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Daily Archives: April 10, 2012

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Living Life Proof

Just a quick note on my Lifeproof setup.

AWESOME!

The armband is the most comfortable I’ve seen, ever.

The bike mount works fantastically (they’ve got just about every shim you could need for a good fit).

The holster is a little awkward but does the job.

The case itself, the shell that protects my iPhone works well (though the corners don’t snap together as tightly as they should which worries me about actually taking it snorkeling, but I have run it under water with no ill effects).  It cleans up very well, and as tough as I am on phones, I like the idea of not having to worry about bumping my phone on something and scratching the hell out of it (or busting the screen).

My brother in arms, Pete has had a miserable time with customer support though – the lockable recharge flap on his busted off and he can’t get them to replace it.  I don’t know the full story here, but he’s not one to fly off the handle unreasonably.

Overall, the setup, while expensive, is awesome.

 

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Another Runner Falls To The Almighty (albeit tiny) Plantaris Muscle

I spent Saturday afternoon at English Pete’s house with my wife and kids to celebrate his daughter’s birthday.  Big Steve and his wife were there too (all three of us have daughters, six between us).  A good time was had by all with the exception of some “we didn’t get our nap” kid drama.  After dinner Steve, Pete and I talked about our current fitness goals, diets and other fun topics that should be discussed at a party.  Pete’s pared his running back to concentrate on cross-fit, which he’s loving and is really working out quite well for him – he’s really getting quite ripped.  Steve is, like me, deep into cycling and triathlons so we had a lot in common to talk about (Steve works out of state, so he’s only back every other weekend).  After a bit, Steve mentioned that he’d been having problems with his left calf muscle for about a week but couldn’t figure out what was going on.  He said that it feels like he pulled his calf, but the pain generates “behind” the muscle and radiates all the way down to his Achilles.

Obviously a light bulb appeared over my head – I just dealt with this less than two months ago, so I let him in on what was going on.  I also asked if he’d changed strides recently from the normal mid-foot or heel strike to the fore-foot, to which he replied No.  This surprised me, and I let him know how my injury occurred and why, because of the isolation of the Plantaris muscle.  My description of the injury sparked something because his expression changed from one of interest to understanding.  He said that he’d switched over to minimalist running shoes just before the injury and that he was planning on starting out slow on them but opted for a 10k right out of the gate instead. Ah, “I see” said the blind man to his deaf wife.

Sure enough, as he went through the story, his was almost exactly like mine – except I didn’t buy an $80 pair of shoes to pull my calf muscle (no, I was brilliant enough to do that on normal running shoes).  Fortunately he’s as deep into cycling as I am so he really loved the remedy – ice and riding (high cadence, low speed, drop the heel at the bottom of the pedal stroke to stretch out the Plantaris).  Surprisingly enough, Pete had been dealing with the same pain for months but just ran through it (good God, that man is tough – it hurts!).  If you’re a road rider and a speed freak, as I am, I would humbly suggest for recovery from this injury to ride a mountain bike for a bit if you’ve got one.  I’ve found that riding mine takes a little bit of the need for speed out of the ride, I’m able to relax and enjoy the slower speed if I’m not on my Ferrari of bikes.

I’ve said it before, and here’s once more:  Minimalist running may be the next awesome thing, I wouldn’t suggest anyone shy away from it – especially if it makes you happy to be on the road/trail (!!!) – just be careful and build up the Plantaris slowly.  If you’ve been running for a while already that muscle isn’t used to being isolated like that and you have to start from square one to build it up or you will wind up hobbled.

Happy running,

Jim

PS.  If you wondered why I called my bike the “Ferrari” of bikes, it’s because the newer Di2 Dura Ace (or Super Record) steeds would be the Lamborghini’s…  The high end Triathlon bikes would be McLaren’s.

Spending The Afternoon In The Last Place You Want To

I’ve written before about my childhood.  As far as I’m concerned it was quite awesome, there were a lot of really good times, great vacations and my parents raised us well.  With almost every great personal story there’s a dark side though.  I spent yesterday afternoon and evening in just about the last place you want to spend time when you’ve got a great afternoon ride planned… In the hospital with my dad. It’s a general rule that one shouldn’t get too personal on a blog, but you can see how that works with me, so let’s swing for the fences shall we?  Please keep in mind, my heart is a little broken right now, so this may come of as harsh – sometimes reality is like that.

My dad smoked like a chimney from high school, where he was recruited by the major colleges (and the major league teams) as a catcher. When his coach caught him smoking he gave him an ultimatum; quit or you’re off the team. He told the coach to jump the lake and flushed a shot at the big leagues down the toilet. To smoke cigarettes.

It get’s better, though my dad did make it through college, he did so as a party animal. Think Animal House, but not stupid. Marriage didn’t settle him down, and it took him till he was 52 to quit drinking…two years after I did. Prior to that, we always knew when he’d been drinking because he’d come home chewing Dentyne Cinnamon gum (my mom hated that gum).  He turned into Ward Cleaver over night after quitting and drove my mom up a wall – they were divorced shortly thereafter.

My dad, after a couple of years, put his life back together and managed to put on a happy face. He was married again, to a beautiful woman with teenaged boys. Let me ask you fellas, after you’ve just raised three teenaged boys of your own, what’s the last thing you want to do? Right, raise two more, of someone else’s whom you cannot control or make rules to govern. That marriage ended in divorce too.

My dear old dad retired to Florida shortly thereafter, joined a nice country club, and get this, took a part time job tending the bar! His weekly exercise regimen (since I was a kid) consisted of getting in and out of a golf cart. Now he’s my dad, and Alzheimer’s has taken his ability to read at this point, so I only have to worry about offending a few younger siblings when I write; of all of the dim witted, stupid, things to do… He was back on the booze shortly thereafter. This should not be surprising.  I visited him a time or two in Florida and he’d come home shellacked after “work”.  Shortly thereafter, he moved to Georgia to be closer to my youngest brother and his family and continued with the same lifestyle.  He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.

So now that my pops is older, on top of Alzheimer’s, he has a mild dose of wet brain from the drinking and COPD from smoking. Whenever he catches a cold, his COPD kicks in and it turns that little cold into full blown pneumonia because he doesn’t know how to expel phlegm by coughing any longer – he just lets that junk sit in his lungs, and that ratchets up his Alzheimer’s, turning him into a cucumber…maybe pickle would be more apt. So Sunday when I picked him up for dinner at my mom’s, he was fine. He could walk and talk, mostly gibberish – but that’s about as good as it gets at this stage. Today, he couldn’t figure out how to back up, walk more than 20′, sit down, hold his head up…it’s like he’d turned 105 overnight.  The best part is that if any of these colds aren’t dealt with in the emergency room, he can stay like that until he dies.

My dad is 70 years-old.

If you’ve followed my blog, you know I’ve got a continuing series that details the results of combating everyday maladies with exercise.  If you’ve paid attention, this post ties many of them into a nice little bow.  When I started running ten or eleven years ago, I did so only to keep from succumbing to a fat lifestyle, but things have changed as time has gone on.  As more layers of the onion are peeled back, my exercise habit becomes ever more important.  That said, if you ever wonder how a kid can quit drinking, as a full blown drunk at 22 and stay quit, if you want to know why I ride like there’s no tomorrow – it’s not because there’s no tomorrow… It’s because I don’t want my tomorrow to look like that.

Now, what was that excuse again?