Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tis the Season for Areobic Training

December brings training at Aerobic thresholds... This means granny gear on the bike on the steep inclines, and those ever so invigorating 12 minute mile sections of the run...  After 3 weeks of feeling sub par, I am back to normal.  For now my schedule looks like this.

Sunday-Monday Off
Tues 30 min run
Wed 30 minute run
Thurs 30 min swim
Fri 1 hour Bike
Sat 1 hour run

The Run volume is going up 10% per week, and will build to one 5 hour run in early April.  I have decisions to make about racing.  Ironman 70.3 August and Beach 2 Battleship 1/2 Iron are now 3 weeks apart.  I see myself missing Augusta and choosing a 70.3 earlier in the season...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Wooden Playset Project... Cheaper than any kit.

For Eyrleigh's 4th birthday I promised her a wooden playset.  As I started looking at the kits I noticed 1 thing all decent kits were north of $800 to buy and assemble.  So I said to myself, I can build one of these, so I scoured the internet to find a plan.  After an hour I found the plan I wanted.

Wooden Playset Project:

There was just one problem with this Playset... $640 estimated build cost.  I wanted cheaper, so I did Some Shopping, and boy did I save some money.  Now this plan also requires you have construction experience (which I do)  I have re done every room in my house, built my deck, and rebuilt a few cars and engines.  I fix most everything in my house, and being in IT for a living I fix computers, and fix my bicycles. 

Tools Needed

Cordless Drill with 2 batteries (charge 1 battery while using one battery)
Hand Saw
Miter or Table Saw
Tape Measure
Printed Copy of Directions and Schematics
Long (8inch) 5/16 Drill Bit
Long (8inch) 3/8 Drill Bit
9/16 Socket
Socket Wrench
3/4 inch Drill Bit

Lumber List (I bought all Lumber at Lowe's)

Board    Qty Cost Total
4" x 4" x 8'    8 $52.00
2" x 8" x 10'    2 $16.00
2" x 4" x 10'    21 $75.00
5/4" x 4" x 10'    5 $20.00
4" x 6" x 12'    1 $17.00

Cut List

Piece Letter Qty Measurement Description
A 5     4" x 4" x 8' Main Posts for Fort Structure
B 2     2"  x 8" x 5' Half of the Base of the Fort Structure
C 2     2"  x 8" x 4' 9" Half of the Base of the Fort Structure
D 2     2"  x 4" x 5'         Front and Back Lower Deck Frame
E 5     2"  x 4" x 4' 9"  Right and Left Lower Deck Frame
F 6 5/4" x 6" x 5' Deck Boards
G 2 5/4" x 6" x 5' Deck Boards
H 2 5/4" x 6" x 5' Deck Boards
J 2 2"  x 4" x 5' Front and Back Upper Deck Frame
K 2 2"  x 4" x 4' 9" Right and Left Upper Deck Frame
L      22 2"  x 4" x 3' Deck Post Boards
M     3     2"  x 4" x 10.5" Bench Support Boards
MM 2"  x 4" x 1' Bench Support Boards
N 2 2"  x 4" x4' 2" Bench Seat Boards
P 2"  x 4" x2' 6.25" Latter Boards to Fort
Q 4 2"  x 4" x 4' 9"  Sandbox Access Guard Boards
R 2 2"  x 4" x2' 2.5" Vertical Roof Boards
1 2"  x 4" x 4' 9"  Peak Roof Board
T 2 2"  x 4" x 4' 9"  Roof Line Boards
U 2 2"  x 4" x 4' 9"  Roof Line Boards
2 4" x 4" x 8'  A Frame Boards
W 1 2"  x 4" x 5' 4" Lower A Frame Connecting Board
X 1      4" x 6" x 12' Swing Beam
Y 1       4" x 4" x 7' 5" Support Post (Fort Side) for Swing Beam
Z 2 2" x 4" x 20" Upper A Frame Connecting Boards

Parts List

Part  Qty Cost Total w/shipping Vendor
Swing Seat 2 $62.37 Woodland Building Inc.
Rings 2 In Woodland Order Woodland Building Inc.
Ring Carabeaner 2 $10.00 Home Depot (In stock)
Baby Swing 1 $0 Hand me down from friend
Swing and Ring Chains 28 $16.80 Home Depot (In stock)
A Frame Bracket 2 $22.37 Lowes Online
Playset Canopy 1 $33.84 
Safety Handles 2 In Woodland Order Woodland Building Inc.
Slide 1 $50 Craigslist
Simpson Cap BCS2-2/4z 1 $6 Home Depot (In stock)
Swing and Ring Hangers 6 In Woodland Order Woodland Building Inc.
Deck Screws 250 $15.00 WholeSale Bolts
Galvanized Carriage Bolts 5/16" x 5' 40 $10 WholeSale Bolts
Galvanized Flat Washers 5/16"  40 $1.60 WholeSale Bolts
Galvanized Nuts 5/16"  40 $1.60 WholeSale Bolts

Total Parts Cost
Total Lumber Cost
Total Cost

Guide to Assemble the Playset:

Monday, December 05, 2011

Refreshed. A Season in Review.

So since Thanks giving day I have done ZERO sessions. That is 11 days of NO exercise. I have not taken that much time off in 5 years, and truth be told my body needed it.  So now looking back at the season.

Silver Comet 10k- I set a PR at the 10k distance here.  I was very happy with this run

Fort Yargo Offroad Half Marathon-  I twisted my ankle and it slowed me up just a bit, but overall I am happy with my result.

Publix Half Marathon- Shock of the year I ran a 1:44:24 at the Half Marathon distance.  I surprise myself with how I love this challenging course.

John Tanner Sprint 2011- 5k PR and the end of a sprint, but overall an average time for me.

Old Capital Sprint Triathlon- I hammered the bike, averaging 22mph and ran well to win my age group! First time ever.

West Point Lake Olympic Distance Triathlon- An average result, great to catchup with Wes.

Peachtree Road Race- Thanks to a free entry, I was able to run in corral "A" and finish in less the 50 minutes.

Gwinnett Stage Bike Race- I learned a ton about cycling, during this week long event I went from back of the pack, to someone who was competitive.  I also raced my first individual time trial.

McKendree 5k- My first win EVER. 22:00

Rev3 South Carolina Olympic Distance Triathlon-  It was good to meet Andrew and Trevor, and I did fairly well on such a challenging course.

Ragnar Tennessee 2011-  I felt good, but this was the race that should have ended my season.

Gobble Jog-  My letdown of the season, but I learned valuable lessons from the easiest of race distances.

New PRs- 3
Age Group Wins- 1
Overall Wins- 1
Disappointments- 1

Overall a GREAT Season of racing... 2012 will be about racing longer at lower heart rate levels so I could be ready for that Iron Distance Race in 2013.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

My Heart. Literally.

After the Gobble Jog on Thanksgiving Day I had no ill effects of my "Respiratory Episode", however I was feeling a good amount of "Muscular Chest Pain" so I decided to make an impromptu appointment with my primary care doctor on Monday just to get the OK.

I went into the Doctor's Office and he had an EKG ordered to make sure my heart was operating properly. As a side note, I have been meaning to do this for quite a while.

Enter Wikipedia to inform My Mother and the other 3 readers of this blog. BTW my heart is fine...

Electrocardiography (ECG or EKG from the German Elektrokardiogramm) is a transthoracic (across the thorax or chest) interpretation of the electrical activity of the heart over a period of time, as detected by electrodes attached to the outer surface of the skin and recorded by a device external to the body.[1] The recording produced by this noninvasive procedure is termed as electrocardiogram (also ECG or EKG). An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test that records the electrical activity of the heart.
ECG is used to measure the rate and regularity of heartbeats as well as the size and position of the chambers, the presence of any damage to the heart, and the effects of drugs or devices used to regulate the heart (such as a pacemaker). See also stress test and Holter monitor (24h).

Here is my doctor's response.  " Your EKG came back abnormal so I want you to the the Cardiologist today to get checked out further."  I am a endurance athlete, 35 years old, watch what I eat....  There is no way I have heart disease.  He thought that I might have Pericarditis, Enter Wikipedia once again.


Pericarditis is an inflammation of the pericardium (the fibrous sac surrounding the heart). A characteristic chest pain is often present.  The causes of pericarditis are varied, including viral infections of the pericardium, idiopathic causes, uremic pericarditis, bacterial infections of the precardium (for i.e. Mycobacterium tuberculosis), post-infarct pericarditis (pericarditis due to heart attack), or Dressler's pericarditis.

I would be flat out lying to you if I didn't say I was worried, but with the Cardiologist across the street, and the appointment 1.5 hours from now I decided to grab a sandwich and talk to the cardiologist, before calling my family and crying "heart issues"

I went to the Cardiologist and I was very impressed with them.  The Cardiologist listened to my story for 5 minutes and examined me.  Within 5 minutes he said I did NOT have Pericarditis.  He said I had chest muscle pain, and he immediately set out to have a full barrage of tests done on my heart in the next 2 hours.

I had the following procedures performed on my Heart.

1. Coronary Calcium Scans- Result I have not a spec of blockage in my heart or arteries. NONE

Use a special X-ray test called computed tomography (CT) to check for the buildup of calcium in plaque on the walls of the arteries of the heart (coronary arteries). This test is used to check for heart disease in an early stage and to determine how severe it is. Coronary calcium scans are also called cardiac calcium scoring.  The coronary arteries supply blood to the heart. Normally, the coronary arteries do not contain calcium. Calcium in the coronary arteries is a sign of coronary artery disease (CAD).
A CT scan takes pictures of the heart in thin sections. The pictures are recorded in a computer and can be saved for more study or printed out as photographs.

2. Treadmill Stress Test- Result I booked to to 6mph on a 15 percent grade no problem and my heart operation was "Perfect"

How does a Regular Stress Test Work? Patients with coronary artery blockages may have minimal symptoms and an unremarkable or unchanged EKG while at rest. However, symptoms and signs of heart disease may become unmasked by exposing the heart to the stress of exercise. During exercise, healthy coronary arteries dilate (develop a more open channel) than an artery that has a blockage. This unequal dilation causes more blood to be delivered to heart muscle supplied by the normal artery. In contrast, narrowed arteries end up supplying reduced flow to it's area of distribution. This reduced flow causes the involved muscle to "starve" during exercise. The "starvation" may produce symptoms (like chest discomfort or inappropriate shortness of breath), and the EKG may produce characteristic abnormalities. Most commonly, a motorized treadmill is used for exercise, while a stationary bicycle is used in some exercise laboratories.
When is a Regular Stress Test ordered? A regular stress test is considered in the following circumstances:
  • Patients with symptoms or signs that are suggestive of coronary artery diseases (CAD).
  • Patients with significant risk factors for CAD.
  • To evaluate exercise tolerance when patients have unexplained fatigue and shortness of breath.
  • To evaluate blood pressure response to exercise in patients with borderline hypertension.
  • To look for exercise-induced serious irregular heart beats.
3. Cardiac Ultrasound- Prelim.Result Everything looks perfect!

Echocardiography has become routinely used in the diagnosis, management, and follow-up of patients with any suspected or known heart diseases. It is one of the most widely used diagnostic tests in cardiology. It can provide a wealth of helpful information, including the size and shape of the heart (internal chamber size quantification), pumping capacity and the location and extent of any tissue damage. It not only allows doctors to evaluate the heart valves, but it can detect abnormalities in the pattern of blood flow, such as the backward flow of blood through partly closed heart valves, known as regurgitation. By assessing the motion of the heart wall, echocardiography can help detect the presence and assess the severity of any wall ischemia that may be associated with coronary artery disease. Echocardiography also helps determine whether any chest pain or associated symptoms are related to heart disease. Echocardiography can also help detect any cardiomyopathy, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, as well as others. The biggest advantage to echocardiography is that it is noninvasive (doesn't involve breaking the skin or entering body cavities) and has no known risks or side effects.

In the last 5 years I have wanted to have a comprehensive test of my heart to insure there will be no potential issues when training for Ultra Marathons or Iron distance races. I did not plan on doing it this way, but all's well that ends well.  These tests tested for blockage, potential genetic issues, and  under exercise load, and passed with flying colors.

Now who wants to run a 50k?