Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Big Chill Day Two

See the white snow-like substance covering my car and most of the ground? Yeah, totally not snow. Solid ice. As in: multiple layers of wicked-hard frozen rain. From the over-night rain storm that swallowed several hundred miles of the South Eastern United States. Including, of course, us rednecks.

Due to my unfortunate lack of deep ice experience, today's technique of car cleansing involved a rubber mallet. And the precise application of force at clever angles. Which, surprisingly, worked well. The roads, however, were never cleared (since South Mississippi has exactly ZERO salt or sand trucks) and my car hasn't moved since Sunday.

And thus, Ye Ol' McDougal Family spent another day together. Television. iPad. Computer. And some DVR. Though we did have some relief as Cindy braved the elements after lunch and crept over to her mother's house for several hours. Otherwise nothing blew up, there was no bloodshed,  nobody was hurt, our supplies of pizza & leftover Subway fed us as planned, and the house didn't burn to the ground. That is a significant victory by anyone's measure.

For your viewing purposes, on the left, Molly is modelling the latest winter wear for small McFurryButts. And above is a long distance shot of Meg walking said-dog. In capris, and sandals.. While the temperature hovers just below freezing. That's how we McDougals roll during a crippling ice event in Southern Mississippi!

The plans for tomorrow include: Cindy returning to work, kids returning to school, and Your Humble Narrator returning to training. At least until the next climate-controlled adventure.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Big Chill 2014

One of the perks of living on the MS Gulf Coast is the ultra rare incursion of winter snow or ice. Since our return (in 2005)  we've only seen ice once. And it has not snowed south of I-10 in more than a decade. The local governments have no ability to manage such weather events. No snow plows. No salt for the roads. And most folks, including myself, do not have ANY "cold weather gear."  As a result, the entire three county area grinds to a complete halt even under the faintest SUGGESTION of such inclement conditions.

The predictions for today ranged from "less than an inch of snow," as reported by Impact Weather, to "as much as five inches of snow," by The Weather Channel. Which elicited several emergency responses including: 1) Schools were closed, 2) Government services were halted, 3) Cindy's job canceled all appointments for two days, and 4) my job sent us nerds home to work remotely until Thursday. And the rest of the citizenry of South Mississippi made preparations to huddle in their homes with their animals and plants and Internet-addicted children.

Did Cindy use the phrase, "Stir crazy," at least once an hour? Yup. Did snow appear? Nary a flake. Did ice appear? Yeah, pretty much. Especially that odd sleet-like stuff. Did every Southern Fried Redneck on Facebook mistake the mounds of tiny ice balls for snow and post pictures of icicles clinging to the mud trucks? Absolutely! Twenty first century in Mississippi, yo!

On a potentially grim note, we're supposed to have more of the same tomorrow. Temperatures dropping as low as 22 degrees by five in the morning. Then slowly climbing to a high of 34 by noon . Couple of hours of maybe thawing the frost, and back below freezing until Thursday. The truly scary part is the specter of spending another day with Cindy chanting "stir crazy," intermingled with, "I need a drink," because we're all home at the same time on any day other than the weekend and it skews her mojo. Thank you, Winter Storm Leon, AKA The Big Chill of 2014!

Monday, January 27, 2014

The 4HB "5K to 50K" 12 Week Program - Week 1

Today, after months of pre-training, Your Humble Narrator started the 4 Hour Body "5K to 50K" program!

The good news? Once you understand the Crossfit shorthand, they are easy to understand. They're usually very simple exercises. And, best of all, the workouts are VERY quick.

The bad news? While easy to digest, the workouts are HARD! The idea that anyone is going to become "effortlessly superhuman," as Tim Ferriss promises you, borders on the offensive when you're on the floor, panting like a dog and drenched in sweat.

What was the week like?

  • Monday: AM - Good mornings. Only took five minutes. Seriously. FIVE MINUTES. But, for the unfamiliar, good mornings are something of an advanced movement and need to be performed properly. PM - Double Unders & Sit-ups. Most people cannot do double unders. Let alone an unbroken set of 50 of them! To compensate, double the number and single jumps. So my second workout was: 100 singles, 50 sit-ups, 80 singles, 40 sit-ups, 60 singles, 30 sit-ups, 40 singles, 20 sit-ups, 20 singles, and 10 sit-ups. No rest between! This evening workout wasn't quick or easy. But 300 jumps and 150 sit-ups take a while when you're an old, frumpy computer dork.
  • Tuesday: AM - Push press + chin-ups. 21, 15, then 9. This workout took less than ten minutes, but it was brutal. My shirt was soaked afterwards. PM - 8 x 200m sprints on the 2 minute mark. After Monday's 300 jumps, this workout HURT! Starting each sprint felt like wearing lead sweat pants. The sprint would take roughly 45 seconds, and then 75 seconds before starting the next one. Total time: 16 minutes. Lots of sweat here.
  • Wednesday - Only one workout! So thankful to give my legs something of a rest. But that doesn't mean it was pleasant. First a 1500m row to warmup. Then 30 power cleans. Focused on form with the cleans. By the 30th, they sucked.
  • Thursday - 5K run. Nothing special here. Was doing 5K runs anyway. 27 minutes and change.
  • Friday - Ice storm! Couldn't drive to the gym or the track. Had to skip a workout.
  • Saturday - Bench press, but only at 50%-60% max. Quick and easy. Followed with my new nemesis: Tabata rows. 20 seconds full speed, 10 seconds of slow rows to catch your breath. Repeat 8 times. That's four minutes. But try it. It was brutal. Anyone that can hop of the sofa and do those with any significant success deserves a medal. Much panting and sweating resulted.

    Bonus: Threw in a 2000m swim. 40 laps.
  • Sunday - Thrusters and box jumps. Yuck. The program recommends 110lbs on the Thrusters. Nope. Not happening. The average person is not going to be able to do three dozen thrusters with that much weight. Don't see it happening. You have to adjust and be able to pace yourself.

    Bonus: Threw in a 9 mile trail run. Mostly run. By 7 miles my arches were hurting and there wasn't as much running after that. 
And that was Week 1. Enjoyed the majority of it. Total workout time was surprisingly low. Nothing outrageous body breaking. Soreness wasn't TOO bad. Even with a couple of bonus activities.  Just hoping it proves beneficial to my 70.3 in May.

On to Week 2!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tuxachanie Trail Run

After a briefly exciting round of  powerlifting this morning, Luke talked me into a trail down the quiet Tuxachanie. Thankfully the weather was extremely cooperative. High fifties. Low sixties? Just enough sunlight to warm us up. Not enough to overheat, or sunburn, us.

Turned out to be a decent crowd. Especially for such short notice. Luke said it was Tugboat pace. Inside joke. Tugboats are his term for folks (like me!) that train a good bit but will never be on the podium. Pretty much: normal people! But non-obsessive people, Luke would likely say. Not obsessive cavemen.

Anyway. Informal group met after lunch. Warmed up. Checked our supplies. Put in the earbuds. And hit the trail.

Fairly easy pace. But Your Humble Narrator gradually fell behind. And by the three mile mark he was all by his lonesome. Never fear, loyal readers, he was fine. By four and a half miles, it was time to turn around. The rest of the crowd had likely reached the end. With their pace, they would likely catch me on the return trip.

By the seventh mile, my arches were starting to hurt. Wasn't much "running" on the trail after that. A little. But mostly walking. As the second hour approached, so did the entrance.

All in all, a great little excursion. Something different than the normal. And challenging. With some friends and fellow Tugboats. We'll have to do that more often. Until the sun and mosquitoes spoil it for us.

Saturday, January 25, 2014


On the heels of last night's ice & woe, we had a lazy day at Chateaus McDougal today. Cindy & Meg went to the Edgewater Mall for an adventure with The Builder's Club. A  while ago, Meg had written several skits and performances. Then the club spent several weeks practicing. They did the live performance today. In front of a crowd of shoppers, parents, and a local camera crew from WLOX. No idea how long the link will last, but here is the broadcast. Meg's in the back of the photo I grabbed. And in the actual video she does a fashion walk. They did a great job for a great cause and I'm super proud of her efforts. And her contribution to the community.

Meanwhile, us lads slinked off to my favorite pub for some burgers and brews.A lone cider and Buffalo Chicken sammich for me. A coke and a huge burger for Liam. Of course he didn't want to go, at first. Would rather stay at the house. But once we were seated and started grubbing, he sang a different song. "We need to do this more often," he said between bites. Little does he know my plans to have him playing music there when he's 18 and his profits will go towards my bar tab!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Iced Over

Pisser of a day. Non-stop adventures from the get-go at the office. Co-worker out of town. Far too sober. And as the daylight starts to fade, South Mississippi finds itself iced over. For whatever freak act of science and nature, the freeze affects mainly our bridges. Probably something to do with construction materials? At any rate, the quickest road to my gym requires a trip across a four lane bridge. Seen to the right, it was backed up for miles. The slow road to my gym requires a trip across a two lane bridge, which was completely shut down. So no training for Your Humble Narrator today.

Meanwhile, in outlying areas, there's a 25 car pileup at the MS/LA border. And just one county north of here, an accident on some takes the lives of three people.

We're hunkering down for the night. But preparing for even worse conditions early next week. Stay tuned for THOSE adventures.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Prep Work For The 4HB "5K to 50K" 12 Week Program

My athletic experience approaching the 4HB  "5K to 50K" 12 Week Program came from training as a triathlete for the past three years and recently completely the Augusta 70.3 Ironman. My fitness levels were to a point where an hour swimming or two hours running or three hours on the bike were common place. My previous regiments also included strength training and advanced yoga practice. And all my metabolic conditions (for my age and background) were considered excellent by my personal physician who had seen me go from 220lbs down to as low as 175lbs, the week before Augusta.

Overall my goal with the 12 Week Program was to improve the speed and quality of my running. But immediately, from the first sentence, the program was trouble. As mentioned previously, it is written in a cryptic shorthand, with no readily available translation. Before making a serious commitment to the program, Your Humble Narrator had to first figure out it was based on Crossfit workouts, and then find a Crossfit instructor to break it down into digestible pieces. Easier said than done. 

Perhaps some aggressive Googling could have helped me make sense of it, but the easy road is rarely fun. Instead, after checking out three different gyms, never hearing back from the first (after MULTIPLE attempts,) getting nothing but the cold shoulder from a visit, an email, voicemail, & texts to the second gym, the third gym (CrossFit Portside!) turned out to be an excellent fit with my schedule and daily commute. 

Sara Carter, owner and instructor, looked over the plan with me. Without any hesitation, she politely, yet firmly let me know that it would be COMPLETELY INSANE for me to try to do this one my own. Ironman or not! Sara smiled and suggested the very first couple of days would "crush me." And if power lifting wasn't already on my list of skills, the result would be painful, long lasting damage. She suggested at least one month, if not more, of getting a good grip on the fundamentals of Crossfit, finding my existing limits, then adapting the program to more reasonable exercises while still using the majority of the plan.

Which is what has been happening for the past two and a half months: lifting and sweating and all but puking multiple times a week at Crossfit Portside. After working closely with Sara, it only strengthened my belief in her opinions of the 4HB program and helped me see that it was actually very advanced and very difficult. So while Tim Ferriss might suggest "anyone can do it," it has taken me about 10 weeks of Crossfit (on top of 3 years of triathlons) to get to the point where the program is doable.

And in 12 weeks, we shall all know see the results of this challenge.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Why The 4HB 12 Week Program Is Mostly Impossible

It is important for folks to know why Tim Ferriss' "5K to 50K" training program is mostly impossible for the average reader.Or virtually any reader.

First, the program is (by my estimate) about 60% Crossfit, 30% running drills, and 10% long runs. Anyone who is not familiar with Crossfit will not even be able to decipher the program, let alone attempt it. Here is an example of one workout: "Tabata row 20:10 x 8," which translates into "Hop on a rowing machine, row full speed for 20 seconds, then row easy for 10 seconds, and repeat 8 times." Another example: "Box Back Squat: 10 x 2 on min w/ 80% 1RM" which means, "Do 10 sets of 2 reps on Back Squats, hitting a box, using 80% of your 1 Rep Max weight." And the program is 12 pages of Crossfit shorthand which is never directly explained.

Second, the program assumes you have access to not only a serious gym which includes squat racks, rowing machines, chin-up frames, jump ropes, boxes, and plenty of weights, but also a track or some place you can perform sprint drills. You are also expected to have fairly excellent working knowledge on a multitude of complex power lifting moves, which few people understand, let alone have perfected. Some examples include: good mornings, dead lifts, front squats, back squats, power cleans, presses, push presses, and kettle bell swings. If you have never done these exercises, they are not likely to come naturally. And practicing bad form with them is likely to do more harm than good. Seriously. Like, pulling or tearing muscles. Damaging your spine. These are not simple exercises, but Tim thinks you should be able to hop up and start cranking them out.

Third, the program assumes you are in PHENOMENAL condition already. It expects you to be able to do 150 double-unders on the jump rope (where the rope passes under you twice with each jump) on Day One. The program expects you to do 45 kipping pull-ups on Day Two. It expects you to do three dozen Thrusters with 115lbs over your head by the end of Week One. And that is where you START. Not the final week, but the very first week of the program.

After discussions with a dozen very athletic friends, exactly NONE of them can do one double-under with a jump rope, let alone the 150 suggested on Day One. Exactly NONE of them can do more than half a dozen pull-ups, let alone the 45 suggested on Day Two. Exactly ONE of them knew what a kipping pull-up was. And exactly NONE of them knew what a Thruster was or would be likely to do three dozen of them. And these are very athletic folks that compete as hard as they train and have years (if not decades) of experience each. But the 4HB program suggests (and Tim himself has said in interviews) that "anyone" can do it, becoming "effortlessly superhuman."

In short, NO ONE other than a very avid Crossfit enthusiast is going to have the vocabulary, skills, or strength to even attempt Tim Ferriss' program.

To think that the typical reader can go from doing little, if any exercise, to completing each of the workouts for twelve weeks is the height of egotistic aloofness and shows a complete detachment from anything even remotely resembling reality.

And yet, Your Humble Narrator is going to attempt it...

Monday, January 20, 2014

Trying Tim Ferriss' 5K to 50K Training Program

One of my sillier ideas: attempt Tim Ferris' program that (he claims) will get you ready to run 50K in 12 weeks. And Tim's assuring his readers that anyone can do it. Anyone can go from zero, to an ultrathon in about three months.

First, let me say: NO WAY! Absolutely no way. Don't believe it at all.

Second: Ferriss himself has not completed an ultrathon and does not know from experience if it will work or not. He has promised to post here when he does complete such an event. As of 01/20/14, he has not updated the site. Try it for yourself. You'll find, "Coming soon."

Third: Aside from lots of articles referencing Tim's program, there appears to be very few (if any) articles from people who have successfully completed the training and done an ultrathon. At least nothing of note appears on the first couple of Google pages of my searches.

Fourth: There is no ultrathon in my future. But there is a 70.3 Ironman. This may be wrong but it seems to me that if the training can prepare a person for a 50K run, it should also prepare me for a 21K (half marathon) at the end of a 70.3 event.

So in order to prove it, Your Humble Narrator is going to DO THE PROGRAM, proving updates along the way, and conclude at The Gulf Coast Triathlon in early May.

More to come. Much more!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wanna Be Healthier?

Here's a very simple secret to keep in mind if you wanna be healthier: EAT REAL FOOD!

Here's my weekly grocery haul, almost directly from a farm in Pearl River County to my kitchen with a brief stop at the Biloxi Farmer's Market. A half gallon of whole white milk, a gallon of whole chocolate milk, an 8oz of butter, 12 or so ounces of tomato basil cheddar, and a pound of ground beef. All of which comes from grass-fed, local cattle. None of which are given hormones or steroids.

Is the Farmer's Market more expensive than Walmart? Having never shopped for such food there, your guess is as good as mine. Though Cindy would likely say everything is a dollar less if you're willing to donate your paycheck to the Walton family. However, Your Humble Narrator would gladly point out that money spent at the Farmer's Market stays in the community. And any report you're likely to dig up on the subject will demonstrate that the nutritional content of grass-fed meat and dairy products is exponentially higher than hyper-industrialized products.

Shopping at the Farmer's Market is a win-win-win situation. Better nutrition. Superior taste & quality. And the money goes to your local farmers. Oh yeah, and no waiting in line at Walmart! Bonus!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Endless Tech

There's an unending stream of technology empowering and consuming my semi-simple life. It is so pervasive it only gets noticed when it is broken or absent. Take work. Of course being a Super Nerd requires immersion in such things, but my day goes from crawling around inside a robotic tape library to spinning up cloned virtual servers and adding them to the Citrix Xenapp farm without any user downtime to proving to vendors that they don't know the difference between a firewall, a switch, and a packet shaper.

Later, once the office is left behind, technology is at the heart of my fitness. From the elaborate indoor training cycles to the music the instructor users to the tracking software that records every sweaty mile under my aching feet.

Shift to the homestead. Or carousing time. And once again little happens that doesn't have some digital element. My triathlon team operates almost exclusively on Facebook. My email archive dates back nearly a decade (July of 2004) and it is constantly available on everything around me (phone, tablet, PC.) Messages fly constantly: Google Talk, FB Messenger, corporate email, SMS, and more. Reminders. To Dos. My calendar. My alarms.

Your Humble Narrator sometimes prays for an EMP to bring it all to a screeching halt. And then the fun would begin.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Icy Pints - Gulfport

Inaugural run of the Icy Pints Athletic team from its new Gulfport chapter at Irish Coast Pub. Got there early. Brought running shorts AND pants, in case of weather. Brought a big ol' jug of water to hydrate. Pre-fueled the rocket with some Xyience. Then discovered a complete lack of running shoes. Which promptly cranked my usually repressed levels of anger from 2 to 11. And the profanity began...

Eventually, the rage was re-repressed by copious amounts of cider and pleasant company. Turned out to be a pleasant night. Despite my lack of training or sweating or cardiovascular conditioning.

Your Humble Narrator will like return for additional Icy visits. It's the usual Tuesday run with the usual Tuesday people on the usual Tuesday route outside the usual Tuesday pub. Just new management. Same ol sweat. And same ol' Jon still attempting to be an athlete.

So, welcome Icy Pint. Gulfport is glad to have you!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Curse you, lungs!

Respiration is greatly over-rated!

On my 10th day of issues. Primarily isolated to the lungs. Left upper lobe, methinks. Physically strong. Physically energetic. But cannot run the engine in the red for very long until breathing becomes an issue. Mostly a matter of taking things VERY slow. Not getting winded. But, you know, THAT SUCKS! If it weren't for the whole lack of oxygen thing going on, the engine would be firing on all cylinders. Curse you, lungs!

Swam yesterday. Lifted today. Bit of a power test. Back squat maxed out around 205lbs. Push press maxed out around 95lbs. And deadlift maxed out around 245lbs. May have been able to do a few pounds more on each, but not many. Not without risking injury. And injury ain't cool at this age.

Still getting stronger. Still developing better form. Cleaner technique. But still much room for improvement.

Hoping to finalize on the 12 week training program in the next day or two, then start on the 20th. Follow the 12 week general program with a 6 - 8 week focused Ironman program. And see what happens from there...

Sunday, January 12, 2014


The Gulf Coast Triathlon looms on a distant horizon. Another 70.3 event. Team members converging en masse. My brain going sideways with thoughts on training. Wanna focus on the run. Wanna make sure to train several open Gulf swims. Don't want to over-train. (Easy to do.) Don't want to under-train. (Easier to do!) Thinking about incorporating Crossfit. Thinking about buying a new watch. (Actually my first watch!) Thinking about new goggles.

Meanwhile, on a different frequency, Traditions approaches. With a multitude of folks asking me for guidance, support, help, suggestions, and/or material aid. Problem is, Traditions is a sprint, and it is two weeks before Gulf Coast. So any training spent with folks prep'ing them for Traditions is going to be significantly less than the training plan for Gulf Coast. The tri team is planning to offer another round of The Road To Traditions. And Your Humble Narrator would like to help. But there are so many thoughts and machinations bouncing through his head, he's not able to think straight, let alone train straight.

But the plan will be finalized this week. Gotta get the calendar fixed and finalized. One way or another. 

More on that, as it develops. 

Wednesday, January 08, 2014


Constantly spinning between perspectives as people move through my life. Each in their own gyre. Accelerating or slowing, To their own internal soundtrack. 

A vendor took us to lunch yesterday. Six months ago she was hit, and very nearly killed, by a car while casually bicycling through her neighborhood. Barely remembers the two weeks after that. Especially the time in the ICU. Has a list of multiple surgeries to schedule, when possible, in her immediate future. Including partial facial reconstruction. And she walks only thanks to the support of crutches. On the other hand, she doesn't want to talk about all her woes, she wants to hear my plans for the coming triathlon season. While my internal dialog is conflicted about mentioning my complete hatred of running because she isn't able to get around without any mechanical support. Just walking upright, unassisted, is her next milestone. But Your Humble Narrator laments not being ready for the Rock N Roll Marathon in New Orleans in a couple of weeks. 

A friend further north lives paycheck to paycheck. In a hotel. For a year. With two kids. Subsisting on Ramen & Bunny Bread. While an absentee-spouse spends every available penny on Oxy. Mid-life. Nearly rock bottom. No Christmas. No holidays. Too scared of the other hotel guests to let the kids do anything other than play a dying X-box or watch TV behind constantly locked doors. But it's a hassle that my weekends are entirely booked through May and the biggest challenge ahead is deciding which condo to rent at the next big race. 

Another friend rebuilding a personal life, again. Had previously tried to get into triathlons. One successful race. Then the world went sideways.Unexpected ailment after ailment. Some minor. Some not. Some still not resolved. Compounded by a mis-represented inter-personal relationship that took a lot of time and effort to go nowhere. How do you pour all your heart and energy and hope into somebody, just to turn around and be forced to create a peaceful way to watch it all get flushed into oblivion? Starting all that over. Maybe the third time in two years. With uncertainty looming behind every one of the many blind curves ahead. Wanting help. Not wanting to ask for it. Fear of rejection. Or yet another loss if you let somebody else get close. 

And one more. This time somebody pretty close. I train with them as much as possible. Draw strength and inspiration and motivation. Gets bad news about a recent pain that isn't as simple or easily corrected as everyone hoped. Maybe it won't be career ending. But it could be. Talking about somebody who ate, drank, slept, and breathed fitness. A self-made person. Little, if any, outside support. Few, if any, family nearby. A fragile, if not irreparable, relationship that rarely, if ever, gets discussed because of the gut-wrenching implications. And several long term plans that may or may not get completely erased, based on the outcome of a recovery program which has no certainty of success. 

Puts my life into a different perspective. A very thankful and appreciative perspective.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Doing Laps

The pool at eFitness has been informally closed for a couple of weeks. Informally meaning that  the heater was broken and the temperature dropped south of 68 degrees but they still kept it open so nobody would request refunds. When they did finally fix it, a plague before your Humble Narrator. So tonight was my first swim of the New Year.

After maybe ten clumsy, half-flailing laps, my chest managed to dislodge the final lung goblins which had been clinging inside me for several hundred meters. Then the old familiar rhythm: reach, pull, breath. Focus on covering space. Minimize drag. Steam streamlined. Reach, pull, breath. Don't lose count. Reach, pull, breath. Twist. Sight. Reach, pull, breath. Crap, I may have lost count. Reach, pull, breath.

And somewhere close to 1800 meters was covered in that fashion.

A fine return and a good sign of things to come. A mile without difficulty. And 21 weeks to go before my next 70.3. Another minor victory.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Not Smart

Doing Crossfit with a diminished lung capacity was not smart. Felt nearly recovered. At first. But just starting the warm-up routine was taxing. Did a couple of snatches. Worked on my form. Then went on a express elevator to the pain cave. 22 wall balls (started with 20# and went down to 14#.) 16 burpees. 10 one-handed kettlebell clean & press. Rinse and repeat. Five times. End of the third round: couldn't catch my breath. End of the forth: sweating non-stop. End of the fifth and final round: half a gasp from puking. Actually walked outside, just in case, arms above my head. Praying nobody saw or heard anything.

Wanted to stop after three rounds. Just tap out and admit defeat. Didn't. Fought through it. Without puking, crying, or dying. One minor victory. More to come. Many more.

Sunday, January 05, 2014


Whatever assaulted Your Humble Narrator was a devious beast. No clue what it was. Where it came from. But it appears to be on the retreat.Far less coughing. No chills. Minimal sinus issues. Mostly lingering pain in the major muscle groups. Back. Calves. Thighs.

Forty eight hours to fight it off. Without prescription meds. Only sacrificed the bulk of a weekend to it. Still managed to catch a movie and spend time with the kids.

And Monday draws close. The dragons array themselves on battle lines. Motioning me to come forth. Once again.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

All Geeked Up

Finally wrestled with my lone XMas present: hard drives! OCZ Vertex 4 solid state drive for the Operating System, and a Western Digital 2TB Black drive for everything else. (Quite an upgrade from the petite 250Gb drive originally in the box!)

Installed the little drive. Cloned the old C: drive onto it. Rebooted. OS came up clean on the new drive. Installed the second drive. Re-slaved the original. (Can't just waste that space...) Cleaned up dust bunnies. Re-routed cables. And thanked my dark computer gods that nothing died or fried and nobody cried.

Speaking of crying, still feel TERRIBLE.  Definitely fighting off a major bug. But at least I was still able to get all geeked up.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Under Assault

After work, just over 24hrs ago, it was Kettlebell Swings, Box Jumps, and Knees To Elbows. By eight o'clock something foul took up residence in my belly. (New Year's Ham, Greg says!) And by eleven o'clock  a torrent of ichor was flowing into my lung. Your Wayward Narrator was fully under assault!

Barely crawled out of bed. Moving like a frozen corpse. Late to the office. Hurting in my joints. And my chest. And my face. No fever, thankfully. Local Doc In A Box doesn't carry flu tests. But the NP suggested a couple of OTC concoctions to try.

All amped up to begin training in earnest, then ten thousand angry bees take up residence in my sinuses. Praying for sleep. Praying for relief. In 2014.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Great Grandma

Looking back, one of the worst parts of 2013 was the rapid decline of Great Grandma. (Who is actually my Grandmother, but my kids call her Great Gradma and my niece Morgan calls her G.G.)

A bad combination of medications gave her bleeding ulcers. The blood loss made her weak. The weakness put her in the hospital in September and didn't get out until late November, or even early December. . And she spiraled almost out of control, briefly landing in the ICU with severe pneumonia. For a few weeks she was in rehab to regain her strength. Then back into the hospital. Then rehab again. And finally, after six or eight weeks, back home. 

But she's frail on the best of days. Easily fatigued due to several heart conditions. And her short term memory is shot. 

My mother pretty much spent four or six straight days trying to watch over Great Grandma. But couldn't do it alone. An around the clock effort was too much work. And neither of Mom's siblings would contribute enough of their time to make a difference. And ultimately they decided to put Great Grandma in a local assisted living facility.

Great Grandma has always been in my life. We were pretty much raised by my grandparents. She has always been strong. Always been supportive. There for any of us when we needed her. 

Not used to seeing her so weak. Or forgetful. My stomach rolls at the thought of her alone, in some foreign facility. How often does she come out of her fog and wonder, "Where am I?" How often is she lonely? Or afraid? Not sure when, if ever, such notions will sit well in my head. But they have to be accepted. The outcome isn't optional. Or avoidable. 

In the meanwhile, I see her on the weekends. Tell her that I love her. Hold her hand. Remember all the wonderful years I had with her. 

I hope we can somehow make her remaining days as happy as she made us.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Bye Bye 2013

Two major victories in 2013: Cindy graduated with Nurse Practitioner degree, and Jon finished his first 70.3 Ironman.

Hopefully we can build from there, in 2014.