Friday, January 30, 2009

Good Luck Bailey and Annette

Correction to my last post, this will be Annette's "5th" Marathon in less than a year and her 6th for all time. This is also Baileys 4th marathon in a year. They both will qualify as "Marathon Maniacs" after this race.

Good luck on Sunday at Surf City ladies!!

Getting ready to leave at the airport - Bailey and Annette

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blogging through the cold

It has been an extremely cold week here. We had ice on Monday evening and Tuesday. I had to travel to Memphis Monday morning for a meeting. The original plan was to spend the night but after watching the weather deteriorate, I decided to high tail it home after we had an early dinner. It was 36 degrees and a light mist when I left Memphis. Before I made it 30 miles into Arkansas, the temperature had dropped to 30 degrees. Can you say major pucker factor when you cross bridges! Actually, never encountered any slick spots for a long ways. I was worried about the White River Bridge on I40 but it was clear as a bell. Between there and Lonoke though things started to change. Just before Lonoke the temp had dropped to 28 degrees. The first bridge west of Lonoke was icy and had a bad wreck off on the side. I had my fire radio on so I heard South Bend getting paged out for another accident on I40 between the 169 and 170 mile marker. I looked where I was and I figured it would be about Remington. Sure enough, it was just west of Remington so I managed to get off the exit with no problem. Still one bridge on 89 to cross before home. When I got to it traffic was stopped and I guess the police were turning people around so I turned around and came back to Cabot via Kerr Road. No problems after that but it was a stressful drive home for sure.

Tuesday was pretty bad in some places but didn't really affect me any. It was suppose to get worse on Tuesday night but that never materialized here. The northern part of the state got it bad though with a lot of ice and power outages. We missed the bullet here!

Wednesday night I ran 4 miles on the treadmill. It was actually a pretty good run. Just an easy get it done run in 42:00. Average pace 10:30. If it was cold on the treadmill it would be easier but mine is upstairs and it always seems to be too warm for me even with a fan. But that's ok, it makes me sweat which is good.

Tonight I did a little speed work for the first time in a long time. I wanted to see if I could do a timed mile on the treadmill. Started with a 1 mile warm up and then went into the timed mile. Well, it's kind of hard to really do a timed mile on a treadmill. All you can do is start out at a pace you think is moderately hard and then increase. Pretty much what I did. Could have been faster but I didn't really have a clue as it's been so long since I really ran fast. Timed mile ended up being a 9:15 and I know I could have done better. I at least have a number to start basing a little speed work off of. I also wanted to get a feel of what my 5k time could be. This is a start and I think I am going to try one tempo or LT pace run once a week. I am just going to try to stay away from the repetition pace as that's where I get hurt most of the time.

Oh yeah, Annette and Bailey are headed to Huntington Beach, California this weekend to run the Surf City Marathon. It will be Annette's 4th marathon in less than a year. I think she will also qualify as a "Marathon Maniac" since this will be three marathons in a 3 months time period. I had plans of doing the same back in the summer but injuries forced me out. In fact, I doubt I will do another marathon until fall, but that's subject to change. Right now work is too stressful to get the needed training and have the right frame of mind that I need. Going to work on the shorter distances and improving my 1/2 marathon times without getting injured. That's the main goal. Stay healthy!

Good luck this weekend Annette and Bailey!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

50 Is Not That Bad

In case you didn't know it. I just turned 50 this week. That's right, the big 50. Half a century old. 12 years to retirement maybe? Ha....not at the rate the economy is going. Getting done with 49 seemed quite the task between a long time dealing with Plantar in my foot and then kidney stones. But now that 50 has hit, those things seem 100% better. I am also getting my endurance back and yesterday was my first Saturday run with the Cruisers in forever it seemed. Had a great run too. Ran with Annette, Jane, Michele and Eugene for most of the run. Eugene and I left the girls later as they were doing 8 miles and we just wanted between 5-6. I ended up getting 5.54 miles with just a long slow average pace of 10:21. On top of that, no walk breaks for me either. And we ran some good Cabot "inclines".

Saturday night we were invited to Jackie's house for a birthday dinner. Annette told me before we left that Brenda, Tony, Michele and James was coming also. I was starting to smell something. When we turned on Jackie's street there were cars everywhere. Annette said that Jackie's neighbors were having a party. Then I saw Cheryl's truck and I recognized some of the others that were parked and I said "yeah right". I knew something was up then. But I did get surprised! When we opened the door it seemed like the whole running club was there. Had to be 20-30 people. It was an awesome surprise party. Great food with a great group of friends. I cannot say enough about how lucky I am to have friends like this. Thanks guys for making it a great 50th!

At the party plans were made to bike to Conway Sunday morning with James and Russ. They wanted to ride to Conway, then catch a ride on up to the Grand Prix race in Russellville. I had my doubts that it may be too cold to ride but I said I would go if it wasn't too cold. Well, this morning it was 26 degrees when I got up and didn't promise to get much warmer. We would have had to leave around 9:30 to make it to Conway in time so it was just too cold. Ended up working out, Alex was sick so Michele couldn't go and do the shuttle and it was too cold for James too. James and Russ did drive up and run the race. I just didn't feel like I was ready to race yet so I stayed home.

I did get an awesome workout in today though. I set the bike up on the trainer in the living room and watched the Tour Down Under while riding. That is the way to do the trainer! I never got bored, and every time they would race to the finish line I would race with them. Think I watched 4 segments of the tour and rode a total of 1:18:00 for about 23 miles. Then it was off the bike and up to the treadmill for a run. Got a nice 2 mile run in while I was still warmed up from the bike. The first half mile my legs felt pretty heavy but I just ran slow until they came to life then just picked it up a little. Ended up with a 10:16 average pace for 2 miles which I was very happy with after being on the bike so long. Then finished out with a .3 walk to cool down. Should have burnt plenty of calories to make up for my birthday cake last night!

Remember, getting older is really not that bad, especially when you have great friends to help you celebrate!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Saturday evening Baptist Med-Flight departed Memphis enroute back to Little Rock without a patient. Med Flight struck a flock of birds around the Forrest City area and made an emergency landing. The pilot suffered some minor injuries and everyone was shaken up. Below are the pictures from the incident and the associated damages that occurred to their aircraft. Med-Flight does not wear helmets and the crew is lucky the pilot’s vision remained intact to land the aircraft.

Flying is for the birds!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Trying to get out the door

Some days are harder than others, Sunday was pretty easy. I didn't run early, waited till about 11am and took off from the house. Annette had done her long run early but I didn't need that kind of mileage so it just didn't make sense to deal with the cold if I didn't have to. 11am was perfect weather. Sunny, about 49 degrees, a little windy which was good, otherwise to me it would have actually been too warm. Just ended up getting a 4.1 mile run in but it felt good. I never took any walk breaks. Average pace of 10:28 and I actually was making myself slow down a few times just to get my heart rate down. Ran around the soccer fields one time in the grass just to add mileage. Probably be back on the treadmill tonight. Wanted a bike ride but time just didn't allow it, met my daughter and her husband for lunch and then we had a Cruiser club meeting at Jackie's house.

I need a plan. Nothing makes sense to me without a written plan. I have several 1/2 Marathons coming up so I probably need to focus on those, or maybe 5k's, but 5k's mean speed work and I really don't want that hurt again. The BIG race will be the 1/2 Iron Duathlon in June. That's my big event for the year, at least the first 6 months anyway. So until I find the right plan I'll probably just be running blindly until I have a set schedule in front of me. Hope to have something soon.

Have a good week everyone!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Getting My Adrenalin Fix

Had to travel for work a couple days this week so I have only gotten one little run in and it was 2 miles on the treadmill at the hotel Wednesday night. It pretty much sucked. Needless to say, I have not been very motivated lately to brave the cold and try to get a run in.

For all good intentions, I had planned on running sometime today but it didn't happen. Instead I got my adrenalin fix in other ways, fighting fire! It has been very slow at the fire department for many months and we just really haven't had the fires we normally have. So today people decided to burn outside, even though the winds were blowing pretty good, 15-20mph at times I think. I had hopes just for a lazy day but instead I ran my butt off. It's about 10pm now and I'm hoping this is it for the night.

First call came in about 11am for a grass fire that was threatening several structures. This was up off Justice Rd and it is very hilly so we knew we had to make a quick attack. This fire got very close to an out building on the home owners property but never really threatened anything else. We had 3 Engines and a Brush truck to knock it out. Luckily it was still wet enough that the fire moved a lot slower than it could have if it had been drier. The wind did make the top surfaces very dry though. Ended up being probably 2-3 acres that burned. No big deal at all for us.

This fire came really close to this outbuilding and tractor

It burnt around the building and out into the woods at one point. The 4 wheeler was not there during the fire!

After most of the fire was out, I drove E64 to the back of the property to hit some of the hot spots that were left. If there is fire, always stay in the black(burnt) area!

Some of the guys loading hose back on E65 with Brush Truck 67 sitting next to it

I was out on this fire for probably an hour, then went back to the station and did equipment checks and maintenance which entails starting vent fans, power pumps, generators, checking fluids, refilling trucks with water, etc etc. Got done about 2pm and headed home, stopping by to bring some fast food home. There was still some things we needed to do so plans were made to meet some of the guys back at the station at 3.

By the time I ate lunch and checked some emails, it was time to meet the guys back at the station. I had just got in the truck to leave when we got paged out for another grass fire on Mt Pleasant. Dang, I should have left a few minutes sooner! That's about 1.5 miles from my station so I knew we would be first in. Man, this was starting to feel like the old days again. The adrenalin was flowing, and its probably a feeling that some people never really get to experience except when something bad happens to you or you have a near death experience. It's like the runners high actually, and chemically I think its about the same thing. No wonder I like running too!

So we roll up on this fire, burning along side the road in the woods. No houses were threatened and we were able to get most of the fire out from the road. We did send one of the Brush trucks in to do mop up on the hot spots. Finished up and headed back to the station. Probably, 3:45pm by now. We fill Engine 64 up with water again then start working on brush truck 67 that had a few minor issues. I also did the monthly equipment inventory on Engine 64, Tanker 2 and Brush Truck 67. Between three of us, we get a lot of things done but we were wanting to go home. We had been around the FD since 11am.

This was a quick, easy fire, maybe an acre or so. Brush Truck 69 is hitting the last hot spots in the back ground.

E65 staged on the road. By the time they arrived E64 crew had the fire out. Can you say quick attack!

I headed home around 5:45pm, came in, washed my hands again, made a bathroom break and boom, before I could even sit down the pager is going off again. This time a medical call which was on the other side of the district so I started to relax then it goes off again. I figured it was a cancellation page but no, another grass fire. Just west of 89 and Hwy 5. I figured we would be first in again and I was beginning to wonder if it was going to stop! Had one of the other Captains go direct to the scene to see what we had and luckily it ended up being a controlled burn. Someone was burning and a passerby called in a fire. It was not threatening anything and since there was no burn ban, we advised the home owner to watch it close and call us if they needed us. I was on standby at Station 3 for this and I was anxious to clear up and go eat some dinner but as always, it's hard to get away when the guys show up and start talking. I was hungry and thirsty. It was almost getting to be no fun.

By the time I got home this time, it was about 6:50pm. I washed my hands again and told Annette I was hungry, but if she wanted to go out I would have to take a shower. I smelt like smoke! She had some stuff at home so she started cooking it. Well, guess what happened? Dang pager goes off again, probably not 10 minutes after I'm home. Damn. This time it was a woods fire at 89 and Hwy 5. Well, that was just too close to the other fire so we figured it might be the same one we were on earlier and it was. Again I headed to Station 3, stood by hoping I would not have to roll an apparatus. Well, no luck. Had to take the brush truck up there and put it out this time. It wasn't threatening anything but the fire was close to the road so at this point it was a nuisance and the home owner agreed to let us put it out. It was also dark now so fire always looks bigger in the dark. Just more time out for me, still hungry, wanting to eat bad now.

Finally got finished up with this one around 7:45pm, had to fill the brush truck with water and I headed home hoping this was it. My cold dinner was still waiting when I got home. But guess what? I sit down to eat and boom, the pager goes off again! Ha, medical call, other side of district, I'm staying home and eating. I lucked out on that one. I did finally get to eat and best of all, I even got to take a shower! Annette may want to throw my clothes away though.

It may sound weird but this is part of the reason I am a firefighter. Its the adrenalin rush you get at the beginning of a call. Its the comradeship that you get on a scene when you are fighting the flames or trying to save someones life. And when your done, you may be sore, tired, hungry, wet and cold, but you would not have done it any other way. Best of all, its about helping people and hopefully making a positive difference.

Stay safe out there and don't burn when its windy!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

As the Stone Goes

Well I think I finally passed that sucker! If there is anything left it can't be much. This thing is the size of a rock. Luckily it didn't hurt one bit. Still gonna keep drinking water like crazy.

Think this close to 5mm??

Hopefully this will be the end to my kidney stones. Whewwwwwww!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Endorphin Rush Sunday

Well I got my dose of endorphins Sunday so it was a great day. In case you didn't know the definition, here is part of it that I copied: The term endorphin rush has been adopted in popular speech to refer to feelings of exhilaration brought on by pain, danger, or other forms of stress, supposedly due to the influence of endorphins. When a nerve impulse reaches the spinal cord, endorphins are released which prevent nerve cells from releasing more pain signals. Endorphins allow someone to immediately after injury feel a sense of power and control over themselves which allows them to persist with activity for an extended time.

Sunday morning I ran with Annette on the second half of her run here in the neighborhood. Bailey had come earlier and ran the first 5.5 miles so it gave me a little extra time to get awake and drink coffee. Only did 2.75 miles and then added about another 1/2 mile walking in but it was a good run even though it was 30 degrees. It was sunny so that helped. Held a 10:26 pace, not too hard and not too easy. I told Annette that I couldn't believe how my legs and foot felt. They felt like I had done nothing.

Sunday afternoon we met the Cruisers for Litter Pick Up. The club has a one mile section of road that we clean up every quarter. Had a record number of people show up, 25, which was awesome.

Afterwards 6 of us headed off for a group bike ride. James, Russ, Rob, David S., Rob, Scott and myself. The first couple miles we just eased around as we were waiting on James to meet us. Ended up we stopped at his house then we took off. I really liked the easy pace but as always, that wouldn't last.

The route that was picked was Campground Rd to 321 spur. 321 spur to Mt Carmel. Mt Carmel to 31, 31 to Mt Tabor, Mt Tabor to 89 and back. Anytime you have a road with the words "Mt" in it you know it will be hilly. Campground has a couple small climbs and some great downhills. Wasn't long and James and Russ were leading the group with me holding on to third. I let them go on at times as I didn't really want to work that hard. We stopped at 321 to wait on the others and then took off again. It was pretty breezy and I think we had just a little bit of a tail wind at times. Pace seemed to be 20-23 then slow on the hills. By the time we hit 31, Rob was the only one in sight so we stopped and waited. Then decided we didn't want to let our heart rates drop too much and headed on out. 31 seemed to be the flattest of the roads and I was glad. I can feel my lack of conditioning most on the hills that I was speeding up back in the summer. When we turned on Mt Tabor we had a head wind. Still, I looked down and I was maintaining 18mph but working hard for it. I should have been down in the drops or aerobars more but some of these roads have no shoulder so I tend to watch for traffic and holes more. Had a good pace line going here a few times and that really helped cut through the wind. It was still pretty chilly, around 48 degrees. I was so glad to have gotten my gortex shoe covers in last week. My feet were toasty!!

I said goodbye to James and Russ at 89 and Mt Carmel as I was parked at the school. It was a good ride with lots of hills thrown in. I waited around for the other three guys to get back in as I loaded up my bike and gear. I was about to leave when I saw them coming so I waited to chat for a bit.

Ended up with 21.4 miles and a 16.5mph bike average. I didn't think it was too bad considering all the big hills on this route and the fact we piddle around for 2-3 miles at the beginning. I'll have to say it took me a little while to thaw out afterwards but I felt good for doing it.

Later Sunday evening I had an officers meeting at the fire department. During the meeting we got called out for a vehicle accident. I manned engine 65 along with Bobby, Daryl, and Marcus. So we took off with sirens and air horns blazing. It's pretty rare to have three Captains and a Lieutenant on one engine. Two of the guys work for Little Rock Fire also, Bobby and Daryl both work for MEMs so we had probably 50 years plus of experience riding on the rig. I made the comment that we had the dream team on the engine tonight. Ended up getting canceled en-route. Finished our meeting, was heading home then we got called out again saying that the car that was in the accident had caught on fire. I was almost home so I turned around and headed straight for the scene. Ended up just being some leaves got stuck on the exhaust when the wrecker driver was loading it and they put it out with an extinguisher. Still added some extra excitement for the day.

All in all I got plenty of endorphins for the day and some good workouts, especially the bike.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Just Checking In

Not much to blog about here. Arkansas weather sucked earlier this week. Rain, freezing rain and all that fun stuff.

My doctor's office called me on Tuesday and said the doctor had reviewed the xrays of my kidney stone. He wanted me to consider doing what they call an IVP. It's a special xray where they give you an IV with dye in it that runs through you. They think the stone is just sitting there and it may pass anyway, or it might not. They just want to do this to look again. Then they might want to do something where they run a scope in there and grab it. Well, I thought they kind did that when I had the Lithotripsy! Guess not, guess they just used the camera. But, they said I didn't have to do this. I could keep trying to pass it. And maybe some of it has. So of course, I told them I would give it a couple weeks and see what happens. Drinking water like crazy all the time now so we shall see. It's just annoying that they seem to half way guess at all of this.

I have got some very short runs in this week. I said to heck with it, I was going to do a little and see if it aggravated anything. Ran 1 mile on the treadmill Monday night. Did 2 miles and a .3 walk on Wednesday night and 2.5 miles and .5 walk on Thursday night. So far no stone movement problems. And the best part, the PF in my foot is not showing its ugly face right now. So maybe I'll just have to run the 3 miles or less till I get this stone problem resolved. Limits my run training to 5ks pretty much. Only big event I will be training for anyway will be Nashville which right now I'm pretty certain I will just do the half. I'll see what the weekend brings.

Happy Friday everyone!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Getting Organized

I took on the task this weekend of totally redoing my home office. Well, not completely. It was more like a clean up. And a major one at that! To get me motivated I bought a new computer system. I have been needing one for a while as the one I have been using has the hard drives full and not enough memory or processor power to get the things done that I want to do. I did the research and found the best deal for the money. I ended up with a Gateway DX4200 along with a 19" flat screen monitor from Best Buy.

The computer is a pretty powerful one. It has an AMD Phenom X4 Processor which is a quad core processor. 4GB of memory and a 600GB hard drive along with a built in media card reader. I have never used Vista before so I am learning but this thing is so fast its unbelievable. When you click on something you are there. The quad core processor helps a lot with that along with the 4GB of memory. Vista is a memory hog. About the only thing you can get in store bought equipment but the more I use it the more I like it.

I did learn a lot about processors though in my research. There are so many different ones now days a normal person would have no idea what to choose. Well, you have to choose what you can afford and something that is going to be able to handle whatever work you do with the computer. A good example is I found that Wal Mart has some what appears to be good deals on computers. But when you look at some of the processor's, they have some of the cheaper ones. Everything else looks good, but they get you on the processor. There are AMD, Pentium's, Celerons, and the list goes on. Then you have single, dual core, core duos, X3's, quad core, etc etc. Bottom line, if your buying a new computer, do a little research on the processor speeds. You might just find that deal you think you are getting is actually cheap for a reason.

Back to the office. I have an L shaped desk. So I spent all afternoon Saturday clearing it and throwing junk away and reorganizing what was left. Ended up being almost 4 hours time before I ever got the new computer hooked up. That was the easy part, redoing the desk was the task. I don't know how so much stuff just accumulates. I also moved a 15" flat screen monitor I was using in my Ham Shack upstairs to the office and hooked it up to my old computer. It's small and out of the way so I can still access my old files easily.

I spent most of the afternoon cleaning out the closet which also was filled with junk. I used to have a bad habit of saving every box. So I had printer boxes, a laptop box, and the list went on. There was a four shelf rack in the closet I wanted to use so clearing that off was what took time. I did end up rearranging the computer on my desk again.

I'm pretty happy with the whole arrangement and this was a long over due project. I still need a couple hours work to clear one more bookcase and finish off the closet. No telling when that will get done, and if not soon its still 110% better than what it was.

Now I have at least a fairly nice and neat desk with a good work area if I need it. I was really hoping the weather would have been nice this afternoon so I could have biked. As most know we had drizzle and cold move in early so that canceled that. Should have rode Saturday but once I got started on the office I really didn't want to quit. Not sure how much of the kidney stone is left now. I have been drinking fluids all weekend like crazy. Haven't had any pain yesterday or today so maybe some of it has passed. All I have to do to tell is run.

Have a good week and if you can't work out, get those inside projects done.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Is it 2010 yet?

2009 is not starting out as I had planned. On Tuesday I had my follow up appointment with my Urologist on my Kidney Stone procedure. The first thing he asked was "did you get your xray yet?" I was like, "no, I haven't been scheduled for one". He said that the hospital should have scheduled me one after my Lithotripsy but nope, they didn't. So he said he would get it scheduled for this afternoon. I told him no way, I had a conference call I had to do but I could do it on Thursday (New Years Eve). He said he would have the nurse schedule it and they would call me back. Of course, no call all day Tuesday and I was there at 10am. Well, I HAD to get it done before new years because my Insurance was changing plus I would have to pay another deductible. They never called. Finally on Wednesday morning I called. The nurse said they would be calling me back next week to schedule and then I explained the situation I was in. I HAD to get it done today! Well, they called back later and got me scheduled for an Xray at 2pm at Springhill.

Getting the Xray was easy, after tons of paperwork, you just go in the room, lay down and they take a picture. I figured all was well because I had been having no pain or complications. By the time I got back to the shop I started feeling sick. I was having pains on my lower left side and I knew it was a stone. It was hard to tell what it was because by this time everything feels like a kidney stone. Maybe it was just a stomach bug or something. After about 8pm we ate dinner and then shortly there after it went away. Weird.

James, Michele and Karen came over around 11pm so we could celebrate New Years. I was feeling great then, even had a couple beers. James and I watched some triathlons I had recorded and we had a good time. It was nice to ring in the new year with good friends but I was glad to be home and not out. We never even got called out at the Fire Department.

New Years day I felt great. I did pass on the 8am run. It was 25 degrees out and when I saw that I said no way. I didn't feel "that great" to be running in the cold. I did want to run though. Annette made it out and got 3 miles in I think. Later in the afternoon we went to James and Michele's and we all ran together. It was a nice slow, easy run. Actually my endurance sucks so bad it was more like a race to me, even though we only did about a 10:40ish average for 3 miles. I was happy to get some miles on New Years day. Wish I would have biked. Annette even made black eyed peas for dinner so all things were looking good for the new year.

Then Friday came. Basically another Monday since we had to work. One of the first calls I get was from my West Little Rock store and they were letting me know that someone had cut a hole in the fence and broke in to two cars on the lot. Looked like they picked the most expensive stereos to get.

While I'm there looking at that, I get a call from the Urology doctor. The nurse tells me that the Xray is still showing a kidney stone, 3x5. I was assuming this was millimeters. Since the original stone was 7mm, that meant they only crushed maybe 2? You have to be kidding me. And the bill the hospital sent for that Lithotripsy procedure was right at $10,000. I thought, I bet they want to do it again! I had already told them that my Insurance was changing and I had a very large deductible so I think that cut those thoughts short anyway. The nurse told me that I may have already passed it or if not, it was getting ready to come out. She told me to keep drinking fluids and that she would talk to the Doctor more and let me know.

I still had other things to get done with work, we had a welder broke and I had to pick up another one. After the nurse had told me that I started feeling the stone. All day I could feel it just sitting there, wanting to come out. At times it would hurt some and then it would pass. I have a very high pain tolerance anyway so I wasn't even taking aspirin. Didn't get lunch till 2, then I started drinking water and haven't stopped all day.

Kind of puts a damper on any major activity or training because running seems to make it hurt more. Not sure if that's good or not. I just know I am sick of dealing with it and ready to move on. So for now, I just have to wait till the next pee and hope a big piece of rock comes out. Ha, now that sounds like fun doesn't it!

I hope everyone else's start on 2009 is better than mine. I'm hoping that this just means its going to get better and better from here on. Keeping my fingers crossed and water bottle full.