Running, Biking, Triathlons, Swimming, Snowshoeing; what's next? Sal's does it all.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Personal cooling units on the horizon

Finally an invention on the horizon that may help heavy sweating runners like me stay cool when training and racing!

Personal cooling units on the horizon: Firefighters entering burning buildings, athletes competing in the broiling sun and workers in foundries may eventually be able to carry their own, lightweight cooling units with them, thanks to a nanowire array that cools, according to materials researchers.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Strength training helps older adults live longer

Strength training helps older adults live longer: Older adults who met twice-weekly strength training guidelines had 46 percent lower odds of death for any reason than those who did not. They also had 41 percent lower odds of cardiac death and 19 percent lower odds of dying from cancer. The study is the first to demonstrate the association in a large, nationally representative sample over an extended time period, particularly in an older population.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Dreaming of the Boston Marathon

It never fails. Every third Monday of April comes around and I have regrets about not being in the Boston Marathon. It doesn't matter if I attempted to run a qualifying marathon the previous year or not, some part of me still wants to be running the race.

This past Monday I was on vacation, not due to the race being on television, but it was a rare warm, sunny spring day in Rochester and I wanted to enjoy the weather. After a run on the canal path I got breakfast and began watching the marathon. It was different this year with so many of the faster Americans not being in the race due to the Olympic trials a couple of months ago. The competition at the top quickly became Kenyans and Ethiopians.

While watching the race I realized it has been 20 years since I ran my first, and only, Boston Marathon. During the television broadcast I could still remember running by different spots on the course. I know how I felt at certain locations while running. Back then the race began at noon and we had a long bus drive to the start. It was Boston's 100th anniversary and the field was crowded. I couldn't really eat much and didn't drink enough and ended up with my typical marathon fade beginning by 18 miles.

The crowds were intense and supportive throughout the race. I finished over 30 minutes slower than my qualifying time, but was still happy to finish. After the race I was shivering, had the mylar blanket and tried to drink, but really all I wanted was to find Jan and get back to the hotel. I was pretty much lost and couldn't figure out how to cross the street with so many spectators and runners still finishing. I wandered on Boylston Street until I found a police officer. He just finished telling a family there was no way they were crossing the street. I knew I had to get across somehow. I walked up and asked if I could cross to get to the hotel and my wife. I know I looked pitiful, sweaty, smelly and cramped up. He was a big, burly cop, what you'd expect to see in Boston. He moved the road barrier and said, "you can do anything you want today, go cross the street". I couldn't thank him enough, probably didn't, just mumbled something incoherent. Then the cop closed the barrier and told the family no again. I actually found Jan a few minutes later, or she found me, not sure which.

I was looking at some of the training from 1995-96 we did (yes, I still have all my running log books). Mike, Frank, Augie, Dick, Larry and Rick are names that keep popping up, especially on 20 mile runs and our famous Dump Road 800meter repeats. We built up to 10/800 averaging 2:53-3:03 usually. We were semi-young and of various speeds, but three of us qualified for Boston, Augie, Mike and myself.

Maybe Jan and I should try to qualify? Maybe not, since I said four years ago I had enough of marathons, at least that's what I say until the next Boston, when I'll think I should be in the race.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The trouble with drinking guidelines: What, in the world, is a standard drink?

I think we need to move to Chile! 


The trouble with drinking guidelines: What, in the world, is a standard drink?: The controversy over the UK's new safe drinking guidelines revealed how much people within a country can disagree about drinking. It turns out that countries disagree with each other, too.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Lessons Learned This Week

For the past seven days I've been able to start running again. The physical therapist has me running and walking every other day, with the running intervals up to one mile. I'm supposed to keep my pace at 50-75% of what my everyday pace used to be (8-9 minutes a mile, so now over 10/mile).

I can't bike again until my tendons and muscles get used to the running. Once again I can only swim with the buoy. I do tons of leg strengthening and stretching exercises, ones that if I'm smart I will be doing for the rest of my life.

This week I learned several lessons, including;

1. It's impossible to predict when the pool at Monroe Community College or Roberts Wesleyan College will have a free lane. There should be an app to check on this before walking or driving all the way there.
2. College swimmers at MCC are really fast, or I am really slow, or both. Of course they can do flip turns and I don't try, but still, these young swimmers are fast. It's really noticeable when they fly by in the lane next to me. I try to stay up with them but it's just not possible.
3. Swimming, biking, lifting weights and stretching are all great. I can't wait until the weather warms up enough to swim at Canandaigua Lake. But none of them seem to help with running a decent pace. I struggled with my 10:20 mile yesterday.
4. The private college (Roberts) pool is generally open 10+ hours a day six days a week and 7 hours on Sunday. The tax payer supported community college pool is open 5 days a week (maybe), for almost 2 hours. It's convenient for me because I work at MCC and sometimes can swim at lunch time. But why only 2 hours? Why not open more, at least when the team doesn't need the pool, and charge for admittance to cover the cost of a lifeguard and maintenance? I don't understand.
5. I really like running. I like running more than swimming, biking or weight training. In my dream world I would have muscles like a well-built linebacker in professional football but be able to run a 10k like a young Bill Rodgers.
6. Intervals and drills help make the swim time and yards go by much faster than just swimming a straight 1200 yds, or mile or whatever. But in running I don't mind just going for 30, 40 or 60 minutes at the same pace.
7. I don't trip and fall in the pool. Running, I'm scared of falling all the time now. I have to get over that.

Stayed tuned, this may all be on the next Common Core test in NY, unless you opt out. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Analyzing Running Form

We all have unique running form. Every "how-to" running article gives advice on improving your form to become more efficient, faster and prevent injury. Change can be difficult though and not all of us can look like this when we run;

Meb Keflezighi
Kara Goucher
Feet off the ground, long natural looking stride, high back kick, kind of floating in the air while moving along at 4:30-5:20 per mile.

Some of us look like this (me):

Yes, this is me at the 2015 Charlie McMullen mile race. At least my leading foot is off the ground and my rear foot is not completely flat. My arm position looks pretty good and body posture is okay, but not near Kara's or Meb's,obviously. And at the end of the mile I was a bit spent. I seem to be trying to suck all the oxygen out of the sky!
Here's another comparison, Jan at the same race;
Flopping hair makes her look fast anyhow. Both feet off the ground, that's impressive. Left arm crosses a bit too much maybe? Very intense expression, but that could also be that by her race a severe thunder and lightning storm was moving in with flashes near the track during the last 2 laps.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Trail Running Reality Check

The photograph below was sent to me from my daughter Andrea. She was a witness to my falling twice in the woods of Alabama during a trail run. The second fall took out my shoulder.

The sad thing about the photograph is the truth in it. When trail running it's always important to look where your feet are going, not the pretty scenery in the woods. If you must sight-see then I recommend stopping and looking for a few seconds, then begin running again. Of course some people can fall on the flat, non-obstructed, Erie Canal path, just ask Mike Weinpress. He is an expert.