Friday, July 31, 2009

TGIF Foto Friday

I can't believe it is almost August and school will be starting in 10 days. The summer has really flown by. Here are a couple pics of my son in his last baseball game of the summer, when he got his medal. His team was called the Tornados, and they lost only one game. Summer always has a close connection to baseball for me, and it is so much fun to watch my son play. Now, though, we're getting geared up for soccer. On to the next thing!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Calling the Health Line...

My insurance company has a 24 hour health line. It connects you to a registered nurse where you can get your medical/health related questions answered. We have only had to use it one time when my son hit his head on the corner of a wall and a huge lump appeared (seriously it was like two inches long, it looked like a horn) and scared us to death. We wanted to know what to do, and if we should take him in to the doctor, so we called the Health Line and talked to the RN, free of charge. Good news, the RN asked a bunch of questions and told us to watch it for 24 hours. We saved a trip to the doctor.

So fast forward to this week. My foot has not been officially diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, but I'm 99.999% sure that's what it is. And, it has been nagging me for 2 months now. So, I decided to call the Health Line for some advice. I mostly wanted to know 1) is there is any home treatment I can do that I'm not doing now, and 2) do I need to go to a doctor.

I told the RN about my injury and what I've been doing (stretching, massaging, rolling my foot on a tennis ball, etc) and she asked if I had been icing the foot, which I had not. She also said that this injury lasts a few months to a year, but if it isn't getting better after 6 weeks I should go to a doctor. It has been getting better. Slightly better, but still better nonetheless. So, I am going to incorporate some ice into the routine, and hope for a quick recovery. There is a half marathon in September that I want to be ready for.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Stop Motion Storytelling

Olympus shot 60.000 pictures, developed 9.600 prints and shot over 1.800 pictures again. No post production!


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Weekend Vacation Recap

We decided to do a quick weekend getaway this past weekend, kind of a last blast of the summer before school starts in two weeks (wow this summer has flown by).

We didn't go far, just 3 hours north to Kansas City. But we had an awesome time, and the weather was perfect.

We started it out by going to Oceans of Fun, a waterpark. As the name implies, it was "oceans of fun." My kids absolutely loved this place.

Oceans of Fun was awesome.

One quick story of something that happened while there. My wife was standing there and a guy runs by carrying what looked like a two year old child, he runs over and tosses it in the shallow water near the kids area. She looked a little closer and finally realized it was a baby doll, and he was testing the lifeguard in the area. So the guy is looking at his watch and the lifeguard never sees the baby doll. (can you imagine if that would have been a real child??) The guy then goes over to the lifeguard and tells her to look around a little bit, and she sees the doll. He gave her a talking to and wrote some things down about the test. Maybe they are doing end of summer reviews to see who they hire back for next summer. Hopefully, this lifeguard doesn't make the cut.

The next day we went to the Hallmark Visitors Center and learned all about Hallmark cards, and then to their Kaleidescope childrens creativity center, which was very cool and the kids got to make and create all kinds of things. It was pretty fun. Here are a few pics from Kaleidescope:

We had lunch at a pretty unique place called Fritz's. It's basically a train-themed burger restaurant, but what makes it cool and fun for the kids is that you sit in a booth and pick up a phone at the booth to place your order, and the your food is delivered by a train. The restaurant has above ground tracks that run throughout the restaurant and the train has a little basket that carries your food to your table and then it is lowered down to you. It's pretty cool really, and the kids had a blast with it.
The train at Fritz's carrying our food.
The tray lowering our food to our table from the train.

We also walked through a Lego art exhibit that was pretty neat. Some of the creations that were made with Legos were incredible.

A Lego man reaching for the sky.
A Lego sunflower.
My son recreating the Lego torso man opening up his chest behind him (all the legos were spilling out of his chest, kind of weird).

After swimming at the hotel, we went out to the Legends shopping area of Kansas City for a little shopping (Nike Factory Store!) and dinner/games at Dave and Busters. Again, the kids had an awesome time. Apparently the KC Wizards were playing the LA Galaxy in MLS soccer, and the stadium was about a mile from where we were, so we saw people wearing Beckham jerseys everywhere. While at dinner, I was watching the soccer game on TV, as well as the Royals game, which was also played in Kansas City. Strange watching two live events on TV that are within minutes of where you are. Some Legends night pics:
Hanging out with the boys.
One of the few pics of my wife and I together (those with kids understand that one).

We also went to a really cool childrens hands on museum called Wonderscape. They had taken an old school building and converted it into a fun playhouse for kids. Each room had a different theme with fun activities. One room was set up like a grocery store, another was a doctor's office, another was a diving room, etc. It was really fun.

Getting ready to go for a dive.

Checking up on his patient. He may need to operate.

Running Update

Thanks for all the responses/advice to my question about training through the pain. I have googled high and low as well, and the consensus seems to be split as to whether to run with plantars fasciitis or not. So, I decided to keep running, but knock it back a few notches in terms of pace and distance. And, I am stretching/massaging througout my runs, and really trying to be cautious. With that said, I ran both days over the weekend, a nice, slow pace with lots of walking and stretching every 3/4 mile or so. 4 miles each day. The hotel we stayed in was close to some very nice running paths. The sidewalks were two or three times the width of a normal sidewalk. It was really nice. I could have ran forever (if not for the continued foot pain). Oh yeah, and I ran past a dead bat near the underpass to the highway one day. Creepy.

Friday, July 24, 2009

I'm Walking to Cooperstown

My work has a Health and Wellness Committee that promotes healthy and active lifestyles among our employees. It's really pretty cool.

This year they are sponsoring and promoting a "Walk to Cooperstown." It works like this--we are invited to sign up in groups of 10 and challenged to walk/run at least 2 miles a day 5 days a week. We begin today and by the time the World Series begins in October, we will have logged enough miles to walk from Wichita to Cooperstown, NY, the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame (1,400 miles).

I was recruited to be on two teams, probably because people know I already run, so I went with the first team that asked me, which also has several runners on the team. Hopefully they won't be disappointed since my mileage has been down lately. Still, 10 miles a week should be no problem, even with an injury. Looking forward to the team effort, and there are even prizes at the end.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Oh no you didnt....

Check out this.


I got some arch support insoles for my work shoes, to help with the plantar recovery. And I bought some tennis balls to roll under my feet. I thought about using some of the couple dozen baseballs, but I like the softer feel of the tennis ball. Besides, a can of balls was only $1.37. Stretching like crazy, and the pain seems to be diminishing some. At least I'm not using ibuprofen anymore.
I am thinking about doing a biathalon. There is one in a couple weeks, sounded kind of fun. Not sure if it will work out or not with my schedule, but here's an email I got today about it:

"The Derby Running Club has put together our "Summer Biathlon" which is an absolute blast! Runners are paired with similar paced runners and released from the startline in 1 minute intervals where they will open the event with a 1500 meter run. They will walk (yes, the clock is still running) about 50 steps to a shooting range and take 5 target shots and then take off for a 2000 meter run returning to the same shooting range for 5 more shots. Competitors will then take off on one last run; this time for 1500 "all-you've-got" meters to the finish line. Final scores are tallied by a combination of gross time reduced by "bonus points" for number of targets hit. Although marksmanship is a bonus, past events have been largley attended by folks that have seldom, or never fired a rifle. Safety is a high priority and training/practice are required and provided by local experts the morning of the event. Rifles and ammunition are provided. For those already in training mode for fall marathons & beyond, Lake Afton provides a fun break in your routine for a good long run following the Biathlon and plenty of similar-minded mileage junkies. "
Wonder if they'd let me use my own gun.....

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What Do You Drink?

There are a lot of good sports drinks on the market these days. So which sports drinks are the best? Here is some advice on picking sports drinks that I found helpful:

Sports drinks should have:
-6 to 8 percent carbohydrates (14 to 19 grams per 8 oz serving)
-at least 120 milligrams of sodium per 8 oz serving
-at least 2 types of carbohydrates---different types of carbs metabolize through different pathways, so those drinks with multiple types of carbs can deliver energy to the muscles faster.....look for some combination of glucose, sucrose, dexdrate, maltodextrin, and fructose
-avoid drinks whose labels list fructose or high fructose corn syrup as their first ingredient...
-4 to 1 ratio of protein to carbs, protein can help with muscle recovery from long runs
(these tips were in Dean Karnazes' book 50/50)

Personally, I like Nuun tablets in water because it's convenient and not too sugary, but it doesn't provide any carbs. I want to try Accelerade, as it has proteins, which many sports drinks do not, and hits most of the other above criteria. What sports drink are you using?

POM Wonderful
The great folks at POM Wonderful sent me a case of their 100% pomegranate juice, called POM Wonderful. I had never had pomeggranate juice before, and I'm not really sure I've ever had an actual pomegranate, so I was excited to give it a try. Evidently the benefits of drinking pomegranate juice are astounding, including improved cardiovascular and prostrate health. It is also high in anti-oxidants, which can help prevent your body from damage or disease. So, the health benefits aside, how does it taste? It wasn't too bad actually. It is a little on the tart side for my taste. I could see mixing it in with something else or watering it down a bit. And actually, after trying it straight, I checked out the POM Wonderful website and there is a whole list of drink mixes and uses, including something as simple as mixing it in iced tea or smoothies. So, I'm going to give some of those mixes a try. The benefits of this stuff are really amazing, so I would encourage you to give POM Wonderful a try!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Found on the Run

In the past 3 weeks or so, I've started running through the park up the street with several ball diamonds in it. Here is what I've found during that time:

23 baseballs
5 softballs
1 tennis ball (which I am using to roll my foot on)

My son has his last baseball game tonight. Looking forward to watching him play one last time this summer.

PS --I ran 4 miles yesterday in the Arkansas hills... Thanks to everyone for the PF tips and advice...I ran with no ibuprofen and the pain was minimal..I am stretching a lot and continuing to try to listen to my body in terms of foot pain...I am going to take the next 4-5 days off and really focus on stretching and resting...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It Was a Dark and Stormy Run (sort of)

So I am travelling for work and I am in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We are leaving the hotel by 7am this morning, so I had to get up earlier than normal for my run. I got up around 4:3o, and was on the road by 4:45. I ran a total of 6.51 miles through dark, winding, hilly streets. I love running on unknown paths and the sense of discovery during a run in a new place.

I am glad I brought my flashlight, I seriously only saw like 6 streetlights the whole way. It was a nice run, and I am sort of glad I got it in early because yesterday it was 104 degrees here and today is supposed to be hot as well. This morning felt nice, though, with a little bit of a breeze, and throughout the whole run there were lightning flashes in the sky. I couldn't tell how far away the flashes were, or if they were getting closer, but it never did rain. I did cut the run about 1/2 mile short though when I saw something that looked like this picture:

QUESTION: Do you train through pain?

I am still dealing with what I believe to be plantars fasciitis in my left foot. From what I've read it can take months to fully go away. The pain is most severe in the morning or when first getting up froma chair. I am taking it easy on my runs, and my foot doesn't bother me too much after about 2 miles, especially if I've taken some ibuprofen. My question for all you experienced runners out there, who have dealt with such an injury, is--should I continue to train despite the pain? Or should I lay off it altogether for a few weeks? I would appreciate any advice you have. Thanks.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Running into the Garage...

A week or so I posted this blog about watching a runner in the Dean Karnazes DVD Ultramarathon Man run into a telephone pole...I was watching it with my son and we kept rewinding and watching it over and over....well my son must have still had that image in his mind because a couple of days ago, randomly, he recreated the event in our driveway...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fast Food Feed Bag

This is funny. You're welcome.

Friday, July 10, 2009

TGIF Foto Friday

Look close at this picture. This boy has his eyes closed.

This is a pic we took this past weekend at our July 4th festivities...the park here had all kinds of kids games, inflatables, a magician, horseshoe tournament, etc, etc...and, a very good face kids got dragons on their faces (which looked great) but I thought this kid's face painting was great....

edit: if you like free stuff, check out this giveaway by Mission to Another Marathon
and Nikes and Poytails has a giveaway here too

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Running with a Light

This morning I got up earlier than normal, about 4:30am, took a few ibuprofen and went for an 8 mile run. I took it at a slow, comfortable pace and it was a great run. A light drizzle started during my last mile that felt very refreshing.

It was very dark (obviously) at that time of day, so I decided to try running with a flashlight. I had my water bottle in one hand and a flashlight in the other. At first I didn't think I'd like having something in both hands, but I got used to it and it wasn't so bad. I have a small LED flashlight that puts out a good amount of light for its size. It's small enough that if I don't need it or want to use it, I can stick it in my pocket. I aimed the beam about 10-12 feet out in front of me and I really liked having the path in front of me lit. I've run in the dark many times and stepped on rocks, cracks in the road, sticks, etc...

Do any of you run with flashlights or headlamps? I've been looking at some headlamps but after today's run, I think I might prefer the low beam versus a high beam coming from my head. Plus, I like to wear visors when I run, and I haven't seen any good clip on headlamps (although I'm sure they are out there). The ones I've seen all have elastic bands. I'd appreciate anyone's thoughts on this subject.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Awesome July 4th Weekend w/ Pics

We had an amazing 4th of July. The weather was absolutely perfect and we packed it with a day full of family stuff. Here is a recap:

We started the day with our town's 4th of July parade. My kids walked away with TONS of candy, and we saw some fun things, including Santa on a motorcycle:

Ho-ho-ho...where are the reindeer?

My son excited and acting goofy before the parade even started.

After the parade, we went and bought some fireworks for later that evening, and then we went to two farm and art markets, where, among other things, I got my wife a bouquet of fresh picked flowers in a vase for $5. It was a steal, they were beautiful.

We spent the afternoon forcing the kids to rest (knowing they'd be up late) and preparing for our annual block party. Our street is blocked off, so no cars can drive through, and the kids have a blast riding their bikes up and down the street. There were tons of cookouts going on, and people shooting off fireworks all over the place. We had about 5 or 6 houses that combined for our cookout, and it was awesome food. Grilled hot links, wings, homemade salsa...we were eating and snacking all night. Food, fireworks, and friends. It doesn't get any better. The fire department brought a big truck over and set up a "shower" for the kids to play in. Here are just a few pics:

Some of the neighbors mulling around.

The fire department hooked a hose up to the end of an extended ladder and had this shower going for 30 minutes or so. The kids LOVED it.

As it got dark, we settled back and watched some of our neighbors shoot off their BIG fireworks. Our town allows the big stuff, and we have several neighbors that literally spend thousands of dollars on fireworks. (what recession?) They put on quite a show.

We stuck to firecrackers and sparklers and let our neighbors spend their money on the big stuff.

Our neighbors were shooting stuff off until past midnight. It was great, but eventually we had to get the kids to bed, so we went inside. We had to sleep in the basement because the fireworks were too loud upstairs.

None of our fireworks pics turned out from the block party, but here is one my wife took a couple nights earlier at another fireworks show we went to, where I had the best seats I've ever had for a fireworks show.

I hope everyone else had a fun and safe holiday.

Running Update
I ran 4 miles yesterday, and 3 miles today. I'm still taking it at a slow pace while my foot continues to heal, and I am trying to focus more on striking mid-foot instead of heel first. It is taking some practice. We've had absolutely gorgeous running weather lately.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Mid-Afternoon Distraction...

Family Pictures
This is the coolest...this family takes a picture of themselves once a year for over 30 years...the children are the coolest...check it out here

Speaking of family pictures, check out this cactus family:

You can find more crazy family pictures here, if you're bored.

Other Stuff
I got my Asics Gel Kayanos yesterday, compliments of Happy Runner and Strands, thank you very much! They look awesome, and I can't wait to try them out.
Tall Mom on the Run is having a giveaway for a cool necklace....and also, chicrunner is having a giveaway, check them out.

Still getting up early and doing walk/jogs while my foot heals up. I don't think I'm going to do the 4th of July Firecracker Run as originally planned, but we will be hitting our town's annual 4th of July parade!