Thursday, March 15, 2018

USATF Indoors

The USATF Indoor National track meet is this weekend near FedEx Field in Maryland.   I am headed that way today to run in all the sprint events and a couple of relays.  I am a member of the SoCal Track club who likes to compete for the team title at these National events.  We were second at the outdoors last year in Baton Rouge.    Hopefully I can score enough points to be helpful.  I am in 5 events, two relays and 3 individual races.  I think I can score about a dozen points--we will see.  

I have been training as much as possible.  I have done a lot of core and hip related work and that's section is pretty strong.   I had a issue with some back pain last week and I can get through that with some heat.   Some of these aches and pains are probably the "new normal" but I do not want to admit that is the case.   I have been working hardest on the 60 and I hope to make a good show in that event.  The 200 and 400 will be OK, depending on how I feel, I hope to get points in all these events.

Linda uses a group in Franklin that works with Feldenkreis principles to get the body back into a normal state and those sessions have  been very useful.  I have also added in some Pilates Reformer and I have the joints and muscles loosened up and ready.    Every little bit helps. 

Today I have noticed the nerves have been coming along and I am getting these anxious periods where the heart races and in a few seconds you return to normal.   Just aggravating, but it means I am getting the mental part ready.  The mental part is a very large part of the running, you got to be able to go through the emotions and keep your cool and be ready to perform.   I learned a lot last season in the three National events and hopefully I can be able to enjoy the weekend, run well and get a medal or two for my efforts.

Reports to follow....

Thursday, February 8, 2018

What about the wind?

I am in Tulsa, OK this week and guess what?  It is windy!  The wind is a constant in this part of the world.  We had some decent weather today and I headed to the Memorial High School field in Tulsa for some running on their 6 lane track.   Decent weather here  is 15 to 18 MPH wind, 11% humidity and 60 degrees at 4:00 PM.   

The wind on this track is typically right down the front stretch, which is also shady.  To stay as warm as possible, I do my work in the sun on the back stretch.  Today I worked on 100 meters repeats on the synthetic turf into the wind.  I brought my parachute, but it was not needed.  

I ran four 100 meter repeats  into the wind and after getting some pretty good work, I got out my stopwatch and timed two 100 meters into the wind--15.94 and 15.90 were the times.   I then ran two sets with the wind  with similar effort and  that was different.   With the wind, the times were 14.73 and 14.60 seconds !   The moral of the story-- the wind kicks your butt while training and makes for a much more difficult workout.   As I rule, I run my short sprints into the wind.   More power and effort are required as the pressure on your body is basically doubled and I think the quality of work is better. Racing is different, you need upper and lower body power to keep your form and progress when bucking the wind.  It is an hamstring nightmare on many occasions.    You do not learn anything running with the wind.

I am starting to ramp up my training as I get chances to get on the track.  About 4 weeks to go until the Indoor Nationals.  I am really interested in running the 60 meters and that will be training priority going forward. I do not need that much fitness to run the real short stuff and the longer sprints will be a priority when we get outdoors.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Vegas Baby!!

Last weekend Linda and I made it to Vegas for a quick two nights to celebrate her 16th 39th birthday.  It was as advertised and we had a great time and were just exhausted when we made it home for the Super Bowl  game.     I napped into the second quarter.
The reason for this trip was Van Morrison.  He is a bucket list show for us and he did a couple shows at Caesars Palace and we scored some tickets last July.   The fact that the show was the day after Linda's birthday just made the show that much sweeter.  Van delivered with a 100 minute show with great sound and the band and vocals were really entertaining. His show is a very bluesy.  This bucket list item did not disappoint. 

FYI-- the Faith Hill song lyrics echoed thru my head all weekend. "Hey baby, let's go to Vegas, bet on love and let it ride,...."

We stayed at the Venetian, which is a very large suite hotel right on the strip and within walking distance of Caesars.  The hotel was a classic Vegas design, you need to go through the casino for anything, and after a while it becomes habit.   The Venetian has a casino on the first floor and on the second floor has dozens of shops and restaurants and most places are open 24/7.  Saturday morning I went down to the first floor to get some coffee and was stunned at 7:00 AM it was still very full of people.   Nobody goes to bed!  Everybody was still up and  the look of exhaustion was very common.   I think almost everyone was drinking a beer as well...   Welcome to Vegas Baby!!   I guess getting sleep is just an option when in Vegas.   

Saturday was concert day and in the morning we walked the strip to check out the street show.  For example we saw--Dr. Evil, Woody and Buzz Lightyear, Chewbacca, Yoda, Mickey Mouse, a lot of show girls trying to get you into the show, and the normal other crazy stuff  big cities produce.  The city was very clean and busy and since everyone was a tourist, it was very friendly as well.    If you want to see a show, shop, high end dining, lay by the pool or gamble--Vegas has you covered.  We enjoyed the strip a lot.  Do not bring any change for gambling--they do not use coins anymore.  Save the weight! 

We did a lot of window shopping and Harry Winston had a very nice diamond necklace in this window for $410,000 retail..  I know we all have a special girl, but that is definitely high end stuff.  All the high end  designers have shops in town and the stores have some really really nice stuff.  Like I said, we window shopped.    While in the Crystal Mall we took a walk about and Linda sat on a little sculptured seat and I took some pictures of her.    As we completed the Southern swing of our  strip tour we stopped near New York New York at an outdoor Irish Pub to get some lunch.  Linda was interested in looking up something on Google while we waited on our food, and she soon  discovered she did not have her phone!! CRAP!   Ok where could it be-- and the answer from both our lips was the Crystal Mall.    You are in a strange town and lose your phone --that just plain sucks. How do we get it back??

This story ends well--relax for a second.   With my phone, we used the Find My Phone function by logging on with Linda's info and started the recovery process.   Linda activated the "Lost Phone" function on the Find My Phone screen and added my phone number.  When you do that, the lost phone indicates it is lost and gives a contact number.  Once we activated the function, we got a call from the security at the mall from Linda's phone in a minute or two.  Whew!    Problem solved and rather quickly.   We finished our lunch and returned to the Crystal Mall and chatted with their security people who returned the phone.  Linda showed an ID and we were off again.  I think this may happen quite a bit, they had a routine procedure in place.    The Find My Phone function saved the day on this deal.  Thanks Apple.

We had a wonderful meal at the Eiffel Tower restaurant that overlooks the strip and the Bellagio water show in the late afternoon. We even had our picture made, just like the good old days in night clubs.
  Great food and service and just a fun place to eat. On to the show!

We wandered over to the show from the restaurant.   Linda played some poker on a quarter machine and we were getting close to show time and she took a voucher for $5 to cash out.  I lost my $10 real fast, I just could not get any cards you know. 

Just a crowd shot when we were spotted!
Now the story becomes way more fiction than fact.  After the show, Linda had the $5 credit to play. You go through the casino when you leave the show--it is Vegas-- so she was playing another quarter machine right down the steps from the show exit as a large crowd files by to their machines.  I was out of gambling money already and was checking out the crowd and actually took the normal crowd shots with my phone-- the place was full.  Without any warning, two of Linda's of cousins appeared out of the crowd and recognized me!!  How did this happen?? Immediately there was hugging and screaming and acting a fool all around.  Patrick and Lisa, who are brother and sister, were at the show as well.  He lives in Atlanta and she lives in Denver, wow!   No idea they were in town....
This event has some long odds, but we are in Vegas! That was just nuts how that went down.   We chatted for quite a while and then headed back to our room, we had an early flight out of town.

What a great trip and it was definitely a birthday to remember. 

The Grand Canyon that we hiked in November.  Looks different at 35,000 ft.

Sunday, January 21, 2018


I travel Internationally for work  at least annually and the chance of something going berserk is pretty darn good.   Last week I was in Puerto Vallarta for a sales meeting and I got the 'call'.  Linda was just ready to leave the house and heard a very disturbing 'boom' and then water blasting out of the wall from behind the toilet!  What??? Yes, a water line exploded and water was literally gushing out of the wall. Of course, I was in a meeting with my phone off, what kind of husband am I?   

Linda was not able to find the water cut off valve to the entire house--because the valve is in a horrible location for access.  So water was just gushing into the bathroom.  Linda was able to get the neighbor on the phone and he found the shut off valve and got the gusher stopped. Thanks John. She also diverted the water from the rest of the house with some towels to the drain in the floor of the bathroom area--it is a stone floor.    By then I looked at my phone and called home to a very shaken wife.   We also have a friend that is a very good handy man and he was coming to make some repairs to the line and get the water back on in the house.  Dan put a valve on the supply to the toilet and got the water back on and I was off the hook.  Thanks Dan!!  I would be home in 3 days.

Ok, back on line, but what happened here??   The house is mostly copper piping, but there is some plastic pieces added to the copper in the lower bathroom, and one of these plastic pieces broke completely  and basically exploded inside the wall. 
The fix was eliminating the plastic and running copper all the way.  As we redo the bathroom--next project-- all the plastic will be removed and this crap will not happen again.  I also made a change in the shut off valve for the house.   There were two pieces of 3/4 inch copper pipe in storage and I ran the new line to the hot water area and put in a real shut off valve. A major improvement that was sadly needed. 
Now we can kill the water pressure without crawling through dirt for 20 feet or removing a large aluminum panel. 
As far the sprinter stuff, I have been sick for a month and just trying to get healthy.  Working out--not happening now.  Over a month ago I got a cold or flu and felt better in a couple days, but I had some really dry skin and also was getting some splotches on my body, arms and legs.  They made a pattern of sort and were bad enough to see my doctor.   She had no answers, but I did do some steroids to help the healing.   They are finally gone, but I have no idea what happened.  I looked like a character out of the original Star Trek for a couple of weeks. I had scary skin.     We visited June a few weeks back  and she managed to give a cold to me and Linda and I am finally just getting off the constant cough drop regiment.   I would like to do some running, but the breathing is still a few days from being ready.   The last month has been tough.  Another problem this season is the flu shot I got in October was junk.  The wrong strain was predicted and the shot was ineffective and I know I had some flu already as well.   I wanna be better really bad!   
How about some good news?  Linda is a real trooper and managed the water explosion very well and for that I am very thankful and love her dearly.  She helped avoid a real mess which would have been a really complicated insurance claim and repair.   Love you bunches.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Holiday Time


This picture of June  just makes Christmas worth all the effort.   All the wonder is rolled up into this shot with Rudolf and the tree.   June  will be going through her first Holiday Season and I hope she has a blast just like the rest of us.  The dress she is wearing was used for her baptism a couple weeks ago.  She will be our star this season!!  Josh Simon married Betty and Linsi and also did the baptism.  I would say this is the first fruit of his marriage ceremonies.... Josh is finally graduated from school and is now ordained and will  start building his flock in Vermont very soon.  He is a great person and we wish him the best of luck. He is one of Betty's friends from high school who would occasionally hang around our farm house with the other kids.  What a great story!  Josh is batting 1.000......
This next photo is an absolute classic.  While waiting to see Santa, June just started her nap and her we are!  Santa held her and set up the shot perfectly.   What fun.....

Linda and I will go to Wauwatosa in January to celebrate with June and the families we have in that area.  I can't wait to hold her again.

Even though it is the Holidays, I started to nibble at more than every piece of food within sight. The food is way too tempting.  I am getting started with the Spring indoor program to help keep the weight off and also get my running muscles  to work their way out of hibernation.   I am running a couple days a week, doing a little yoga/pilates, and getting to the weight room a couple days a week as well.   I had a head cold last weekend and that slowed any progress, but it was basically over in a  couple of days.  As a result, I have little sore bits on my body again--track season must be coming!

Besides the running, we have an incredibly fun concert calendar booked this year.  We see Margo Price at the Ryman in May--that should be electric,   Van Morrison in Vegas on Linda's birthday--that is bucket list stuff and Tower of Power at the City Winery in February for just plain fun.   Linda has never been to Vegas, so that trip should be incredible.  I have been there once and the freak show is really something.  Who knows what we will find???  

Have a great Holiday Season and enjoy it with your friends and family.  Chat at you next year.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Turkey Trot

If the Canyon was not enough torture I ran a 5K on Thanksgiving morning.    I run this race every year to support the local charity --Graceworks and to remind myself of why I am a sprinter.   I am a sprinter because I cannot get enough air into my system to do longer distances....period. 

This year we did run the complete 5.0K course and I finished in 30:56, which was 13 of 43 in my age group.  I have always be trying for beating 30 minutes but I have too many excuses this year, and they do not matter because they are just excuses.  Last year they cut off a section because the lead out people screwed up badly.   We ran a 4.45 K last year and I was really fast in comparison!  The weather was substantially cooler this year with a race time temperature( 8:00 AM)  of 30 degrees and clear. There was over 3000 that started the race and it grows a little bigger each year.   The event is well organized and is easy to run if you are interested.  

I did run pretty hard this year with my heart rate average of 98% of my maximum  for the race and I needed to walk several times to get the heart rate below 105%, I pushed it, but there is not enough endurance in this frame to make it happen.  I am also a little heavier than I want. The Canyon hike added some poundage to my hips and legs, it is great to have the extra power, but in this situation  it is wasted strength.  That fact alone, tells me that training needs to be specific for every type of activity.    I did not have any soreness from the Canyon hike and I was generally rested and ready to go. 

Speaking of training, I am starting to think about getting my plan together for next season.   I am not completely resting, but I need to get some activity started to get the weight under control--I weight 201 right now and raced last season at 193. And as the next holiday approaches I will begin to get a little more serious about doing some real running and strength work to help out my legs.   I do a fair amount of core work now to keep the hips and hamstrings strong.  I have also been doing some pilates which I enjoy.  It is a great way to stretch out my lower legs and feet--I always need work on my feet.  

Now, on to getting the Christmas  decorations all assembled and hung up so Santa will want to stop by this year with some goodies.  

Monday, November 20, 2017

Bright Angel Trail Finale

This YouTube link is to a 10 minute video of our group finishing the Rim to Rim hike.   I was wearing my GoPro on my head and tried to give a flavor of the scenery and the physical nature of the hike.  The person behind me is Patrick Church our guide and we were yapping about various stuff as we finished up.

This link is for the trip to Plateau Point and Colorado River view