Category Archives: Life

The 4 mile barrier

In March I started running again after a 5 year break. It was a lot harder getting started this time, but I’m glad I did. Back then I trained for a 5K race and after I was successful I trained for another 5K. The training program I use builds you up slowly to running 3 miles. After the race I just kept going trying to build up my mileage. When I hit 3.5 miles it was much harder than I expected and I had to slow my pace just to finish the run.

I was discouraged because until then I had steadily built up my mileage and my pace week by week. I hadn’t expected to hit a wall and it shook me up. I backed off on my running, eventually got out of the habit and quit.

I’ve learned a lot since then and today I ran 4 miles. It’s an important goal for me because somewhere in the back of my mind I was afraid of hitting that wall again. It feels great to break the barrier and now I feel like there are no limits if I just keep at it.

What made the difference? I’ve got people involved this time. I’ve got a guy I run with once a week and people to pat me on the back and encourage me. I also realize you can’t expect to keep improving at a steady rate forever. Progress tapers off and sometimes you have setbacks. I’ve been reading Hal Higdon’s book “Run Fast” and have learned a lot about training. My long runs I do at a slower pace with a focus on just finishing, and I pick up the pace on the shorter runs through the week. I’ve also learned that my mood, the weather, my diet and how much sleep I’ve gotten really affect my performance. There’s no shame in slowing down or cutting a run short if I’m feeling tired.

It’s good to reach a goal I’ve been working towards for months. As I get older I realize that there are no shortcuts. Nothing happens without work, and no goal is achieved without discipline, hard work and putting in the time week after week.

Fun with allergies

Apparently I’m not the only one suffering from allergies lately. Daniel Silverstone posted about his experiences in the UK so I thought I’d respond.

I only take Loratadine 10mg (brand name Claratin in the US) and find it effective. I’ve never taken more than the prescribed amount so I can’t speak to side effects, but I do have a remedy for when Loratadine doesn’t work – vitamin C.

In addition to it’s other benefits, vitamin C is an antihistamine. Earlier this week I took my allergy pill and an hour later I felt no better so I started taking C. I take two 500mg pills and an hour later I take 2 more and keep going until I see results. Once I’m in a full blown allergic reaction it takes a while for the level of C in the blood to build up and do it’s job (3 hours this time).

A gram an hour is extreme, but this particular day it was necessary. Sometimes I might do 500mg an hour. If I feel like I’m getting a cold I use the same strategy and it seems to help.

Vitamin C is acidic so overdosing will eventually cause diarrhea, but it’s a pretty benign side effect. If you get diarrhea it’s time to back off. There are less acidic forms of C but they’re hard to find and I’ve read they don’t get absorbed well. I’m not a doctor of course and I’m not telling anyone what to do, but I’ve been doing this for 15 years and it works for me.

Life update

I get paralyzed in the procrastination of perfectionism when I look at this blog. So much has happened that I can’t say anything without explaining months of history. To counteract this craziness here’s a quick update.

I’ve been divorced for nearly 2 months now. I don’t feel like discussing it here (although it would be fun) but it affects so much of my life that it must be said.

So for more than 9 months I’ve been rebuilding my life from scratch (again). Not only have I moved but I’ve had to replace a lot of my stuff. When you decide to become one with someone you no longer need 2 of everything, so a lot of my stuff got vetoed when I got married.

I’ve started working from home which is a huge change. It’s not my first choice, but it’s the way my department is going so I felt I could no longer buck the trend.

I realize more and more that being with other people is critical to my happiness, so I’ve had to do lots of work to deal with this solitary life-style. It’s been overwhelming at times but there are advantages to being able to recreate yourself. I feel like I went through this just a few years ago when I got married so I’ve been able to revive the parts of my former single life-style that were good, and scrap the rest.

I’ve started running again which not only makes me feel good about myself, it helps me get out and be with people. I’ve got a guy I run with once a week and I’m running my second 5K for the year this coming weekend.

I’ve started hiking with a group of guys once or twice a month which is really great. I got hooked on hockey and followed the Cincinnati Cyclones through the playoffs. I now have more time to get things done on the computer, but the more time I spend the more projects I come up with. I’m currently running Debian testing (64 bit) on a newly rebuilt AMD Phenom system, which should be more than enough for a few years.

I’ve also changed churches basically because my new church is a lot more involved in many of the things I’m interested in.

I’m grateful to be completely out of debt and have a stable job through all this. I’m also glad to have a lot of friends who have given me tremendous support. I guess we’ll see where it goes from here.

Why I voted for Barack Obama

After an hour of standing in line I cast my vote today. I didn’t comment before the elections, but most people have made up their minds by now, so here goes.

Last presidential election I voted based on one or two specific issues and I got George Bush. It seemed right at the time. It certainly takes a lot of the work off of me. I don’t like the results, though. I don’t feel George Bush upheld the moral beliefs I have.

I have a friend who is passionate about abortion and that’s why he’s voting for John McCain. He’s a Christian and it’s his sacred belief that abortion is always wrong. He goes on and on about it. For the record, the Bible doesn’t have anything to say about abortion or the “sanctity of human life.” Just read it and it won’t take too long before God orders Israel to kill entire nations and destroy all their stuff. That’s a topic for another post, though.

My religious beliefs are central to who I am, but I don’t think God wants me to care about just a few pet Christian issues. That kind of black and white thinking is one of the things Jesus challenged people over. Look at when he broke the law by working on the sabbath to show people things aren’t always cut and dried.

So this time I decided to consider everything each candidate had to say and compare their platforms. I planned on reading the policies on the issues from both McCain and Obama’s web sites, but I didn’t have the time to read every word. I did read a lot of the top issues for me and compare point by point and build up a tally.

What I found is that I agree with Barack Obama more than I agree with John McCain. Obama’s policies are complete and well thought out. He is intelligent and more willing to speak the hard truth (neither candidate is willing to be completely honest about how screwed this nation is).

I find McCain’s policies to be behind the times and out of touch. He’s still calling for a Summer gas tax holiday as part of his economic plan. Has no one told him the summer is over? He also plans on increasing the value of the dollar so we can buy more. Is there some switch you can flip in Washington that regulates how much the dollar is worth?

I’ve read economists who believe Obama’s economic policy will have more effect per dollar spent than McCain’s. That’s important to me. I really like Obama’s stance on education. His energy policy is much better (hint: if oil and nuclear power were the answer, we wouldn’t have a problem).

I could go on, but the point is I voted for a man and his ideas, not his stance on one issue. You may disagree, but spend your vote however you want.

I’m going to light a cigar, pour me a beer and wait for the results to come in.