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Monday, November 30, 2009

Stats as of 30 November 2009

November 2008
44 miles
9 hours, 58 minutes
Avg Pace: 13:36/mile

November 2009
55.6 miles -- 11.6 miles longer than in 2008
12 hours, 25 minutes -- 2:27 longer than in 2008
Avg Pace: 13:24/mile -- 12 seconds better than in 2008

Total mileage for 2009 so far: 629.2 miles
Avg pace for 2009: 13:07/mile

The flu got better. I got better, and I got back into running. I did my 23 miler with few problems, although I was feeling down during the run somewhat. It was a mental thing, that's all. The big problem, though, was that as soon as I was back into the swing of things post-flu, I went to Hawaii. I'm happy to say that I didn't miss any runs before the trip, and we ran once on our trip. It was almost 8 miles, and the route took us around Diamond Head Crater (which was pretty much all uphill), and then down the other side (downhill, thankfully, but hot) and then on a tour through Waikiki. It was one of the highlights of our trip, to be honest. Todd and I both put as the #2 best thing we did while we were away. Who'd have thought!

Problem was, since we were gone for more than a week, and much of that time was spent on a dive boat, I haven't run at all since. So, I've missed 2 short runs and a longish run as a result. I was going to run the long run tonight, but I'm still jetlagged and we wanted to go pick up The Bug from Aunt Sandra. I will have to pick up with my runs tomorrow, and it will have to be in the morning because I am busy tomorrow night.

At this point, I feel less than prepared, so I need to get myself back on track soon.

Coming Soon: Hawaii

Todd and I have been traveling since November 19. We were in beautiful Hawaii, first on Oahu in Waikiki / Honolulu, and then we flew to the Big Island for a week aboard the Kona Aggressor II. The photo above is from my cell phone, as we enjoyed Mai Tais and Longboards at Splasher's before boarding the Aggressor boat on November 21. We arrived home in Manchester at about 6pm yesterday evening, and we're both back at work today. My body is still 5 hours behind (isn't this the middle of the night??) and I'm completely landsick - things are moving and spinning like I'm still on a boat. We have lots of photos to go through, so I'll be posting them and a trip report ASAP, but I don't know how long that will take - we have a busy schedule ahead of us this week. So, please be patient.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

This Blog: 5 Years!

Would you believe it, but my blog is five years old today?


Yes, I wrote my very first post on November 29, 2004. And it was about... weight loss. Not entirely shocking, as that was the subject of my entire blog for quite some time. It's been an interesting 5 years, I suppose. And my blog has evolved quite a bit. Admittedly, for about the first year and I half, I truly had no idea what to write about, and sometimes I was just writing to fill space. However, starting marathon training and doing things with scuba diving, etc, have given me more topics and I think the blog has really matured into something good.

I would like to thank you, all of my lovely readers, for being here and reading what I have to say. When I started, I really didn't have anything to say, and no one was watching. Now, I get something like 50-60 readers a day, and I have about 30 people that follow me in RSS. That's not exactly Consumerist, but it's still a lot for a blog that combines running and scuba diving and personal stuff... Not exactly stuff that goes together.

So, happy fifth birthday to "Somewhere in the Sun," formerly "Deep and Slightly Random Thoughts..." :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Little Grass Shack...

I want to go back to my little grass shack,
In Kealakekua, Hawaii.
I want to be with all the kanes and wahines,
That I used to know... so long ago.

I can hear the ukileles playing,
On the beach at Honaunau.
I can hear the old Hawaiians saying,
"Komo mai no kaua i ka hale welakahau."

It won't be long till my ship will be sailing,
Back to Kona.
It's a grand old place,
That's always fair to see... you're telling me.

I'm just a little Hawaiian and a homesick island boy,
I want to go back to my fish and poi.

I want to go back to my little grass shack,
In Kealakekua, Hawaii.
Where the humuhumunukunukuapua'a,
Go swimming by.

Where the humuhumunukunukuapua'a,
Go swimming by...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

What I'm Thankful For - 2009 Edition

In this time where so many people are feeling the pinch, and so many people are going without, more than anything I have to say that I am thankful for how lucky Todd and I are. Both of us are blessed with jobs that not only pay our bills, but also allow us to do fantastic things and see wonderful places. Both of us have co-workers that we love and keep us entertained. We are very lucky.

As I get older, I've also started to really feel grateful to have my health. I might bitch about my arthritis in my feet, but I've overcome a lot to become a runner and a marathoner. My running group is a collection of women (and the occasional man) who have inspired me and meant that I have something to look forward to every single Saturday. I am so happy that I can do the things that I can do, and with the people that I love.

This year, my family faced some health issues, and I'm happy to say that we came out ok. My dad suffered a series of heart attacks in late August, and went through triple bypass surgery. He is fine now, recovering and getting his strength back, and I'm happy to report that he is telling dirty jokes just like always.

Let's not forget that this year was also the year where I married the man I was meant to be with. I am so happy to be Todd's wife, and I love him more than anything.

There are so many things that I am thankful for and so many people that I'm happy to have in my life. I want to take this moment to thank each and every one of my friends and family for just being there are being people that I can depend on and love. You guys ROCK!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sea Things #25: Secretary Blennies

Sea Things is a regular feature on my blog where I profile a different sea creature. Look for it weekly, or something close to weekly.

It's MACRO MONTH!

For the month of November, Sea Things is going to be devoted to macro. That's right - all things small. One of the things that happens as you move from a newbie diver to a more experienced diver is that you start observing some of the smaller things on the reef. When you first start diving, it always seems like you're looking for the big guys - turtles, sharks, rays -- large things that are really exciting. However, there are many dives where you never see those things. Sometimes vis is bad, sometimes those big things are just not around. What then? Well, there are TONS and TONS of small, interesting things living all over the reef. They're often very common, and once you learn what to look for, they're easy to find. I love my magnifying glass, and I love looking at small things on a dive.



When we're talking about Secretary Blennies, we're talking about a fish that you're sure to miss if you're only looking at big stuff. These little guys only get to be about two inches in length at their biggest, but are usually between 3/4" and 1 1/2". That's pretty small.


Not only are they small in size, but most of the time you will only see just their heads sticking out of a small hole. They're found on cement that has been sunk, or on limestone or dead coral. They have a little hole, and they spend their time staring out of the little hole (but they usually stay in the hole, rather than hovering near like Yellowhead Jawfish do). Every so often, they'll jump out quickly and eat something, and then go right back to their hole. It happens so fast that if you blink, you'll miss it.

Usually, there are several Secretary Blennies found in one spot, and they can be territorial - you can sometimes see one try to get into the hole of the blenny next to him. They don't play nice.

If you want to find Secretary Blennies, it's best to try looking at dead coral areas or faces of limestone or cement. Often, if you see a few little holes, there are blennies living there. Usually, they won't retreat into their holes when you approach them unless you're really harassing them or being especially scary. Instead, you can just watch them and they are endlessly entertaining - still photographs don't quite do them justice. They look out their holes with their big eyes, and move the eyes around as if they're googly eyes. In fact, they're the closets to googly eyes I've ever seen in nature. I don't know of a diver hand signal for them, but Todd and I have made one up where you hold your index fingers on either side of your mask and move them in circles to indicate "CRAZY EYES". Secretary Blennies look crazy! I love them,though.



Do you like the weekly Sea Things? Want to see more? Want to have these lovely images in your home, keeping track of your important dates? If so, check out the 2010 Calendar Sale.

Is there a creature that you would like to see featured in Sea Things? If so, shoot me an email and if I can, I'll write about it. Photos on this post are courtesy of Todd Krebs.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sea Things #24: Pederson Cleaner Shrimp

Sea Things is a regular feature on my blog where I profile a different sea creature. Look for it weekly, or something close to weekly.

It's MACRO MONTH!

For the month of November, Sea Things is going to be devoted to macro. That's right - all things small. One of the things that happens as you move from a newbie diver to a more experienced diver is that you start observing some of the smaller things on the reef. When you first start diving, it always seems like you're looking for the big guys - turtles, sharks, rays -- large things that are really exciting. However, there are many dives where you never see those things. Sometimes vis is bad, sometimes those big things are just not around. What then? Well, there are TONS and TONS of small, interesting things living all over the reef. They're often very common, and once you learn what to look for, they're easy to find. I love my magnifying glass, and I love looking at small things on a dive.


Today we are talking about the very, very tiny Pederson Cleaner Shrimp, or Periclimenes pedersoni. Like the Spotted Cleaner Shrimp that we talked about weeks ago, the Pederson Shrimp will clean other fishes of parasites. Pederson shrimp are usually found in cleaning stations. Cleaning stations are fairly easy to find. As you swim along a reef, look for corkscrew anemone (you can see some in the background of the photo below). Pederson Shrimp are often found with corkscrew anemone, usually one to five of them in each cleaning station.


When you approach a cleaning station, you can hover in one spot and hold your fingertips towards the Pederson Shrimp, being careful not to scare them away. Very often, the shrimp will first kind of tap your finger with their antennae, and then if they feel comfortable, they'll start cleaning your fingertips. Sometimes, they'll even hop on your hand, and I've had a Pederson Shrimp all the way up to my wrist (and on my wetsuit), if it was particularly enthusiastic about cleaning me. So, what does that feel like? Well, nothing, to be perfectly honest. They're so small and light that you can barely feel anything, although you might feel them tugging at your skin just a little tiny bit. Pederson Shrimp usually are only a couple of centimeters long.


These shrimp are also quite transparent. In the photograph above, you can see that this shrimp is carrying eggs (the brown part on her underside). You can clearly see them, even though they're inside of her. How strange would it be if you could see a baby inside of a human woman? It might reduce the need for ultrasounds ;)

Pederson Cleaner Shrimp are quite pretty and very interesting and interactive. They're fairly common on the reef in the Caribbean, so keep your eyes peeled for them.


Do you like the weekly Sea Things? Want to see more? Want to have these lovely images in your home, keeping track of your important dates? If so, check out the 2010 Calendar Sale.

Is there a creature that you would like to see featured in Sea Things? If so, shoot me an email and if I can, I'll write about it. Photos on this post are courtesy of Todd Krebs.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

2010 Calendar Sale

Great news!

Todd is once again offering calendars for sale!




Do you like the weekly Sea Things? Want to see more? Want to have these lovely images in your home, keeping track of your important dates? If so, check out the 2010 Calendar Sale.

TIART: Racing Favorites

For this week's Take it and Run Thursday, Joanna asks, "What is your favorite race? Do you live for the marathons or crave a 5k? Would you rather race in the morning, afternoon, or at night? Do you like big races with tons of people and encouraging crowds or do you prefer the smaller hometown races?"

My favorite race of all time, at this moment, is the 2009 Philadelphia Distance Run. That's because everything was right - weather, course, friends -- everything. And I set a PR.

Besides that, I generally guarantee that I like Disney Races more than others, and I would like to be able to do them all. I am definitely going to miss doing the Disney Marathon weekend in 2011, which we'll miss due to a vacation conflict.

As far as distance goes, I am happiest in the middle distance. I like 10 Milers and Half Marathons. 5ks and 10ks are just too short - I feel like I have to sprint through them in order to get a decent time, and I hate that feeling of running so fast that I'm out of breath the entire race. I'm getting constantly better and faster, but I still hate that feeling. Fast is not my specialty, long is my specialty. However, that doesn't mean that the marathon is my race, either. There comes a point where we're talking TOO long. Marathons tend to fit into that category, but maybe I'll feel differently in a couple of months. I haven't run a marathon in two years, and I've never had one that I consider "good."

Morning, noon or night? Morning. Todd is all excited about the half marathon that we're planning to run next year that takes place in the evening, but I prefer to get up and get it over with, and then have the rest of the day to spend relaxing and enjoying that after-race feeling. Spending an entire day in anticipation of a race isn't fun for me. And, well, afternoon races just seem to blow your whole day.

Big Races vs. Hometown races? I'm in between. I like both. Certainly, big races can be fun, but it's also nice to see the little amenities that a small race will have.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Bug's Travel Bug Update

A while ago, I told you about The Bug's Travel Bug that I created for Geocaching. I ended up creating two identical ones. Here is an update of their progress (which I admit is slower than I would like).

Travel The Bug I
We placed The Bug's first travel bug in a geocache in Ocean City, Maryland Labor Day weekend. He was picked up mere minutes later, and was taken back to Pittsburgh, PA by a fellow geocacher. He hasn't moved since, but we're awaiting patiently is next move.

Travel The Bug II
The second of The Bug's travel bugs was placed in a cache in Charlotte's Quest Nature Center in Manchester, Maryland on October 4. No one else visited the cache for a long time, and then finally another cacher visited the cache on November 2, and left a note that The Bug was still there, safe and sound, but that he hadn't taken it. Then, at long last, another cacher picked up the Travel Bug on November 8 (this past Sunday) and took it home with him to New York state. He posted some photos of The Bug with his cats.

The Bug and Pepper:
The Bug and Lynx:

Too cool! I will keep you updated in The Bug's travel bugs as they continue their progress around the world...

Sea Things #23: White-Speckled Nudibranch

Sea Things is a regular feature on my blog where I profile a different sea creature. Look for it weekly, or something close to weekly.

It's MACRO MONTH!

For the month of November, Sea Things is going to be devoted to macro. That's right - all things small. One of the things that happens as you move from a newbie diver to a more experienced diver is that you start observing some of the smaller things on the reef. When you first start diving, it always seems like you're looking for the big guys - turtles, sharks, rays -- large things that are really exciting. However, there are many dives where you never see those things. Sometimes vis is bad, sometimes those big things are just not around. What then? Well, there are TONS and TONS of small, interesting things living all over the reef. They're often very common, and once you learn what to look for, they're easy to find. I love my magnifying glass, and I love looking at small things on a dive.



During our first full-fledged dive trip that Todd and I ever took together, which was in Bonaire in May of 2007, Todd got it in his head that he wanted to find a nudibranch. Well, it's possible that he had decided this before that, but the first I ever heard of it was while we were in Bonaire. A nudibranch is a sea snail with no shell, like a slug. They tend to be pretty small, and often have pretty good camouflage that prevents them from being seen. Many varieties of them are colorful and pretty, and they usually have "gills" along their backs, that make them unique.

The trick to Todd's nudibranch search, though, is that they're not all that common in the Caribbean. If you ask someone about nudibranchs in Bonaire or the Caymans, the response is usually that if you want to see nudibranchs, you should dive in the Pacific. Apparently, they're all over the place in the Pacific. So, looking for them in the Caribbean is a lot harder, and dive masters will usually shrug and ask you if you want to see a flamingo tongue instead.

After a while, he started offering $100 to whoever found him a nudibranch that he could take a photo of. Some dive masters really tried to find one, but in Bonaire and Little Cayman, we never found one. Then, on our trip to Turks & Caicos we were on the Aggressor boat, which allowed us to do many, many night dives, and also surrounded us with a huge amount of experienced divers and dive masters (I highly recommend the Turks & Caicos Aggressor II). Dive Master Amanda tried to point Todd in the right direction, and then Captain Scott finally told Todd to check on purple rope sponges during a night dive, since some types of nudibranchs eat them. Sure enough, we were only about 5 minutes into our night dive that night when I swam to a coral head with purple rope sponges, and found a White Speckled Nudibranch right there on it! All of that trying, all of those dives, and suddenly it seemed easy!

Amanda found another nudibranch later that trip, on another night dive, but there is something special about finding the White-Speckled one, and I'm so happy that I'm the one who found it (with kudos to Captain Scott, of course). There's nothing entirely special about the species itself, except that it is found in the Caribbean, and loves those purple rope sponges. The one in Turks & Caicos (pictured above) was about an inch long.

The diver hand signal for a nudibranch is to hold out your index finger and wiggle it, although most Caribbean-based divers probably won't know the signal. We have yet to find another White-Speckled Nudibranch on a dive, but we did find a Black Spotted Nudibranch in Belize. That's a topic for another Sea Thing article.

Is there a creature that you would like to see featured in Sea Things? If so, shoot me an email and if I can, I'll write about it. Photos on this post are courtesy of Todd Krebs.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

TIART: Nobel Prize for Running

This week's Take it and Run Thursday comes from Chelsea, who asks: "You’re on the selection Committee for the Nobel Prize for Running. Who would you nominate for the winner and why?
It could be an elite or a beginning runner....a courageous ordinary runner in your community who inspires you.... or the local running club leader, race director, or running store owner who gives tirelessly back to running. It could be the senior runner in your community who knows no age limitations. You decide. Who do you think deserves to be recognized for enriching and advancing the experience of running for others?"


This is an EASY ONE! On the left in the photo above (the guy on the right is my awesome hubby), meet Jack.

I'm not sure when Jack started running, or his history there, but he has done so much for beginning runners. He leads group after group, working with my Galloway training group at Fleet Feet Sports. He has led people who have never run before to run their very first 5K race. He's worked with others to run their first half marathon. He's currently coaching a group from the 5K group to run a 10K later this month. Everyone loves Jack, because he is understanding and encouraging.

He also works with Team In Training, leading folks out on the NCR trail to raise money for cancer.

In 2007, Jack's granddaughter, Mikala, passed away just a few weeks after he was born. Starting that year, Jack began devoting much of his training to running "Miracle Runs" in Mikala's honor. In 2007, he ran 26 miles in order to raise money for the John's Hopkins Children's Center. In 2008, he upped the ante to a 50K. In 2009, he ran 44 miles (72K) overnight one rainy, rainy night, in Mikala's honor. All by himself, over three years, he's raised $18,500.

Now, Jack is training for Disney. He is doing the Goofy Challenge at the Disney Marathon in January, but instead of "only" running the half marathon and the full marathon, he's adding in the 5K on Friday. He's raising money for Dundalk High School Track and Field team.

You see, Jack doesn't run for Jack. Jack runs for everyone else. And that is what makes him special.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sea Things #22: Yellowhead Jawfish

Sea Things is a regular feature on my blog where I profile a different sea creature. Look for it weekly, or something close to weekly.

It's MACRO MONTH!

For the month of November, Sea Things is going to be devoted to macro. That's right - all things small. One of the things that happens as you move from a newbie diver to a more experienced diver is that you start observing some of the smaller things on the reef. When you first start diving, it always seems like you're looking for the big guys - turtles, sharks, rays -- large things that are really exciting. However, there are many dives where you never see those things. Sometimes vis is bad, sometimes those big things are just not around. What then? Well, there are TONS and TONS of small, interesting things living all over the reef. They're often very common, and once you learn what to look for, they're easy to find. I love my magnifying glass, and I love looking at small things on a dive.


This week's macro fish is the Yellowhead Jawfish, or Opistognathus aurifrons. These little guys are a couple of inches long - about 3 or 4 inches, max. They live in sandy areas of the sea floor, and are mostly found in areas with a lot of coral rubble (kind of like rocks, old, dead coral that has broken off for whatever reason and gathers in one spot). They live in little burrows or holes that they dig themselves.

Their burrows actually quite intricate. To me, they look like just a hole, but in fact there is more to them than that. They dig out a hole six inches deep and eight inches wide, then create a brickwork above it using shells, bits of coral and rocks, to support a tunnel to the surface. At the bottom is a chamber lined with sand where the jawfish will sleep. They are very territorial and will not let anyone near their home except a mate. They spend a lot of the day finding rocks, coral and shells to keep up the tunnel and chamber, and are meticulous about it. It's very interesting to watch. At night, a bit of shell blocks the entrance to the tunnel so that the fish can get some shut eye.


Yellowhead Jawfish are found all over the Caribbean, and can be found from Florida to Argentina in the Atlantic. I have frequently seen them in Bonaire, Belize, Turks & Caicos, and the Cayman Islands. As I swim up to a rubble area, I'll often look for them. Their coloring really helps them up against sand, as sometimes they can be hard to spot. Usually, there are many of them in a single area. They will hover a few inches above their burrow, and sometimes when they're comfortable they'll swim maybe a maximum of 6 to 8 inches away from their burrow. When they're scared or startled, they'll immediately and fast, swim back to their borrow and enter tail first. If you are still and quiet and keep your bubbles small, they'll often be back out again in a few minutes, at least popping their little heads up out of the sand.

Sometimes, I'm underwater looking at these little guys and all I can think about is - these animals live right there on the sand, and won't go more than a few inches away from a single spot. That is their entire world, just that little area. Forget the fact that they don't know about the topside world, they don't even know about things going on with the reef 10 feet away from them. Kind of an interesting thought.

These jawfish feed on plankton and small, small things - I suppose whatever floats near them. One of the more interesting things about them is that the males take care of the eggs. They're called paternal mouthbrooders, which means that the male holds the eggs in his mouth until they're ready to hatch. Whenever I find a cluster of jawfish, I am hopeful that I'll find one with eggs in its mouth. To date, we have yet to find one, but I still look on many dives.

The diver hand signal for jawfish is to point at your jaw. They can be found from 10 to 160 feet, and I almost always find them in areas of white coral rubble.


Is there a creature that you would like to see featured in Sea Things? If so, shoot me an email and if I can, I'll write about it. Photos on this post are courtesy of Todd Krebs.

The Debate: Meb


On Sunday, Mebrahtom Keflezighi won the New York City Marathon. He was the first American to win the New York City Marathon since 1982. He was wearing a singlet with "USA" on the front. He waved the American Flag. It was awesome.

Then, some people pondered his name and started questioning if he was really an American.


Whatever. The fact is that Meb came to this country when he was 12 years old. All of his running training (youth, college and pro) took place in the United States. He is a United States citizen.

What, exactly, is the criteria for being "American enough" to run as an American? American born? Born on some other continent than Africa? American sounding name? No accent? Not black?

All of this hype is racism, and it is stupid. I thing Meb is awesome and Todd and I cheered loudly when he crossed the finish line. You go, Meb!! And GO USA! I'm excited for 2012.

Photo courtesy Getty Images

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bummed

I mentioned in my last post that I am going to go to the store tonight and run. Well, I think I'm not now.

I felt great today, except for a cough, until right after lunch, when the fatigue set in and I started feeling so tired I could barely hold my head up. And then, my cough got worse.

DAMMIT.

I have gone over and over this in my head and I know the smart thing to do is to not run today and to start running again on Thursday, but I HATE THAT IDEA. I have already missed 2 runs - a 3-4 miler and a 6-7 miler. Missing tonight is another 3-4 miler. I'm missing 2 more of those when we go to Hawaii later this month. ARG!!!!!! It's killing me. I could miss more runs while we're in Hawaii, but now it sounds like I'm absolutely, 100% going to have to do everything I can to make up those runs sometime.

I so hope I'm back to running on Thursday. Doing my research on the subject on the internet, I found a guy who was out 15 days for the flu. FIFTEEN DAYS?! Yikes. Here's hoping I'm recovered before that.

Well, here's one positive thing...

Some Thoughts about H1N1, Vaccines, and Distrust of Doctors


Well, I think I'm finally getting over the flu. Frankly, I thought I was all better on Saturday, but that proved not to be the case. For those of you curious about this strain of flu and how it goes, here is how it went for me.

Monday night into Tuesday: I was coughing some. I decided that I wasn't sick, because I felt 100% fine otherwise, things were very normal, and I'm a chronic hypochondriac. I went to work. Things were normal. Everything was fine.

Tuesday Afternoon into Evening: The cough never got worse, but I started feeling tired and sluggish around 3:30 or 4pm on Tuesday. I was full of dread. I just FELT SICK. I went home, and told co-workers that I thought I was coming down with something and that I would likely stay home Wednesday, just in case, and work from home. I still felt that weird tired/fatigue/sick feeling in the drive home, and then arrived home and took my temperature - 98.8, not a fever, and I wasn't coughing much and I just felt tired. I decided that I was building it up in my head, and making excuses about why I shouldn't run. I forced myself on the treadmill, allowing myself to get off if I felt bad. This is also because when I had Influenza B in 2005, I first discovered I was sick because I couldn't stop coughing during step aerobics. So, I figured a run would be the true test of my health. I ended up quitting after 2 miles, because while I really wasn't coughing at all, I still felt that fatigue feeling, and it was getting worse, as if I'd hit the wall in a marathon. Temperature after the run was 99.5, still techinically not a fever, and I don't usually take my temperature before and after a run so I have no idea how running affects my body temperature on a regular day. As the night wore on, I felt more and more tired, still had a mild cough, and almost felt "out of it."

Wednesday: No doubt about it, I was sick. I actually don't remember what a lot of my symptoms were because I was still out of it. I know that my temperature went up to 100.2 and stayed there. I know that I was tired, and I slept the majority of the day. I woke up around 9am, went back to bed at 9:30, woke up at 2pm and ate some soup, went back to bed at 3pm, woke up at 6pm and ate some more soup, and then went to bed at about 8 or 9pm. I had a wicked-bad sore throat, worse than with a normal cold. I still wasn't coughing too much, but I did have some body aches.

Thursday: A lot like Wednesday. I tried to do some more work and be more conscious, since I have deadlines and such. I still ended up sleeping most of the morning. Temperature remained at 100.2. Sore throat started to feel better, though. Around 5pm or so, my fever dropped to 99.4 and continued to drop throughout the night. Coughing was increasing, and I was starting to get a lot of 'gunk' in my throat.

Friday: My temperature was a reasonable 98.9 again. I was still tired, but I was forcing myself to be awake and work. Sore throat was gone, and I was coughing a whole lot. Cough, cough, cough.

Saturday: Things were looking good. I was feeling almost normal. Coughing a lot, but my assumption was that I was at the tail end of things and had no worries. Todd and I went out for the day. We had a good time. I was feeling great, like I was done and recovering. Then, Saturday evening, the coughing increased by a LOT. I started sneezing, sniffling, mucus... ugh. It was like in the movies when they show a fight and the one guy beats up the other guy and the winner starts to walk away and you think he's done, but then he turns around and BAM, punches the loser one more time. Or, it was like having a head cold and a chest cold at the same time.

Sunday: I spent the day dealing with snot, sniffles, sneezes and coughs. Still tired, took a short nap, and I still tried to get some work done.

Monday: At 5am, I woke up with a cough to end all coughs, which brought up all kinds of disgusting things. I forced myself up and to work, and I coughed, sneezed, and sniffled all day. I drank a lot of hot tea, which helped. I was still exhausted, but better.

Today: A lot of coughing last night, a lot of coughing this morning, but things are better. I'm breathing better, I feel better. I am going to the running store tonight to try to get in a slow run. I really want to be back on the horse.

There you have it, that's what H1N1 did for me.

So, what do I think of H1N1?

Well, I've always taken it seriously, and I don't actually feel like the media is blowing it too much out of proportion. Did they blow Michael Jackson's death out of proportion? Yes. H1N1? Not so much, in my opinion. At least, the coverage isn't something I'm going to complain about now that I know how truly contagious it is. I did everything right, hygeine-wise, in Florida. I washed my hands regularly (obsessively, As Good As it Gets obsessively). I sang the Happy Birthday song while washing my hands to be sure that I did it long enough. I took Clorox wipes with us, and wiped down the armrests, tray tables, etc, on the plane after we sat down. I bathed myself in Purell reguarly, and didn't touch my nose, face, eyes, etc with dirty hands. When we got to our hotel room, we wiped the room down with the Clorox wipes - from the remote controls to the doorknobs to the light switches. Everything. The only holes in my plan were that we had to eat out, and that I took water from water stops during the 13K.

The fact that I took such drastic precautions and STILL got this virus tells me that this is something to be taken seriously. It is very contagious. On Tuesday, I apparently made one, possibly 2 of my co-workers sick, even though I felt fine and had no real symptoms.

The thing is, you can't get the vaccine right now. If you could, I would have gotten it, but there has been nowhere to go to get it. I'm not in the high risk category. It sucks, because I would have had the vaccine a month ago if it had been available to me.

So, because of all of this I was looking up some information on vaccines, and how some folks really don't want to get it because they think it's dangerous. Really? I disagree. Here's why: This is the same flu vaccine, different strain. The same flu vaccine that I've gotten almost every year since 1997, the same one that never makes me sick, and made the same way. It's as if you always make chili with ground beef and someone asks you to make it with ground turkey instead. It's the same recipe, one ingredient has changed. In my opinion, it's safe, or at least much safer than the flu is.

Why do we distrust vaccines so much? Why do we distrust doctors so much? I don't understand the trend of people feeling like they know so much more about medicine than doctors do. It's like someone does a google search and then assumes that they know everything about medicine, and they can make calls better than someone who went through medical school.

Get the flu shot. Get the H1N1 vaccine. Have your kids vaccinated. Understand the difference between a valid medical study and an invalid one. For example, check out DHMO.org. Wow, Dihydrogen Monoxide sounds dangerous, huh? Yeah, well, it's water. Everything on that site is true, but the site uses scare tactics and frightening wording to make water sound like it should be banned. This can be done with anything. And this is the kind of non-science that people are believing these days. It really saddens me.

Another good read, check out Slate's article, A Pox on You, where a mom discusses how her immunity-challenged son can't go to the daycare that he wants to because other children there are not vaccinated. Unvaccinated children are a danger, and in my opinion you shouldn't be able to opt out of certain vaccines because you don't believe in them, or because you read on the internet that somebody said they're bad.

Slate published another article yesterday, Blowing the Shot, which talks about why the vaccine has taken so long to be distributed, and frankly why I got H1N1, because if the vaccine had been available, I'd have gotten it.

And finally, if you do and read nothing else, read this article from a family physician. It discusses the H1N1 vaccine, why it is safe, and why you should get the vaccine. It is the most unbiased source I've found, while still being from a credible source. It is a good article.

There is little chance that H1N1 will kill you or even be serious to you. The symptoms that I had are the norm. However, the people who are getting very sick and dying are often young and healthy. Do you really want to take that risk with your children? Do you really want to take that risk if you're a pregnant mom? You buy a million and one baby-proofing devices for your house, you walk your kids to the bus stop so that they won't get kidnapped. You use car seats, you do everything else, but you won't get them vaccinated for a potentially deadly disease? This blows my mind.

Even worse are the other vaccines - MMR, etc. I think the problem is that we live in a world where most of us don't remember people dying from diseases like Smallpox and Polio. Do you know why that is?? Vaccines.

I don't know. I don't have kids. I've had all of my shots, including some I don't necessarily need (I've had Hepatitis and Typhoid, and I'll probably soon get Japanese Encephalitis). Mayne this is another place where I just "don't get it" because I don't have children, and I should just be speaking to adults and asking them to get vaccinated.

Regardless, I'm better now.

Monday, November 2, 2009

New on the Blogroll

Thought I'd introduce you to a few new blogs recently added on the left.
  • Significant Objects has actually been there a while now. They pick up items at yard sales, etc and write stories about them, and then sell them for way more than they're worth. I find this amazing and wish I'd thought of it.
  • There, I Fixed It is a collection of kluges for laughs.
  • Cute Overload was away for a while, but has returned!
  • Mouse Print discusses the fine print of ads and deals, trying to figure out what the "catch" is. It's a lot like Consumerist.
  • Southern Fried Scientist is devoted to shark research and conservation, as well as overall ocean conservation. They do a lot of reviews of documentaries, etc. and they're very anti-whale wars.
  • Wardrobe Oxygen is all about cleaning out your closet and getting rid of dated clothing - something I need a whole lot of help with.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Stats as of 31 October 2009

October 2008
47.8 miles
10 hours, 49 minutes
Avg Pace: 13:35/mile
Tower of Terror 13K 2008: 1:46:22 (13:10/mi)

October 2009
69.4 miles -- 21.6 miles longer than in 2008
15 hours, 13 minutes -- 4:24 longer than in 2008
Avg Pace: 13:10/mile -- 15 seconds better than in 2008
Tower of Terror 13K 2009: 1:41:11 (12:32/mile)

Total mileage for 2009 so far: 573.7 miles
Avg pace for 2009: 13:05/mile

I was on quite a roll and then this last week with the flu has really stalled my progress for the year. I'm coming up on having some significant time off for a vacation, so I hate the idea that I am missing so much running. I'm hoping I can get some runs in this week. Thankfully, I still have almost 2 weeks to recover before my 23 mile training run.

This month, I saw a lot of success when I finished my 21 miler in great shape. I am optimistic about Disney, and I'm at this point looking at a target time of 5:49, if all continues to go well after I recover from this darn flu.

I haven't picked up STS again, I've had a lot of work stuff and personal stuff that have kept me too busy. At this point, I'm maybe looking at not starting again until January, but we'll see. As for weight loss, I'm doing ok. I lost 2 pounds in October, which isn't exactly blowing the scale away, but it's something. I haven't weighed myself since I got sick, but I doubt the flu took any extra weight off. It didn't take my appetite away at all, except on Wednesday.

So, here's hoping for a speedy recovery and some runs this week!

Our Halloween

Todd went to the trail and ran in the morning, and I spent the morning sleeping in. As it is, I don't think I'm going to get to run at all this weekend. I originally thought I'd be good for 6 on the treadmill today, but I'm still very congested in my chest and I'm coughing a lot. Since I have come to understand that doing a run with cough/chest congestion can lead to bronchitis and/or pneumonia, I thought I'd better not take the risk. Blah, though, I feel lazy.

Anyway, we spent Halloween during the day driving around just over the PA line, taking photographs and geocaching. Good fun, and we found quite a few geocaches. Todd got some good pics. We spent some time near a couple of reservoir and dams that are just in PA, and it's cool to know that there are scenic things so close. Todd did come home with ticks on him, so we know we have to be more careful next time we're out and about. It was good to get out of the house, that was my first time out since Tuesday.

We stayed home for Halloween, which is pretty typical. I was making Octoberfest deliciousness - pork chips and sauerkraut. We made some caramel apples together for dessert. We did ok with them, but the caramel was a little thick, which made them delicious, but hard to eat. We managed ok :)


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