Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Wheels Are Falling Off

To quit running is not an option.

For two years I've known that something was wrong with my left foot, leg, stride or gate. My left foot would slap the ground at a certain pace. Last year the slap turned into heal pain which then turned into tendonitis and more foot pain. Ice helped, heal orthotics helped, and massage helped but it got progressively worse and more painful every morning I got out of bed. The longer or faster the run the more it hurt. After the last ten miler I either had a lower pain tolerance or was concerned I'd be walking like a 90-year old man for the rest of my life.

With no major runs in the next few weeks I thought I could rehab the foot or figure something out. No more running until my noodle coughed up the answer as to what was going on. On a whim, I purchased some off the shelf arch supports. Oh my freakin' dog. The heal orthotics helped a little by cushioning the pain but with the arch support, the pain was gone completely. Zip. Nada. Zero.

A coworker eyeballed my arch supports and mumbled something under his breath. All I could think was that my wheels were coming off. Yeah they're coming off and yours will too eventually. The stupid thing to do is to give up without trying to fix the problem, an inefficient complexity outlook. People stop running due to incompetent attention to their baggage. BS! Wake up! Look, feel, experiment! That doesn't mean go get a shot. The shot doesn't fix the problem causing the pain. Cheap shoes or imbalances or the change in physiology need to be identified and compensated for. Wrap the knee, take glucosamine, ice the legs, buy a massager.

Each year, more and more objects are purchased in my house to alleviate pain, soreness, compensate for something that used to be there. No vanity cult game going on here. I'll buy them, wear them and blog them off after they prove their worth.

So far, the walk around the house test worked. The walk around the neighborhood worked. The true test will be this afternoon with a 6-miler with Da Fish and L. To quit running is to acknowledge that it's a marginal part of my life. To quit running could very well result in a complete mental psychosis meltdown. Ay yay yay! To quit running is not an option. End of story.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Cinnamon Rolls Revisited

Greatgrandma Hoot's written recipe lasted for 44 years untouched until this morning. After disastrous rolls were barely nibbled on Thanksgiving it was time to alter the recipe. It wasn't Grandma Hoot's recipe that was at fault per se, as I found the culprit. It was an ingredient. It was the organic, heavy crystal sugar which the yeast couldn't break down and thus couldn't rise. I switched over to confectioner's sugar and had no problem. Actually, it's 3/4 confectioner's and 1/4 organic sugar. While I was switching things around I substituted unsalted butter for the Crisco an added some cream cheese, subbed scalded milk for the water, added an egg and some sour cream. Results? Yum yum MUY BUENO!

http://twitpic.com/wcqn - Homemade & freshly baked

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Illuminations @ Wildflower Center

A cold but entertaining night at the Wildflower Center. The Derailers were playing and the lights were something to see. The paintings by Linda Calvert Jacobson were nice to see in the gallery.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Soaking the Knees

After the long run I coaxed Fish and L into soaking their legs in Barton Springs. I guess I've acclimated to the cold with the ice I've been applying to the foot lately because the springs didn't feel that cold.

Getting into the springs was treacherous. Normally, the area is crawling with dogs and their owners. The algae is kept to a minimum with all of the paws and feet crawling across the rocks. Not so in winter. Fish, who's more comfortable in water than on land, dunked himself into the 68-degree cool stream on a piece of the green stuff.

Fifteen minutes in the cool bath recharges the knees to their springy norm and reduces the inflammation.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Fantasy Football Winnings

I'm eating cheese soup with croutons as my winnings, delivered by the chumps I totally owned in Fox's Fantasy College Football Pick'Em. Wracked my noodle each week making my picks. In doing so I reserve the right to decline joining the Fox College Bowl Pick'Em. Too many parties between now and Jan. 8 and I may not be able to bring my A game. ;)


Stop the blog-presses or the little hamster running in the wheel or whatever little 15-minute tangent you're on this second!!!

Listen to this right now!
Michael Pollan's National Food Fight

Read this right now!
Farmer in Chief

Saturday, December 6, 2008


T K & R picking out the the Noble Fir at the Optimist Club Christmas tree lot on N. Lamar.

Retreat Activities

We had an all-day retreat yesterday on the new campus of a local university. While we didn't have enough time to take in the nature preserve on the grounds, or ping pong (they had two tables but both were occupied), we did manage to hack a little sack. Surprisingly, our skills hadn't vanished from months of inactivity. It must be like riding a bike, except for the flexibility thing.

Hacky sack is the Rodney Dangerfield of fitness. Why isn't it more mainstream? Is it that it conjures up visions of Keira Knightley thin, rastafarian dreadlocks sporting circle of tribal youth who haven't bathed in a week? Or is it that nobody wants to look as uncoordinated as the first celebrity voted off "Dancing with the Stars"?

I'm learning that different things appeal to people at different times in their life. I was perfectly fine with no hacky sack for all but the last two years of my life. It didn't scream out to try it. There was no neon halo or Argonaut attraction to the sea nymph's bewitching song. Maybe it's just middle age that's causing a lot of things to become as appealing as an all you can eat four dollar Chinese buffet. I have to learn hacky sack, try cyclocross, cycling time trials all right now, this minute. But even the Chinese buffet has some foods on it that only natives of the remote Xinjiang province try and so jumping out of planes and climbing Mount Everest are left for others with more discerning tastebuds. But who knows those two things may appeal to me later in life as it did with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman in the "Bucket List".

All I know is that when I hack the sack it puts a big smile on my face. And with all the uncertainty in the world today, where smiles are hard to come by, we could all use a little more hack.

* note - Fish was hacking as well but someone had to take the photo.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My New Favorite Blog

BikeSnobNYC is the best blog I've read in a long time. I searched the Web for something after the election climaxed Nov. 4. I haven't read one political sentence since. It's not that my guy didn't win. He may have or may not have. ;) Elections are naturally vampirish in nature, sucking the life blood from your body and at the same time leaving you brain fried. That said, it's refreshing to read some quality writing on cycling that doesn't involve Lance, The Tour, or doping.

I followed a couple of great triathlon blogs while working up to the Longhorn 70.3, but now that both blogwriters have completed their full Ironmans, they've inked their M-dot on their calves and proceeded to get fat. The last I saw of their posts they were trying to ignite the old fires of training by lifting kettle bells in a class. So sad.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Big 12 Conference

While everyone is dissing the BCS system, I'm thinking the problems have more to do with the way the Big 12 Conference determines it's North and South Champions and how the league is structured itself. Missouri should be out as north champion and the Big 12 Conference big bosses should let OU and UT go at it again in another game to determine the Big 12 Conference Champion. The Big 12 North has never been a powerhouse and the teams included should be shaken up. Get rid of Iowa State and replace it with Arkansas. Push Oklahoma into the north and bring colorado to the South. There. Done.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

This year's Thanksgiving day was expected to be different. I wasn't just that Mom had passed away last month. That was weighing heavily in the background of everyone's thoughts. It was going to be different because we were doing a neighborhood dinner this year. Several families splitting up the cooking duties and gathering say around 5-ish to eat.

While the day went somewhat as expected, overall it was a good one to remember. The best part of the day had to be playing football pass and catch with the neighborhood kids. There's something that's ingrained in American psychi to watch, throw or play football on Thanksgiving. My arm and shoulder are sore, real sore this morning. The other good part was watching UT dominate A&M. The worst part was not having Mom there to be with us. The other bad part was when we all sat down to eat, a couple who had already eaten elsewhere lit up a couple cigs and hovered within breathing distance. I was about to say something but didn't. The energy at that moment would've changed more than if I kept quiet and bit my tongue.

The kids all had a blast playing football into the evening. One of the teenagers showed me how Daunte Culpepper holds the ball to pass. It looked and felt awkward with the pointer finger on the tip of the football but it worked. Perfect spirals. It felt weird and looked weird but it worked. I threw until I couldn't throw any more balls and knowing my arm was going to be a wreck the next morning.

I sign of aging is the need for me to warm up my arm to throw even the first ball 15 feet. I tried to suck it up and get the ball there with some pain but dang. The littlest ones were chunking the pigskin with no problem and here I was swinging my arm around trying to get it loose enough to throw a decent ball. Next time I might have to say I'll meet them out there in about 15 minutes so I can excuse myself to the bedroom to do my warmup exercises. Or I could make the argument Oakland A's Barry Zito incorporates an elaborate warmup before throwing a single pitch and that I'm following that program. That sounds pretty lame now that I think about it. I think knowing I'll be throwing the football that day I should exercise before all the baking starts and everything will take care of itself.

The food came out pretty good. While the house had smells throughout the day,it was the same as more of what we did was the baking. I missed the other smells. It was good to try it out the neighborhood feast as I'm sure the first Thanksgiving was something similar. Next year I think we'll be in a cabin somewhere near a lake or stream for fishing with a football to practice the Duante Culpepper grip.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sea Change in Medicine

"Convincing tradition-bound medicine to think this way—to look for dread diseases in advance rather than react to them after they are manifest—is a gargantuan task. 'I think it's going to happen, but only if we have the tools that make it inevitable,' says Hood." -- Finding Cancer in a Drop of Blood by David Ewing Duncan |

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Meltdown Part I

"In Bakersfield, Calif., a Mexican strawberry picker with an income of $14,000 and no English was lent every penny he needed to buy a house for $720,000." -- NYTimes article, All Fall Down By Thomas L. Friedman

Monday, November 24, 2008

Organic Produce..Which Ones? All?

Not so fast. The Environmental Working Group suggests using the following while shopping.
Choose organic foods for those products that typically have high pesticide residues, like apples, bell peppers, celery and strawberries. But for commercially-farmed products that have low pesticide levels, like avocados, onions and pineapples, you can save money by buying nonorganic varieties.
Here's a link from them to the wallet guide for organic produce, based on how much pesticide is found in each fruit or vegetable.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I credit ice with getting my foot back in order. The month of no running helped quite a bit but the ice really did the trick. It's that "reactive vasodilation" thing.

I got a full massage this morning. There's nothing like it. I felt so relaxed throughout the day. As part of anyone's anger management program they should be subjected to massage. There's no point in argument after a good massage. Maybe there's a point to it but I couldn't manage to generate the mental energy required to put up a debate.

I was a little disappointed in the NYTimes blog entry "News Keeps Getting Worse for Vitamins." It didn't address Vitamin D properly or glucosamine or CoQ10. I have a feeling people will take to heart the headline and not read between the lines or the fine print of the article. The article and the research didn't appear to address the type of vitamin, i.e. powder, capsule, tablet or other. It would seem that powder would absorb faster than a hard tablet.

This may have been the best part of the article.

"The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews looked at vitamin C studies for treating colds. Among more than two dozen studies, there was no overall benefit for preventing colds, although the vitamin was linked with a 50 percent reduction in colds among people who engaged in extreme activities, such as marathon runners, skiers and soldiers, who were exposed to significant cold or physical stress. The data also suggested vitamin C use was linked with less severe and slightly shorter colds."

"Many readers of the Well blog say the problem is not the vitamin but poorly designed studies that use the wrong type of vitamin, setting the vitamin up to fail." Amen brother.

An article that points to how Vitamin E is taken makes all the difference.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


The legs feel great after letting them rest for a month. Although certain parts of the quads are a little sore from not being run on, it does feel like I have new springs in there is the best way I can communicate it. Instead of trudging, it feels like running. I think I need to take a month off of running yearly and do it when it's as hot as Hades (August). As I'm gearing up to change over to Xterra or cyclocross this may be perfect. Then I can won't miss any of the cool weather running.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Two Years in the Making

I've only been contemplating this move for two years. I moved over to a free hosted site, thinking I'd need some MySQL on the backend but it didn't materialize. So now both the Bits vs Atoms blog and the Body Atoms blog will now point to here and this blog will incorporate the technology from BvA and the fitness from the BA blog.