Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Candy, Free Tools, Dirt Run

My left ankle had been hurting since last Saturday’s “feel good” run so I took a couple of extra days off until the pain subsided. On Thursday morning I was finally able to do another run. But first I had to do a little bit of shopping and planned on running from the last store I went to. Ralph’s grocery store had a sale on Halloween candy so I stopped there first. I bought three bags of fun sized (single bite) Snickers. Those used to come in 16 ounce bags, then 12 ounces,  but now they’ve been downsized to 11.3 ounces and still costs the same. My next stop was at Harbor Freight Tools to collect a free set of screwdrivers from a promotional coupon they had in the newspaper. No other purchase was required. Having done those first two things, I was now ready for the third one: running.
 Starting from the Harbor Freight Tools store (where incidentally, I injured my right calf a few weeks ago as mentioned in this post: A Little Bit Up, A Lot More Down ), I headed east toward the San Gabriel River bike path. I haven’t run on that bike path in so many years although I rode my bike there a couple of times this past summer. When I got there, I went north and immediately noticed that the dirt path beside the asphalt bike path was relatively smooth and hard packed. So I continued running on the dirt instead which felt more forgiving to my ankles. If it was too rocky, I wouldn’t have done it for fear of twisting my already tender joints. On my way back, I noticed a sign saying Lakewood Nature Walk, so I entered the area and it was a dirt pathway underneath electricity transmission towers, 

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Last Week's Sights and Sounds in Life

October 17th to 23rd, 2010
When I got home from work last week, I saw a man who was using one of those motorized scooter wheelchairs and he was dumpster diving. How physically disabled can he be when he can climb up, bend and reach over a dumpster to look for recyclable cans?
I called my mom on her birthday last week and it just occurred to me afterwards that we communicated mostly in Tagalog. Well, I grew up speaking Tagalog at home instead of our native Tausug dialect, that’s why. My mom was chattier than usual and we talked for more than an hour.
I must be getting old. I can’t understand text messages anymore especially the ones from the Philippines which come with a mix of English, Tagalog, and a slew of other dialects. And in shorthand to boot.
What feels good to me nowadays? When you can no longer take things for granted, you appreciate them more when you can have or do them. That’s why I savor every run I can do these days. Unfortunately I don’t have a Long Beach Marathon story to tell this year because I didn’t participate in it. As I mentioned previously, this was the first time I missed the race since 1999 so I can’t say that I partied like its 1999.
Yay! I got all my rewards for this year from for doing something I already do every day - exercising. A pedometer and weight training stretch band for signing up, a water bottle after working out for 12 days, a workout towel after 36 days, and lastly for this year, a t-shirt for finishing 72 workouts. The website doesn’t say if they are going to have another cycle of rewards next year.
After watching a movie with a convertible in it, I remembered that I used to drive one - a Volkswagen Rabbit Cabriolet which I had from 1984 to 1998. I remember driving on the freeway in downtown L.A. during the Olympics with my stereo blasting Olympics music from that year. The car was finally donated to charity in 2000 and I saw it one day on the 710 freeway. I thought it looked familiar and when I saw the license plate, it confirmed my sighting that it was indeed my old car.
                Last Friday morning I wasn’t in a Spinning class and I had no Spinning DVD. What I did was a self-propelled workout on the spinning bike consisting of a 10 minute warm up, then 40 minutes of 1 minute pickups, stand ups, and recoveries, plus a 5 minute cool down to finish. It’s a workout I used to do on the turbo trainer a long time ago. It helps to break it down to 1 minute segments of variable intensities.
Regarding recently fired Juan Williams’ comment about him getting nervous when he sees people wearing Muslim dress on planes, did he really think that suicide bombers would wear something so conspicuous as to potentially arouse suspicion, not to mention racial profiling? I would think a suicide bomber would dress so he/she would blend in with the crowd.
On my way home from work Sunday morning (please forgive me, this was the 24th of October), I stopped by a gas station to buy my lotto ticket for the coming week. As I stepped out of the store, I espied a woman in a very short dress with nice long legs just outside the door. With a quick glance, I noticed the sharp features of the “woman” and it turned out that it was a man in drag. As I drove away I saw him “fixing” himself, you know, rearranging whatever he had stuffed in the chest area and also readjusting whatever he was hiding in his nether regions. It was indeed a bit of a shock to see a transvestite so early in the morning. 

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Sights and Sounds of Last Week's Runs

October 17th to 23rd, 2010
I used to joke that when it rains, we could run outside with an umbrella. Last Sunday morning, October 17th, while my friends were doing the Long Beach Marathon or half, I was on my way to a store and I actually saw a woman bedecked in her sweats and Ipod, running in the rain with an umbrella! Too bad I was driving or I would have taken her picture. She coordinated her short strides and arm swings very well to be able to stay under the umbrella. Well during Tuesday afternoon’s rain, although I was tempted to follow that woman’s example, I opted for the treadmill instead. It was a choice bundling up and running outdoors in the rain, or doing it shirtless on the treadmill. Running in the light rain would have been more fun but running with minimal accoutrements indoors was good too.
After having a crummy and sluggish run last Thursday, I felt the need to wipe the bad taste from my mouth and go out for a feel good run on Saturday morning, light rain or not. How to do it? Just keep it simple and slow was the plan. Out the door I went without a GPS watch so I didn’t have to worry about pace or distance. Using my trusty old Timex, I aimed for 45 minutes to an hour of steady state running. Plugged in my ears was my radio tuned to the weekly top 40. Light rain? No problem. Put on a light nylon jacket , leave the eyeglasses at home, and wander about aimlessly half-blind. Half an hour into the run, the radio battery died and I was left listening to the heavy flopping of my stride. Go down one street, then another. Running short of distance on the way back? Just go down another street while calculating how far to go before turning back home to make it an hour. How far did I run and what pace did I go? Heck if I know and I didn’t care. The bad taste was gone and I had my feel good run. I had to take a cold shower afterwards, not for therapeutic purposes but because the water heater was on the fritz again. I got through it, felt refreshed and was ready to face work later that day.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Not Reaching Marathon Potential and Why?

I’m wondering why some people whom I’ve trained with in the past are not getting their sub 4’s or even sub 5’s yet. Meaning, they haven’t gone below 4 hours or 5 hours in finishing a marathon even when they have the potential for doing so. During training, they appear to have the capacity to do so based on their pace during long runs. But this has not translated accordingly during the marathon race. Why is that? Granted, a marathon is a different beast altogether after 20 miles and those who slow down the least at that point till the finish are rewarded with better times. Maybe they started out too fast in an effort to make up for whatever minutes they anticipated to lose in the last quarter of the race. That a common marathoning mistake and it doesn’t usually work and believe me, I’ve tried it. Some people just leave their race in training and that means that they’ve trained so well that they have nothing much left to give during the race when it counts most. For those aiming for a realistic finishing time, here is a tip based on experience:  you have to be really obsessive/compulsive in hitting your marks or splits. Click your watch every mile to see how long you covered it, then relax if it’s faster than planned, maintain if you are feeling ok, or pick up the pace on the next mile if you were slow on the previous one (like the March Hare saying “I’m late, I’m late”). Every marathon is different of course, and it depends on what kind of day you are having, but if you trained properly, your body should know what pace feels like, unless of course you went out too fast or tried to overreach beyond (my goodness, what bad grammar!) your aerobic capacity. That’s why I used the word “realistic” earlier. Ask the more experienced racers in your running group. Is the goal time too high than the training indicates? You can also look up on the internet what your realistic finishing times are based on your current level of conditioning and your race times in shorter distances. My best marathons resulted from a different plan.  With a que sera sera attitude, I went out with no time goal in mind other than to just finish. What will be, will be, regardless of how long it will take me to get to the finish line. What usually happened was I got there faster than I thought I was capable.
Well, nobody ever said that marathoning is an exact science despite all the information you can find on the internet about how to run one. Pretty soon people will learn what works or doesn’t work for them, and that itself is the challenge. You are an experiment of one.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My New Spinning Bike

Oh no! Not another exercise machine! In the quest for another endorphin producing activity as a substitute to running, another workout device appeared in my living room last week. I’ve always wanted to get a spinning bike even before I wanted a treadmill and elliptical machine. More than a decade ago, I used an old bike mounted on what used to be called a turbo trainer, but I had since disposed of that.  Until this year, the prices of spinning bikes were not within the range of my meager income and strict budget, with the cheapest one at $600. That was even down from over $1000 maybe just 5 years ago. In the past year, with the popularity of spinning classes in gyms, the imitators have finally caught up and started manufacturing cheaper spinning bikes for home use. When the lowest price Proform brand bike went down to $299 a couple of months ago, it piqued my interest in buying one but couldn’t at that time because I had to send some money to my mom in the Philippines for her birthday. After that, I started shopping around. The Sports Authority store had it on sale for $299 last week, but with the sales tax and shipping charges, that would have brought the price close to $400. Meanwhile on, the base price was the same but without the extra charges, so I ordered one last Monday and it arrived on Friday morning. was able to get the product to me pretty fast because it was available at their Los Angeles distribution warehouse. Normally, with free shipping, it would have taken a couple of weeks.
So I was helping the delivery guy carry the 112 pound box up the stairs and to keep it steady, I had the left side of my face supporting the box while I lifted with my arms.  Well, when he pulled from above and I pushed from below, the box scratched my right temple drawing blood and bent my eyeglass frame. So now you can call me Scarface and I can also say that the machine cost me money and blood. All that was missing was spilled guts.
Exercise machines should be made this way: mostly preassembled at the factory so it’s easier to put together the rest at home. All I needed to do was attach the front and back base, pedals, handlebars, seat post, and seat to the main frame and flywheel. After that, it was just a matter of making adjustments to fit me. Even out of the box this machine is so darn heavy. My back still felt tired, though fortunately not strained, three days after helping the delivery guy and moving the machine around.
So what did I do to the old upright stationary bike? I considered offering it for free to any neighbor who might be interested or selling it. But since I had stripped it down to the bare necessities, I didn’t think anyone would want it. I moved it to the garage instead and wrapped it in plastic. What I couldn’t do with the old bike was stand ups on the pedals because the handlebars were too high and it felt unbalanced. Now I can do stand ups on the spinning bike. I was able to transfer the old magazine/book holder from the old bike to the new one by replacing the plastic ties that secure it to the handlebars. I have a bunch of plastic ties that I bought years ago from the 99 cent store (the kind the cops use for disposable handcuffs).
                On Sunday, while my friends were running the Long Beach Marathon or half, I was at home trying out my new spinning bike. After warming up and getting a feel for it, I started doing one minute stand ups, which increased the intensity and subsequent calorie burn of the workout. I did a few stand ups and recoveries until I reached one hour. This machine really makes me sweat! I’ve never gotten my tops of my socks wet while riding a bike until now. The next day, I was planning on running but my right calf was still slightly sore from Saturday’s run, so I mounted the spinning bike again. During the one hour workout, I was able to do several repeats of 2 minute stand ups. I’m already loving my new spinning bike! The workouts are exhausting. Spilled sweat, yes, but no spilled guts… yet.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

TLC for the PYT and other work stuff

Tender Loving Care for the Pretty Young Thing -that’s what I call it, and why? I have a co-worker who constantly gives special attention to the pretty young women patients that we admit to our unit. If perchance he is the one who has to take care of the admission paperwork, he takes his good old time doing it because he asks probing questions on the patient’s personal life, even though that’s not his job. But if by chance he gets a homely or older patient, he finishes the admission paperwork in much lesser time. All his co-workers notice this and kid him about it but it doesn’t change anything because he continues to do it shamelessly. He doesn’t seem to care that there is a perception of impropriety in his actions, and his excuse is that he is married and what he’s doing doesn’t mean anything. Methinks he misses the point of the “perception of impropriety”.
Printer problems at work – the other weekend, the computers on our unit were having difficulty connecting with the network printer in the nurse’s station. Sometimes it would print after we turn it off and on but most of the time it would just sit idle and not do anything. We used to have the option of using another network printer but the applications we were using could not locate that printer. I tried to work around the problem by emailing the document I was editing to myself, then accessing my email from a different computer. When I opened the email, I had the option to download the document or open it in a browser running Microsoft Word Online. Downloading the document wouldn’t have helped because the computer I was on didn’t have a word processor. When I opened the document in the browser and clicked print, the missing printer showed up and thus, I was able to print the document. The workaround did the job! The next day we were able to add the printer to the list of options by finding out its network name. Unfortunately, this has to be done for every individual user who logs on to the network. I only did it for myself and my charge nurse. The others would have to rely on the IT department. Isn’t it nice to have a little knowledge of how computers, the internet, and networks work? Who was it who said “a little knowledge is dangerous”?

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Friday, October 15, 2010

The Evolution of Virgin Mobile Phones

It’s time to revisit and update my post on The Evolution of Virgin Mobile Phones and why it’s getting so many hits on my blog. Truthfully, I don’t still don’t know the reason for that. I surmise that people may be doing a search for exactly the same phrase and since that was the title of that post and one it’s tags too, then maybe search engines pick it up and show it as one of the results. VM has come up with more phones since my original post last June, hence I felt the need to add a part 2.

 I failed to mention that Virgin Mobile also has a Blackberry Curve now as well as a Blackberry lookalike called the Kyocera Loft ($69). The keyboards of both look similar. However, only the LG Rumor Touch has a touch screen, in addition to a slide out keyboard. 
 In technology news this past week, Apple will be making IPhones for Verizon’s CDMA networks. Virgin Mobile uses that type of network so it’s plausible that they could get the IPhone in the near future, but I don’t see that happening until about two years from now. That’s about how long it will take for Virgin Mobile will have to catch up to the latest technology. Heck, I don’t even get consistent email updates on my LG Rumor Touch phone. Sometimes I get my email but most of the time I don’t. I have to manually sync it and even that doesn’t connect most of the time. Not that I’m complaining because I hardly use the phone for calls, text messages or email anyway. So far I’ve resisted the urge to install the Facebook Mobile app on my phone. I don’t know if VM’s Blackberry does any better with email and I’m not willing to shell out $299 for that device just to find out. By the way, I did send an email to Virgin Mobile asking why I don’t get my mail consistently. They responded that it was because I was on a prepaid plan and not on their unlimited data plan. Fair enough.
Well, let’s see if this post gets more hits and hopefully those who stumble upon it will also click on the ads so I can earn a few cents. Thanks in advance. And no, Virgin Mobile doesn’t pay me to mention their phones on this blog.
This just in: Virgin Mobile introduces the Samsung Intercept for $249.99. Android apps are available with this phone. 

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Reverting To Old Habits

I've been holding off posting this for more than a month now because there were other things going on, but here's my take and inquiry into losing and regaining weight after crash dieting.

Last year, some of the day shift nurses had a competition on who can lose the most weight within a certain amount of time, like the TV show The Biggest Loser except without nutritionists and personal trainers. The contestants contributed money in a pot and whoever lost the most weight would claim the winnings. The nurse who won the contest lost more than 40 pounds mostly by dieting. I never heard this nurse mention anything about exercise. As an outside observer, I noticed that he/she kept the weight off for many months. However, recently, it seems like he/she has been regaining some of the lost weight. During the competition, this nurse followed a low calorie diet fastidiously and was able to do so for several months after winning, but recently, it appears that she has reverted to her former pre-competition eating habits, like eating goodies that people bring in to work which she didn’t partake of during and immediately after the contest. This made me wonder if majority of people who initially succeeded in losing weight eventually regained it or even added more. I’m pretty sure there has been research done about that already but I’m just not up to looking it up at the moment. This also reminds me of one of the actresses who played a nurse on the TV show ER. She had gastric bypass surgery and lost a lot of weight. I stopped watching ER for a couple of years and one time when I happened to glance at the show in its last year, the actress had regained a lot of weight. Look at Randy Jackson, one of the judges on American Idol. He had a similar procedure, lost some weight, but he doesn’t look so different now than he did before he had the surgery. Another nurse went on a strict diet where she can eat only certain kinds of food at a particular time of the day. She initially lost weight but now I noticed that the puffiness in her cheeks is back. I’ve observed her eating between her supposedly strictly scheduled meal times. This leads me to believe that people can initially succeed in losing weight through crash diets and surgery, but they cannot get away from their previous eating behaviors for too long, and thus gain some if not most of the weight back. While I have never been overweight in my life, please believe me when I say that staying the way I am physically takes a lot of hard work. The discipline to keep it up is tough but doable, however it takes tenacity and a lifestyle change. I’m guessing that people who eventually backslid to their bad habits discounted exercise as an important factor in maintaining what they achieved through dieting and surgery. But that’s just my opinion and I could be wrong. I’m not a calorie counter but in the end, it all boils down to that, whether one likes it or not.
It’s hard to crash diet for a couple of months, but it’s even harder to maintain the lost weight afterwards. All I’m ultimately saying is that keeping weight down to an acceptable level (whatever level that might be to you) is very hard work and a matter of changing long-programmed behaviors in your brain. Is it just normal human behavior that makes us revert to bad habits? I am probably as guilty of that as the lapsed dieters because I tend to return to my injurious running habits after trying to retool my stride. We could all do better. This is not to bash those who have tried and failed but a matter of questioning why it happens. And then there are people who are happy and content with what they have physically, and if they are healthy to boot, then who am I to question them?

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Week That Was in Life

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post (The Past Week's Running), I’m now going to tell you about what happened in life other than running from the previous week

As is usual on Wednesday evenings, I caught up with DVR’d TV shows. The results of Dancing With The Stars were almost predictable after seeing the performances. It was either Bristol Palin leaving or Margaret Cho. It was the latter who was sent packing. Glee didn’t seem to have the usual pep to it and it was kinda boring to watch. It was so forgettable that I don’t even remember what happened as I type this. Oh, as I was pacing the hallways at work on Saturday night, I suddenly remembered that it had something to do with religion, prayer, and a grilled cheesus sandwich. 
A representative from the Long Beach Animal Control Services was going around our condo complex last Thursday issuing citations for unlicensed pets. I noticed him taking pictures of the dogs and cats, then leaving the citations on the doors of homeowners who were not home. I wondered how much the monetary damage was.

That same day, I watched a Bollywood movie called Lafangey Parindey, a mildly funny romantic comedy, and I was surprised that there was a kiss towards the end. I thought there was supposed to be no kissing in Bollywood movies, but only hints of kissing. You know, when the main characters are about to kiss but burst in song and/or dance instead. Things must be a-changing in Bollywood.

What?! Another election coming up? Also on Thursday, I exercised my civic duty as a U.S citizen and mailed in my absentee vote. I had already marked my choices on a sample ballot so it was just a matter of transferring them to the official ballot and mailing it. I’ve voted in every election ever since I became I naturalized citizen.
Not the same day, but the next, I got my seasonal flu shot from my workplace, then much later, after I finished working out, I exchanged my recently bought 4 GB Sansa Clip for the same at Best Buy because the one I was using wasn’t receiving the FM stations very well. Would you believe that they tried to charge me more for the exchange? I bought the original one on sale 3 weeks ago and they scanned in the regular price during the exchange. The salesperson had to override the computer. So anyway, the new one is only slightly better in receiving the FM station that I listen most to, so I guess I’ll have to live with it. My previous 2 GB Sansa Clip did better with radio stations but it’s not working anymore.
So there you are, some boring snippets of my life during my three days off from work.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

The Running Week That Was

Wow! Finally, after several months of inconsistent running, I was able to run three days last week. On Tuesday afternoon, it was run/walk for 55 minutes (4 minute run with 1 minute walk break), then on Thursday morning to and from the doctor, it was also a run/walk for 65 minutes. Would you believe that my pace for the run/walk was faster than my very slow 65 minute run the previous Saturday (10/2/10)?Finally, to end the week, on Saturday, I ran non-stop for 50 minutes. Let me backtrack a second. Did I want to show up for AREC’s last training run of the season for the Long Beach Marathon on Saturday, 10/9/10? I didn’t feel like waking up early and I actually still felt a little sleepy when I woke up to my alarm at 7 a.m., the time that AREC started their run. I didn’t get started until 8:30. Could the feeling of tiredness be the side effect of the flu shot I had on Friday? I wanted to try running alone on the bike path where I have been riding the last few months so I went out to the L.A. river path, which is about a 10 minute run at my pace. I’ve run there before but with other people two years ago when I was training with the Wrigley River Runners group. From a running perspective, it was a boring course especially when running solo because there was nothing to see or engage your senses very much. Even on a Saturday morning, there were few walkers, runners, or cyclists. I couldn’t wait to reach my turnaround point so I could get back out to the streets, which is exactly what I did on the way back home. Meanwhile the 50 minute run felt slow and I was gasping for air the whole time, more so after 30 minutes. Maybe because there were a couple of short hills at that point. Upon checking my post run weight, I saw that I had shed 3 ½ pounds of sweat in just 50 minutes of running. I didn’t know that was even possible for such a short run and it wasn’t particularly hot that morning. Nevertheless, it was very gratifying to be able to run non-stop even for just a little over 5 miles and managing to do three running workouts for the week to boot. Those were little physical accomplishments with big mental rewards for me. Sanity prevails!
Tune in tomorrow for the week that was in other parts of my life.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Random Running Thoughts For Early October

On one hand I haven’t turned on the air conditioner all summer even during the late summer/early fall heat wave last week. On the other, I’m thankful that the pilot light on my heater didn’t turn off all summer so when I tried to raise the temperature during the recent cold spell, the heater sprang back to life quickly. I still had to wear jammies and a long sleeved shirt when I went to bed Wednesday night. Would you believe I had to run with a jacket on Tuesday afternoon because it was about 60 degrees a week after having to run indoors because it was 110 degrees hot outside? That’s a 50 degree swing!
A mysterious wound appeared on my right inner ankle Thursday morning. Well actually it was just a small scratch, but I don’t know where it came from. My shoe and sock were rubbing against it while I ran to my doctor’s office. When I took off my shoe to get weighed, there was a spot of blood on my sock even though I didn’t feel any pain on the wound. By the way, I ran a negative split when I ran to and from the doctor’s office. For non-runners who read this, that means I ran the second half of the course faster than the first half.
Regarding the doctor’s visit, it was just my regular 6 month follow up. The doc asked me if I wanted a flu shot and I said yes. He said they have to check with the insurance company first if I had to pay for it because some insurance companies pay for it and some don’t. Isn’t getting the flu shot a preventive measure? You’d think the insurance company would rather pay for the shot rather than pay much more later if the patient gets sick! That’s the healthcare system in the U.S. for you. I decided to get the flu shot for free from my job instead.
I just noticed that this year’s Long Beach Marathon switched weekends. The event usually happens on the weekend that I work, thus, I have had to request a couple of days off and use vacation time so I can participate. This year, the marathon happens on a weekend that I’m off from work. Unfortunately, I am unable to run it. I hope they keep the same weekend next year. This is the first time I’m going to miss running the full or the half since they revived the race in 1999. I still have the poster of that year’s race on my fridge.
Running nowadays consists of when my joints allow me to do it and not based on a schedule. It used to be on certain days of the week the last three years (prior to that, it was a no brainer because I ran every day. See: The End of the Streak and What It Took To Run Every Day For 21 Years ). I may plan on running tomorrow for example, but when tomorrow comes and my joints are complaining, then I do something else instead.
There is a certain feeling about running hard that I find difficult to duplicate while riding a bike. If I tried to do a very hard effort on the bike as I do while running, I’d probably fall off.

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Saturday’s Slow Run and Monday’s Non-Run

I could have joined the AREC running club last Saturday morning, but I didn’t. I was afraid that my competitive juices would lead to the aggravation of my injuries, because I tend to try to catch up with people who are running slightly faster than me. Besides, I had already visualized the route I was going to try to run on the previous day. It wasn’t much of a run, really. Just a very slow six miles at a pace I previously covered faster doing the four minute run with one minute walk break. In fact it was a second per mile slower than when I ran the Long Beach Marathon last year. Nevertheless it was still a semblance of a run to me because I put in a lot of effort into it. Despite the slowness, it was still satisfying.
I was planning on running again on Monday but the threat of the elements and some pain on my posterior tibialis tendon conspired against me. With the pain, I thought I might do a 15 to 30 mile bike ride instead but the skies were threatening rain, so I nixed that idea. This was after I had already put on my long sleeved shirt, jacket, cycling shorts, helmet and shoes. So maybe I’ll do a run/walk in a slight drizzle instead, but on my way out, it occurred to me that I had forgotten to stretch. Heading back indoors as the rain droplets started, I changed my mind again and settled for an hour ride doing intervals on the stationary recumbent bike. Running outdoors would have to wait another day.
Some questions to those who happen to drop by this post: Do you listen to an MP3 player while you run or cycle? Do you bring an ID, and what kind? Do you bring your cellphone? As for me, I do listen to the radio on my MP3 player and I only use one earphone so I can still hear what goes on around me on the other ear. I don’t have a Road ID so I carry an old driver’s license with emergency information written on the back, and I always bring my cellphone. The ID and cellphone are usually in an armband and the MP3 player is clipped to the back of my shorts.

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

My First MRI Experience

The MRI was finally done on my head on Thursday morning (9/30/10) . My ENT doctor ordered it due to this: Dizziness Diagnosis. I went to the radiology office, filled out the necessary forms and was soon escorted to the torture chamber, I mean the MRI machine room. The technician asked me to empty my pockets of everything and remove my watch, gave me a pair of earplugs, then positioned me on the machine. The wearing of a backside-revealing hospital gown was not even required. Elevator music was piped in through some headphones to mute the noise, and I had never appreciated elevator music until then because it helped reduce my anxiety level. The tech guy placed a push button device on my hand and he said it was a “get me out of here! button”, in case I couldn’t handle being inside the machine. The test was supposed to be with and without contrast, meaning, the first half was just a regular scan while during the second half, I was injected with a lightly radioactive material called galadium (?). I made sure I didn’t have any plans to enter or be near the port of Long Beach in the next couple of days because their gates have radioactive scanners. So anyway, the MRI machine made varied sounds like the whirring of an electric power tool, and a jackhammer, and the thump of a muted bass drum, all of which overcame the elevator music. All I could do was try to daydream and think good thoughts in the half hour it took to finish. Kinda hard when your head is caught in a vise. But I survived being restrained to the bed without feeling claustrophobic (I had my eyes closed the whole time), and other than a slightly shrunken head and being radioactive, I feel good. The results should be out in a couple of days.
Update: I visited the ENT doctor the next day (which was in itself a surprise because this doctor is usually booked for weeks) and he told me that he had some good news and some bad news. The good news was that the MRI didn’t find anything wrong with my brain other than it was missing (j/k), and the bad news was that there was nothing that could be done with my condition other than prevent myself from falling due to dizziness. It was the same thing he said when he first diagnosed labyrinthitis several months ago. No wonder I had been feeling lightheaded. Approximately 3 pounds of matter was missing from my skull! And no, the magnets did not suck the metal plate out of my left ankle.

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Friday, October 1, 2010

More Random Thoughts Thru September 2010

          I started the month with random thoughts (see: Random Thoughts For Early September) and then more came up since then.
          With all the reusable bags being sold nowadays, when I shop in the grocery store or other stores for that matter, I hardly see anyone else except me using them. Maybe because I shop during off peak hours?
          The inevitable cheaper versions of “rocker” type shoes that claim to tone muscles, improve posture, and promote weight loss, like Skechers and MBT have arrived. Walmart has the Danskin brand rocker shoes and Kmart has the Rock-n-Fit. I’m sure Target has their own too.  All for about a quarter of the price of the original. Example: Skechers = $109.00, Danskin=$29.99. And in the mid-range, Dr. Scholl’s price is about $49.99.
          I received my next reward from a couple of weeks ago for reaching another workout goal: 36 days. It was a towel. If only they knew beforehand that I exercised every day. Next target is 72 days of exercising and the reward is a t-shirt.
          I’m supposed to have an MRI of the head next week (actually as I edit this draft, I already had the procedure done) to check out my dizziness problems and I suddenly remembered that there is a metal plate on my left ankle from a fracture that happened in 1972 from a motorcycle accident. I called the radiology office as soon as I could to find out if that would affect the test. After the receptionist checked with the radiologist, they gave me the all clear to have the test done. I hope those powerful magnets don’t suck out the metal from my foot, otherwise that would suck indeed.
          Caught up on DVR’d TV shows last Wednesday (9/22/10) evening which were missed during 2 nights of 12 hour shift work. On DWTS, Bristol Palin appears to be this seasons’ Kate Gosselin in terms of body stiffness. I could identify because I don’t/can’t dance worth a lick. A week later, I saw that Michael Bolton was worst and thus, he got eliminated. The only reason why Bristol received better scores was because mother Sarah was in the audience.
          I karaoked again last Thursday (9/23/10) evening after haven’t done so for several months. No, I didn’t go out to a club for Karaoke night but did it in the comfort and privacy of my living room. I sounded terrible! Not that I didn’t sound terrible before. What inspired me was a Korean movie that I watched beforehand where the theme song was Love Is A Many Splendored Thing. That was one of the songs we sang in glee club in high school. Speaking of Glee, I laughed out loud when Charice was recruited by Vocal Adrenaline and she said “they gave me and my mom a condo and green card”.
          I finally replaced the original factory installed windshield wipers on my 1998 Honda Civic, only about 5 to 6 years too late. I didn’t even know the driver’s side and the passenger’s side were different sizes until I looked it up online. My windshield is now streak free and all set for the rainy season.
          And lastly, my computer DVR failed to record DWTS results show and Glee this week so I had to resort to streaming them from the web via the ABC and Fox websites. I still have to watch Castle.

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