Friday, July 29, 2011

Random Thoughts Friday

I've been pondering over a bunch of randomness from my last run. Here are few of randomness.

  • The Sound of Music-My parents worked to instill some "culture" in me as a child. I remember having to watch countless hours of this movie. A few years ago, my wife and I bought this movie. I attribute this to "Von Trapp syndrome." Ironic how I am passing on the tradition to my kids.
  • Saucony Kinvara-Currently my new favorite shoe. It's lighter which feels great and the blister that normally shows up after 5 or 6 miles doesn't. In addition, they were free. I wonder if free shoes work better than shoes I have to work to get? I was always told I would appreciate things more if I have to pay for them myself. Maybe I'll stop liking them after they fall apart. 
  • Pacing-In addition to my regular running, i've been able to pace several races. I get all the benefits of the regular racer, but without the cost. I'm liking this. 
  • New Marathons-Races with obstacles are the newest craze. I've been wondering when the retail giants are going to jump on the bandwagon. I could foresee a time when WalMart has a store to store marathon.  I could easily map a store to store marathon. They are missing out on potential revenue by not considering this option. They could increase the level of difficulty by requiring each runner to race through the store, pick up a bottle of Powerade and maneuver through a checkout during double coupon days. At the same time, I've been to WalMart the day after Thanksgiving and had to wait hours to get through the line. I didn't get any medal then...people are missing out!
  • 140 laps to go-I was doing intervals and for the final interval lap I pushed it as hard as I could. I completely obliterated my ultimate marathon pace. If I can keep up that pace for 140 more laps, then I'll be on the cover of Runner's World. 
  • Runner's World-I wonder if I would wear a shirt or not in my cover photo.
At this point, I was done with my run. I'll be pacing the Timpanogos Half Marathon this weekend. The downside to summer racing...start times. The race starts at 5:40 am. Which means I get to be at the bus location by 4:15 am.

I'll have an update after the race.

Monday, July 25, 2011

'Almost Holiday' in Utah

This July is one of the most memorable. It's right up there with other memorable July's. Here are a few from my past. I'm not clear if the ranking is best remembered to least because the event sticks out in my mind and therefor it is epic. Or the ones at the bottom are most important because I have suppressed the memory in an effort to forget.

  1. Burning down the carport. A friend and I discovered that if you take the lead weights off of car tires and melted it down, you can pour the melted lead into a dixie cup of water and it would make cool designs (yeah I was 11 at the time). The one thing I didn't know was that just because the coals in the grill looked like they weren't burning doesn't mean you have to throw gasoline on it. 
  2. Going out to breakfast the day of a test in High School. This was a great plan. We'd meet early for breakfast, quiz each other, then go to school and take the test. We discovered that it was much more fun to go out to breakfast and then head over to the arcade than it was to return to school. 
  3. Making a good impression with the new neighbors. The crabapple fight that I started within a few days of moving into a new neighborhood. It didn't make the best first impression.
  4. Dog Names. I learned that naming my dog Sara wasn't a bright of idea when the girl who lived two houses down was also named Sara. I couldn't figure out why my parents kept recommending other names until the time that I called out to the dog and the neighbor girl answered.
  5. Fireworks shipped right to my door step. In my senior year of high school, I teamed up with several friends to order fireworks from a catalog and had them shipped to me. The old neighbors still talk about the best 4th of July our neighborhood had seen. Yeah, different era when UPS delivered all sorts of cool stuff.
This July has been memorable because the state changed the fireworks laws. It used to be that you could only have ground based fireworks that went no more than 10 feet off the ground. This year, the max is 150 ft and you can have ariels, etc. It used to also be that fireworks were legal the end of June to July 7. However, this year they are legal June 27 to July 25. We've had fireworks all month long and I've enjoyed them. They rival the ones I had to buy and get shipped to me. Why are the fireworks legal for the whole month? Because Utah has an "almost holiday" in July called Pioneer Day.

What is Pioneer Day? It's in memory of the mormon pioneers who officially settled on July 24, 1847. I have a couple ancestors mingled among these first groups that arrived.

I'm all for a holiday, but this one throws the whole state off. Some places are open while others are closed. The banks are closed, but if I overdraw something on this day, they still charge me. Pools are open, some retail places are closed. Some people get the 24th off while others are told where they can put their holiday.  It's a half holiday.....and for some reason, I generally feel like that is how it gets celebrated by me too. The one daughter still had dance class today, but many of my clients took the day off. So I worked in the morning and took the family to see Harry Potter in the afternoon. 

Any odd holidays celebrated in your neck of the woods?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Electronic Death

I have no idea what the problem could be...
"Dad, the kid's computer is making funny noises and I can't log in..."

After a great dinner and a movie with my wife, these are not the words I am excited to hear. I just had a conversation earlier in the day with the wife about when we'll get the Macbook "paper weight" repaired. We set a date for early September. It goes back to my old saying "Don't commit to fixing something because the other appliances will get jealous and break.."

Sure enough, the kid's computer's (my old Mac G5) hard drive seems to have bit the dust. I can't get it to even recognize that a hard drive exists. I know enough about the systems that I am fairly confident, almost certain, hoping that it is true crossing my fingers that I can take it in and get all the data pulled from it and buy a new hard drive for it. It could use an upgrade with the amount of photos and songs that the kids have put on it since I turned them loose on it. I'm sure that the computer would have been just fine if I hadn't talked about fixing the laptop in the same room as this.

We should have carried on the conversation about the computer like we do when we are talking about Christmas–on a date. It should have been a conversation over dinner somewhere and it would have gone something like "The lasagne looks good, I think it is time to get the laptop fixed. Or maybe I'll get the chicken..." After 16 years of marriage, anything we can do to spice up the date night conversation is a score in my book. Alas, I forgot the rule and mentioned it in front of not one, but four other computer related equipment: the G5, the printer, my new rockin' iMac 27" and Macbook Pro.

The iMac and Macbook Pro know that they are the current top dogs in the electronic pecking order so they are good from a self-esteem point of view. The printer and the G5 however were on shaky ground. They've both served us well, but were getting up there in years. I think the idea of being dropped lower on the food chain finally got to both of them. The G5 gave up the ghost last night. Once the G5 went out, the printer was left. The added pressure was too much for the printer to handle. It went the direction of the G5 and stopped functioning also. We performed some radical life-saving techniques that involved a variety of screw drivers, cotton balls, cussing and were able to revive it. I think it is on life support.

I hadn't even considered this...
With these two items non-functioning I have a couple options available to me:

  1. Send both of the to Goodwill so that I won't feel guilty about throwing them away. Someone else can do it for me.
  2. Open them both up and tinker with them. My profession has nothing to do with tinkering, but maybe as a novice I will invent a transporter or warp drive or something.
  3. Open them up, fill them with dirt, plant flowers in them and give them to my wife as an anniversary gift use them as decoration on the deck.
  4. Put them on the side of my house and see if they'll sprout new baby computers.
  5. Leave them on a neighbour's door step in a bassinet with a note about how I couldn't take care of them anymore.
No matter which option choose, I will be purchasing some new equipment soon. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I Didn't Think a Person Could Sweat This Much

I did something the other day, that I've been putting off every time I walk downstairs. I took my P90X set of DVDs off the shelf and put one in as a fun family movie as I work to add some cross training into my workouts. It was a cool morning but I didn't get up early enough to get in a run so I felt that this was a good time to do the Plyo workout.

I bought the P90X system thinking that it would be a great way to improve my core. I worked my way through the system, saw some great improvement and gratefully put it on the shelf to let it age and give it to my son in 10 years as a wedding gift and to see how much dust I could collect before I decided to run through the course again. It lasted 1 1/2 years. I occasionally have done the Ab Ripper X as a reminder why I don't do the P90X system any more. It's because I enjoy being able to walk without pain in little known parts of my body.

One of the hard parts about the system is the little timer that is at the bottom of the screen that shows how much time I have left before the torture will end. The timer moves about as fast as the clocks in my High School would move when I really needed to go to the bathroom, but could only go in between classes. Time comes to almost complete halt. It is though this workout will never end. I'm starting to sweat and I haven't made it past the warm up yet. By the half-way point, my legs are burning, the shirt I am wearing is drenched with sweat and I'm having to wipe my brow every few minutes. I'm beginning to wonder if I could potentially dehydrate in an Air Conditioned basement.

I'm struggling through the "leap frog squats" and "rock star jumps" when my daughter walks in. She exclaims "I love those..." and starts with me. She's giggling and I'm struggling. Finally after a couple workouts, she looks over to me and says "You sweat a lot." and "That guy who only has one leg is better at this than you." Yeah, I'm thinking the same thing. The workout finally comes to an end and I go through the cool down. I'm not fully cooled down and visions of turning the sprinklers on so I can just go collapse in them comes to mind.

The next morning, I got out of bed and remembered why I had put the P90X system on the shelf. Some little known muscles in my legs had control over the lower half of my body and it was time to PAY. I should be able to walk normal again around Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Getting Older as a Runner

I know, two posts within a week. He must be avoiding work It's amazing! I have hit a turning point in my life. I'm faster, fatter, handsomer older. I have moved from one age bracket to a new one. For many people this may be cause for mourning, but for me, it is one of celebration. I'm moving into a less competitive age bracket. By now, a lot less 'weekend warriors' are on the road. Here are some of the plus sides of getting older.

Sure sucks when you get your butt whooped
by someone twice your age.

  • Less competition-i've discovered that there are a lot less people who have just taken up running as a 'bucket list item'
  • More media exposure-I'm no Max Hall, but how many mid-range guys have you seen in the news? All I have to do is run another 96 marathons and I'll be in the news.
  • Age bracket winner-Since I'm just barely in the next age division, this gives me a better possibility of beating out those who are nearing the next age group.
  • Better possibilities of getting in the work gossip pool-"Did you hear about Blaine's recent race? And he accomplished that at his age...." Unfortunately in my case, I am self-employed so the only comments that would be said are things like "We've been hearing about your running for 10 years now..."
  • I can now justify taking more rest days "in order to avoid over-training." This equates to more time to watch Deadliest Catch.
  • I can now justify wearing the medals more often because now it can be considered "weight training."
  • Older runners are able to throw out little pieces of information that younger runners will take as "wise advise" even if it is a bunch of crap.
  • I hear gray hair is a turn on. My hair is more of a dusty blond so the gray thing doesn't really work for me yet.
  • There is just something appealing when I pass some "twenty-something" in a race. The downside to this of course is when I get passed by some "twenty-something" with a stroller.
I'm sure there are plethora of other benefits to being in the next age bracket. I was looking forward to the 5 minute advantage I'd get for Boston, but since they changed the rules I'm stuck at where I was before the change.

While many people would be going through a mid-life crisis right now, I'm relishing in the possibilities.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lehi Roundup 5k/10k Race Recap

With this post, I am officially caught up on my blogging will be caught up with the Summer about Christmas. I ran the Lehi Roundup race on Saturday June 25. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "He ran the Utah Valley Half Marathon on June 11, Ragnar Wasatch Back June 17-18 and now he's done the Lehi Roundup race? The man is an ANIMAL!"

While I am an animal, I ran the race, but didn't actually run in the race.

How does that work exactly? It's long and involved and took almost a year to happen.

Here are the details. We'll need to journey back in time so follow the directions below to get the best effect.

{Shake your head back and forth very fast until you feel as though the world is becoming fuzzy...this is because you are travelling back in time and not because your brain is banging against the side of your head.}

On a warm June morning in 2010 . . .
I'm preparing myself to run the Pocatello marathon in September. The roundup 10k is part of the 15 miles I am planning on running for the day. The course is different this year than in the past. It starts 3.5 miles from my house. I run to the start as my warm up for the race. The course has changed 3 or 4 times over the past few weeks and finally has settled on 2 loops of the 5k which includes a couple steep hills.

They did something really odd in starting the 5K run/walk fifteen minutes in front of the 10k. I weave in and out of the walkers and strollers. The first lap I have police and the second lap the police have disappeared. I'm not thrilled about how the race was organized nor the course.

Evening of that same night . . . 
I'm remembering the race and decide that sending off an email to the race director with some suggestions for next year would be a great idea.

August 2010 . . .

I became the race director for the 2011 Lehi Roundup 5K/10K.

You can read about that here and the results of that email here.

{Shake your head back and forth very fast until you feel as though the world is becoming are now travelling back to near present day. The slight blurriness caused by the constant shaking will disappear-hopefully}

Race Week 2011 . . .
Guess what Costco donated?
The Lehi Roundup 5K/10K is part of the week-long city celebration. As a committee member, I also get to be at some of the other Roundup events. This makes for a busy week. My wife is in charge of building one of the floats for the miniature parade held on Friday night and Saturday morning which means I'm assisting in the float construction.

For the past months, I have been working to get sponsors for the race, order shirts, stress over sign ups, work with local grocery stores to get food donated, etc. It's exhausting. I've been working on some new marketing techniques that involved kids holding signs about the race while dancing on street corners social media and partnering with other races to get the word out about the race. There is a new half marathon and 5K that is being held on the same day as the Roundup race. I'm thinking that we'll take a hit on registrations, but as the race gets closer the registrations keep coming in.

Packet pickup
First year ever that participants got a tech shirt. Score!
 My office and living room has become packet stuffing central. There are t-shirts and bags everywhere. We ordered 100 extra shirts and have completely run out. We got some of the shirts from 2010 to give out and have run out of those too. We receive another 30 sign ups during the packet pickup.

June 24
It's 10:00 pm on Friday. With cold Dominos pizza in my wife's Jeep and me in the van, we set out to get the course marked for the morning. At 11:30 I run out of the color for the 10k and we have to do a run to Walmart to get more spray paint. At 1:30 am, both courses are marked. I'm debating whether the 2 1/2 hours of sleep is going to be of any value. I opt to give it a try and set the alarm. Surprisingly, when the alarm goes off at 4:00 am I am awake and ready for the day.

This is either great anticipation for the start or we're
short bathroom facilities.
At 4:30 am, the family is cutting up fruit and I'm dropping off water containers on the course. At 5:00 am the city parks people deliver tables for registration and drop off the tables to the water stations. At 6:00 am the High School volunteers start arriving. Race day registration opens at 6:15 am and we're actually running really smoothly. 7:00 am the race starts. Official count stands at 469 registered runners.

Rockin' cool medals for the age group winners.
Despite some snafus with the timing and some elites that missed a turn, the race goes smoothly. I hear some grumbling from runners who registered the day of the race but didn't get all the bells and whistles that the runners who registered two months ago received. My answer to that? TOUGH! Register earlier.

{Shake your head back and forth very fast. If you're still able to walk straight after this, then you obviously missed a step. Go back, re-read this and make sure you get the shaking right. I am not liable for anyone stuck in the past.}

Present Day
This way they are covered in case they
have to answer a call.
I just got the photos from my photographer friend and fellow runner. I am working on a post race survey to get out in the next day or two. I heard from the city that a street I couldn't have the runners cross because it was considered a state road has now been given to the city. Next year I'll have a lot more freedom to develop a course. I'm looking forward to being bigger and better next year.