Mile Marker

Mileage 5
Time 1PM
Location Indoors – Treadmill
Weather Snow

Another quick 5 miles at lunch. Watching the replay of the Canada vs USA hockey match from last night. Amazing open net goal by Ryan Kelser. GO USA!!!

Mile Marker

Mileage 2
Time 12PM
Location Indoors – Treadmill
Weather Snow

Another quick 2 miles at lunch. Very busy client day so this is all I could squeeze in.

Another Mileage Entry

Mileage 4
Time 8PM
Location Indoors – Treadmill
Weather Snow

As I add more miles to my legs and treadmill, I am trying to decide what am I going to call these frequent posts. I like to give all the posts a unique (if possible) name, but there are only so many ways to say I did ‘X’ amount of miles today. I have decided (after this one) to just make the heading ‘Mile Marker’ if the post does not contain anything else of real value to anyone besides me. That way the posts can be filtered to exclude ‘Mile Marker’ entries from feeds or can be filtered to show only those posts.

While I was running tonight, I was listening to ‘This Week in Google’ podcast episode 26 and Leo Laporte made a very keen observation as to why some of us, me included, have no interest in the iPad. He said that the iPad is a device for consumers of content and many of his podcast listeners are instead producers of content, myself included. Since the iPad has no real keyboard (I don’t want to carry around the add on stand/keyboard thing), it is not a device on which we can feed our blogs, twitter feeds, Facebook accounts etc. I am sure it will have a market among the consumers of content but most of the geeks I know have no interest in something that does not really replace anything we already have. I don’t want to carry around yet another device in my backpack of tech. It it had a keyboard and maybe a stylus I would take another look, but until then, I will save the $800.00

How to Make a Cheap Treadmill Bookshelf

020

It has been a typical winter here in the Chicagoland area with lots of wet snow and cold to go along with it. As much as i would like to run outside I don’t want to deal with the drivers around here or the possibility of a slip/fall scenario. Being forced to run inside has allowed me to get very familiar with the sounds, smells and feel of our treadmill. As I mentioned in my post on January 13th, we have done some work on our latest treadmill and I am more in touch now with the feel of the machine. We have the unit setup facing the big screen so we can be entertained during the runs, but sometimes I wish I could read a book or blow through some emails while on a fast walk (running causes too much bouncing for me too focus on a book that close to my face, without glasses).

I have looked at some of the other how to links on creating a table type surface for the treadmill but they were all too low for me. I need the material up at eye level so resting a board or other surface on the side rails, which the other solutions suggest, would not work for me.

I made a quick trip to Home Depot to visit their shelving department and found the perfect item to use as a compact, breathable, self supporting shelving unit. I selected a 4 legged metal shelf covering in a white plastic coating with small rubber tips. It was the perfect size for my brand of treadmill (Sole F63) and fit nicely in between the speakers I had added previously. My steps to create the shelf were as follows.

Parts List

Rubbermaid shelf unit – $6.00
(3) Medium sized Binder Clips – about 35 cents

Steps to create

  1. Place the shelf on the treadmill to estimate where to bend two of the legs so it grips the unit better.

    012 

  2. Mark the two back legs (facing away from the running surface) with a black marker so I know where and at what angle to bend the legs. 

    010

  3. Place one of the legs in my vice with the black mark aligned with the top of the vice.

    c

  4. Bend the leg to about a 20 degree angle (the angle will very depending on how snug you want the leg against the treadmill housing)

    005

  5. Repeat step 4 for the other leg.
  6. Place the shelf on the treadmill and make sure the bent back legs are snug enough against the housing to minimize movement (if not, repeat steps 4 and 5).

    011

  7. Take the three binder clips and attach them to the bottom edge of the shelf so that your book, computer, Kindle, iPad or other device does not slip off the angled surface while the treadmill is in use.

    021

You are now ready to walk and read, type, surf, Skype or whatever. Instead of just sitting around while I read, I can burn a few calories while I learn. There are many articles out there on how many calories you can burn while walking/running based on you height/weight/stride etc, so I won’t estimate here. Just do a Google or Bing search for calories burned while walking/running and you will have lots of data to refer to.

Walk to read. Read to learn. Learn to live.

Two In A Row

Had another great run today on my road to recovery. It was just a short 4 miler but I felt really good and I did not break the two rules I broke on Wednesday night (tonight I started the run at 6:30 pm and waited till after the workout to eat). Not being so rushed makes a big difference in my attitude towards the run and allows me to concentrate on what I need to accomplish.

Wednesday I talked about using my iPod and Nike+ to help track my progress and crank through some of the podcasts I listen to. The Nike Running site, which is where you upload your workout data from the ipod, has added some really nice motivational features in the last year. In particular, I like the goals section where you can set a goal for yourself and track your progress on line. You can challenge yourself to run faster, run farther, run more often, burn calories or set a coaching program for yourself. The coaching section is helpful if you are training for a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon or some other custom distance.

The challenges section allows you to participate in pre built challenges like the January challenge to rack up the most miles in one month per team. In this case, team participation was determined by the state you live in. Other challenges let you select the team you wanted to run for, like you alma mater if it is a college based challenge.  I just joined one that challenges you to run 210 miles in 2010. You can also create your own challenge and invite the public to participate.

Once I get rolling with the Nike add on, I like to listen to podcasts via headphones or some small computer speakers that I Velcroed to the treadmill. Tonight it was ‘Buzz Out Loud (BOL)’, one of the many great CNET technology podcasts you can find at www.cnet.com/podcasts. BOL is usually just over an hour long so I can get a nice 10K in per episode including a warm up and cool down. I have a backlog of podcasts left over from my injury time so I have a bit of catching up to do. I plan on squeezing in a few audio books as well that I have form www.audible.com. I will post a review of those in my book section once I finish each book. You can’t beat feeding the mind and the body at the same time.

Ouch…What The Heck?

Despite the great Marathon experience, apparently I did not come out unscathed. I noticed today that the top of my foot feels like a creaking door and If I put my hand on my shin and move my foot up and down (point the toes at the ceiling then at the floor) I can feel the creaking in my foot.

Turns out I have inflamed extensor tendons something my wife is very familiar with as she has had that and a host of other running related injuries. I think I developed it because I was not running as much as I normally would during the last Sundays marathon and that altered the way my foot handles the miles. Changing your training drastically can cause this injury according to the research I did on the subject.

Lorie prefers to run inside so she has injuries related to that form of training, while I prefer outside but am often forced to Treadmill Wearrun inside because of my work schedule and the fact that I like to run in the evening. Where we live is not very conducive to night running and actually the roads are not the best during the day either. Being forced inside means that we have put lots of miles on the treadmills (yes plural) and have worn thru three of them. The last one took such a pounding that the deck shattered and started to fray the belt.

When we buy these things we make sure they have a good warranty since we will beat the crap out of it over itsTreadmill Break life time. This breakage was fixed by the manufacturer by sending me a new deck, belt and lube so I could do the repair myself. It was pretty easy once the whole thing was apart. The only tricky adjustment was the belt tension. To remove the belt you must remove the from and back rollers, them refi them once the new belt and deck are in place. Adjusting the tension to so it is not too tight and not too loose can be tricky. It took a few days to finally get it to where we want it and those few days can be dangerous

You don’t want to tighten the  belt too much at first as you want the belt to gradually stretch and the lube to spread out evenly between the belt and rollers. The dangerous part is when the belt is too loose and you take a heavy step, the belt slips (stops) and it is murder on your knees. I would grab on tight to the handle bars at the beginning of each run and take a hard stomp and try to make the belt slip. If it did slip, I would get out the hex key and do a quarter turn on each side to tighten the belt. If it did not slip I would repeat the process the next day until I was getting no slippage. Like I said, about two weeks of adjustment and we were back in business. Only another 2 months before it gets nice outside and I have to lay off training for a few weeks anyway until I heal.

Disney Marathon Weekend Day 7

THE SADDEST DAY OF ALL

The day you have to leave Disney property is always a sad day. You want to get up extra early and take in as much as you can knowing it will be a while till you get back again (the next trip will probably be next years Marathon, although I did not sign up the day after the race like I did in 2009).

We planned on going to Hollywood Studios today but I needed to go over to Epcot to pickup our free photo from the Disney Visa shoot yesterday. Since Tuesday was early entry day at Epcot, I got up at 7 to be over to the International Gateway for opening at 8. It was strange to not see a sole as I walked from the countries towards Spaceship Earth. On a side note, someone should make a sci fi movie where a giant creature uses spaceship earth as a golf ball and launches it over towards the golf courses by the Grand Victorian hotel. I grabbed the photo and a cup of coffee and enjoyed a slow walk back to the hotel, just enjoying the peacefulness of the mostly empty park.

We decided to take the boat to Hollywood Studios as mom had not had a chance to ride them yet on this trip. A short 15 minutes later and we were at the front gates of the studios. I have never done Rockin’ Roller Coaster so we headed their first. Wow…what a ride. Very short but very intense. The acceleration at the beginning is amazing and it feels like you are being shot out of a canon, 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds. Matt and I stepped of looked at each other and smiled. We didn’t have to say anything to know we both really enjoyed it although as a first ride of the morning it can leave your knees a bit wobbly. We only had time for  a few more attractions and a bit of shopping before we had to head back to the boat.

We had left dad in charge of checking us out and we found him sitting in the lobby in his wheel chair sipping a hot chocolate. He had us all checked out and ready to go, so a quick bite and we were ready for the return trip on the magical express. Turns out the length of stay wheel chair was the way to go as it is free for Vacation Club members and Matt got to use it a bit as well the day after the race. That sounds bad, but dad insisted on pushing him and mom around a bit because it made his back fell better to lean over and walk with the support of the chair.

As I said at the start of the post, this is always the saddest day. We took our seats on the bus and at least I mentally reviewed what we had accomplished the past week and how much I enjoyed the time with Matt and my parents. I still remember the first time we came here when they opened (actually 3 months after opening day). I was in 5th grade and I recall driving away from the Contemporary ($35 a night back then) watching the Magic Kingdom get smaller and smaller through the back window of the car, wondering if I would ever get to come back again. Little did I know how many more times I would return and make some wonderful memories with friends and family.

Maybe it’s not so sad after all. I am already planning next years marathon trip.

Disney Marathon Weekend Day 6

The day after

I felt surprisingly good for just one day after the race. I usually feel the pain in my knees on days two and three but today I could easily get out of bet without a nurses aide. We decided to take it easy and sleep in so we did not get moving until about 9am (that is sleeping in at Disney). We had a light day planned in the parks, then a big dinner and show lined up for the evening.

Matt’s legs were bothering him so we let him sleep in a bit longer and we headed over to the Magic Kingdom. Mom and Dad had not been on Pirates’ or the Haunted Mansion since they were refurbished, so we made sure to hit those and a few more attractions. By the way, the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor is a hidden gem. I would not have done it had the lines been longer but I am glad we did. Very funny.

We met Matt at Epcot at about 2pm and the lines where very short again so we were able to do all the attractions that everyone wanted. We then decided to eat/drink around the world. That is where you have a drink and or food at every country in world showcase. We went from left to right (Mexico to Canada) and had a sample in each country. We only did one small item among the four of us because we did not want to fill up before the big dinner tonight.IMG

One other thing that we got to do was a semi private photo op. I say semi private because it is open to Disney VISA members only. It takes place every day from 1:30 – 4 in Inventions West and features a surprise guest or two. Today it was Minnie and Goofy, so we were able to get a bunch of photos with them with either our camera or the photo pass photographer that was present. We also received a free 5×7 of our choice from all the photos taken. After the photo shoot we headed back to the Beach Club.

Our hotel was just across the lake from Disney’s Boardwalk resort, very close to where our dinner was scheduled. If you plan on visiting Disney World I would suggest taking advantage of what they call and ADR (Advance Dining Reservation). You are allowed to book up to 180 days in advance (as of this article), and you can book for your length of stay up to 10 days. We used ADR’s for all our reservations including tonight’s dinner at Kouzzina. Kouzzina is Cat Cora’s new restaurant which recently replace Spoodle’s on the boardwalk. My daughter is a big fan (as am I) of the Food Network and Cat is the first female Iron Chef on the show of the same name.

The menu was  a wonderful Mediterranean/Greek mix with a nice selection of lamb, fish, pasta and steaks. We all tried something different and were no disappointed although my fast food son was a bit perplexed when I tried to explain what a béchamel was (his pasta was topped with cinnamon roasted lamb meat sauce, béchamel and cheeses). If you like Ouzo, the Ouzo-tini kicks butt.

We left happy and stuffed and made our way back to the hotel to get some blankets. I had a special night outside planned for the four of us so we need a few extra layers to keep the cold out. Every night Epcot has a fireworks/light/music show called Illuminations. If you know when you are going to be down there you can try to book an Illuminations cruise. I say try, because there are only 5 available each night (actually four on Mondays as Nippon travel has a standing reservation every Monday for members of their tour groups). You can book 90 days in advance by calling (407) WDW-PLAY (407-939-7529), but be sure to call early. The phone open at 8AM EST so start calling a few minutes before that. I have been lucky to book twice and got the last boat each time. My first cruise was cancelled because of lightening (sorry Lorie), so this was my first actual time on the boat.

The boat is a 21 foot pontoon that fits up to 10 people for a flat rate, so if you have some friends along with you you can spread the cost a bit. They provide some drinks (non-alcoholic) and snacks and you are able to order food, even dinners to ring on the boat. The only think you can’t do is bring your own food.

We were lucky enough to get Michael Scibetta as our captain that evening. If you are a hardcore fan or Disney, you probably know about the WDW Radio Podcast and have heard Michael on the show. He was the one driving Breathless II in the video ‘Catching You Breathless’.

Michael takes you around the lake for a short cruise before parking just under the bridge that separates France from England in Epcot. From there we had a front row seat for the Illuminations show and Michael was kind enough to give my parents his version of the events that were unfolding during the show. If you are lucky enough to book one of the boats, I highly recommend contacting Michael to see if you can schedule him to be your captain that night.

We had brought extra blankets to keep out the cold but I was so wrapped up in the experience that I didn’t really notice it anyway. The family really enjoyed the show and the cruise and I was grateful that I was able to share it with them.

Worth every penny.

Disney Marathon Weekend Day 5

As you hear so often in Disney ‘What a Magical Day’.

Matt was not too happy to be getting up again at 3:30 to make the 4:00 bus over to race setup, but he was at least able to grunt answers to my questions. We pinned our number to our sweatshirts, attached the timing tape to our shoes and headed out into the 28 degree morning by 3:55.

100_0727They used timing tape this year instead of chips.
Cheaper and you don’t have to stop at the finish
to have it removed from your shoe.

It was very quiet at the bus stop with everyone kind of keeping to themselves or having hushed conversations with their groups of people. The bus itself was standing room only and I was in the very back so I had kind of a surreal view. With all the people standing in the dark with both arms out stretched holding on, it looked like a long row of gymnasts suspended in the iron cross position.

The walk to the prerace area had a quiet tenseness as well. There was an MC in the distance trying to pump up the crowd with a thumping beat, but all I heard was the swishing of track pants, Mylar blankets and trash bags. I really enjoyed the quiet walk to the corrals as it gave me time to mentally prepare although Matt said it was like a death march. Quiet, dark, heads down, slow footsteps and the swishing sounds.

For those non runners, we sometimes bring a large trash bag along to fit over our body as protection from the cold. You can discard it right before the race and not feel bad about dropping a piece of clothing that you will never see again. We prefer to go to the thrift store and get an old 60 cent sweatshirt which has a bit more warmth than the plastic bag provides.  For those who do drop their clothing, Disney picks it up, washes it and donates it to local groups for distribution to the needy.

We started right on time at 5:40, with the blue group (fast people) and the first wave of the red group starting at the same time on opposite sides of the highway median. We started out with the 5 hour pace group and were doing well for the first 5 miles, at which time both Matt’s quads locked up and that set the tone for the rest of the race. As much as he wanted to keep up with the group he could not do it. The competitive bastard in me wanted to push him to continue, but the dad in me did not want him to suffer through the next 6 plus hours. I estimated the time by timing our next mile at his max walking/running/shuffling pace and came up with about a 13-14 minute mile.

To be honest, this took all the pressure off me and made it an easy day except for a few nagging issues. Let me retract that. There is nothing easy about a marathon and calling it that would cheapen the work so many of those participants put in in order to be there.

The nagging issues were two fold, one expected and one unexpected. The expected one was a hip issue that occurs when I fast walk as opposed to running. My running gate is smooth and my feet hit the ground under my body for a comfortable stride. When I fast walk my legs come more around from the outside in on each stride and I can feel it in my his more, which after 20 plus miles makes them sore.

The second issue was cold related. Blisters. Blisters in the cold? You bet. When you feet don’t warm up and expand, your shoes are too loose, they rub and you get some huge blisters, in my case on both heels. One popped at mile 20 and the other at mile 25. I have never had that issue before so I was not ready for the shock of pain when each one exploded. the problem is that nice cushion of fluid is now gone and you are rubbing the raw skin against your shoe.

My advice for the cold weather, bring an extra pair of thin socks in case you feet don’t expand enough and stop at the med tents if you feel a blister coming on. Although the other problem was the blister prevention pads that they had were frozen together at some of the med tents so you have to stop a a few tents to find ones you could use. Bring your own if you are worried.

Matt kept telling me to go on ahead, that he was holding me back and I kept saying no, it’s OK I want to help you finish. He did not realize when you get that fatigued it can be tough to estimate your true pace without a timing watch.

forerunner-305-s

I swear by my trusty Garmin 305 and will treat myself to the 310X once I compete in my first Triathlon.

I wanted him to see that I was trying to help him along and not just being a drill sergeant so every few miles I would let him take the lead and walk just off his shoulder so he set the pace. I would then give him the pace time so he could see we were moving slower than he thought. At that point we would pick up the pace again to where I though he could manage and still finish.

If this was any other race, he may have had an even harder time, but the wonderful thing about the Disney race is all the activity to help keep your mind off the pain. Now don’t get discouraged. Is it painful? You bet. But is it worth it? Without a doubt. There are few feelings like crossing that finish line, still on your feet, and it was especially great to do it had in hand with my son.

100_0700 I don’t have that picture yet but I will post it as soon as I get it from ASI (the company that does all the Disney Marathon photos). In the mean time, this is one of us back at the hotel, all smiles and wearing our Mickey bling.

A special thanks to my parents who came down to see two of their generations finish this experience together. Also, many thanks to all the families who were lining the course cheering for the participants that they did not even know. I had so many people congratulate me in the parks, in the elevator on the bus and anywhere I had me medal on. It is a tradition to wear your medal to the parks following your run, although you can usually tell the runners in the parks the next day. They are the ones who are walking like they are 90 years old or getting off the bus in a side step. Thanks to all the volunteers as well. It took a lot of people to pull that off and I thank you all.

That was a day I will never ever forget.

 

Disney Marathon Weekend Day 4

Are you kidding me? Full winter wear in Florida? I have never experienced a wind chill in Orlando before but I can cross that off my list now. We slept in knowing we would try to avoid frostbite and make it a short day. Once again the park was not busy at all so the attractions had short  if any wait at all. The cat family does not like the cold so the safari had about 1/2 the animals you usually see and the ones that were out looked very confused about the weather.

100_0688
What’s wrong with this picture? Coats.

Matt started to cramp up pretty bad from the cold, so he left the park early to go back to the room to warm up and prepare for tomorrow (watch football games and relax). We had enough of the wind burn and decided to pack it in by 4pm.

Tomorrow is the big day and I am concerned about the cold as I have wimpy lungs. Ever since I was little, running or doing other strenuous activity in cold weather is murder on my chest and I end up getting walking pneumonia or bronchitis or some other thing that knocks me out for a few weeks. Matt’s legs will also be a factor tomorrow. This probably will not be a good first marathon from a time perspective but I am not going to leave a man behind to better my time. If we have to walk some of the marathon I will do it to stay with my son.

We are laying out all our gear for tomorrow, then settling in to watch the Cowboys vs Eagles game. Tomorrows post should be interesting.