Tag Archives: Florida

Entering the (dev)ice age

I recently took stock of the things that keep my human bits going day after day. It’s not an attractive list.

Multiple prescription meds, including the one recently added for chronic dry eye syndrome (not caused by swimming, but probably not helped by it, either). The OTCs, including pills for major muscle pain; the balms, salves, ointments, creams and patches for assorted aches; the earplugs (so I can sleep), the elbow brace (keeps my right arm straight to prevent nighttime cramps), saline nasal solution (periodic allergy relief), mouth guard (for TMJ), the toe separator (bunion that needs removal some day)…

keds

For the days when this was all we needed for play.

Some of the issues are age-related: the body breaks down and does not recover like it used to. Some are stress-related, some are inherited. As I gaze at the medicine cabinet, with more first aid products than my local pharmacy, I sometimes wonder how I still get up and function. It does not surprise me that people give in to pain, relying on prescription painkillers, booze and the indulgence of others to relieve their suffering. I used to watch a show on the A&E network called Intervention, where family and friends of an addict would lead them into a meeting and tell the addict they were loved and cherished, but admission into a treatment facility was something they had to do, or everyone in the room was forsaking them. I was fascinated with how people got to the point of addiction and living at their lowest point in the first place, particularly when many addicts seem to start out with a normal life. Both the state and county I reside in are in the midst of an opioid epidemic, where people overdose and die every day. Most of these dead are young people, whose lives were unremarkable until things took one bad turn. Pain started,  pain moved into unbearable territory, drugs came next and the war they would never win began.

 

I am happy every day for my average life, with average challenges. I’ll take this any day, along with average aches and pains, over dealing with worse. Meanwhile, I noticed these new compression running socks online the other day and I was wondering…

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A job update: I am starting part-time work next week, with a very nice property management company. Nice people, good hours, and interesting work. Looking forward to trying something new!

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Filed under athletic competition, blogging, Current news, Cycling, drugs, Exercise, mental health, opioid

It’s Not Easy Racing Jimmie Johnson

Six a.m. and a cold, cold start to my personal Speedweeks.

Six a.m. and a cold, cold start to my personal Speedweeks.

I did my half-marathon yesterday in Daytona Beach. Thirteen-point-one miles in the (relative) cold, on a hilly course, with a ginormous bridge in the middle of it. A bridge on steroids. A bridge so big, I will hate it forever.

And I finished in the allotted time. And I got a finisher’s medal, and there was food at the end, which I could not eat, like pizza and doughnuts and fried chicken bits (The Husband loved the doughnuts, though. What’s not to love about Krispy Kremes?)

Today is not much of a celebration, though. Yesterday, adrenaline outshouted agony. Today, not so much. I am walking like Frankenstein on stilts, trying not to fall over when I have to sit down in the bathroom (I wish I’d listened to Mom and mastered the art of the stand-and-pee in those public restrooms), and trying to paste a neutral expression on my face while out in public, so I avoid those pitiful stares and well-meaning offers of help from strangers. Driving isn’t bad; it’s getting in and out of the car that makes me wish I had a pit crew.

Speaking of pit crews, six-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson did the same event, and finished third in his age group. I should add he raced the Sprint Unlimited the night before, and had to go out and qualify for the Daytona 500 the same day as the half. He finished the half in under 90 minutes, chatted with fans, signed autographs, posed for photos and was a very nice guy. Oh, and he used the half to raise money for charity. And while I admire his athletic skill, I hate the guy for being that good. At the finish, The Husband wanted me to walk a few steps up the track’s banking, so he could get a photo of me with the Daytona 500 logo in the background. I’d tell you what my response was, but it’s unprintable.

Jimmie, you don’t make it easy for the rest of us to look bad. But thanks for being one of the good guys, on and off the race track.

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Filed under Exercise, thought

Is Diana Nyad Right?

Diana Nyad at TEDMED2011

Diana Nyad at TEDMED2011 (Photo credit: Klick Pharma)

If you’ve been living under a lily pad, you may not know that endurance swimmer Diana Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Key West without a shark cage.

It was her fifth try in 30 years. She did it at age 64. It took her  just under 53 hours to swim 110 miles. The pain from dehydration, sunburn, jellyfish stings and exhaustion was obvious to anyone who saw her stagger onto the beach at the end. But she had enough strength in her soul and power in her voice to tell the cheering crowd, “We should never, ever give up…you’re never too old to chase your dreams.”

Was that the adrenaline talking, or is Diana Nyad right? Do age and pain, along with the everyday minutiae of the real world, eventually stop us all from doing whatever we want? Or can you push through, ramp up and persist past the pain and mundane and reach any goal we set for ourselves?

In the harsh light of reality, sometimes the answer is yes, life shows us a big red stop sign. Severe illness and injury, along with attending to the needs of others, can put a halt to what we want to accomplish. In Nyad’s case, her early hopes for the Olympics were ended by a heart condition called endocarditis. She has spoken of childhood sexual abuse, at the hands of both her stepfather and her swim coach. But her life was not derailed by the illness or the abuse, nor did she give up looking for other challenges in endurance and marathon swimming. And although she says she’s now done with the ocean, she still has other goals: endurance pool swims in New York to raise money for victims of Superstorm Sandy and in Boston for victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. All her life, Nyad has shown a stubborn and single-minded attitude, ignoring the naysayers in order to do what she does best ; not only swimming, but writing, motivational speaking, radio and television personality and living openly as a member of the LGBT community.

If Nyad is looking for some company on those pool swims, I’d like to join her. Because I think she’s right. I’ve signed up for my first half-marathon in years (it’s in February, 2014), and I’m looking at a bike race or two, now that I’m riding regularly. The eye surgery went perfectly, and I hope to be back in the pool in a couple of days.

I’m old for this stuff, people tell me. But all my medals and ribbons and awards were won after I turned 50, not before. What keeps me going is the sight of them, all displayed and framed, next to my bed. I see them last thing at night and first thing in the morning. My motivation is to get more of them, crowding the table and wall until you can’t even see them properly. That’s fine with me. I know why they are all there. And I’ll keep competing for more, even though I know it’s really not about the awards, it’s about the rewards.

 

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Filed under Current news, Exercise, Swimming, thought

Beef Jerky Plus Bathing Suit Equals Bucket List?

Reepjes beef jerky afbeelding eigendom van eig...

Reepjes beef jerky afbeelding eigendom van eigen bedrijfje (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The very talented Lesley Carter of Bucket List Publications makes a life’s work and a continuous habit of traveling around the world and telling us regular mortals all about it. She’s doing a creative and fearless job taking readers everywhere, introducing attractions big and small and explaining why we should go to these places.

On the other hand, we have these two conniving cuties, Andrea Mobley and Denise Morrow, with a totally different kind of bucket list. Theirs involved “stealing from a retail store,” among other things. The duo was arrested this week at a central Florida Wal-Mart. Their hoard consisted of bathing suits and beef jerky. The pair have been friends for thirty years, and just recently reconnected. Swimming was on their list of best-buddy things to do together, but they lacked the proper attire. Apparently, they also lacked the proper post-workout snack. So, off to the store and the proverbial kill-two-birds-with-one-stone deal. They were caught, booked and as of this posting, one of them had made the $250 bond and been released.

Of course, all this begs the question: would any of you put this kind of heist on your personal bucket list? And if theft was in fact on your list, what would you consider taking, given that it could be your last voluntary act as a free person? I’m not a Wal-Mart shopper, but even I know the shelves have to contain items more interesting and useful to stuff down your pants, rather than a package of Slim Jims© and a Speedo©.

A bucket list is often associated with things we want to do before we die. It’s sad that anyone would wait until death was known to be imminent before coming up with such a list. A bucket list should be a lifelong accomplishment, written while one is still young, rewritten as goals are met and new plans are made. The list of experiences on it will be as individual as the individual who compiles it, of course. But for goodness sake, leave retail theft out of the bucket, please! The backseat stench of a patrol car, a trip to the local jail and the feel of hands cuffed behind your back don’t belong on anyone’s lifetime to-do list.

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Filed under consumer products, Current news, thought

Is It Hot In Here, Or Is The A/C Busted Again?

Air conditioning

Air conditioning (Photo credit: niallkennedy)

In Florida, air conditioning is not merely a need, a necessity and a daily expectation.

It is a birthright. It is as much a part of the normal routine as left-lane slow drivers and seasonal out-of-towners in socks and sandals.

And at the moment, the A/C in my office building is broken, yet again. In other words, it’s slightly cooler outside in mid-August than it is inside. I’ve been here just over two hours, and I’m on my third thirty-two ouncer of ice water. And did I mention that our restrooms are being renovated and therefore out of commission, necessitating a trip to another floor for relief?

All this could be amusing, if it wasn’t a repeat performance. It could be forgiven if the building manager was actually someone who could manage a building; she’s an accountant by training who thought managing an office building was something fun that she could do on the side for extra money. So far, the only extra money she’s seen is the money that’s gone out to pay for repairs and lawsuits. Note to all you wanna-be landlords and property managers who think how cool it would be to work in this field: don’t, unless you plan to be good at it and full-time when you do it.

I know there are worse places to be living and/or working. Plenty of places in this country not only lack air conditioning, but reliable plumbing, heating and electrical systems, to say nothing of basic food and medical care. We respond to national and international disasters regularly with open hearts and generous wallets, but we often miss the daily long-term suffering near us. Perhaps because it tends to be quieter. Instead of the roar of a tsunami, or the grind and crash of an earthquake, people who do without the basics every day seem to do so with less noise; not because they are happy and peaceful, but perhaps because the situation leaves them resigned and hopeless.

I like giving to charity, and I prefer it to be as local as possible. Don’t get me wrong; I feel for people who lose everything to earthquakes, tornadoes, civil war and other disasters that don’t impact me personally. But when I want to see my money translate to improvements first-hand, it goes to the folks who take care of my fellow locals. And speaking of care, the A/C is finally back on. Now, on to more charitable thoughts. Like putting some money into the local economy with a lunch out tomorrow.

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Filed under charity, donation, Uncategorized