Monday, January 08, 2007


What a weekend. I completely rearranged my bedroom and ran a 20 mile race. It's difficult to decide which was harder.

One thing you have to understand about me and my wife is that we are not neat people. We have lots of hobbies and love to read. So we have lots of stuff. Our children were raised by us and learned our love of stuff and also learned our disregard for order. As a result our house is characterized by stack and piles on top of every horizontal surface. Once all raised surfaces such as desks, counters, rails, dressers, shelves, couches, chairs, and night stands are covered the piles overflow onto the floors. Occassionally I get tired of it, usually when I can't find something I need, and blow a gasket and start cleaning. So, I knew that rearranging the bedroom would be a task because of the piles.

Several weeks ago I used measured our room and all of the furniture and made a CAD drawing that allowed me to move everything around virtually on the screen. I didn't like our current arrangement because it blocked our access to the windows and felt a little cramped. After several hours of learning the CAD program I had a workable solution that the wife and I agreed on.

But before I could even contemplate the rearranging, I had to run some new satellite and telephone cables to the wall where the entertainment center would be located. We have DirecTV with Tivo so I have to have two satellite cables so that the Tivo can record two shows at the same time. It also needs a telephone line to confirm subscriptions and purchases and whatever.

So Saturday I headed over to Home Depot to get supplies. I purchased a drywall saw to cut a hole for the outlet box. Then I purchased an outlet box, a modular outlet cover with 4 openings, 2 cable outlets, 2 telephone outlets, 50 feet of satellite cable, and 50 feet of telephone cable. Then I started looking around for something to help me fish the cables down into the wall from the attic. When the DirecTV installers originally put in the Tivo box they used some fiberglass poles to fish the wires so I was looking for something like that but had no idea where to look. I headed over to landscaping think maybe they'd have something that'd work. A salesperson saw my puzzled, lost look and asked if she could help. I described what I needed and she said, "Oh, you want a fish tape." A fish tape. Of course. Everybody knows what a fish tape is. Back to electrical and it turns out they had a whole rack of various implements for fishing wires through walls or under carpets or wherever they needed to go. A fish tape, by the way, is sort of like a tape measure on steroids where the tape is about 1/4" wide and maybe 1.5 mm thick. So it is stout enough that it can be pushed, but it is still flexible.

So, I go up in the attic and find where I need to put the wires in. I push the cable tape down into the wall and go back down stairs. Simple hitting the wall with my fist make the cable tape rattle in the wall so I knew where to cut. I used a stud finder to locate the studs and cut a hole in the dry wall next to an electrical outlet that I knew was next to a stud. Wonder of wonders, I pull out the drywall and am staring at an AC duct of the flexible variety that the outlet box would pinch. So I cut another hole a foot over that misses pinching the duct. Then I safety wired all of my cables to the cable tape and went back up into the attic to pull them up. They pull up 8 feet and stop. After diving headfirst through a couple of feet of blown insulation and fishing my arm into the wall I discover that my fish tape had gone between a 2x4 and the drywall. So we pulled the cables back out and I rethreaded the cable tape on the other side of the 2x4 and along the AC duct that I could now see buried by insulation. After a few more contortions I threaded the cables back down into the master bedroom closet where all of the cables in the house go into a structured wiring box.

By now it was early evening and I really needed to eat because I had a 20 miler early the next morning. My wife also informed me that there was a party that we wanted to go to. So it was off to Quizno's for supper and Home Depot to get a wall patch before running to the party. I'd only planned on staying for an hour or so I could get a good night's sleep, but we were having so much fun that we didn't wind up getting home until nearly midnight. I had to get my racing gear together and it was after 1:00 before I got to sleep.

Sunday started at 4:30 am because the race was 1.5 hours away in San Marcos and started at 8:00 am. The weather was a crisp 43 degrees which warmed up to 60 by noon. I got there a little more than an hour early and read a book and listened to music while I waited for the start. The course was a beautiful country run through rolling hills, some of which turned out to be pretty steep and long. Around mile 7 I started getting a blister on my right little toe just like in the previous two races. I loosened my shoe and kept going and the pain didn't get any worse and it actually got kind of numb toward the end. More on that later.

My intent was to go out slow and then run marathon pace for about ten miles before slowing down and just finishing. I don't know if it was the 3 hours of sleep or that my legs haven't completely recovered from the Dallas Marathon or whether my conditioning has dropped since then or if the hills killed me, but running at the same pace I did at Dallas turned out to be really hard. My heart rate was pretty high at 9:30 pace and climbed to over 170 when I pushed to a 9:00 pace. By mile 11 I was ready to slow down. I could have kept going, but this was just a training run and I didn't want to punish my legs to the point where I'd need a lot of recovery. So I jogged and walked at a very slow pace. It was majorly sucky because I just wanted the race to be over and I was pretty tired from the hard initial pace. I wound up walking the last two miles, grateful to have put the run behind me.

When I got back to the car and took off my shoes and socks I was sickened by my little toe. Saying that I have a blister doesn't really do justice to the damage. It's more accurate to say that my little toe is a blister. The entire toe top and bottom is one big blister that is full of fluid and blood. Yuck. But it doesn't hurt. I don't think that is good. Time for a trip to the running store to look for a different pair of shoes before the next race.

Not that it matters much, but I finished in 3:45:25 with an average pace of 11:16. That's actually slower than last year's time of 3:43:11, but last year's course was pretty flat compared to this year's hilly course and I ran it differently and walked a lot more. I finished the first 10k in 1:01:34 (9:55 pace), 15k in 1:31:09 (9:57 pace) , 20k in 2:04:57 (10:11 pace), 25k in 2:42:45 (10:35 pace), and mostly walked from there. Not too stellar and pretty disappointing but a good reality check.

Anyway, I spent the rest of the day moving piles and pushing furniture around the carpet. All of the furniture is moved but our bathroom floor is still covered with piles of books and magazines. It turned out nice and I slept like a dead man.

Yesterday's race was very hard and afterwards I really, really didn't want to run the Austin Marathon. Today I feel pretty good and am a little more up beat. But I've significantly scaled back my target pace from 9:12 to 9:45. That would still give me a PR and won't risk overreaching my current fitness level. My hips are a little sore, but my legs are fine so I'll be able to resume running tomorrow and I'll be ready to finish the season strong.

My next race is the 3M Half Marathon in three weeks and I AM looking forward to that.


Sister Mary Lisa said...

About the piles around your house...I would have those (and do near my art space) but my husband hates that kind of clutter, it drives him nuts within a week or two, so they don't last that long. It's no fun doing cleanup around such piles (but I figured it was the actual cleaning chore that I hated, not necessarily the dealing with the piles)..

And I'm glad you finished your race. Sounds like you had an eventful weekend.

Anonymous said...

I have massive piles! My husband is a type a nutter and goes insane. To deal with the house he reorganizes the two spots he has contro...his closet and truck!
I used to run before my back became a degenerative disk nightmare. You might need to re-evaluate how your foot steps while running. I know this helps with shin splints. A common problem most runners have is running with a rolling outside arch, placing more stress on the pinky toe!
Feel free to ignore my comment, but by adjusting my running step I avoided similar problems.
BTW, come fix my cable problems in my house!!
Is your wife LDS/or has she ever been a member...haven't heard much about her. YES, I am nosey!!

Bull said...

My right foot points outward. I think its the result of a broken leg when I was four. It definitely affects my step and is why I have problems with that legs. I let you know what I do.

Yes, my wife is a lifelong member, like me. I'm avoiding writing too much personal info since she reads this blog some times and doesn't like me airing our personal dramas for all the world to see.