Monday, November 29, 2010

Who to watch out for at a local race.

Saturday night my daughter Amanda asked me what the swag was for a local XC race that was scheduled for Sunday morning. This race is famous (or is it infamous?) for not handing out the standard issue tee shirt but for trying to go a little off the standard swag menu. I emailed one of my friends in the running club who knows about these things and she emailed back that they were handing out wool winter hats this year. Amanda thought about it a bit and then decided she wanted to do the race. I had a short run on the training calendar for Sunday so I decided to stretch it out a bit for the 5k distance.

I haven't raced in a long time (the turkey trot didn't count because I ran it with my younger daughter). I had to get my head out of a competitive mindset to prevent myself from going too hard and hurting myself (again). I decided I was going to use this race as a test of sorts to see if I could limit myself to set a pace somewhere between a jog and a run. That mean to me to try to dial in the pace to about 11:30 and force myself to take a walk break of 1 minute every 8 minutes or so. Sounded like a plan that could work given my current lack of fitness.

As we were walking up to the on site registration, Amanda started checking out the competition and I joined in out of habit. As people were heading the other way from us we would comment on if we should be concerned with them or not. We started making a list of who to watch out for and I thought I'd share. Realize this is a trail race with the temperature in the 20s so most casual runners stayed home. So we figured out all (meaning us) should beware of:
  • Anyone wearing a race shirt from a race held before 1990.

  • Anyone who looks over 200 years old.

  • Anyone who, while running, looks like they are going to tilt over to one side.

  • Anyone who makes strange noises while running.

  • Anyone who farts while running in the lead pack.

  • Anyone wearing "senior road racing" team apparel

  • Anyone who wears a singlet and shorts when the temperature is less than 30F.

  • Anyone who breaks out spikes for a trail race. We didn't see any but someone running barefoot would qualify for the list too.

  • People who appear out of shape but with a Mdot tattoo or wearing an Ironman finisher shirt.

  • Teenage soccer players running in Adidas Samba indoor soccer shoes.

  • Someone with an Olympic ring tattoo on their ankle

We ran out of time trying to codify this crowd and the horn went off. I ran my race close to plan (I was a little quicker than I should have been but not a lot). MY friend Lorie commented that I was running almost too easy and said that I committed a trail race faux pas by running with an ipod. Amanda said she started well, passing the 1m mark in good shape but twisted her ankle somehow on the single track section. It wasn't bad enough to make her stop but she slowed down to a jog and still finished about 10 minutes before me.

Maybe I should add annoying fast daughters to this list?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Not too "hot" to trot!

Yesterday on Thanksgiving morning, we decided to continue our family tradition of running in a turkey trot. In the past we ran one in Smithtown about 25 minutes east of us since this was a race where my sister's family could meet us. They went away for the weekend up to Maine and we decided to run in the first Massapequa Turkey Trot. This race was closer to our house but the big news was that this was going to be 12 year old Courtney's first ever 5k!

The weathermen predicted cold weather with rain coming in later in the day. When we woke up in the morning it was high 30s but dry. As usual, the first challenge was what to wear. We wound up like the three bears: I probably over dressed a bit, Courtney under dressed a bit and Amanda was probably just right but it all worked out.

This was going to be my first race on the road to recovery/road to IMFL. I'm planning on racing much less this year as compared to previous years and I really wanted to take it relatively easy. Luckily Courtney decided she wanted to run with me so we mixed up mostly running/jogging with a few walk breaks mixed in. We were coming down the chute side by side and an evil thought went through mind on how to make sure I beat her but she finished strong, out kicking me to the end to snag 5th place in the female under 12 AG. Amanda wasn't "racing" this race but took 3rd in the 13-19 AG anyway so we stuck around for her to pick up her hardware.

This was a great race for the family. We went home to take the big 24lb turkey out of the oven and get ready for the rest of the family coming over. We wore our Turkey Trot shirts with pride throughout the day and had a great holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Quote of the week.

"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." - John F. Kennedy

Friday, November 19, 2010


201Ironman is a collection of athletes (and me) that are racing an Ironman in 2011. I just posted an entry there about one of my favorite topics, me. Check out the site here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Salvation Army meets technology

This week I saw my first Salvation Army bell ringer of the season. I won't even get into why they are out already a week before Thanksgiving but at least she wasn't one of those "dressed as a Santa" bell ringers. Nor was she accompanied by a euphonium player as so many of them are (I guess this is should be considered the busy season in the euphonium trade - where else do you see them play?). In fact she was wearing a standard Salvation Army uniform. She was standing next to the kettle with her bell in her left armpit as she had an iphone in her left hand and was tapping keys with the fingers on her right hand.

I immediately thought that she must have a Salvation Army iphone app. At least it might be an iphone app that gives instructions on how to ring the bell with the proper Salvation Army procedure (left/right vs. up/down, short rings vs. long, etc). I temporarily thought that maybe, just maybe, my New Yorker cynicism was getting a little over the top.

Then I visited the app store and found not one but two Salvation Army Apps! One was free and was the actual ringing of the bell as you shake the phone. They had 12 different bell sounds as part of it. The second cost $2.99 and played Salvation Army Christmas carols on the iphone. I wonder if it simulated the sound of the euphonium. Unfortunately, my budget for this quest for useless knowledge would be exceed if I bought the $2.99 app so I'll never know.

I do now have an increased respect for the Salvation Army for trying a little different fund raising approaches in this difficult economy. I'll probably toss a few extra bucks in the kettle but will probably wait until I see one with a real euphonium player with a real bell ringer or two. Of course if there was a whole bell chorus playing iphone bells that would warrant consideration too!

Ring. Ring. Ring.

Quote of the week

"First, have a definite, clear practical idea; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends; wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end." - Aristotle

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Remembering how to run.

The concept of running shouldn't all that difficult. Left, right, then repeat a little quicker. I haven't run in a while due to my injuries but I think I recently had a eureka moment with my leg pain. I've seen a bunch of doctors and almost all have found something wrong with me but those things may have been wrong with me for a long time and not the cause of my pain.

I've worn orthotics since I ran in high school (yes, they had orthotics back then in the dark ages and I ran). Over the years I've had them replaced when they break since they typically last 3-5 years. At the same time as my running injuries started about a year ago, my right orthotic cracked so I got remeasured and the podiatrist made me a new pair. While looking in the back of the closet recently (typically a frightening place), I found an old right orthotic. I thought I'd take a chance since it looked different from my current one and replaced it in my shoes. After two weeks with the old one, my leg pain was almost gone. (One of the reasons I took the plunge with IMFL was because of this improvement. It may be a coincidence with something else but I'm not arguing.)

Now training has started concentrating on building fitness. I needed to get back into some sort of running even though my expectation is that IMFL will involve a lot or perhaps up to all walking. My coach's plan started me at walking with mini runs of 10 minutes and increasing the run duration slightly from time to time. Most of these runs were on the dreadmill but I decided to go outside this weekend as the weather gods were smiling in my area. The last time I ran outside was on July 4.

I bought two pairs of new sneakers (to alternate) since I didn't want to chance what condition my "old" ones were in. My Garmin 310xt has forgotten how to synch with the heart rate monitor. My ipod shuffle wasn't charged and I couldn't find the charging adapter. Once I charged it up, I couldn't find my running headphones (the standard Apple ones always fall out of my ear so I buy crappy, cheap, over the ear headphones that I kill over time with sweat). The small phone I carry while running wasn't charged either. I started thinking that maybe there was more to running than the left, right, repeat.

But I'm getting my "runs" in. I'm still based on time and my pace is frightening slow. I'm not hurting more than one would expect but the remembering is starting. Perhaps soon I'll remember how to run fast or if not fast, faster than slow.

One's gotta hope.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quote of the week.

"A dream doesn't become reality through magic. It takes sweat, determination, and hard work" - Colin Powell

Sunday, November 7, 2010

How about that for some definition to the 2011 season!

Dear Rock Star,

Congratulations! You are now registered for 2011 Ford Ironman Florida. Please check the event's official website for updates:

Thank you and good luck!
Ironman Athlete Services

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Likes and Wonders

I like that the unofficial sign language sign for rolling down the window of a car is the moving your left hand as if you were using the crank for an old fashioned manual window. I wonder if the current generation of kids will ever know how to use a manual crank to get that window down.

I recently caught my daughter listening to a version of the 1812 Overture that her camp orchestra recorded last summer on her ipod with speakers. I told her to wait in her room a moment. I like that I was able to return to her with the "album" that my school orchestra recorded of the same song in 1978 in hand. She wondered how I could find it so fast. I wondered how we would ever listen to it since I no longer own a turntable for a 33.

I like that I recently set a new PR of a sort with my blood results with my cholesterol being 167. I wonder if the diet and exercise I've been doing have anything to do with it or not. Then again, I don't really wonder about this one.

I like that I'm back in training yet wonder where this will lead me. I like that I've been able to recognize some of the symptoms of training again. The first I recognized was taking multiple showers a day. The second was that there were more clothes to be washed. I wonder what the next one will be?

I like that the weather has changed a bit with some frost on the pumpkins (no, not those pumpkins!), I wonder when it will be too cold to ride outside on the weekend and I'll turn into a permanent denizen of the pain cave.

I like that all the people are racing this weekend (IMFL, NYC26.2). I won't shout out each individually but you know who you are. I wonder how you all will celebrate?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Quote of the week

"Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it. " - Bill Cosby

Monday, November 1, 2010

It is time.

My mind is ready for the "not season" to be over but the jury is still out on my body. Today, though, two things of note happened:
  1. I registered for my first event of 2011 The St Anthony's Olympic Triathlon in St. Petersburg, FL on May 1. I was able to register early since I deferred out of the 2010 edition of this race due to injuries. I'm in a new age group so there will be a new bunch of fat geezers to beat me.
  2. I officially started back up training with my coach, Bike Mike.

I still have a lot of aches and pains but I'm going to embrace what I can do, not what I can't. My weight loss focus was lost when I went to Asia but I'm back on that bandwagon. My physical limitations might mean cutting back a bit on the number of events but my plan is to pick a big event and go for it. I may fall short but the journey is the destination.

Game on.