Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Do what I say or the dog gets it!

Here's Sadie (being lovingly held hostage by Susie), the newest member of our household. She's a Border Collie / Black Lab mix, and she's a very different dog from Luna. She's way more low key, she *loves* the water, and she's still learning what it's like to live indoors with people (and cats.) She came from a working Border Collie farm near Asheboro, NC, where, to the best of our knowledge, she had never seen a cat (we have 3), had never been indoors (where she is now), and just wasn't used to living with people. She's come far in the 3 weeks since we got her.


Friday, November 09, 2007

Goal Achieved!

Today I'm going to start with some news updates - some of them pretty major.

I've hit (and passed!) my Team In Training fundraising goal!! As of this evening, I'm officially at $4140!!! It's remarkable news and it's the part that I was the most worried about when I committed to this. If you haven't contributed, then by all means please do!!

Next up, I ran in the City of Oaks Half Marathon last weekend. Overall, I was pretty darn happy with my results.

Place    Chip Tm    Pace     Gun Time       Div Rank   Div        Gender Rank
1735 2:23:31 10:58 2:26:19.70 160/170 M40-44 908/1029
I could have probably finished a bit faster, but I did a couple times to walk with fellow TNT teammates. To me, the blue numbers are the most important - I ran just under an 11 minute pace for 13 miles! If this scales, and I'm optimistically assuming that (with training!) that it does, this puts me finishing the Disney full marathon at 4:46 (or thereabouts). That's completely in line with my goal of finishing in under 5 hours.

Finally, as a serious recommendation, if you're a runner and want good running fodder for your iPod (or any other politically correct mp3 player), go to podrunner. DJ Steve Boyett puts together hour-long, constant beat rate mixes. This means that you can get an entire hour at 160 bpm (or whatever pace the mix is). Using this, you can run at a constant pace for the length of the mix. This solves the main problem I always have with running with music - that my pace changes to match the piece of music I'm listening to. Podrunner used to have a bunch of mixes avaible - from 135 up to 170 bpm - but licensing changes required them to go away as of 11/1. Not to dispair, DJ SteveBoy is busy churning out a new batch of mixes - one every other day for the next week or so. Go check it out - 164 bpm is perfect for my training runs right now.

Go leave comments if you've read this. I'd love to hear from folks.


Sunday, September 30, 2007

10 Miles - A vote for Intervals

Good-day, Gentle reader!

Dad had his 6 month followup at Duke this past week, and things continue to go as well as we could possibly expect. The tumor continues to shrink. Function is returning as Dad works on PT and home tasks. He's now on the right ritalin / zoloft combo to have him alert and not overly napish. We're now trying a longer, slower taper to get him off the steriods. That's the next big challenge.

Bad news for the week: my Uncle David (by marriage on my Mom's side, so no genetic double-jeopardy) was finally diagnosed positive for lymphoma this week. He's been healthy as a horse his entire life, but has been confusingly sick the past month or two. Early diagnostics were unsure, but this has come in as a pretty confident diagnosis. He's now my number two honoree for my Team In Training efforts.

Yesterday's training run was 10 miles, and (as you read last time) I ran it doing 3:1 (3 minutes of running, 1 minute of walking) and it went amazingly well. Amazingly, astoundingly well. I haven't done 10 miles in a good while (*last* Disney marathon, possibly?) and I finished yesterday's in good shape, and could have easily done another mile or two. I ran negative splits (barely) - 54 minutes for the first 5 miles, and 53:15 for the last 5. I ran pretty solid 10:45 minute miles for all 10 miles. This translates to a 4:41 marathon time, which I would be tickled pink to run. My goal had been to run it in less than 5 hours, so this 10:45 discovery is far better than I had thought. (Good marathon pace calculator.)

Now the challenge remains to keep training at this level for the next 3 and some-odd months. I can't deny how effective running intervals was yesterday, so I'll be doing that for all my long runs from now on, and, over the next few months, work the intervals longer and longer.

Fundraising continues to rock along and rock my socks off. The folks in my life have been nothing short of amazingly generous in response to my request. I'm up to $2335. If you haven't contributed to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in support of my fundraising efforts yet, please do. It's for a great cause, I promise!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

8 miles - Intervals or Not

The title rang a bell as I typed it, and this post has nothing whatsoever to do with the Eminem film. Just in case you were confused.

This morning's run with the Team in Training group was 8 miles, and it thoroughly kicked my butt. (But in a good way.) I ran the first 18 minutes with my lovely TNT mentor Courtney in sight of the fast group, and it felt great. I started doing run/walk intervals after that. At the half-way point, I found myself not wanting to willingly run anymore, and dropped back into the tried-and-true 2:1 intervals I ran for Disney last year.

I stopped at the 6-mile point and talked to Coach Elaine about intervals vs. straight running. Intervals work, and worked well for me last marathon (God, that 'last marathon' thing still sounds wrong coming from me) I have some sort of story about it not being "real" running. (Okay, Galloway people... I know it's still legitimate running if you can interval a marathon, so back off already.) I'm out to run all of Disney in '08, and my body isn't adapting to the run-only training regime nearly as quickly as I'd like. Just trying to "run more" isn't cutting it as a training transition plan.

Elaine had the best idea on managing this transition, and it's one that I'd had for a while, but just hadn't really wanted to do. She said
You know you can do the distance doing intervals, so go with what works for you. If you really want to run it all, then just work on stretching your intervals. You look pretty shot for this week, but starting next week go for 3:1 intervals for a couple of weeks, then go to 4:1 once that feels comfortable. Just keep increasing the run intervals until you get to where you want to be.
Smart woman, that Elaine.

In other areas, I'm getting my fundraising letters and emails out to everyone I know. I'm sure I'm bugging some folks - that's always a possibility when asking people for money. If you're just finding this blog because of my letter or email, then leave a comment and say hi.

Early fundraising response has been amazing. A week since the first email and I'm already at $1,500, which just absolutely blows me away. I'm still getting letters out, so it can only get better from here. A big THANK-YOU! if you've contributed already. If you haven't contributed, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do so. Just go here - it's really easy. Or throw a check in the mail to me. Email if you need my postal address.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Brain Dump

Hi random reader! Since it's been ages since my last post, this is a brain dump to get me kinda-sorta caught up.
  • Dad just finished round 6 or so of his chemotherapy and he's doing swimmingly. The tumor has decreased dramatically, and with ongoing drug tweaking, he's doing much better. Getting off the steroids has been challenging, so he still looks puffy. He's grumpy about doing his PT exercises, so it takes some hounding to get him to do them.
  • Mom still continues to be a champ through all Dad's treatments. It's awesome indeed how she's risen to the challenge.
  • Susie has a full-time job - or rather jobs! She landed two part time jobs with the Durham Public Schools doing ESL teaching - one at a high-school, one elementary. Other than the fact that I never really see her when she's not sleeping or planning for classes, it's great to have a gainfully employed wife.
  • Bonnie just start 6th grade. Major eeep! with that one. She loves it and is doing great so far. She's such a great kid.
  • I signed up to run the Disney Marathon in 2008 with Team In Training, the fundraising arm of the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. The $3,500 fundrasing goal is a little daunting, but I'm working on it! Please contribute!!
  • Relatedly, it's great to be back training again, this time in an organized program with group support and organized runs with folks at my training level. Hopefully when I get done, I'll be able to do the Godiva Saturday morning runs without being rock-solid DFL.
  • Susie's bailed on ILP, entirely because the new job is consuming her every waking moment. I certainly can't say I'm disappointed about that one.
  • I'm in the midst of a few days off to finish some home projects. The Green room storage is taking forever to finish, probably because a) I'm designing details as I go, and b) it's just a *little* over-engineered.
  • I found the long-lost gasket for the moped carburetor. Hopefully that'll stop the leak and get it ridable again.
  • I continue to not have as much time as I want to spend on packtopia. Sandi has taken the project and run with it, and we recently re-jigged ownership percentages. I have mixed feelings about how this has gone and where the project is now. Live and learn.
  • My boss is leaving for greener pastures. He's one of the reasons I was excited to take the job I have - to learn from him. That leave is as a group without an ACIO for a while. I'm just worried that they're going to wait until he leaves and break us up and rearrange us. That'd suck. Time will tell on this one. Meanwhile, I'm working my butt off to rebuild relations with all our key customers that have languished.
  • With no thanks to the deer that live near us, I got 8 tomatoes off our 5 plants this year. The deer were far worse this year than ever before. I'm wondering if the drought has them looking harder for food now? At any rate, I wish they'd stay the heck out of my garden.
  • My brother and his family moved to Raleigh over the Summer. It's great having them closer.
  • Susie had a kick-butt trip to El Salvador this Summer as a church mission trip building houses for Habitat for Humanity.
More to follow, including a longer post on Team In Training and what's going on with that. It's nice to be back!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Chemo Day 1

Email from Mom:

1 bottle down, 4 to go

Today is day 1 of chemotherapy for Dad.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

More Tumor Stories

When I bailed and posted the last post, I wasn't nearly where I wanted to be in the story. I'm working to get the rest out here, in fits and spurts, as soon as I can. I want to get these stories out of my head before I forget them.

When we last left off, Dad was in the hospital bed at New Hanover Medical in Wilmington, being not the person who I've always known him to be. First, a little about how I came to be there: From the Tuesday fall, to the frantic message at work (Your Mom called, and said your Dad has fallen and she can't get him up. She's waiting for the ambulance now.) I bailed on work (with their support: Go, take care of your family. Things are fine here.) scrounged a car from buddy and coworker Sheri (thanks for the Jeep!) and headed towards Wilmington. After what seemed like an eternity (why is it so difficult to get a doctor by to talk to you in the hospital?) one of the New Hanover neurosurgeons stopped by to talk to us. It might have been my otherwise frantic frame of mind at the moment, but I was completely turned off by his noncommittal attitude about the plan of care for my Dad. I convinced Mom and Wayne that getting Dad to Duke was the way to go, and that I knew who to talk to to keep things moving. Around then, when I was the most like a chicken with his head cut off, I talked to Becky Kitzmiller, one of my best nursing buddies at Duke. It probably would have been Iain, but he was on Spring Break vacation with his family, and was challenging to get in touch with. Becky was my first touch point of sanity. She talked to me about tumors and typical plans of care and what to expect from nursing and MD staff, and how to make sure things went as smoothly and quickly as possible. Mostly it was useful to have a medically smart friend to talk to.

Other folks I'm grateful to:
  • Lovely wife Susie, for supporting me through this and asking really good questions.
  • Brother Wayne for being a killer partner in supporting Mom and making things happen.
  • Iain (again) for giving me the freedom to be gone from work and take care of family.
  • My Dev team for keeping things running smoothly.
  • The nursing team at New Hanover Regional Medical. They rocked.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Not the Same Person

My Dad isn't the same person he was 2 and a half weeks ago. Two and a half weeks ago he was the same person who raised me, albeit older, had just returned from a cruise celebrating (a year late) his 50th wedding anniversary (go Mom & Dad!), putzing around their new house and finishing up all those tiny little projects that never seem to go away. Sometime the weekend of 2/24, he seemed a little confused, and when Mom asked him who his kids were, he said Wayne (ding! one point for Dad!) and Ray (bzzzt! try again!). Off to the doctors, where x-rays and various other forms of electromagnetic radiation were beamed through his body, left us with the diagnosis that he'd had a stroke. A stroke doesn't seem *so* bad, right? It happens, it's over, and you recover from where the stroke left you. Well, it didn't stop. He kept declining, getting more and more confused, and started showing physical impariments (foot dragging, eye drooping, etc.) and the diagnosis was official changed from stroke to brain tumor last Friday. At first I thought this was a good thing - I mean they can cure brain tumors... right? Now I'm not nearly so sure. On the ct/mri's it's progressed from 2 to about 4cm in two weeks. His decline has continued until he couldn't stand up anymore, and was admitted to New Hanover Hospital yesterday.

Monday, January 22, 2007

I am a Marathoner

After discovering sometime in August, 2006 that the 2007 Disney Marathon was ON my 40th birthday, I had to register. I mean, how could I not?

I started training, building slowly, as I wasn't doing any running beyond hashing. Over the fall, I ran a couple times during the week, and did long runs pretty regularly on weekends. Hashing fell by the wayside as I got way too paranoid about hurting myself in some foolish, ankle-twisting way. I ended up doing a modified version of the Jeff Galloway program I found online. Another Galloway idea that I embraced was the run/walk intervals. It made the distances a lot more possible than they would have been for me, doing them at a 2-minute run / 1-minute walk pace. My longest training run before the marathon was 18 miles, and it was about a month before the big race.

We flew to Disney World for the big weekend, and due to a foolish bit of procrastination on my part, ended up having to stay off Disney property. (Dearest Susie and her HotWire prowess to the rescue!) We did a couple of light park days, because we were at Disney World! I mean, how could I not have. :-) We covered the new rides since last time: Mission Space, Soarin', the Everest coaster, and a bunch of the old favorites. I miss going as frequently as I used to.

My buddy Jan and her husband Shane and their son came over from Largo to help watch Bon and cheer us on. They saved our bacon, and without them we wouldn't have been able to bring Bon along.

Okay, more on the actual race, including pictures, in the next post.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Why Don't We Do It In Our Sleeves? - Google Video

Happy New Year, gentle reader!!!

It's been MONTHS since I've posted, and the first thing I'm going to post is this:
Why Don't We Do It In Our Sleeves? - Google Video
- a public service annoucement.