Monday, December 29, 2008


Home in PC
High of 79

Kathy made the decision to begin the Couch to 5K running plan! I told her that I would support her by doing the plan with her, as a supplement to my continuing workouts. We went out about 11 AM and started with a brisk 5 minute warm up walk. We then did 8 intervals of jogging for 60 seconds and walking for 90 seconds. We finished up with a 5 minute cool down walk for a total of 1.7 miles. GOOD JOB KAT! You can do it!

I then headed out and ran an additional 3.1 miles, with a .3 cool down, for a total daily distance of 5.1 miles. I'm off for the week, so it's a good time to get extra road work in. I have less than 3 weeks until the St. Pete Beach Classic.

After our workout, we went to get Florida plates for Kathy's car and to file for our Homestead Property Tax exemption. Florida has very reasonable property taxes on your primary, full time residence. Whatever your assessed value is, it gets reduced by $50k before taxes are assessed. Vacation and investment homes are not treated quite as favorably by the county tax collector.

Tides are favorable for a fishing trip this week. My fishing buddy Rolando and his wife Kathy are coming over for the new year, so hopefully us boys will be able to get out. I charted some hot spots on the Gulf, both near and far, that we will try out for Grouper.

Speaking of boating...we found a deal too good to pass up. West Marine had a AM/FM/CD/iPod stereo with 2 speakers, normally priced at $299, on sale for $99. It shipped today, so I'll have another project waiting for me to install it.

I got an email from a blog reader who is moving to Port Charlotte from New Jersey. They bought a home on a canal in my neighborhood. How cool is that?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


80 degree weather helps you warm up quick.

DeBary, FL
83 degrees

Today we travelled about 200 miles north east from home to spend Christmas with Kathy's brother, Jim and his family. The drive was good until we got into Orlando, where traffic came to a halt and stayed under 30 for 14 miles. We arrived at about 4PM.

My day began with a 5k run. It was pretty tough going but I attribute that to some residual soreness from many hours of yard work yesterday. I have started renovating the turf. There was so much crabgrass infesting the yard, the only choice was to kill everything off and start over. I did two applications of roundup, 7 days apart, and then began tilling up the soil. I will re-seed or sod in the spring.

Speaking of renovating, my body renovation took a giant step today. While my exercising has done wonders for dropping inches over the past 16 week, my actual weight loss has been slower than I had hoped for. I started at 280 pounds and steadily dropped a little bit every week for the first 10 weeks but I seemed to hit a wall in trying to get under 250. I have bounced between 252 and 258 for the last few weeks but today I finally broke the mark by weighing in at 248.

A 32 pound loss in 16 weeks is exactly where the "experts" say I should be. That's 2 pounds a week. Slow and steady is the way they say to lose it if you want to keep it off. My weight goal is to get to 200 pounds before my 44th birthday in September. In addition to the weight loss I have also lost 5 inches off my waist. This is a nice Christmas gift to myself.

On Monday I achieved a new personal best by running 3.4 miles total. I can now run 3.1 (5k) as a regular routine. I'm going to slowly increase my max distance once a week in order to get to a 10k. My first organized 5k is January 17 in St. Pete. I think I can be ready for a 10k in March.

I went for a physical on Monday and was pleased with the results. My blood pressure was 124/76. The nurse said 120/70 was perfect. I had an EKG to test my ticker. There was a slight electrical anomoly on the right side but the doc said it may be something I've had my whole life. He scheduled me to take a treadmill stress test in a couple of weeks as a follow up but he said I don't have to alter my workout routine as long as I'm not feeling an aches or pains. I'm having a complete blood workup done as well. The last time I did that was about 3 years ago. I remember my triglicerides being too high, so I'm looking forward to see how I've improved there as well.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Keith shows it's a working vacation at Mimi's landing in our backyard before heading for Cabbage Key.

The 100 acre island has no roads and no cars but great food and fabulous views.

Keith paruses the menu at Cabbage Key, with our boat Messing About docked in the distance
Doni relaxes on the patio of Cabbage Key

Kathy stakes her claim on a seat for today's cruise

Views along the Gulf Inter Coastal Waterway

The cabin cam catches the captain catching a cold one
The lighthouse at Boca Grande

Captain and crew; Bill and Keith

Who wouldn't admire the rear Admirals?

This single frame is all we have until we get the video from Doni
(click to enlarge to full screen)

Kathy watches the sun set on the Gulf of Mexico in Lee County, FL

The 80 degree high quickly cooled after the sun went down

Twilight led us back to the Port Charlotte canal system
Home in Port Charlotte
Sunday morning 8 AM
61 degrees, going to a high of 78

Doni and Keith came to visit us yesterday. I had launched the boat at 10 AM in order to beat the outgoing tide. I boated over to Fishermens Village and tied off at the courtesy dock, where Kathy picked me up in her car. We went home just in time to meet our friends. We hung out at our house for a while, showing them our home and home port.

We drove back to Fishville and walked the shops in the village mall. We launched the boat about 1:30 PM. The weather was a perfect 80 degrees and the winds were light, about 10 knots. We crossed Charlotte Harbor and headed south on the Gulf Inter Coastal Waterway. At mile marker 61 we hailed the harbormaster at Cabbage Key and received a slip assignment. A dock hand was there to greet us and help us get tied up.

We visited the gift shop first, since it was going to close at 4PM. The shop clerk (and all the staff) was very friendly. She told us that everyone who works on the island comes and goes to work via boat. Keith treated everyone to some Cabbage Key shirts. Mine says, "I'd rather be on my boat with a drink on the rocks, than in the drink with my boat on the rocks." Kathy's says, "Fish Naked, show off the old rod."

Lunch was fresh caught Gulf Stone Crab claws. Wow, this was some fabulous sea food. It was our first time having them. Everyone else enjoyed clam chowder soup, but I refrained. Even though it is one of the tastiest soups to me, I have an allergy to something in it. Several times in my life I have suffered anaphylaxis after eating it.

After lunch we took a very slow cruise along the ICW, enjoying the million dollar views of Ussepa Island. It's an exclusive, owners only island with a private club and restaurant, accessible by boat only. We motored out to the mouth of the Gulf at Boca Grande. Doni joked that she didn't believe our story about the area being populated by bottle nose dolphin. I told her if we didn't see any, it would be the first time out that I failed to see any. When we shut the motor down to drift in the pass, the wind had stopped completely, and the water was as smooth as glass.

Finally, Kathy noticed a few bottle nose dolphin breaching the surface a few hundred yards away. There were very few boats on the water, in spite of the perfect weather. There was a fishing boat with four guys aboard, drifting about 100 yards away from us. We noticed one lone dolphin that was hanging out with them. All four guys were interacting with this wild sea mammal, who seemed to be playing with them. We thought they might be feeding him but couldn't see for sure. We decided to try to entice him to our boat, even though we didn't have any bait fish aboard.

Keith had Kathy knock on the side of our boat while he made splashing sounds in the water with his hand. I started making squeaky kissing sounds, like a Tampa friend had told me to do. We're not sure which of these methods worked but we clearly saw the dolphin make a beeline for our boat, across the surface of the water.

He came right up to the port side of our boat. He was HUGE! He had to be 300-400 pounds or maybe even more. He rolled over to show us his belly, as if he wanted us to rub it. He danced all around the water within an arms reach of us. Doni videotaped the whole thing as our new friend made us oooooohhh and ahhhhhhhh and oooooooo. When he came head first out of the water and opened his mouth for us, we must have returned the favor because I'm sure our mouths were wide open in amazement. It was like a Sea World show in God's own amusement park. After a few minutes our friend had to go. He came out one last time to show his teeth, nod his head and then swim off to the Gulf. I bet you could spend twenty years on these waters and never have something like this happen. The best thing about this experience was Doni being there. She is the biggest animal fan we know. Kathy worked with Doni in Phoenix and recalls a day when Doni found a cricket in their 4th floor office. Rather than let it die, Doni carried it down the elevator and released it outside. We think Doni's love of creatures played a hand in this special day.

After that Dolphin experience, the 5:39 sunset seemed to come in a distant second place. Once big red dropped beneath the horizon it was time to high tail it home. The water was still glass so I went wide open throttle the entire 22 miles home. With four of us on board, our single engine Volva 5.7 liter engine did 35.7 knots or 41 MPH. The tac was pegged at 6k RPM. Leaving twilight in our wake was a beautiful sight. We arrived at the canal system at about 6:15 PM. It's 2.6 miles of wakeless speed to get to our dock so we passed the time by enjoying the Christmas lights and trees in the homes of the Port Charlotte canals.

Doni didn't have her USB cable to upload the video on here but she will send us a CD as soon as they get back to AZ. In the meantime, enjoy the above photos of our latest adventure in Messing About in South Florida.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


click picture for full screen
Above is a satellite image of just some of the Gulf Barrier Islands along the Intercoastal Waterway, south of Charlotte Harbor, Florida. Each Key is a separate island, less than a two hour boat ride from our home port.

Click picture for full screen image
Above is a satellite image of Cabbage Key.
The large yacht parked dockside is 85' long.

Saturday morning update:
Home in Port Charlotte

I got home about 5PM, had a nice spaghetti dinner with my bride and was in bed by 8:30.
I awoke at 4AM and by 5AM I was running another 5k. The trainers are right. This does become addicting. There's a thick marine layer of fog this morning, with visibility down to less than a quarter mile. It should burn off by 9AM.

Doni and Keith are coming today and we are looking forward to hosting them on the water and in our home. The boating forecast calls for winds 5-10 knots, seas 2 feet and a light chop. We'll have clear blue skies and plenty of sunshine with a high of 80.

Thursday Miami, Friday Wellington

Hampton Inn
Wellington, FL
79 degrees, gorgeous

Wednesday after work brought day 2, week 9 of my running plan. Having completed my first ever 5k run on Monday, I had every intention of taking it easy and doing about 2.5 miles. Ooops, I felt so good running, I kept going and going and going. Another day, another 5k. :-)
My morning after soreness was much less on Thurday morning too. I could get used to this.

Our friends from Arizona, Doni and Keith, are on their way to South Florida. They will spend Friday, Sunday and Monday with Keith's daughter in St. Pete but Saturday will be with us. I have a nice day on the water planned. I will launch the boat at 10 AM in order to get out before low tide. I'll run over to Fishermans Village and tie off there, where Kathy and our visitors will join me around noon. We will head for the Intercoastal Waterway and cruise to Cabbage Key. This will be a first for all in our party. There is a restaurant there, that as local tales tell, was the setting for Jimmy Buffet's writing of Cheeseburger in Paradise. I posted pictures above to show our destination.

We plan on enjoying a 5:39PM sunset before heading for home. I have until 8PM to get under the short bridge before high tide.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Home in PC
High of 80 forecast all week

I did it!

On my first day of week 9 of the Couch to 5K running plan, I was supposed to run for 30 minutes straight but I knew I'd be short of my distance goal. About 20 minutes into my run I decided I wouldn't stop running until I passed 3.1 miles (5k). I just kept my feet moving; one in front of the other; nothing was going to stop me today. My podcast trainer congratulated me at the 30 minute mark but that wasn't going to stop me. I continued running right through the 5 minute cool down. Seven tenths to go. The podcast ended and Kenny Chesney began singing, "I'm Alive." When I rounded the corner at my street I knew I had exactly three tenths of a mile to go. I felt more alive than I had in I don't know how long. At the 39:28 mark I crossed the finish line, having completed my goal of running 5 kilometers without walking. The plan promised to make me a 5k runner in about 2 months and it worked. My first official sanctioned 5k race will be the St. Pete Beach Classic on January 17. The lyrics to my victory song sum up my feelings :

So damn easy to say that life's so hard
Everybody's got their share of battle scars
As for me, I'd like to thank my lucky stars
That I'm alive...........and well

It'd be easy to add up all the pain
And all the dreams you sat and watched go up in flames
Dwell on the wreckage as it smolders in the rain
But not me, I'm alive

And today, you know, that's good enough for me
Breathing in and out's a blessing, can't you see
Today's the first day of the rest of my life
And I'm alive.........and well
I'm alive and well

Stars are dancin' on the water here tonight
It's good for the soul when there's not a soul in sight
This boat has caught it's wind and brought me back to life
Now I'm alive.........and well

And today, you know, that's good enough for me
Breathing in and out's a blessing, can't you see
Today's the first day of the rest of my life
And I'm alive..........and well
I'm alive and well

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Home in PC
52 at wakeup; high of 70

After spending Wednesday night, Thursday and Friday in Stuart (Atlantic coast) I returned home Friday night to the comforts of my own bed.

I awoke Saturday to a crisp and cool morning. At 9 AM I headed out for the last run of week 7. I had felt some shin splints after Wednesday's run, so I spent nearly an hour stretching this morning. I headed out to the thin morning air and felt good. After my 5 minute warm-up walk it was time for my 28 minute run. The sun felt so good on my face, I quickly forgot about the chill. At the half way mark, I knew I was on a good pace because I was a full block past where I was at the same point on Wednesday. Entering the final minute of the run I had a smile, as I had already passed my previous personal best for distance. In the end I was about 2 blocks further than the end of my last run. I later measured it with my truck odometer and found that my actual distance run was only 2.3 miles. I had hoped to have it be closer to 2.7. But that gives me more room for improvement.

Starting Monday, it's week 9 of Couch to 5k. That's the final week. I will be running for a full thirty minutes. I won't achieve the entire 3.1 miles in those 30 minutes but I'm going to give it my all. After next week is done I will continue 30 minute runs three times each week but will begin working on my speed so as to try and cover the 3.1 miles (5k) in a half hour. When I am able to do that, I will add a tenth of a mile every week and start running for distance. January 17 is the St. Pete Beach 5k classic. I should be prepared to make that my first real 5k event! It's not like I'm trying to win a race, just complete it without walking. That will be my victory.

Dad made it home in 6 days! Talk about a race. He went through tons of rain in Louisiana and a snow storm in Houston but he is now comfortably home in the beautiful confines of Strawberry, Arizona.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Home in PC
High of 75
Yesterday we got bit by the Christmas bug and put some decorations up at our house.

After work today I completed day 1 of week 8 of the Couch to 5K running program. I ran 28 minutes without walking, my longest run to date. The podcast for this week had some remixes of music that I've heard before and found to be very motivating. There's some lyrics that go, "Is this the truth, is this the truth, is this the truth...or just a dream." It made me think about my training program. I truly believe I have turned the corner toward physical fitness and I'm no longer just dreaming about it.

Late today, I also did a little boat maintenance, checking the water in the batteries and hooking up the shore power to charge them. I'm not sure I wrote about that but Dad and I successfully installed a shore power station and a new fresh water station at our backyard dock.

Dad is in Texas, figuring to be home in AZ around Thursday, weather permitting.

The other pictures above were the sunrise I shot over Palm Beach County last week on my trip to the other side of Florida. Click on them to get a full screen image. The one with the beams of light shooting through like tunnels from heaven is my favorite.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Home in Port Charlotte
64 degrees, going to a high of 74

Once again my bride and I have an empty nest. Kimber is back in Mesa and Dad is on the road toward Arizona. He is presently near Pensacola. Our next visitors will be Doni and Keith, who will be here for one day on December 18. After that, Stephanie will return for spring break in March.

Yesterday Kathy learned how to ride the lawn tractor. She did great and had a fun time doing it. I am going to have to kill off a lot of crabgrass in order to plan a nice lawn in for this spring/summer. I decided to seed with Bahia grass, which is draught tolerant. That's important because we don't have an automatic irrigation system. It also performs very well in hot/wet climates, which describes our summer.

Rolando and I spent some time fishing on the canal yesterday but with no bites. I threw a brand new lure into the mangrove trees on the near side of the canal, but over the water. Rolando said, "well you just lost that lure." I proved him wrong by getting the dock hook from my boat, venturing into the brush and retrieving that new lure.

I did my workout, week 7, day 3 of the C25k plan. I ran 25 minutes, covering just over 2 miles. Next week I increase to 28 minute runs.

This coming week I will be on the Gulf side Monday-Wednesday and on the Atlantic side Thursday-Friday.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


4 AM in Port Charlotte

Departing for Palm Beach County
There's so much news to catch up on, I will just give the headlines before I go:

Kimber departed for AZ after a wonderful trip. The best part of her vacation, to me, was getting re-acquainted with her grandpa Ed, my dad. I anticipate she will begin visiting him in Northern AZ in the near future.

Dad departs for AZ tomorrow. He has also enjoyed his 2 month stay in Florida but it is time for him to get his "girls", the Pointer sisters, back to their one acre spread in the mountains and Dad is looking forward to his own bed.

Before leaving, Dad surprised me with an early Christmas present, which is pictured above. I was so shocked when I saw it in the driveway, they said I was shaking for several minutes. This will not only bring me loads of fun, ease my summer workload, and make the yard look great, but it will also allow Kathy to help do the lawns when I am on the road. Nothing runs like a Deere. Thank you, Dad! God bless you on your trip home and thanks for all the great memories this year.

My workout is going along as planned. I am in week 7 of the Couch to 5K running program. I am presently running 25 minutes a day, 3 days a week, covering about 2.5 miles. Hey, come to think of it...I'm starting to run like a Deere!