Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Here is a true Hobbled Runner post, as it's all about running - and there is some hobbling involved.
I posted in May about my latest running injury, where tightness and pain in my right calf sent me hobbling home one mile into a run. A subsequent trip to the doctor and physical therapist (PT) brought the diagnosis that I was walking wrong. Various exercises were prescribed - and for the most part followed - and then it was time for the running analysis.
I returned to the PT's office where Sam put me on a treadmill and filmed me running - from several vantage points. Sam said I was over-striding, pushing off too much with my calves resulting in strain to those muscles. I was also "crossing the line" with my strides: rather than having my feet fall on either side of an imaginary line, I was placing one foot directly in front of the other - and sometimes even overlapping a bit so that might right foot would fall a bit to the left of this imaginary line running down the middle of the road/treadmill. This improper foot placement resulted in strain on my right knee (had that for years). And to top it all off my longer than necessary stride, resulted in my body moving up and down more than necessary.
To sum it all up: I'm bouncing too high, striding too long, and my feet are not hitting the ground correctly. And who said running was easy?
Sam "prescribed" even more exercises - more glut work - and told me to use a metronome. My ideal running cadence was declared to be 168 beats/steps per minute. Luckily I just got a new iPhone 5 for work, so I downloaded a free Metronome App, set it at 168 beats (steps) per minute, and I was off.
Talk about weird - I felt like I was shuffling along with little mincing steps. During the first short run/walk at 168 I noticed I was using different muscles: my quads were lifting more so became tired; my calves were relaxed - and I could actually wiggle my toes in my running shoes. (Now you don't need to wiggle your toes while running - but by relieving my calves of so much work - my foot became free and relaxed). I also noticed that I was running more erect and my head seemed to be pretty steady, rather than rising and falling with each step.
But I'll be damned if it doesn't work! My calf is better. I feel like I could run for miles. I've had several runs of 3 miles with no calf problems at all.
Now I don't much are for running with an iPhone. Of course I carry it in my hand and don't use ear buds. Yes, I know there are all sorts of ways to carry a phone hands-free and many/most runners seem to be plugged in while running. But I'm old school - I prefer to be alone with my thoughts while running. My goal is to internalize the new cadence so that I can leave my phone at home. Until then, I'm running with the phone beating along - 168 steps a minute.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
After spending way too much time in the basement mopping and vacuuming up water, I enjoyed the view on a walk this morning.
We had water in the basement after Friday's torrential rains. We got off easy with some water in the basement that required mopping and carpet disposal, and only a few branches down in the back yard. One of our neighbors lost two large trees. One hit her house with a major tree limb piercing her roof and into her kitchen ceiling. Oh - and she had 6 inches of water in the basement. We got off easy.
While I looked skyward and snapped that picture this thought came to me - it's about basements: Humans were not meant to live in holes in ground. Holes are for hiding or storing food. [Sigh] OK, back to the basement.
Thursday, June 20, 2013
[KARE 11 News.]
At 6:03 pm on June 8, old friend sent this Facebook message:https://www.facebook.com/john.gisselquist?hc_location=stream
There was a shooting in your old house in Richfield today. Watch the news tonight.
I was stunned. It was a blessing our TV wasn't working and the dog needed a walk. It gave me time to digest this news – before I actually tuned in to television coverage of another murder.
But it wasn’t just “another” murder. It was a murder in my childhood home.
[The old home - 1958 - with Friskie the cat on patrol.]
As I said on Facebook after the shooting,
An old friend called this to my attention - homicide in our old home in Richfield. Even without knowing the details - and I really don't care to know them - it's very disturbing. One could argue that it's just a house, but it's my childhood home and my parents lived there for 46 years, from when it was built in 1953 until they moved out in October 1999. I'm surprised how unsettled I feel about it. Good thing Mom passed away in January. She would feel responsible somehow for selling the house.
It was a real social media event. My initial notice of the even came via Facebook, friends and family communicated with me about the event online, and one of the best sources for news was the Richfield Patch.
Despite my initial reluctance, I did want to learn more. Through various news sources I discovered that the victim had been shot multiple times and died in the kitchen of the house.
The old kitchen was initially a breezeway connecting the house to the garage. Breezeways were common in the neighborhood but as time went by my parents decided to remove the breezeway, and expand the kitchen – with labor provided by my Uncle Ole.
The police report stated the victim was lying in the southwest corner of the kitchen. That was always the cold corner of the kitchen. In the depths of winter, frost would form on the wall paneling where the house connected to the garage. The southwest corner – a cold spot indeed.
2013 has been a difficult year - so far. My mother passed away in January, a beloved uncle died a month later, it’s rained at least 40 days and 40 nights, and now we can add to that list images of a dead man on the floor of “our” kitchen.
Rather than dwell on the bad images, as I feared I would, I've decided to take the advice of friends who responded to my Facebook post:
Wow, feels like my childhood home too . . . this feels terrible!
I'll only remember the good that occurred in this house.
Sorry to hear about this, John. These stories always hit hardest when there is that personal connection, of course. Best to avoid reading anymore about it and remember your home for what it was---your childhood home
[Celebrating 10 years - in the kitchen - of course.]
And that’s how I've decided to leave it. It was my childhood home. I’ll keep the good memories.
Blow out the candles! Don’t forget to make a wish.
Monday, June 17, 2013
I had a CT Heart Scan this morning. These scans are designed to detect calcium build-up in plaque along walls of the coronary arteries.
How did I do? Despite my “alarming” cholesterol (LDL – “bad” cholesterol – of 172), it turns out I have no plaque – 0% - the arteries are clean.
You may ask, “Why was I even a candidate for such a procedure?” That’s an interesting story.
Every year at my annual physical my blood is drawn for a lipid profile – the test to determine your cholesterol score. My total number is high, the LDL (bad) cholesterol is 172, my HDL (good) is 82 (also very high). My primary care physician’s clinic requires treatment at 170. She explained that it’s like standardized tests in schools. It’s all about numbers. She gets “dinged” when she doesn't treat people with certain numbers. My number required treatment.
I wasn't convinced I needed treatment. My HDL was great, my Triglycerides are very good (66), so I dragged my feet, avoiding the meds.
During last year’s scare with dizzy spells – which was eventually diagnosed as Atrial Tachycardia, a cardiologist looked at my cholesterol numbers (LDL 191 at that time) and asked me – in a rather patronizing tone of voice, “Is there any reason you’re not treating this?”
I should have pushed back – but felt like citing Wikipedia and other web sources would have been met with the usual medical scorn.
According to Wikipedia:
Research has found that statins are most effective for treating cardiovascular disease (CVD) as a secondary prevention strategy, with questionable benefit in those with elevated cholesterol levels but without previous CVD. Statins have rare but severe adverse effects, particularly muscle damage, and some doctors believe they are overprescribed.
In the end I caved and started taking Simvastatin. Within a few days, the usual side effects appeared, aching muscles – so bad it was hard to sleep. I called to report the side effects and the nurse cheerfully informed me that I could take a “Statin Holiday”, two weeks off the drugs to determine if the side effects would go away. The side effects disappeared.
Next we tried Pravastatin. That was a bit better and a test showed my LDL went down (by over half to 91) – but then the side effects started again. Rather than reporting the side effects and asking for the next drug, I just took myself off that medication without consulting the docs.
Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Yesterday was a difficult day. It was cool, gray, and damp – again. In addition, we’ve finally sold my mother’s co-op apartment. There was not a lot of ceremony. Unfortunately I was not needed at the actual closing, having signed over the Certificate of Membership last week. It’s unfortunate because I think being present would have helped provide some closure. I would have liked to meet the person who will be living in my mother’s old apartment. It would also have been nice to offer some feedback to the folks at 7500 York.
From the moment my mother died, we worked quickly to vacate the apartment. As it was explained to us, the sale (or marketing) process would not begin until we signed a notice of vacancy, telling them we were done with the unit. Then they would consult the list of folks who were looking for a unit that size – about 38 people I believe, out of hundreds on the building’s waiting list. Staying in the unit didn't make sense; there was no need to continue to make monthly payments to the co-op association.
The “marketing” process – the sale of the unit – did not proceed as I imagined it would. I’m sure it’s all detailed in the contracts my parents signed when they bought into the place in 1999, but now that I reflect on it, it’s a bum deal for the unit’s owners. The management at 7500 bears no financial risk in the marketing or sale of the unit. Up until the closing with the new owner on June 4, the risk of ownership remained with us – despite the fact that we've submitted a notice of vacancy on March 5. We continued to pay the monthly fee. We continued to pay homeowners insurance. But we could not help them sell the unit. We could not speed up the minor repairs, replacement of carpet, painting of walls, etc that were part of the move out/in process. It dragged on for three months, with us paying for the unit – and having no right to use it in any fashion.
Maybe it didn't really “drag” on. It sure felt that way. Perhaps it’s hard to get the work done, or maybe some folks were shown the unit and turned it down, and they had to do multiple showings.
What would make it better? A more satisfactory solution would have permitted us to sell the unit back to the management at 7500. We were done with the unit in early March. It was vacant. We had no further use for it. If we could sell it back, then the management would bear the financial risks involved with the sale.
The sale of the unit feels like the end, or the beginning, depending on how you look at it. It turned out to be a less momentous occasion than imagined.
Sunday, June 02, 2013
My Mom kept “the calendar”. Not only did it have the dates of everyone’s birthday, anniversary, and so on, she also tracked certain dates using a special code that only insiders could crack. Her calendars often included numbers preceded by a minus sign, like the “–120” seen on the calendar above on April 29. That indicates that my Grandmother (my Dad’s mother) would have celebrated her 120th birthday that day. She would often call me and say, “our Grandmother would have been 120 today,” – or something along those lines.
Today is a significant date in the Gisselquist calendar. Today would have been my mother’s 84th birthday. I don’t keep a calendar like Mom’s. Perhaps someone else has marked their calendar, “–84” today.
I received two nice cards from those older relatives who are part of the “letter sending generation”. It’s very thoughtful. Maybe Facebook has a feature where you enter the dates that significant loved ones died, or their birthdays no longer celebrated, so that your Facebook friends can be prompted to send a message on those days. (I’m sure there’s a way to do that – no need to send Facebook tips.)