Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Apple's Time Capsule

Here is a brief synopsis of my attempt to set up Time Capsule. I must say that I was successful and have had only a couple of minor issues.


MacBook Pro, Dell Inspiron laptop, HP laptop and Dell desktop (all Windows machines are running XP).
Time Capsule (500 GB drive)
AT&T (formerly Bellsouth) modem for DSL
Canon MX310 multi-function printer

I left the setup of the desktop last since I am in the process of transferring files from it and then wiping the drive.

I gathered the three laptops and the printer in one spot to minimize the travel. First I loaded the printer drivers, hooked up the printer to each, and ran a test page (successful).

Next I loaded Airport Utility on each computer (except the MacPro).

I then set up Time Capsule and wirelessly connected to the internet with my Mac. I connected the other laptops to the net. Then I added the printer and verified that I could print from each laptop (using Bonjour - the only way to go).

Issue one - the multifunction does not work using Time Capsule. The printer will only print.

Issue two - the HP will not print. I have tried everything to make it work and no luck. The computer sees the printer on Airport Utility, but no luck on printing. Solution - we have a second multifunction printer that I connected to the HP (it is my son's computer and he does not move it out of his room much). So now I have multifunction capability on at least one computer which may come in handy.

Issue three - I had to start Airport Utility again on each computer and one I had to reboot so it could see the Time Capsule drive. No further problems.

Issue four (and biggest) - next day my wife is trying to luck. The printer which I turned off the night before could not be seen in Airport Utility on any computer. So using the Mac, I redid the entire process and got it working. I found out that if I would have done a soft or hard reset of Time Capsule, I probably would have recovered the printer. So printer now works so I left the power on. After googling the issue, I did find a thread on bug with this issue, but no solution.

I called Apple Care and went through issue four. I could not get the problem to manifest itself again. So it seems that the issue has magically resolved itself.

Issue five - could not get my Directv HD DVR to connect to the internet although my Samsung BluRay player connected right away and loaded a new driver.

This issue disappeared after resolving my printer issue. I went into the DVR's network setup the next day and it connected right away with no problems.

Issue six - I have since connected a powered USB 2.0 bus and added two other hard drives. When I was saving my critical files to the Time Capsule, I would get an error message occasionally and the Time Capsule would lock up. I had to cycle the power to reset the Time Capsule because Airport Utility would not see it to do a soft reset. I am able to see and use the two new drives with no issues. To solve this problem, I just moved less files at one time. I have not been able to figure out this one out, but it is not a showstopper.

Minor issues:

I have two instances of my MX310 showing up on Time Capsule. I think this is because I loaded the driver on my Mac twice when troubleshooting the printing issue. Merely an irritating side effect.

Time Capsule runs HOT when using the disk.

Time Capsule has no on/off switch and the power cord connection is very tight.

One of my other drives spins continuously...I don't think it is a Time Capsule issue...just a drive issue. Since I don't plan on using it much, I will simply disconnect it from the bus.

The Rest of the Story:

I have connected the cantankerous desktop with no issues. I moved tax files from my old Zip drive to the Time Capsule.

I have connected my son's Xbox 360 with no issues.

Back to issue four - after leaving the printer off all night, I just tried printing and no luck. I have done a soft reset and no luck. Time to call Apple Care!

Update: Called Apple Care...analyst had me remove the printers in Preferences and then re-add. Printer now works. This is painful if I have to fiddle with this issue each time I need to print!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Nearly the End of 2008

Well another disappointing football game by the OSU Cowboys. They just can't quite close the deal on big games. I think they were lucky to do as well as they did....there is always next year.

Been working on my new router, Apple's Time Capsule. I will write more about it later and some of the pitfalls I ran across (and solved).

Still running. Ran a 10 miler last Saturday. Time was about 1:23, which is about 11 minutes slower that last year. I was hurting the last couple of miles when I hit the last couple of hills. While I am on track to successfully run the Mercedes, it won't be nearly as fast as my previous attempts. In fact, it will probably be my slowest run to date.

I ran 5 miles yesterday and really felt the effect of Saturday's run. Trying to pile on mileage now to get up to 13-14 prior to the race is not fun. One good thing is that the plantar's in my left foot is mostly gone. I credit the stretching exercise I do every morning in the shower and after each run. Seems to have done the trick. Basically I would put my heels against the wall and lean on the opposing wall for about 50 seconds. Then I would move closer the opposing wall, crouch, then lean forward for about 50 seconds. I think the continuous stretching has been effective. It was not a quick remedy, but it seems to have worked for me.

Been having a couple of pitter patters with heart this evening. Even on the flecainide, I get an occasional flutter. Just the way it goes. I am on the lowest dosage to keep the flutter at bay and still feel like I can get my heart rate up when I run.

Only a few more days of vacation and then it is back to work. The economy is beginning to concern me. Yeah, everything has tanked and the market has been clobbered. But the retails stores that are folding and the continuous media coverage that this could be worse than the Great Depression is depressing. Instant access to information has its pluses and minuses. Now with Israel pounding the stew out of the Hamas and India/Pakistan chest butting one another may put the world into a real tailspin. With the military focused on Iraq and Afghanistan, our ability to respond to any other crisis is severely limited. Some of these other countries will need to step up to the plate.

Well it is way past my bedtime. I will write more on my Time Capsule travails later.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Caption Above

I was looking at my caption above and wondering if I should change it. I have not really been on the bike in two burned out after letting it run my life (kind of a play on words since I now run). Now I am getting burned out on running to the point I don't want to exercise at all. Lately, it seems like there is always something hurting. My foot, my arch, my heel, my shoulder, my hand, etc. I think I am simply falling apart. Maybe that should be my caption.


Nothing New

Uh, nothing new. Just delinquent in my postings as well as my running. I did manage 9 miles this past Saturday and haven't run since. The Bham track club as an end of year run this Saturday...10 miles is usually the option I run. It was cold and windy today (low was 17F this morning). So I opted to not run and "save" myself for Tuesday. Procrastination you are a friend of mine.

It was nice to not be working today, although I had a business lunch with some of my counterparts...end of year stuff.

I need to commit to putting more "depth" into my blog rather than being just wading in the shallow end of the pool. I usually have things I want to blog about, I just don't. No reason other than I just don't. Ok...maybe I am a little lazy and after peering at a computer all day, I just don't have the energy or enthusiasm to blog. I should probably figure out how to twitter...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

OSU vaccuumed again

I would like to have one year where they would beat either OU or Texas. For some reason whenever they have a good record, there is always the blemish of getting thumped by OU, Nebraska or Texas. Of course, Nebraska has fallen on hard times and are getting thumped by everybody. However, I will hear the OSU had a good year 9-3. But they got beat by Texas and thumped by OU and Texas Tech. Sometimes I would rather sacrifice wins just to beat OU or Texas. I guess if it really mattered, I should have just gone to OU (which is blasphemy).

I think living in the college-football-is-everything state of Alabama, I get overcome with football mania every fall. Of course, now Alabama is 12-0. Oh Lord, I cannot stand the big A flags flying everywhere. Everyone wants to a member of the Sabanation.

Now I wonder what distant bowl OSU will go to....


Another Thanksgiving holiday has come and (almost) gone. Sometimes I feel like I just trod through the holidays and don't really feel thankful or appreciate the time with family and friends. Oftentimes I am happy just to have some time off and not work (or worry...too much...about work).

We just got back from the beach where we have been spending the t-day holiday with friends every year for the past 4-5 years. I like going to the beach, I just wish I did not have to drive there and back, pack and unpack, go out to eat, etc. Sometimes it feels like it is more work to go on vacation than it is to unwind at home. Plus it gets expensive renting a condo and eating out.

I did manage to get in a couple of runs. I really need to get after my 1/2 marathon training program. I ran 55 minutes on Saturday. I did 25 minutes out with the intent of running 25 minutes back. The mistake I made was that my out leg was WITH the wind and my return leg was AGAINST the wind. I started to suffer on the way back and actually walked about 30 secs just to slowdown. I will continue my running and see how the training goes while on my heart meds (sodium channel blocker). I would also like to get back out on the mountain biking trails and do a little riding. Nothing hard core though.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and remember our troops.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Facebookin' Fool

Well I have a new toy that is much easier to manage than my blog. However, the one drawback is that it does not have a blog box, but that is a minor inconvenience. Plus, I can update Facebook from my handheld (aka mobile phone).

My contribution to this site may take a turn for the worse (or not). Who knows, I may get tired of both!

Friday, November 14, 2008

My Wife Left a Comment

My dear wife left a comment about my blog (I am pretty sure she did...anonymous). Not running much, heart is doing okay while I take drugs, and life in general is not too bad considering our 401k has dwindled to zero ;-)

Speaking of 401k, I have been buying because I had moved almost (95%) of my 401k to a money market fund (smart move...dumb luck). Of course, I hope I don't blow it as the market continues to gyrate like an Hawaiian hula dancer.

Jim...thanks for the why couldn't I come to the "bachelor party"?

Regarding Earlier Post

OK...they don't suck. It was one of those heat of the moment, got your butt kicked moment, have no defense moment, cannot get a break moment....ahhhhh they suck!

Just kidding. I just want to you to know that I have been playing with my new Facebook account while sitting here in the Pittsburgh airport. I hope to get home tonight since my original flight was delayed. For some reason, Philadelphia cannot get a flight out of the their airport in a timely manner (just a note to all of you travelers waiting on a plane originating from Philly...the City of Brotherly Love...not Timely Flights).

I saw the above pic on an ad while surfing the net and just wanted to share it with you. This is NOT my back!

Have a great day!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Welcome to October

Ok...I have been greatly remiss in my blogging. Two days in a row in Sep and then nada until now. I don't have anything to blog about although I often find myself coming up with ideas to blog about, but then I am in the middle of something else (like work, play, sleep, etc.) and I just don't get the electrons on this blog.

I am about ready to get rid of my animals (and kids) because they are taking over. The cat is always sleeping on my bed and the dog is always laying on the couch. The kids take over my TVs and eat all my girl scout cookies.

I am tired and don't have anything else to write about.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Stupid Questions

I have a stupid question on my previous post. The answer is I do!

I did run a little over 5 miles today and actually felt pretty good. I then lifted a few weights and then hit the showers...sounds like high school.

The weather here in central Alabamer is quite loverly. My me-otter has been running wonderfully with the top down. In fact, this morning I pulled up behind Eaglepoint Jim in his red hot mustang with his top down. As you may recall, Jim is the prior owner of my little me-otter.

Tomorrow Alex's running buddies are coming over for a pre-race pasta dinner. So we will have a house full of boys and my daughter is looking for somewhere else to hang out. She doesn't want hang around a bunch of older boys...yeck. Someday she will likely regret that decision (and hopefully she will be out of the house by then ;-)).

Two days of posting in a row. It is a record.

Watching the stock market trying to figure out when I can get back in. Most of my 401K is in a money market fund. I was watching Apple hoping it will drop a little lower. I think the market is heading lower as the financial situation continues to unfold. I don't agree that the "govment" should bail them out. Where is the repercussion for making poor decisions if you know you make a poor decision and someone will be covering your ass. To top it off...several CEO's of these failing organizations will walk away with more money than most people will make in a lifetime (times a hundred).

Alex is scroby...we are not sure not sure if you spell it "scrobe" or "scroby". Even further, we are not sure what it means. My wife is the one that has always said scroby usually in reference to something or someone that is disheveled or unkempt. You know when you go to the beach, get in the water, sun yourself, get back in the water, sun yourself, (you get the picture). Anyway, as you head back to your condo or hotel room, you have this icky feeling AKA you feel scroby. Imagine a homeless person that is stinky and wearing three layers of funky smelling clothes...he/she is scroby. Back to Alex...although he took a shower a little earlier, his attitude is scroby.

I am tired and ready for bed...a common theme lately. So no sense in delaying the inevitable. TTFN.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Who Runs Anymore?

Had to take a quick run to Oklahoma to visit my ailing mother. Ran twice. Headed to Las Vegas afterward for a conference. Did not run for a week. Finally got home after nearly 10 days on the road. Ran once since then. It is hard to get motivated when you don't train for a race. I have a hard time hitting the road "just to stay in shape".

I am now sitting here on the bed on a Wednesday night typing in my blog (which I have ignored for quite sometime). I have a funky sock (Strassburg) on my left leg because of an ongoing battle with plantar fascitis. So now I don't sleep very well, but at least my arch does not hurt in the morning. I hope this $35 sock will heal my aching arch.

Not much going on. Work and stuff. In fact, I don't even feel like typing in my blog cause I took my contacts out and have to hold the laptop fairly close so I can see the words. Funny thing is that when I have my contacts in, I have to wear reading glasses to do the same thing.

The market is down. Elections are around the corner. We are still stuck in Iraq and Afghanistan. North Korea is restarting their nuke plant. Iran calls for the demise of the american power. Lindsay Lohan is dating a girl. Clay Akin is gay. The world is really going to hell in a hand basket.

So what am I going to do? I think I will go to bed. Ta ta for now.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Welcome September

Another month has come and gone. Wow...what a month. Some 'lympics, demo"rat" and re"pubic"an conventions, football, school, etc.

The weather has been quite nice for the past month. Hurricane Gustav left us quite a bit of rain and some cooler than usual weather. Hurricane Hanna had no impact on the 'ham. Now Ike is bearing down on the gulf.

I have been running and lifting weights. I have also gained a few pounds...not sure if the lifting is adding to the mass or I am merely eating more than I am expending.

Okie state is 2-0 with a couple of good offensive games. I was considering flying to Oklahoma to catch a game, but I just don't know if I will have time.

I am still on my flecanaide and have not had any incident of flutter. Still not sure if I like it...I just have not felt quite right since I started taking the medicine.

My running is going ok although I miss the competitive training and races. I ran 6 miles on the 5K loop around the 'hood. My first lap was good, my second one sucked. I actually walked up the hill. I don't think I can stand to try and race a course that is very hilly because I cannot recover very well with a lower than usual heart rate.

There is supposed to be a criterium this weekend (Google Pepper Place Crit). I am supposed to work the registration all day Saturday and then fly to Las Vegas on Sunday. Long weekend ahead.

I did have some stuff I wanted to blog about (Palin, actors, stocks, trucks, etc.). I will do that some other time when I really feel like cutting loose. Now I will watch a little more football and head to bed.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Another 4 Years

Well the Olympics are almost over. I can finally start getting some sleep. It has been great watching ribbon dancing, horse galloping, basket weaving, etc. (not really). I have enjoyed the real sports...running, cycling, swimming and so on. I am Olympiced out though.

Been working hard. I was out of town earlier this week on a business trip to NYC (Brooklyn). I stayed at a hotel just on the other side of the Brooklyn bridge. In fact, I was able to run over the bridge into downtown Manhattan a couple of times. Nice flat run (except for the bridge). The weather there was cooler on Tuesday and Wednesday and made for great outdoor weather.

I have been trying to run more frequently and lift weights. I am not training for a race, but I think I can consider running a few races for fun (aka fun running). I am not planning on doing anything competitive because it would be a waste of time on heart medicine. I think I have come to terms with my "condition" and can live with the situation.

I did manage to run 8.4 miles today in the remnants of Fay as it moves through Bham. It was wet, but otherwise enjoyable. I am suffering from a case of plantar fasciitis in my left foot. Running on the hard pavement has not helped any and I probably need to run on some softer surfaces while icing my foot. I have tried some different things to ease this problem, but I have not been successful to date. Just gettin' old(er).

Congratulations to neighbor Jim who is now engaged!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Horses in the Olympics

Nothing to write about. Just thought I would scribble something in my blog whilst I sit here watching the Olympics (horse jumping - cross country and diving). Speaking of horse jumping in the Olympics, what is up with some (not all) overweight riders. This is not sport. The only one that is physically fit is the horse. Besides, who can afford a horse and take care of it on a daily basis such that you can ride nearly every day to become a "world class" rider? It is a gold medal for rich people that cannot do anything else.

Some poor kid in Africa runs barefoot to school everyday hoping one day to mimic the exploits of his countrymen and escape a life of hard work and poverty. All while some (not all) overweight "cowboy" rides some poor horse that runs to school everyday hoping one day to run free like his fellow mustang.

Horses in the Olympics is not sport - it is animal PETA, call Pamela Anderson! On second thought, calling Pamela Anderson and having an intelligent conversation should be an Olympic sport (it would require significant mental fitness...of a four year old)!

Go Michael Phelps...anyone that can swim endless laps in a swimming pool and not go crazy, ROCKS!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Theeeee'rrrreeee Baaaccckk!

In school. Yes the kids are back in school.

Not much going on in the world of Dom. I was out of town the first part of the week (work) and just got back into the office today. The travel must of really wore me out because I felt terrible this morning. Just lethargic and a bit lightheaded. It does not seem like I have been right since I started taking the heart drugs. I just hope it is not something else lurking in the background.

Weekend is coming up, so I will get some rest and hopefully get back to par.

I did run Tuesday (5 miles on treadmill at hotel) and today (5 miles on treadmill at work). It has been miserably hot so running outside just is not appealing. I plan on doing a short run tomorrow and lift some weights.

Time for a popsicle and then the rack.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Another ah hah moment!

As you may recall, I started drug therapy at the beginning of July for atrial flutter (flecainide and nadolol). The nadolol (beta blocker) was unbearable and I called the doc to see if I go on flecainide alone...YES! I did have some effects (mainly lightheadedness and low blood pressure) when I dropped the nadolol cold turkey (only 10 mg per day - the doc did not provide any instruction and I did not think to ask for any - this time). I have been off the nadolol for almost 2 weeks.

I was hoping my running would return to normal. The first week I did not have much time to exercise plus I was recovering from dropping off the nadolol. However, I have been running most of this week and really struggling (heavy legs). As I was doing an hour run this morning at Oak Mtn State Park, it finally dawned on me (as a slogged up another hill about 45 min into the run) that the flecainide was preventing me from reaching an upper heart rate beyond 144ish BPM. My running max is mid-170's. So no wonder I felt like crap late in the run because my heart was not pumping properly and my legs were starved for O2 and lactic acid was not being processed quickly enough. Duh!

Now I am trying to find answers to some questions. Can I reduce my dosage (with dr consent) that will help me elevate my HR and still be effective against the flutter? And/or, should I run in the morning PRIOR to taking my morning dose?

It was not pleasant running today because I normally hit mid-150's when I run up some of the hills at OMSP. That is when I had my ah hah moment. I kept looking at my watch hoping my HR would ease on up to the normal BPM and nothing happened. I am really thinking hard about the cardiac ablation or just quit running altogether and be happy....see me smiling :-(

Randy Pausch died yesterday. Visit his website and if you have not watched "The Last Lecture", you really need to spend an hour and watch it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Just Another Wednesday

Man, what a scorcher of a week. I did not run Sunday because it was so stinkin' hot. I did run Monday afternoon (5:30ish) and it was still 95F. Oowwee. I did not run yesterday because I got home as the afternoon thunder bumpers started to light up the sky.

I did manage to get out at lunch today. While not quite as hot (86F), it was very humid and when the sun came out from behind the clouds the temp would spike up a few degrees.

The flutters still seem to be in remission. I have had a few instances over the past couple of days that it felt like I was going to have an episode and nothing happened. Maybe this dosage of Flecainide is doing the trick. I still feel a little groggy and lightheaded especially the few hours after I take the pill in the morning. So while I feel better and the running has improved since being off the beta blocker, I still have some side effects (either that or my general disposition has started to turn sour).

I also bought a running journal since my heart rate monitor software (Polar) won't work with the Mac (even using Windows). I cannot get my IR reader to read the watch. Apparently, there is an issue with the USB IR reader and the Mac's USB port. The port does see the reader; however, nothing happens. So I went to the written version which I think I will like better since I really have never used the HR watch and software to their full potential. Using the KISS principle.

Anyway, on to the next exciting events - reading and bed.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hey...I ran 5 miles today

Surprise, surprise, I ran 5 miles today. Of course, I did not do diddly the remainder of the day other than wash my little Me-otter. Note - I did not do any running while on vacation earlier this week.

I actually felt ok on the run. I did feel slightly lightheaded on my run, especially toward the end. The good thing is that my heart rate was normal during the entire run...normal being 130-150 BPM depending on the terrain. In addition, I have not had an episode of flutter even after coming off the beta blocker. It sure feels good to feel normal.

I will try another run again tomorrow as I ease back into the running thang. I will see how things go over the next week or so prior to my next cardio doc appointment.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Whoa...what is up with that?

Well I did come off the beta blocker earlier this week. However, I had a really strange episode of lightheadedness while at the Biltmore estate on Tuesday. My wife and I had exercised for a little while in the fitness center that problem. We headed out to the Biltmore later in the morning. It was when I climbed the first set of stairs that it hit me. I felt bad. I thought, I am having a heart attack, stroke, bad day, etc. Well after struggling through the entire tour, I finally was able to find a chair and rest/recover. You could say that I was overwhelmed by the tour, but you would be wrong.

Let me digress for just a moment. Biltmore was built by a man that had never worked. He basically used someone else's money to bring a vision to fruition. Now granted, his vision was excellent, but many people have great visions with no resources to bring them to reality. The other thing is that George had his own bedroom and one for his wife. No wonder they only had one child. The Biltmore is a beautiful work of art and a lot of that effort is due to his grandsons. They had the vision to take a man's self-indulgent idea to a higher plane. What is brilliant is that they got the public to pay for it most of it. And yes, I contributed to the cause.

I can say that George's self-centered vision is not as bad as what I saw in Germany at the various castle's in the Bavarian region. King Ludwig II, the fairy-tale king, was a narcissistic SOB. His bedroom on one lesser castle was full of gold metal leaf and mirrors. He never married and seemed to have more for Wagner that he did for women...

Digression complete...after returning from the, I stopped at grocery store to take my blood pressure (102/58) which was way lower than my usual readings. [side note - they poor smuck ahead of me was 192/101 which is off scale high.] My heart rate was 62. After resting at the room, I went back to the store to buy a BP monitor and measure it again. My BP was closer to normal (128/70...HR 51). I have been measuring my BP ever since then and have not noted any low readings. In addition, I have not noticed any abnormal heart beats. Certainly no flutter.

Today we drove to Mt Mitchell, highest peak east of the Mississippi. Unfortunately, a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway west of the Mt Mitchell entrance is closed due to a rock slide (or something). So you have to take the long way around (40 east to 70 east to 80 north to Blue Ridge Parkway west). The 80 north route is a great route for driving the Mazda Me-otter. It is one o the twistiest, turniest roads I have ever driven. I am not sure my wife enjoyed the ride and much as I enjoyed the drive. I did keep the speed down because it was narrow and I was not familiar with the road.

We had fun hiking one of the trails at the park. The Mt Mitchell summit was not open due to renovation. We hiked to a couple of adjacent peaks and I took some pictures of Mt Mitchell. The hike took it out of me. I did have some lightheadedness initially and I had to stop and pee 4 or 5 times (not sure what that is all about). My wife thinks I may have diabetes (which runs in the family), but I have not experienced any other symptoms before now. All these issues are coincidental with the going on drugs and coming off beta blockers.

I hope to be feeling better soon (today would be great). We head to Cherokee tomorrow and then home on Friday (where my own bed awaits me).

Monday, July 14, 2008

Yea Baby!!!

I had to go to my regular doc today for a chapped ass (no kidding...and that is all I will say about that). Anyway, he has been going through some heart issues similar to mine and we chatted for a few minutes after my "exam." I told him what I was on and he suggested contacting my cardio doc and getting off the beta blocker. So I called the cardio doc (he is probably tired of hearing from me) and told him that I still have adverse reactions to the beta blocker - namely, dizziness, unclear thinking, low resting heart rate (low 30's), and general lethargy. So now I am off the Nadolol and on just the Flecainide.

So I am hoping to get out this drug-induced funk as the Nadolol wears off over the next couple of days. I am excited about being able to run with a normal heart rate.

My wife and I are in Asheville, NC while the kids are at a running camp. I am looking forward to spending some time with her and seeing this lovely place. We took the Miata. I hope we don't buy anything because we don't have any room. Hopefully it will be cheaper that way. We hope to see Biltmore ($47 stinking bucks per person...oooweee), Chimney Rock and Mt Mitchell. Then we will head over to Cherokee and watch this play Thursday evening. Then on the way home we will drive the Cherohala Skyway which I have ridden on my bicycle several times (Cherohala Challenge).

I hope to get some running and hiking in this week and I hope that things will return to normal as the Nadolol wears off.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Another Day, Another Dollar

I recently joined a forum, Cardiac Athlete (see links to the right). It seems to have a lot of folks that can relate to my experiences. It provides a breath of fresh air to read/discuss my issues with others in similar circumstances.

I did not exercise today...had a meeting all day downtown then headed to the house when a thunder bumper came up.

Yesterday, I did 30 minutes on the treadmill (15 walking, 15 at slow jog). Even though I am on 10 mg of Nadolol, I did not see any difference in my heart rate. However, it has only been a couple of days since I reduced the dosage. I did some very light weight lifting with the thought that maybe I will restart my toning routine (that I have not done in quite a while). I like to ease into the lifting so I don't get sore. So it takes a few weeks to develop a regular lifting routine.

Anyway, no other news on the cardio front.

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Flutter Story

To the left is the picture the doctor drew for me as he explained my "condition".

Essentially the heart functions by controlled electrical impulses that start from the sinus node and process through the AV node. The upper two chambers are the atria and the lower two chambers are the ventricles. Blood travels from the atria into the ventricles and the transport is controlled by the electrical impulses from the sinus and AV nodes (click the links for more in depth info). In the right atria, the pulmonary veins from each lung supply the blood from the lungs to the heart. Apparently, this is where my problem lies.

The doc said that my particular condition is caused by errant electrical pulses that are generated where the pulmonary veins enter the heart. The problem is initiated by atrial fibrillation which then results in atrial flutter. So the atria will beat rapidly and with a consistent rhythm (if it were inconsistent it would be atrial fibrillation).

According to the doc, middle age white males that are typically athletic and have cerebral jobs are more likely to develop this condition. Blacks and asians are much less likely. Also, your average middle aged ditch digger is less likely to develop this condition. He said that he just saw a doctor and lawyer with similar issues and asked what I did for a living. I guess being an engineering manager for a nuclear utility would fall in the cerebral category ;-).

He said there was a Norwegian (or Swedish) study done on cross country skiers using a sedentary group as a control. The skiers were four times more likely to develop this condition than the sedentary group. [So it proves that exercise is BAD for you.] He said that cold drinks, large meals, post-exercise, etc. were typical triggers (yep, I can relate to all three). So how do you fix it?

First he explained that he would like to try a drug therapy. Hence the Flecainide which he said is usually effective 60% of the time. He said that if it works, most other antiarrythmia drugs will work and if it doesn't the others won't either. The Nadolol is a beta blocker to help with rate control (which, if you read my earlier post, you will know it works for me). If the drugs don't work or the side effects are not acceptable, then an alternative is catheter ablation.

For my condition, the procedure will be to insert a catheter into a vein in my groin. The catheter is then snaked up into my heart where the doc would essentially ablate the tissue around each pulmonary vein where it enters the heart. Basically, the intent is to create ring of scar tissue around each opening to prevent the random electrical impulses from disturbing my normal heart rhythm. The procedure, for them, has been 85% effective with 1 in 4 needing a second procedure to close any gaps missed the first time around. So what are the drawbacks?

The doctor laid out 4 negatives. First, bruising is common occurence especially where the catheter is inserted into the vein. Second, there is a possibility of bleeding (or fluid buildup) in the sac around the heart which is removed by using a needle to suck it out (I quiver on that thought). He said that they have not had any bleeding issues for nearly 10 years (over 6000 procedures). Third, there is a possibility of narrowing the area where the pulmonary vein enters the heart. This caused by excessive scar tissue formation which constricts the entry area of the vein. Last, there is a possibility of a stroke caused by the formation of a clot in the right atria during the procedure that gets flushed out during a normal pulse of the chamber.

So that is the story with a pretty picture to go along with it. After the last couple of days on these drugs, the ablation is looking mo' and mo' better. Coincidentally, when I walked out of his office I ran into a guy that worked at one of our nuclear plants. He said that he had been on the drugs for over 10 years and was basically sick of it. So he told his cardiologist it was time to do something different. He was referred to Dr. Kay and had the ablation done earlier this year. He said it was the best thing he could have done and wished he had done it sooner!

So I will suffer through the drugs for the next few weeks. Try to run some and if there is no improvement in quality of life, I will ask for the ablation procedure. I just can't see being on a drug regimen for a long period of time and not being able to exercise.


Ran this fine 4th of July morn. I ran a very easy pace and my heart rate barely broke 100 bpm. I ran 3.6 miles and I am drained! It is a weird feeling to run so easy and be so fatigued. My resting heart rate this morning was 37 bpm. Waaay low. I am usually in the mid 40's. It seems like my heart rate profile is 30-40 bpm lower than normal on the high end. I am not happy with this condition because I cannot really even run or exercise.

When I was done and showered, I checked my heart rate and blood pressure. Heart rate was 37 bpm and blood pressure was 117/77. My legs are tired and I did not run far. With my heart rate being so low, I guess the transport of oxygen to the muscles is so low that my muscles cannot recover as quickly. So an easy 3-5 mile run feels like 10-15 because the of low recovery factor. Blahhhh.

My next post will cover what the doc told me on Monday.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Monday Cardiologist Visit

I will write more details when I have time. The doctor was personable and took the time to help me understand my issue. In fact, he drew me a picture and explained the issue very clearly. I will pass on all I learned in a future post soon (before I forget everything he said).

I am on Flecainide (100 mg twice daily) and Nadolol (20 mg once daily). The first is a sodium channel blocker and the second is a beta blocker. He also took me off the Warfarin because he was concerned that the side affects (excessive bleeding and/or internal bleeding) were worse than the benefits. He did not think I was at a point that I needed to be on that particular regimen and suggested 80 mg of aspirin daily instead. I started the drugs on Tuesday morning. The side effects have thus far been minimal. Some drowsiness and dizziness, but nothing too bad. I did have a neat side effect this morning. As I sat down, I noticed as my arms moved up and down in my peripheral vision, that they left kind of blurring trail. The only thing that is similar is when you set up your mouse pointer to have a trail as you move it. That is what it looked like when I "flapped" my arms up and down. The effect did not last very long, but it was kind of cool.

I did run today to try out the heart rate. I was able to get up to 137 bpm when normally I should have been at nearly 160. My max heart rate while running all out is in the mid 170's. So now my max will probably be near 150 bpm. That really sucks. I am hoping that as my body adapts to the medication, my heart rate will go up some. Right now staying on this drug regimen will impede any goals I have for running.

I go back to the doctor at the end of the month to see how things go. This past month, I have had few episodes of flutter so it may be a while before I can readily determine whether or not the drugs are being effective. Once I type up the discussion the doc and I had, you will really understand this issue much better. It is quite interesting and beats anything I have found on the net to date.

It is late and I have been busy at work and traveling, so I am heading to bed. I will get the info up quickly for anyone that is interested in reading more about it. I hope to do some more running to see how this drug really affects my performance. I am not expecting miracles, but....

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Jim's Questions

1. How would you describe your running 10 years ago?

I was running just enough to pass the semiannual Navy physical readiness test. However, I was riding my bike quite a bit. In fact, in most of my post-college life, I have been more of a bike rider than a runner. I switched to running a couple of years ago so I could run a local 1/2 marathon. I then switched to running full time when I started traveling quite a bit with work. However, I am looking at going back to mtn biking.

2. What is your best and worst run/race experience?

Best is when I ran a 1:31 half marathon (2007)...oh so close to breaking 1:30. This was done on a hilly course. I ran a 3:31 first marathon in late 2007 just missing the Boston qualifier time. I feel I can easily best that attempt...hopefully this year.

Worst is this past year's 1/2 marathon when my flutter kicked in at the start of the race and never quit. It was a really blah race. I thought I would be close to breaking 1:30 especially coming off a marathon and it was a beautiful day. It was not to be.

3. Why do you run?

I like staying in decent physical condition. It also relieves stress. Last, I am just good enough that I can occasionally place high in the results and typically do well in my age group. I race just enough that I typically have good results because I train specifically for those races rather just running them willy nilly.

4. What is the best or worst piece of advice you’ve been given about running?

I try not to give bad advice. My good advice is speed training. When I suggest it to other runners that are looking to improve their time, the comment I often get is that "I am not fast." That is not the purpose of speed training. Anyone looking to improve their time needs some form of speed work thrown into their training plan. Doing more miles will not make you faster and in fact may slow you down. One thing I have learned is that not all runners are interested in improving their times. So when I get that vibe, I just keep my mouth shut which is good advice.

5. Tell us something surprising about yourself that not many people would know.

I am not one to share too much personal stuff on the world wide web and I don't think most folks will really care whether or not I spill my guts. However, I have been to the north pole (or at least under it) and the sub I was stationed on is in the Hunt for Red October (flashing light sequence - not in movie credits - USS Puffer SSN 652). In fact, I was the Officer of the Deck during the filming and the guy that did the flashing light was mess cook that knew Morse code but failed out of radioman's school. He actually had a script, but I do not recall what it was and I can't "read" Morse code.

Tag - well I have an extremely low following and in fact, neighbor Jim is the only one I list in my links and he is the one that tagged me. So the buck stops here. Hopefully his other tags will pass the torch.

Running Monkees

I have been running almost everyday...even on vacation!

Last Saturday I ran nearly 1:30. I was running with the few middle schoolers that showed up to OMSP. One got hurt her ankle so I ran to my truck and went back to pick her up (that was the first hour). Then everyone left except one family who was missing a wife and son. So I ran another 30 minutes looking for the when I came upon the realization that they probably missed a turn which in fact they did. They did not turn at the right spot and essentially ran straight uphill (clue #1) until they reached the mountain bike trail (clue #2). Anyway, they were waiting on me when I returned.

We left for a north Georgia vacation on Sunday (no run). Monday I ran about 6.5 miles on trail in Helen, GA. I ran 30 minutes on Tuesday in downtown Helen. We headed for Stone Mountain where I ran the loop on Wednesday (5 miles - 37m 50s) and then walked the rest of the day. After a crappy night's sleep (2-3 hours), I got up and ran two loops (yes 10 miles in 1:29) and then walked around the Georgia Aquarium for several hours. I am hoping to get plenty of rest tonight after little sleep last night.

Heart issues...a couple of bleeps late in the day while walking around. Other than that I have really had no flutter issues. Tomorrow will be a short run with a little speed mixed in.

I have been working on my LSD pace which is how I comfortably ran 10 miles today.

Monday, June 16, 2008


I did not run yesterday. In fact, I did not get out of the house except to take the dog out one. It was Father's Day and this father did nuttin'.

Saturday I ran 8-9 miles at Oak Mountain State Park on the trails. The first 30 minutes it was raining, but the tree canopy kept us fairly dry. I really felt good and just got into the groove.

Sunday I still felt good and thought about running. Alas, it was not to be.

Today I ran nearly 5 miles and if it weren't for Chip and Mark running with me, I would have quit after the first lap. Legs were tired. Mind was not motivated. Legs were tired. Felt blah. I am not an afternoon athlete because my body is in the afternoon lull. It is like eating a lot of sugary candy and after the sugar high wears off, you feel bad. That was how I felt. I felt pretty peppy this morning, but no gas in the tank this afternoon.

Got on the scale this morning and I am up to 166.5 lbs. Man, I cannot run enough to keep the weight from creeping up. I am trying to cut back on the eats, but it sure is hard. I usually don't have the weight creep during the summer. It usually hits in the winter. If there is more input than there is output, the weight is put on. I have got to reverse this trend.

Heart wise everything has been rather normal. A little blip of flutter every now again (mainly running), but nothing like it was earlier this spring when it was every stinking day. I will be seeing my new cardio doc in a couple of weeks and I won't be displaying any symptoms...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday - No run day

Been running and working in the yard while working and, you know....

I have been doing some speedwork on Tuesday/Thursday while getting in some decent "recovery" runs at other times. Ran nearly 9 miles last Saturday starting at 0800 and it was darn hot. Bleck. I had a hard time trying to get the run done because it was so stinking hot!

This week has been a little cooler and the fast runs were doable though challenging. I did a tempo run on Tuesday and it did not feel good. Usually you do the tempo run and feel pretty good afterward....not Tuesday. It was crappy and I was zonked.

I did a slow run on Wednesday trying to figure out my state of conditioning. I read an article on RRCA's website where you figure out your heart rate using the following formula: 180 - age and then add or subtract some amount depending running longevity, sickness, etc. Anyway, this result should approximate your aerobic threshold. After some serious math, my threshold came out to 139 BPM which I kind of knew from experience. I have not run with a HR monitor in some time because I was tired of over analyzing myself. Once you know your threshold, then you do a warm up and then run 3-5 miles at that threshold while timing your miles. You do this once every few weeks to trend your condition. So as you prepare for an event, say a marathon, then your mile times should drop. On the other hand, as you lose condition because your a lazy slob sitting on the couch watching TV and eating bon bons.

I ran the loop around my house that has some mild elevation change and it really affects your effort. I noticed that I could easily maintain 139 on the flats and then I had to really slow down going uphill and then speed up when running down hill. It was too much effort to alter my pace to keep the 139 average. My average on each lap turned out to be 141 which was not too bad since it shifted from 134 to 146.

Well I have not downloaded my results to see my mile averages. I think next time I will simply run on the track to better determine my 1600 meter times. Although running 4-5 miles on a 400m track does not sound like fun. However, those 10,000m runners run nearly a million laps during their race, so what is 20-25 laps?

I did 6x400m repeats with a jog between each fast lap. My average time on each lap was 1:22. It is hard to believe that I could run 60 second repeats (10 laps with 30-60s rest between each). After I finished the laps, I jogged 1600m and then did 6x100m strides on the infield with bare feet.

Tomorrow we will run the trails at OMSP. I think I will slow down on this run and smell the roses (although I have never seen any..).

Heart issues? Nothing lately. Go figure.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Trail Running

We went trail running at OMSP this past Saturday. It was actually a nice run since we started at 0730 when it was a little cooler (same high humidity). I ran about 4 miles on the trails and 3 miles on the road. Not a bad workout. Then, the highlight of my day, I trimmed bushes all afternoon...whoopee. Nothing like sweating your asterisk off wearing long pants and a long sleeve shirt (my bushes are very itchy). They do look better since there are not wild sprouts everywhere.

Sunday we trimmed the back. I had hoped to get a run in, but the afternoon thunder bumpers rolled through and I do not care to run when it is going KABOOM.

I am in Vidalia today and once again hoping to get a quick run it, but there are afternoon thunderstorms that are keeping me in my room. So I am spending a little time catching up on the blog. Done!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

More on the Flutter

Reader "Dan" asked how I felt when I had flutter. One of the things I feel during flutter is a heavy beating in the heart area...mainly the center of my chest. Sometimes I get a real big thump in m chest area kind of like my heart is resetting (yeah...doesn't make, but I don't know how else to describe it). I don't have any other symptoms. He also asked if it affected any of my ventricles and I am not sure how I can tell (I have had a stress test and chest scan with no noted abnormalities). I don't always check my heart rate when I flutter except that if I wear my heart rate monitor (the running kind), it will show a rate well over 200 BPM (and my max HR is around 180). The only other symptom is that if I have flutter for an extended period (several hours), that my chest will be sore and I am worn out the next day.

I don't know what else to say about the subject.

BTW...I did not run today due to working through lunch and late. So I will give it go tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Does Exercise Help Flutter?

Reader "Dan" asked whether or not exercise helped with the flutter. For me the answer is no. Usually I have flutter after exercise, but not always. In fact, during some of my runs, I will have a twitch of flutter, but not always. My most recent long term daily bout of flutter I did not exercise. One reason was to recover from a slight head cold and to let the body recover in general. I had lots of flutter during that period. Once I got on some allergy medicine my flutter episodes diminished greatly.

My flutter seems to be related to illness. Not that I am chronic illness person. However, this is the first time in my life that I have been on allergy medicine. Never been an issue before. (what is up with that?) Maybe it is a phase in my life due to the aging process. And maybe not.

On a more cheerful note, I ran today. I did a 4.8 mile tempo run. I am kind of following the Hal Higdon high school cross country summer program. I need a little regulation in my exercise and I am still considering getting back on the bike. Maybe my legs won't ache so much. Getting older is a pain (everywhere).

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

As the month of May draws to a close, Memorial Day is another reminder of the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. I just read a web article on Memorial Day where the the author (or editor) titled it "On vets holiday..." This is technically not a veterans holiday. To be remembered on this day requires the ultimate sacrifice of dying for your country. Check Wikepedia's write up on Memorial Day. I once chastised a person the operated a stock blog for stating "have a happy Memorial Day." I don't think this holiday is meant to be happy and I am certain there are many families today that are going through a normal holiday with a heavy heart. I will now get off my soapbox.

I am working with some other Oak Mountain cross country and track & field parents to start a running club. We are also encouraging local area runners to join our club in support of the schools. We even have a website If you are interested in supporting a local running club, please join us.

I have been running more this past couple of weeks. In fact, on Saturday, we ran at Oak Mountain State Park on one of the hiking trails. WOW. I have never done that kind of run and it was a killer. I look forward to more training runs at the park. I don't think we ran that far, but it was a heck of workout running over roots and rocks and up and down steep inclines. This morning, my daughter and I ran at Veterans Park. I managed to get in about 6 miles.

My heart issues have seemed to calm over the past few weeks. What was a daily event has slid into a very infrequent event. I wonder if being on some allergy medicine has helped. Who knows? I will be seeing Dr. Kay at the end of June to see what he suggests.

Well this weekend is almost over. I have to think about heading into work tomorrow. Next week I head to the sites for a few days.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bday - yesterday

Yesterday was the big 46! Ouch that hurts.

I ran Sunday - 9 miles and I felt great. Did not run yesterday. Ran 4.5 today and it was a chore to keep the legs churning. I have essentially lost all of my marathon training...well almost. It sure is painful to get back into shape especially as the hot weather starts becoming the norm. It was toasty today and took my quite a while to cool down.

Still have not sold my truck....any takers...err, buyers?

I am working with some other parents to start a running club of sorts. Its main function is to support the Oak Mountain High/Middle School track and CC athletes. If you want to join, we would love to have you.

Flutter has not been bad. I have a few episodes over the past 2-3 days. It seems to be associated with when I run. Solution would be...don't run! Not an option.

Tired and ready for the bed. See ya later bye.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


I ran 4.8 miles today after work. My is it getting hot or what? And it is just the low 80's :-(

I had a little flutter after my run this afternoon and now nothing. I am really interested to hear what Dr. Kay has to say.

Back to the run...legs felt heavy like I have not run frequently enough the past few weeks. It is so easy to get into a routine of relative inactivity. No wonder our nation is obese.

My wife is heading to Florida to see her mother for Mother's Day. She has not seen her mother on this holiday since we have been married (~19 years). Her mom does not know she is coming so I am sure it will be a big surprise.

Now I think I will cruise on the net and eat some Jelly Belly jellybeans. Yummy!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Cardio Doc

So what did I learn at the cardio doc today? Nuttin'! Absolutely nuttin'.

My visit was basically a waste of time and $50 (copay). He said that the other doc I will be seeing is a world re-known cardiologist. In fact, the other doc inserted a pacemaker in a gorilla at our local zoo. However, the gorilla later died due to congestive heart failure. I was making my appointment to see this guy when the gorilla died and my daughter questioned my judgement in seeing this guy!

I did manage to get a 30 minute run in yesterday. I had hoped to run today, but I was overcome by work and other obligations.

Well I am tired since I had a 0530 bible study. So I am off to bed...or something.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Back to the Subject

I did run a couple of times this week. I ran a hard run on Monday (4.5 miles). Due to work and family constraints, I did not run until Thursday and I felt bad. My legs were tired and I just did not feel up to running my planned 45 minutes. I ran about 30 minutes instead. I had a little flutter during the week and quite a bit on Thursday evening. In fact, I went to bed with the pitter patter in full force and woke up without it. I have not had any issues so far on yesterday or today. However, I did not run either day. I should have run today after the storms ended and the sun came out, but I did not. Maybe tomorrow I will get out on the road and get in 6 miles. More than likely I will have flutter later in the day.

I visit the cardio doc on Tuesday. I will be interested in hearing what he has to say.

Anyway, I have been hunched over the computer most of the day doing stuff. I had to fix my Ipod because it would not work with Itunes on my Mac (first sync). My Ipod kept clicking (aka the click of death). So I ended up charging it for a while and then smacked it few times with my hand (this is a noted remedy on several webplaints). I think the Ipod's battery was dead and Itunes doesn't like it. I reformatted it for a Mac since it was previously used on a Windows 'puter. I spent way too much time culling my Itunes music list (which accounts for the time spent today). The Ipod is restored. Now if I would spend a little more time listening to it.

And hey...not a single episode of flutter all day ;-)

Mac Time Machine

Well earlier this week I struggled with making the Mac's Time Machine work vice working some and then quitting. If you are a Windows user, then reading this is a waste of your time. Your time would be better spent dealing with Vista or solving world hunger (you have a better chance on the world hunger).

So what is Time Machine, click on it and find out. The problem I had was during the backup, it would quit. There are a number of webplaints (aka complaints documented on the web). They range from the external drive not functioning properly to software issues. After reviewing a number of blogs, webzines, FAQs, etc. I finally deduced the problem and now it works like a charm. So what did I do? Nothing original really. First I reformatted my external drive using Mac protocols. Then I just copied a short little program/script file that enable me to put this issue to rest. I used Systems Boy's writeup that got me most of the way (use the link for details). First I ran Time Machine after I unclicked Auto Logout in Systems Preferences/Security. It ran fine. I then loaded the System Boy's script file, clicked Auto Logout (set for 30 minutes) and then checked my backups after a couple of hours. Ba-da-bing, ba-da-bam, it worked.

It turns out, then if you enable Auto Logout, then when the designated inactivity period is reached (mine is 30 minutes), the system automatically un-mounts external drives. The script file prevents un-mounting external drives whenever the computer logs out. Neat!

Now you would have thunk that the Apple god's would have programmed Time Machine to work with various machine setups and not let an Auto Logout, drive shutdown, etc. stop the machine from backing up. I have a laptop and I do not routinely use it while it is connected to AC power and my external drive.

One other thing I did was download SuperDuper and run it. It will save a bootable backup for FREE. Yes FREE. For a few bucks you can register it and use its scheduling and Smart Update.

In setting up my external drive, I formatted it into 2 partitions. One is designated Backup1 and the other is Backup2. [Note - it turns out that your external drive must not have a space(s) or symbol in its name or Time Machine won't properly recognize it.] I use Backup1 as the Time Machine designated drive and Backup2 as the SuperDuper backup drive. When you use the base operation of SuperDuper, it will delete all files in the target folder so you don't want to have SuperDuper and Time Machine share a location.

This is the first real issue I have had since converting to the Mac. Now I wish I would have bought Apple stock when it was hovering around $7 a share a few years ago. I gave it a lot of thought, but no action. Right now it is trading as a 20-bagger at $175.

Monday, April 28, 2008


It was a busy weekend. I officiated a meet Friday and Saturday and now I am done for the year (yeah).

I managed to get 6 miles in on Saturday and only had occasional flutter Saturday afternoon. That evening my wife and I went to a Sunday School dinner and socialized to the wee hours (9PM). Sunday was church and I spent most of the afternoon preparing a slide show for a track banquet that was this evening.

I ran at lunch today and got in about 4.5 miles. The banquet this evening was fun and the kids really love their coach. Not much else going on. I did have an occasional flutter, but nothing like the past few weeks. I am wondering if the allergy stuff was triggering my episodes. As I went on antibiotics and allergy medicine, I have noticed that I have had less flutter episodes. With this stuff, there is no telling what may happen.

Onward and upward.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Me Otter is Purring Now

My buddy Jim (the reason I own this little minx) offered to pay for part of the work done...I should buy more vehicles from him ;-)

The car is fixed...they found a bad coil and replaced both. It got a nice little tune up and it is running like a top. Everything is right with the world (at least today).

I got in a 45 minute run at lunch. Felt pretty good except for it is starting to get warm. My heart fluttered off and on for several hours after the run. I am clueless about what to do other than get back to the cardio doc. I see my regular cardio doc on May 5 and the other doc at the end of June. I am ready to try anything to put this thing to rest....drugs....catheter ablation....drugs.

I plan to keep running and I may even get back onto to the bike in the next week or so. I am officiating a meet Friday night and Saturday morning. Track is over for my kids so weekends will return to normal. Now I can think about getting in a run or ride. The hard part is breaking in your butt. It usually hurts a few days until it gets "comfortable" back on the bike.

Hey Jim, thanks for the offer, but everything is otay spanky.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It is all Jim's Fault

OK Jimbo, I am blaming you for enticing me to driiiivvve your miata while you were gone for a whole WEEK. Then you made me buy it.

Just kidding. Ain't no ones fault

I will be laying out some scratch to pay for some work on the ole "me otter." It turns out that I have a bad coil (one for every 2 cylinders) and they ain't cheap (~$350 each). Plus, the tires are about down to their last few thousand miles ($500-700 to replace). I also had them do a 60K check and I don't know how much that will be. I did not have them replace the timing belt since it should be good to 90K. Hopefully, I will get everything squared up and the "me otter" ought to purr for a while. I would like to spend some money on a few items to jazz it up (roll bar, throatier exhaust, turbo charge, etc.). However, some of that will have to wait since I am spending money just to keep the darn thing running. I am adding Redline tranny and differential fluid to hopefully smooth the shifting a little. It is not bad, just a little sticky.

Anyway it is still fun to drive and with gas prices continuing to rise, it is a little more efficient than my Toyota Tundra (V8).

Still have not run in a while. Just been busy. Moving into a new position at work (promotion) and it takes work to get things working they way I want them.

Heart stuff has not been too bad. I was spreading some pine straw this evening and the flutter kicked in for a little while then poof it was gone. Making me crazy.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Trouble with Me Otter

My new used Miata is not happy and acting accordingly. Tomorrow I will have to get it towed to the shop to find out what ails it. I talked with a few folks about the symptoms and no one is sure what could be the problem. Hopefully the local garage can figure it out...otherwise I will have to get it to a Mazda place (mo' 'spensive place).

It is running very rough and has no power to get out of my driveway. Hence the need for a tow.

Flutter-wise I am doing well lately. After the bad spate of flutter over the past few weeks, it is nice to have some off time. I also have not been running (once in the last 2 1/2 weeks). I am considering running tomorrow (or maybe not). Not running after a year of training is OK as long as I don't make it a habit. I am just trying to get my heart issue under control and I am busy at work.

I got promoted last Monday and now I am in the state of transition. I look forward to the challenge. And now I look forward to some shut eye.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

God Smiled Today

What a beautiful weekend. I don't recall the last weekend where we had such gorgeous weather. Perfect for driving in my Miata.

On the other hand, I attended a funeral today for a colleague that had recently retired from where I work. It is sad to see a family mourn the loss of a father and husband so soon after retirement. The hardest part was to listen to a daughter read a letter she wrote her father some time ago while she was struggling with college. I don't think any of the three daughters have yet married or had children.

I sometimes wonder what legacy I will leave behind. I don't live to leave a legacy, rather I believe that I must live such that my life is worth remembering.

So even with the beauty of today, life (and death) goes on. Having the love of Christ in our hearts, God did smile on us today as he did yesterday and for all days to come.

Ben - may peace be with you.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Been a Good Day

Ran today for the first time...about 4.5 miles at a very slow pace. Actually felt pretty good. I thought I felt a little flutter during the latter part of my run. I also had a little flutter after the run. Other than that, I have had a fairly flutter free few days (try four F's in a row yourself). I feel pretty good and hope that my long streak of flutter has at least slowed for a while.

Things are going well at work. I got a pro-mo-tion and will be moving to a new position in the next week or so.

So I am watching American Idol and I don't know why...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tuesday....Long Day

Just finished another track meet as an official. It was fun and a great day to be outside.

Since my last post, I have had a number of flutters off and on. I officiated a meet at Mtn Brook this past weekend and had some bouts on Friday and Saturday. I also came down with a head cold on Saturday that I am battling through today. Interestingly enough, I have not had much flutter during the past three days. It seems like maybe my body was already on the defense against a cold causing my heart to flutter.

I have been wearing my monitor to bed at night and it seems like I have one or two recordings every morning. However, I cannot hear anything abnormal during the transmission of the recording(s). In addition, the company that I call into usually asks me to send a "fresh" recording which I find kind of strange. In fact, I asked why they were asking for another recording and they would not tell me. They advised me to discuss with my cardio doc which I will next time I see him.

A cold front came through and it was chilly this morning, but gorgeous all afternoon. I know the hot summer weather is around the corner and I am not looking forward to it.


Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Yesterday was rough because I was tired all day long. I went to bed at 8 PM and slept like a log until the 0520 alarm. I still feel sluggish today and I have not run since Sunday. I am not sure what may be wrong. I have had some minor flutter, but nothing major. So I cannot figure out why I feel so sluggish. I am considering going back to my regular doc and have them run a blood test to see if I have any kind of infection or something. It almost feels like I am coming down with something, but I don't have any symptoms other than the tired feeling.

I will continue to rest and not run for a couple of more days to see if I can rebound from my sluggishness. I know this heart issue is weighing on my mind and that may have some bearing on my mood/physical state. Got to perk up and not let it drag me down.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Rough Day

After a long bout of flutter yesterday, I kept getting auto recordings on my Holter monitor off and on all morning. Plus, I felt lightheaded this morning as I walked to different meetings. I called the cardio doc and the nurse called my back (3-4 hours later). She said that the lightheaded and tired feeling was due to the long flutter episode the previous day. Well I sure was dragging all day long and could have used a nap.

I was supposed to travel to one of our plant sites today, but due to other issues, we canceled the trip for now. Thank goodness because I did not feel up to it.

I did get my INR checked today and it was 2.0. So I am up to 10 mg of Warfarin everyday except Mon, Wed and Fri which is 7.5 mg.

I have heard, mainly via my wife, how other folks have gone through something like this and their cardio doc put them on a blocker for 3-6 months and then weaned them off. They did not have any further issues. I wonder if my reluctance to do that has caused my heart to start getting used to this electrical leakage, hence more flutter...there is a medical term for it, but I cannot find it right at the moment.

I have not been wearing my monitor at night because I want to be able to sleep. However, the next time I have flutter prior to bedtime, I will attempt to wear it through the night.

Well it is 8:20 and I am ready to call it a day!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sittin' by my Dog's Crate

Yes that is right. I am sitting on the floor, in my bedroom, next to my dog's crate. Why you may ask? Well, I have hooked up my backup drive to my Mac and I am hoping it will backup the drive while I do other things namely blog. This is one of the drawbacks for having a laptop.

For all my blog commenters out there, I added the requirement for you to type is some word generated by the blog folks whenever you leave a comment. I have had quite a few spam comments so I am trying to cut down on my spam intake.

As I sit here writing, my heart is just a fluttering away. I ran 6 miles after church, did some yard work, cooled off, drank a lot of fluid, took a shower, drove daughter to youth, etc and my little fist of fury has been trippin' ever since. I have already called in a set of recording and will be calling in some more in a little while.

By the way, I have an appointment with Dr. Kay on June 30. Not soon enough, but it will do!

I officiated a track meet yesterday and only had a couple of short flutter spells. It was overcast and drizzly most of the day. In fact, it got a little chilly by early afternoon. It is days like those that makes it hard to want to officiate. This is an instance where I would rather be running in it.

I don't have any other blog items so I will shutdown for a while...have a good week!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


After a night and morning of rain, it was nice to get out at lunch and get in about 7 miles. I woke up to flutter this morning (a rarity). I had a short bout before running and some after. I did not notice anything different during my run. I have had a few episodes this evening...kind of touch and go.

By the way, I got a new ride. I will post a picture fact, you can see it behind Tom and me in the picture below. While it is not new, it sure is in good shape and should last a while. Plus it gets much better gas mileage than my truck. I am trying to sell a 2004 Toyota Tundra crew cab truck...any takers? Leave me a comment and I would be happy to give you a good deal!

Sunday, March 30, 2008


I have had a number of episodes over the past couple of weeks. I went back to the cardio doc early last week because I was concerned that even after giving up all sin (no caffeine, alcohol, etc.) that my flutter is back and driving me crazy. He is sending me over to see Dr. Kay at UAB who is a leading doc in the area of catheter ablation. I told my cardiologist that I did not relish the idea of long term medication that may have other complicating factors depending on the regimen. The doc put me back on a Holter monitor to track my flutter which has been frequent as of late. Basically I either trigger the device to record or it picks up an irregular heartbeat and automatically starts to record. I had several auto starts in which I did not detect any unusual heartbeat. Usually I can feel the flutter, but I wonder if I am having episodes that I cannot feel...that thought is a little distressing.

I explained all this stuff to Tom when we met this morning. In fact, I had an episode or two this morning after church and I used the land line phone in his BOQ room to transmit the recordings. The monitor transmit the recording over the phone and you can actually hear the recorded heartbeat and detect the irregular beats! Now if I can just get in to see Dr. Kay in a timely manner rather than wait a number of months. He is pretty popular and I found out that to make a regular appointment would take up to 4-5 months.

My Friend Tom

Here is a pic of Tom (Captain, USA, Chaplain) and me in Columbus, GA. Tom is attending jump school at Fort Benning and will be jumping out of perfectly good airplane this coming week. Tom and I met when we attended Naval Officer Candidate School in 1985; in fact, we were roommates the last half of OCS. Tom spent 4 years active duty Navy, got out, had a couple of jobs, attended seminary, pastored a couple of churches, and then joined the Army as a chaplain. He spent about 10 months in Iraq and returned in late in the summer (or early fall) of 2007.

I drove over to Fort Benning this morning and we attended church together at a base chapel. We spent the rest of the time eating and catching up. We had not seen each other in nearly 19 years. He and his wife (Jeri - great pair of names) attended our wedding and that was the last time we saw each other. We have kept in touch via email and Christmas cards over the past years.

Good luck Tom on your jumps this week. He is in great shape, but like me, he is 45 and past his prime (even though he probably tougher than most of the others in his class).

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Beautiful Day

Today was a great day to be off and outside. I got up early this morning to assist with my church's 5K race. We had a great turnout of about 350 runners and walkers. Yours truly came in 4th overall with a time of 19:35ish (haven't found my official time online yet). After the race, I headed to Barber's motor speedway to help with a criterium (Live to Ride). We had nearly 300 cyclists racing around the speedway (not all at once of course). The entire day was sunny and warm. Really a beautiful pre-Easter day.

My flutter has been in remission for the past few days. I have been working hard to remain fully hydrated and I think the prior couple of weeks was stressful due to some issues at work that have since been resolved. I have an appointment with cardio doc on Tuesday and I am thinking of canceling. I will see how things go over the next couple of days.

Anyway, I am here watching some crappy made-for-TV movie on SciFi and I am tired. So I think I will wrap this up and head to the rack. I am not planning on getting up for the sunrise service and will go to the regular 0830 instead. Then I have to head to the airport to pick up the family as they return from Ft. Lauderdale. Someone had to stay at home and work and take care of the dog.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Not going to write much since I am ready to hit the rack. After another episode of flutter today, I decided to go back to the cardio doc. I could not get in until Tuesday afternoon. I am having too many occurrences to not do something more. I have been running over the past week. I did registration for a local criterium on Saturday and ended up with a case of flutter later in the day and I did not even run...I did have a couple of margaritas that night that did not help! I am not looking forward to seeing the doc because he will put me on some medication and I really don't want to do that. I figure I must give it a try to see what effect it has on me and whether or not it will stave off the flutter for longer periods.

Wife and kids are out of town on spring break while I am here taking care of the mutt. What a joy!

I have another busy weekend with a 5K on Saturday morning and helping with another crit at Barber's speedway (yep racing bicycles on a world class motorcycle track.

I will keep this blog updated as I go through another round with the cardio doc. TTFN (ta ta for now).

Sunday, March 09, 2008

A Beautiful Day...Fluttered Away

Today was a great spring day. Due to the time change, my kids and I did not make it to church. However, my wife did!

We pretty much stayed around the house and go things done. Yesterday, we went to my son's track meet and it was miserably cold and windy. Today, the sun was out and it was warm.

Now the down side. My flutter was in and out most of the afternoon. I was planning to run a 5K at 2 PM and it seemed that I was going in and out of the flutter quite regularly. I don't know if was thinking about the run that was triggering the episode or the fact that I had been outside working in the yard (spraying poe anna (?) and other weeds as well as trimming the crape myrtles). I ran the race at 2 PM and felt pretty good. I could not tell if I was fluttering during the race or not. I did finish 3rd (sometimes just showing up can yield good results) and my time was 21:34. We ran on a local cross country trail that is a bit hilly especially the 3rd mile. After I was done, I fluttered off and on until later in the day when it finally went away.

Sometimes I think I should quit running/exercising to see if this stuff will ever stop. I am not drinking any alcohol or caffeine, taking blood thinner, etc. Body...HEAL THYSELF! Not sure it worked.

Well the day is drawing to a close and with the time change, it will be long day tomorrow. I have a hard time with the spring change. You would not think that an hour is that big a deal. It is...just ask my kids who I will have to drag out of bed in the morning. TTL!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Got a new toy

Playing on a MacPro. Like it so far. Just trying to reconcile the differences between it and Windows. Any suggestions for a good training site that explains the differences for and old hacker like me.

Not running much and working toooo much.

My cousin "complained" about the lack of comments regarding my visit to SD. Sorry cuz...I will try and post some pics (not of the visit because I did not take a single stinking picture).

Friday, February 22, 2008

Back From DC

What a trip. It was cold. In your face, windy, bone chilling COLD. Now I am back in the 'ham and it is warm. We had some great rain last night when a big ole T-storm rolled through the area dumping a good deal of rain that we need.

Prior to the flight home last night, I had a Guinness followed by an hour's worth of flutter. Needless to say, I did not cash in that free drink on the flight home.

I have not run in several days. I still have this persistent cough, as does my son, so we both headed to the doc-in-the-box for another round of antibiotics. I hope this will knock out the cough. I will plan on running Sunday since I have to officiate a track meet all day tomorrow (if this work issue that popped up this afternoon does not override it).

I got my cousin to read my blog. I am sure she will be thrilled with my prose...maybe not.

My flutter overall has improved with (mostly) eliminating the alcohol. Sure is a bummer, but it is a worthwhile trade.

Mercedes pics are posted....finally a decent pic with the finishing time. I just wish I had a better race time. Check them out. Buy one and post it on your wall....throw darts.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

San Diego...

I spent a couple of days in San Diego. I got up early Friday morning for a run around Coronado island and it was absolutely fabulous. I ran about 12 miles, did not feel to well (legs were a bit tired), but I recovered pretty well. I drank a lot of fluids afterward because I had to go to work. I had a slight case of flutter, but I think the rapid refilling of fluids helped mitigate the flutter and it finally went away.

That Friday in San Diego was probably one of the pretty days I have ever experienced there. It was sunny all day with nary a cloud in the sky. The temperature was cool in the morning and moderate the remainder of the day.

Got in a little work, saw my cousins Friday night, and then headed home Saturday. I took my wife and daughter to eat at Shogun's since we missed Valentine's day together (which we never do anything on anyway).

I have run since my return (10.5 on Sunday and 5.5 today) and did not have any flutter. I had a couple of drinks during my stay in San Diego and none since I returned. Seems the alcohol is a MAJOR factor in my flutter. So little or no drinking and a good diet seem to do the trick.

Heading to DC tomorrow and return late Thursday. Traveling very light so no running on Thursday. I am officiating a track meet on Saturday (my first).

Well ready for the rack cause I did run hard today and got up early for a bible study at church. Just plain tired.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Work, Run and Cardiologist

I went to work today and worked. Illuminating, huh?

I also ran today at lunch. I did an easy 45 minutes (5.54386 miles...approximately). No flutter during the run and I have not had any flutter up to the time that I am writing this blog entry.

Went to the cardio doc. Based on my recent improvement after cutting out the alcohol (even with the set back on Sunday's 1/2 marathon), he agreed that there was no reason to go on drugs (yeah). We had a pretty good conversation regarding running and my flutter (I may have mentioned in the past that he is a runner and has run 4 marathons). The doc said that I may have a sensitivity to alcohol (and caffeine). He advised staying off the alcohol, staying with the 500mg (twice daily) of magnesium, keep running and come back in 3 months. He stated that the longer I remain in normal rythym, the less likely that I will have these episodes. So I will stay on the blood thinner, drink a beer on a rare occasion, keep exercising and see the doc in 3 months.

It is aggravating to have this problem with no underlying reason for it. But life goes on and I will do what I need to do to get through this.

My co-worker appears to be recovering quite well. He is awake and has good color. It will be likely that he will be moved to regular room soon. Thank God for His healing power.

Time to start prepping for another race...thinking about the Music City 1/2 marathon (I cannot get excited about a marathon right now due to Sunday's performance).

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Day After

It is somewhat humorous watching your son waddle around like a duck. Some lessons are only learned at the school of hard knocks. My daughter has little soreness which I attribute to not running hard enough and she attributes to being prepared. Both of them wore their finisher shirts to school and my daughter even wore her bling (each finisher gets a nice medal on a ribbon) to school. They are certainly proud of their accomplishment. My friend Jim thought I may have the unique distinction of having all of my offspring in the race this past weekend. Since I only have two, it was pretty easy.

Now my daughter and her friends are considering the Music City 1/2 marathon. Once you get them hooked....

I did not run today. Some soreness set in during the course of the day (delayed onset soreness or something like that). Otherwise, I feel pretty good. No flutter at all today which is typical of all my non-running days. My plan tomorrow is a nice easy run at lunch followed by a visit to the cardiologist. I am sorely tempted to try a drug; however, I am apprehensive due to the unknown effects. All the stuff that I researched yesterday does not paint a pretty picture. I think I will give drugs a try to confirm my suspicion that it will not be a pleasant experience so that I can move on to a catheter ablation. I am more inclined to go after a permanent fix rather than a lifetime of drugs. I sure would like to run again unencumbered by flutter!

A co-worker at one of our plants suffered a major heart attack over the weekend. He is in a drug-induced coma and on a ventilator. Apparently, one side of his heart had full blockage and he had been under the weather for several weeks. Fortunately, he went to the doctor on Sunday where he collapsed. Please say a prayer for him and his family as they struggle through this ordeal.

I will update tomorrow after the doctor visit...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Beatiful Day for a Race

Well the 2008 Mercedes marathon / 1/2 marathon have come and gone. This was a good news/bad news race. First the good news.

Both of my kids completed the race today in fine fashion. I am very proud of the way they trained and the effort they put into the race. I only hope that they will try it again next year and improve their times. Nonetheless, a dad cannot be anymore pleased with their fine accomplishment. That was the good news.

Now the bad news. I started the race with flutter in full flutter. I kept hoping that my heart would revert back to normal, but it would only do it when I stopped to walk. I had positioned myself behind two people that I can normally run with. Now these two folks ran their best times in several years. They dropped me going into mile 5 at the beginning of the 1 mile uphill to the 10k point. Running with flutter in full force is like driving a 4-cylinder with only 3 firing. What I believe that basically happens is that with flutter, the blood flow is lessen some percentage (10-15% or more). So basically when running at my usual 1/2 marathon pace, I am draining the energy faster from my body because it cannot recover when less oxygenated blood is reaching the critical running muscle groups. My pace was off nearly 30 seconds per mile which resulted in a 1:38. Now granted, that is pretty good time for most people so I cannot complain (too much). I just hate the fact I could not perform at maximum capacity especially on a perfect running day like today.

Fortunately, I see the cardio doc on Tuesday and more than likely I will try the beta blockers which will control the flutter (I hope), but knock down my max heart rate some amount (probably 10-20%). So with that said, my fastest days may well be behind me. It really sucks the big one.

I may have to find another hobby...basket weaving anyone?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

It is February

I know I have been MIA on the blog. Just been busy. You may want to know what is going on (or not) so I will give the brief synopsis.

Running - recovered from minor foot injury noted in my previous post. I believe that my Nike lightweight trainers were contributing to the injury. It seems that the hurt would flare up almost every time I ran in the shoes. Solution - don't run in those shoes. I have been training...getting in some long runs...getting in some fast runs. Now it is a couple of days until I get to do a long fast run. The Mercedes 1/2 marathon is Sunday and I think I am relatively ready. What I am not sure on is the status of my speed. I have done a couple of 10 milers on a hilly course in about 1 hour and 12 minutes. Not blazingly fast; however, I think on a flatter course with proper warmup, I would be running a lot faster. Plus, I have been running with my kids because they are now both running the race. Last weekend was our last long run. We ran in my neighborhood (extremely hilly) and I got in 16 miles. The problem is that my calves were tighter than a drum for the past couple of days. Last of all, I am just getting over a cold and still have not hit a 100%. Now my wife and son have strep....

Heart - been pumping regularly. I have had increased amounts of flutter and finally went back to the cardiologist. He has me on 500 mg of magnesium twice daily and 7.5 mg of blood thinner. He told me to stay off the alcohol and come back in a month to discuss beta blockers. I tried everything but the alcohol and did not notice a lot of difference. That was 2 weeks. So I have not had any alcohol for the past 2 weeks and have noticed quite a reduction in the flutter factor. I really don't want to go on the beta blockers, but I am sick and tired of dealing with this flutter that comes and goes at will. He said the blocker will knock my heart rate down and basically I won't be able to run as fast. I really don't like that idea since I am not a real speed demon, but a reduction in what speed I have will be depressing. I go back next week to see the doc and figure out the next step.

Other - busy, traveling, doing kid stuff, dealing with wacky weather, going to church, etc. I will try to spend a little more time on the blog and less time doing something else.

Note to slowtwitch - coping as best I can with the flutter. Just a fact of getting older (in my case). I am trying to figure out what I can do to minimize it.

See ya soon!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

2008 - What a Unique Title

I am recovering from a 10 mile race last Saturday. I ran a 1:12 and am now paying the price with a slight injury. My right foot in the ankle area hurts when I walk. I did a run on the treadmill yesterday and my foot hurt for the first 1/2 mile until I finally warmed up. I did take some Ibuprofen and put ice on it last night. I decided not to run for the next couple of days to see if I can adequately recover. I have another 10 miler a week from Saturday. I was hoping to get a short fast run in on Saturday and a long run on Sunday.

I am kind of glad to take the time off. It has been cold! It was 15F this morning.

TTFN - TaTa For Now!

PS - the beard did come off last Sunday...made me look way too old!