30 March 2011

Silent is my tweet

Sigh...........still having issues with my twitter account at the moment, I am currently unable to follow or approve anyone to follow me as of yet.  A quick perusal of the help section revealed that I'm not the only one with this issue, just waiting on the engineers to find a workaround.  While I'm frustrated and going through withdrawals I do have to give Twitter a huge thumbs up for the quick reactivation of my account.

In other news after 5 successful restarts of Lola, she decided to misbehave again.....yep, twice under the hood to get her restarted last night and at lunchtime this morning.  Ok, that's about all I have to say other than this is giving me serious motivation to pursue other means of earning filthy lucre.  Lol, I'm sure buying the Texas Lotto ticket is NOT a very viable option but it would be nice.

Workout stuff.......ran 4.14 miles in 36:27 on my favorite dirt road this morning and even stopped to take a picture of the cows who ran with me because they thought I was bringing food

Music stuff....Seether has a new song out that I'm loving, here's a live version vid.  Enjoy!!

27 March 2011

twitter issues and various pics

I'm having twitter account issues at the moment but hopefully the very kind folks there will have my account back and going sometime this week......I'm having withdrawals, lol.  If not then I will set up a new account and see about finding and refollowing all 900 plus of my friends (yikes!).

My $10 jacket I scored from Dillard's

My new 5" heels, still a bit shocked I can walk in them :)

Can-Am Spyder sitting in front of my favorite Whataburger in Laredo

Had some stranger take a pic of me in London (see I really was there!!! LOL!)

Giant moth in Texas

New stickers on our trailers :-/

Carrot cake made from Dr. Sue Black's recipe recommendation, go check out some (trust me, she does a LOT more!!!) of what she's involved in here with Bletchley Park

My summer shoes :)

A proper race finally

The benefit of having Igor the Horrible truck meant that I got the weekend off and finally got to run a state RRCA Grand Prix race, yay!!!!!!!  All the extra driving I've been doing means I haven't seen some of my friends since last November.  And this happened to be a race put on by my running club which meant no long drive to get to it--added bonus :D.

The Spring Fling 5k is notorious for always having bad weather and this year was no exception....woke up at 5 am to a wicked bad thunderstorm that eventually gave way to a mild drizzle by race start.  Combine that with cool temps and that's my ideal racing weather.......However, since I've done practically no training since the Malta 1/2 Marathon last month I was not expecting this to be a fast-ish 5k for me.  One might ask just how bad my training has been......well, nothing the first week of March, 14.63 the 2nd week, and 10.61 miles the third.......yeah, not an ideal month of training although I did manage to get in a 27 mile cycle ride last Sunday on an absolutely gorgeous day.

Oh, yeah back to the race...........hugs galore, my warm-up consisted of running up and down the hill from where I parked up to the field house, none of which I managed to record on my garmin, lol.  No expectations except to run as hard as I was capable of  and to finish the race.  Last year's time was 24:04 and I didn't expect to even come close to that. 

 First mile felt easy--don't they always?--but I ended up running it in 7:20. 2nd mile started feeling a little difficult but we do have an uphill towards the end of the course....mile 3 was just over 8 minutes, grrr. Definitely not a negative split on this one but I don't think I've ever managed a 5k that was...during this time I'm not bothering to look at my garmin because I didn't want to put any more pressure than what I already was feeling.  

The course had a different entry this year to the track due to the construction and it made me a bit nervous since it was so damp.  We had a downhill section on a narrow sidewalk area followed by a left turn at the bottom.  Thankfully it wasn't slick like I feared but I'd already had slowed myself down by the time I found that out.  The next two photos are of that area of concern.

Much to my surprise, my finishing time was not far off of last year's at all.  My garmin time showed 24:12 but chip time ended being 24:06.  A whopping 2 seconds slower than last year's chip time!!!!!  I'm very pleased with that!!!!!!!!! I'm sure y'all are laughing about me being happy at the slower time but I really didn't think I would do so well with the way my training has been progressing (lack of training more like), not to mention the lingering back spasms that Igor the Horrible had left me with, grrrr. My time was good enough for 16th place female and 1st in the 40-44 age group.  

So, back in the game? Perhaps not but it does give me some hope that I can bust my 23:25 5k pr sometime this year and I am motivated to get back to proper training.  Managed to eke out 6.38 miles this morning, 3 of which I was able to do with 11 of my club members and most importantly friends :-).  Here's hoping that I can also run the 10k next weekend.  

Introducing Igor

My loaner truck for the duration is a 9400 International.........oh thrill.  These are totally driver unfriendly trucks and then some, especially if you're small like me.  To top it off, the driver who had it before left out of it in a hurry and left it in a complete and utter mess.  I'm not even going to post any pics because it simply doesn't reflect well on any of us drivers :-(.  I will say that he's lucky that it was me who cleaned the thing out because I sent a message to dispatch letting them know that I'd boxed up his stuff and was leaving it in the shop for him to pick up when he came back through.  That is if he's still employed here......Among the items I found was a birth certificate, med card, debit card, and credit card. These of course were handed over to the appropriate people to be sent to his last known address.

But I digress.......back to Igor the Horrible the behemoth beast.......Mechanically it's a sound truck--should be since it just came out of the shop with a new drive shaft and various other items repaired.....but trying to reach anything is nigh impossible for me.  The steering wheel is also this giant monstrosity that takes forever to spin around and due to the limited tilt/telescoping capabilities, I literally found myself looking through the thing while going down the road.

This same steering wheel took several times of scrubbing with glass cleaner and 8 clorox wipes before my hands kept coming away grimy black, yuck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Next issue......to buckle the seat belt I have to scoot the seat all the way back, latch the belt, pulling lots of slack then sliding the seat all the way forward.......very poor design and it's malfunctioning with the inability to pull any slack in the belt while in my needed driving position.  Also if there's an emergency exit required, it is not gonna happen. Can't unbuckle the seat belt unless seat is in the furthest back position.....

The stereo, cruise, light controls are all on the dash to the right of the steering wheel and requires me to lean forward and stretch my arm waaaaay out to access any of them.  Yeah, there's a bit of swerving involved.  Sorry fellow motorists, I'm not texting just trying to reach stuff  :(.

Absolutely the worst part of this truck though is the pedals.......the gas and brake are same size and approximately an inch apart so it's hard to differentiate.......also the gas pedal is extremely stiff and I just can't rest my foot on the floor and lightly press on it to get on down the road.  Nope, my foot is positioned at the top of the thing with my heel lifted up off the floor and most of the time my left foot is wedged under my right foot to give it some support.  This means I either use the cruise control way more than I feel comfortable with or I'm twisted around in the seat........Can we say back spasms?  I ended up sending a message saying I could only do one round in this truck because I didn't think my back could hold up to several days in a row.  That by the way was met with absolutely no complaints, at least where I could hear them because it's a workplace injury waiting to happen.

However just in case you think I have nothing good to say about Igor, he does have a proper air horn!!! The line for it is just in an unfortunate spot for when I have to stretch as those parked around me found out one morning.  OOPS!!!!!!

continuing travails of Lola

So Lola has continued to ail and I've continued to get all kinds of perturbed but she's currently in the truck hospital aka shop being gone over with a fine tooth comb......errrr, wrench. Last week though she developed a new symptom...........the dreaded stop engine buzzer and light.  First time or two, I pull over, shut it down (dreading and not knowing if she would start back without persuasion), check all the fluids and various items that a person checks when you have all this obnoxious beep, beep, beep that comes with the red flashing stop sign on the dash.  Mind you, all my gauges are reading absolutely normal and nothing appears to be amiss so quick diagnosis was the egr valve going (again).  This is nothing uncommon, they tend to go out quite often sadly.

So what does an egr valve do?  Here's a link to a quick explanation of what one does on a car. Couldn't find one for a big truck but essentially very similar.

Anyway, back to last Tuesday, after the 3rd time the stop engine light came on and I had to find a safe place to pull over and shut the engine off, I told myself that the next time I was calling in and telling them the load had to be relayed once I made it back to N. Little Rock.  Sure enough, less than 20 miles down the road, I had the stop engine warning AGAIN.  I also had to wiggle the wire and cable cluster that led from the starter to get the engine to turn over (2nd time that day).  I'm dirty, greasy, and way past aggravated at this point.

Yep, call was made along with a frustrated sigh from my dispatcher.  I didn't care, no way was the truck gonna make it to Laredo and back with having to stop so much.........however I wasn't liking the thought of sitting without pay even if it was at home so I qualcommed the cranky dispatcher telling him that I would take the load on down to Laredo if HE could get me a loaner truck--I'd already tried to no avail on Monday.  Sure enough, that's what it took, 15 minutes later I had a truck number along with a note saying it was mine to use as long as needed.  Lola in the meantime continued her cantankerous ways by making me shut the engine down 3 more times before reaching the terminal.......grand total of 7 times for the day.

16 March 2011

Set the brakes and move

With the title I'm probably having truck drivers collectively shaking their heads at me and saying I've got it backwards, but bear with me here, I'm going into a bit of lecture mode.  This month a twitter trucker friend ended up in the ICU with what started as a blood clot in the leg and broke up into several more in his lungs.  He was in a truck stop shower at the time when he started feeling like something wasn't right and made it out to the payphones to call 911.

How scary is that?  What could've/would've happened if he hadn't made it out to the payphones in time?  How long would it have taken someone to check on him?  To me that is extremely scary.  Hell, I don't even carry my ID with me 95% of the time when I walk into a truckstop/customer/rest area.  Anyways, this is happening entirely too much and we're allowing it to occur.  Whether it's fighting the clock on the 14 hour rule, allowing dispatch to push us too much, or just plain stupid machismo.  Yes, machismo.  How many times have you heard drivers bragging about how many miles they go without stopping for food or bathroom breaks?  If you happen to be someone like me who does stop approximately every 2-3 hours to stretch and move about, there are always those who think it's cute to point out they arrived somewhere an hour (or less) earlier.

Well, guess what?  We're just killing ourselves. Sometimes slowly, other times it's an extended process but we are killing ourselves.  The driver I mentioned earlier?  Not only were there blood clots, he'd also developed diabetes since his last physical only 5 months prior.  Yeah. That quick.  And if I'm not mistaken, he's younger than I am.

So here's my lecture/challenge/plea, however you choose to take it:  Get out of the truck and stretch your legs by walking at least into the truck stop or where ever minimum every 2-3 hours.  Drink water. Lots of water, yes it's a hassle having to stop and pee all the time (try hydrating for a race sometime while driving a big truck, lol) but it'll also help with the stretching and moving.  Try cutting out the fried foods at least a bit, maybe starting with one meal per day.  Eat more fruits and vegetables, helps with the hydration and damn near everywhere carries apples and oranges now, even McDonalds does.  Add in additional exercise, walking, calisthenics, etc.  Yes, people are gonna stare. Get over it, they'll stare anyways.  Do I even have to mention smoking?  Try and cut down a bit and there's absolutely no reason why you can't still add in exercise and eat better while smoking (not ideal but it's a horribly hard habit/addiction to break).

If you don't want to do this for yourselves, at least think about your family.  Who's gonna take care of them if you die or are permanently disabled?

Whoa, I've managed to go on a proper rant here but please at least try to add in some of this while you're out on the road.  I'm not saying it's easy by any means but it can be done, just takes commitment.  Here's a facebook link to the Truckin' Runners group, it's a great place to ask questions and get support.  There's also a website in the works posting routes that are easily accessible to us but I'm drawing a blank on the link right now and rushing to get this written. Hopefully someone (Jeff!!!) will email me the link or better yet put it in the comments section.

Be safe everyone!

A bit of an addendum to this post, the driver that was the inspiration for this post messaged me to say that this wasn't a sudden thing, he'd noticed being severely out of breath the week prior and had thought it was just some type of respiratory infection.  So please, please, please don't ignore symptoms.

A few more websites
Daily Mile
Cool Running Couch to 5k

06 March 2011