Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sliding down the road

I'm still biking to work, I plan on doing it year round, as long as the roads are mostly clear. In the winter months I use an old mountain bike, with thick / knobby tires. It's a beast, very heavy and starting to corrode, but it's cheaper than a car and faster than the bus.

This morning things were slick. Our little street was a complete sheet of ice when I left at 6 am. As I was going down the road I was thinking, "I really need to be careful here, I really don't want to wreck here." Then at the end of the street I tapped the brakes to slow down and before I could blink I was on the ground sliding. Some people say that a moment like this happens in slow motion, not for me. I hit on my left knee first, then hip, wrist, elbow, back and then my head hit really hard. Good thing I always wear a helmet. The bike slid about 15 feet, I slid about 10 feet. There is not a scratch mark on any of my clothes, the bike or even the helmet. It was pure ice and I was gliding along the top.

I picked myself up, did a quick inventory of the body parts and got back on the bike. I don't have any soreness anywhere, but I do have a mild headache. The rest of the ride was uneventful and the main roads didn't have any ice on them, they were just wet.

Tomorrow's goal is to buy a new helmet.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

This is a sick world.

This link is a story about a pedophile who is now dead, he hung himself before a court appearance. I warn you it is "go home and hug your children" disturbing.

What caught my eye was a Windsor connection that ended up being how he got caught in the first place.

Friday, November 14, 2008


I haven't written anything about what's upcoming for us. But tonight we leave for a 7 day Caribbean cruise, to celebrate our tenth anniversary.

Suckers! You all get to stay in the cold fall / winter and we'll be getting crispy beach/pool side.

You can read the specifics on Sue's blog.

To quote Nelson, "Ha ha!"

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Nine times

The woman whose blog that I follow finished her ninth Ironman race yesterday.

Congrats to you Shelley, that is truly an amazing feat!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Not that I said I told you so, but...

I told you so.

Work auto-union, lose job.

Today's news featured two stories about the Windsor Assembly van plant shutting down for the equivalent of a week. Here is one. Here is the other.

Here's what I notice. In one breathe they were told that the shut down wouldn't happen. The next day, they were told it was going to happen. First they say it's for three weeks. Then they say that after three weeks they'll re-evaluate. In one breathe, they call say it's because of an over stock of parts. In the next breathe, they're saying that orders and demand are down.

So what do you believe?

The key, to me, is this line "The only reason they're not shutting the plant down entirely is they have a contract to build VWs."

What? A foreign car is saving a North American plant? "That's unpossible," to quote Ralph Wiggum.

Look, I don't think 4500 local people being out of work is good in any way. It's bad for all local business, it's bad for morale, it's bad for our local image, it's bad for our already dead housing market. It's bad.

But I told you so.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Some one has read my mind

I'm not going to make you think I wrote any of what's below, or even that I got permission to post it here. But credit goes to the author of the following article for getting inside my head and writing exactly what I've been going through over the last 15 months. Even the picture could be my legs, but I like to think I have better muscle tone ;)

Freaky side note, I stopped running on my first stress fracture on June 4th, 2007. Two days before she posted the article. Wooooooo.

The cause or cure for stress?">Running: The cause or cure for stress?

Posted June 6th, 2007 at 2:33 PM by Jessica Galvano
Section: Running & Training, Injury & Rehab, Health & Fitness, Injury & Rehab

stress fractureWork. Errands. Overgrown lawns, full laundry baskets, and empty bank accounts. With countless concerns and unrelenting responsibilities, where is the relief? For many, exercise provides a much needed reprieve from life’s incessant demands. If your exercise of choice is running, however, you could be unintentionally creating rather than alleviating stress.

While running may seem the “safest” of athletic endeavors, its non-contact allure oftentimes conceals its high impact risks. Each meeting of foot and pavement introduces the possibility of new stresses, or more specifically, stress fractures.

No strangers to injury, distance runners are often intimately acquainted with this dreaded affliction. Inevitably, over time, constant pounding predisposes shins and feet to fracture; these tiny cracks cause point-specific pain and occasionally, mild swelling. The areas most susceptible to stress fractures include the foot’s delicate metatarsal bones, calcaneus (heel), and tibia (shin)—all essential areas in a sport that requires limber lower limbs.

If you suspect a stress fracture, it is important to consult a sports physician for a confirmed diagnosis. Because X-rays can only detect fractures weeks after the initial injury occurs, MRIs are common diagnostic tools. After an MRI verifies the fracture, there is unfortunately very little (other than rest) that you can do to accelerate healing; a recommended 6-8 weeks of no- to low-impact activity is the standard prescription for complete recovery. In more severe instances, casting or crutches may be necessary to limit weight-bearing and reduce discomfort.

The nagging pain and lengthy recovery period cause runners to regard stress fractures with intense loathing. A two-month-long hiatus from activity—understandably inconvenient for the casual runner—is all but intolerable for the dedicated marathoner.

How to avoid the weeks of inactivity, muscle atrophy, and near insanity? Quality running shoes, gradual increases in training intensity, and daily stretching have proven most effective. Shoes tailored to your individual foot type and mechanics (i.e. neutral, stability, or motion control) will provide the necessary correction for healthy, fracture-free legs. Whether natural or shoe-induced, a neutral strike better disperses the shock of impact and ensures that pliable muscle rather than rigid bone receives the physical stress of your run.

Despite our inherent need for instant gratification, experts discourage increases in training intensity that exceed 10% per week. While we all crave the immediate satisfaction of trimming a minute or two off of our route, an abrupt change in mileage or pace places additional strain on the lower legs and feet. If this sudden increase in demand repeatedly tries the body’s physical limits, the result will likely be a stress fracture.

Although we acknowledge the potential for injury, many of us remain stubbornly determined that today’s five mile run will become tomorrow’s ten mile run. A timely reminder of two to three months of recovery, however, might convince us that tomorrow can wait.

Research sources and for more information: [Men’s Health], [WebMD]

***Note: We encourage EVERYONE to see a doctor before altering their diet, taking a supplement and/or performing athletic, fitness or other strenuous physical activity. It is your responsibility to evaluate the accuracy, completeness and usefulness of any information, instruction, opinion or advice contained in the content. Please also see our complete disclaimer.***

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Election Question

I don't pretend to know a lot about the election process.

If a person from a small party (ie: Green) gets elected, do they become the leader of their party?

If a leader from another party (ie: NDP) does NOT get elected in his riding, do they lose their job? How do they stay an MP, if they don't get elected to a seat?

Your help is welcome.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

My favorite site

Commute by Bike is now my new favorite site on the internet.

Thank you. Carry on with your day now.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Here we go again!

Yes, I haven't posted in a long time (Hi Neesha!). I know.

Not for lack of things happening, just lack of hours in the day. If you've read Sue's blog recently, you'll know and appreciate how Wesley is keeping us on our toes.

But this post is about me, not the kids.

I've been doing an okay job of biking, still using it as my main source of commuting to and from work. I also did a good job of rebuilding my running. I used a run/walk program. Building from 6 & 2 and got up to comfortable 10 & 1 sets. Every run was 'easy', no set pace to meet or beat. Just run and enjoy it. I did not want another injury like the stress fracture last year.

That was my own fault. I wasn't running regularly, I was building too much mileage and I was wearing the wrong shoes. It forced me to take a year off and I didn't enjoy that for a minute.

My goal this year was to run a 5km race at the end of July, but scheduling made that impossible. Since I couldn't run the race, I ran my own private 5km on July 30th and was quite comfortable with everything. But then, at the beginning of August I started getting tenderness in my right shin, then same kind I had last year in my left shin. I took about ten days off, while on vacation, and the tenderness disappeared. When I started up again I took a step back, ran slower, didn't run as far, really tried to not have the leg flare up again.

I took my time again building to 10 & 1 run/walk sets and was fine in the cardio department, but the leg was starting to hurt. The pain was exactly the same as last year, in the exact same spot, only on the right leg this time. I tried to ignore it, that didn't work. I tried to cut back and take it easier, that didn't work. I tried to deny that I was injured, that didn't work.

Last week I took a run and felt pain throughout the run. Last year I knew I couldn't ignore it any longer when it started to hurt when I walked. The morning after my last run, my leg hurt while walking. I let it get FAR worse last year, this time I know what's coming.

So I've made an appointment with my doctor. Last year I feel I wasted six weeks going for two x-rays and then finally a bone scan for what I already knew was broken. When I got a see a specialist my doc hadn't sent him any of the test results and seeing him was a complete waste and total frustration. Hopefully, we can skip some of the preliminary steps and go straight to a bone scan and then a quick consult with the specialist.

The problem with a stress fracture is that there is really nothing that you can do for it. Time is the only thing that will help the bone really heal. My left leg has had no pain or tenderness whatsoever. I think I'll be patient enough to let it heal properly. Hopefully both bones are stronger after the break and I'm done with stress fractures. They suck.

Oh, and Sue, I'll be buying new shoes.

Monday, July 21, 2008

VW - the North American version

Here's a link to some news about VW putting a plant in Tennessee. They'll be creating 2000 jobs in the area and producing an entirely North American vehicle.

But why would anyone buy a foreign car?

Open your eyes people!

Sunday, July 13, 2008


I've been catching the Tour de France at night before I go to bed. It's amazing to see the speed these guys are going. First, they're riding hundreds of km's per day and secondly they're sustaining speeds I can barely hit.

Lately I've been pushing to see how fast I can get home from work. I did 5km in 8:46 (avg of 34.22 km/hr) and the other day I hit a new PB top speed of 57.5 km/hr (yes, a downhill was involved). Today I set a new best for my time home, 5km in 8:02 (avg of 37.34 km/hr). There was a great tail wind and I was running late, so I just pushed it the whole way. The bike makes an incredible sound at that speed. The tire hiss, the road is almost smoother and the pedaling feels effortless. But I couldn't keep that up for more than half an hour.

The Tour riders sustain speeds over 45km/hr for hours at a time. It's insane. Yesterday, in the rain, they were pushing 55 km/hr on flat ground at the end of hours on the road. How is that even possible?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Cool Run

Thanks to my sister-in-law Lynn for sending me this info.

Who wants to run on the ocean floor? Lynn said that IF she were a runner, she'd have to try this one. Well Lynn, what's stopping you from becoming a runner to try this one? It would be amazing.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Linked up

My last post got linked to two different sites. Glenn posted a link of his site (thanks, eh!) and then Sue noticed that I was getting all kinds of hits from W.E Speak. I had never heard of this site before, but somehow someone linked my blog into it. Cool. It seems to be a collection of local blogs and highlights interesting stories around the area.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

What's Foreign?

Domestic cars vs. Foreign cars. Easy to define right? GM, Ford and Chrysler are domestic. Toyota, Honda, VW and company are foreign, right?

Here in Windsor there are a lot of "Out of a job yet, keep buying foreign" bumper stickers. Not surprising, right? We have (for now) the Big 3 automakers and related companies employing the majority of people in the area. But, to me anyway, the truth behind these stickers has absolutely nothing to do with buying foreign.

I drive a Honda Odyssey. Japanese right? Built in Alabama, the majority of it's parts are manufactured in North America. But maybe for our second car I should support our local economy and buy something domestic. Like a Chrysler Crossfire. Oh wait, that's built in Germany. How about the new award winning Saturn Astra? Oh, it's an entirely European car that's built in Belgium. And I will never buy another Saturn, but that's another very long post of its own. I'd love to own the new VW Routan minivan, but that's obviously a German car, right? Oh, it's assembled HERE right on the same assembly line as the Chrysler Caravan, 3 km from my house!

So somebody tell me what is domestic and what is foreign. recently put out an American made vehicles index, based on the percentage of parts and if assembly is done in the US. First place, Ford F-150 pickup. But in the top ten (5th, 6th & 7th) are the Toyota Tundra pickup, Toyota Sienna minivan and my very own Honda Odyssey. Ahead of iconic American vehicles like the Ford Mustang and GM Corvette!

Living in Windsor you see a lot of people driving the Chrysler minivan. No surprise. It's built here, everyone and their brother can get super cheap employee pricing (except this family...). But even that "locally" produced vehicle doesn't match it's domestic content to the Sienna or the Odyssey.

It seems pretty clear to me that this 'don't buy foreign' concept is really related to who builds the cars, not where they are built. The Big 3 are unionized (and practically putting themselves out of business because of that). The two biggest 'foreign' car makers (Toyota and Honda) are not unionized and are make an enormous impact on the market that used to be dominated by the Big 3. Why do you think the Big 3 are getting so defensive?

"Out of a job yet, keep buying foreign" should really read, "Keep buying non-union."

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Race day

Not for me. Darcy ran the Kids' Dash of the local running shop's race series. She had done one in the spring of 2007, but it was frigid out and hardly felt like running weather. Tonight's 'race' was far more enjoyable.

There were huge crowds, but the organizers did a good job of keeping things on time and getting people to the right spot, especially when it was in a brand new location from other years and events.

Her race didn't consist of more than running around two sets of pylons and into the finish area, about 100m. Sue was going to run with her, but about 5 minutes before the race she announced that she wanted to run the race alone, with the other big kids. So she did. After a bit of a slow start, she took off and even though I could only see her back, I could tell she was smiling from ear to ear. When she came around the bend for the 'back stretch' her grin was ear to ear. She saw me and said, "I can't catch them!" But I told her to run hard and get to the finish line. Which is where she got her medal.

She seemed to take pleasure in the fact that this was HER race. Last time I ran with her and then did my own race, but today she was the only one running. So this is HER medal and she's very proud about earning it.

Me too.

Oh, pictures are here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Slowly, but surely

It seems like my year off has slowed me down. That's fine, I'm in no rush. I'm just happy to be running again. I looked back in my log to see how I started back in April 05. I'm pretty much using the same sort of program, run/walk slowly building until you take out the walk (some people leave it in with great success).

Even after a few short, slow runs, I've noticed how much I feel better after running. It's not just the 'runner's high' it's that I'm more focused, I can concentrate better, I breath better, I have more energy. Sue and I have even been able to figure out a decent schedule for getting runs in. But we still have to work one out for her to run too...

You know, I really missed how great a good sweat feels. I just don't get the same sweat on a bike, whether on the road or stationary. After running somewhere, I just feel like I've earned the right to be soaked.

In other news: My sister and her dragon-boat team won a competition in Boston recently and are being sent to NYC for other one! Pretty cool.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Time goes by too quickly

Somehow I have a four year old daughter. I don't really know how that happened. Seriously, how is Darcy four?

She was so excited all day. Right from the first thing out of her mouth this morning, "Is it my birthday now? Am I four now?" So we did everything in 'fours' today. Four more bites, four more minutes at the park, four stories for bedtime. And depending on who's team you're on four minutes for time-out. And despite all the excitement of the day she did manage to go through the whole day without getting one. Miracles do still happen.

In other news, please note that my running total has begun to increase in the right hand column. After I wrote my post the other day I was inspired and went for a run. It wasn't anything special. My legs felt the burn and I was pretty tired after TWO WHOLE MILES, but I ran (well it was run/walk of 4 minutes & 1 minutes, repeated four times) and I enjoyed a runner's high afterward, so it was worth it. The next morning my legs felt like they'd run ten miles instead of two, but I've got to (re)start somewhere. I went again tonight and am committing to find the time to run three times a week. I'm not planning on any races, but I need to be ready when the urge hits.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

First post of the year

Does anyone read this anymore? Oh well, that's my own doing.

So why post now? Why not wait six more months and make it a whole year? It wouldn't have been hard, believe me.

I realized today that it's now been a year since I broke my leg and stopped running. My last run was on June 3rd 2007 and could barely get through it. I did try again in September, but the pain returned and I gave up.

To me running was therapy. It was time to burn off steam, to see things clearly, to test myself. Without running I would say there is definitely been a bit of a void in my life. Don't me wrong, I have a great life; I have the most amazing wife, wonderful kids and an exciting job. But over the last three years running had become my identity and without it I feel somewhat goalless. At the same time, I have absolutely no time to run. I need to start from scratch and I don't know when I'll actually do that. The best time is after the kids are in bed, after 8pm, and that's taking away from time alone with Sue.

Getting the stress fracture when I did was a blessing in disguise. It forced me off the road shortly before Sue was put into hospital for six weeks. Even if I had been healthy, I wouldn't have been able to run during that time. Then the WesMan was born and it took us four-six weeks to feel like humans again. I couldn't put together a regular schedule then and when I tried to run, the pain returned. Now I'm still working rotating shifts (one week days, then afternoons, then nights, etc...), which kills the structure of regular training.

So here I am a year out from having a severe stress fracture. Probably 20 lbs. heavier, lacking energy and without a fitness goal (although I tempted by this P90X program, anyone heard of it?). It hasn't been all bad though. I've lifted weights more than before (more than zero that is), I'm still biking to work as much as possible (I did it all winter through ice, snow, rain, sleet, slush, wind and cold) and I still WANT to run.

Maybe tonight I'll lace them up again and start from scratch. Better late than never, right?