Sunday, October 26, 2014

All over the Map

Literally, all over the map.    Linda and I drove to Green Bay, WI about 10 days ago for my oldest daughter's wedding.   We stayed in Merrillville, IN on the way up to split up the trip.  Linda's new knee gets stiff if we do not stop regularly and move about.  The next day we stopped at Betty's place-- the bride elect-- and dropped off some dining room furniture and discussed any last minute details for the big event on Saturday.    Then it was on to Green Bay.    

While in Green Bay we stayed at one of Linda's cousins house while she was out of town.   The house is gorgeous with a lot of bedrooms and space to sleep 10 people if needed.   I liked the Viking appliances and we got to try some of them out.  The dishwasher is SILENT ! and the cook top with griddle is to die for, really nice stuff in this house.  It was a real gift to use, because it was a Packers home game weekend, and hotel rooms are pricey for home games.  It was like staying at home in many respects. 

The big event went off without a hitch.  The weather was great- clear and sunny and a little cool, but as good as can be expected.  The wedding was outside and the reception was held in a nice little hall that easily held 200 people.   Everyone in Linda's immediate family turned out and we got to spend quality time with all the Lundins. Our daughter made it from Texas and she brought her room mate who was going to do the hair fashions.   I think everyone had a great time, I did.    We got in some dancing and had some cake--big deal at weddings for me.  Linda created a very popular cheese spread to start the evening off and the damage was severe as the cheese heads pretty much inhaled the 15 pounds of cheese selections.   With some advanced planning, the brides asked for separate plates to be saved for them during the picture taking, good thing,  the pictures took over an hour to crank through and only crumbs would have remained.   
The day after the wedding, we got in some visiting and started back South.   We stopped in Schaumburg, IL at IKEA and picked up the last batch of stuff for the pantry--except for 4 pieces.   We picked them up in Cincinnati the next day.   IKEA has been our source for pantry's cupboards and lighting.   In between these two stops, we stayed at the same hotel in Merrillville. 
Fast forward to this weekend.  The wall board is all in place(mud is needed) in the pantry job and the cup boards are in place but are not permanent yet.  Progress is steady and I think we will have a final project by Christmas. 

As far as being an Olympian, I feel like I am currently retired.  I just have been way to busy to run or train.  I did get in some stretching and core work yesterday as Linda did some leg work at the gym.   When the pantry gets done, I will get back to training.
  I had a follow up doctor visit about the gout.  My uric acid level was improved, but I need to continue some medications to prevent relapses--relapses do suck.   The doctor and I are going to try and get any of the crystals completely out of my systems so I do not have any tissue damage that can be avoided.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Change with a layer of dust

If you were wondering, yes, we are making progress on the kitchen remodel.   The electric is roughed in and the two new lights are hung, the framing and sub flooring are also complete.    The wall coverings and dry wall are coming up next.  
 I ran two new circuits to supply electric to the pantry.  While I ran these circuits, I added a light and outlet in the basement crawl space--I have spent enough time down there, I might as well make it 'nice', and added some power to Harry Potter's House so we can have some lighting in that space as well.  The new circuit job was as expected--frustrating and quite physical.    An old house with no provisions to get to the spaces where you can run electric wiring is normal and you have to get creative.   I muttled through, but now I a new access hole in the wall below the breaker box, I fixed the access problem with a circular saw.  Next time, the wiring work will improve smartly.  The dirt removal from the crawl space also made this job possible.  

Progress has been steady, and in the end, I think the product will be worth the effort.  I have been keeping up with the delivery of pieces and parts as they arrive.   The internet is big plus in getting stuff dropped off at your door.

We purchased a modern light that will hang over the new dining room table which is still in the box until the major dust is done.    The new light has some 3D elements and you have 50 small pieces of colored aluminum squares and some frosted glass squares that you can attach as you please.   Think putting up the Christmas tree every winter.   Linda gets to help with decorating the lights, this should be interesting.   And if you are not happy, change it until are!  And if you want different colored squares- get out the Krylon and presto chango--new colors.  This light is just fun and should be a real item when done.

I have been very strict with my diet since visiting the doctor a couple weeks ago.  Very little red meat and a lot more dairy protein. No alcohol of any type.  And water, water, water......  I have been taking my meds and have had no more flare ups of gout.  I get a blood test in three weeks and at that time the next step will be discussed with Dr. Amy.   I have been refilling some of the meds and this juice is pricey, so trying to manage gout with lifestyle and diet will definitely be my main option.   I do get an upset stomach and head aches as a side effect from the meds, it is nothing that cannot be tolerated, but it is still something that you have to work through. 

Training has not been happening,   No races for  several months and I have been burning a lot of energy on the remodel.  Coming up quickly is the wedding in Wisconsin for Betty and Linsi.  Effective, this week, same sex wedding are officially legal in WI.  The legal process has finished the usual court challenges.   So we will be going to a real wedding in Green Bay!!!  Cake, there will be wedding cake!  I love wedding cake. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Just another Saturday

Today the Greater Nashville Sr Olympians met at a track near the Cumberland River to run our district qualifier for the State Finals in 2015.    Very nice day to run, sunny with very little wind and pleasant temperatures, nice.  There was a heavy dew still on the soccer field in the center of the track, so I, like every one else warmed up on the syntethic track.   I got a really good, warm up and was ready for the 9:00 AM start with the 100 m dash.   I felt about as good as I felt in weeks-- the gout medical has been pretty effective.    They were getting the heats arranged when the meet was suddenly called off!!  There is a juvenile detention center close by and there have been an incident of several inmates ( I guess that is what they are called) overpowered a guard and one got loose.  So, they meet was cancelled for our safety.   We would all qualify for the events we were entered in, so no harm no foul.   This is similar to the flood year, you are all in, meet cancelled.   I doubt if a young buck could have done much to our group of antiques, he would have been pretty obvious in this flock of gray hairs.  Hopefully,  they got the situation under control and the escapee was rounded up safely.  

I visited a doctor last week, and had my blood checked for uric acid and the level was high enough to need to be medicated to get it under control.  The kidneys were fine, which is really good news for gout sufferers.   I am taking various medicines to control the gout and I have made some changes in my diet to see if I can get the uric acid content under control.   I get rechecked in 3 more weeks and my diet will be in flux for the next several months as I experiment with different foods and see how my body responds.  I have some history in my family of gout, I know my great grand father was effected, he lived to be 92 and had it for many years, and I am sure there were others.  

Diet changes in the short term include-- no alcohol of any type, no bacon or ham, no beef,  milk in coffee instead of cream. Nothing with corn sugar -high fructose corn syrup.  Linda and I basically got HFCS out of the diet several years ago, but when you travel, the stuff is every where--ketchup is the worst for it.   More cottage cheese, greek yogurt, egg protein and powdered protein supplements.   Limit meat amounts to much smaller portions. Drink a lot more water.

Training is going to be rather limited as well in the next few months.   We started the kitchen project last weekend and it will require a substantial amount of energy to complete.  The really dirty stuff is done,  and next we will start adding new wood and getting some form to the project.   We ordered some lights today and are working on getting a door and and some backsplash rounded up. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Kitchen Could Not Wait

If you like before and after pictures, here is a good example of our kitchen Saturday morning and Sunday morning.    We had discussed a remodel and finally the under the house work was far enough along to do the above floor work.  Access under the house was impossible and I have removed 16 yards of dirt to improve the access.   We removed a set of steps which were incredibly steep and a brick facade on the fireplace.    Once we started the work, I noticed some odd looking construction and finally figured out that the fireplace brick work was all a facade to the original--which is yellow and brick colored in the bottom picture.   We had not planned on removing all the added brick work, but until the dust starts flying, you have no idea what is going to appear.     In the end, it turns out we will have significantly more room than we had anticipated from this job. 

The corner where the stairs were will be a kitchen workspace/ storage that we will close in with some new walls. The fireplace will be bricked up and covered with some smoother wall covering.  It is quite rough and very dirty in its current state.   At day's end,  the houses' original floor and walls were exposed.   The current pine floor had been added as had the dry wall.  The orignal materials were all wood-- floor, ceiling and walls.   It had to pretty cold on a windy day in that old kitchen.  

In the stairwell, I added a floor and it is now the best closet in the house.  We have had enough time to size up our new space and have some ideas on how to maximize the kitchen  are finally getting discussed.   It is always exciting to find some new in an old house.   Some of this wood has not been exposed for 134 years, by the way, it was pretty dry when I removed it.  

This weekend, we have our District Qualifier in central Tennessee.  I will run so I can run the State Finals next summer.   But, the gout has came back after about a week of relief.   My foot was killing my Sunday while I was getting the floor installed.  I am going to a doctor today and try and get this thing fixed.   Training has been out of the question, just getting healthy is the current regiment.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Joys of Aging

Last weekend Linda I traveled to Lexington, KY for their State Finals track meet.   The weather was perfect temperature wise, but a stiff breeze was blowing down the finish straight and fast times were not going to happen that day.  I would call the meet frazzled in term of organization.   It started on time, but the heat races were all intermingled and you had no idea who was in your class.   Also there was almost no rest between the different heats.  It was 50, 100, 1500 --some resting--200, 400, 800.  I ran the 50, 100, 200 and skipped the 400.  I would have had about 5 minutes to recover from the 200 and was still gassed.  I wanted to run the 200 as fast as I could and finished second by 0.03 seconds, had it won and it slipped away in the last 15 meters.  In the 50 and 100 I finished 6 th in each!!  We did not get the results on race day, it was electronic timing and they had to sort the classes out and they it plenty tangled.  I found out about my finishes the next day when I checked in on line.  

The times were not fast, due to the wind and the chaos at the meet.  But two 6 th places was really bothering me- a lot.  I had changed my training for this meet and it was a test for my times.   Well, I stunk and that experiment was DOA.   The competition was very good, I nearly won the 200,  but stunk in the short races.  There were people there from at least 6 states I raced against.  A bunch of the fast folks from TN also ran.   They finished well, but their times were pedestrian as well.

I think the answer showed up yesterday.   About two weeks ago my left big toe in the big joint was ouchy and I thought my mining under the house was starting some turf toe.   So I was icing the foot and it was doing OK and I could run and walk around without much pain.   Yesterday, the shit hit the fan.   My left foot was swelling, impossible to get the pain under control and time to take action. I even got a pain pill off  Dr. Linda.  Not much help.  I am still thinking turf toe--by the way this is the problem that forced Deon Sanders to retire.   Linda took me to Good Feet to look for a plate to put in shoe to prevent flexing--typical treatment for TT.   They were no help, pricey, but no help.  
We then went to the local urgent care--nicest people you will ever meet- and asked for some help.  I told them my left foot was hurting and since I had been there twice for walking pneumonia, I was in the system and in the door in 5 minutes.  The doctor and I chatted for 5 minutes, he said  GOUT, and I was just totally surprised, that is for OLD people,  I am not old people yet!  We took some X rays and it was gout.   On the X ray of my left foot, a bone that was broken on the outside of my little toe side of my foot in 1980 or 1981 had never healed.  It was about 3/4 inch long and just floating in there.  I have wondered why at certain times I can feel it causing some pinching, now I know, it is floating around.    I wore that walking cast for 6 weeks until I cut it off myself, must have needed another couple of weeks. 

I chatted with the other tech and he ran track in college and was a 400 meter specialist.  We were really getting into it and had to shut up to get the X-rays and also to get out of the place.  He ran some 47's in college, nice kid. He understood the crap I go thru for each 400 race.
The doctor and I talked about treatment, by then I had Linda involved to make sure there we no screw ups on my part, and he said "two shots and you are gonna be feeling a lot better in 20 minutes".  Two shots and I felt better in 3 minutes and basically walked out the door with out a limp.  We were there for a total of 40 minutes and were done!!!  I love that place.  When we looked at the bill, I had a credit on my account, I really really  love this place.   It is called Physcians Urgent Care, open 7 days a week. 

I picked up some meds today that will go for 4 days.   Looking back at the last weeks, I have had some changes in my diet that were the cause of the gout flare up.  Hot dogs, smoked sausage and bacon are going to getting winnowed off the diet plan.  I have already cut out 75% of my beer, so I will need to keep that consumption limited.  Other foods will be swapped out, but it will done.  

I think the gout was a factor in my lousy performance, not an excuse,  but enough of an edge removed that I was not at optimum strength.  I have to really force the action to have good times and finishes.  My next meet is the district qualifier in two weeks.  Typically this is a jog fest, you just need to finish, but I will have to check my 50 and 200 times against the clock, to make sure the experiment was effected by gout.  Gout is for old people, I am not an old guy yet!!  Or am I?? 

We also went to IKEA in Cincinnati during our trip to Lexington and ate at one of favorite restaurant--Pappadeaux's.   Great seafood and cajun food.  We enjoyed some great salmon and redfish.  Yum. At IKEA we bought a load of chairs and a kitchen table for our kitchen remodel, some doors for the closet in the laundry room, a Billy bookshelf and some wedding stuff.    We need IKEA in Nashville, bad!!

Linda and I also acknowledged our tenth wedding anniversary this week.  Neither was in good enough shape to celebrate last week or this weekend, but "by gum" we are going to go out to dinner tomorrow before something else crops up to sicken or maim either one of us.   This partying is harder than you think.   'Sickness stuff 'was in our vows, we are really getting thru that section slowly as of recent times.

Monday, September 1, 2014

How BIG is your Stage???

Next Sunday I will be running in in the Kentucky State Finals.  Kentucky is fun event, no pressure to qualify and the field has a lot of people from surrounding states, so you get  really good competition.   The lack of pressure makes a big difference, pressure can kill a great performance.     I made some changes in my training and want to see how it effects my speed-- I have worked a lot more on fitness and less on speed and strength.  I am looking to break 27 seconds in the 200 m which would be a personal best with electronic timing.
   I will work on starts and a little speed work this week and make sure I do a very complete stretching routine each day.   I do have a couple of minor dings on my left side.  My hip is sore and and my left foot has the beginning stages of turf toe.   Neither will be a factor in what I will be running this weekend, but long term I will need to address them.   I will have a lot of tape on my feet to hold them together for a couple of races. 

Now the real point of this blog.   Linda and I traveled to the Ravenwood football game at Clarksville last Friday.  The first half was a nail biter, and then they pulled away in the second half and won easily.    While sitting in the stands with the Ravenwood fans, the chatter was constant behind us by various women.  Linda could hear it all, I have a good set of "man ears" that can dial out women voices and concentrate on football.  I put my man ears to good use for this game.  I asked a couple of times about two different women--  " Do they ever shut up?"  the answer from Linda was "NO"!   Thank you man ears--they should sell them on TV..   Women would love them too!
    The one girl behind us was in college and went on and on and on about her sorority.  She was recruiting everyone and if she did not get in, she might have left the school........ yada yada yada.  That got me to thinking about why you would be so involved in the Greek life.   It is a prearranged family and friends and you also will constantly be involved with other fraternities and sororities in after school functions and the rest of your life.  Does this not limit your social life and the rest of your world??   Yes it does in my opinion. 

I was not in a fraternity in college due the fact that I was way too independent to live in that environment, plus they would have run me off pretty quick for various reasons including being poor. I did not want to limit my universe, I wanted to compete on a bigger stage, that has been true since my high school days.  I was taking Paper Science and was going to work in a field that would be global in nature, Greek connections would be of little help.   The woman talking about her Greek life was limiting her universe, probably for the rest of her life, because she was really just interested in her college and her Greek friends.  She was only going to compete on that stage, which in my opinion is way too small.   She may be a superstar there, but that would be way too small for my tastes.  She does not need to limit her universe, but is choosing that life.    

I was watching Apollo 13 last night and of course got a good cry or two.  That is a great movie.    But Fred Haise has a couple of great lines and one is " most of my friends never left the small town I was from and look at me--in space.  I would have never figured that."  There is way too many people still in the small towns, not dreaming big enough.

I have always told Linda to "dream big" and I mean it.   Dream big and try to acheive your dreams.     Some people do not have the chance to dream big and attempt to achieve them due to  various situations beyond their control.   But, many people limit their dreams and chances because they can't'.   NO, you will not try hard enough-- too big a chance of failure or you may hurt some feeling along the way, or beat someone else out for the job, or lack the drive.     I have always tried to compete in the biggest arenas and stages that I could find a way to get in the door.   I work in a global environment, compete at the National level in track, and enjoy people and cultures from all over the world.  I have had multiple opportunities to be a the big fish in a little pond and avoid any chance of failure, but I have always wanted to get to the elite level and seek out the elite competition and have managed to get there.    Competing and winning at the highest levels is way sweeter.   Everyone should a least give it a shot, one time.  Don't settle, you will surprise your self. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fall is creeping closer

The weather finally gave us a little break.   Last week the humidity was off the chart and it was rough to do anything outside--like run.   The humidity has finally given way to clear skies and lower humidity with a slight breeze--the beginning of the Fall feel.   Fall is my favorite time of year, clearing and less humidity, football and harvest time as well.    This year I have two meets in the Fall, The first Sunday in September in Lexington, Ky and later in the month the Greater Nashville District Qualifier will be held near the river in Nashville. 

Last night I started to work on some of the speed work required for the sprinting.  I went to one of favorite spots at Crockett Park and ran on the soccer fields.   I ran several 100 m sprints on the grass with spikes to find my pace for the 400 m.  My pace was pretty solid at 14.6 to 15.0 seconds for each pass.   I will continue to work on the speed work till race day in Kentucky.    I am continuing to experiment with compression wear on my legs and arms as well.  The arm compression sounds goofy, but I have seen some of the women Olympian sprinter use them.   I thought they were just an add for Nike, but there appears to be some merit.   I plan on using them in KY to see if they do anything.  They have all their sprints in one afternoon, so recovery will be key to success.  I have a pair of Adidas made that I like and wear, they are tight and getting them on is a struggle. 

I have several sets of arm covers, some are compression, some are not.   I do have one set that is bright pink and I look like a old man with water wings when I use them.  see below. 
I have settled on my basic equipment for this season, I like to get into something new each season to see if it helps and it also keeps my interest in the training.  Training can be a drag if you let it, so I like to change it up with new gear whenever possible.
As far as my fitness and health, my left hip is a little achy, but that is from a combination of running and also of my mining activities. I started to remove more dirt from under the house so I could get access to area under where we will be redoing the kitchen. The head space is now close to 5 feet in some areas, but a lot of bending and dragging is required to get the dirt out. I purchased an electric hammer to chisel the dirt loose and that has greatly speeded up the process and eliminated the use of the pick axe. I still sweat buckets for some reason while working on this project--I call it my core and hip workout. We have settled on the general layout and look for the kitchen. We are now working on getting a new dining room table for the kitchen and starting to locate materials needed to make the changes.