Monday, July 31, 2006

Stupid Blogspot

Sorry I couldn't post any pics tonight. Blogger doesn't seem to want to function properly...

Wrong Way, Wes!!

After our run/walk in the suana Saturday morning, Dee Dee and I went to the open air market in Charleston. It is a short three blocks from the hotel. The market is everything you would expect. Lots of crafts. Lots of goods. Of particular note where the sweet water grass baskets. They were beautiful and expensive! I think they were asking like fifty five dollars for a basket big enough to hold a couple a brownies. We ate lunch at this cute little restaurant named, "A.W. Shucks". I had some raw oysters and flounder for 10 bucks. The same meal in Atlanta would easily cost me 16 or 17 dollars. It was fantastic.

After the temperatures reached 93 degrees, Dee Dee and I headed back to hotel for a little siesta. We decided around four to go out for a snack and walk down to the South Battery, which was only a mile away. We found a nice little pub that had the world's best bruschetta. Charleston is just chock full of these lovely little restaurants that are two or three stories tall, but only take up 1800 square feet or so of ground. Every restaurant we ate in was fantastic. Upon leaving the pub, we inadvertently headed west, towards California, rather than east, towards the bay. We walked and walked and walked and began to realize that we had gone more than a mile. About the time we saw the Bank of America with wrought iron fencing all around it, we decided to turn around and head back.

Saturday night we went to eat dinner at the Oak Steakhouse. Upon leaving the hotel, we made the same mistake again, this time in the car, and ended up in the middle of a torrential downpour on I-26. Well, we made the best of it. Made a U-ey, and headed back into historic Charleston. It took us two tries to find the restaurant, but we ended up having a fabulous dinner and a bottle of champagne :-)

Sunday morning, we got up late, checked out of the hotel and walked to the South Battery. We made it this time! The walk was very pleasant. The old houses and trees along with a nice breeze added to the ambiance. I have some pictures for you which I will post tonight after I get home and get them off the camera. We did a 2.5 mile circuit along the waterfront. I'm sure we walked more than that the night before. So, we got plenty of exercise Saturday night and Sunday.

I certainly felt a little nostalgic and sad to leave Charleston. I could so live there. Maybe someday when I'm rich. Dee Dee wanted to see the beach, so we headed north and went to the Isle of Palms. It was a beautiful beach. I grew up on the Gulf Coast, where the beaches are pearly white. The beaches here on the coast of South Carolina where a light colored chocolate, very much like Cocoa Beach, Florida, except that the sand was as smooth as silk. Yea, I could definitely live there.

Nothing exciting on the way home. We met back up with #1 and #2 and took them out to dinner. Then we went back home and went to bed. Reality had settled in.

Finish strong!

Wes

ORN: 2.5 Miles, walk

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Charleston, Baby!

We had trouble ditching #1 last night. He had managed to get a ride to soccer camp, but he was having a little trouble getting home from camp. Dee Dee (Wifey has a name!) and I agreed that we couldn't leave until he was settled. At 6:10 we got the word that all was OK and headed out. Fast forward forty five minutes to downtown Atlanta. Ho hum, hum, hum. Sitting in traffic trying to get to I-20. Screw this! Quick u-turn back up I-85 and a right onto I-285 probably saved us 45 minutes. By the time we hit I-20 it was 7:10 PM. We stopped in Augusta for dinner at Chillis. Augusta should be its own country... The people there... (LOL). We arrived in Charleston at 12:30 AM. Made it into the hotel just fine. I was cringing as Dee Dee looked through the local maps for a bar. Phew! She nixed that idea and we went to bed.

Dee Dee and I slept until around 9ish. We got out of bed and got up for our run. I helped Dee Dee get her heart rate monitor set up and strapped on. That's the point that she told me she had brought her new tennis shoes, and they weren't her running shoes :-( As we left the hotel, the bell hop asked if we were going into the sauna. I think he was joking, but I didn't get it. It was only after the run that I realized he was talking about the heat outside. When we left, I didn't really know where we were going, but I think we did a good job. We ended up making a right out of the hotel and heading south towards the Ashley River.

We employed a walk/run strategy given that Dee Dee was running with me AND it was hot. Downtown Charleston is beautiful. It reminds me so much of my home town, Mobile, Alabama. The old houses line the streets, and the oaks, in most places, reach out over the road to bath the streets in their comforting shade. When we got down to the river, there was a sidewalk, and the view was awesome. Unfortunately, along the river, the was no shade, so we got very hot, very fast. We only stayed by the river for half a mile or so, then we headed back into town, not wanting to get lost or anything. Half way home, Dee Dee decided to get a blister. Rather, a blister decided to get Dee Dee. We ended up just walking the last half mile, which suited me just fine. Did I mention that we are staying right next to the College of Charleston. There were quite a few runners and bikers sharing our run this morning, and Chareleston is nice and flat :-)

After getting back to the hotel room, we mapped out our run: 2.7 miles. I thought that was great for Dee Dee (and good for me too!). It's only a mile from here to the bay, so that is where I'll be headed tomorrow! Wish you were here!

Finish strong,

Wes

ORN: 2.7 miles, Walk/Run, 40 minutes

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Tail of the Monitor (Part I)

As most of you know, I've been very excited about the imminent arrival of my heart monitor. I just want you to know that I exercised great restraint, and instead of buying the $325.00 monitor that has all the whizbang features AND moves your feet for you when you are tired, I settled for the Polar B3, which retails on Amazon.com for around $35.00. I'll wait for the applause...

A friend of mine at work is fond of Spinning classes. Spinning is an exercise class where you perform a full bicycle circuit of (x) number of miles, hills included, from inside the gym. He gave me a sheet that explained how I could calculate what my heart rate should be at various levels of effort. This method is called the Karvonen Method. The first step in this method is to determine what your maximum heart rate is. This is easy. Maximum heart rate is equal to 220 minus your age for men, and 226 minus your age for women. You next need your resting heart rate. This is best achieved by using the heart rate monitor first thing in the morning. I did mine three mornings in a row and came up with a resting heart rate of 56. Super athletes have been known to have resting heart rates in the low thirties. Now that you have your max and resting rates, you can calculate your heart rate reserve, which is equal to the max minus the resting rate. This is mine:

220 - 40 = 180 (MHR)
180 - 56 = 124 (HRR)

Here are the percentage recommened for the Karvonen Method and my guess as to what type of run should be in that range:

  1. (HRR)x(50%)+(RHR) = 118 Recovery
  2. (HRR)x(65%)+(RHR) = 136 Endurance
  3. (HRR)x(75%)+(RHR) = 149 Normal
  4. (HRR)x(85%)+(RHR) = 161 Tempo
  5. (HRR)x(92%)+(RHR) = 170 Speed
Last night, I mapped out a 2.6 mile recovery run near my son's soccer camp. I strapped on the heart rate monitor and got to work. By the time I walked to my starting point, my heart rate was already at 118. During my run, I just could not keep my heart rate between 120 and 130, which was the recommend number for recovery runs (50-60%). I kept it between 140 and 150, but on the uphills it climbed between 150 and 160. I would have had to crawl to keep my heart rate below 130.

The good news is that I did learn a few things from this experience:
  • You can get an excellent work out from running R-E-A-L slow.
  • I had the MOST ENJOYABLE run in a long time.
  • I didn't have to stop for the whole 2.6 miles.
  • I've been KILLING MYSELF these past two weeks. I'm lucky I didn't have a heart attack and die :-)
For new runnners, I highly recommend the investment in the heart monitor. It's not much more expensive than a new watch, and it will definitely help teach you how to pace yourself for the various run types.

OK, Folks! Next blog will be from Charleston, South Carolina. Wifey and I are going there for a little one on one time, and I plan to run along the bay on Saturday morning. Till then...

Finish strong!

Wes

ORN: 2.6 miles, 14:00 pace, all run baby!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

In Loving Memory

Jennifer Ewing. Loving mother, wife, daughter, neighbor, friend, tri-athlete.

Dear God:

I know that in your eyes everyone is born equal, but by the time a few of us reach adulthood, we ain't worth shit. Just sayin.

Wes


Pulled from her bike on the Silver Comet Trail in North Atlanta, Jennifer was sexually assaulted and viciously murdered. Her body dumped along the trail like so much garbage.

Violence against Women must stop. NOW.

Jennifer, you finished strong. Transition into heaven, 0 seconds.

My friends, I am sorry.

ORN: Insignificant

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

(Un)Bridled Enthusiasm

My friend Rose over at Hit the Ground Running wonders if its too early in her comeback to say she's training for a half marathon. She wonders if her enthusiasm for running should be under greater control. I sympathize with her. To quote a famous extra terrestrial, "There is no try. There is only do or not do!" That's my attitude in everything. I either do it or I expend my effort else where. But does this really apply to running?

First of all, from my earlier post you know that I think everyone who steps out the door to run is a winner. So I don't define my enthusiasm for running as "winning". I define "winning" and "doing" as starting. Second, I tend to go all out when I am enthusiastic about something. I buy 12 cookbooks. I buy a new set of knives. The latest computer gadgets? No problem. I am now sporting new running shoes and a heart rate monitor. You get the idea. In this case, I haven't run this much since my days in the army, but I'm already talking about running a 5K, a 10K, and late next year, the Atlanta Half-Marathon. What I am so afraid of is having this enthusiasm for what I am doing burn out. I want to stay focused and channel this new found love and joy for exercise and running into something that is sustainable, something that will last a life time. So far, the running bloggers have been tremendous, and I look forward to your future support in reaching my goals. Thank you for letting me be a part of your community.

Using this website, I mapped out a 4 mile route from my son's soccer camp last night! Brilliant! Not only did I get my 4 mile run in at 7 PM, but the course was flat with gentle rolling hills. What a welcome change, and it showed. I was running at endurance speed and I still completed the course with an average of 12:12 per mile. What the hell? Either I don't know what endurance speed is, or the flat terrain really made a difference. The good news is that my heart rate monitor arrived, and I {heart} it! The heart rate monitor will be a big help in making sure I set the correct pace for the workout I am trying to achieve. All my parts are still working. I'm a little sore along the front right shin, and the right hip flexor and achilles tendon is tinging a bit, but it stops 20 to 30 minutes after my run.

Till next time, finish strong!

Wes

ORN: 4 miles, R4/W1, 12:12 pace

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Singing the Blues

I got the "There are too many hills in my neighborhood and they hurt my butt when I have to run up them blues!" How'se that for an attention grabber?

On my way to work this morning, I saw a young lady heading down Clairmont Road near Emory University at a very nice clip. I was so jealous. Of what, you ask? Was it the pace? No. Was it the muscular twenty-ish body with the runner's legs? No. Was it the fact that she could run in 70ish degree weather while the only option I had was 85 plus degrees? No.

I was entirely jealous because she was running on flat freakin ground. Ok. Not entirely flat, but definitely not the hills in my neighborhood. Just to give you an idea of what this new runner has to go through, let me walk you through my long course.

The first picture you see is a little monstrosity I like to call Mount Doom. After I leave the house and begin the 0.2 mile journey to the front of my subdivision, I have to make a left to take the long route. Down a small incline, across a level patch by the pool, then downhill into the Valley of Death. Look up, and Mount Doom is staring you in the face. Not a problem. Since this is early in the run, just go with it, tough it out. Pull a Frodo on it.

After cresting the hill, you have some relief. You look down a gentle one mile slope to the base of the course where the road levels off. Past the school. To the front of the subdivision, and you have reached the half way point. This is truly the enjoyable part of the run. The downhill slope gives you some momentum. Makes it easy. Lulls you into a sense of self confidence. Then, it welcomes you to hell. I know you can't tell, but the run back up the "gentle" side of Mount Doom has to be twenty five to thirty feet of elevation. I'm guessing. Rather than tackle the monster directly, I always make a left in another subdivision and try to work my way back that way. This is tough, and I can really feel the backs of my legs and my butt on this part of the course.


After huffing and puffing, you finally reach the crest. Then it hits you again as you head back down into the Valley of Death.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what I like to call "Ass-kicker". The damn thing might as well be vertical. This is what I have to look forward to at the very end of EVERY long run I make. You work hard. You try. And life keeps throwing these mountains into your path. Oh well. If it was easy, it wouldn't be any fun now would it? I've got another long run today to look forward too, after I get back from Soccer camp at 9 PM :-)


Yesterday was an easy day for me. I did 20 minutes on the Cardio Glide to relieve some stress and work my upper body. The legs and buttocks got a rest. Everything actually feels pretty good. For all you folks that did the R2P run these past couple of days, "Way to go!" I know the conditions were unbearable, and you all did a fantastic job.

Finish strong!

Wes

ORN: Cardio Glide, 20 minutes

Monday, July 24, 2006

Quiet Weekend

Saturday was my day to work in the restaurant. Usually, I get there around 4 PM in the afternoon, and I take advantage of the morning to sleep in, so no early morning run for me. I thought I would just take the day off, give myself some recovery time. Didn't work. Nope. Around 1:30 PM I got tired of sitting on my butt at the house and went for a two mile walk. Various muscles in my legs and butt are sore, but nothing hurting.

Sunday, wifey and I went for our first run together. She did AWESOME. I am in much better physical shape than she is, but I was so proud of her. I asked her if she felt up to doing 2+ miles. She thought she could. Together, we decided to do two loops around the short route. Initially, I thought we would do R4/W2. I didn't want to put too much pressure on her. After a few minutes in to the run, it became apparent that this was going to be to much for her. For the rest of the run, we just went with whatever we felt like. On the level and downhill portions of the run, we ran for 4+ minutes, but we both had to stop and walk on the uphill portions, which didn't bother me at all.

Wifey decided that one loop was enough for her. I finished my second loop in the normal amount of time. I'm just kind of concerned that my body is a bit sore today. I may be pushing myself a little too hard. Plus, I banged my achilles tendon on my right leg against an iron chair at the pool Friday, and its bothering me today . For right now, I'm gonna stick with plan of 2+, 3+, 2+, 2+ and see how it works for me. If I get too sore, I'll back off for a bit and let my body recover.

Finish strong!

Wes

ORN: 2.4 miles, 34:55, R4/W2

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I Can Therefore I Did

It's tough being a kid. #1 and #2 have been taking care of themselves all summer. Wifey works in the restaurant full time, and I have a full time job. That leaves #1 ande #2 at home by themselves 4 out of 7 days a week. They have been doing a fantastic job. Nothing broken, no injuries. The house is still here.

When I got home from work on Friday, I was ready for a nap. I am so tired, pretty much all the time, from working a full time job then spending twenty hours or so at the restaurant. I'm having a hard time staying awake in the car on the way home. That's an Uh-Oh! Atlanta interstates are no place to drive tired! After my nap, #2 asked me to take him to the pool. I think last year, we went to the pool like 4 times the whole summer. This year, I'm making a concerted effort to do better. While #2 was swimming, I finished reading John Bingham's book, "No need for Speed". I thoroughly enjoyed it. Very motiviational. I then thought to myself, "Ya know what? I don't have any aches or pains. I feel good. I'm going to run!" After getting back from the pool, I laced up the Twins and left the house for a two mile "recovery" run.

I tried. I really did. I tried to take it easy. It's just that on the long run course, there's this big downhill section, and I just couldn't resist stretching out my legs. On the uphills, I slowed down, but I kept the level of effort consistent as I could. When I needed to, I walked (besides my normal plan of 4/1). My mile split was 14 minutes, and I did a minute better than that on the uphill part of the course on the way back. My total time was 27:05.

Now that I've established my base, I intend to follow this same pattern for the next two weeks. I'll do short, long, medium, then short, with Cardio work in between. After two more weeks of this, I will begin to lengthen my runs a bit and maybe shorten my times. I really want to get to the point where I don't have to walk at all. All in good time!

After resting for a bit I got on the Cardio Glide for twenty minutes, primarily focusing on my upper body. I'm pleased with Cardio Glide so far. It is taking a lot of stress out of my arms and shoulders. Overall, I can't get over what a difference these shoes have made. All my life I've had aches and pains from running. It's been a big turn off. To finally find out now, after forty years that I can run pain free, is just exhilirating.

Finish strong!

Wes

ORN: 2 miles, 27:05, R4/W1

Friday, July 21, 2006

Winning is Everything

I was standing in line at the local grocery store when a young lady walked by wearing a t-shirt that had this sentence written on the back. "If you can read this, then you're NOT WINNING!" I had to smile. I immediately recognized the young woman as part of our community, the running community. Who else would wear a shirt like that? Only a runner. Another part of me got to thinking about that message. It was obvious that she was a competitive runner, probably for her high school, and that made her reasons for running different from mine. My reasons for running are my own. I want to get in better shape. I want to make new friends. I want to get out of the house and restaurant and DO THINGS. Everytime I lace up the Twins and go out for a run, I'm a winner. Everytime I complete my mileage goal for the run, I'm a winner. I am my only competition, and that is good enough for me.

Yesterday's run went fine. I decided to take the medium course and do 2.6 miles. It is exactly 0.2 miles from my house to the entrance of my subdivision, and this takes me exactly 4 minutes to walk on my warm up. Instead of heading left for the long run, I make a right and go through the neighborhoods there. It's a little flatter, and I was able to do Run 6/Walk 2 pretty much the whole way. My time for the 2.6 miles, including the 4 minute warm up and 4 minute warm down was 34:55, for an average of 13:27 per mile. If you factor out the 0.4 mile warm up, my pace was 12:40 seconds per mile.

For all you new runners out there, it is definitely true what they say about the startup. You're breathing is VERY HEAVY until your body adjusts to the stress, so don't freak out in the first 1000 yards of your run. Stress your body in the warm up or give it a chance to get going, then you'll fall into your comfort zone.

Finish strong!

Wes

ORN: 34:45, 2.6 miles, 13:27 per mile, R6/W2, 4 minute warm up and warm down

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I Have Questions

I'm forty years old. Off and on, I've been running on the treadmill for five years or so. I've been a referee for four years. Now that I have more experience, I'm spending a lot of time in the center. That means lots of running. I'm not one of those bump-on-a-log referees that likes to stay in the center circle. I like to stay on top of the play, but not get hit by the ball :-) Therefore, I'm not entirely sedintary. That's why I don't think the 3.4 mile run Tuesday was really that big a deal. I'm not up to it every time yet, but I will be in a month or two.

Given that I'm rather a "newbie" to this community, I have a few questions I hope that you might be able to answer:

1. Treadmill vs. Pavement, any difference in conditioning/training?
2. What would you consider a reasonable race schedule? I wanna get to a 10k before summer of next year.

Eventually my hope is to become a tri-athelete. Lofty goals for someone who is 40-60 pounds over-weight! Well, I'll start out small. I have a 5k on my radar for September. No running yesterday. I had to work full time at my job than I spent the rest of the day at the restaurant. A full day of rest. LOL. Not really, since I'm on my feet all day at the restaurant.

Tonight I hope to get in 2.5 miles. We'll see how these little old legs hold up after Tuesday's run.

Waddle on,

Wes

ORN: N/A

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Holy Crap!!!

Say "Hello" to my little friend:


This, my friends, is the Adrenaline GTS 6 running shoe. My whole schedule got pre-empted last night because #1 had to go to his new high school for a basketball scrimmage. So I decided to head over to Dick's Sporting Goods to see if I could get me a new pair of running shoes. In the past, when I needed running shoes, I always bought Cross Trainers. I thought this was a good choice, cause I spent most of my time on the treadmill and utilizing the Cardio Glide or the Total Gym. Now, cause I am sorely intent on running, I wanted to get a true running shoe.

The folks at Dick's sucked, no pun intended. The young man running the shoe department was trying to handle like twelve people. When I asked for help, he didn't know the difference between high arch, low arch, and no arch, much less pronation. He ran off to get help. Guy #2 was a little more helpful. He point out some shoes to me that were designed for flat and low arched runners, but again, he didn't astound me with his brilliance. Frustrated, I went over to the watch counter to look at the heart rate monitors. After being ignored there for five minutes, I left the store in disgust.

Deciding that #2 needed to be fed, we went to eat mexican food, then to satisfy him about our little travels, Toys R Us was on the agenda. Wifey then suggested via the cell phone that I give Sports Authority a try. Cool. I run across the street and into Sports Authority. This isn't totally bad, I think, there are NO sales people in the shoe department. With little hope, I started to try on all the shoes that were in the $80.00 dollar range that even mentioned "motion control" or stability. I finally settled on the shoe you see before you. Being the smart guy that I am, I went home and researched the shoe on the internet before wearing it to make sure I had purchased the correct shoe. Low and behold! The shoe was designed for flat feet and low archs, had a motion control bar and helped with over-pronation! Freakin bulls eye! At 10 PM at night, I laced up the new found wonders and hit the pavement.

For runners, my neighborhood doesn't know the meaning of the word "flat". I did my usual four minute warm up, got to the front entrance of my subdivision, and then took off running for the front of the neighborhood. Since most of the distance is down hill, I did Run 5/Walk 1. This is my first outdoor run (besides the visit to the track for the physical test). WTF?! Am I stupid? John Bingham would slap me for starting off like this. Since most of the way to the front entrance is downhill, I managed 5/1 all the way. The trip back however, which was uphill, was pure hell. I managed Run 3/Walk 3. Several times I just stopped running entirely. I was out there to have fun, not kill myself. I'm happy to report I succeeded on both counts.

When I got home, I jumped in the car and went to measure my distance. Are you following me here? I went to measure my distance AFTER I got back. Much to my consternation, the distance was 3.4 miles. Yea, John would definitely kill me for taking on three miles my first real outdoor run. The good news: I have identified several key points along the route so that I can limit my runs to 1.5, 2, and 3 miles respectively.

I finished the entire run in forty five minutes for an average pace of 13:15 per mile. I'm pretty happy with that. I am also estatic that when I woke up this morning, I had NO KNEE PAIN, NO ACHILLIES PAIN, NO HIP PAIN. These shoes freakin R-O-C-K.

Waddle on,

Wes

ORN: 3.4 miles, Downhill R5/W1, Uphill R3/W3, 4 minute warm up and 4 minute warm down

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

YASL

The IT industry is full of acronyms. Take the IGGFIIDGUBAW acronym for instance. WTF?! That means I'm gonna get fired if I don't give up blogging at work. Today we have a brand new acronym of the short order variety. That acronym is YASL.

I have been informed by the company for which I am now working, that their client is going to be purchasing and supplying us with laptops. Jesus Christ! First of all, I have my own laptop at home. It is a silver beauty, given to me by my wife, made by Dell, and running SuSE Linux 10.1. That's right folks! I am a Penguin in more ways than one. The people for whom I am now working gave me yet another laptop (YAL) my second day on the job. It is comparable to my Linux laptop except that it doesn't have wireless, and its screen only does 1024x768. But still, not a bad piece of hardware. Now, this client is going to get me Yet Another Stupid Laptop. I'm floored. I know, I know. You feel real sorry for me, having to tote two laptops around all the freakin time. Here's my cookie....

Here we are, all sitting in the same conference room with the client, tapping away on our laptops, and they seem to feel the need to buy new laptops for four people to do their project. And we wonder where all the money goes....

We can now consider this blog officially baptized, as this is the first blog entry that is technical in nature. God Bless the Computer.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Cross Training

In order to add a cross training element to my exercise program, I have dusted off the Cardio Glide. In case you don't know what one is, this is it:



This is a low impact cardio based exercise machine. After all these years of having this thing, I finally figured out how to use it properly. We'll have to find a new magnet to collect dust. Take it nice and slow. Use the resistance to work the muscles in your arms, back, stomach, and legs. Yes, you get all that from this little machine, although mine is a newer model. I guess I learned something today from reading John Bingham's book, "No need for Speed". It's not how fast or how hard you go, it's just the fact that you are moving. So that is what I did. Nice and slow. Lots of resistance. Wore me out in 20 minutes as I haven't done this exercise in years. It feels great!

I bailed on the Chinese dinner, I'm sorry to say. I didn't know what I needed to buy at the store, so I ended up with two stir fry kits . The kids loved it anyways. I guess that is all that counts.

Chinese Is On

Looks like it will be Pepper Beef, Rice, and Ginger Sugar Snap Peas for dinner tonight! My boys usually luv the beef, and I know they'll eat rice, and myself and #1 will eat the peas. #2 can have a salad :-)

I {heart} Cooking!

Time to get off the running band wagon for a bit. (Pausing for the applause). Since my wife and I opened up our first restaurant two and one half years ago, I have become Mr. Mom. In some cases, I am Mr. Soccer Mom. I try to get to work around 7ish, 7:30 at the latest, and I leave at 4, 4:30. This allows me to get home at a decent hour to take my kids to practice, cook them dinner, etc.

Wifey has developed a repetoire of recipes that she likes to cook and my kids like to eat. There's nothing wrong with these recipes. It's just that my wife doesn't like many different kinds of food. Try to get her to eat Chinese? Uh-uh. Seafood? Not a chance. Now that she is working 50+ hours a week, and I'm doing the cooking around the house, I'm the Chef in charge!

I have developed a passion for cooking, and I love the Food Network. A lot of the recipes I make are relatively easy, but some are not. Many of them are quick meals, and many of them are not. One of my favorite blogs for recipes is http://www.elise.com/recipes. There are a number of exellent recipes on this site. They are easy to make, and Elise has an excellent passion for cooking along with a great desire to share her knowledge with the world, for free.

Just this past week, I made home made Beef Stroganoff. This is really an easy recipe to make, but I'm used to following the directions on a box. Despite the fact that it had shallots and mushrooms, my ten year old an fourteen year old gave it the thumbs up. It is definitely satisfying when I make something new and my kids like it. That means I get to make it again! The first time I usually mess up a recipe. The second and third time, it usually comes together.

Today, I'm looking for a Chinese recipe to make. I have Martin Yan's book, "Quick and Easy", with me at work. While I eat my lunch today, I'm going to go through there and pick out a recipe that I think the boys will like. Wish me luck!

Have a great day!

Wes

Saturday, July 15, 2006

I am the M-A-N

I went to bed last night at around 11 PM. I wanted to get a good night's sleep for my test today. It was around 11:30 PM when the phone started ringing. It seems my newly independant daughter had a spat with her boyfriend. It turned a bit physical, and she was a bit upset. My wife headed off to take care of her, and I tried to get some sleep. Unfortunately, when my wife is gone, I tend to sleep in a twilight state. I'm asleep, but I'm keeping one eye out for her return. It's not really restful. Wifey came home around 2 AM. I woke up long enough to ask her if everybody was OK. Having received an afirmitive, I finally nodded off to sleep.

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

5:30 AM

The alarm goes off to wake up Wes. Get up sleepy head, you have an hour drive to get to your testing site. Zzzzzz.

5:35 AM

Wake up sleepy head. You have an hours drive! Oh, crap. Alright. I dragged myself out of bed and threw on the clothes that I had laid out the night before. I decided not to make myself breakfast and instead headed straight for the car. 5:40 AM and I'm off to Brookwood High in Gwinette County.

6:40 AM

I arrive! There are already quite a few people in the parking lot. There is a small line at the signup sheets, and a few people warming up on the track. I quickly sign up and head down to the track to warm up. I'm a bit sore from my workout Thursday. I stretch, then take off around the track in a slow walk. Every two minutes I speed up until I am in a slow jog. After two minutes of jogging, I complete my warm up and walk to the starter's line.

6:50 AM

Runners, take your mark. Go!

6:50:10 AM

God, I hate this shit! Why didn't I become a referee for something like....Tennis?

6:52:10 AM

Lap one complete. I am in the last one in my group. I am pacing myself for 2:24 second laps. I am a bit ahead. Folks from the group that started a quarter of the track behind me are or already have passed me. Breathing very heavy now.

6:54:24 AM

I completed lap two. Well under the split for my second lap Thursday. I'm feeling like crap. My elbows are hurting real bad for some reason. I grit my teeth and continue.

6:56:54 AM

Lap three is done. I'm dying now. I can feel my life force ebbing from my body. At this point, I think of Iron Wil. I think of all the pain she went through on her marathon. This is NOTHING I think. I'm going to keep on pushing.

6:59 AM

Lap four...Death is stalking me. I can see his shadow. My legs feel GOOD. My arms are OK now. My head is light headed. My breathing sounds like a cow in heat. Even in the warm moist morning air, I can't get enough OXYGEN. Can I just stop here and die? The good news is that I have three whole minutes for my final lap.

I walk a quarter of a lap. At the quarter mark, I come up on the instructor timing the group in front of me. I do not look at him. I wonder what he is thinking. Truthfully, I don't care. I take off in a dead run, probably like a 9-10 minute mile pace. I make it one third of the way around track before my body complains to high heavens. My stomach is killing me. I slow down to a walk again. This one is a slow walk . I have to catch my breath. 10:30 seconds in. I have one and a half minutes to finish.

I slowly come up on the Instructor timing the group before mine. Again, I'm too exhausted to look at him or care what he is thinking. I muster every ounce of get up and go I have and take off for my final destination. After about 20 yards, my stomach decides its had enough. The dry heaves start. I'm gagging, but I refuse to let my feet quit moving. I ALWAYS finish strong. I always have. I will finish strong, no matter what the result looks like. Finally, I cross the line. I am done.

Time: 11:30 seconds.

Damn, I say. I only beat last years time by eight seconds. Last year I didn't walk. This year I did. I wish I could have done better. I know in the future I will. I am running now, and I will get in better shape. Next year I will be trying for my State certification. I have to do 2200 meters in 12 minutes for that one. I KNOW I can do it.

On a good note, I cut 1 second off my 40 meters, and I cut 10 seconds off my 200 meters. Over all, I was pleased. I would like to prepare better, but for now, it is good enough to pass. I got a 94 on my written test. So, I'm all set for my assessment and eventual recertification.

I'm not getting any younger, but I can get in better shape. I have lots of motivation thanks to Iron Wil, Trisaratops, and Elizabeth.

Waddle on,

Wes

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Ellipse of Death

I left work yesterday totally realizing I needed to prepare for my physical test. Last year, when I took the same test, I took it cold. I realized I was out of shape, but I needed to pass the test to get my R-7 upgrade. I was motivated. When I actually took the test, I was hit with a ton of bricks! I had done very little running outside, especially on a track. So, needless to say, the actual test was a bit of a shocker for me, even though I passed.

Rather than run on the treadmill, I decided to head up to the local high school and run on the track. Brilliant!! No, seriously, this was a brilliant decision, if I do say so myself. I needed to see what the pace would need to be to pass my test. Let's see. 2000 meters. 5 laps. 12 minutes. That comes to 00:02:24 per lap. I did my six minutes of warm up. Lined up on the starting line and took off. Here are the times on my laps:

1: 2:10 seconds
2. 2:24 seconds
3: 2:54 seconds
4: 2:26 seconds
5: 2:51 seconds

Three more laps around the track. All in all, 10 laps, 4000 meters, 2.5 miles. If you add all the times up, you'll see I did the test in 12:48 seconds. That's only 48 seconds off of a passing score. When I arrived at the track, I had intended to do it in 15 minutes. I didn't want to push myself too hard before the actual run on Saturday. But, it didn't work out that way. I needed to know if I even had a chance. Now, I'm sure I do. It was like 90 degrees, humid, and I was dying on laps 3 and 5. Saturday's run is seven o'clock in the morning. The air should be cooler and the humidity should be a little lower. All body parts check out fine. Right hip a little sore. Right achilles tendon a little sore. But all in all, I'm ready.

Please note the new tables on the right of my blog. I have identified the 5K I'm gonna run in September. If my kid's soccer schedule conflicts, then there is another one the weekend after that. I'm excited and looking forward to it.

Waddle on!

Wes

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Getting Back in Form

I did the Hill Run on the treadmill Tuesday. I'm happy to report I did the full 32 minute cycle. It starts off with six minutes of warm up, 20 minutes of activity, then six minutes of warm down. The total mileage was 1.88 miles. Normally, it is 1.8 miles, but I sped up a couple of the intervals to 5 mph to get in some extra heart rate. As near as I can remember, I only walked one time during the 20 minute run. So, to clarify:

6 minutes warm up: .33 miles
20 minutes of running/walking: 1.22 miles
6 minutes warm down: .33 miles

I felt really good. My muscles aren't so sore, and my thighs are comming back around. I'm starting to think mayber I can do this PHYSICAL TEST thing. I'm also starting to look for a 5k run in September that I can do. I'm excited. If I can find a good one that doesn't interfere with ref schedule, I'm in baby! I'm definitely going to have to pick up the pace a bit to get the 20 minutes down to 12, but I know that once the adreniline rush starts, I'll be fine.

So, today I'm in for another workout. I think I'll hit the streets today. Running on the treadmill is OK, but it is soft. I wanna get in some time on the asphalt.

I'm officially declaring myself a Penguin. If you don't know what a penguin is, search for "John Bingham" on Google.

Waddle on!

Wes

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Night Out on the Town

Wifey works real hard. Every six weeks or so, she hints, then insists that she get a night out on the town for drinking and dancing. Now, I don't mind either. I enjoy going out for a nice dinner, some drinking, and some dancing. Relieves a lot of stress, and I know my wife has a lot of stress from running two restaurants.

We arrived in Panama City Beach on Saturday. The ride down was uneventful. There are several choke points on the road between Atlanta and PCB. The first is when you try to get onto 431 South on the other side of Columbus. Their is a traffic light were the road dead ends, and for the fourth of July, there where lots of cars trying to get on this road from all directions. 30 minutes. The next choke point is in Eufala. Eufala is a beautiful town in Alabama. It is situated on a lake. Very nice. The problem is that the road goes from four lanes down to two, then down to 25 mph as you go through the heart of downtown Eufala. I really like the place, but if I could zip past it doing 80, I probably wouldn't even stop. That probably explains why the by pass isn't done yet. Of course we had to stop in Dothan for fireworks, and there are several lights to get through there, but we made it to PCB in about 7 hours.

Once we got situated, we were very happy. Our place was a very nice 3 bedroom two bath "trailer". You got to see these to believe them. We were so happy with it, the wifey called her mom and dad and invited them down from Mobile. They arrived the next day, and as we usually do when they come, wifey and I went out for some snacks and some drinks. We went to Spinnakers on the beach. Had a few drinks and appetizers. Everything was going fine. Then the Wifey hit me with, "You wanna go next door to Club La Vella?" Uhhhm, er, no? Ya see, I don't like suprises. Oh, I don't mind being spontaneous, but I want to be rested, everything tidied up and ready to go, no worries when I go out on a hot date with my wife. I passed on this one, and we went home. I knew she was a bit disappointed.

(Part II to Come)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Resounding Round of Applause

Attention all you geeks out there in Cyberspace! May I have your attention. Please stand and give a resounding round of applause for my friend and fellow geekess, Vic (Geekalicious). Vic was pronounced cancer free after one year. . Today is indeed a joyous day for us all. Round of cyber-drinks on me.

A Drum Roll Please

Ok, so, I'm like on vacation. And I know that I have an advanced referee class comming up. Heck, I even remember now checking to make sure it was the weekend after I got back from vacation. I'm sitting at the computer in my kitchen, and wifey asks, "When is you class?" So, I look up the date again to be certain, and I tell her that it is this weekend comming up. It is at that point that a realize, oh my God! I have to take a PHYSICAL TEST.

The physical test for my grade ain't easy. I'm getting old remember? So don't laugh, but here it is:

2000 Meters (1.24 miles) - 12 minutes
200 Meters - 40 seconds
40 Meters - 10 seconds

So, I'm thinking. There is absolutely no way. I usually let myself go at the end of the season. I drink some beer, eat a lot of food, you know, just be lazy.

I said to myself, "Maybe I can do this!" Let's get on the treadmill and start getting back into shape and see exactly where I am at. The drum roll please....

I ran/walked 1.5 miles in 22 minutes. LOL. I'm doomed.

A couple of important points I would like to bring to mind here.

1. I danced for four hours last Thursday night.
2. I spent all day Friday bracing myself against a deep sea fishing boat. My thighs are sore!
3. I consumed 3 (!) bottles of vodka last week. Did I say that?

Well, I can actually put the physical test off until later. It is just a pain in the ass. So, I'm going to go ahead and give it my best shot. But, I'm sure I'm gonna die in the process. Couple this with this fact that I haven't been able to sleep since I've been back, and you can definitely see vacation is over.

Onware and upward!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I'm Baaaaaccckk!

OK Folks! I'm back from vacation. I'm happy to report that Panama City Beach is still in one piece, having survived not one but two visits by my friend Geekalicious. Just wanted to drop you a note and let y'all know I'm back, and I'll have something interesting stories for you later this week.