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

Thursday, August 20, 2015

World Track & Field Championship

The track & field championships begin Friday night, from Beijing, China, in the “Birds Nest” stadium, the sight of the 2008 Olympic games.

If you are into free gambling, try the contest. They have each athlete currently scheduled for every event, along with some of their results over the past few years, in a table. You simply pick the top three finishers in each event for the chance to with up to $20k/year for 10 years, along with many other significant prizes.
Think of the contest like selecting winners at a horse racing venue. How recently did they win? What are some of their recent times? How do they perform under pressure? Any injury issues? 

I did pick local Olympian Jenn Suhr, our pole vaulter from Roberts Wesleyan College, to finish in the top three. I also picked Usain Bolt not to win a gold medal, I think Justin Gatlin will beat him out this year in the 100m and 200m races. I  think Galen Rupp will medal in the men’s 10,000 meter race and Evan Jager will win the first gold medal ever for the U.S. in the Steeplechase. Molly Huddle, from the southern tier of NY (Elmira) will medal in the women’s 10,000 meter race. 

Television coverage of the championships is spotty, with most of the events on Universal Sports, which Time Warner doesn't offer without paying an extra $9/month.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Good Cleaning

Last week I had the opportunity to have my second colonoscopy. My first one was about eight years ago and was supposed to be repeated after five years. As a person who is not a fan of visiting doctors I put it off until my doctor told my wife I really needed to man-up and get it done. What ever happened to patient confidentiality?

To prep for the colonoscopy I took the day before off from work even though I didn't have to begin the cleansing process until around 3:00pm. Unofficially I began the process with a cup of coffee and a nice six mile run. I had my last solid food around 9:00am. By 11:00am I felt hungry just because I wasn't supposed to eat solid food again until the next day. Don't ever include me on a hunger strike, I'd never make it for more than four hours. 

The procedure was in a small clinic instead of the hospital, which was nice and less stressful. I got checked in at 7:30am and was leaving around 9:30am. Jan even rewarded me with breakfast at the local diner for being such a good patient!

The doctor gave me a color photograph of my colon after the procedure. Why did I need this? It's not a body part I'm particularly fond of. This is similar to having my truck repaired at the local shop and the mechanic bringing out the bad parts that got replaced. The mechanic can explain all he wants about how this doohickey is mangled and has burrs, was oily, warped or bent. I have no idea what I'm looking at or even if it really came off my vehicle.

The same is true of my colon photograph. I guess it looks clean or whatever, but really, do I need to keep this? Does the doctor have a supply of these photographs and give the same one to everyone? I should have had him autograph it. If you come to visit my house should I include the photograph with my family photo slide show? I'm thinking this is not a good idea and may turn off my guests.

Thankfully I am healthy, but in five years I'll have to go back for another visit. Or maybe it will be stretched to eight years, unless my wife and doctor team up again, ugh.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

I Can't Handle the Truth

The truth is I'm fat. I was already in a sourpuss mood Sunday morning when I heard the news, the news that I'm a fat athlete. Jan and I were experimenting with my new skin fold calipers and kept coming up that I was around 24% fat. This didn't (still doesn't) seem possible. Usually I weigh in around 175lbs and I am 6'1". Yes, that is a solid 10+ pounds over my best running days but still I didn't consider myself fat. Men use the calipers in three spots, quads, near the chest and to the right of the belly button. The total measurement is then calculated into your BMI.

I have a daughter who is studying nutrition at UAB so I gave her my statistics for her formulas. Apparently I am 92 lbs of water (after running 8 miles I'm probably more like 86lbs of water, my shirt, shorts, socks and shoes are another 6 with my copious sweating). Andrea figured out I am about 23% fat, a little better than my caliper measurements showed. But ideally I should have a fat mass of 18% at my age and weigh 165.

According to statistics men between the ages of 41-60 average 11-22% BMI. I want to see those men. Other than the ones I run with on the canal path I think most men aren't close to those figures. I see lots of big bellies, fat butts and huge necks. I didn't recognize a lot of men (and women) at my 40th high school reunion last year because of weight, not age. I believe the ideal BMI should be in the 11-22% range, depending on musculature, but not the average.

According to the Center for Disease Control 35% of adults in the U.S. are obese. The CDC also says I am 2% being away from overweight! Yikes! But here's the thing, yes I am up to 175lbs but I'm also lifting more weights than I have in years. I can bench press more now than I have in 35 years, so am I really fat?

Maybe I am and I'm just not ready for the truth. My quads are like rocks, chest pretty solid, the bit of flab Jan grabbed around my belly, well, I guess I need some work there. Ouch, the truth can hurt!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Don't Retreat!

     Monday was a library "retreat" where I work. I strongly side with not having retreats. There is no reason to have ice breakers or other "fun" games since we have all been working together for years. I really don't want to play games at work, but maybe that's my Eeyore coming out. Everything we talk about at these retreats could be accomplished in our normal one or two hour monthly staff meeting.
     We don't have much of a budget left right now, not until September anyhow when the new fiscal year begins. This means we can't actually retreat anywhere but the library. Bogus.
     Yesterday during the retreat I came up with 10 specific thoughts about these events;

1. There are too many food temptations. Breakfast at 9am (second breakfast for me), snacks at lunch time and yesterday ice cream sundaes (I passed on that). Retreat day can be a diet buster.
2. I forgot my work issued IPAD so I couldn't secretly read the newspaper during the meeting.
3. My stomach gets in knots worried about what new assignment I'm going to get that I don't really want to do.
4. Co-workers and administrators always talk and worry about things going on throughout the college that we have no control over and really don't concern us.
5. I have the George Costanza philosophy, say one good comment early in the day, then the pressure is off.
6. I kept day dreaming about the poor early morning run I had and wondering if tomorrow would be any better.
7. How many more of these do I have to attend before retiring? Four at the most? If I go to one my last year here I'm bringing a shot glass and bottle of Bourbon. Jan can pick me up when the retreat is over.
8. The boss gave a spiel then looked directly at me and asked in front of everyone what I thought about what we should do to improve certain aspects of the library (specifically getting more people, more awareness, more, more, more). He's a nice guy but that wasn't the question to ask after his doom and gloom speech. I went on an unusual for me defensive tirade shedding the Eeyore skin from my body and spoke about all the positive things we had been doing for two years (and much more). I'm not sure my speech was embraced by all.
9. I began thinking about my next workout during our afternoon games. Really, more games?
10. On the positive side we did get out of work early.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pecularities of an Endurance Athlete

Most of the readers of this blog probably don't ride in elevators, believing that to be the lazy person's way to go up in a building. I don't like the feeling of being trapped in a small space, especially if the elevator is crowded (which basically means more than one other person is with me). So many things could go wrong in elevators.
On those occasions when my legs are beat from workouts and I do take a ride up a few floors I have a couple of habits. If I'm wearing a step counter I pace back and forth. If not I practice balancing on one foot. Try balancing, especially with your eyes closed, in a moving elevator. It's not that easy.
When I do this and other people are on the elevator it's really weird. For them. I could care less, I'm an athlete, or at least athletic. They have to adjust, not me.

Are you one of those people who ride up escalators? I hope not, that really bugs me, unless it's a person with disabilities or a small child. Walk along with the escalator, it's good for you.

I constantly check the weather on the web. It's surprising how inaccurate is, but I still go to the site. I check other sites too. I like to see the dew point, which a lot of weather sites don't show. If the dew point hits 60 I know the run will begin to get tough. At 65 I have to shorten my run or go to the track and do laps so I can stop at any time. At a dew point of 70 it's impossible for me to go more than 3-4 miles. I keep hoping if I run 3-4 miles everyday after work when it's 75+ degrees and 60+ dew point that come race mornings when it's 60 degrees I'll be able to go fast.

Have running shoes, hiking boots, bicycling shoes, bike helmets, bright vests, wet suits and an assortment of bikes taken over your garage? This year we added a heavy boxing bag and chin-up bar. Amazingly we can still park a car and pickup truck in there, though it's a tight fit to open the car door enough to get out.

Our water bottles, Hammer Heed and whey powder have two shelves in our kitchen cupboards. Gels, energy bars and Hammer Endurolyte tablets take up another shelf.

The basement recreation room (man cave - I hate that term) is not for video games, watching television or relaxing. A 10x10 foot space is filled with a weight machine. The treadmill is tucked between a wall and the weights. Up to three bikes could be on trainers. We do have a television and radio in the room, but typically in the winter we watch Spinerval bike dvd's or Lord of the Rings tapes over and over.

My briefcase for work is a triathlon backpack. At any point, like today, it could have my lunch plus swimming gear, or running gear. I might have bike stuff for a ride home. Seldom does my tribriefcase have work stuff inside, other than a pen and sometimes an IPAD.

This is all normal behavior for our family and only once in a while do we realize everyone is not quite like this.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

It's Not Easy Being Green!

In our running group we have often wondered why Mike W. wore green tights. His bike helmet is also green. Apparently this is not a coincidence. New evidence suggests that MW is actually the pilot of the New Horizons spacecraft that is flying by Pluto. If you download software from NASA you can see photographs of Pluto and possibly see an image of Mike's face in the spaceship window.

Mike isn't on board the small spaceship, he never would survive a nine year trip without a bathroom stop. He works for a top secret firm that makes satellite "stuff" and NASA contacted MW to pilot the ship from his desk in Rochester, NY.  We always believed Mike worked on spreadsheets and was a business planning genius. In truth this has been a coverup. It turns out that in college Mike was an Asteroids video game champion. He is like Rain Man in the arcades, truly a pinball wizard.

When NASA found his name atop every Asteroids high scorer list in western NY they knew he was the man to autopilot New Horizons. Mike even graciously donated his old Dish TV disc for the project, knowing that would help hold down costs.

It only recently came to light that Mike was also behind the creation of The Great Gazoo. Most people thought the Great Gazoo was a cartoon fantasy, but they were wrong. All this time it was Mike. An alien in our midst, but it makes sense once you learn about his Asteroids prowess. And that is why till this day he wears green at most social functions and while running on the canal path.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Road Bike Tricks

Suddenly I feel so inadequate on my bike. Make sure to watch around 2 minutes and again at 3:40. Remember this is a road bike, not a bmx tricked out bike, though that would still impress me.