Tuesday, July 24, 2007

When are you going to give us pearls of wisdom about running?

Hi and welcome to WebMD! My name is Joe and I will be your host on the website. Today, we talk about sinusitis.

You may have thought that this site was all about following the escapades of a runner living in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. And, in truth, that was what my intention was when I started this blog. But, it has become more of a health check report. And, if you are bored by how much I've been coughing lately, well, I don't blame you. Pardon the pun, but, I'm a bit sick of it myself.

However, I did, in fact, go to the doctor and he told me I did not get over my first bout with sinusitis and I am officially a sick person again. So, I am on antibiotics for two weeks, steroids for a week, and I need to cut back on exercise until I am better.

So, if you happen to read this blog next week, I won't go whining about feeling tired and how I'm not putting in the miles, and Steve is going to beat me in Falmouth, and woe is me. No, I'll talk more about where I run or who I run with and leave my bellyaching for another day.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Zero to twenty-four in a week

Kids, don't try this at home.

Having been sick for two weeks and then vacation for a week, I have gone against all conventional wisdom in getting back in shape by doing a 12-mile long run on Sunday. But, here is my theory.

When I left off my long runs, I was up to nine miles. Granted, that was 3-4 weeks ago but I was still up to nine miles. The past week I did two runs of 6 miles. Granted, they were sloooow runs to mainly get my legs back and to help me start breathing again but, nonetheless, I felt pretty good afterwards.

This weekend in the Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania area of the United States was absolutely a beautiful weekend. In the morning, temperatures were in the 60's-70's (F) and the humidity was low. If there was ever a weekend I was going to test myself to see where I left off in fitness, it was this past weekend.

I did a six mile run with Melissa on Saturday and a twelve mile run with Eric on Sunday. I expected to be totally wiped when I was done. But, I wasn't. I think the runs were slow enough that I didn't overly tax myself.

It's kind of a weird as I can do these runs but I'm still feeling not 100%. I'm thinking of going back to the doctor's as I STILL have this persistent cough and sometimes I feel like I'm breathing through cheesecloth. I don't have the energy as I did earlier this year. So, I wanted to get the doctor's take on this as being just an extension of what I had a month ago or just allergies that I have to deal with. (All this whining from me!)

Last week, I had a great idea of entering a 5k race before Falmouth. It would give me a true indication of where I'm at as my competitive juices would start flowing and see if my 'laziness' is all in my mind. Well, I haven't been able to find one between now and the weekend of August 10 as the local Wednesday races are all finished for the year. Oh, well. It was a good idea anyway.

So, the moral of this story is, if injured (or sick) , you MAY not be as far behind as you think you are. It will take a little patience to get back. But, marathoners know, patience pays off at the end.

(Note: Though my long run was a positive step in my goal to run 2 marathons this year, I still haven't signed up for either one. I think it's just my procrasinating nature.)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

St. Kitts & Nevis

For the most part, I don't particularly like 'reality' shows.
But, I admit, I do follow 'Survivor' from time to time. The concept of being away from everything for an extended period of time really intrigued me.
Now, I'm not saying that I would do well if I was on 'Survivor' (I would be so grumpy from lack of sleep I'm sure I would be one of the first to be voted off). But, I did experience a week where I had no contact with the outside world when I went to the island of Nevis last week. (pictured is the town of Charlestown with Mt. Nevis in the background)

My wife and I stayed at the Montpelier Inn (I'll put a link in My Favorites on the side). The Inn was a former sugar plantation nestled along side Mt. Nevis. We had no TV, no radio, no newspaper. It was truly a chance for us to get away and relax. I'm a news junkie so I had withdrawal symptoms. But, I learned, that I didn't need a Paris Hilton update everyday. As a matter of fact, I was a better person for NOT ever having a Paris Hilton update last week. It was the first time I ever missed a baseball All-Star game in my life (And, I'm talking about remember watching Pete Rose plowing into Ray Fosse to win a game). But, somehow, I survived. You learn that things that are very important for some are irrelavant for others. There is something to be said for that way of thinking.

Here are some of things I won't forget about my trip to St. Kitts & Nevis:

  • The tropical breezes that cooled us off when we were sitting around the pool.

  • The island of Nevis was discovered during Columbus' second trip to the New World in 1493 though Carib Indians lived there a thousand years before.

  • Alexander Hamilton was born there and Lord Nelson married there (and there are two museums in Charlestown celebrating those facts.)

  • Sunshine's, next to the Four Seasons' Resort, served one of the best BBQ ribs I ever tasted.

  • I will miss not having Carib beer available to me. It is a great summertime beer to drink.

  • I have two new 'friends', Rudder and Calypso. They are two Labador Retrievers that would lay on our front porch every morning and would sit with me as I read my book and looked out on the Caribbean having my first cup of coffee with them.

  • Nevis is a wonderful, beautiful place to go but expensive to eat there.

  • You must have a Death Wish if you are an American and rent a car there. First, they drive on the left side of the road (as they were a British colony). And, the roads are so narrow, hilly, bad with chickens, goats and cows running all around that I was nervous just being a passenger in the taxi.

  • St. Kitts & Nevis (it is one country) gained its independence in 1983.

  • There are 12,000 people on the island of Nevis.

  • Fort Brimstone, on St. Kitts, is a World Heritage site, not to be missed. (see picture below).

  • After spending 4 days on Nevis, we went to Basseterre (the capital of St. Kitts & Nevis) for the day. I know how one must feel when they go to New York City for the first time as Basseterre seemed so busy in comparison to Nevis.

  • Much thanks to all our taxi drivers but especially to Sylvia, who gave us a 4-hour tour of Nevis and to TC who was originally a bus driver from Leeds, England but enjoys life being a taxi driver on the island now. (Also, her stories about how she is friends with Peter, Paul & Mary were wonderful.)

  • Seeing the 'Monkey Xing' Signs and seeing the monkeys crossing the road!

  • The many hummingbirds around our porch as we looked out onto the Caribbean.

  • How good a Rum Punch can be.

  • Our ferry going back and forth from Nevis to St. Kitts (a 45 minute ride).

  • How warm and clear the Caribbean Sea is.

  • How beautiful the 'Flamboyant' flower is.

  • The mangoes that fell from the trees that were just laying on the side of the road. People would pay top dollar for those mangoes!

  • The different plantations which are now inns and the history behind those places. Especially, the history of slavery there and where they were kept on those plantations. Very sad.

  • They no longer grow sugar cane on St. Kitts & Nevis. (At least, for exporting). We saw some sugar cane fields but it is generally used on the islands for a 'cane drink' or bottling of Coca-Cola or Ting (a carbonated grapefruit drink).

  • We had a 'traffic' jam on the way back to the inn one night because of some cows that were blocking the road. It beat the one hour traffic jam on the Schuykill Expressway after we landed into Philadelphia coming home on Friday night.

It is a long list but I will have a lot of great memories from this vacation.

(Notes on my running: Last week, I still had the cough from my illness. My wife said it was like honeymooning with Felix Unger. There really wasn't a place to run there so no miles while on vacation. We got back on Friday and I did run 6 miles around Lake Galena on Saturday. It was slow but didn't need to stop so that was encouraging. I ran another 6 miles around my neighborhood taking some walk breaks after going up hills. Again, encouraging. I was going to run a marathon the first weekend of October. Before I got sick, I was up to 9 miles. Can I catch up and get back on schedule for that marathon? )

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A Need to Keep Positive

This summer has certainly not turned into the summer I expected. Instead of being fit, ready and road-tested for the Revolutionary Run 10k at Washington's Crossing, PA on the 4th of July, I have struggled in the past few weeks to remain healthy.

I wound up getting progressively worse last week and went back or contacted the doctor's office three times. It was only on Saturday night that I started to feel human as opposed to a giant petri dish just oozing and flowing with growing bacteria that couldn't be stopped. It is only today that I actually feel the normal temperature that people in this area of the country are suppose to feel for this time of year rather than a degree or two warmer than I've been feeling. I can now stop sweating uncontrollably where I sit and turn the thermostat back up beyond the sub-Arctic temps I've been setting them at. I've actually been able to stop coughing and bringing up 'stuff' to complete the simple act of breathing. (Have I told you that I've been sick? )

And, now, vacation next week which will kind of put my training on hold yet again. (Though it is really hard to complain that, oh, woe is me, I can't train because I'm going to a beach in the Caribbean for a week. What will I do?)

I'm hoping I didn't lose too much. After all, when you last tuned into this episode, I had just run nine miles comfortably. I probably lost some speed (ok, a lot of speed) but the good news is I am now 6 pounds lighter than before.

I can't sit here and say my race with Steve at Falmouth is lost. Not now. I'll still have a month to recover and train and hope for the best. I can still run a little next week while on vacation. And, my bike is ready so maybe I can do more cross-training in the coming weeks to help me recover quicker.

No, if I can get out this week, even for a few miles, it will help me regain my confidence that I'm not going to pass out after a mile. And, even if I have it tough on the first time, I need to make sure I'm not discouraged and go back out there again the next day and run that mile again. It is time to live my philosophy: Don't ever give up!

(P.S. I will be on the island of Nevis next week so no posting then. However, I'm hoping to talk about my adventure to a part of the world that I've never been to the following week.)