Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Missed Ya

I have been slacking on my blogging lately.   But things are still happening and I still have things to say.  

As far as the running world, I have been working on new stuff--which I do every year.  But I have signed up for a 5 K on Thanksgiving morning at the Cool Springs Mall, and have been training with that in mind.   My goal has always been breaking 30 minutes, and that goal is still in place.   I have been doing some interesting training as of late-- strength and distance combination.   I have been doing a lot more weight work on the upper body and legs and doing slower speed running on the treadmill and asphalt.  No speed work at all.   I will do legs two or three days in a row which really makes them quite sore and unresponsive.  But in a day or two the power is there as is endurance.  So, whatever is happening is a good thing.   I can run a long time at a 9 minute mill pace on a treadmill, but I struggle in the open to get the speed regulated--I go too fast to sustain the pace.   I am getting better on the speed, I have a couple of weeks to get it in range so I can finish a 5 K strong.  

I have been a lot more running than I do in season and I have noticed a significant difference is my soreness and energy levels.  The longer slower distances seem to take more energy out of my body and is much harder to replace.   My back is sore a lot more and my knees get mad a lot more.  So, distance running is not for me due to the pain and suffering.  When I do my sprinting work outs, I seem to recover a lot better and have a lot less pain than the slower speed stuff.   Interesting differences, I will see how the next couple weeks play out.  By the way, the lack of sun as of late is not helping on the recovery.  I need light. 

The latest house project was adding a wood stove to the living room.  We had a non working fireplace and we had a liner installed and added a cute little basil green stove.  It works fantastic and really warmed that section of the house.   I painted up the brick and used an old plank from the removed kitchen hearth and installed it for shelf.  I turned out very nice and now we can watch football and keep extra cozy.  I have quite a bit of wood on the property that I have already cut and it is ready to burn and there are more trees that are in need to trimming and thinning out. So, we have a ready  supply of wood, plus wood cutting is a great core building exercise.  Win Win!!

Linda is transitioning into a new role for her company and will be able to work from home now and basically eliminate business travel.  That is a wonderful thing for her and I hope she does as well with the new role as the old.  She was the Lab Specialist of the year in 2014 !!!

I have already posted this on Facebook, which I have started to use a lot more.  It is an easy way to get pictures out.   But in the center of this picture is a green object that I thought was a frog or toad, but Adam correctly identified is as a green lacewing that uses moss as camo to catch aphids.  I was incredibly lucky to see it moving on a tree trunk.  It is very interesting how nature gives the smart creatures an upper hand. This is the first time I have ever noticed these critters and I am almost 59 years old.  There is always more to discover in this wide world.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

District Qualifier

Last Saturday the Greater Nashville Senior Games District Qualifier was ran at Brentwood High School Track.  I ran in the 4 sprints and took three gold and a silver medal.  Overall it was great event for me.  I ran in a new class, the 60 to 64 year old class.  I am actually 58, but in Olympian years I am 59 and next year, when they run the state meet for which we qualified, I will be 60 in Olympian years--confused, that is OK.  Kinda messy to figure your Olympian age.  

I wore pinks sleeves the first three races because I was chilly after I got sweaty warming up around 8:30 AM.  I also wore the pink sleeves to celebrate those who have battled breast cancer and won.  Breast cancer has got to be an absolutely horrible way to be tortured by cancer.  I posted the picture of my sleeve and medals on Facebook and one of my high school class mates responded that she had been a 10 year survivor--- I nearly cried.  I dedicated the three gold medals to her, she is more of a champion than I will ever dream.  Facing down cancer and winning is real hard core, I salute you Peaches. 

The other picture is posted is of Lyon Fleming--55, and George Spero--84 or 85 years old.  George is my favorite and I really like to see him run.  He goes as hard as he can every race and just hates to lose.  I love George and hopes he can make his career last 20 more years. I am always yelling for him and checking on him during the meet.  He actually recruited Lyon for the Senior Games.  Lyon and George were training one day at the same track and George struck up a conversation about Lyon's speed--he won all four of his races Saturday--and Lyon makes a meet a couple of years later and is hooked.  Thanks George for rounding up some new talent.  They both add a lot to our district, which by all measures is the fastest and most competitive in the US.  There are some fast people that run in Nashville and many are world class athletes.

I felt pretty good for the meet with what I considered light training.   I had been sick a couple of times in September and early October and just could not find the wind to run or get any real work done.  The weather for the meet was actually nice after a lot of the rain the night before, so the track was wet and the wind accelerated as the day progressed.  Of course the wind was right down the finishing stretch so you would get to buck it to the finish.  I really did not notice the wind, so I must have been pretty strong for the events.  My 50 meters was the same time as the National.  I got a great start and felt good the whole trip.  I ran it 100% and enjoyed it as usual. It as much fun as ice cream--almost.  I won the 100, which never happens.  But a great start and just a solid run at 95% power worked out to 14.07 seconds-- all being hand timed.  The 200, I wanted to stay below 30 seconds,  I ran a very quick 28.57, and felt like there was plenty left.  I lost the 400 in the last 40 meters.   I changed out of my spikes, since it was the last race and nothing was hurt or strained, and put on my rubber soled shoes.  I was not going to get injured on a qualifier that is not that critical.  It had been running for a couple of hours and hammies do tighten up as the day progresses. I wanted to run a 70 second lap, and that is basically what I ran.  I was in the center of the track and thought I had a 10 meter lead down the finish stretch and I did not.  About 40 meters to go, I was passed unexpectedly and for a moment got on the gas, but let him go.  I could just as easily trashed a hamstring, but I was in the State Finals next summer and you need to keep an eye on the goals of no getting hurt.  I am getting smarter and a little faster as well.

The normal fast people were in attendance and Tennessee should be strong when the Nationals make their way to Birmingham, AL in 2017.  

I think I will run the Turkey Trot in the area Thanksgiving morning to just have some fun.  I am always looking to break 30 minutes and that will the goal again this year.  There is always hope. I did start some training today.  My sports hernia pain was coming back a little and I did some front squats to try and get it back under control.  The front squads helped before and I have not done enough lifting as of late.  Back to the iron for a while to get the core hardened up.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Top Five Shows

With the Foo Fighters in town this week and really putting on a great rock show, Linda and I were discussing our top five shows all time and it is a hard list to break into, but here mine.

My Top Five Shows--All time:

1-- J Geils Band in the late 70's, some small opera house in Ohio.  Absolutely no doubt the best ever
2--Foo Fighters at the Bridgestone this week--  a lot of energy in the joint
3-Devo at a tent outside the casino in Green Bay.  Just too much fun.
4- Heart at the Oshkosh County Fair, standing on the dirt track.  They rocked away while I had the red sauce from a fiery hot Greek sandwich running down my arm. Beer would not calm this stuff down.   It was the county fair.... dust, beer, food, screaming guitars.
5--Bruno Mars at the Bridgestone.  A lot of screaming for that one. There was a lot of talent on the stage that night.

Not making the top 5 were-- Eagles, Train, Bob Seger, AC DC, Tom Jones, Brad Paisley, Kiss, Aerosmith, Buddy Guy, Johnny Lang, B 52's, Kid Rock, Elton John, Meat Loaf, Jimmy Buffet, Doobie Brothers, Def Leppard, Ted Nugent, Scorpions,Kelly Clarkson, Molly Hatchett, Tower of Power, Daughtry, Lyle Lovett, Jethro Tull, Alice Cooper, John Prine, Martina McBride, Sturgill Simpson. Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes

As you can see, the top five is brutally hard to crack.  Some of these groups are my all time favorites, but I do not play favorites, you got to earn the trophy for this one. I  have been  to a lot of shows and enjoyed most of the them and the top five is all about energy in the place.  The more energy the band gets from the crowd the better the experience and vice a versa.

For those who are not familiar with J Geils.  They were popular in the 70 and 80's.  Jerome Geils was the leader of the group and played guitar and did no vocals.  Magic Dick played the harmonica and he was amazing with the sound he could make.  Seth Justman was on  organ--the cheesy sounding one to boot. Peter Wolf was the front man and he liked to jump around a lot and was the show.  Of course they had some other stuff like guitars and bass and drums.  I think it was a 6 or 7 man group. Classic songs like--"First I Look at the Purse", "Whammer Jammer", "Must Have Got Lost" , "Looking for a Love", "Dead Presidents" (money not anything political) , "Houseparty"  all played really loud with gusto.. I still work out to this stuff, it hops.

 The night we saw them for my number 1, I was still in college and I think four of my group went to the show--think the 4 male  characters in the "Big Bang Show" .  I do not recall what town, I think it was cold and the town was dead as the trees that time of year.   We had seats in the middle of the floor about a dozen rows back.   We got there in plenty of time to get some alcohol and have some left handed smokes.  The first act came on the stage to total indifference from the crowd, they were basically ignored.  After a couple of songs, the entire crowd  started to boo and the only time I have ever seen this, basically were booed off the stage.  They played 4 or 5 quick songs and left the stage as they flipped us off.  We cheered like you just announced free beer.  I have no idea who they were.  What were we in for that night?? That sequence was pretty bazaar.  But the place was electric, you could sense something big coming.

After what seemed like 45 minutes, J Geils came out and the place just exploded.  It was on...  We jumped up and down and danced  and absolutely went nuts for the entire show.  I have never experienced that much energy in a venue, ever.  When we left, we were hoarse and completely wet from the sweat  from the jumping around.   I get fired up just writing about it, I hope to see that much fun in the future.  

That was my top five all time shows, and I am always looking for someone to push their way into this list.  Bring it on,  I am an impartial judge, but you gotta bring hard to get on this list.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Meet Week

Oh, if you had not heard, the Foo Fighters were in town last night and Linda purchased tickets last year and they were my Christmas present in 2014. Wow, what a show.  I can only think of one that I remember as better and that was the J Geils Band in the late seventies in some small venue near Oxford, Ohio.  The energy in the buildings both nights was absolutely incredible.   FF played 2 1/2 hours and they were so much fun.  They interacted with the audience a lot, and just put on an incredible show.   Dave Grohl has a leg in a walking cast from a broken lower leg when he fell off a stage during a show.  He stayed on his little 'throne' for the entire show.  But he had a lot energy and he has a great rock n roll scream.   Nobody got a chance to sit down until the 1 hour and 45 minute mark.  That is some energy!!!!  If you get a chance to see them, go and enjoy some real rock.
This Saturday, the Greater Nashville District qualifier is being held at Brentwood High school.   I will be running in 4 events, just so I can be in the show for the State Finals next year.   I had intended this race to feature the 200 m for me.   I had intentions to run a hard 400 m in  Kentucky, but the food poisoning event killed off that plan.   I have been snake bit the last month with the food event in Green Bay and last week I managed to get a mild cold, but enough to get me off any real training.  For the last month, I have only had a handful of training sessions and that does not lead to any quality times.   Tomorrow I am going to get flu shot, so I can hopefully head off any more crash and burn events.
I did work out today and did OK on the treadmill, my wind is still a little weak in comparison to where I was a month ago.  I will work a couple more times this week to keep the haze off and hopefully feel strong on Saturday.  Times do not really matter here, just make the distance and you make it thru to the state finals.    This event is more of a meet and greet with the regular athletes talking about their past season. This is as social as a track meet can be with out serving cookies and punch.   I know one 60 to 64 year old was in the World Championships and scored several medals, so we will have to so some visiting.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Air Disasters

One of my favorite shows is called Air Disasters which is on the Smithsonian Channel every week.  They do a full hour recreation of airline crashes where every body dies or really close misses where everybody is OK.   They have all types of planes globally doing bad things on the show.   The show also does a brilliant job of solving why the  disaster occurred.   Yesterday, Linda and I had  a shot at a starring role!  

We were flying from Nashville to Marquette, MI via a stop in Detroit on Delta.   I know I have bitched about Delta in the past, but this was a great plan to save a lot of time and the tickets were frequent fliers points, so they were cheap.  We flew on an MD 88 to Detroit and had a couple hours to get some lunch and stretch out a little.  We worked our way to our gate and about 30 minutes prior to loading, the first excuse was offered.  Crew is here, no plane.  Over the next hour, no plane.  It was an RJR jet that was still in the hangar.  About an hour after scheduled departure, the plane pulls up and we finally get to load.  We leave about 90 minutes late, which Delta does a lot on these regionals, for some reason they just don' t seem to care about a schedule.

It is very clear day and I got a window seat so the Delta drink cart does not take off an arm or leg as it goes down the isle.  Let Linda be the daredevil... We are sight seeing and trying to catch some landmarks out the window and we are on final approach in about 35 minutes.  A few minutes before we land we pick up some clouds and as we head in, the pilot makes a couple of quick turns and accelerates to abort the landing.  I thought he was a little off course and was going to come around and try again.  Nope.    Linda was quite scared and I tried to know what I was talking about as I explained the deal,  I watch the plane wreck show , you know.  But after climbing up several housand feet, the pilot came on the radio to let us know, that fog has suddenly shut down the traffic in Marquette airport.  We were going to reroute to Escanaba , which was where we would eventually go for our trip.  Marquette Airport, aka. KI Sawyer Airport, is a closed defense base and has great radar and massive runways, so the visibility had to be bad to abort.
Escanaba was only about 10 minutes and we were on the ground safely, not a cloud to be seen.   Whew!   A couple things that makes the story a lot more fun.   The airport was closed.    Nobody was there... Nobody.. No TSA, no airlines people, no rental cars, nothing.     They have a couple flights a day and it was between the last two scheduled flights, so they shut it down and leave and reopen later.  So, we taxied up and waited.   The pilot called a place called dispatch, and they figured out what they were going to do.  Basically we were going to get off and have family get us and our luggage.  A lot of the people would take a bus to Marquette, about a 75 minute ride, and the plane would refuel and return to Detroit.  Getting the information was tough, but we finally figured it out by your deduction method.  After an hour on the plane, one person got to the airport so we could deplane.  The door to the building was locked. Then we had to move the plane 50 feet for some strange policy reason, and then deplaned down the RJR ladder into the very small terminal.  The luggage was handled pretty quickly and we were off to eat fish fry--it was Friday you know...

Our hotel was in town, so that will be convenient.  How about your rental car Jack?   Oh yea.   This airport would not rent cars that would be left at another airport, local only.  Nice.  We had planned to leave our rental in Milwaukee.  I talked to National, where I had a reservation and cancelled that day's car in Marquette.   Then with an incredibly baulkly internet hook up at the hotel, found a car to rent in Marquette with Hertz that we would pick up on Saturday.  Linda's sister let us use her car to get all this done and without people close by, who knows how this could have ended.

As in the Air Disaster show, you have to find the root cause for the situation.   This one is easy--be on time!!  Get the plane to the gate on time, leave on time and none of this crap would have happened.  The visibility would have been fine and even the other airport would have been still open.    I fired Delta a couple of years ago over the performance of their regional jet fleets and in retrospect, I did the right thing.   My policy going forward, no regional jets unless it is absolutely necessary, and then reluctantly.
I have fully recovered from the food poisoning fiasco.   I have a meet in two weeks and I have been doing some speed and strength workouts.  I should be ready.  My weight  is down a little and I will see if that can make me any faster.  I am still going to concentrate on the 200 this meet.

Friday, September 18, 2015


Setbacks are part of life and we generally have no choice but to accept them in style.  I was in Wisconsin this week presenting some material to a large group of tissue makers.  Normally, you are subjected to hotel food and eating in groups.    I try as much as I can to be strict on my diet due to my garlic allergy and restrictions from gout when traveling.  I must have either goofed up or had something slip by, but I got a major case of food poisoning Monday night. 

As I get older, the food poisoning symptoms and reaction becomes more severe and lingers much longer.   I got sick--the messy part- Monday night late and was finished with that deal by Tuesday morning.  But all day Tuesday and into Wednesday my body was trashed.  Tuesday was stay in bed basically all day.  I did leave the hotel twice for visits to the local store for some food and liquids.  Getting out of bed and to the car was a major task and quite lengthy.  I was not aware I could actually move that slowly.  My breathing was very shallow--that part is going to be my end one day--and my energy was about as close to zero as humanly possible.  The pain was not huge, but I was not able to lie  on one spot of  my body  for more than a couple of minutes.  So I was constantly just churning on the bed--it was a really long day.   I did sleep a little better on Tuesday night and Wednesday was "go home" day.  My energy was better and the pain was under control, but mentally I was just "out to lunch".  Today is Friday and mentally I am 90% and physically 80% healed.  But I do not need to do that again.   I think my diet will eventually be cereal, fruit, chicken, some veggies, yogurt, eggs and salad as I age. Oh, and jello and tapioca pudding.  Nothing else.  It is getting there quicker than I want.

What was the culprit??  I wish I knew.   My boss indicated I was the only one at dinner (16 people) that had the walleye.  I thought it was the cheesy potato soup I had for lunch.  It could have been both in a little double whammy action.   Who knows.....

I had plans to run in the Kentucky State Finals this Sunday, but I am cancelling that meet.  I lost way too much energy to be able to run a competitive 400 meters.  Just the way it goes, another little setback.  It will be several more days before I can get back to any training.  Dr. Linda Allen has prescribed rest, I am going to not buck the good doctor. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Bucket List

Linda and I came up with a bucket list a few years back and this week we crossed off the Ford Thunderbird entry.   Since Linda was old enough to date she was a fan of the Thunderbird, and had always dreamed of owning one.  This last week we did some Tbird shopping and drove three different Tbirds and really liked a 2004 that Waltrip had just gotten on the lot.  A couple of emails to the insurance people, and a trip to the credit union and we were set.  I was a fan of the 2004, over the two  2002 cars we also drove, because of the special wheels on the 50 th anniversery edition and it had a select shift tranny.  The select shift is huge advantage in the hills around this part of the world.  The normal wheel is a 7 spoke chrome spoke wheel, but this smaller spoke I think looks more sophisticated  and stays cleaner.  We have taken a couple of nice rides with the top down and it is a lot of fun.   We took an evening tour through downtown Franklin and also some afternoon drives.  Hot weather in a convertible will burn you up, so we will need to be careful in the real hot weather.  But it is fun, and that is what living about, getting some fun in your life.

I added a picture of the fence we have in our meadow.  I just finished some new paint on the wood and it looks pretty good now.  This fence was nearly washed out by the big flood 5 years ago. The fence was basically pushed over by the waters and was left with a very nasty lean.  Last winter I removed all the vines and unwanted growth in the fence and reset several posts.  There was also a small mesh metal fence stapled to the lower section of the fence that would be used to keep in small animals.  I removed that crap last winter as well-  bad thinking on someone's part, that stuff was a mess and was vehicle to fill the fence with vines.   Now I can periodically clean out the brush and touch up the paint.  This was your basic farm work,--cut, pull, dig, scrap, clean and paint. 

I painted the fence in two days and finished yesterday right after lunch.  Linda and I had tickets to see Kelly Clarkson  last night at the Bridgestone arena and I told her it was farming, get your work done before you can go to the show and have some fun.  Kelly was fun, she did a great show-90 minutes- looked cute and we enjoyed the evening.  The crowd was 4 to 1 , women (girls) to men.  I could get into the bathroom without any waiting--that was first for me.   A lot of parents were escorting early teens, but they had some fun as well.  Kelly has really, really good pipes and can sing it!!  Next up for us is the Foo Fighters-- I expect a totally different crowd for that one. 

I did get some training in this week.  I ran on the treadmill yesterday at our gym.  I was tired and sore from painting and more under house mining and did not have any juice in the late afternoon.   I thought I would go at a slow pace and see how I felt.  I ran at a 8:57 mile pace and did 2400 meters without a break.  My heart beat stayed below 160 and I felt I got in a good workout.  It is amazing how when you feel like crap, you can pull a good workout!!  My conditioning is staying good and this next two weeks I will work on getting prepped for the 400 race in KY.    The speed is there, I just need to 'ask' for it.  The plan is break 62 in KY in the 400, the competition is pretty stout there and the pace should be fast.  And in the last race this season, which is the TN District Qualifier,  improve on 27.7 second 200.  I still have sore painter elbow and sore hips from the 2.4 K yesterday, but I can get those items under control pretty quickly.    This next week, I will be doing some traveling and that means I can do some more intense training, I will have time in the evening to not work on the house, but run. 

I talked about a calf cramp a couple of weeks ago.  I have made a minor change in my calf stretching position to do more stretching of the soleus muscle in the calf.  This change, where I bend my knees more on the calf stretch, has been effective and has helped minimize any issues with the calf muscle.  So, that injury situation is now history. 

For those people who do not watch TV, football season is here and Linda are all in.   The Ravenwood Raptors are 3-0 after a heart stopping OT win Friday night.  Mt Juliet tied the scored late on a 46 yard field goal-- in high school!!!    A real slugfest that they finally pulled out with a couple of big defensive stops.  An interception in the end zone in OT to end it!!  The game was over in an instant, that was truly 'sudden death'   There is nothing like live sports....   Go see a game, join in the fun.