Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year, y'all...and Say what?

Best wishes on the new year everyone! This is the time that some of us write up a list with all the things we're going to do this year that will improve our lives and those of our loved ones. For me, it means I relist all the things I did not do last year but should have.
I wish you luck with your new year lists should you feel compelled to make them.

 For instance, of course the top priority for me is RUN, RUN and RUN again. All that running around helped me drop 1 dress size (hurrah!) and THE summer race is around the corner (SGK 5k) . That's my number one along with my number two which is DIET (meaning eat better, healthier and much less)

And now for something completely different, I want to post the MRI results that for some reason were mailed to me instead of my ortho dude.
He's on vacation so I have to wait until next week to find out what in the world it all means, perhaps one of you can shed the light. I found it terribly amusing, that after 30+ years of living in the US, I thought I actually understood English but after reading the letter I realized that I don't.

This letter came from NYU imaging (the folks who did my MRI on my aching knee)

There is focal full thickness cartilage defect measuring 5mm along the tibial surface of the medial compartment with exposure of the underlying subchondral plate associated with marrow edema. There is a patellar fissuring at the median patellar ridge with exposure of the underlying subchondral plate and associate marrow edema. There is nonspecific heterogenity of bone marrow signal intensity most consistent with red marrow reconversion. There's a small partially ruptured popliteal cyst."

eh?  what? It doesn't sound good. Especially the word "ruptured" but this could explain why it hurts to run for any distance longer than 1 mile and to walk up stairs.  My PT forbid me to run for some time, a restriction that I found not too hard to keep, I even dropped my running class (BIG L on my forehead). But I've also been feeling discomfort in my not rigorous swims (not that I ever did rigorous swims)

Using Web MD (dangerous in my hands) I think I figured out some of the things...I'm thinking that 5mm thing must be the Osteoarthritis rearing its ugly head, but don't know what the other stuff means. Nor could I find out what the treatment was.  Any of this sound familiar to you?  Man, I want new knees. Maybe Santa will oblige next Christmas!

Happy, Healthy lives, y'all.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bike Tech

When I ran with Chris and Jim last weekend, Chris mentioned buying a new bike. Then immediately stripping off all the Shimano Stuff and installing Campagnolo. I'll admit it. I don't have the guts to do that work myself. Especially on a new carbon frame bike. So I'm feeling a bit like a chump writing this post...
I think I've mentioned before that my bike had been shifting poorly. Then when I put my extra wheel on for the trainer, it was even worse. So I put a post up on a forum asking advice. Some were suggesting that my chain was stretched. Others said to adjust the High and Low limit of the rear derailleur. So I went to check it out.
Sheldon Brown's website of course was the first stop. Plenty of good info there. Nice pictures showing how a stretched chain will wear your cogs and all that but not exactly what I was looking for. I was looking for an easy measurement to determine if my chain was stretched. I found my answer here. I measured 12 link pairs which should have been 12 inches. It was definitely 12 and 1/16th maybe a bit more. Just to be sure that I was looking at this right, I measured the chain on Genine's bike. She was right on 12 inches. Alright, good to know. I bought the bike in June 2007, it's time for a new chain.
I don't have a pin tool to do this myself. I looked up the prices for some tools. Range from 10-45 dollars. Then I decided I would take a stab at doing some of the derailleur adjustments. This reminded me that my front derailleur cable is frayed and needs to be replaced. My rear brake cable is also shot, it's actually rusty. So I start looking into how to do all that work myself.
I definitely think I'd enjoy working towards being a better bike tech, but I bailed. The bike is at the shop right now being worked on.
I haven't given up tho'. I think my brother said he's been given a couple older road bikes. Maybe one of those will be the "project" bike. Troll ebay for cheap parts and go from there.
Once the bike is back. I've gotta get comfortable with the new saddle. Then in a few weeks I think we will both go to get a bike fit.

Getting Fatter

Not really, just feels that way, Christmas was very very good to me, not my waist line. Training is way off any competition stage, but feel good about maintaining some pushups and situps through the start of winter. The recent shoveling helped.

I have been all over the place about what to do this year. Focus on a doing a couple of international tri's, or focus on some sprints, or Xterra point series sounds fun, or try to achieve a cometitive 1/2 marathon.

Then Bam! a little blurb on showed a bike race that last year only started 3 miles from the house. It is back on again this year. Then it mentioned a points series with three of the races being in my county or a county away.

Road races close to the house, less than an hours drive from ABRA racing:
April 3, 2010 Morgantown Road Race
(this is the one close to the house, it really is mostly in PA, only goes about 25% in WV)
June 5, 2010 Tour of Tucker County Road Race

June 26 , 2010 Hilly Billy Roubiax

August 21, 2010 Appalachia Visited Road Race
September 18, 2010 WV State Time Trial Championship

This sounds good to me. I would love to do some bike races. All of these races except the Time trial are 40 to 50 miles. So, this is a committment, starting now!

Genine was hitting me hard to go to Mooseman, so that is in the mix for now too.

Hope all had a great Christmas.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Jim is focused

Christmas day I get back "home" around 10PM. I check my cell. 1 message, from Jim. "Running 20 tomorrow morning. Meet me on the trail around 9:10 to run the last 10 with me".
I had eaten 10,000+ calories on Christmas day so it sounded like a good idea.
My alarm goes off in the morning. I look out the window and it pouring rain. Genine says "I'm not running". I fall back asleep. Alarm goes off a few more times... Alright. I'm up. Only excuse I have for not running is the weather and that's a lame excuse. I have 10 minutes to go and meet him. So I go for it. Best case scenario, I get to play Guitar Hero or Rock Band for awhile.... No such luck. I see a couple runners on the road. They tell me to meet them at the house.
Jim has finished 10, Chris 5. Jim changes into dry clothes and we are out the door.
My first 5 miles feel terrible but it goes by quickly. Running with others really helps the time go by. The 2nd 5 miles feel better but I think Jim said we were running an 8:30 min/mile. Ugh! The New Year's diet can't get here soon enough.
I got 10 miles in. Chris got 12 in. The best news is that Jim was going strong finishing 20 miles. He should have some confidence going into his marathon next month.

I got about 5 hours off. Now Genine and I are heading for the pool. Our "Group Swim" kinda fell apart on us. (who would have guessed?) I'm looking forward to it. Also looking forward to catching up with everyone else later tonight. Quick trip. Gotta keep moving to fit it all in.

Jim thanks again for getting me out the door this morning.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I'm trying....

to get into the Christmas spirit. Yesterday on my home I decided to make a shift and not let my "inner scrooge" win. I feel like I've been so grumbly these past few weeks between the aggravation of the house renovations, the chaos of retail in December (ok...really since September) and all the extra "holiday stuff" to do, etc.

We haven't put up a Christmas tree in probably 5 years. Not that I don't want to. I actually really enjoy decorating the house. It just seems like so much (after dealing with the holidays at work for months) to do for a few weeks and then we aren't even home for Christmas Day. So, I have forgone the interior decorating for awhile now. But I have always decorated the outside of the house. It is so beautiful driving through town at night in December. I love Christmas lights! I am very traditional...white lights, real pine garland & wreaths, red bows, candles in the windows. I even put a wreath on the garage. But with the construction still lingering, the outside of the house is still undone and the interior...well, let's not go there. I kept telling myself that I would decorate when the outside projects were complete. That still hasn't happened.

So last night on my way home I decided that I was putting up lights on the dogwood tree in the front yard! I had 45 minutes between when I arrived home and had to pick up Matt at the train station. So still in my work clothes, I dug lights out of the storage closet behind the futon, extension cords from the basement and ladder from the garage. I literally flung the strings of lights over my head on to the tree, wrapped them around the trunk, ran the extension cords to the back of the house and plugged it in. Aaahhh....... I was so happy! Something as small as a few strands of lights put a smile on my face. Perfect. I made fudge & cupcakes on Sunday and tonight I'm wrapping gifts. Maybe this holiday stuff isn't so bad after all!

Merry Christmas Little Tree!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

Watch this.

I got to the pool this afternoon. I think the coffee I made today was not decaf. As a result I was feeling kind of agitated . Or maybe that was because I had to make a punch list for the contractor because he's never here to know what's been done...
Anyhow, I had to go to the pool to burn off that edge. Genine stayed home to bake all sorts of good stuff. She had picked a workout though. Anaerobic Threshold. I think it was something like this.
300 swim.
8x75 pull
300 kick
Main Set:
500 easy
3x75 fast
1x75 easy
2x75 fast
1x75 easy
1x75 fast
1x75 easy
Cool Down 100m

It was a good workout. I'm starting to get the Lat Pull that's supposed to happen along with the rotation. It's nowhere near 100% but I'm very aware of it and I'm excited about where this is headed. My shoulders are going to be very happy that I'm not relying on them so much.
The only downside of the swim. My skin is so dry I want to scratch the skin off my legs!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Haven't posted nor commented in some time.... time catch up with miscellany and brevity....
1. Talked with Michelle and Jerry today for a while. I suggested that anyone dealing with a sports injury go to a sports medicine doctor/fellow trained. Primary care docs and surgeons usually do not give the same treatment plan nor suggestions. Here is a local one I'd suggest: WCA Sports Medicine Center at (716) 664-8604. Dr. Mitchell is a great Doc.

2. Upcoming plans:

Signed up for GA marathon on January 16th, 2010

If the marathon goes well, or at least not terrible, I may try to redeem myself for the 1/2 ironman. I would possibly go back to the Lake Tupper Tinman on June 26th.

20 pull-ups update- Was doing great until my right handed developed some pain. I was in week 6 of the plan. I started at 6 pull-ups and can now do 13!! Doesn't matter which way the hands are positioned. I need to get back at this and finish the goal!!

That's enough big plans for now. I've been running 4 days a week and 1 day of either bike or swimming. Which is the best I've done in quite a while.

Of course Tango is on the list too.

What do the rest of you have brewing for 2010?

Get out and run before it's too late!

I ran 5 miles on Friday late afternoon and 6+ on Saturday morning before the snow hit. I can't remember the last time I've run on a dreadmill. I'm hoping the roads clear before Tuesday. I'm afraid that if I run on the dreadmill in a nice warm house, I might not go outside the rest of the winter!
As I was running Saturday, I figured we would swim around 5PM. So I got home showered, ate some oatmeal and Genine says we are swimming with Maija in less than an hour. This will be interesting.
Genine is the keeper of the swim workout book. So when I get out to the pool deck, she's already there with book flipped open to today's workout. I think it was called Force 10 and it had a ton of pulling. (proving Genine really does love me). My legs were very happy about this.
The main set looked like this 3x (2x200 pull, 4x50 pull fast) then 4x50 with hand paddles. Genine and Maija both hate the pull buoy as much as I hate a kick board. So they modified. Initially I thought I was going to be able to pull the whole time but eventually my shoulders needed a break. I'm guessing I did 75% with the buoy and got 2500-2700 meters in.
It was another good swim for me. I think that's about 5 in a row. Hopefully the pool is open tomorrow and I can make it 6.
The snow started to fall as we were walking into the pool. On the way out there was already a couple inches on the ground and the roads were covered. We drove to the grocery store and picked up ingredients Genine wanted for baking. We were both getting very hungry, I'm surprised we didn't start opening stuff to eat as we were shopping. The soy crisps made it out to the car before being opened. Then when I got home it was recovery food time. I shovel the snow off to make room for the grill. I roll out the grill from the garage, got it warmed up. Broke out a bag of shrimp and trimmed up the steaks and headed back outside to grill. My neighbors must think I'm nuts... Standing out there in a snow storm grilling, but it's so worth it.

Oh I almost forgot. I think I posted the other day that I ran and it felt like my shins were cramping up on me. Terrible run. Well I figured out why that happened and it's plenty stupid. Today at the start of my run only one shin was bothering me. It's because I over tightened the laces on the one shoe. Once I adjusted it, I was fine. It would seem that I've forgotten how to tie my running shoes. The elastic laces "crutch" has crippled me.... at least mentally. I gotta get those normal laces outta there.
And there you have it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Swim Groove / Bike Seat/ Training Wheel

I almost hate to say anything as I might jinx myself. It's just that I feel that I might be taking one of those steps forward and I'm digging it. I swam a 1:35 100m very comfortably tonight. I would have been interested to see how many 100's I could have done on short rest. I'm hoping I keep it rolling and I'll try it out this weekend.

I also put my new saddle on the bike the other day. It's not love at first ride. I'm not sure any saddle is. Is it? It seems to me any change is going to feel off for awhile. I was hoping to get an hour in Tuesday night. Unfortunately I was also having trouble with my gears.
I have a spare wheel with the exact same SRAM 9 speed cog set. So I put that on and it's fine when I'm on 26,23,21,19.. Then after that the gears hit the chain so off center that it just can't be right. I spent a ton of time trying to adjust the derailleur but there doesn't seem to be a fix. I may have to take it to a bike shop and let them adjust it. Or perhaps I've built something incompatible somehow??
Any ideas?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Greek Food and Green Lightning

For some reason that I can't seem to figure out, all of my joints and muscles have been tired, tight and achy the past 2 days....more than normal that is. Not sure why. I'm sure I am in need of some good stretching, heat and some foam rolling. Hopefully if I whine enough, Santa will leave some gift certificates for massages under the tree! ;-)

At any rate, Matt & I got to the pool both days this weekend. Good swims. The rest of the weekend was spent trying to clean and reassemble the rooms in our house that FINALLY will not be having any more construction happening in them. Matt installed the new exterior light fixtures on the house. They look great! Still no date of completion for the house projects. All I can say is that we may be getting close. I wish I could say with some certainty, but I can not. ::sigh::

There were 2 highlights from this weekend:
Friday night Matt and I were invited to my friend Eleftheria's house for dinner. It was a small gathering- just her & her husband Niko, and Mary & Christin from work. Eleftheria is my "Greek Godess" savior at work when I need to escape or vent. She has a wonderful way of making you instantly feel comfortable in her home. And as I have mentioned before, she is also an AMAZING cook. Dinner was fantastic...delicious Greek favorites complete with waaay too much wine & cheese. Mmmmm..... But the best part of the night was getting to spend a little time outside of work with these special people. One of the few true rewards from the retail insanity I work in is the handful of honest and truly good people that have become a part of my life. What a blessing they are...and for that I am thankful.

And.....check out my new bike trainer! I love the lime green color!

Matt & I are almost ready for our side-by-side showdowns in the basement! woo-hoo! Can you tell that I'm trying to psych myself up for indoor bike season? It should be good. I need to get my ipod loaded with some new tunes and hope Santa comes through with the new spinervals dvd's on my wish list. It's also rumored that we are going to have tv and dvr connections down there. Man, we are living the high life!

Cedar Point

If only there was an option for half iron.
Rev3 Cedar Point Triathlon

Got to the pool both days this weekend. I've been feeling good in the pool recently. (Probably because I haven't been sharing a lane with Bob this week).

My run mileage really dropped last week. Guess that was my recovery week. I'll try to get on track this week.
Bike is on the trainer ready to go. Next I've gotta get my ipod loaded, put the new saddle on and find new shoes. I'll put the new pedals and cleats on when I get new shoes.

Yoga tomorrow night.

I'm not even going to bother giving an update on the house renovation.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A new trend????

So tonight at masters was the third swim in a week that has felt improved to me. I don't necessarily feel faster, but it feels smoother, stronger pull and....I think I may be rotating (a little more). Shocking! I haven't kept track of times yet. At the very least it leaves me feeling hopeful about what the future holds for my swimming. We'll see...... I'm also not afraid to say that I have enjoyed masters the last few weeks. Swimming has been solid, 25m races, diving off the blocks for fun and practicing flip turns. Coach Elana even said that she's trying to get permission to allow us to use the diving boards! I see fun times at masters ahead. Although, Coach Elana also told me last week that she was going to stuff my goggles with paper towels so I would have to practice swimming "blind" to overcome my fear of not being able to see in murky water during races. Hmmm...ok maybe not all fun.

Work is finally starting to chill out a tiny bit for me.....whew....big sigh of relief. Despite the toll the past few months has taken on my training and fitness level, I am hopeful as I look forward to the new year. I'm ready to set new goals and plans to achieve them. Even though it seems like a long way off, I'm excited to be able to race again and to cheer on my friends as they race toward achieving their goals. I'm eager to start training. Our bikes have made it from the garage to the basement. One step closer the rocking it out on side by side trainers!
Fun times ahead indeed.......


Knees seem to be the topic lately. I came across this in the NY Times today.
FYI, I typically not a fan of their health articles. They never seem to have a conclusion. It's always just food for thought. Here it is anyhow.

NY Times Article on Knees

Friday, December 4, 2009


Quick update just to get something on here.

I seem to be managing at least one workout a day.
Running 3 or 4 times a week.
Swimming 2-3 times a week.
My bike... is locked in the garage, thanks to my contractor. (there is no key, I'll have to break something to get in)

My left foot pain is being managed best with a tennis ball massage every night.
My low back pain is being managed best by doing 20 minutes of stretching as soon as I roll out of bed.
I've started doing the pullups again. Underhand only so far. So far the bicep has been good.
The weight loss has been a disaster. The renovation has destroyed our living space and has made it difficult to cook at home. (the grill is also locked in the garage with the bikes)
My speedwork run workout plan has been sabotaged by whomever decided to fix the fence where we used to sneak through to get to the track. Funny how we were disappointed by that. Most people would find that to be a relief!

I've ordered a new saddle for my bike. I'm hopeful that this will be a huge upgrade in terms of comfort. The Adamo Racing Saddle.
Now to find some new bike shoes!

I've heard reports from both Ruth and Michelle regarding their MRIs. I love that both of them are on a mission and don't plan on letting something like a knee stop them.

It was a great visit to Warren last week. Looking forward to the Xmas break. It will be another quick trip tho. Thursday to Sunday is my guess.

That's the news.