Thursday, June 19, 2014

Lemme Tell You About Last Night's Shower......

Crutches are fun…..

I felt a little grimy after work yesterday, so I hopped in the shower.  Showering with one working leg is tricky but I have a system.  I keep a chair just in the right position outside of the shower stall (the fiberglass kind with a glass shower door) so I can plop myself down to dry off when I get out.  Next, I lay my crutches against the wall next to the stall so they’ll be handy when I get myself dried off and am ready to go prep my face for impending beauty.  Once everything is in position I swing the door open and plop myself down on my shower stool and I’m ready to lather, rinse, repeat.

So, there I was with the shower wand in my hand getting good and cleaned up when I heard this loud crash: BAM A LAMA BADA BOOM! Boom. Squeak.  What the hell?!?  My crutches had fallen over and wedged themselves between the shower door and the bathtub.  I was barricaded in and they were just laying there like the final two sticks in a giant game of Pick Up Sticks.  F’ing crutches!  I felt like I was in the next Final Destination movie waiting for the drain to clog itself and start filling the shower with water to my certain doom. When will Angie be home?  Oh crap, she has to work late!  I went ahead and finished my shower, trying to plan an elaborate escape like something out of a James Bond movie.  And I wanted to be clean when I busted outta there.  But I was butt-nekked, had no phone or tools, and only one leg to stand on.  And my shower stall is about the size of a medieval iron maiden. 

So I did the only logical thing I could think of…….I grabbed the scrub brush and cleaned the stall.  It had gotten a little mildewy during all this gimpy invalid stage of my life and was due for a good scrubbing anyway.  I scrubbed every inch of it and worked up a good sweat that completely negated the very reason I got in the shower to begin with.  So I turned the water to full cold and rinsed off all over again.

I had now been stuck in the shower for over 30 minutes and was starting to get antsy.  Still no sign of Angie.  I took inventory to see if I could fabricate something to save me like the NASA team did for Apollo 13.  I had a stool, a shower head, a scrunchy thing (red), a bottle of Axe soap (where were the ladies from the commercial now, Axe?????), some shaving cream, a razor blade, a toothbrush, a bar of soap, and a scrub brush.  The shower head was dangling by its hose and in my desperate state of mind I assessed whether it was long enough to throw over the glass door and try to hook it under the crutches and pull them out of the way.  For an engineer, it was a pretty faulty calculation, but there was nothing else to do so I gave it a shot.  I cut the water off, and let it drain a bit.  Now, have you ever turned the shower off and just when you think the head is completely drained it spits up an exhorbitant amount of water out of nowhere?  Well as soon as I flung the shower head over the door it decided to puke out an entire gallon of water all over the crutches and all over the floor.  Ffffffuuuuu……..!  And it wasn’t near long enough.  This was becoming comical.  I drew the shower head back in and let it dangle with me in my private, soaked (but very clean!) prison.

I needed Life Alert dammit.

I tried jiggling the door to jar the crutches loose.  I was successful if the goal was to make a whole heap of annoying rattling noise and work the crutches against the door even tighter.

So there I sat until Angie came home.  I think my yelling for her from the back of the house scared her into picturing some disaster of me laying on the floor hurt, but she got over it real quick when she found me stuck in a telephone booth in my birthday suit.  Sorry, no pictures.  NSFW.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Pictures from Kona 2013: The Week After the Race (Belated)

Well, this is rather late, but it occurred to me that I never finished my blogging intentions on the whole trip to Hawaii last October.  You can find my race report from the Ironman World Championship in an October 2013 blog post, and I did a separate post in November documenting the week prior to the race.  I meant to do one more about the week we spent on the Big Island after the race and I'm just now getting to it.  Clearly, speed isn't everything....

So, here it is, and I'll just throw it up here as a photo gallery with some captions.......

The vacation post-Ironman didn't start out too good.  Mom had busted her knee taking a spill in front of Lava Java the first day we were there.  I, of course, well......I've written about my knee enough.  Anyway, the day after the race neither of us were very thrilled to go anywhere.  The sisters hit the beach is their custom.....

I had heard that they served SPAM at Hawaiian McDonald's, so naturally I had to try it.  This is a SPAM breakfast, and it tasted as good as it looked.  I was surprised to see how many folks were eating it not for the novelty that I purchased it for.

After you finish the Ironman World Championship.......if you're REALLY good and place in the top 5 of your age get a special Hawaiian umeke bowl as a trophy.  It's a wooden salad bowl.  I didn't get one but our house we rented already came with one in the kitchen cupboard, so we goofed around and set up this picture in the back yard like I had just earned it the hard way.

 We wore out Lava Java pretty good after the race.  You can't beat the view anyway.

Where the magic happens inside Lava Java.

Mokuaikaua Church.  Hawaii's first Christian Church.  The steeple is always visible from the Ironman finish line and is in the background of almost every swim start photo I've ever seen.  As I dreamed over the years about one day making it to Kona the vision of its steeple has been burned in my mind.  It was always a big deal to me that if I ever qualified for Kona I would make it a point to visit this church.
At the foot of this great steeple that has been on my mind for a very long time.

 Inside Mokuaikaua Church.  Kinda reminded me of the one we visited in St Croix. 

 I was glad my mom and I got to see the inside of this church together.  I've shared a lot of pews with her.  A lot of P.U.'s too for that matter.  It was really peaceful though.

The other must-see church.  This one marks the turnaround of the marathon on Ali'i Drive.

 Angie and I loved this little sushi hut just a short walk from the pier in Kona.  Mike Beaman tipped me off about it and he was right about how good it was.  They make whatever you want and it's all take out.  When you see a lot of locals and Japanese there, that's a good sign.  The prices were more than reasonable too! 

 I didn't eat there.  I wasn't going all the way to Hawaii to eat from a chain restaurant.  But the obligatory photo op was too much to pass up....

 Cool drain spouts.  This is right across the street from Dig Me Beach.

Angie HATES it when I post pictures of her, but this one is fun and she is definitely my better half.  I love her very much and there are few things I can do without her help.  At the moment only chewing comes to mind......

This store owner asked me to sign his Ironman Race Program.  He tries to get everyone's signature every year.  So cool! 

Lunch at Kona Canoe Club with the Mirras, Eric Hinman and his girlfriend Jillian.  Mom looks like she's giving Dave a hard time.  Ha!

Madi and Kenz entertaining a tired old man.

 As soon as I saw this on the menu I had a sneaking suspicion it would end up on Dave's plate.....

 ......and here it is!

Eric, Dave and I and his bottle of Opus 1.  If anyone goes to Kona Canoe Club let me know if Dave's picture is on the wall for this.

I had a barbecue pork sandwich.  I should have had the wine and cheese burger.

The Four Seasons north of Kona to see how the other half live.  This was the adult only pool.  My lawn looks just like this.....

Rocky beach front at the Four Seasons.  In the distance is the NW horn shape of the island where the town of Hawi is, where the bike turnaround is on the Ironman course.

 Tide pools in front of the Four Seasons.  They reminded me of being a kid at Taechon Beach, Korea.  I used to love to forage through the tide pools looking for shrimp, crabs, and little fishies.

 The beach was a little rugged in front of the Four Seasons.

Dave Mirra and family came over to our crib one night for some casual grilling and wining.  Good times. I still had my race numbers on my arms like a complete dork.  This year they were "iron on tats" and they were a b!tch to get off.

 This is my brother-in-law, Mark, working the grill that night.  We kinda favor each other.  Meals at home were just as good as meals out.

We took a day drive most of the way around the Big Island.  It was amazing to see all the different climates on each side of the island.  This is in Waimea (not the one with the really big waves) on the north side.  The relaxed lifestyle can be seen all over the island, even in their stop signs!

A waterfall on the east side of Hawaii.  I didn't make the hike down to it.  Too far for the bum knee.

We completely stumbled on this place by getting the map wrong.  At the end of a dirt road on the NE side of the island we found this spot under a bridge where the ocean meets a river.  A couple locals were splashing in the water wondering how us haole found the place.

This is the view towards the ocean from that same spot.

A shrimp pasta thing I had at Cafe Pesto in Hilo.  This place was great and had really good cheesy baked bread.

 A cool waterfall in Hilo.  In the parking lot we came across a bunch of local Hawaiian dudes all passing around some weed.  It looked like a situation that could have gotten a little sketchy, but as soon as we walked by they were like, "Whoa, you did that Ironman?!  Cool!  Come hang out with us!"  I've never been to a friendlier place than Hawaii.

 I could make a living just being a fish taco taster all over the island.  I'm not sure where I got this one from.

I'm not much of a beach lover like my sisters Ginger and Cindy, but it seemed kind of silly to go to Hawaii and not sit on one beach at all.  Angie, mom, and I went with them to Hapuna Beach north of Kona.  It was pretty, yes.  But after 10 minutes I was ready to go do something.

Our beach setup.  Apparently you're supposed to just sit there.  I don't get it.

The coolest thing about Hapuna Beach was exploring this lava tube.  It was kinda creepy as the further you went inside it would get so dark you couldn't see anything at all.  I sat there for a bit letting my eyes adjust, but in the end the creepiness got to me and I headed back out.

The view as you exit the lava tube.  It takes you right out to the water's edge, and depending on the tide you have to swim to get to it.

Other than doing the World Championship itself and visiting Mokuaikaua Church, the other big bucket list item I had was going to the Kona Brewery!

What a bonus that Leanda Cave, last year's Ironman World Champion, was hosting too!  lol

Hawaii is known for many sacred places.  I'd say this is one of them.

Drinks at Huggos with my dear ol' mom!  She has been at the finish line for me at all 5 of my Ironman completions.

Our last dinner in Hawaii.  Mom, Angie and I went to Huggo's on Ali'i Drive while the sisters went back to the Four Seasons.  We sent pictures to each other competing for best dinner. I'm calling it a tie when you figure the long drive they took.

Our last sunset in Hawaii.  This is looking out on the swim course from Huggo's bar and restaurant.

Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park.  It was a place of refuge for those that had broken sacred laws, defeated warriors and such.  Whatever creepy things were in that lava tube couldn't get me here...

Mom and I locked in battle in some ancient Hawaiian chess game.  Supposedly, the winner of the game was allowed to kill the loser.  I just couldn't bring myself to it.  I guess I'm a lover not a fighter after all.

 Sebastian Kienle was on our flight out of Kona, so I chatted with him a bit.  I really like this guy and I want to see him take the Championship next year.  He was my pick this year, but another dog had his day.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Crutchin': A Mobilegs White Paper

Crutchin' in style in downtown Raleigh.  "Step on a crack, break y'mama's back" don't count on Mobilegs.

I had just crutched out through the automatic doors at Orthopedics East when my peripheral caught what I thought was my reflection in a mirror.  In that split second I heard the beginning of a spaghetti western song as I turned to focus and found not the stunning reflection of the dashingly un-follicled specimen I had expected but a similarly becrutched caballero making his way to his car.  We locked eyes, and I read through his: “Are we racing?”  Oh. Yes. We. Are.  It was a full on Crutch-Off.  I stabbed my sticks in the concrete, flung my lower half forward, and dropped him.  The crutcher had no chance.  I had Mobilegs.

And that’s why when I enter crutch-offs I always bring my Mobilegs.  Their sleek and super sexy lines not only compliment the curvy misshapenness of my figure, but the aero advantage I get from the oval tubes is wind tunnel test proven to save 12 watts, equal to 3 seconds in a 50 meter parking lot time trial over the conventional crutch design (test results are for 10 degree yaw wind angle).   

 Because wind.  And the Mobileg is like,  "Bring it."

I can increase that advantage by another 9 watts with the addition of my aero helmet, which also provides a 17% increase in pure manliness - an obvious added bonus.

This picture only possible with the use of high powered cameras with incredibly fast shutter speed.

Although the aero advantage data of my Mobilegs is real and indisputable, you cannot overlook the weight savings advantage either.  The two go hand in hand.  Mobilegs are .67 lbs lighter than the leading brand crutch.  I find that, with conventional crutches, over a climb such as Hogpen Gap in Georgia (12 miles, average grade of 15%) it can take me up to 3 days longer to reach the top than if I climb on my Mobilegs.  This weight savings is achieved through lightweight advanced space-age materials not even attainable to the public yet.  They’re metal as opposed to conventional wooden crutches.  A series of holes is also strategically drilled along the length of the tubes to further cut weight as well as break up the turbulent flow of air over them much like the dimple technology seen in some experimental golf balls, which are just now being introduced among some of the top pro golfers on the circuit.

 This cross section shows how a pair of Mobilegs is affected by wind vectors.  Basically, they are not. 

What’s more, my Mobilegs offer a unique feature called suspension. This offers a mechanical advantage allowing my powerful lat muscles to expand and contract freely when gripping the pit pads during a high G acceleration typical of a parking lot crutch-off.  Conventional crutch pit pads are slicker and without available suspension, allowing the pilot of a pair of Mobilegs to achieve the hole shot every time in a crutch-off.  It’s that guaranteed.
 This graph depicts how wind speed affects crutch speed at different angles of yaw.  Since the aerodynamic advantage of my Mobilegs increases as the angle of wind swings beyond 90 degrees, I always park the car either up or downwind of a potential crutch-off start line.  Good preparation is just good practice.

Mobilegs are simply faster.  Have you ever heard of a guy getting caught for robbing a store while on Mobilegs?  Exactly.

Gnawed your foot off to get out of a bear trap?  Leg mangled in a wood chipper? Get the crutch rocket.  Get Mobilegs.  Because science.

And Mobilegs only need a minimal time to recharge.  For me, recharging periods are time for bonding with my Mobilegs.