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 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 !!!


  1. Good grief you had some home coming! Why is it that when things goes in a house it's like a domino effect? Hope you're done for a while!

  2. Ack! Nothing like everything going wrong all at once! I hope things stay quiet for you for a LONG time :)

  3. Oh my Michael...what a welcome home, huh? Paying lots of money for things like that really stink...they are a necessity indeed...but it stinks! What a great attitude you have had throughout it...and a new washer/dryer to boot ;)

    Love the spreadsheets and it looks like you are doing great! I hope you have a relaxing few weeks after this ordeal...i always feel like i need a vacation, after the vacation ;)