#3463, The Rescue Run Corporate 5K @ Lake Mary, Florida

On Thursday, March 27th, 2014 @ 6:30 PM, I had journeyed out on my first outdoor run since October 2013. The purpose of this endeavor was helping raise money and awareness to the plight of the homeless in Seminole County Florida. For myself, the point was just to see how my aging, 42 year old body might fair at the end of a business day. Some fellow work friends had inquired, ”Are you going to run or walk?” My response was, “Just have to see what happens!”

On the day before the run, a work email was sent out listing all the registered participants. Though registering for the event online, my name was missing. Following up with the in house organizer, I had requested being placed on standby for any cancellations. Writing off that possibility Wednesday night, I had awoke at 3 AM Thursday morning hoping to wrap up loose ends on an IT project; however, the day was marred by frustration and disappointment copying files from one portion of a SAN (i.e. fancy disk system) to another. The phrase,”Soooo slow” was echoed by one peer embodying the morning’s events. Think this was the theme for most of the day. Then, an unexpected chat window from an event coordinator had materialized on my laptop display. Someone from the list of registrants had called out sick. I was thinking, “Okay I’m in. Let me turn this day around.”

With the 5K kicking off promptly at 6:30 PM, I had cruised the first mile with a brisk clip. At 1.5 miles in, I had felt my calve muscles starting to cramp from too much afternoon caffeine consumption. In an effort to maintain pace, I had employed a routine from a friend alternating a walk and run every minute or so. With that technique, I was able to bridge the next 1.5 miles at a moderate clip. Coming around the final corner, I had switched to walking again. Pulling up on the left side, one of my co-workers had encouraged me to “finish strong!” For some reason, I was reinvigorated by his inspirational phrase. That act of comradery had provided me with a descent final run time.

At age 42, a 5k at 30 minutes 40 seconds were quantifiable, some say, respectable numbers. More important was bridging these moments to the failing health of someone close to me over the weekend. That person, age 38, had experienced a potential stroke including loss of facial muscle control. I had not known anyone that close to me or young to suffer such a physical setback. I had never felt so helpless to fix a problem. With each tomorrow, I had to waited to see what happens with his condition. For today, I had only hoped to motivate him, like my co-worker, down the road that lies ahead.

Update: The stroke was a misdiagnosis of Bell’s Palsy.

Read More:
The Rescue Run Corporate 5K (therescuerun5k.com)
Bell’s Palsy (Wikipedia)

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31 days to scuba dive in Blue Springs State Park @ Orange City, Florida

On Sunday, March 16th, at 10:30 am, I had returned to my vehicle after 23 minutes of diving in Blue Springs State Park @ Orange City, Florida. On recollection, my buddy had noted an anti-climactic nature of this escapade after taking a month and half off from diving. Our last outing was two days in the salty brine of the Atlantic Ocean off Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for Padi Advanced Open Water class. On the surface, I had wanted to agree with my friend’s assessment; however, being my first post-surgery dive from two hernias, I had felt an emotional contrast to the facts of the day.

For those unfamiliar with Blue Springs, park services had closed off the spring head access during the winter months for manatee activity. This being the first weekend of open water access, many divers had converged upon Blue Springs. According to the park rangers, we were the 8th grouping to check-in at the front desk. During that process, one of the female rangers had scolded us for skipping park entry. Though, we had flashed our park pass moments earlier. I had thought, “What a saucy lady!”  Despite the unfriendly welcome, we had both shrugged off the experience with joking about one of us not returning from this simple excursion.

After clearing the main gate, we had parked our vehicle in the secondary parking lot for assembling our equipment. Before heading down to the wooden boardwalk near the springs, I had attached my buoyancy control device (BCD), tank, and regulator to a small hand truck on loan from Paul Shepherd from Seminole Scuba. The goal for the day was overcoming an underlying fear of undoing my surgical repairs. On one hand, my surgeon, Lou Harold, had cleared me for this activity. On the other hand, while loading my vehicle with a scuba bag the previous day, I had felt some heat from my lower pelvic incision. I was hoping the feeling just to be mild stretching of scar tissue. Maneuvering the hand truck awkwardly, I was exerting a bit more energy and motion than expected. I had speculated, “What if the cylinder pops off the truck? What if I go rushing to catch it from crushing a passing child? What if that rushing action rips my flesh apart?” With those thoughts spinning in my mind, I had opted for a gut check by helping my buddy get his gear on. I had imagined this a good physical barometer for myself to gauge skipping on using the hand truck. Despite all the rehabbing exercises of the past 29 days, I was unsure of the forthcoming result. Carefully lifting and holding his equipment in place, my friend had secured himself. Then it was my turn. Quickly attaching my upper chest and waist level clips, my scuba buddy then had released the full weight upon my body. We then both had commented on, “How light the tanks were?”  Despite adjusting my cylinder once more on the walk down the boardwalk, I was amazed at the relative ease of handling the assembled scuba equipment. I had thought,“Score one for picking up lunges for stretching and strength training.”

Reaching the water’s edge, we had discussed our plan for navigating the boil. We had headed toward the spring head on our right in the shallows. The strategy was avoiding the bulk of the current’s strength and overexerting ourselves physically. Upon reaching the spring head, the water’s visibility was greatly decreased by the overcrowded activity of all the other diving groups. For about fifteen minutes, we had waited for the activity to die down. With eight divers returning to the perimeter of the water, we had moved forward with our descent.

Recalling swimming this spring last year, we had passed by the downed tree across the boil opening.  Clearing this landmark, I had struggled with current pushing back. I was wondering if cutting my weights down to four pounds might be too light?  However, switching my profile to feet first had helped with my descent along with long release of air from my lungs. Additionally, I had pulled myself forward on the white limestone formations. These limestone ridges had appeared like huge underwater shelving at eye level. The descending view was more reminiscent of an alien orifice perhaps from H.R. Giger. After reaching approximately 60 feet, we had basked in the current like a pair of fish. With time to spare, we had spent a few moments for photo-ops. We had joshed around with posing in power flexing stances to Vulcan greeting to other sexually suggestive sign language.

Before our ascent to our safety stop, the sun had cleared the clouds. Looking up at the cascading light shimmering on the limestone cavern and floating debris, I had felt calming sense of accomplishment. The importance of this moment was therapeutic. There were lots of facts to complain from this dive; no manatees, dearth of big fish, an unruly free diver, overcrowding, limited visibility, a cranky park ranger and blurry underwater Go Pro photographs. All of these facts were inconsequential for myself being 31 days out from hernia surgery. This outing was a driving force for my recovery. All I had fixated on most of the month was bridging the gap from surgery to submersion beneath the water’s surface. Twice during that time, I had dreamed vividly of being underwater. Dreams I had believed speak to us about ourselves. People had often talked about the love for water as a form of rebirth or renewal. I had believed that before, more so now. To the question of “What’s inside me?”, for myself, on this day I had lived a dream.

Read More:
Blue Springs State Park (Florida State Parks)

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Wanderlust in Wekiva Springs State Park @ Apopka, Florida

“Wanderlust  …dissatisfaction with the restrictions of home … may also fuel the desire to travel…commonly described as an enjoyment of strolling, roaming about or wandering.”- Wikipedia

Two weeks after surgery, I had discovered an ever increasing desire to wonder around Central Florida. With a little help from my friends, I had tempered this flame with standard fare from walking at Lake Lily Park to Lake Eola; however, that was just the start. Hitting the road yesterday to Canaveral National Seashore, I had wrapped up the weekend back in the heart of Central Florida with swimming at Wekiva Springs State Park.

The latter two outings were less than ideal with chilling coastal winds to cloudy waters of an over populated springhead. The importance of the walking and swimming this weekend was an affirmation of a healthy recovery. In some sense, I was grateful in earning back more mobility. Though, in the back of my psyche, I had recalled dialing down my fervor a few notches. It wasn’t like I was playing with snakes seeking atonement, rather simple solace. This notion sometimes had seemed easier stated than done with an elderly lady power walking right by you as an adult male.

Recovery from surgery for anyone, was a measure of equal parts physical healing and mental attitude. With possibility of pain and discomfort acquiescing to a “pity party” was the lost opportunity in focusing a return to some sense of normalcy. Before surgery, I had blogged for folks to make the most of their day. Today, for those with a recent procedure(s), I had thought the same rule applies. I hadn’t needed to beat grandma, just redirect that intensity elsewhere. I had dared you to do the same no matter your circumstance, just live it up!

Read More:

Wekiva Springs State Park (Florida State Park)

Wanderlust (Wikipedia)

Courtesy of Florida State Parks

Courtesy of Florida State Parks

Delta 4 Launch, January 20th 8:59 PM Eastern @ Titusville, Florida

After watching a television newscast, a friend had suggested going out to the coast to watch a night time launch from Titusville. Reluctantly, I had agreed for an evening excursion for the Delta 4 Launch set for 8:40 PM. Arriving early, we had parked on the soft shoulder next to the bay. People had started to populate the surrounding area with launch time approaching. With 8:40 PM arriving, mission control had temporarily stalled the launch due to solar activity.

For a few moments, the crowd had become restless with the notion of a scrubbed launch; however, one of the nearby bystanders had returned from his vehicle AM radio reporting an update launch of 8:59 PM. There was some trepidation from onlookers whether the vehicle would go up or not.

On the last minute of their launch window, NASA had launched their Delta 4 rocket. The light had illuminated the darkened sky. Moments after, the rumble of the rockets had filled the humid breezy cool air. Eventually, the booster rockets had detached into the atmosphere. Falling into the darkness, they had appeared as red specks in the horizon. One child had remarked the distant man made flames appearing like an evening star.

It was a star beyond a physical definition. It had represented the very best in man’s aspiration in enlightening self through education.
Some had wondered why we need a space program in a downed economy. I had fostered a simple reason, a feeling of hopefulness for what tomorrow brings.

To get details on the next launch from KSC and best location for viewing checkout: http://www.launchphotography.com/

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A return to Lake Lily Park @ Maitland, Florida

On the mend from surgery, I had opted for a returning drive up to Lake Lily Park @ Maitland, Florida. Over the past year, I had ventured across most of the state of Florida. Most destinations had offered a greater degree of seclusion and natural brilliance than this city park; however, on this Monday, I had only wanted to escape the confines of my bed. The goal for the day was asserting my mental independence over physical disrepair.

Heading out at noon, my vehicle had voyaged into Lake Lily’s parking lot. Exiting my Explorer, I had gingerly moved toward the perimeter of sidewalk wrapping around the lake. After making one lap around Lake Lily, I had stopped because of lack of hydration in the noon time sun. That notwithstanding, I had achieved a very rudimentary goal with pretense of another return.

On the following Tuesday, I had committed to hitting an hour walk. With some discomfort but, an increasing tempo of footsteps, I had achieved my target time. Putting aside the rehabilitation of my body, I had also encountered a multitude of underappreciated views. Perhaps being less mobile than normal, I had enjoyed the passing sights of squirrels, turtles, fish and ducks. I was also reminded in even such limited liberation, the solace of the mind nature brings.

I hadn’t decided where my next walk will be but, glad to reacquaint myself with local favorite in Central Florida. It was more than a return to a physical location but, one of solace.

More Information:

Lake Lily Park is located @ 701 Lake Lily Drive, Maitland, FL 32751.
Hours: 8:00 am – 10:00 pm
Farmers Market is held on Sunday mornings.

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What do scars tell us?

Some say scars build character, others maybe misfortune, for myself I had believed these markings tell us about our own story. Having come out of initial recovery from hernia surgery, I was thinking exactly what do these new etchings mean? For my story, I had looked back to my first big physical trauma.

One day leaving the military grocery store in the UK, my mother and I were headed to the parking lot.  As with many children, I had wanted to treat this rudimentary chore as a chapter in a whimsical fantasy. For most young boys, most had periodically idolized Superman and his super strength. So in my best physical impersonation, I had decided to pry off one of the car doors from the inside out. Now, the visual counterpoint were tiny preschool boy hands wrestling with modeled sheet metal. If Superman had crushed cars, so could I. Unrelenting, I had become entrenched in a battle against this unwavering construct. On the other hand, my mom had focused on efficiently loading up the day’s groceries in the trunk. Then, the slam of the car door had brought reality to a screaming halt, literally. Under the door hinge, my left hand had laid.

Awaking from the shock, I was walking with my mom through a courtyard at a hospital. Looking at my left ring finger, it was dolled up in cotton gauze. Under the gauze had existed the bloody bludgeoned shortened fingertip. If I hadn’t told, you might not had been any wiser to this scar. The only physical challenge I had ever experienced, learning to play guitar with a little more effort on the frets. In reflection, it was small penance in embracing my childhood ethos of Superman. From my mom’s point of view, she had felt enormously guilty about the mishap; however, in retrospect accidents and boys had seem inseparable facts of life.

Looking at the incisions from repairing two hernias, I had thought of how this experience compares to the first. In certain sense, the same spirit was at play. Men and boys had always wanted to reach beyond their grasp, sometimes reality. Looking at the some of my other noteworthy scars, from my right wrist, left forearm, and right knee, all had echoed moments of being more than ordinary maybe, even super. Scars in themselves were just a reminder of the body’s frailty.

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Surgery, stand and deliver!

Before this year had started, I knew the day would roll around for my hernia surgery. The important part of the adventure was confronting any loss of mobility post the procedure. For myself, a loss of mobility had meant a loss of freedom to randomly travel wherever on a whim. With any luck, I had hoped to work through recovery in a reasonable amount of time. On this Friday, I had thought to ask you to assert your own freedom to explore the world we live in. Face some fear that had held you back from enjoying living. As I had set this to autopost to WordPress at the time of my procedure, consider your day without such a constraint, stand and deliver!

mr. mister

Hear More:
Stand and Deliver by Mister Mister (Youtube)