Pre-run generator attack

Now I have two reasons to hate this thing

Today’s run (street): 3.5 miles

It’s never a good sign when you get injured before you even run. That was the case this morning when I was preparing to go out for a few miles. I stepped outside and turned on my Garmin to get a GPS signal before walking to the end of my driveway to get the empty recycling bin. As I put the bin back in the garage, I caught the edge of my reviled generator, opening up a 1″ gash on my knee.

The wound looked serious and I ran inside to dress it. After dousing it with rubbing alcohol and Calahist lotion, I put on a large bandage and secured it with surgical tape. My wife had just finished her treadmill run when I came upstairs to get the tape. She saw my bandaged knee and said, “Did you trip again?” I explained that it wasn’t running related and headed out the door.

The temperature was mild and the sky was overcast, nice conditions for this time of year. I wasn’t motivated to do a long run today, so I did a variation of my regular route. I had initially thought about heading to the high school to run the track, but I didn’t want to deal with people clogging up the lanes. Happily, my neighborhood streets were quiet and I only saw a couple of walkers and one cyclist.

My knee held up fine and I ended up with my third run this week, along with Wednesday’s elliptical session. While they were all under four miles, there’s something to be said for frequency. Later in the afternoon, my son and I did a long walk around the neighborhood. By then the weather had turned rainy, but we wore our hooded running raincoats and stayed dry and comfortable.

We wrapped up our walk by cutting through the middle school and came upon the scene of an accident. A minivan must have hopped the curb and taken out a street light. I don’t think anyone got hurt (just a bored looking cop, tow truck and no ambulance) but it was a weird thing to encounter. Tomorrow is the last day of Thanksgiving break. If I feel up to it, I’ll put in some longer distance.

Head for the treadmills, here comes the snow!

 

Today’s run (treadmill): 3.2 miles

Today has been highly productive yet I feel like something is missing. Perhaps that something is the storm that is making its way toward western Long Island. The town just sent an email saying that schools are closed on Friday, probably because the Governor is shutting down the LIE at midnight. I’m less worried about the snow than the 45 MPH winds that could cause a power outage or knock down trees.

Earlier today, I pulled the generator out of the garage and ran a test to make sure it will be ready if we need it. That went fine, but if I have a choice, I’d prefer not to be running 30 amp lines into the house to power hot plates and heaters. Predictions are for 5-8″ of snow but I’m betting it will be closer to a foot. Either way, I won’t be running on the road tomorrow.

It was snowing this morning when I got up and I knew I’d be better off with an indoor workout. I love running in the snow, but not running in snow with cars. I’m working on a big project, so I focused on that while I waited for my wife to finish her treadmill run. Once she was done, I headed upstairs for my second run of the year.

Yesterday’s Hangover run was lots of fun. Being with friends and among a crowd of other runners helped distract me from the fact that we were running the same one mile loop over and over. Despite having the TV news for company, I found today’s treadmill session extremely tedious. I set the speed a little higher than normal, hoping that would get me through the workout faster.

I tried to imagine being out running the trails, rather than suffering through the unchanging view of my snowy backyard. When you run outdoors you can tune your mental state to the task ahead. A third of the way through my daily training run, I can visualize the roads that I’ll need to cover to complete my distance. On the treadmill, the first third is no different than the second. The only excitement comes at the end, when I usually increase my speed to the highest setting I can sustain over the last quarter mile.

The rest of the day was dedicated to my business project. I’m hoping to complete that by next Wednesday. Looking back on the day I’m realizing that a lot got done overall. But what’s still to do can’t be done until there’s enough snow on the driveway to shovel. I guess that’s what’s missing. But an upper body workout at 10 PM tonight might make this an even more productive day.

Hard to run and hard to start (talkin’ ’bout my generator)

Good reputation, but hard to start

Today’s run (treadmill): 3.2 miles

So much for running early today. Knowing that the temperature would exceed 90°s, I’d envisioned running the Bethpage bike path at sunrise. But the morning got busy and, before I knew it, it was past 8:00 AM. By then, the temperature had risen to the low 70’s and I considered going out for a run. After seeing on the news that a big storm is expected for Sunday, I needed to test the generator.

After five minutes of futility, my “high quality” generator failed to turn over. I bought this unit because the research said it’s a great unit. However, since we got it, starting it has been a problem. Without delay, my son and I took it to Home Depot to let Mike the technician look at it. I had to leave the generator behind and hoped it wouldn’t be an expensive service issue.

Somewhat helpful

I considered a neighborhood run when I returned home, but the weather was already past the point of bearable. I almost abandoned my plans for a workout entirely, but my wife said I’d regret that later. I took the opportunity to test a recently purchased cooling bandanna while I did a run on the treadmill. I figured that I could further optimize my cooling using the big fan.

I’d say that the bandanna was marginally helpful, but the heat and humidity were brutal. The protection from the sun and the breeze from the fan made the treadmill a good choice. I got through the run with little time to spare. We were getting together with some people right after lunch and I barely had time to cool off in the shower.

Later in the afternoon, Mike called and said, “Bad news, it’s going to be an expensive repair and it’s not covered by the warranty.” I was thrilled when he told me he was kidding. It was just $20 for labor, oil and additional gas. I hope the storm doesn’t materialize and that I can get in a decent run tomorrow. But if it does storm, at least I know the generator will start.

Run delayed by vapor lock

30 amps of LIPA-less power

Today’s run (treadmill): 35 minutes

Hurricane Irene knocked out our power for six days last year and Sandy had us down for eleven. We figured enough was enough so we ordered a Generac 5500 watt generator to be delivered to our home. Weeks later, we saw that the unit hadn’t even shipped. We decided to buy an alternative unit at Home Depot (a 5700 watt RIDGID) and picked it up this morning.

We felt it would be best to get the generator early in the day, so we headed over to the store before 8:00 AM. I planned for a quick setup and start-up before going out for my run. I thought, naively, that I’d be on the road by 9:30. The setup went fine, but I couldn’t manage to keep the engine running for more than 30 seconds before it stalled out.

I tried every suggestion in the manual and called the 800 numbers for RIDGID, Yamaha (maker of the generator’s motor) and Home Depot. The others were not especially helpful, but Home Depot said to bring it to them and they’d get to the bottom of it. They quickly diagnosed the problem (vapor lock in the fuel line) and had the unit running smoothly in minutes.

Playing around with the generator took over seven hours, from initial pickup to a final (successful) test at home. I am definitely not a late-day runner and the weather was getting worse by the minute. I considered skipping my workout, but decided that the day’s frustrations needed an outlet. I turned to the treadmill and ran for 35 minutes. I’m pleased to have completed my workout, but I’m especially happy to finally break our full dependency on LIPA.