New Toy: Yaesu VX-6R 


I bought a Yaesu VX-6R handheld transceiver this week. I like it. Broadly, the features include: tribander with TX on 144, 220, and 440 ham bands, wideband RX, lithium-ion battery, submersible to 3 ft. (something I will not test intentionally), it's lighter and smaller than my VX-150, and many more features it will take time for me to familiarize myself with.

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Feelin' Groovy 
I did a three mile run on the treadmill at the gym last night. I wore a Cho-Pat knee strap that the doctor gave me and I still had some pain and running more than three might have been tough, but the strap worked. After the run and in addition to my usual IT-band stretches, I did some hip adductor exercises on one of the leg machines and that almost completely got rid of the pain. The pain came back a little after I left the gym but it wasn't as bad as it was from some other runs so I did another set of stretches about an hour before bedtime. This morning, the knee feels good.

The doctor referred me to a physical therapist and did not proscribe me from running. I will take it easy and cap my runs at three, unless the PT recommends otherwise, but I am feeling much better already and looking forward being able to do my first five and six mile runs of the year and eventually the 10 in May.

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Iliotibial Band  
I haven't been running due to injuring my IT band. The pain is in the knee but the band runs along the leg from the hip to the knee. In doing research on the causes of it, I have discovered that I am a prime candidate for this injury. I overpronate. I run up and down hills. Most streets are arced and since I run against traffic, that explains why it's only affecting my left knee. The bike paths arc in many spots, too.

So, I have done a few runs since the pain began but nothing more than two miles as that is when it flares up. I've been doing some stretches that concentrate on the band and just doing some walks to keep the body moving, albeit a little bit.

I don' think the shoes are failing but I may need insoles and I purchased an IT band compression wrap that is supposed to support the knee while running.

It's been too cold and snowy to bike too. Biking may be less demanding on the IT band but the weather has not been cooperative. I think I can layer up enough to bike once the temperature hits about 40F or so but those days have been quite rare of late.

I will continue to rest and do stretches and try a run in a few days. I still plan on running a 10 miler in May and a half-marathon in the fall.

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CBS Ad from 1966 


Awesome!

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LED Traffic Lights 
From the "oops" department:

Energy-Efficient Traffic Lights Can't Melt Snow

After seeing this story, I have adopted a new saying that I will utilize often in conversation:

"Eco-friendly doesn't mean people-friendly."

But, hey, maybe this is what BHO means by creating green jobs - hiring extra people to blow snow off the traffic lights. One day, his teleprompter may tell him to say:

"You see, the traffic light has the color green in it, and anyone who adds more green to the earth, is working in a green job."

When things that aren't broken get fixed, often one ends up with something that really is broken and, in this case, dangerous.


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10+ km 
I ran 10km this morning (10.3km, 6.4mi. actual) and what a confidence boost! I will shoot for a seven miler within the next week and try for an eight before year's end. My time wasn't very good but another runner told me that the first thing you do is run the distance (even if you have to walk for parts of it) to prove to yourself you can do it and worry about improving your time later. That, of course, makes sense since I cannot improve on a 10K time without ever running a 10K.

Six months out from the Broad Street Run and I feel confident that I'll be about to crank out those ten miles (16km). A half-marathon is a major step from where I am but my target of a fall half-marathon seems realistic at this point.

One budding problem: my right foot. For the past few runs I've been feeling some discomfort on the inner part of the foot. I could be breaking down my shoes already but I can't be sure. I padded my right foot this morning with a second sock and felt no discomfort on this run. I am not sure if this will be a permanent fix or not but I'll have to monitor it. A visit to a podiatrist is not out of the question yet but, it's just minor discomfort and not something I would call pain - maybe a "2" on one of those 1-10 pain charts with the grimacing cartoon faces.

I'll plan on a few more runs this week. Maybe I can get that weekly total up from a current 10-12 miles a week to 15-16.

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My Limit? 
I'm still running, of course, but I feel like I have hit my limit in regards to speed. I can finish a 5K in under 30 minutes and with a little effort could get that down to under 28; 28:16 being my best so far. But with flat feet, short legs, and almost 20 years of eating like someone who wanted diabetes and high blood pressure, I don't know if I can ever get a pace under a nine minute mile for distances of three-six miles and more. I can run two in under 18 minutes but I can't continue that pace, yet, for another 1.1 miles, let alone for five or six. I'm doing a 10-miler in May and my early early early goal is 1:39:59. 1:29:59 would be awesome but it would be a lot of work and a big step up. I also need to actually run 10 as well. The longest distance I have run so far is just over six. I anticipate little problem being able to cover 10 miles but doing it at a nine-minute pace is another matter.

I think I need a personal trainer with a background in nutrition. My diet is much improved and there is no doubt about the results; it's working, people see the results. I have eating to lose weight mastered but I need to figure how to eat to build strength and speed. However, a personal trainer doesn't fit into my budget at the moment. Just like I lost the weight on my own, maybe I need to be my own personal trainer too which means doing lots of reading and research.

I don't think I've hit my limit yet but I have come to a point where I need to bump it up to the next level. How many more levels I can go it not something I know the answer to.

By the way, I ran a five-miler in 47:15 this morning; my best time for five, so far.

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Cincinnati (11-0) @ Pittsburgh (9-2) 
Noon kickoff today. I won't be at the game because my wife finally took the tickets and made a girls weekend in Pittsburgh out of it. A sold-out crowd awaits the Mrs. and her friends.

The winner wins the Big East and may go to the Orange Bowl. The line has Cincy a two point favorite with the over/under at 58. A Pitt win today will give them double-digit wins for the first time since 1981. A win today would be one of the biggest wins in school history and even bigger than upsetting #2 WVU two years ago in Morgantown when WVU was a 29 point favorite and a win away from playing in the national championship game.

It's a nationally televised game so I will get to see it.

My pick: Pitt 27, Cincy 24.

Hail to Pitt!

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Calm instead of the Storm 
...pretty much sums up Atlantic Hurricane Season 2009. After Katrina, I thought the US was supposed to be pounded relentlessly annually with big and bad storms similar in magnitude of Katrina that numbered into the teens because of Global Warming Climate Change <insert flavor of the month impending doom scenario here>.

from USA Today:

"The 2009 Atlantic hurricane season ended Monday without a hurricane landing on U.S. shores and with the fewest named storms in 12 years, according to the National Hurricane Center."

Whew. Luckily, scientists can be wrong sometimes. (Or make up data too, but that's another topic **cough** **cough** climategate **cough** **cough**). Speaking of which, if the media spent just 10% of the effort researching the allegations of Climategate that they put into A**m L*****t or Tiger Woods or their constant bleating of adoration for BHO...but maybe they're afraid of that the data really has been fudged.

Tiger Beat media strikes again!

(and let's not forget snow in Houston today. Earliest snowfall on record there. lol)

Update (12/08) - is it me or does it seem like there are more doom and gloom news stories about climate change lately? It could just coincide with the large carbon footprint going on in Copenhagen or, more likely, this is the media's coordinated response to the Climategate emails.

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Still Going Strong 
A panic set in the other day when our 10 year-old HP Deskjet 895Cse printer stopped working. It would power up but the lights would flicker and then nothing - just the blinking orange light indicating a problem. I saw no paper jam and the printer was clear of toys and small objects that the kids sometimes stick in there. Convinced it was something simple, I unhooked it and proceeded to take it apart. I took the back panel off and there was my problem: a small piece of paper jammed under one of the rollers. I took it out and hooked the printer up and the printer worked.

We bought that printer ten years ago this week when we bought our Gateway 600Mhz PC (running FreeBSD today) and I think the printer was around $200.

They don't make them like that anymore. Something tells me that if I were to buy a comparable HP today, it would be junk within three years.

I refuse to replace it; best printer I've ever owned. Someone gave me a newer one last year and it was about two years old but I never hooked it up. I gave it away.

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One Revolution 
One year ago today I started running. What started as a light jog that took me about 12 minutes to cover a mile, has turned into running regularly and having no problem getting out doing four or five without thinking twice about it. I now expect myself to run three comfortably under 30:00 and hit mile one on a fast run comfortably under 9:00. I have plans on doing a 10 miler in May and *gasp* a half-marathon next September. While I'll never be a Ryan Hall, I can still be proud of myself.

One key was starting a few years ago with changes in diet and exercise BEFORE things got too out of hand. My BMI was in the high 20's - not a point of no return - but absolutely unacceptable. Another key, and, more importantly, I finally realized that there was a problem.

This is a three-year project still in the making. Consistency is important. Nothing is going to happen overnight. No one is going to wave a magic wand and put your body into the shape it's supposed to be in.

Less than eight months ago I ran my first 5K. It took me just over 35 minutes. I have since trimmed seven minutes off that. I may not get much faster than that, but that's alright.

I've come a long way. I've learned a lot. Just as the earth has completed another revolution, I am into my own.


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Nine Things 
I am the cook of the house. I cook dinner about 20-23 days out of the month. My wife might make a meal or two and the rest of days are either leftovers or other plans like being invited somewhere, going out, etc.

When the topic comes up, people who don't know us assume that my wife is the cook and seem surprised when I tell them that I am. My wife can cook but our roles in the house have made it easier for me to the cooking. We're at the point where I insist on making it. I am not afraid to boast either; I am a good cook.

I also do the grocery shopping so I always have what I need and I plan the menu a week ahead.

Nine things you'll always find in my kitchen:

1. onions
2. crushed garlic (big refrigerated jar)
3. Lawry's seasoning salt
4. Tabasco
5. black pepper
6. bread crumbs
7. worcestershire sauce
8. butter
9. canola oil

Onions and garlic - you can't cook without them. Lawry's is a must for ground beef, even though we eat it only about once every two weeks. Tabasco is a must and I used to buy it by the gallon. I've re-discovered ground black pepper as good seasoning for many things. Bread crumbs and worcestershire come in handy for many things too. Butter and canola oil are essential.

For a few years now, we've been using ground turkey or ground chicken instead of beef in items like sloppy joes, lasagna, tacos, et al, even though we only buy 90/10 beef. You can substitute ground poultry in just about anything that traditionally calls for ground beef and you can make it taste just as good.

I like being the cook.

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