Monday, March 30, 2009

Super Flexible...not so much

After yet another week of PT, I started running last week.  I ran for 3 straight days and 4 miles each.  On Friday, I put the hammer down on a brick run and was able to bust out 6:30s.  I was quite surprised that I still had the leg speed.  Of course, I need that pace for 9 more miles to reach my original Half Ironman run split goal.  I still have time so I might be able to get my endurance back up and get used to the knee pain.

My PT told me I have this hyper flexion or something with my joints.  I guess its not normal for you to be able to bend your fingers back so they look like the letter "C".  Who knew.  She says it makes running easier because I don't have to use as many muscles hence one of the reasons I'm injured to begin with.  All these little unused muscles in my hips, etc. are weak.  I found out Elena also can bend her fingers back easily into a "C".  It must be genetic.

Elena is excited to starting training again.  We'll start to do some running and see about entering her into a summer race or two.  She's 7 so if she wants we'll see how fast she can really go.  There are a few kids races around but mostly just 5ks which is still too long for her age.

I finished her 1st grade musical video.  This is the first production on the Macbook using iMovie.  It turned out okay I just need to get better at holding the video camera.

Elena and I were watching TV this weekend and we kept seeing those weird Audi Q5 commercials.  Anyway, she said she wanted to get that car when she grows up.  Oh great my daughter has Audi tastes.
I told her she'd have to work hard so she could buy that car.

I got 2 more photo speeding tickets on the way to the PT office.  It's so sad because the little photo thing is hidden and fixed.  It just happened to be on this 3 lane street that is totally wide open.  It's also at the bottom of this hill.  Lame all the way around.  Who knows how many more I'll end up getting because they took so long to get to my house that I had at least 4 appointments.  $40 a pop is starting to add up.  I really hate Maryland because I also have to deal with this car insurance thing.  I registered my car last year but didn't transfer over my insurance from Oregon right away so now I have to prove that I had Oregon insurance.  Fricking pain in the ass.  I should've just been lazy and not registered with Maryland at all.  So technically, I'm driving with a suspended tag because they give you only 15 days to respond but if you mail them the documents they need it takes 10 days to process them.  Either way you're screwed.

I found out that I have to go to Europe after all.  I thought I was going to be able to get out of the upcoming trip but no.  I'm stuck going the week of the Half Ironman.  F-ing great.  I get to travel to Europe for 3 days, fly back on Thursday then fly to Florida on Friday.  PERFECT!!  I'm gonna do my best to sleep as much as possible and maybe even in meetings. ;)  It's the taper time so I should be okay but it's just the lack of sleep that might be a problem.  We'll see..

Monday, March 23, 2009

Felony Assault

My quads called the cops to charge me with felony assault after this weekend's cycling.  I absolutely demolished my legs on Saturday's 56 mile ride.  I just kept doing short 5 minute or so intervals the entire time after a warmup.  I could barely make it up my stairs when I got home.  Even more pathetic was my time was just under 3 hours for the ride.  I rode a 2:40 57 mile leg at Florida last year and felt like I went easy. cycling needs some serious work between now and May 17th.

On Sunday, I went out for just a nice spin session. I ended with 62 miles in 3 and half hours.  The legs were tired but I just took it easy.   The weather is still under 60 here and I sure wish it would get warmer so I could feel comfortable outdoors on the bike.  The best part was my knee felt great on Friday and I was almost tempted to run.  It felt fine on both Saturday and Sunday.

My next PT session is Tuesday.  I'm hopeful that whatever we're doing is helping and maybe I can get back to some 30 minute runs this week.  I looked at my calendar from last year and I was still doing short stuff at this time so maybe I can really have a chance at the run afterall.

The only thing that's ahead of schedule is the swimming.  Can you believe it?!?  My worst event is actually the most improved right now as I'm on mid summer form right now.  I just completed the "Pyramid of Death" this morning for my longest interval workout so far this season.  It was brutal but I kept the pace as fast as I could.  I thought I was going to faint during the last few 50s.  I'm assuming fainting in the pool is probably a bad thing.   Swimming til you puke is probably not a real good one either.  I stumbled out of the pool at the end but I feel better for busting out the tough workout.

Other than working out, I pretty much watched NCAA basketball, movies and DVR TV shows all weekend.  I caught up with 24.  I finished season 2 of Friday Night Lights and season 3 of X-Files.  I watched Death Race and Mummy Dragon Emperor.  Death Race was okay but not too great.  The Mummy was awful.  I can't believe how bad it was compared to the first two.  It didn't get going until the end and then it just was pathetic.  I saw Wanted which wasn't too bad except it also had a lame ending as well.  The cool thing about it was the director.  He's the same guy that directed these weird Russian action-horror movies Night Watch and Day Watch.  The star from those movies had a little bit part in this one.  It was interesting what he was able to do with some budget.

Even with all the TV watching, I was able to get some good sleep.  I'm ready for another week...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tournament Thursday

It's BEGUN!  The NCAA Basketball March Madness Tournament!  Everyone's got a bracket including President Obama.

My bracket has changed 3 times before the games tipped off.  I already had a major scare**SPOILER ALERT** with Memphis almost losing in the opening round.  I have them winning it all.  We'll see how it goes.  It would be great to be in Portland right now as the Rose Garden is hosting opening round games.  Actually being part of the first two days would be great fun although I hear they don't serve beer at college basketball games.  That's lame and major money detractor.

I made it through my 3rd PT session today with no improvement.  Well that's not totally true but man it's slow going.  I was able to test the knee on a 3 mile run yesterday under sunny skies in 65 degree weather and it failed.    My cycling is slowly coming around and my swim is holding steady.  I did break 1:40 during some 100 intervals earlier this week which was lots of fun.  I really don't feel like I'm going to be able to bust out a fast run come May.  I just haven't been able to get any work in on it.

The PT person makes fun of my lack of flexibility and my loathing of weight lifting.  She moves my leg around and just starts giggling sometimes about the lack of mobility.  Oh well, she's been working my hip, IT band and hamstring.  I guess all these 3 being a little tight is causing running stride issues which effects my kneecap positioning.

Spring is tomorrow but man it's still pretty cold as compared to last year.  I think it was a mild winter here last year as we were already getting lots of sun and for lots of outdoor rides.  I'll probably be able to do some 3 hour rides on Saturday and Sunday.  At least my heating bill last month was cheaper than expected, woohoo.  I can turn on the heat now if I get too cold.

The Macbook is doing great.  I have it sitting on the coffee table while watching evening TV so I can still respond to email and do work.  This is good and bad because sometimes it's 7pm before I even think about relaxing.  I've been trying to get a good sleep so I feel rested.  I've been trying to get my 9 hours at least to feel good waking up at 4:30am.

I looked at my 401k recently as the market has started rebound and was shocked.  I think I'll be working til I'm 102.  I've lost half of my total account.  How sad is that?  At least all my current purchases are bonds which are getting at least 2%.  I thought about switching to a fund but I think I'll wait just a little longer.

Monday, March 16, 2009

West Wing Tour

On Saturday night, we got to go on a West Wing tour.  It's one of the perks Joe gets for his short 6 month stint working for the office of the President.  We walked through two different security posts and through an metal detector with our cameras and wallets X-rayed.  It was raining so we hustled over to the basement entrance of the White House.

You walk in and there's a guard behind a desk who checked the badges we received for the tour.  We walked down some stairs to see the door of the Situation Room.  It's a normal size wooden door but has a peep-hole.  It's not like you're opening the door during a meeting unless you see who's on the other side.  There were numerous action shots of President Obama in frames all along the walls.  There are also old paintings of special events through the halls as well like Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation.

Next past another guard post, we made our way out onto the patio of the Rose Garden.

This is the walkway right next to the Cabinet room and at the far end is the Oval Office.  Here's a shot looking into the windows of the Cabinet room and of course my daughter is all smiles.

So right at the end of the walkway is where President Obama has his smoke every so often I bet.  It was cool just thinking about all the history of that patio.  I mean Presidents had to be out there clearing their minds before big decisions in the history of the nation.  Just amazing when you think about it.  We saw a guard all in black packing some serious fire power walking through the garden as we were about to leave.

So we went back inside for the best part of the tour, actually peeking in through an open door at both the Cabinet Room, the Roosevelt Room and Oval Office.  The Cabinet Room and Roosevelt Room each have a chair just for the President.  It's almost identical to the other chairs in the room except it has a taller back and of course is at the center of the table.  There was guard right outside the Oval Office who actually knew some information about the rooms, etc.

She told us about the Roosevelt Room which has Franklin's Nobel Prize in it on the wall and Teddy's Congressional Medal of Honor.  It also has all the military branch flags with ribbons signifying each action they were part of.  Even the Coast Guard has a flag(a shout out to my Jeff and Elizabeth in Seattle).  It has a secure video conference equipment and cool fake skylight in the ceiling.

Obviously, the most interesting was the Oval Office.  We found out that President Obama is using the Resolute desk as in the movie National Treasure: Book of Secrets.  It's looks really cool in real life with all the carving on it.  He just got a pen holder given to him created from the hull of the HMS Resolute's sister ship.  He had pictures of his family and wife on a little table behind the desk.  The Oval Office has this cool stone carving of the Presidential symbol on the middle part of the ceiling.  He has two busts, one is Lincoln and one is MLK.  The guard said this was the first time a civilian's sculpture has been in the Oval Office.

We just marveled at it for awhile and easily spent 20 minutes just chatting with guard and asking questions.  Just trying to make a mental picture of the place.

We walked out through the actual White House lobby to the outside.

Our last stop of the tour was the Press Briefing room.  It's quite small overall as compared when you see it on TV.  It only has 35 chairs.

We hung out and got some fun pictures in here.
I'm not a crook. Okay so maybe I was only one goofing around.  What ya gonna do!

Overall, we spent an hour for the tour.  A co-worker of Amber's had a nice camera so I hope to get a bunch of high quality shots from him as these were all camera phone shots.

Elena even had fun and was not bored.  I guess living here isn't bad all the time.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Yep, I bit the bullet and caved into the physical therapy route for my stupid knee.  I went in and they grabbed, poked, massaged and tweaked.  They finally came up with the answer.  My foot injury is what's causing the knee pain.  It's not runner's knee at all.  It's the muscle be overstrained because it was compensating for my tendon in my boot being tight.  My whole left leg was tight as compared to my right one.  The physical therapist pushed and massage different spots.  It hurt like a mother.  I've never gotten a massage because it hurts too much.  It was hard to tell if the various pressure and massages were helping relieve my knee pain or if it was just hurting worse and masking the knee pain.

At a point during the procedures, the knee did feel better.  I got various exercises that I'm doing to loosen up my muscles in my legs to help the soreness.  Overall, it's good that I can get this to go away and not have to worry about cartilage being inflamed.  They said it should start to feel better in a couple of days if I keep doing the exercises.  Once, I can walk down stairs without pain, I can start running again.  Hopefully within the week as I can still get some sort of training in before the May Half Ironman with 8 weeks to go.

I did get some fancy ultrasound on the top of my foot.  Not sure if it helped or not because I really haven't had pain in my foot since the knee injury.  I can see how professional athletes can heal really fast.  If they do PT everyday, it can help a ton.  I have another session on Tuesday so hopefully it just get better and better.

The next running injury I get I'm hitting the PT immediately.  It's worth it to me to be able to keep running at a high level.  Maybe this way I can really ramp up the running speed and get a little closer to my old pace.

Elena is taking a nap right now in preparation for our White House tour.  It got moved from 2pm to 7pm so she'll be up past her bedtime.  It was her own idea to take a nap.  What a conciseness kid.  I had to get her some dress shoes as she's grown out of her past ones.  She also needed a new dress sweater to go over her dress.  It was hard finding because all the spring clothes are out.  We found one at the Gymboree but it was spendy.  Oh well...such is a parent's life.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


In continuing with the Apple theme, I sent in my old PC to be recycled by Apple this morning.  When you buy a new Mac, Apple lets you participate in a recycling old computer program.  It's pretty sweet.  They send you two FedEx barcodes so you can ship 2 boxes full of old computer parts.  I cleaned out all kinds of old stuff that I can no longer use.  The only problem was finding boxes big enough.  I had to use my work 24" LCD empty box so if I ever get whacked I'm not sure how I'm going to send back my monitor.

I'm typing this blog as I ice my knee for the billionth time.  This runner knee is not getting any better.  I've gone to an extreme measure and sent an inquiry email to a physical therapist.  I'm actually debating with myself to call them today to see if they can help.  I'm also seriously thinking about not running for 14 days just to see if it can heal completely.  This would leave me 7 weeks to build up my run.

I rode both Saturday and Sunday on the tri-bike in 70 degree weather.  It was great even though I can tell why I got runner's knee.  My quads are pathetically weak.  Endurance was fine but leg strength was horrible.  It's just amazing at how hard my Ironman pace feels just for 60 miles.  My neck and back hurt as well because I'm not used to the tri position.  It's not like my lips are kissing my front wheel either, I was just too much of a winter riding slacker.

I can safely say my off season didn't accomplish anything.  My riding sucks and I can't run because I'm injured.  Perfect!  The only benefit so far is my swimming is faster.  Who would've thought!

Since I didn't have to go to Europe this week, I get to go on a White House tour on Saturday.  Amber's husband works for the President so he was able to get us the "special" White House tour.  I'm sure now my blog will be flagged because I used the word "President" and "White House".  Anyway, it's going to be pretty cool as we get to see the West Wing and might get to peek into the Oval Office.  All this assumes that the President isn't around because if he's working the tours are all canceled.  I hope he's slacking this Saturday at least.  I guess this is one of the perks of suffering out here through super cold winters and super hot and humid summers.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pure Pain

I went out today for my first "long" ride.  It wasn't really long though since I only managed just over 3 hours and 60 miles.  The weather was great for early March and compared to all the cold weather.  It was 70 degrees by the time my ride ended.  My energy ended about 8 miles short of the finish.  It was a struggle to get back home.  I was wiped out.  This doesn't bode well for May but hopefully I can get my act together.

The Macbook Pro is doing great.  The display is so amazing, it's hard to describe plus just being able to pick it up and move around the condo is sweet.  I didn't have to go Europe. Woohoo!!  Things are changing for me so I won't have to travel as much hopefully.  So bye bye to my United Premier status for next year.  The one crazy thing with the Mac is trying to figure out how to read in the movies from my camcorder.  I need to catalog and put together some movies from last year of Elena.  Plus because I don't have to go to Europe, I get to see Elena's 1st grade music performance.  We'll give the iMovie a spin to see how it goes.

The knee still hurts but I think I'll just get used to it.  I probably won't be able to walk after the half but I'll just recover this summer.  Ice and more ice with some Aleve throw in for good measure.  It hurts getting out of the saddle on the bike as well but definitely didn't make me so slow on all the climbs today.

I need to wash my car because it's covered in salt.  It looks like a heavy sweater's tri-shorts at the end of a hot day.  Actually all the roads around here have the same salt streaks.  Massive salt and I didn't see anyone with chains that day when it snowed.  The roads can't handle that type of wear because they already have freeze cracks everywhere.

Well tomorrow it's suppose to be another nice day so I'll try the trifecta for bike rides.  I might die but at least the legs will get stronger because right now they're weak.  I'm already down to my race weight of 142 and I know its mostly muscle loss.  I just slacked way too much on the bike this off season so my legs have turned back into runner legs.  Of course that's useless because I won't be able to leverage all that good running base into speed because of the stupid knee.  Last year my off-season was wasted because of the collapsed lung and this year most of it was destroyed because of one 12 mile run.  I wish I would've just stuck to my normal route and maybe it would've been different.  Just one of those time machine type moments.

Well it's another exciting Saturday night in DC, as I watch Netflix.  I might try to see Watchmen tomorrow but I hate going to opening weekend movies.  I just rather not deal with the crowds.  Although I might brave the crowds for Monsters vs. Aliens because Elena is totally excited to see it.  She's been talking about it for months.

Well we lose an hour of sleep tonight which's odd that this year its so early when last year it wasn't until April.  I wonder who makes that decision.  It seems random.  I want to be the daylight and standard time change czar.  Full control of people's wake-up schedule and screwing parents nationwide when they attempt to get their young ones up an hour earlier than normal.  Excellent!  I wonder if Congress would have to vote to stop daylight savings.  Imagine being like Arizona where you don't have to deal with a time change.  I guess in June the sun would rise at 4am and most people wouldn't like that.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Stimulating this horrible economy

Well, I'm doing my part to stimulate this economy by spending a bunch of my federal tax return.  I decided to go even more Apple this past weekend by getting an iPod at Costco.  I got an 8G one and I decided purple based on Elena's suggestion.  She loves purple and I like it as well.  Anyway, she'll be getting this iPod when she gets older anyway so it works to my advantage.  I saved $10 by getting it at Costco which covers the sales tax.  It would've been cool to get the free engraving Apple is offering but oh well.

Of course the biggest purchase of my new Macbook Pro 17".  The screen is awesome and it's really light for how wide it is.  It's not a big hassle carrying it around but man it's tough to get used to the new OS.  I'm still trying to find out how to "cut" files and "paste" them rather than just "copy/paste".  I'm sure I'll find it. The files I backed up from my PC don't work though.  Stupid media player built a bunch of wma files and those aren't readable on the Mac.  Luckily, I had only purchased 3 albums so it's not that big of deal.  I can try to convert them via Itunes on Windows but my PC is pretty messed up.  The graphics card is almost dead as it only boots in VGA mode.

Some things are really cool like this "Expose" feature which zooms all windows to fit the screen so you can find one easily.  I have a bluetooth mouse and keyboard that's really cool.  The best thing is I turned it on and selected my wireless network from a list and entered my password.  It was that simple.  No selecting which type of wireless password crap that XP has, etc.

Elena and I also went to Ikea and bought a desk for her room and I even upgrade to a normal desk.  The folding table disintegrated when I took it down.  Good times!  This desk is nice and it's all clean now.  We'll see how long that lasts.

I get to Europe next week well I have to is more accurate in the description.  It's going to be a brutal trip because I have to leave on Saturday and I don't get back to the following Saturday.  Plus on top of that I'm missing a tour of the White House that Saturday.  It pays to know people but I can't take advantage this time around.  Elena, Amber, Joe and a couple others are getting a tour and including the West Wing.  Amber says they might get to peek into the Oval Office.  Bummer for me.  Oh well...

It's fricking cold here still.  It snowed 6 inches yesterday.  This is compared to mid 50s last Thursday when I took my bike outside for the first time since October. wasn't too bad of a 27 miles.  The legs definitely felt weak but not totally dead.  It was 66 on Friday but it rained plus Elena had a half school day so I didn't get out on the bike.  Now there's snow everywhere and it's like 20 something degrees.  ARGH!!  This is hurting my heating bill although I'm still keeping it cool in the apartment.

The swimming is continue to stay at my new faster pace.  This is cool and was able to bust out a sub 1:40 for my last 100yard interval yesterday.  Sweet...  Of course this is all tempered with not being able to run at all.  I even bought Aleve at Costco.  I took one on Saturday.  I haven't had an Aleve in easily 5 years not counting the drugs they were giving in the hospital last year for the collapsed lung stuff.  The knee is still sore.  I'm also trying some glucosamine supplement to see if that helps.  I'll try to run on Sunday in Zurich for 30 minutes and see how it goes.  The run last Wednesday was 4 miles and I kept a decent pace even though the knee hurt.

That's just a quick update of stuff going on...I'll try to be more active but I've gotten super busy at work.