Monday, July 31, 2006
A Good Workout
They left, and I stripped off my wet running clothes, put on my bike clothes and jumped on my utility bike to go meet them. I got to the shop and rode around, looking for their bikes, but didn't spot them. I rode to the other places in town where they might have gone; no bikes there, either.
I decided to return to the bagel shop, and as I aproached, I saw my wife and son unlocking their bikes from a railing at the Kentucky Fried Chicken next door. They'd used the railing to keep the bikes out of trouble while they had their bagels. We then rode about six miles through a series of parks.
On arriving home, we showered and went to my in-laws to go swimming. We arrived home in the evening, and I was pretty fatigued.
Saturday's post was almost called "Jogging With Javelins" because that's what I spent most of the afternoon doing. Running back with javelins to the throwers in order to permit them to throw again with minimal work in the heat and sun of Saturday.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
You're Not Old Enough!
The meet was quite nice, I'd have competed, but wasn't permitted. I'm still too young! The meet went well, and from an 11:00AM start, was done by 4:00 PM. I found myself working as an official on the field events.
On the trip home, one of my teammates commented, as we were passing through the pine barrens, that with areas like that, it's hard to believe that New Jersey has the highest population density of any state in the U.S. I then felt obligated to say, "and talking to some of the people, it's clear that we do have some of the densest people in America." My teammates seemed to enjoy the twisting of nuance that my statement provided.
Another Reason To Keep Your Weight Manageable
Friday, July 28, 2006
I want to believe that Landis is clean, but I've seen arguments from people more knowledgeable than I that sports are so dirty that clean athletes are the exception, not the rule. Still, I want to believe that Landis is clean. Call me naieve, but sport should be clean. Users of performance enhancing drugs may well jeopardize their health. The choice should be obvious, but I can understand why it may not always be. Young people believe they're bulletproof. Coaches want ther athletes to be stars. Then, there's money. The pressure to cheat can be great, therefore, the penalties must also be great.
My opinion is that blood should be regularly taken from athletes. Some should be tested and some stored. These samples should be tested as new tests are proven reliable. Athletes found to have cheated should be subject to stripping of marks, asset seizure, removal of records, etc.
I hope and pray that Floyd Landis is clean, but if he isn't then punish him harshly.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
The Big Race
The nicest thing I saw last night was a very subtle thing. We had a kid from my town make the Footlocker National Cross-Country Chanpionship. He was the top finisher from town, and was recognized for it. The woman who is head coach of the kid's program I coach with had commented how wrong it is that she's more recognized in the local running community than he is. Last night at least did something to help correct that.
I figured to run about a 22:00 and that my son would run about 28:30. He finished right on schedule, while I was about a minute and a quarter slow. I blame a part of my slowness on starting (partly at my son's insistence) too far back, but I think I was still a tad slower than I should have been. The other kid's coach slipped in just under 20:00, while her son, a rival of my son, finished about 4 minutes behind him. The local sports reporter put in a race he was proud of, running a 19:40. Several others of the kid's program also ran, most posting very solid performances.
Festivities continued until about nine o'clock. It was a very nice event which provided entertainment for many, exercise for some, and some very pleasant diversion. The local restaurants seemed to be full, despite the traffic/parking difficulties posed by 1500 runners being in town.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Just Like Old Times
In the old days, races were held on open roads, because no police force would close a perfectly good road for a bunch of wackos running along in their boxers. This race keeps that tradition alive. After the race, you get soda, some chowder...sorry, this is New England...chowdah (and it's made right, not vegetable soup crap the Yankee fans will tell you is chowder, nor one of those sissified creamy things, this is the real deal, made with clam broth, milk, onions, celery, potatoes, and clams) and after a long race, it tastes "wicked good!"
Old time races were also cheap to enter, without needing to pay police or buy T-shirts, there wasn't much cost involved...a few trophies or medals, that was it. If any of you want to come by, to enjoy this old-time race (it's in eastern CT on August 5th), please click the link at the bottom of this post for details. If you think you're a good enough runner to get comped, you may be right, fill in the entry along with a note, and if the race management thinks you're worthy, you'll get a number without charge.
Finally, a word about this race, it's held to honor Johnny Kelley (the younger), the 1957 Boston Marathon champ and two-time (maybe three) Olympian. Kelley lives in the area (as do several other former top-flight runners), and most will be participating in the race in some form. If you notice the "WLMK" on the application, it's not a local radio station, rather, it's there because the race management wants to also remember John's wife, Jessie, who passed away a few years back. The Kelley's, significantly through Mrs. Kelley's efforts, made their home a welcoming place for area runners. The "WLMK" stands for "We Love Mrs. Kelley," a rememberance of a woman who did a lot for the area running community.
Any of you who want to find me, look for the guy with the Shore AC shirt.
Race app with details here (pdf format).
Monday, July 24, 2006
Good-Bye Howard Johnson's
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Today, I was back. I did about 50 minutes, probably about 6 miles. My right foot was whining a bit, so the lacrosse ball came out. I keep trying to balance exfoliating injured skin and not causing additional injury by scratching. It's not easy, nor comfortable. Also, I try to use the shower to debride the more serious wounds. That usually entails scrubbing out the hardened ooze in order to let the skin get some air and hopefully thin the crust. I can tell that progress is being made, but it seems awfully slow.
Meantime, this morning, about 1/3 through my run, I heard the tick, tick of footseps behind me. It proved to be a man who had a few years on me who is prepping for the New York Marathon (I guess maybe I should do the proper kiss-up thing and say, ING New York City Marathon). In the few minutes we talked, he told me that he was a hockey player and mountain biker and was struggling with fitting in his marathon work. He seemed strong and his leg turnover was really good. I'd guess that he was about 7 or 8 years older than I am, and his conditioning seemed remarkable. I didn't get his name, so I probably won't be able to ID him in the results.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Signs of Improvement
Meantime, I've managed to train each day, though I won't go hard feeling as I do. Just lowering my right hand makes my wrist throb. I haven't run today, but I'll be going shortly.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
I'd washed with soap fairly quickly after the exposure, but the FDA website suggests rubbing alcohol. I'll do that next time. Meantime, I'm watching my popped blisters put forth a yellowish ooze that crusts over. It's nasty, but I suspect that what I'm going through pales in comparison to Vince Hemingson's experience with a chemical peeling agent being used on his entire face (against the doctor's suggestion). Vince's bitching can be found here.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
An Epic Struggle
I won't give away the details, but this stage, finishing with the legendary climb up the Alpe d'Huez (pronounced alp duh-wez), was superb. A word of warning, the field of riders was so broken up that unless you are a regular tour follower, because so much is going on in so many places, feeling somewhat lost may be the order of the day. Don't worry, it'll all become clear by the end.
Saturday was a very long day for me, starting out with a track meet (which I did not run in), then the tour of Asbury Park, dropping my son at my in-laws (70 miles away), seeing Hello Dolly at the local theater, and finally the visit to the club.
In my poison ivy battle, new bumps keep rising. I hope the progress slows soon. Most of the new spots seem like they'll be less severe, but the little bit between my index and middle finger of my right hand is particularly annoying. It's swollen and blistered, and I feel it every time I move my hand.
Monday, July 17, 2006
I woke up this morning with a moderate rash on the inside of both wrists, more severe on the right one, also a splash across my belly and some on, shall we say, a very private area.
Do not attempt this at home, this man is either a trained professional or a total idiot. Handle poison ivy with caution or you may wind up like me.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Greetings From Asbury Park!
Here's a shot of the front of the awning.
The great old hotel in Asbury Park, NJ is the Berkeley-Carteret. It underwent a major overhaul about 20 years ago.
Convention Hall is another of Asbury Park's great old buildings. When the Morro Castle (a ship) burned in the 1930's, its burned out hulk washed ashore behind Convention Hall. What is popularly called Convention Hall is actually two buildings, the Walter Reade Paramount Theater on the landward side, and Convention Hall on piers above the beach. They're connected by a covered section of Asbury Park's famous boardwalk.
James Bradley was the founder of Asbury Park. His statue stands in the square between the Berkeley-Carteret and Convention Hall.
This Howard Johnson's, in a space age style, stands just south of Convention Hall.
Any of you who are interested in more serious popular history of this area should check out Helen Chantal Pike's website.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Some Utica Pictures
A shot of the planes doing the flyover. I've got to say that a warplane doing a low pass fast is truly an awesome thing. I'm glad I wasn't on the "other" side.
These dots of smoke are the result of aerial fireworks bursts.
This truck was drifting around during the weekend. This is the picture I like best from the weekend. How can you not smile when you see something like this?
The Horror, The Horror
Though his pursuer was only in his brain, the bursts of speed were necessary. Need I tell you that my fartlek workout this morning felt like a chore. Workouts in summer are often a challenge - Do you workout late, when humidity is lower, but temperature are higher? Or do you go early, when temperatures are lower, but the air is nearly saturated? I prefer the early route - this morning, the temperature was 75°F and the dew point was 70°F. Put simply, the air was so wet, you could almost squeeze the water out.
Meantime, my toenail on my right big toe has been bugging me since Sunday. It fell victim to the downhills of the Boilermaker. Blood has pooled beneath it, so I'm facing a year of the dreaded "black toenail." As if my toenails weren't ugly enough!
"The Horror, The Horror"
- Colonel Kurtz in Apocalyspe Now
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
A Near Miss
During my run today, I found myself needing to cross a road, so I was waiting for oncoming traffic to pass. A dump truck operated by our town stopped and waved me across. I headed out into the roadway, and as I entered the opposing lane heard and saw the car behind him accelerating hard to come around him. I picked up my pace to get out of his way. (I think, but am not certain that he slowed back down a bit once he saw me.) Turned, flipped him the bird, looked at him, and went to work to get a description. I got a partial license plate (missing a single digit) and the vehicle make and color. I finished my run by going to the police station, which is near my home in order to file a complaint. After a half-hour of debate/paperwork/license plate checking, I was told that they couldn't identify with sufficient reliability to issue a ticket. I tried!
Since I couldn't get the law to punish him or put fear into him, I can only hope that he had that rush of adrenaline and the ensuing feeling of nausea that often happens when you realize you just did something truly dumb and dangerous. Probably not, self-centered buttheads aren't good at guilt.
Remember, guns don't kill people, dopes with cars do. (OK, dopes with guns get some, too.)
Monday, July 10, 2006
What's With All The Ads?
I am aware you've been reading my blog for a while. Believe it or not, the ads have been there for several months. I had made a change recently, removing the message about the kids at Russell Elementary School in Missoula, MT, and adding Google's search. It does point out how point-of-view changes our perception. I'm always amazed how different a route I run in one direction can look very different when I run it in the other direction.
Regarding the benefit of the ads, I will say that the money I've earned thus far is virtually nil. Perhaps I need to start blogging about mortgages and financial services, because then I could get linked to more premium keywords.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Snapshots of the Utica Boilermaker
A few of my favorite moments from this year included:
The Hall of Fame Induction:
Each year, with the possible exception of Olympic years, the National Distance Running Hall of Fame holds their induction. This year (2006), the inductees were: Gerry Lindgren, Marty Liquori and Patti Catalano Dillon. The George Sheehan Award was given to Roger Robinson, a Kiwi, and one of running's most eloquent writers. Also at the ceremony were several Hall members including: Ted Corbitt, Nina Kuscsik, Bill Rodgers, Katherine Switzer, and Frank Shorter. In addition, the Hanson's team was there in force. This event is held in Utica's Stanley Theater, a magnificently restored movie palace.
A Dinner Recommendation:
Following the Hall of Fame Induction, I figured to follow the advice of Rachael Ray, and ask a local for a suggestion of where to eat. As we exited the theater, I asked a guy moving the cars out front (GM is a primary sponsor of the race) if he was from Utica, his reply was, "No, but I think this guy is." He was wearing a race commitee shirt. We described what we wanted, and he and his wife suggested a place called Grimaldi's. It was a very nice meal, and very reasonably priced in an old-fashioned restaurant environment. In the course of the conversation, I also expressed how special the Boilermaker is to me. When we got back to the motel, I looked up who this guy was in the race management, it turned out that he was the #2 guy overall. That made me especially glad that I'd voiced my love for this race.
A Wonderful Shirt:
As I was running through the golf course, approaching the four-mile mark, I saw a man wearing a hand-written shirt that said something like this:
The most important women in my life:
1) My wife
2) My daughter
3) Sara Nac
*order may vary depending on conditions
(a word of explanation may be in order - the beer served at the post-race party is Saranac beer)
A Small Act of Bravery:
Around the five-mile mark, I was running in proximity of a wheelchair on a slight downhill section. (Those of you who don't know, the chairs, especially the conventional, non-racing ones are difficult to make climb, but descend quite well.) Anyway, there was a young man running in the path of the chair, wearing a walkman. The guy in the chair was calling out asking for right-of-way, but this fellow was, by virtue of the headphones, out of touch with his surroundings. There was a guy just off my left shoulder who sprinted a few strides and through physical contact was able to break into this guy's world and make him aware of the danger he was posing to himself and the guy in the chair. His efforts shouldn't have been necessary, but that doesn't diminish the rightness of his act, putting himself and his race at some risk to take care of another racer.
Around the six-mile mark, there's a short section of divided roadway. On the left side stood a young man of perhaps seven. His hand was out looking for the high-fives that many runners like to give kids. I bent my route a bit to be sure he got one. (On some other sections of the route, there are kids by the drove awaiting the high-fives. Here there was a solitary child.)
Encounter With A Legend:
Occasionally, throughout the race, a runner would appear on the fringes of the course. Most of the runners immediately recognized him as Bill Rodgers, the four-time winner of both New York and Boston, though I suspect many of the spectators had no clue who the old, blond guy was. At around the 10K mark, he was at my shoulder. I greeted him, and he responded with a "hey." It's a memory I'll cherish.
A Joke Appreciated:
At the post-race party, I was hanging with one of my buddies, and we'd been riding each other much of the day. As it came time to leave, I gave him a firm handshake and said, "Saying goodbye to you is alway a pleasure." He caught it, and really appreciated it, promptly repeating it to his girlfriend and the others in the group.
Once again, I'd like to express my thanks to the race management and the City and people of Utica and the surrounding area for making me feel special as a runner.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
The Tyranny Of The Log
In it, you record your training, your race performances, often some details about the day and your route, often the weather, perhaps your mood. It doesn't need to be big or fancy or specialized, it just has to be kept. Many fine runners use spiral notebooks or week-at-a-glance calendars.
If you question the value of a log, ask the finest runners you know about their logs. I'm confident they'll answer immediately and without hesitation. Their answer won't be "I don't have one." Instead, it will be, "What do you want to know?" They all have them. This weekend, I'll be at the National Distance Running Hall of Fame, and one of the things included in many of the displays about athletes is one of their logs. They get used, the guys who are the best put information in thoroughly and accurately. It lets them go back later and mine the data. They can find out why they did well two years ago, or look for patterns they don't like. I can't tell you how valuable they are.
I began the year keeping my log on computer, but technology made it complex and I got sloppy and gave it up. I must get back to it. It makes applying structure and discipline easier, and there are few tougher taskmasters than seeing that blank date staring at you. My new log starts this weekend.
Friday, July 07, 2006
A Simple Goal
I'll be making a second post today that should point to one of the roots of my struggle and show what I'm doing to correct it.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Free Wi-Fi In Central Park
There is also a group called NYCwireless who seems to be trying to wire more of the city on a grassroots basis.
Free wi-fi in public areas is a big step towards making the internet ubiquitous and I am in favor of it.
Update: The story that started this is here.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
A Puzzling Situation
The thing that I find puzzling about this is that among the items shut down are the state lottery and Atlantic City's casinos. The number I've heard on lost casino revenue is $1.2 or $1.3 million/day. I'm sure the lottery also generates meaningful revenue on a daily basis. I'm sure the Governor wants to keep the pressure high on the legislature, but I can't understand his stance on the casinos. Apparently, there are state authorities (I think called casino inspectors) who are required to be there for the casinos to operate.
My feeling is that the closure of the casinos will cause many Atlantic City gamblers to try alternatives they haven't tried, such as the Indian casinos in Connecticut, and perhaps some of them will continue to frequent those casinos when the casinos in Atlantic City reopen.
My question is why not either let the casinos operate with the inspectors absent or designate the casino inspectors as essential. This would allow the state to continue to receive revenue from the casinos and not cause the Atlantic City gamblers to investigate their competition.
Further, I understand that the missed work by non-essential employees will likely have to be made up with overtime AND that the time off may need to be paid because of contractual agreements with state employees. The result may be that this shutdown may cost the state a LOT of money. If it puts New Jersey on the right path, it may be worthwhile, but I'm not very confident of that.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
I caught the finish and saw Alejandro Valverde crash out of the race with a broken collar bone. He wasn't alone in being taken out of the race due to crashes, earlier in the day, Erik Dekker and Fred Rodriguez also crashed out. Yesterday, Danilo DiLuca didn't start due to illness, he was running a fever. Understand that getting eliminated from the Tour is the equivalent of being taken out of a marathon at mile 3 after months of training.
Today's stage was stage 3, although it was the fourth day of racing. The race opened on Saturday with a short time trial (individuals racing against the clock) designated as the prologue. The Tour lasts 3 weeks, plus the weekends and usually includes two rest days. During much of the race, the racers are riding for 3-5 hours a day. Since biking doesn't beat you up the way running does, doing it for that long is possible.
Today's stage was won by Matthias Kessler, who rides for T-Mobile. He'd made a similar attempt to "steal" the stage yesterday, but was caught about 50 meters from the finish by the sprinters in the field. Today, the tactic worked. The overall lead, the famous yellow jersey, was taken over today by Tom Boonen, a Belgian sprinter with the Quick Step team. Australian Michael Rodgers, who rides for the T-Mobile team is in second, 1 second back. American George Hincapie, who rides for Discovery, and one of Lance Armstrong's key lieutenants for many years is in third, five seconds in back of the leader.
My message here is that along with being superb athletes, bike racers are always at risk of crashing, and a serious crash can end a season, career or even a life. It's that level of focus that is needed to be a great racer, and I made this post to point out how remarkable Lance Armstrong's 7 wins are...that's 7 years of three weeks racing without serious illness and without a serious crash.
Monday, July 03, 2006
A Not-So-Long Day
If you want a vision of Albert, picture Burgess Meredith as the trainer in the Rocky films. He wears glasses with a librarian's leash on them. There's a wire from some bridgework across several of his teeth, and he's tough as nails.
He is actually not a shoe repair guy anymore, he retired about 2 years ago, closing up his shop. I had only seen him once since then, and it was very shortly after the closing. Anyway, Albert will turn 89 this summer. He covers 3-5 miles daily and does 25 pushups when he's done. (He used to do 100, and when I teased him, he acknowledged it was a concession to aging.) We headed back to his car, then headed out a short ways together, then he headed back, while I aimed for home.
It was a real pleasure to see Albert, and he sets an example I hope to be able to come close to emulating as I age.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Accosted In A Parking Lot
I looked into the car and saw very little, but as I looked a bit more, I noticed sunglasses that looked like a masculine size and shape. I continued to examine the vehicle, when suddenly a shout blasted across the parking lot, "Hey, what're you doing to that car?" I looked up and saw my friend, Manny.
We both had a laugh and caught up on a few things. It was nice to run into him.