Monday, December 31, 2007

A Year in Recap

Let's all get sentimental on the last day of the year, time wasted or time well spent?

A little of both for me, but I won't complain.

It's been hard to keep a steady training schedule with my job, working rotating shifts doesn't help. This lack of training caught up to me in June with a pretty severe stress fracture of my left tibia. When I've tried running, the pain returned after about three weeks of light running. My left calf is still going through wierd perma-cramps, so I haven't been able run since June. It's been frustrating.

However, this year has seen some highlights for me. Trips to Bermuda and Ottawa, vacations to Montreal and Niagara. A new van. Oh there was something else...

Wesley. With his arrival I took parental leave from work and spent 14 weeks at home with Sue and the kids. It was the best time ever. Last year I had to be away from the family for 13 weeks of work training. That time away let me be at home this year.

I'll leave you his video to watch and wish you all a Happy New Year. Hopefully it ends on the same high note as Darcy does!


video

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Birthday to me

Welcome back to all my readers. There must be tens of you by now...

Today is my birthday, my daughter even figured it out without too much prompting this morning.

I'm lucky enough to not have to work over Christmas, but not lucky enough to go to Switzerland with the rest of the family. I'll just have to 'settle' for a big turkey dinner at one of Sue's aunt's. Yeah, that'll be a real chore.

Stay tuned for more posts, but don't hold your breath.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Energizer Bunny

Even though Darcy went out as a Chicken this year, she could have been the Energizer Bunny. One of the local mall had stores doing trick or treating for little ones from 4-7pm today, so we met Alisa and her parents there and did a lap of the mall, filling the bag up so that Darcy was forced to drag it towards the end.

We were going to hit half a dozen houses on our street, but since it was such a nice night, we ended up doing almost the whole block. Again filling up her bucket to over flowing and she needed Dad to carry it at the end, it probably didn't help that someone put a full sized can of pop in there!


She was a trooper and didn't complain about anything, walked up all the stairs and said thank you to everyone. A few people she even struck up conversations with about their decorations. Not too surprisingly, A LOT of people commented on how cute she is and apparently that translates into A LOT of candy. We kept track of the candy we gave out (106 pieces) and I did a count of what she brought in (124 pieces, not counting what she ate at our neighbour while she was his 'helper'). Clearly she is good at this, too bad it only comes once a year. But fortunately for her, her father will try to get this loot to stretch out of the next 124 days, then we'll almost be half way to next year!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Flickr

Lots of new pics on the Flickr page.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Auntie-Stef or Anti-Stef

Last night Darcy was playing with Alisa and they were talking about going to swimming lessons. The question was asked, "What do you wear?"

Darcy answered, "I wear my bathing suit. But sometimes grown ups don't wear clothes."
A concerned parent asked, "What do they wear then?"
Darcy calmly answered, "They go nudey."
The follow up question was asked, "Who told you that?"
"Auntie-Stef."

So.

A few questions need to be answered.

Is there any truth to this?
What is Auntie-Stef teaching my THREE year old?
Should her teachings, which include pudding bathes and the introduction to the word "CRAP", get her "Auntie" title changed to an "Anti" title?

Vote now.

Friday, October 19, 2007

GO GLENN GO!!!

UPDATE:

Glenn finished the marathon in 3:31 and change. Another PR for him, by about 8-10 minutes. I'm very impressed and envious. Conditions were pretty much perfect, cool to start and then a good breeze when the sun got warm.

Awesome job.

----------

Yes it's been a while.

Last time I posted about Jake running the Chicago marathon. If you didn't hear, it was a brutal experience for all of the 45,000 people who choose to run. Jake did finish in 3:59, quite amazing considering the circumstances.

Sunday is the Detroit Marathon. Sue's cousin Glenn is running it. It will be his fourth and he's really just looking to have a good time, nothing wrong with that. In January Glenn will be doing the "Goofy Challenge". That is where you run a half marathon (21.1km) on Saturday and then a full marathon (42.2km) on Sunday. It all takes place in Disney World, hence Goofy.

Anyway, good luck Glenn. Darcy was practicing her cheers tonight with some pretty enthusiastic flag waving to boot.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

GO JAKE GO!!!!

There are four exclamation points in my title because this Sunday Jake is running his forth marathon, the Chicago Marathon. It's his goal to qualify for the prestigious Boston Marathon by running a 3:14:59 or better. He came close last year at Detroit, staying on pace until mile 20 or 21, when the wheels feel off and he came in at a 'measly' 3:34. It was still a 15 minute PR for him.

This year he has put in some H U G E miles (on week being over 60 miles) and has stayed healthy (not like me...), so I'm confident that he'll get there the time he needs.

GO JAKE!!!!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Bigger Than Jesus

A long time ago D & I were in the car together and out of the blue she started singing "Hello, hello. I don't know why you say good-bye I say hello," over and over again. Then while Stef was here after Wesman was born I introduced her to "Yellow Submarine." That was a mistake on my part and we were serenaded with an unending chorus of "We all live in a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine. We all live in a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine," for the next six days

The other night I'm reading D a story from kids Bible and it was about the disciples. The story listed a few of their names; Peter, James, John, Timothy and Andrew. At the end of the story there are always a few questions to recap. One question was, can you name some of the disciples?

Her answer: Paul (not sure how she knows about him. I'll give her part points), John, (pause) George ...

I stopped her before she could get to Ringo.

Monday, September 24, 2007

New Van

We've been driving a Neon for the last 5 years. Not a big deal with just the two of us, a little tight with three of us and virtually impossible with four. So I started looking a little while back for used cars. The top three contenders were the Jetta Wagon TDI, the Honda CR-V & the Honda Odyssey. I found one of each that were close in price and mileage. The Jetta was the highest mileage, but being TDI was really just broken in. The CR-V was the most expensive, but a really great model with tons of features. The Odyssey was the oldest, but offered tons more room then either of the other two. So it came down to numbers and the Odyssey won.

We are paying $120/month LESS than the Neon and $200/year LESS in insurance. That's a savings of around $1600/year. The Odyssey is listed as using about $1400/year in gas, which is a lot and is certainly more than the Neon. But with the lower payments and lower insurance, we still come out ahead of the Neon, because the Neon used about $980/year in gas. So based on these estimates, we $1200 ahead of ourselves.

What also couldn't be overlooked was the enormous amount of room the Odyssey offered. It seats seven while the Jetta and CR-V each seat five (like the Neon). While the Jetta and CR-V would solve our storage issues for travel, neither would help us get more people into the vehicle. So although we have more room, both the Jetta and CR-V would be full. The Odyssey will comfortably take another two adults in the back bench. I'm sure Stef will be among the first to thank us for that...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Stoopid Leg

So I had been running every second day. Starting slowly, not in a rush, running easy, building gradually. Following all the rules for not getting injured (again in my case). Then Friday I started out and got a whole 48 seconds before an all to familiar feeling came in to my lower left leg. Pain.

So I stopped and walked home. Freaked Sue out coming home so quickly, but I won't risk going through another stress fracture. That being said, if running lightly brings back the pain, what kind of running won't? My answer is none. I'm not running anymore for a long time. I may take it with my doc, but that was a big waste last time. I'll continue to wait until the leg feels 100% again. In the meantime, I'm breaking out the old rowing machine for my cardio.

Twenty-five solid minutes of rowing gets me nicely into my fat burning zone and gives me some decent resistance training as well. I've also thrown in an intense ab work out for after the cardio. Hopefully this will burn off the ten pounds that creeped back on during the summer.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wobbly

Warning this is a little more risque than usual.

So I'm putting Darcy down for her nap today and she comes out with this bit of advice for me.

D: I don't have a wobbly thing on my bum. My boy friends at Betty-Ann's do, Justin and Branden. And Wes has a wobbly thing. I don't have a wobbly thing. They have wobbly things, to tickle them. But I don't.
N: That's right, boys are different than girls.

I didn't laugh once while I was in the room. But I haven't stopped since.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Family of Four

Well today was the first day we spent as a family of four. No guests, no visitors, no extra help. It will be yet another adjustment for us to make, but I'm sure eventually we'll get our own laundry done again.

My sister, Stef, had been here for the last two weeks. Where did those days go? She was an enormous help and I'm not sure who's saddest to see her go, me & Sue or Darcy. She is definitely my best sister. But Marc might be a close second, if you ask her.

THANKS STEF!!!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Flickr Pro

Thank you Stef for getting us hooked up with a Flickr Pro account. Now we can (and will) upload all our Darcy and Wesley pictures to Flickr for easy viewing.

You can find our picture here.

Or click the link I've added on the sidebar.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Running again

I ran today! Only 88 days off. My sister is here for two weeks and wanted to see how running would go for her. So since I wanted to get back into it, starting back up with someone who doesn't run much is a good way to keep myself in check.

We did four 5 minute run, 1 minute walk sets. The distance ended up being 3.9km, not as important as actually getting out there and doing it again. Not going to lie, my legs felt beat a couple of hours later. But I'm back and on the way to going long again.

More of "Wes-man"

Darcy has taken to calling Wesley, "Wes-man" or Happy dude. More pics:





Thursday, August 23, 2007

Can't keep up

I am overwhelmed at how many people have sent their best wishes these last six weeks. It is impossible to thank everyone, I've tried and I can't keep up. Most of it is thanks to facebook, but my hits on this blog have been through the roof since Sue went into hospital. What some people won't do for ratings, I know.

Sue and Wesley are home. He's sleeping on my lap as I type. Sue is sleeping in her own bed and Darcy is supposed to be taking a nap, but is too excited about having her brother home. She is really being a good sister and sings to him when he's crying. So far it's worked to calm him down a couple of times.

Now what you've all been waiting for, more pictures.





Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Much ado about nothing

Well after 5 weeks and six days in the hospital, we have our baby boy! He and Mom are fine. No problems, no worries, eating well already, alert and looking around for the first two hours. He doesn't have to go to the NICU, he is perfectly healthy.

It a little while to get things going, but once things kicked in, it was pretty quick. They didn't get the induction started until almost 11am and it was about 6pm before things were moving.

He was born at 8:21pm, weighing in at 5lb, 14 oz (only 4 oz less than Darcy). I don't know his length.

Please let me introduce my son, Wesley Albert Titcombe. Oh and his mom is in some the pictures too.





Monday, August 20, 2007

Last day

Today is the last day Darcy will be an only child. We hope. Sue's induction will be starting at 7 am tomorrow morning, I'm hopeful that everything is said and done before noon. I'm sure she's hoping for that as well...

You'll understand if there aren't a lot of updates in the next few days. I can only imagine how busy we'll be. I will list the birth details and hopefully a picture, but probably not much more than that.

Friday, August 17, 2007

More pics

Here's some more pictures. I can't be bothered to write anything and I'm sure you all find these far more intesting than my stories.

This is how I found her, 11:00pm.

Swimming anyone?


New tool belt. Hang out with Dad for 5 weeks

and these are the toys she ends up asking for.

"If I had a hammer..."

Cool spider web outside kitchen window.

Note: 5 meals ready to go.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Totally Useless Dr. Appointment

Yesterday I wasted the entire afternoon at the hospital, supposedly to see a specialist about my stress fracture. How to manage it, how to get it back to strength, blah, blah, blah. So I went, got x-rayed (you feel pretty stupid walking into the x-ray room for your broken leg) and then waited for the specialist.

His questions to me were, "Who sent you here and why are you here?"

Turns out my doc didn't forward any of the previous two x-ray's or the bone scan. So the specialist didn't have any info to go on. He also said that I should have been referred to his office, not the clinic. Then he told me everything I already knew about stress fractures and suggested that rest is the best way to get it better. Duh.

So I've decided that as long as there is no pain, I will start running again before labor day. I will start from scratch, using the run/walk method and I won't be in a hurry to get back to where I was. No races this fall, just rehab. Hopefully I can get strong through the winter and go injury free next summer.

Time apart

Sue joked the other day that it seems like we've spent more time apart in the last year then together. So I did a little math and she is right. We've spent more nights apart then we have in the same house. How?

Going from Aug 21/06 to Aug 21/07:
79 nights Nick was away at training.
57 midnight shifts.
42 nights Sue will be in the hospital.
8 nights Nick was away on trips.
186 nights apart.

That leaves 179 nights together through the last year. That will change in the next little while because once baby#2 arrives I'll be off work for 14 weeks!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Some Pics

Here's a few pictures from the last few days of being an only child. The induction date has been set for next Tuesday. For some reason, I still think it'll be put off a few days. Either way, only a week left. Good, I'm beat. Nothing like a new baby to help me get some good rest.

Oh wait.

Crap.
New dress from Grandmaman.

Orange Smile.

P O P S C I C L E .

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A week already

Somehow my first week alone has already gone by. Needless to say, it was a little busy.

I got Darcy moved into her "big sister room" on Friday and she's been sleeping in there ever since and loving it. As with every other transition she's been through, this was a piece of cake. The room has been painted, new blind, new ceiling fan, new carpet and her bed with new bedding was moved in. She was asking to move in sooner, but it wasn't going to happen.

This week I've got a few people watching her when I work and so far it's been perfect. She's had her naps and eaten well. Another perfect transition. Hopefully when little brother comes home it goes as smoothly.

Sue had another ultra sound with measurements today. The weight was up, 4lb 15oz. Not quite enough to make Sue happy, but the doctor and nurses are impressed. The fluid, which had been up to almost normal levels, was down again. I don't know why this happens, but I'm pretty sure the fluctuation will mean that she's not coming home until #2 is born.

The doctor is hoping to induce sometime after 38 weeks (another two weeks). So it's possible for the baby to still gain some weight.

It's another hot day in Windsor. Even with the rain it's 28C, add the humidity and it's 41C! I wish I could get out and enjoy it, but I'm stuck being a parent.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Single Parent

So while I was away training for my job, Sue got the privilege of being a single parent for 3 months. Now she's returning the favor to me, but only for about 3 weeks. Sue's mom leaves tonight and from now until about the 18th, it's just me and Darcy at home. Because once Sue & baby #2 come home I'll be able to get lots of rest...

I'll admit, I'm burnt out. Spent. Done. Darcy is doing ok, but we're both a little on edge, so when either one of us get frustrated things boil over quicker than usual. Part of the burn out has come from flying between work, home and hospital on any given day. Fortunately, I have more days off then days on coming up. So I should be less stressed out. Should.

Another part of being stressed out is that I have done NO exercise in the past 20 days. And for someone who is used to missing one day a week, to go this long without any is tough. So I think D & I will bike over to visit Sue in the mornings, it won't make a huge difference physically for me, but I think it will help mentally.

I can only hope.

Friday, July 27, 2007

It's a...

We didn't find out whether Darcy was a boy or girl until the second she was born. It was a good surprise and we were going to do the same with baby #2. But then things got complicated and with Sue in the hospital, it was just another surprise that we didn't want to deal with.

So we waffled back and forth about a dozen times and then we finally caved on Tuesday (this is the first chance I've had to write about it.)

So you want to know whether it's a boy or girl?

Really?

Well, the ultrasound tech had us guess. Sue picked one and I picked the other, so that one of us would be right. And for the record, I was right.
























It's a boy.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It's broken

So even though I was barely able to walk six weeks ago and still have moderate pain in my leg, today I learned that I officially have a stress fracture. But since it's been so long that I've been managing it, there's not much for me to do with it.

I am being referred to a orthopedist, for continued care and ideas for managing it back to normal. I'd say it's about 70%, but it's been that way for a month and isn't getting much better. So I need to figure out how to get it back to 100%.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Ironman USA

For those of you who care, Ironman USA was held Sunday. If you don't know, it's a 2.4 mile (4.8km) swim, 112 mile (180km) bike and then a full marathon. That's another 26.2 miles (42.2km) by foot, for a grand total of 140.6 miles in less than 17 hours. Frightening.

Two of the bloggers that I frequent were among the finishers.
Shelley completed her seventh Ironman. Seriously, who can do seven of these things?
Cliff completed his first. And this three weeks after tearing a muscle in his shoulder in a bike wreck.

Outstanding. One day I hope to join the club.

"Routine"

So having your spouse in the hospital, working full-time, decorating the 'big sister room' and trying not to ignore your three year old really changes things. Thankfully we've had help so far with Sue's mom and then my mom. The guard will change again Wednesday morning back to Sue's mom. But how do you keep things 'normal' for Darcy? That's been my biggest struggle. She still needs to be a three year old and there's not always time for me to do that with her.

One definite for her is that we've visited the hospital every night after supper. She enjoys that and runs around the 'zagebo' (gazebo), chasing squirrels and sea gulls. Of course, that will change now that I'm going to afternoons for a few shifts. Ugh, this poor kid.

The 'big sister room' is shaping up. I got the priming and the two end walls (different colours) done today. The two long walls will be done tomorrow. Darcy really likes the colours and her excitement for getting the room to herself seems to be growing. She did ask a pretty smart question today. "Daddy, where's the bed?" Once I explained that her big girl bed would be switching rooms, she was alright with that.

I go for my bone scan follow up tomorrow morning. I haven't touched my bike since Sue went into the hospital. Strangely I feel like I've been working harder since then, maybe it's all the trying to be in three places at once that's wearing me out.

Only four weeks to go!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Family health updates

The waiting continues.

Sue had an ultrasound yesterday and the fluid was lower than before. We don't know what the cut off point is where the doc will say, "Alright, the baby is coming out." So hopefully it doesn't get much lower. She's got another ultra-sound tomorrow and should be able to see her doctor to answer some questions.

Darcy is doing fine. She's happy to have Grandmaman here and has enjoyed her visits to see mom. There's a little park on the grounds where she can run around, chase birds and squirrels and just be herself. I also took her for a follow up about her echo test and the doctor said that everything is fine. She has a "benign murmur". I supposed that's the best kind of murmur to get?

I should be following up with my doc about the bone scan some time this week. But I actually have to work all week. Crazy, I know. Then I've got to get "the big sister room" painted and set up before Titcombe #2 arrives. I'm off a few days next week, so I'll make sure to see my doc in between coats of paint.

Also in the good news column, one of Sue's roommates is moving out tomorrow for good. She's having her scheduled section. The 'hick' factor in the room should fall dramatically now.

Long day ahead. Bye.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Aug 5-18: Help needed.

So, day 4 already.

We're in good shape for the next little while. Sue is taking it all one day at a time. Having to face a possibility of six weeks is too overwhelming for anyone.

Her parents have been here since Thursday afternoon and her mom is staying until Tuesday evening. At about which time my mom should be arriving. She'll stay for a week (25th), so I can go back to work. Then it looks like Sue's mom should be able to come back for a few days, until the 31st. I've got a bunch of days off lined up, so we're covered until Aug 5th. I'm hoping work can move my schedule around so that I get arrange some day-care for D for a couple of weeks. Then Uncle Brian comes the week of the 18th and then Auntie Stef comes from the 26th-Sept something. All I know is that we'd better freaking have another baby by that point.

So if anyone wants to spend some time here, it looks like we need help Aug 5-18. We'll see what work can do for me, but regardless, we'll need another body around.

You know how to reach me.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

No real news

There's been no real change in the situation. Sue is resting and there's been minor improvement in some areas, but no where enough to warrant her going home. The possibility of her being in the hospital for six weeks or longer is very real.

That thought makes it pretty agonizing for everyone. She is going to lose her mind in that room, Darcy doesn't understand why Mom can't come home and I'm stretched pretty thin between being at home with Darcy, visiting Sue and having to go back to work. It reminds a lot of the time that I was away for job training for 13 weeks. Pretty brutal.

Sue's been in a ward room, with two other girls. And I mean girls. One girl is not playing with a full deck and the other, against the wish of her husband, parents, in-laws and doctor, checked herself out and went home to rest. But that benefited Sue because she was able to take over the empty spot and know has a window view, instead of a hallway view. The girl who's missing a few marbles has been in the hospital over a month and has a section scheduled for next week, so she won't be around for much longer. And, I guess because she's been there so long, so gets 'day passes' every now and again. She's out on one now, so Sue has the room to herself for a day or so.

As for me, I had a bone scan on my leg this past Monday. I should see my doctor to talk about the results in a week. I could see something on the scan, so I know there's definitely something wrong. Coupled with the current situation, any momentum I had built on the bike, waiting for my leg to heal is dead. My 'season' is over having completed one measly 5km race. Probably a pretty good time to have a stress fracture!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Sue - update

Here's the latest.

She's been seen by two docs today. They both think that the lack of fluid is a sign that the placenta is not doing it's job properly. Which means the baby is probably not being nourished properly. Which means that the baby will probably be better off on the outside than the inside. The baby has developed fine, but is small.

They have not given any dates or time frames. Just that it looks like it'll most likely be a long hospital stay. Possibly until the baby is born.

Sue is fine, other than SERIOUS boredom. She's only allowed out of bed to use the washroom, so the days are going to be long ones.

That's all for now.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Things Change

I was at work today and got a phone call from Sue, it went a little like this.

"Hi, they're admitting me for a week."
"What? When?"
"Right now."
"I'm on my way."

So after a good report from her OB yesterday, she went for her scheduled checkup at the hospital today. Her fluid was too low and they called her doctor, the doctor spoke to Sue and had her admitted.

Right now, I don't know anything more than that. Stay tuned.

We've got help on the way, so we'll be covered for the next few days. I was going to take parental leave anyway, I may just have to take it early.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Back Home

I'm back home from my trip. No sunburn this time. Too much time spent sitting listening to lectures that don't apply to my job. But it beat working for a living, so I won't complain.

So far I have two takers on the run portion of the Windsor Tri, but no swimmers. Do I feel 'rock, paper, scissors' coming on to make the decision?

The race is Sunday, August 12th. It starts about 9 am, I think. The swim portion is the easiest 800m you'll ever have to swim. It's so shallow you could walk the entire way, in fact many people do. It's such an easy swim that somehow I was first in my age group last year. Seriously, if I can do that, then it can't be that hard. Consider it more of a water run.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Internet Cafe: Ottawa

I've got 16 minutes left of my $2/30 minutes.

I'm Ottawa until Thursday on a mandatory training course that I don't exactly see the point of. Well, it's not just me, I can't think of many people who enjoyed sitting through an entire day of lectures and group building exercises. But this counts as my work for the week and I don't go back until July 3rd, so it's not all bad (Yes Jake, more time off).

Quick update on my leg. Now three full weeks since I last ran and it's about 70% better. But still not good enough to run on. I had my second x-ray last week and have an appointment for a bone scan on July 9th, still to rule out stress fracture. Sometimes it's still really painful, sometimes it feels like the muscle is seizing, sometimes it feels like the muscle might be pulled or torn. The doctors has suggested that I keep the biking up, because it's not an impact related sport. So I won't lose all my fitness, but it is frustrating.

My motivation has been a little low and I've come to the realization that I will probably have to skip the triathlon this year. Unless I can put a relay team together. I'll take care of the bike, anyone want to swim 800m or run 6km? If we register before July 1st it's a bit cheaper, so let me know if you're serious.

9 minutes left.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

update

So I'm back from vacation, had a great time, blah, blah, blah.

But I'm injured. Before Bermuda I had a twinge in my left shin. Before going to Montreal it was getting worse. In Montreal I "ran" 5 km in barely 28 minutes. This is lethargically slow for me and I could not have gone any faster. The rest of the day and most of the week I limped around. From what I read on the internet, I have a really good shin splint. But to be prudent, I got it x-rayed when I got back home, to rule out a stress fracture. The doc said at least two weeks off and that I need to get it another x-ray in a week's time. Possibly a bone-scan.

So my running legs are on the shelf. That pretty much rules out two races for me. But allows me to crank up some bike miles.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Higher miles

I ran 8 miles tonight, 13km. Jake and I had been looking for a time to run together for a while and this was the first chance we had. It is so nice to have someone to run with. It takes your mind off the fact that you're running for over an hour. At the end we both had a bit of the jell-o legs, but felt good.

I feel 100% better then I did two weeks ago when I struggled through 6 miles.

A few shorter runs this week, plus I need to get my cross-training going again. Next weeks long run is 10 miles.

---------

UPDATE (05/30/07 21:10)

Not that you care, but I realized today that I misread my schedule and this weeks long run was only supposed to be 6 miles, not the 8 miler that I did. But that's ok, because this will give me the option now of building my long runs to be longer than the half-marathon race distance.

Oh, and I'm going for a nice long bike ride tomorrow morning.

Suffering for Jesus

The reason for the trip to Bermuda was a trip for the Youth Band that I help organize for our division of the Salvation Army. It's always fun to travel and if we're going to play for people it might as well be tropical! Yeah, some real suffering was done over THAT decision.

We flew out of Buffalo at 9:50am on Thursday, but with checking in, travelling in a group of 30 with over sized instruments, it meant being at the airport by 7:30am. Now is a good time to mention that Buffalo is a solid 4+ hour drive from where I live. Do the math and you can see that it was an early morning.

So the Windsor crew (9 of us) went to London the night before to sleep (although I didn't sleep a wink) and then we all took a coach bus from there to Buff. Other than the insane departure time from London (4am), things went great. Flying into Newark for our connection was cool, because I didn't realize how close it is to NYC, which I had never seen before, and we got a good view of the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty from our side of the plane. Side-note: Newark airport has stuff well priced. I bought a bagel w/cream cheese for $1.49, in an airport!

The next flight to Bermuda was great, although coming in for a landing and not seeing ANY land is a little freaky. By the time we got to our billets, had something to eat, drove around a few of the sights, I had been up for almost thirty hours. When I hit the pillow that night I didn't even move until my alarm went off 9 hours later.


Friday was a busy day, we played in a few schools, did an hour or so on street corners and then had some free time. I convinced the rest of the leaders to take a ferry with me across the island. We didn't have much time to do it, but it ended up timing itself perfectly. Plus, this gave us 40 minutes to sit on a boat in the Bermudian sun. The sacrifices of leadership, I know...

We had a sound check for our concert Saturday morning, then spent the early part of the afternoon at the beach, Horseshoe Bay. At first the water was cool, but it didn't matter it was the ocean and it warmed up nicely. A few hours in the sun and water and most of us looked fairly pink. It was pretty evident when someone had missed a spot on their backs with sunblock. I got burned a bit, but only in the spots I missed. It's a little itchy, but it was worth it.
Saturday night we shared a concert with their Divisional Bands and then we did the church service Sunday morning. A quick, and wonderful, lunch was provided to us after church and we bolted for the airport. It was over too quickly.

But us Windsor folk still had about 14 hours of travelling to do. We had a four hour layover in Newark, then our flight was delayed an hour because of weather, after we had boarded. We got back to London around 3:15am Monday and I was home by 5:20. Fortunately shift work has taught me how to handle being up all night and I just treated it like a midnight shift. Once Sue and Darcy were on their way in the morning, I went to bed.
I feels like a dream. A very vivid and detailed dream. I'll have to go back to make sure it was real...




Monday, May 28, 2007

Back Burned

"There's a double meaning in that" - Benedict, Much Ado About Nothing


I'm back from Bermuda. A full update will follow. Just a quick note to say how great it was. It was so beautiful and went so quickly that it felt like a dream. Even though we were there for a band trip, I did managed to find time to get a little sunburn.

Other than that and getting burned with horrible flight times, no complaints.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

10k a ok

So I did another long run today and was much stronger mentally than last week. I even ran it a minute faster.

I thought that the fact that it was the hottest day might have had something to do with last weeks struggles, but today was plenty hot and I was fine.

I just need to suck it up and run.

The sacrifices we have to make

When I started my new job in November I figured that being at the bottom of to totem-pole, I would get stuck with working all the crappy shifts, holidays and have trouble getting time off when I needed it. Boy, was I wrong.

Somehow my schedule gave me almost all of the stat. holidays off. I had to work this Monday, but that wasn't so bad because it was preceded with four days off anyway! Plus, I go into work tonight and then I'm done until June 9th. Tomorrow I leave for five days on a trip to Bermuda with the Salvation Army Youth Band that I help organize, then I come back for three days of rest before leaving again for a week in Montreal for a family vacation.

When I finally have to go back to work, I only have 10 days in June where I'm actually AT work because I'm being sent to Ottawa for some training for four days. Score. I also had the shifts I was working changed recently, from 8 hours to 10.5 hours. The extended hours means I get more time off. Previously I was working 40 of 56 days (the length of our schedule). Now I work 30 of 56 days. This is going to be great once Sue is done work at the end of June.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The mind game

It's been said that running is 20% physical and 90% mental. Lately I've been finding that to be true.

Working shifts makes biking to and from work harder than in previous years, so my cycling numbers are way down. But I'm getting out there for more runs then usual, so while my fitness isn't great, it's still good. The thing is, every time I go out for a long run I have to battle my mind to make it through.

Today was no exception. I did a 10 k, my goal was to do it nice and easy, keeping my heart rate low'ish' and just getting to the end of it. I did two 3 mile loops, picking up a bottle of Gatorade at the half way point, so physically I was fine. I've been building my distance again slowly, so I have no concerns there. But mentally it was a slugfest. I don't understand why I beat myself up so badly. "The next mile is with the wind, there'll be no breeze." "There's not enough shade." "Am I dehydrating?" "The bottle is getting heavy." "Don't drink too much." and my favorite "My feet are too hot."

I've run that distance countless times. I've run longer than 10 k many times and have even run twice that far. So why the mental weakness? WHY? Over the next 10 weeks or so I plan on increasing my long run by about 2 miles a week, so in 4 weeks a 6 mile run will seem like a day off. Why the battle?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

10,000

For no important reason I have a site metre at the bottom of this blog. I guess the real reason is so that I can know how many people are reading this and where they come from. Also, it's boosts my ego.

At 2:34 pm, May 13, 2007, I received my 10,000 th visitor. And it's not like I was visiting the site myself to inflate the numbers, this was a legitimate visitor all the way from Harare, Zimbabwe! I imagine it was one of two people that I know in Harare.

Thanks for visiting John or Rochelle!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Facebook

This is not an authorized plug for Facebook.com, but it is still a plug.

If you don't know what it is, basically you can look up people from your past, that you've lost touch with and reconnect (if they use facebook too, but right now it seems almost everyone does). There are other services like this (classmates, gradfinder), but facebook it miles better then those two combined. And it's free. My wife started using it about a week ago and commented how addicting it is. I used her account to look around for a day or two before getting my own account.

I refuse to use the word 'addicted', but I certainly am committed. I cannot believe how easy it to find people. People from every part of your own personal history. Grade school, high school, college, family, extended family, lost friends, long lost friends, co-workers, former co-workers, even ex's. Not that I have many of those...

For example: The day I signed up, I found my childhood best friend. A guy who I spent everyday with from kindergarten until the end of high school when we went to different colleges. I haven't seen or heard from him in at least 13 years and we've chatted for the last couple of days. If you played a lot of Tim Horton's Roll-up-the-rim and doubt that anyone ever wins big, well some people do. He won a Toyota Hybrid, but he doesn't drive so he sold it!

I give two thumbs up to facebook.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

24 C - nice. Take two

So the last time I wrote about how nice the weather was, it turned cold again and snowed for about two weeks. Well, I'm going to risk saying that the weather is warm for good now. At least it better be. The three of us went down to the river this afternoon and then played on the sidewalk with Darcy's chalk. She loves being outside.

I'm getting my bike back from the shop tomorrow, so I can hardly wait to get out there again. I've been doing my best to run every second day, it's tough with shift work, but it gives me something to aim for.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Wow

My buddy Jake has been running marathons for the last three years. He started off with a respectable time of just under 4 hours and has lowered his personal best each time he's raced. He's done it the old fashioned way, hard work and a lot of miles.

Last Sunday he ran the Martian Half Marathon, with a goal of 1:30, 5 minutes better than his previous best. He ran a 1:30:39, finishing 50-something out of 1000-odd people, or in the top 5% of all finishers. You can read his account here.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Catching up

If you follow the little mileage counter I have in the right hand column, you'll see how far I've swam, biked and ran each year. I have an on-line that totals everything up for me, so it's not hard to keep track of.

So far this year I've run a little over 136 km. Nothing special, I know.

However, in January and February combined I ran 69 km. So far in March I've run 67.25 km. I plan on going out on Saturday to increase that total.

My bike is in the shop right now, getting the wheels trued and some spokes replaced, as well as fixing a clunk that I had in the steering column (probably a dead bearing). I should have it back soon and then I'll be cranking out those miles too.

Monday, March 26, 2007

24 C - nice.

I was sitting here at the computer and I noticed that the temperature was 23 C outside. By the time I got this post opened up, it jumped up to 24 C. And today is an off day for me! What was I thinking. Oh well, I have to work this afternoon, so there's no time to squeeze in a short run. Tomorrow is only supposed to be 18 C, I'll have to survive.

Warm weather means I can put the tights away! I think Sue is happier about that than anyone else.

Did you see the Amazing Race last night? It was, well, amazing. The teams are really spread out now, like over 24 hours between first and last. That never happens. The only unfortunate part is that the most annoying team is in first place.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

First Race

Today was the first running race of the season, held by our local Running Factory. For grown-ups it is a 5 km race, for kids the offer a 1 km event and for little ones they have the Kids Dash, about 100 metres or so. Darcy came to see me run a few times last year and ever since then, she's been talking about doing a race. When I told her we could race together, she could hardly contain her excitement!

The big day was this morning, although the event is called the Spring Thaw at -5C it didn't really feel all that much like Spring. But the cold didn't dampen Darcy's spirit. She was ready to run the whole race, and she did! I don't think she's ever been this excited, she laughed the whole way down the street. Being one of the littlest little ones, she brought up the rear of the event, but that seemed to get the crowd going in her favor. I saw several people taking her pictures and heard lots more calling out to her. I heard someone say, "Look at how determined she is."


Once we crossed the finish line, she got her medal and several high-fives from the volunteers. Then she started asking for her racers treats, so I made my way over to the athletes snack table and grabbed something for her. Before her nap this afternoon she asked Mommy, "When's my next race with Daddy?" Hopefully she remembers this for a long time.


Oh, I ran the 5 km. Overall I finished in 52 place, 6 of 19 in my age group. I ran a 21:18, an improvement from last year, but I've still been unable to break the 20 minutes mark in a race. Jake ran too, blew away his PR and finished with a 19:05! That's sick. Fortunately, he got another year older and is now out of my age group, so I move up a place. Full results are here.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Close call

I've done a lot of driving in my day, 7 years doing some delivering and about 3 years working in car rentals. I haven't had an accident yet (knock on wood). That streak almost came to a brutal end last night.

We were on our way to Cambridge through some rainy weather and the closer we got, the worse the roads got. Near London the gusts of wind were moving us around pretty good and then we hit a big patch of ice that sent us into a wicked spin. Sue thinks we went around 2 1/2 times, I thought it might have only been 1 1/2. Who cares really. The point is that we were spinning out of control with traffic behind us closing in, including a tractor-trailer. Somehow we stayed in the lanes, off both shoulder, off the wall and out of the ditch. I have no doubt that my hands weren't the only ones trying to steer the car.

After the last spin we straightened out and I thought I had it fully corrected, but gave a little too much gas and we did another half spin. This sent us across the road and towards the ditch, but we were going slowly at this point and I was able to stop before going into the ditch.

It all happened so quickly that I really don't remember it all very clearly, but the one thing that I remember is that while were spinning, the tires barely squealed at all. Which tells me that we were on a pretty solid sheet of ice. I have to think that if we had been going sideways and hit a dry patch, this story would be completely different.

When we stopped, Darcy said, "Wow, what was that?!" We told her it was a big spin, she said, "I didn't like that. It scared me." Yeah, kiddo, it scared me too.

So we stopped at a hotel for the night and finished the last 30 minutes this morning. It was the right thing to do, as we saw several cars being pulled out of the ditch this morning.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Corner Gas

Do you watch Corner Gas? If you like good sarcastic Canadian humour, you should. Last night's episode was a brilliant parody of the Canada-Russia 1972 Summit Series. It was a table hockey match up between Karen, the rookie cop who passes crisply and trains fiercely against Brent, a beer swilling out of shape talent. I've been known to be a bit of a hockey history buff and this had all the details. Right down to Brent doing a spoof of Eposito's famous rant after game 4, Alan Eagleson (Wanda) getting carried away from the ice shooting the bird to the Russian officials, even having Espo fall on the ice before game eight, to great embarrassment.

Since art reflected life, I'm not spoiling the ending by telling you that Brent won.

I've been watching the first couple of seaons on DVD and a great question was raised by Hank: Where do people who live in igloos go to the bathroom? I've often wondering that about astonauts, but thanks to the internet, I can sleep well knowning that the space toilet only cost $23.4 million US.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Great One

He turns 46 today.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Name Game

When we were expecting Darcy, choosing a name was not an easy task. Eventually we narrowed things down to a few shorts lists for either sex and after much negotiating we agreed on Darcy.

This time I think we're going to have a bit more fun. Like getting Darcy to approve suggestions. I had a good friend write with an idea, which I think is brilliant, but Sue is less than convinced. Sue asked Darcy about a different name and we let her decide which one she liked better. It went pretty much like this:

S: Darcy what name do you like better for the baby; Lucy or Omegatron?
D: Omegatron!

I think that settles it. Omegatron Titcombe, has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

Monday, January 15, 2007

And then there were two

I took a little heat at home for only being willing to throw out one pair of running shoes. So I took a leap of faith and threw out two pairs. Both pairs of Asics (#1 & #2 pictured) are now gone. A bit of a sad day...

Another thing that there'll soon be two of is children for Sue and I. You can read about that here.

And another thing that there'll be two of is Sue's cousin Glenn running two races in two days, also known as the Goofy Challenge. First a 1/2 marathon (21 km) and then the very next day a full marathon (42km). You can read about that craziness here.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Running Shoe Anonymous

Hi, my name is Nick and as this picture displays, I may have a problem. When it comes to shoes, everyday shoes, I own four pairs; one pair of winter boots, one pair of casual/dress shoes, one pair of every day runners (I don't actually run in these) and one pair of work boots. The work boots are issued to me and are only ever worn to and from work, so those don't really count.

I do, however, own a lot of running shoes. Some people would say that I have too many pairs. I probably have two many pairs (yes, very clever, I know...). But I can defend almost all of their existences. As you can see I have six, count 'em S I X pairs of running shoes and most of them are used frequently and only for running. Most of them...

What is perhaps the most disturbing part of my problem is that I know when I got them, how many races they've been used in, what the longest distance is that I ran in each pair and how many total miles/kms are on each pair. Oh, and I can tell you any of that off the top of my head.

Here's a partial index for you:

Pair #1: Asics Gel 1090: Apr 05 - 500km total (retired - now used only to cut the grass)

Pair #2: Asics Cumulus: Jan 06 - 465km total (retired - about to be disposed of)

Pair #3: Saucony Grid Pheonix: Jan 06 - 376km total (racing shoe for 06 - still active)

Pair #4: Adidas Tundra: Apr 06 - Used only for walking (still active)

Pair #5: Saucony Azura LC: Jan 07 - 3.2km (racing shoe for 07)

Pair #6: Adidas adiStar: Jan 07 - 5km (trainer for 07)

I know I'm not the only runner who is a little too obsessive about their shoes, I expect to hear some support from of you!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Good to know

Darcy was telling us about her day tonight during supper.

D: Bradan picked his nose and ate it.
N: That's gross.
D: Yea, that's yucky. I did it to my ear.
N: Did you eat it?
D: No, I put it on the blanket.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Shoes

If you notice my sidebar, you'll see that I've started my distance counters over again. It's a new year, time for new counters. I'm not going to predict how far I'll go this year, but I do hope it's farther than last year.

One thing that remains the same is that I got two great deals on running shoes. I was really happy with the Asics Cumulus that I had last year, but they're dead now, after nearly 500km, and causing me some heel pain after 3 miles. I also used Saucony Grid Pheonix for shorter distances (less than 10km) and that pair is still going strong at about 380km. But since they're too firm for long distances I needed a pair of good cushioning shoes. Unfortunately, there were no Cumulus in my size, so I went with the Adidas adiStar Cushioning.


Since I know that the Pheonix won't last me the year, I got a pair of Saucony Azura LC. They are racing flats. A light weight shoe that is designed to have the absolute minimum cushioning and stability necessary to get you through a shorter race (10km or less). A big plus is that the bare bones nature of the shoe will increase my foot strength and my feet will be stronger longer. That's the theory anyway. Some people are able to adapt to using this sort of she during marathons and say that their feet feel less tired than when they use regular trainers. We'll have to see...