Princess Gail’s bionic!

This post is simply to document one of the many reasons why I think Princess Gail is royal. Underneath her style and elegance are a multitude of character strengths including plain old toughness.

In my last post I mentioned how she completed a 5K. Here’s the picture I posted, at the finish line.

What I didn’t mention is that she was running on a very painful leg. About two weeks prior, she had felt a sudden jolt of pain in her right groin area during a training run and had to walk the rest of the way. She was told it was a tendinitis. Since the 5K was a mere two weeks hence, and she had been training for it for months, she decided to continue the twice weekly training runs and to complete the 5K with her running group, despite the persistent pain.

After the 5K she was very, very sore, and two days later she could not walk at all. After two more days of crawling around the house on all fours she saw her doctor. She had an x-ray and an MRI. She was diagnosed with a stress fracture of her hip! Further, since it was in a dangerous place, it required urgent orthopedic surgery!

So three days ago, Princess Gail turned bionic! A rod and three screws were placed in her right hip.

We just got home from the hospital. She’s not looking really swift just yet, but she’s picking up speed with her walker. In two or three months she’ll be healed.

Well, Princess Gail completed her mission and ran a 5K on a broken hip! I’m thinking her next one will be a breeze!

(Words and images posted with Gail’s permission.)

Winston-Salem’s BB&T Ballpark and BB&T Field

BB&T is the 8th largest bank in the United States and has it’s headquarters right here in Winston-Salem, NC. It has a significant presence in our great city, not the least of which is it’s support of two of our stadiums. Yesterday, Gail and I spent time at both of them, so I thought I’d share the moments.

The Winston-Salem Dash, our minor league baseball team, makes it’s home at the BB&T Ballpark. This new, modern stadium is only a couple of years old and has been a big hit with the citizens. It is also the starting/finishing point for many local 5K and 10K running events. Yesterday, Princess Gail participated in the Home Run Fun Run 5K. We had a beautiful, clear, crisp morning and it was great fun!

Our neighbors across the street have season tickets to the Wake Forest University football games. They couldn’t make it this week so they kindly gave us their tickets! Very nice! So, after Gail’s 5K we went home, cleaned her up (LOL), and went to our first Wake Forest football game.

The BB&T Field is small but absolutely gorgeous, as you might imagine since Wake Forest University’s funding sources include RJ Reynold’s tobacco money and BB&T. I’m grateful to them for reinvesting back into their (our) wonderful community.

After the game, we met our friends April and Brent in Pilot Mountain for a nice dinner. Gail and I had a really good day! πŸ™‚

Kevin’s Sylvania Triathlon 2011

I made a little trip to Toledo these past few days to watch my son participate in a triathlon. He did the bike leg on a three man team. Each of the guys are particularly good at their respective part.

Kevin has been on bikes since forever. I recently posted these pictures from about 23 years ago:

A few years after that, Kevin competed in his first triathlon. He was pretty young, and he did great! That’s his sister, Kelly, to his right. They did a solid kid’s event swim/bike/run.

And now he’s back to the same place, in Sylvania, Ohio, to compete in his first triathlon as an adult. Here we are before the race.

His teammate Ryan McHugh swam the 1.5 km (0.9 mile) open water swim in 18 minutes, which is an awesome time! Then Kevin biked 40 km (25 miles) in the pouring rain in 1:12, which was also remarkable! And finally, Alex Schoen ran the 10 km (6.2 miles) in 43 minutes, another super performance. They came in 2nd place by just a few minutes.

Here they are, all exhausted looking after the race. πŸ˜‰

Can you tell I’m pretty damn proud!? Alex recently lost his dad; I know he would have been very proud of Alex as well. These are three really great young guys!!!

Riding a lot again!

Back in the late eighties, when our youngest two were still very small, I decided to buy my wife a bike so she could take the kids out on a ride once in a while. Little did I know that it would turn into one of the biggest joys of my life. I realized at that time that I hadn’t been on a bike for about twenty years, since I myself was a kid. I LOVED the rediscovered feeling of freedom and speed while riding the bike!Β I rode that first bike way more than anyone else. I loved taking the kids for rides, and I loved riding it all by myself! Here are pictures of my son, Kevin, and me from around 1988:

Well, Kevin is now 25 years old and looks more like this:

That was us right after finishing a 300 mile benefit ride for the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Michigan a couple of years ago. Together we raised about $2,000 that year.

It must have been around 1989 that I was able to buy my first really good road bike, a Trek 1400. The cool new features back then included index shifting and having an aluminum frame, which was every bit as stiff as steel, but way lighter. It had Shimano 105 components which proved to be not only very smooth but durable. I have ridden that bike for thousands of miles in sun and rain. It has seen me through dozens of triathlons and many charity events. I have used it until these past two years when we moved down to Winston-Salem. The hills down here make it difficult to use an “old-fashioned” bike that has shifters on the down tube. For several years now, the shifting mechanism on bikes is integrated with the brake mechanism on the same levers. That way you don’t have to take your hands off the handle bar and reach down to shift. In these hills, you have to shift continuously. You can’t be reaching down all the time and hope to keep up with the youngsters. Net result, I hadn’t ridden a lot these past two years. Until now! πŸ˜€

I’m a little sad to say goodbye to my 22 year old bike, but ecstatic to have a brand new one! Actually, it was an early “birthday present” from Princess Gail.

Here is my old bike. I look at it and can physically feel the joy (and sometimes pain) of the countless rides I’ve had on it.

And here is the new one. A Trek Madone 4.5. OMG, you should feel the ride! What a huge difference 22 years has made in bike technology!

The frame and fork are made of carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is also just about as stiff as steel, but light as a feather. If you took all the parts off and just held the frame in your hand, it weighs about as much as a paperback novel! The bike has the integrated brake/shifter mechanism which was my main requirement from a new bike.

I have been more than pleased with Shimano 105’s for the past 20+ years, so I kept the same Shimano 105 component group (integrated shifters, dual front chain ring derailleur, and rear cassette/derailleur.) At my level of riding, there was no reason to pay the extra hundreds and thousands of dollars for the higher level Ultegra or Dura Ace components.

This bike, though, is still cutting edge is some ways. On the other side of the bottom bracket you will see this:

Just to the right of the bottom bracket, you see a small window that is cut out of the chain stay arm of the frame. It is for optional electronics, which you see installed. This gizmo measures every pedal revolution so I can have cadence information while I’m riding (how fast I’m spinning the pedals.) In the past, a sensor had to be wired from this area all the way to your computer on the handle bar. It looked ugly. But now not only is it wireless, it is actually integrated right into the frame of the bike! That is pretty, and really way cool!

Speaking of the computer, things have also improved in this area.

The computer goes well beyond simple time/speed/distance information. Now I can have the cadence information I just mentioned, as well as heart rate information (if I am wearing the chest sensor strap that came with it,) and altitude information. All sorts of electronic fun!

So I’ve been riding a lot again. I am somewhat out of shape, but picking up speed and distance with every ride. I am “that close” to keeping up with riders/racers that are 20 and 30 years younger than I am. I still get that wonderful feeling of freedom and thrill of riding fast.

As a last picture, I’ll confess that I’m a grateful recovering bike addict. LOL. You can’t take your good road bike on a trail, so we have mountain bikes, too. You can’t ride either of these to work, so I have a commuter bike, too. See what I mean? Our garage:

There are addictions far worse than this, don’t you think so? πŸ˜€

Pinehurst golf

Gail and I just spent 3 spectacular days of golf in the Pinehurst, NC area! It is a beautiful part of the country, typified by its sand hills and southern pines. And it is famous for world class golf!!! We had a ball playing 3 of the 35 local courses. The heat index of 105-110 degrees didn’t stop us. I have to say Princess Gail is one tough babe. Five hours in that kind of heat for three days in a row is enough to melt anyone!

Here are a few of the pictures, and there is another bunch of them on facebook.

Florida golfing and birding

We were in Florida for a few days last week for our friend Tom’s annual golfing get together. Gail is a swinger:

There were majestic birds on the courses, like the great blue heron:

There were birds of prey, a red shouldered hawk and an osprey:

A little blue heron and a white ibis were helping find my ball:

And like everywhere I go, I spotted these common birds:

I seem to attract them!