Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Earndit Challenge Results and New High Mileage Month

First, an update on the Earndit Challenge that I mentioned in last week's post.  This particular challenge was $5 to get in, and was a challenge to see who could accumulate the most points over 21 days, with a daily cap of 76 points. This required me to either run or walk at least 7.6 miles, or cycle 25.4 miles each day with no rest days, since points don't "carry over" to subsequent days. Since this was also a bit more than I had been doing, it would push me that way as well.

Out of the sixteen people who joined the challenge, there were 6 of us who completed the challenge by gaining the maximum number of points possible. As such, we each got a piece of the pie, so I can now say that I've made money running & cycling. :-)  A whole $12, but it was an interesting challenge, and it really pushed me. I think I got a lot more out of the experience by having to step up my game for three weeks, than anything else. I had already completed an eight day streak of working out prior to the challenge, so this put me at 29 days without a break. By the last day, I was dragging and was certainly glad it didn't continue for any longer.

A nice side benefit to the challenge was that it set me up for the possibility to set a new high-water mark for monthly mileage. My previous record was 157.35 miles (May 2012), but with my run this morning (the last for this month) I managed a new monthly high of... 

167.38 miles !!!

On my personal 100 Days Without Soda challenge, I've completed 37 days as of this writing. I'm definitely settling into the routine and I've pretty much lost the desire for a soda...at least I don't sit around wishing for one. Just about blew it at lunch time though. My son filled his glass to the absolute brim at a restaurant, then needed a lid so he just handed it to me and walked off. I very nearly took a drink off the top to make it manageable, but caught myself at the last instant. That probably wouldn't be called out by some since it is just something parents do, but technically that would have violated the challenge and reset the clock. This may be trickier than I thought.

In my running this last week:
  • (072312 - 0412)(79 degrees, S@9(G17), H68, clear) Although a bit warm, the breeze was nice when running into it, and everything just flowed along nicely. The effort didn't really feel tough this morning, and was a pleasant start to the day.
  • (072412 - 0410)(77 degrees, S@9(G23), H80, clear) I did this route backwards from the way I have been doing it this morning. The entire run was just very pleasant, and running in the breeze was nice. Felt strong throughout the run, probably due to the extra bit of sleep I got last night, but who knows...sometimes a run just comes together.
  • (072712 - 0408)(81 degrees, S@8(G21), H67, clear) After a day off, this was a really nice run. The pace felt easy, yet was a bit quicker than it had been. I enjoyed the challenge I was in on Earndit, but I'm glad it is over. 29 days straight without a day off was wearing me down.
  • (072812 - 0551)(79 degrees, S@5(G13), H73, clear) Waited until it was light outside this morning, and got to run as the sun came up. Lots of people outside to greet, and it was nice to run through the nature trail towards the end. Great run, and I had a nice time.

This is what last week looked like...

Day   Activity   Distance (in miles) Avg. Heart Rate Max Heart Rate
Sunday Cycling 26.24 --- ---
Monday Running 8.01 145 167
Tuesday Running 8.09 146 163
Wednesday Cycling 26.21 --- ---
Thursday Rest Day --- --- ---
Friday Running 8.20 150 166
Saturday Running 8.11 150 167
Mowing Lawn (Walking) 0.26 --- ---

 These are my time and distance totals for last week:

Activity   Time Total   Distance Total (in miles)
Running 4:47:39 32.41
Walking 0:23:38 0.26
Cycling 3:37:12 52.45
-------------- -------------- --------------
Overall Total 8:48:29 85.12

Day   Activity   Sets Reps Recovery Interval Weight
Sunday Pullups 10 6 2:00 BW
BB Bench Press 5 10 2:00 90
Crunches & Knee Raises 2 20 --- ---
Monday BB Squats 4 15-15-15-12 2:00 60-70-80-90
Tuesday Rest Day --- --- --- ---
Wednesday Rest Day --- --- --- ---
Thursday Rest Day --- --- --- ---
Friday BB Squats 5 15 3:00 50-70-90-80-70
Crunches & Knee Raises 1 20 --- ---
Saturday Crunches & Knee Raises 2 20 --- ---

I took a few days off in the middle of the week to rest....I was just spent after the challenge. In the coming month, we will be revisiting the 400 pushups in a month challenge, so I plan to shift away from the bench pressing and back to pushups for the month. The last time we did this in February, I believe I did 650 total, so we'll see if I can beat that this coming month.

Happy Running Everyone !!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Earndit Challenge, and a Calm Week

One of the web sites that I've been a member of since June of last year is Earndit. I've probably spoken about the site before, but I find that I really enjoy some of the challenges. About 8 or 9 months ago they started the concept of "challenges", where one of the site's members (it is free by the way) sets up a challenge to see who can get to the target point total first, or who can get the most points over a given number of days. Some of these are open-ended as far as the number of points one can accumulate in a given day, and others have limits. Some of these are even "paid" challenges...in other words, you have to put some money in the pot, and the winner gets the pot at the end (or winners get to share the pot at the end if there is more than a single winner). Until recently, I always avoided the paid challenges, but at the beginning of July I entered one. This particular challenge was $5 to get in, and was the most points over 21 days, with a daily cap of 76 points. 

The site grants points in several ways, but generally you can use either RunKeeper, Garmin, or Nike+ to track workouts. One gets 10 points for every mile either walked or run, and 3 points for every mile on the bike. Partial miles get partial point totals as well. So, to get the maximum number of points in a day, I would need to either walk or run at least 7.6 miles, or cycle 25.4 miles. This was going to be a stretch for me, since I normally take a day off during the week (if not two days off), and my normal runs were between 6 and 6 1/2 miles, or 20 miles on the bike.

Sixteen people joined the challenge, and it has really been fun and motivating to try to stay in the running. At this point, I've managed to earn the maximum number of points each day one way or another, and there is a day left, with 6 of us tied for the lead. It isn't really about the money of course, since even winning the whole thing solo wouldn't make one rich, but having a little something "on the line" does make it interesting. There have definitely been mornings when the thought of just staying in bed for another couple of hours seemed appealing, but wanting to stay with the leaders got me going.

If you find that you could use some extra motivation, I highly recommend the site. The points you earn can be spent on "coupons" that give you a discount on a wide variety of products and services, or donated toward a cash donation to a worthy cause such as health care for 100 children in Guatemala, chickens to produce eggs for an orphanage in Zimbabwe, or assistance to the Genesis House providing transitional shelter for homeless families to name only a few.

On my personal 100 Days Without Soda challenge, I've completed 30 days as of this writing. I'm at the point now where I seldom miss it, and have more or less settled with either Crystal Lite, water with a sweet-and-low packet and a dash of either lemon or lime juice, or just water. It will be interesting to see if I get strong urges for it again during the challenge, or if it continues to get easier.

In my running this last week:

  • (071612 - 0406)(72 degrees, S@4(G15), H87, clear) A very pleasant run this morning. The knee is really starting to feel much better, and with the cooler temp and clear sky it was just a relaxing experience. The route provided an opportunity to really enjoy seeing Jupiter, Venus, Aldebaran, and a crescent moon. Their positions have changed since I first noticed them about a month or so ago, but it is still cool.
  • (071712 - 0408)(76 degrees, S@8(G19), H83, clear) A little excitement early during today's run, as a couple of dogs ran out at me in an area where they never have before, but once I yelled at them they retreated. I sort of expected that metallic taste of adrenalin afterwards, but it never came...I must be getting a bit used to this type of thing. The legs were tired today for some reason, but not so much that it took the enjoyment out of the run. 
  • (071912 - 0421)(79 degrees, S@7(G14), H70, clear) Although it was a bit warmer than it has been, the humidity was bit lower as well so it was probably a wash there. The planets and stars were really clear and bright this morning, and the run was peaceful throughout. Right at first I had a bit of discomfort around and behind my right knee up to the first mile marker, but after that everything was pain-free and smooth. Just felt pleasantly tired after the run, probably due to the increased temperature and a slight ear ache I've been dealing with for a couple of days.
  • (072012 - 0422)(81 degrees, S@8(G15), H64, clear) Even though it was warm, this was a nice run. The legs felt good, and the effort felt smooth and steady. I did the route backwards from my normal direction, and the amount of time I felt like I was going uphill seemed like it was much more pronounced. It took a bit of effort right at the end since that is mostly uphill. Beautiful, star-filled sky with no moon, and the light breeze was nice when I was running the right direction to enjoy it.
  • (072112 - 0347)(78 degrees, S@5, H68, clear) This was my first time on this route, and it was a nice change of pace. There was a voice in my head (there are quite a few, but this one was shouting) at about the 8 mile mark saying "Nice run, now just hit the button, stop and walk home". That happened again at about the 10 mile mark, and at the 11 mile mark as well. I started with about 18 ounces of low-cal Gatorade frozen solid, and that was gone at about 10 miles...could have easily used another one. This was a tough run, but the pace was normal and I'm glad I accomplished it.

This is what last week looked like...

Day   Activity   Distance (in miles) Avg. Heart Rate Max Heart Rate
Sunday Cycling 26.05 --- ---
Monday Running 8.08 145 200
Tuesday Running 7.71 153 196
Wednesday Cycling 26.15 --- ---
Thursday Running 8.08 155 173
Walking 0.53 123 147
Friday Running 7.82 153 178
Saturday Running 12.29 155 188

 These are my time and distance totals for last week:

Activity   Time Total   Distance Total (in miles)
Running 6:33:35 43.98
Walking 0:07:59 0.53
Cycling 3:35:13 52.20
-------------- -------------- --------------
Overall Total 10:16:47 96.71

Day   Activity   Sets Reps Recovery Interval Weight
Sunday BB Squats 3 15 2:00 50-60-70
Crunches & Knee Raises 5 20 --- ---
BB Bench Press 3 10-10-8 2:00 85-100-120
Monday Rest Day --- --- --- ---
Tuesday BB Squats 4 15-15-15-10 2:00 50-60-70-80
DB Bench Press Squats 3 15 2:00 30-35-40
Crunches & Knee Raises 1 20 --- ---
Wednesday BB Bench Press 5 15 2:00 80
Crunches & Knee Raises 2 20 --- ---
Thursday BB Squats 4 15 2:00 50-60-70-80
Friday Rest Day --- --- --- ---
Saturday BB Squats 4 15-15-12-10 2:00 60-70-80-90

I really feel like I have to give credit where credit is due. The barbell squats are REALLY helping to resolve my runner's knee issue that I've having over the last couple of months. True that it wasn't the only thing, since I've tried to mix in cycling as well, but the strengthening has really helped.

The other "new" addition was the bench pressing. In the past I've gone too heavy and hurt my shoulder with this, so I need to focus on keeping the weight down to a reasonable level and keeping the reps up. The first session (with 120 lbs in the 3rd set) was a bit too much, but the session on Wednesday felt almost perfect.

Happy Running Everyone !!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Fizzless Squatter Kneeded to Fix Another Flat

I've got to admit that this was a very pleasant week overall. I had a pretty decent balance between running and cycling, and the knee is steadily improving. I'll be the first to admit that not only finding that balance but attempting to maintain it is nearly a full-time job in and of itself, but I do manage to achieve it briefly every now and then. I credit that to not only the mix of cardio work, but also to the barbell squats I've included in my cross training. The overall strengthening of the whole leg and hip area has brought a balance back that was obviously causing me some grief. I was able to either increase the weight a little each time, but will probably stick with a relatively low weight and increase the sets and reps as I move forward with this.

One of the things that I'm most surprised by as I continue running is the degree to which any weak (or weaker) link can cause pain and/or injury. It is certainly counter-intuitive, at least to me anyway, that the way to resolve knee pain was neither a layoff from running or noninflammatory drugs, but a strengthening routine. I've certainly gained a renewed appreciation for the necessity of cross training. Not simply as a mechanism used to insert variety and give run-specific muscles a day or two of rest, but also as cure and prophylactic for common running injuries, which I've been introduced to one by one over the last year or so.

Last Saturday morning started with a bike ride that lasted less than 10 minutes before I had a flat and had to walk it back home and go out for a run instead. Amazingly enough (and I certainly hope this is not any type of "trend"), last Saturday's bike ride lasted less than 13 minutes before things felt...funny. I stopped to check it out, and discovered yet another flat. On the same tire. Oh joy !

So once again I walked the bike back home, changed into my running shorts and shoes, and got a nice run in. When I changed the tire this time, I found the hole in the tube (of course), but nothing in the tire itself. I literally turned the tire inside out in an attempt to find the culprit, but came up empty. So I put it all back together again, and it has held up thus far for a little over 50 miles of riding. I'm confident that there isn't something still embedded in the tire that might be causing a re-puncture...perhaps it was just bad luck. So that means I went 2,240 miles before my first flat, and only 54 miles before the second one. Let's just hope it is a bit further between flats going forward.

That being said, I would much rather it be a simple flat tire than to be something more serious which might cause a wreck when it breaks. I probably need to get the chain looked at (or learn how to check it myself) so that a busted chain isn't the next problem.

On my personal 100 Days Without Soda challenge, I've completed 24 days as of this writing. The first option was tea, to be followed by Crystal Lite. While I like the taste of the Crystal Lite, it does get a bit old after a short while. It seems that I've noticed a sort of "twang" to it occasionally, so I've moved to just water with a sweet-and-low packet and a dash of either lemon or lime juice. I hate to say it (because I was against it for so very long), but it looks like I may end up actually preferring plain water before this is over. I'm not there yet, but I can see the writing on the wall. :-) I'm finding that I don't miss it nearly as much as I thought I might, but my challenge isn't over yet either.


In my running this last week:
  • On Monday I just felt tired and ready for it to be over from the 2 mile mark on. It rained very slightly between mile 1 and 2.5, but stopped after that just leaving it muggy.
  • Tuesday's run was much nicer, since it was a few degrees cooler and being lost in thought reflecting on a presentation I'd heard a couple of days earlier, the miles just flew by.
  • On Thursday I ran a route that I've biked several times but never run, which was a nice change of pace. It is a good eight mile loop, with few busy streets to cross and no dogs to worry with (at least not so far).
  • Friday's run was good overall, but I noticed an irritation on the ring toe of my left foot about a mile into the run. I eventually stopped at about 3.5 and removed some foreign object from my left shoe (I didn't actually find anything, but once I took the shoe and sock off and put it back on, the irritation and pain stopped). Whatever it was, it was cutting into me, since when I got home the sock was a bit bloody and so was the outer webbing of the shoe in one place. It doesn't seem bad now...hope it doesn't develop into something though. It seems like its always something.
  • The unplanned run on Saturday went well, but the heart rate monitor's strap had loosened somehow and wouldn't stay in place. Since adjusting the strap on the run in the dark is apparently not one of my "gifts", I took it off mid-way through the run and adjusted it later, so no heart rate data for that one.

This is what last week looked like...

Day   Activity   Distance (in miles) Avg. Heart Rate Max Heart Rate
Sunday Cycling 25.86 118 146
Monday Running 7.01 154 194
Walking 0.90 124 152
Tuesday Running 7.85 151 163
Wednesday Cycling 25.76 113 141
Thursday Running 8.01 151 166
Friday Running 7.92 151 171
Saturday Cycling 2.72 --- ---
Walking 0.71 --- ---
Running 7.31 --- ---

 These are my time and distance totals for last week:

Activity   Time Total   Distance Total (in miles)
Running 5:40:31 38.10
Walking 0:24:04 1.61
Cycling 3:38:31 54.34
-------------- -------------- --------------
Overall Total 9:43:06 94.05

Day   Activity   Sets Reps Recovery Interval Weight
Sunday Crunches & Knee Raises 4 10 --- ---
Jump Rope 3 50-60-100 --- ---
Scissor Leg Raises 3 10 --- ---
Monday BB Squats 3 10 2:00 50-55-60
DB Bench Press Squats 3 15 2:00 30-35-40
Crunches & Knee Raises 5 10 --- ---
Tuesday Rest Day - --- --- ---
Wednesday BB Squats 3 10 2:00 50-60-70
Crunches & Knee Raises 5 10 --- ---
Thursday Pullups 5 8-8-8-5-5 2:00 20-15-10-5-BW
Crunches & Knee Raises 5 10 --- ---
Friday Crunches & Knee Raises 5 20 --- ---
Saturday Crunches & Knee Raises 5 20 --- ---

This week I've continued with the barbell squats, and some other light weight lifting. The jump rope was sort of an "impromptu" thing, since my son was out on the patio doing it and ask me to join in. My, but that is quite the workout...it winded me for sure. The abdominal work is becoming more of a habit as well, and I'm able to increase the total amount of work on several days.

The real trick to all this seems to be the scheduling of the effort, since doing so immediately after a morning run / bike ride is seldom the right time for me...I just don't have the energy to hit the weights after my runs / rides. I tend to do this when I get home from work, either before or after the evening meal. Fortunately, I have found that I don't have to wait 90 minutes after a meal before working out like some, so that really helps.

How do you like to schedule your non-running workouts..?  Do you offset from your running (morning vs. evening), or just string it all together at once?

I hope you have a great week this week whatever your mileage or goals, and thanks for stopping by.

Happy Running Everyone !!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Calm Week, Flat tire, and No Soda

OK...this was a MUCH more calm week than last week. My wife's iPhone was trying to die on her, so there was replacement cost for that, but that was the only financial "woe" so to speak. The running / cycling / walking during the week was a lot more "normal" as well. I'm continuing to mix cycling into the schedule in a more deliberate way, so that my knee has time to build back from the strength imbalance / over use injury I caused.

The only real fly in the ointment came on Saturday when I was scheduled to do a bike ride. I had run close to 8 the day prior, and the knee was a bit sore. As a part of my routine when riding, I go out to the garage and check / fill the tire pressure in both tires prior to every ride. I keep them at about 70 PSI to start, and as a consequence of the rides and just being in the rack for a day or so, I typically find them between 60 and 65 PSI in the morning.

On Saturday morning, I found that the back tire was completely flat. Since I hadn't had an issue of which I was aware on the last bike ride (Thursday morning), I thought I "might" just have a slow leak, so I aired up the back tire to 70 PSI and listened. Nothing. I aired the front tire to the same pressure, then checked the back again. All good. So I wheeled it out to the street, and started the ride. Right at 1.5 miles I noticed a wobble and it just didn't feel right, so I stopped. The back tire, was flat.

Now I carry tools, a spare tube, and a couple of those little air canisters with me to deal with flats, but it was 4:20 a.m., pitch black except for my head light, and I really didn't want to do that in the dark. Besides that, I haven't changed a flat on a bike in well over 30 years...perhaps longer than that. So I walked the bike back home, changed into my running shorts and shoes, and got a nice run in. The knee felt OK through the run, and although I could tell I had been on it for a couple of days in a row, it wasn't all that bad. However, I did realize that I would need to get the tire fixed before Sunday, since three days in a row wasn't going to be an option.

As it turned out, it was pretty easy to do. I unseated the tire and tube, then ran my fingers along the inside of the tire, locating the offending item which I believe was a good sized staple. I tried out one of the little air canisters, and it fills it up in a quick shot. However, I didn't have the tire and tube seated quite right, so I had to deflate a good bit and fix that. I just finished it off with my hand pump, reattached the back tire, and took it around the block for a test. All good, and only about 30 minutes of effort...certainly less than it would have taken me to even drive to the bike shop. It isn't a speed record by any stretch, but I wasn't in a hurry and I'm glad it wasn't a big ordeal. I did a normal ride the next day, and I believe I can call it a success.

I'm really quite amazed at how long the bike has worked without even a flat. I bought it new at the end of May, 2011, and it hasn't been back to the bike shop since. At the time of the flat, I had put 2,240 miles on bike, so I'm very pleased with how well it has worked thus far. Of course, I don't take it "off road", mainly ride on residential streets and country roads (occasionally), and have never crashed the bike (knock on wood). Unless you count the two times last year that I came to a full stop without unclipping at least one foot, and fell over to the side in what probably looked like a very comical manner.

Aside from that, I am making an effort to avoid all sodas (pop, carbonated beverages, etc.) for 100 days. I probably haven't done that in 30 years or more. It seems like I was forced into that during basic training for the military, but I more than made up for that as soon as I could. Prior to that, I'm not sure I've ever gone 100 days without it. Probably since I was six or less. I've read a lot about how people give it up, sure it is bad for them in some way. My goodness, New York seems like they are on a campaign to ban them completely. Personally, drinking soda is one vice I could easily keep for the rest of my life, but I thought I would give it a go anyway.

I often hear people say things like "I could give [fill in the blank] up if I wanted to", or something similar, and I know that every time I hear that I think "No, you probably couldn't....that just 'sounds' good to say". So, I thought I would just see if I could give it up for a non-trivial period of time and picked 100 days. I started on June 24th, and as of this writing I've completed 15 days. Since I'm really a diet soda fan, and REALLY dislike the taste of plain water, I've had to experiment with different options. I drank tea for a bit, but I think I prefer Crystal Lite at this point. I've even drank a bit of plain water (but I can't say I enjoyed it in any way). We'll see how it goes.

This is what last week looked like...

Day   Activity   Distance (in miles) Avg. Heart Rate Max Heart Rate
Sunday Running 7.13 146 210
Monday Cycling 20.65 --- ---
Tuesday Running 8.04 152 180
Walking 0.75 --- ---
Walking 0.79 --- ---
Wednesday Running 6.63 155 229
Thursday Cycling 25.51 --- ---
Friday Running 7.83 143 177
Saturday Cycling 1.59 110 123
Walking 0.83 106 128
Running 6.85 149 162

 These are my time and distance totals for last week:

Activity   Time Total   Distance Total (in miles)
Running 5:23:39 36.48
Walking 0:46:51 2.37
Cycling 3:12:40 47.75
-------------- -------------- --------------
Overall Total 9:23:10 86.60

Day   Activity   Sets Reps Recovery Interval Weight
Sunday Crunches & Knee Raises 1 10 --- ---
Pullups 12 10-9-8-7-6-5-10-9-8-6-5-5 5:00 ---
Monday Box Squats 1 10 --- 35
Tuesday DB Bench Press 3 20 2:00 25
Wednesday BB Squats 2 15 - 10 2:00 35 - 50
Pullups 6 8-8-7-7-5-5 3:00 10
Crunches & Knee Raises 5 10 ---
Thursday Rest Day --- --- --- ---
Friday Rest Day --- --- --- ---
Saturday BB Squats 3 10 2:00 50
Crunches & Knee Raises 1 10 --- ---

This week I've started introducing barbell squats, and some light weight lifting. I'm still trying to keep things mixed up, so it doesn't get to be a bore. I was pretty sort in the upper hamstring area the first couple of times I did squats, but by Saturday it didn't make me "waddle" for the rest of the day, and hopefully it will help me strengthen some of the support muscles around my knee and the posterior chain. I suspect this "may" be part of the issue (together with just too much of an increase in mileage during the April - Mid June time frame).

Happy Running Everyone !!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Vacation, Creaky Knee, and Fun with leaky appliances

Wow...time sure has a way of getting away from you sometimes. Especially when a vacation is involved with no real ability to post and the culmination of said vacation after an 8 hour car ride home involves thousands of dollars in home repairs and the replacement of dead and dying home appliances.

From a work perspective, you would have thought that I had been gone a month instead of only 9 work days. It has pretty much been non-stop, however, I'm only "sort of" complaining. Having a good job with lots to do certainly beats the alternative, and it hasn't required any overtime to get it caught up again.

In the week prior to the vacation, the training was pretty normal, but I was having to insert additional cross-training options into the schedule because my right knee pain continued to worsen over the period. It never really hurt more than a twinge or two during the runs, but once I sit down for a while it would hurt, especially when I placed any lateral pressure on the knee. Saturday the 16th was the first day of the vacation, and that was spent driving to our destination (to spend the week visiting with my family). I got a good run in on Sunday, went to Silver Dollar City with the family on Monday (so didn't run), and got a couple in on Tuesday and Wednesday of that week. I did continue though to have issues with the knee, and since it was slowly getting just a bit worse each day, I made the decision to take a few days off from anything that would put a strain on that knee to see if it helped. I planned on taking 3 days (Thursday & Friday there, then Saturday being a day of driving).

But the powers that be had other plans.

We arrived home Saturday about 1:30 p.m. (having left around 4:15 that morning) and all "seemed" well initially. Once we got our greeting from the dogs (we had a house sitter stay in our home while we were gone to watch the dogs and the house, who had left by then), I headed out the garage door to start unloading the van. That's when the fun began. I noticed a puddle of water on the garage floor. My...that is weird. I followed the puddle back to the water heater (uh-oh). Sure enough, it was wet under the water heater, and the wooden box it sits on (made as a part of the house) was wet. I could hear it slowly attempting to refill. So I got the ladder and tried to turn off the water supply to the water heater. It just spun around and around in my hand (uh-oh again), there would be no turning off the water from there. So I go out to the front yard and try to turn the water off to the house. Instead, I mistakenly turn the water off to the sprinkler system.

Or I tried to....the handle broke off in my hand (Oh-No). I look up into the cloudless sky on this 100 degree day, and state to my creator that I now believe he is just messing with me to see what I'll do. To be honest, laughing seems appropriate. But wait, there's more fun to come.

At this point, my wife opens the door to the playroom, whose back wall is shared with the garage, with the water heater on the other side. Our house sitter had closed that door to keep the dogs out. In that room, I had an old 25" television that was sitting on a very stiff, thick cardboard box. Although it isn't hooked up to the satellite system, my son uses it to play games and watch videos. She finds the television on it's face on the floor. My wife thinks "that's odd, I wonder how that happened". When she goes into the room to right the TV, her feet go "squish" (OH CRAP). The carpet had soaked across the room, the cardboard box had soaked up the water, weakened, and spilled the TV. She comes out to the front yard to share the good news.

By now, I have finally located the "actual" cut-off for the water supply to the house. Joy of all joys though...it takes a special tool to shut it off. I go to a neighbors house who is a bit more handy than I am, and although he has loaned out that specialized tool, he brings what he has and after a bit of work is able to get the water supply shut off. Unlike the picture, we do NOT have a "Homeowner Shut-Off Valve". No, that would have made too much sense, and given the way things were going, it would have probably either just spun around or fell off in my hand anyway. However, we DO have a "Corporation Stop Valve". Too bad is isn't anywhere near that handy, but is instead butted up against the side of the hole, and slightly under the lip, about 8 inches down. Let's just say it wasn't "fun" getting it shut off.

So now I call a plumber (on a Saturday afternoon remember) to replace the water heater, and a water damage company to help me appropriately deal with the water damage, then I begin removing the non-damaged items from that room. Black mold is nothing to mess with, and since I was pretty sure the wall was wet on the inside, I wasn't going to attempt a "do it myself" drying job. Especially since I had been doing so well thus far. Now some of the things in that room are ruined (the television was fine though...go figure), but most things were fine. Since we use those clear plastic bins as toy boxes, and the toys had been picked up, they were spared. By the end of the day on Saturday, we have a new water heater installed (with the old one taken away), and a sophisticated de-humidifier and fans going in the garage and bedroom. That equipment stays for 4 days (that is how long it takes to completely dry the carpet and wall). Price....about $3400.

On Sunday my wife tells me that she hadn't really wanted to mention it, but the washing machine (for the last few weeks) had been sort of partially filling with water between washes. While it wasn't on. The last thing we needed was for that to go south and cause even more damage to the house, so we went to Lowes and picked out a new washer and dryer. I've got to admit, they are much nicer and don't make the "dying dinosaur" sound when coming to a stop from the spin cycle. Probably a lot more efficient as well. They deliver the new ones Monday about noon, and take the old ones away. Price...about $1900.

That afternoon, my wife says that since things are a bit more normal again, can I turn the water back on to the sprinkler system so she can run it later. The handles (which had rusted through) were still not there, but I used a pair of vice grips to turn the water back on. Kind of had to tug on it. At the same time the water supply to the sprinkler system was restored...two things happened. One: the internal valve where the handle was, now broke in the ON position, so there would be no turning it off. Now that wouldn't be all that bad, if the other thing hadn't happened. Two: My tugging on the handle had broke the seal on the PVC pipe. So now it is Monday afternoon about 3:00 p.m., and the water won't stop. It fills the hole where the pipes are fairly quickly, then starts overflowing and running down the street. Try as I might, I cannot get a repairman out for this until the next day about noon. Price...about $120, plus the wasted water (I won't know about that for a while till I get my bill).

To say I'm drained (both emotionally and financially) would be putting it mildly. Ahhh...the joys of home ownership. Back to the running though.

Instead of three days off, it became six while I dealt with all this, and the knee still felt a bit weird (probably from moving everything in that part of the house all around). When I finally started back up, the first run was a bit tough, but things got easier after that. I've been mixing in cycling so that I'm not over-working the knee, since cycling doesn't seem to bother it at all. I've also started to add some barbell squats to my routine (not shown...that will be in next week's post), with just the bar at first to get used to the movement. Nothing intense or fancy, but strengthening the quads might help the knee to track better, and the break from every day running (or nearly so) should help it heal and get stronger. That is the plan at any rate.

So it has been three weeks now since I've posted, so for the time period between June 10th and June 30th, this is what it looked like...

Day   Activity   Distance (in miles) Avg. Heart Rate Max Heart Rate
Sunday (10th) Running 7.78 149 166
Walking 0.17 --- ---
Monday (11th) Swimming 0.50 --- ---
Tuesday (12th) Cycling 21.22 107 140
Walking 1.70 --- ---
Wednesday (13th) Running 6.33 143 155
Swimming 0.75 --- ---
Thursday (14th) Running 7.16 146 168
Walking 3.10 --- ---
Walking 1.34 --- ---
Friday (15th) Running 8.03 155 178
Saturday (16th) Rest Day ---- --- ---
Sunday (17th) Running 6.13 153 168
Monday (18th) Walking 0.40 --- ---
Tuesday (19th) Running 6.37 154 185
Wednesday (20th) Running 6.16 138 151
Thursday (21st) Rest Day ---- --- ---
Friday (22nd) Rest Day ---- --- ---
Saturday (23rd) Rest Day ---- --- ---
Sunday (24th) Rest Day ---- --- ---
Monday (25th) Rest Day ---- --- ---
Tuesday (26th) Rest Day ---- --- ---
Wednesday (27th) Running 6.04 177 253
Walking 0.60 107 114
Thursday (28th) Cycling 22.02 123 148
Friday (29th) Running 6.61 154 165
Walking 1.00 113 133
Saturday (30th) Cycling 22.17 120 146
Running 2.15 145 157

 These are my time and distance totals for those three weeks:

Activity   Time Total   Distance Total (in miles)
Running 9:10:38 62.76
Walking 2:14:10 8.31
Cycling 4:19:06 65.95
Swimming 0:56:40 1.25
-------------- -------------- --------------
Overall Total 16:40:34 138.27

It is really not a lot of workout time, but I essentially took a week of those three weeks off, so I suppose it isn't all that bad.

I ended the month of June with 118.5 miles of running, and while that isn't setting any records for me, it is a really solid month of running, and my third highest month ever. I'm not really sure where July will go from here, since I want to be sure that I come back safely to prevent a more serious issue with the knee. I'll play it by ear, and see how it goes.

Day   Activity   Sets Reps Recovery Interval
Sunday (10th) Situps 1 50 ---
Pushups 15 10 1:00
Monday (11th) Situps 1 50 ---
Tuesday (12th) Situps 1 25 ---
Wednesday (13th) Crunches & Knee Raises 5 10 ---
Thursday (14th) Crunches & Knee Raises 3 10 ---
Friday (15th) Crunches & Knee Raises 2 10 ---
Hip Raises 5 10 (20 lbs.) ----
Floor DB Presses 1 50 (20 lbs.) ----
Standing DB Curls 1 10 (20 lbs.) ----
Saturday (16th) Rest Day --- --- ---
Sunday (17th) Rest Day --- --- ---
Monday (18th) Rest Day --- --- ---
Tuesday (19th) Rest Day --- --- ---
Wednesday (20th) Crunches & Knee Raises 1 10 ---
Thursday (21st) Crunches & Knee Raises 3 10 ---
Pushups 20 10 1:00
Friday (22nd) Rest Day --- --- ---
Saturday (23rd) Rest Day --- --- ---
Sunday (24th) Rest Day --- --- ---
Monday (25th) Rest Day --- --- ---
Tuesday (26th) Rest Day --- --- ---
Wednesday (27th) Pullups 10 5 2:00
Thursday (28st) Dips 5 10 2:00
Crunches & Knee Raises 3 10 ---
Friday (29th) Crunches & Knee Raises 1 10 ---
Saturday (30th) Rest Day --- --- ---

I'm mixing up the cross training quite a bit, but at least it is staying fresh. The "rest days" on the cross training are usually a result of still being a bit stiff / sore from previous days, although the vacation and "fun" above played into some of the rest day streaks as well.

I vote for some calm and quiet weeks going forward !

Happy Running Everyone !!!