Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Ok, so it's been a LOOOONG time since I posted anything on this blog.  In fact, I had sort of forgotten about it. Lately, it's come back to mind as I have started running again.  I'm not into the big run stuff again... yet, and maybe I never will be again, but I'm enjoying getting out for even a few minutes a few times a week.  So, while my runs are currently fairly slow and barely over a mile at this point, and for the first time ever I'm only increasing my distance about 10% per week, I think I'll keep it up.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Chronic Injuries? A hobby can help.

Hobbies for an injury time-out.  I began to feel some stiffness and some sensitivity to squeezing pressure in my right achilles near the end of 2011, so I began to back off from running. Backing off wasn't enough, and three months later I committed to not running for as long as it took to heal. Chronic achilles tendinitis/tendinosis can take a very long time ot heal from, since it's difficult to fully rest the achilles for long enough. Even cycling was causing problems for me, and slowing my healing process, so I pretty much went cold turkey.

During the last couple of months, I've been playing a ukulele I was given on my birthday in May, and ultimately decided I could build one. Having such a pursuit was nice for someone like me, because I tend to get very focussed on hobbies, geek out, and forget about other things. Since I've found with chronic injuries, this can lead me to "test" things out too much, too soon, and thus healing is prolonged. So, having something else grab my interest so completely was a nice way to "forget" about running for awhile.

Not only have I given myself better healing opportunities, but I've also kept myself preoccupied with other things, so I'm not down about having to rest so long.

Besides, now I have a really nice hand-built custom ukulele. Well, I did rough out some of the parts with power tools, but the shaping and assembly was all done by hand, with hand tools.  I even resawed some of the wood used from larger stock. Here are some pictures of my new uke, which looks and sounds great.

Sitka spruce soundboard, rosewood fretboard and bridge (with ebony pins)
Bookmatched African mahogany back, rosewood heel cap
Bookmatched African mahogany sides
Custom designed, headstock, veneered for good looks
Gotoh Mini-Tuners, African mahogany neck
Cool label I had fun with

So, not bad at all for a first build. The good news is that it turns out I'm pretty good at building ukulele's, so if you read this and decide you want me to build you a custom instrument, don't hesitate to inquire.

The bad news is that my achilles still has a ways to go. It just doesn't seem quite as bad since I have other hobbies to fill the void while I continue to recover.

Cheers all.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Achilles update

Four months of ouch. Finally seems to be letting up. Not going to go on at length about it.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Meandering obsessions

Lately, I've been obsessed with web development again. I go through cycles like this.  I'll be going along nicely, and then someone or something will challenge me to write a script that does something useful and helps solve a problem or save a lot of time, and before I know it that's all I can think about. I stay up late at night thinking about it, sneaking off to my desk where I can try out some ideas for different functions I've conceived in stage 1 sleep.

Ordinarily this is ok, but since my time for running is already stressed due to sharing transportation and having a small commute to/from work, and having been sick on top of all this for a while, I've been lagging in behing in the running category.  I nearly hit 2 weeks without running this time around.  The last time that happened was when I had a bad flare of posterior tibialis tendonitis early last year.

I'm really not interested in having such long gaps between running adventures, so I'm planning to try and get out on the road more, or....  Gasp... Use that health club membership and hit the treadmill.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Heart Center of the Rockies Half/10K/5K

Members of Dailymile, Fort Collins Running Club, and friends

The 2011 Heart Center of the Rockies Half Marathon, 10K, and 5K races are in the books as of November 5, 2011, and a fun time was had by all. Yeah, I know I'm a little late in getting this posted.  Wanna make somethin' of it?

Conditions: Cold, sunny, light breeze...  This turned out better than expected, since rain/snow mix had been forecast for much of the week.

The course: The half marathon course had some patchy snow/ice on the ground, and there is a fair amount of unpaved surface, but I didn't see anyone go down.  I was able to take this first part of the course about as fast as I wanted to, despite the conditions.

Mile 1 - 6
First two and a half miles were on pavement, with some icy patches ad some foot-tracked hard-pack snow remnants, then onto some dirt/gravel path to complete the initial full lap around Houts and Equalizer (Two small reservoirs), then back to the pavement around Houts one more time, before rising up out of the basin containing the two reservoirs on a dirt road lading west to Boyd Lake Ave (Cty 9).

Mile 6 - 7.3
This stretch was on asphalt on slightly rolling terrain. Nothing too steep.  It was just nice to have solid footing under foot.

Mile 7.3 - 9.3
Turning off of Cty 9 and running through the neighborhoods around Boyd Lake was a nice surprise in a few ways. In previous years, the route continued up Cty 9 over a gradual incline. Going down the other side of that made for some good splits for a couple miles, but you had to run by a cattle feedlot, and the scenery wasn't that great. The new route through the neighborhoods eliminated one of the two highest points in the course in exchange for lightly rolling residential streets with a half-mile stretch right along the lake, so the scenery was excellent, the traffic was slower, and some neighborhood folk came out to cheer runners on, as well.

Mile 9.3 - 10.3
This was a tough mile, including the steepest/longest hill along the course, and right at the point in a half marathon when you look at you're either questioning whether you'll be able to continue, or when you think you're doing pretty well, because your splits have been pretty good up to this point. It's not a giant hill. It just comes at an inconvenient point in the race, when even modest hills start to feel more like mountains.

Mile 10.3 - 12.1
This stretch starts with about a 30 ft. decent in 0.2 miles - a nice, runnable slope where you can pick up some time, then runs along the path and roadway in Boyd Lake State Park over lightly rollin terrain

The Last Mile
Brett finishing the Half Marathon
The last mile is a little tough, too, forcing you to climb the 30 feet you descended at the beginning of the previous stretch over about three quarters of a mile, before showing you another good descent leading down to the finishing stretch at the swimming beach (not that anyone swims here when it's 30-something degrees out.

Results: I finished with a time of 138:28 (12/60 in AG 40-49), which was a new half Marathon PR for me, and it was particularly gratifying considering it was on a tougher course than my to previous downhill half marathons. Given how slow I've felt when I go out for my training runs lately, it's nice to go out for a race and half a strong performance. This year, they also provided finisher medals. I'm not sure if they did that in previous years, but it was a nice touch.

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