Aging and Now This

arthritis hipAs if I didn’t have enough issues with April and just the realization I was getting older – along came a moment of “again, and now this” to deal with.  The this being arthritis.  And yeah, at 49 I am a little young for that.

So this story really probably started back in January or February (if not earlier) when my left hip started bothering me.  I am mostly aware of how my body feels during and after working out – and I knew that the discomfort was something more than just post workout strain.  But it wasn’t awful so I did some rest, some stretching and “worked through it.”

Some rest here, thinking about a running schedule (no more than every other day), lots of yoga and stretching and I’ll be OK.  Then came time for a 5K race and a week of business travel right before it.  In looking at my meeting schedule for the business trip and how it would lay out – a few days of running on the road, a short run in Vegas and I’d be lined up for the 5K.

So in Vegas the first day I could not get my hip loose enough to run.  Not a problem.  I’ll go a day off running and then do a long run the following day – the show I was at had a 4K associated so I signed up.  Downside for me is a business need arose, so I had to skip the 4K and just run on a hotel treadmill.  Although I was never comfortable, I got through three miles – enough to make me think a 5K 4 days later would be OK.  So over the next 4 days I focused on stretching, strengthening and building up endurance (lots of really boring elliptical time).

Home, and then the event.  It was a boardwalk and beach 5K.  Three quarters of a mile down the boardwalk.  Three quarters of a mile back up the beach and repeat.  After the first leg I felt like my leg was going to collapse from under me – that would not be good.  So I did something I haven’t done since I blew out my knee just about four years ago – I actually walked away.

I stopped my race knowing something was wrong.  I made an appointment with a highly recommended hip specialist and the verdict was arthritis in my hip.  No telling why it happened – I can guess a combination of catching for years, being over weight for years and just plain bad luck.  But I have to deal with it.

And in my case the inflammation now is pretty bad – but I got through a 5K survival race over the weekend with the girls (and placed 7th in my age class (out of 42 entries)).  But still I have to figure out how much I can push and when I have to take a break.  I really want to play in a hockey tournament over Memorial Day weekend, and I will do the Tough Mudder in July.  How much more I can do is an open question….

April is the month that keeps on giving.  Bad memories, aging and now this…

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Cupid Undie Run Time Again

Please contribute:

Now that there is snow on the ground and temperatures have been closer to February like here in NYC – it must be time to strip down to my underwear and take to the streets of New York.  Yes it’s Cupid undie run time again.

If you’re new to my blog or to the run take a look at some of the pics on my Instagram (feel free to throw a like or a follow as well).  Then check back on February 13th as I’ll be adding more pics then.

The Cupid Underwear Run is a charity event raising money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation – so I am asking you to help and contribute.  Here is my personal page for contributions.  So you know I’ll also be matching the first $200 contributed this year through my company DTSG, LLC.

The logical question is why would I strip to my underwear and run around NYC?

As most of you know, Risa was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1997 and lived a productive life until her death in five years ago.  During that time, I saw first hand the damage a tumor can do to the human body and spirit.  As a parent, I can’t even begin to contemplate what it would be like to see my child suffering.  The nice thing about the underwear run is 100% of the money raised goes to CTF – there is no administration board to pay.
Look for pics on my Instagram next week – and please contribute.  It’s Cupid Underwear Run time once again.

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Sharing Time and Creating Memories

Bubble Run rightOne of the aspects of having two teen-aged girls in the house is the realization that as teens (especially the older one) they want to do more and more things – but fewer with me.  Which is exactly why I’m happy to “create” ways we can be sharing time and creating memories.  This morning we did Bubblepalooza – which is kind of a color run with romps through foam baths along the route.

These fun runs are not new to us.  We’ve done Survival Races together, assorted 5K’s together among other things.  In fact, I chose this race because of the proximity to 12.5’s bat mitzvah and the reality that I did not want anyone on crutches or nursing an injury in two weeks – so this seemed a low impact way to spend some time together.

Those moments we share are precious – and for me too far in between.  For my kids, they are a way to balance being able to do things with dad and still be able to be on their own – and I’m OK with that.

I’m also OK with my kids taking on active lifestyle events – especially given the amount of screen time they have day-to-day and week-to-week.  So a nice 5K romp through a long forgotten golf course on the east end of Long Island is not an awful way to spend a Saturday.

We’ve already talked about a couple of ski trips for the winter, and probably an obstacle course or two in the spring.

Today’s run will probably be most remembered for having to weave in and out of large groups of people walking on the cart paths of the golf course.  Other runs we still recall how 15.0 proclaimed she could do hurdles but never hurdled.

Ski trips are remembered by the runs we take, the methods we use and the time we share together.

It’s a little artificial – creating memories.  But we’re sharing time together, and hopefully it will be moments the girls will remember when they look back – and they can tell their kids (hard to imagine, my grand kids) about the things we did.

As much as we can, I’ll make sure we are sharing time and creating memories – ones they can carry and share with their families.  Who knows, maybe there is even a tradition waiting to happen.

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Another Undie Run is Done

Cupid Undie Run 2015As Howie Rose says after a Mets win, “Put it in the books,” another undie run is done – all things being equal I’ll be back at it again next year.

For those who have missed out on this moment of the calendar – the Cupid Undie Run is an annual event done around the country in the weeks around Valentine’s Day.  In NYC, this of course is the dead of winter.  As a reminder, a small snow shower was in progress as I arrived at the starting line on 48th Street around 1230 Saturday.  By the time the run started, the snow had stopped – but the temperatures fell.

Which makes it the perfect time to strip down to your underwear and scamper along the Hudson River.  I clocked this year’s course at just over a mile (some years it’s a little longer, some years it’s a little shorter).

Unlike the turkey trot 5k or New Year’s Eve 5k I did with 14.5 over the last few months – the Cupid Undie Run is a fun run.  It starts and ends in a bar, and is as much a celebration of the season as it is a run – it’s certainly not physically challenging.

The undie run though is a fundraiser for the Children’s Tumor Foundation – and through the help of my family and friends and my company, I was able to raise $435 for this charity this year.  I heard at the event in NYC more than $15,000 was raised – which is a great number.

Feel free to check out my Instagram for some more pictures and videos from the day.  For 2015, another undie run is done.  Hopefully I’ll see you on the cold streets of NYC in 2016 for the next undie run.

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Lessons Learned On the Slopes of the Berkshire Mountains

Learning on the SlopesAfter a two and a half day hastily planned ski trip where we all had a great time, I can say there were lessons learned on the slopes of the Berkshire Mountains that make the trip well worth it – beyond great skiing.

Lesson 1:  Start with the actual skiing. I think this may be a new family tradition – a week or two after Thanksgiving, while everyone is focused on Christmas and Hanukkah, the snow is plentiful and the slopes are empty.

Lesson 2:  It’s beginning to look like 14.5 is a late-bloomer of sorts as far as sports goes.  It kind of started out over the summer when she decided a little out of the blue to play JV soccer.  As the season progressed – she became a more and more confident player.  Recognizing what she needed to work on, she started working out after the season and once winter sports opened, she joined the winter track team.

Not only is she enjoying her new-found athletic prowess – this year she took on snow boarding.  After two days of lessons (and a bunch of bruises), she’s doing well.  The instructors were pretty happy with her progress on the slopes and complimented her natural athletic ability.

Lesson 3:  This one is about 12.0.  One of the struggles I have with her is that she wants to do a lot of things, has some raw talent for them, but rarely if ever practices – or is even willing to practice.  For this trip, I let her take one of her friends along (actually it was more like she invited a friend and came to me with, “Dad, can my friend go with us? Her parents said yes already?”)

Since she has spent a lot of time with this friend’s family and gone on trips with them as well, I said yes.  The underlying thought I had went something like this; the friend likes to ski, is of about the same skill level and the two of them would take the mountain and just do lots of reps.

Almost like it was a plan, the two of them did hours of reps on the longer medium skill level runs, and 12.0 reports she was skiing with a lot of confidence and from what I saw a return to the skill I’ve seen in the past.

Lesson 4:  This one is more about me.  Over the last year or so, I’ve been working really hard to regain control of my weight and shape up.  A lot of time spent on cardio and strengthening – with less time spent on the weights.  In that time I’m down 25 or pounds and feel really good.  And I was able to feel the difference on the slopes from last year.  Turning was easier, recovery was faster and in general I felt my form was better.

I guess the upshot is your never too old to learn, and there’s no predicting just where school will be in session.  In this case, lessons learned on the slopes of the Berkshire Mountains were pretty helpful.

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Technology Run Amok

Technology Run AmokAs someone who tries to be on the forefront of the tech curve, I think it’s important to recognize when perhaps, just maybe technology has run amok.  In certain use-cases with certain technology I’d say we are there.

The use-case I have in mind today is what is now the prevalent use of phone-trees for incoming calls from customers.  You know these, you almost cringe when you hear the automated voice say, “Press 1 for English.”

For some context – I rarely initiate calls to any company.  Largely because I don’t want to get lost in the phone maze, and practically because more often than not I can get what I need accomplished done quicker via website, app or even Twitter.  So this week I had to call my cable company and the local Walgreen’s about a prescription.  What I got (aside from lost time) is a stark reminder of technology run amok.

First, Cablevision.  I understand why they have the phone tree to help direct customer calls to the right product team.  Like most modern MSO’s they have ISP, cable and phone services.  My issue though is I’ve been getting several emails a week for several weeks asking me to call for an account review.  It turns out after more than five minutes of pushing buttons, selecting options and eventually setting up a call back – all they wanted was an updated cell phone.  For real.

Then there is my neighborhood Walgreen’s.  Now this should be easy.  My questions are about something I bought in the store or the pharmacy counter.  That should be two, maybe three button pushes.  So yesterday morning while waiting for 14.0 I decided to call to check on a prescription’s status.  Eight button pushes in, I could not get to one of the two pharmacists on duty.  The Walgreen’s app doesn’t give status on a pending prescription, so I had to go walk into the store to find out there was a snag at the doctor’s office.

That is a lot of listening, deciding options and button pushing for very little reward.  That can’t be the model these companies are hoping to replicate in customer service.  I get it.  The phone trees should help steer the call so the right person gets the call and the right answer can be given.  That would be good customer service.

But this is a case where technology has run amok, and more options does not help get to a better result.

There are times thought when technology can be an asset.  During a recent cross-country flight on Virgin America – the outlet at my seat was not working. After my laptop died I pulled out my iPad and opened Twitter.  I sent out a tweet saying my GoGo inflight WiFi experience was great, but my seat outlet did not work on Virgin America.  From that tweet, before I landed Virgin America gave me a $50 credit on my next flight.  A company that can use technology to make sure the customer experience is optimized – it does work.

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The Single Dad Run Around, Off It Goes

The Run AroundThis afternoon was one of those afternoons where a single dad would need to be in two places at once, or just run around to keep the wheels in motion.  And it all started so innocently, until that moment when you know it’s off the rails and there it goes.

I probably should have realized the day would go that way when I was doing a hardcore budgeting project before breakfast and before my shower.  Looking back, that was probably the easy part of the day.


So, this afternoon, my sitter was dealing with a car problem and I knew 12.5 had a doctor’s appointment at 345 and 10.0 would have to get to Hebrew school (with her half of the carpool doing the pick up) by 430.  Cutting it close, sure.  But 12.5’s doctor the last four times we saw him was right on time-so if that was consistent we were fine.

As I should have noted at 815 when I was messing with spreadsheets and projects, there would be nothing consistent with the day.  I missed the signs of inconsistency.

12.5’s doctor was a full 45 minutes late.  We walked out of the doctor’s office when I should have been dropping 10.0 and the rest of the carpool at Hebrew.  So, the smart thing was texting all the parents and letting them know I would be late-but who knew just how late I would be.

Mix some traffic, and then getting caught behind a left-turner and 10.0 and the carpool made it to Hebrew a full 30 minutes late.  Safe yes.  But late.

Finally now, dinner is done and the Islanders are on TV and I am kind of caught up.  Sure there is plenty to do still, but that can wait for now.  I’m sure that in no time the bell will sound and off I’ll go on the single dad run around.

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Lacing Up The Running Shoes For Cause

Cupid Undie RunWith very little “training” accomplished, I’ll be pulling on the running shoes next week, and stripping down to my undies for a one mile (or so) romp through Chelsea and the Meat Packing sections of NYC-it’s all for a good cause.  But even a mile at this point is an accomplishment.

The Cupid Undie run Run New York is a benefit run supporting the Children’s Tumor Foundation.  For me, it’s a chance with very little pressure to test out both of my knees.

By the time the run steps off next week it will be six weeks since my second knee surgery. So far, PT has been going well but I am just starting to run.  The good news about this one mile trek is that there is no clock.  I fully expect to be in the very back of the race, chugging along mostly trying not to take a bad step.

And since this is a fundraising run, I’ll invite all to make a contribution to the cause.  To start things off on my page, I’ve already donated the proceeds from my book, The Beginning of the Middle of the End of the Beginning from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the cause.

I hope you’ll contribute too (and buy my book if you haven’t already).

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When Eggs are Like Fish

In a sudden burst of energy, mixed with a sense of caring this morning I taught 11.5 how to make scrambled eggs-and thus hopefully taught another lesson in fishing.

So the backdrop is one of the “life lessons” I try to instill in both girls is the sense that if you give a hungry person a fish you’ve given them a meal.  If you teach them to fish you’ve fed them for life.  I apply that parable to many circumstances from looking up vocabulary words to making breakfast.

This morning 9.0 was at a sleep over (that’s a regular weekend occurrence) so it was 11.5 and me.  I did a run through the snow this morning and then hit the produce market-and when I got home I was starving so I made breakfast.  At about that time I finished up (10:30 or so), 11.5 came downstairs.  I really did not want to make her breakfast and was kind of hoping she would go for cereal.

Instead she asked for scrambled eggs.  Thus a lesson was born.

We cracked the eggs added some milk. I offered some tips about beating eggs-making sure you incorporate air to make them fluffy and timing out the toast to make sure it’s done as the eggs are done.

So now I’ve added to the breakfast in bed menu (I hope) and also taught my daughter how to feed herself-a lesson in fishing.

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