)
Mile 5 - 12:17 (AVG HR 157)
Mile 0.3 - 2:17 (AVG HR 160)
Finish - 1:24:12
AVG HR - 152
MAX HR - 176
MIN HR - 83
RHR - 61