Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Still Running

Last week I logged 21 miles, with a long run of 10K (6.2 miles).  On that run I went on a big loop that took me past some quiet, reflective spots, reminding me why I like the serenity of running.

The next two days I ran 4.5 miles each day, slowly trying to pick up the pace a little.  I ran by the nearby party store which is already ramping up for Halloween, it's biggest season.  Fall has arrived.

My sister who lives in the midwest visited and we went out to dinner in the district, followed by an evening walk on the Mall.  We traversed the Tidal Basin and enjoyed the quiet, reflective beauty of the Jefferson Memorial with the moon hanging over it.

I finished out my running week with two runs of 3 miles on consecutive days, giving me 21 miles for the week.  One month after surgery, I'm happy with my progress in coming back, although I still have some discomfort as I heal fully.  I was able to spend a day with my sister before she returned home and we walked around DC for awhile, saw the USAF Missing Man Memorial by the Pentagon, had lunch in Falls Church and went out to the Air and Space Museum at Dulles for the afternoon.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

More miles

I finished up last week with five lumbering runs totaling 12 miles.  My "long" run was 3 miles, three weeks after surgery.  (Out at the crack of dawn.)

I took three days off and then started off the running week with a "long" run of 4 miles.  There followed a procession of four 3-milers to cap the week at five runs totaling 16 miles.  (In the heat of the day.)

Two runs were nice and easy lopes along the W&OD, and another run took me past the school up the hill, my first foray on a hill, where I saw all the excited schoolchildren piling off their school buses for the first day of being back at school.  (Running by pastoral settings.)

Four weeks after my procedure I am back to running, sort of.  The incisions are healed, although the  abdominal cut still bothers me sometimes but slowly and surely I'm coming back.  (This beautiful cat came out to greet me when I ran by her.)

Friday, September 9, 2016

Miles is miles, right?

I got ahead of my running routine before my surgery on August 12th by running every day for much of the latter part of July and all of early August including on the morning of surgery.  My discipline is that I run five times a week, no matter how far, and that's what forces me to keep my hand in the game.  (Three miles done in the early morning, now bring on the surgeon at 7 a.m.!)

I felt I was in a good place on the day I had the double procedure, with a good running base, working on strength training even, and then, well, I walked six blocks the next day, for a few blocks the day after that, then two miles a day on the third day through seventh day before I was able to shuffle a mile on the eighth day, slowly and laboriously, with two walk breaks.  (Walking three blocks to get coffee, and three blocks back, the day after surgery and discovering it was a long way!)

I was on my way!  I took the ninth day off then ran, if you want to call a shambling gait running, a mile the next day, did my "long" run of two miles the next day and finished off the week with two slow slogs of a mile and a half.  (Back from my "long" run of two miles.)

The next week of running went better with four days of two plus miles each day plus, after a bad day where I felt pain and went to bed, a "long" run of three miles to the Metro Station a mile away along decently lighted streets after I woke up at 4 a.m. with the extra mile burned off in the the well lighted parking garage.  My belly button hernia repair is healed and gave me no trouble after a few days but the abdominal surgical repair has taken longer than I anticipated to heal and still gives me trouble sometimes, which limits my length and pace of runs considerably and has forced me to put off notions of resuming my strength training for the foreseeable term.  (Back after the next week's "long" run of three miles!)

Monday, September 5, 2016

Labor Day 2016

When I retired from work late last spring, my fellow workers took me out to lunch downtown as their way of saying goodbye.  Among a couple of other gifts, my friends gave me a $150 gift certificate to my favorite local pizzeria, the Lost Dog Cafe in Westover in Arlington.

Today being a holiday, Labor Day, I had lunch there at noon and used my coupon for the first time.  None of my long-estranged children showed up but the draft beer and the Italian Pizza Pie were delicious.

There was even some pizza left over when I left.  I drank the entire draft in the hour I was there but I could have ordered one or four more if JJD or L (that's short for Jimmy, Johnny, Danny or Laura, now that Dan's married) had showed up.

I had plenty of time during the hour to reflect upon the likely-permanent pernicious effect the "professional" cast of characters like Divorce Lawyer Joe Condo, Social Worker Meg Sullivan LCSW, "Psychologist" Victor Elion and others had upon my defenseless, vulnerable minor children during the divorce proceedings fifteen years ago, as, in my opinion, those uncaring, manipulating adults fulfilled their own various agendas to the lasting detriment of my children, none of whom has spoken to their father in about a decade due to the overbearing influence exerted by those adults upon these young adolescents.  Although that was a long time ago, I sometimes worry that those same characters might be engaged in the same sort of family-wrecking behavior, in my opinion, that tore apart my family irrevocably, as shown in the link http://law.justia.com/cases/virginia/court-of-appeals-unpublished/2004/1714034.html, and could very well be similarly affecting some other poor family in Fairfax County even now resulting in the same lifelong, devastating results.

Friday, September 2, 2016


Following my retirement at the end of May, I ran 100 miles in June and 135 miles in July.  My mileage suffered a setback last month though, as I underwent surgery on August 12th and had to take two weeks off as I recovered.  (My last run, at 4:30 am, on the morning I underwent surgery at 6:30 am.)

Since the surgery, I have run 19 miles, slowly, to finish out the month of August, giving me 90.2 miles for the month.  Happily, my weight was under 180 on the last day of the month, the same as it was on the day of the procedure.  (Coming home from Kaiser after my procedure, thanks to friends who took care of me that day.)

The conditions the surgery repaired, a return of an umbilical hernia (I had the same condition repaired in 2011) and an abdominal hernia, took six months to be scheduled after diagnosis (I was complaining of pain in my abdomen during long runs) by Kaiser Permanente, my insurance carrier.  That lengthy delay is unacceptable, in my opinion.  (A cut here, a cut there… .)

The cost was acceptable though.  I spent out of pocket about $235 all told, including testing and medications, although I'm pretty sure that's at least double what I spent out of pocket to have a hernia repair five years ago.  (I'm back to running, albeit slowly and for short distances for now.)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A trip to the beach

Last week I went to Buckroe Beach in Hampton, Virginia for a trip to the shore.  My cousin Liz and her husband Bill from Colorado rented a cottage a block from the beach and invited me to stay for a few days.

It was good to see them, and I went into the water with their two little granddaughters, who are just learning how to swim.  The beach is actually on the Chesapeake Bay, near where its water merges with the Atlantic Ocean, so the water is warmer there than elsewhere in the region and the waves are less powerful although there is quite a current that flows through there.

I got in a two-mile run along the beach's boardwalk and watched the sunrise both days I was there.  On one run I fell in with Sherman, a man about my age, and had an interesting conversation with him about sharecropping; he was the son of a sharecropper in the region and he described this system of farming to me after he inquired if I had ever heard of sharecropping before (I had).

We went to tour nearby Fort Monroe one day, and saw the cell where Confederate president Jaff Davis was imprisoned after the War of the Rebellion.  After a couple of pleasant days at the beach I drove back home, much refreshed.