Wednesday, December 12, 2012

40 year old dreams

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat."  Theodore Roosevelt

Cycling has turned into something I really have fun with. 

Check out my OTHER blog.  Everyone has to dream.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Josie's struggle

I haven't posted on my blog for over a year, so why post three times in the same day? I've been too busy with work to have the time to post but Josie's (9) now given me the time. About a week ago she started having some difficulty walking. I didn't pay much attention because it just looked like she was trying to walk on a leg she'd let fall asleep. She was very sick the next day so she didn't do much walking for me to observe. On Friday evening I noticed she had a marked gait problem so I told Jennifer we'd see how she was in the morning and if she wasn't better, we'd take her in. The first thing in the morning that happened was Nathan (7) telling me that Josie just fell in the front room by "slipping" on the carpet and that she couldn't get up. I went in and found her on the floor making an awkward attempt to right herself. I had to pick her up and carry her to the couch. I asked her if her legs hurt (since she'd been at soccer camp that week) and she said her head hurt and put her hand on the back of her head and started crying. That's when Jennifer and I decided it was time to see a Dr. We took her to the Urgent Care and after hearing her symptoms they told us to go to the emergency room immediately. Josie was able to walk into the Urgent Care with me holding her arms. 20 minutes later she couldn't walk out and I had to carry her. When we got to the ER they put us in a room and the parade of doctors began. We had about a dozen doctors and nurses through the room over the next 5 hours. They ran several tests including blood tests, CT scan and a spinal tap. Her coordination was very off at this point. She couldn't stand on her own without holding something and couldn't walk. Her arm coordination was starting to show signs of uncoordination as well. She was asked to touch her nose and then the Dr.'s finger rapidly as he would move his finger from side to side. She never hit his finger and rarely touched her own nose. Her speach has started to slur as well which I think is leading to her refusal to talk. She was admitted at that point and we've been at the hospital for the last couple of days. They started by giving her some heavy antibiotics and antivirals in order to cover their bases while they searched for a diagnosis. She had an MRI this morning as well. We don't know yet when we'll be leaving but we're hoping it's in the next couple of days. From what we've seen so far she may have Cerebellitis with Acute Cerebellar Ataxia. It's a form of encephalitis. She still has strength in her legs and arms but lacks the coordination to use them effectively. It's viral based and is self limiting. Even with it stopping to advance after a week or so, it takes weeks to a few months to fully recover. Bringing her home will present some challenges. We have a lot of stairs in the house but we will be converting the office on the main floor into a bedroom so she can have access to everything without the sairs being a big issue. She will likely need to crawl for a while assuming her arms and legs work well enough for that but she may not have the coordination for that for a few weeks. We ordered her a wheelchair today since she can't walk and it may be 2-3 months before she's fully functional again. This will allow us to get her to her Therapy appointments every day without needing to carry her as well as take her places with the rest of the family. She's been a happy kid throughout the ordeal. She likes having a TV in her room and trays of french toast being brought in every morning. She was sedated for the MRI and the medication for that has knocked her out most of today but for the rest of the time she's looked like this...

20 years to Oahu

Last month Jennifer and I celebrated our 20th anniversary. We went to Oahu for some R & R. Prior to going we were questioning whether or not we should waste our time and money going there when we could go to San Diego for less money and a similiar experience. After having now seen Hawaii we were wildly glad we went. As soon as we got there we didn't want to leave. California just seems like a warm place to hide from work for a few days. Hawaii was a full sensory break from life as I knew it. We spent the first three days on Waikiki. The picture below was the view from our balcony.
View from our condo on Waikiki. We had a rental car so we drove around Oahu several times. We went to the Temple in Laie as well as beaches on the East side. We visited Pearl Harbor and climbed Diamondhead on Saturday morning and visited the Polynesian Cultural Center. The North Shore was my favorite. Lined with surf shops and several shave ice outlets. We had shave ice at Matsumoto's and I had a pineapple burger at Kua Aina Sandwich shop. Haleiwa was so secluded from the rest of life. We ate at a restraunt in there at sunset. I had the Hawaiian fish of the day. I still don't know what kind it was, but it was very tasty. We were on the outside deck overlooking the water. Even though it was 8-9pm, the temperature never goes below 72 so it was absolutely perfect. We spent the last half of the week in a condo on the northeast side of the island. below is a picture from our balcany of the sunrise on our last day there.
Sunrise from our balcany in Punaluu on the windward side of the north shore. We'd love to go back. The calming after effects from that vacation have lasted longer than any we've had.
So I didn't do a duathlon although I did complete another Century ride. The Seagull Century in East Maryland is a beautiful ride and a very fun weekend with the family. My son and I completed it together then we all went to the beach. Low 70's and sunny is a pretty good way to spend a day at the beach in October. This year I sped things up a bit. I did the STP again although it wasn't the blistering pace I'd like to complete it in someday. My brother Stephen and I completed the 200 miles in about 11 hours of riding time. With breaks it was closer to 13 hours. The weather was absolutely perfect. We couldn't have asked for a better day. We averaged about 18 mph.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The next big thing...

Each year I try a new thing, or try to try a new thing at least. The last few years have included the following:

2007 Eating: Got up to 190 lbs
2008 Running: Half Marathon, Marathon
2009 Cycling: Century, Double Century
2010 Cycling: Century
2011 Duathlon: (62 mile bike followed by 13.1 mile run)

I love cycling. It's been my friend over the last two years. We've laughed together, cried together, cramped together and traveled together. One thing I've noticed however, is that I miss running. There is something satisfying about the simplicity of running. It's just you, the road.....and a freaking awesome pair of running shoes. Ever since I started cycling two years ago I've had this nagging urge to run again. When I started distance running in late 2007 I was doing it just knowing that I was going to hate every mile and that as soon as I finished the marathon I would thumb my nose at the sport and walk away. Little did I know how much I would come to love it. First it was the 5 mile runs that I enjoyed. By the time I finished the marathon and looked back over my training, I realized that I absolutely loved and looked forward to my 10 mile runs.

I've biked from coast to coast, well I've biked on both coasts anyway. I've done the Seattle to Portland on the west coast and then I did the Seagull Century this last fall in Maryland. It went right along the Atlantic ocean on the east side of Chesapeake Bay. Time trial rides out to Flaming Geyser State park in Washington were some of my favorites for improving speed. Endurance training in Pennsylvania has been picturesque. I've ridden thousands of miles through Amish country. At times I've ridden right along side Amish men both young and old, on bikes, or passing Amish horse-drawn buggies. Of course I'm riding on my multi-thousand dollar carbon fiber racing bike listening to my ipod. Other cyclist are vocally envious of my bike; but the Amish seem to see through the pretense and realize that it's just an unnecessarily expensive form of transportation. It's humbling.

When I started cycling I did a lot of reading online. I read a lot of homespun blogs very similar to the one you are reading now. I wanted to know how long a rookie should expect to be on my bike while riding over 200 miles in one day. I read a few blogs and chat strings that indicated that for your first double century, you should be happy if you averaged 16.5 mph. That means over 12.5 hours of riding. Since I wasn't great at distance running, I assumed my body wasn't meant for any endurance event. For this reason I estimated my riding time at a conservative 14 hours.

As I started riding I was averaging 16.5 mph in my first few 20 mile rides. After eight weeks of training I was holding 17.5 mph over 40 miles. After 4 months I was averaging 18.5 mph on 70 mile solo rides. 5 months in I could maintain a 21 mph average over 20 mile solo time trials. I was able to finish the STP with a 19.5 mph average. After my initial estimate of 14 hours, I started the ride with a stretch goal of finishing in under 12 hours. I was surprised when I crossed the finish line with a total ride time of 10:23.

I'm now looking to partially return to my endurance training roots by entering a Duathlon. It includes a bike portion of a Metric Century which is 100 kilometers (62 miles), followed by a half marathon, (13.1 miles). As bad as I am at running, I miss it. It hurts, but to me, it's a more satisfying experience. The race is in Pennsylvania, midway between Lancaster and Gettysburg.

If anyone wants to join me in June, you can stay at our place.

Friday, November 26, 2010

West coast adieu

Well, we've moved to Pennsylvania. Breinigsville that is. Beautiful Amish country. We were at Costco the other day and there was a specific parking location just for horse and buggy's. I'm helping open a very large site for Amazon. We currently have around 3,000 employees in the building doing Santa's dirty work. Come to think of it, I haven't seen that jolly lump all year.

I started in this role on April 26th but my family didn't relocate until the beginning of July. That was a rough few months but nothing compared to my friend Dana who spend well over a year in Iraq while his family of 5 waited patiently for him stateside. My Hero!

I've done a bit of cycling including a century near Ocean City, Maryland. It was a beautiful weekend with lots of family fun although it was a bit odd to have the sun rise over the water and set over the land. New experiences every day on the east coast.