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

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Desperately Seeking Roots!

Over the past several decades my visits to the dentist have involved nothing more than cleanings and x-rays. It has been 10 years since I had any real dental work done, and that was replacing a cavity, which came about 12 years after my last one cavity was filled. I've been lucky. My luck runs out today as I go in for my first root canal.
Root canal is not an endearing term. I think if dentists changed the name, people like me, virgin rootists, wouldn't be so nervous about the procedure. Maybe call it "a cleansing rinse", or"tooth purification" or "gum massage"?

Ten things to think about during a root canal procedure;
1. Can I run a couple of hours later? (yes, but I didn't)
2. Will blood be oozing out for the next day? (no)
3. What if I have to go to the bathroom when all those instruments and suction devices are stuck in my mouth? (I did, it was embarrassing). But I was in the chair for 2.5 hours!
4. It costs how much? Are you kidding?
5. Why is a dentists' six minutes equivalent to twelve in real time?
6.What happened to the rinse and spit spittoon? Now they have a suction device the size of a horseshoe that stays in your mouth and takes the fluids away. It was a bit cumbersome, the first time the assistant put it in my mouth I thought I was choking to death. Seems breathing through your nose is key.
7. Is my old silver filling worth money?
8. Do the drills have to be so noisy? It's like listening to road workers dig up old pavement with big machinery!
9. When did dental assistants begin to look like high schoolers?
10. Why does my new crown have to be tinted to look like the other coffee stained teeth? Can't I have one white tooth?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Under The Knife

Health-wise I have been pretty lucky over the years. My first and only surgery was a tonsillectomy 53 years ago when I was four years old. Incredibly I remember a great deal about the event. My grandmother gave me a small stuffed beagle type dog that I named Bela to accompany me to the hospital. A girl in the shared hospital room cried a lot when she got some shot before surgery. My Mom told me not to cry when I got mine, so I didn't, though it seemed like a huge needle they stuck in my buttocks! I remember being wheeled to the operating room and then eating lots of ice cream after recovery.
On December 2nd I am having my shoulder operated on. Evidently there is scar tissue and quite possibly tears on my labrum from the fall I took while running trails in Alabama during late May.
Mike W. warned me some things have changed a bit since my last surgery.
Top 10 Surgery Things That Have Changed Over the Last 53 Years

1.       Stuffed animals are no longer allowed in the operating rooms. (I actually still have Bela)

2.       Recovery is 20 minutes and you’re discharged compared to 1 week staying in the room 53 years ago.

3.       The doctors look like they are 15.

4.       The nurses look like they don’t want to look at you.

5.       If you cry you don’t get nearly as much sympathy.

6.       Not as understanding about “accidents”.

7.       The surgical gowns seem a lot smaller.

8.       You care about how this is going to be paid for.

9.       No clown or candy striper will visit you.

10.   You still may get ice cream, but you have to buy your own as you drive yourself to work the next day. (fortunately I'm off from work for 7-10 days as I am not allowed to drive or use the computer for typing).

Thursday, October 2, 2014

When the Wife is Away

What activities should a man do while his wife is off visiting children in another state for a few days?
If you watch television he might be going to the local bar, eating sloppy meaty meals from a take-out restaurant, wearing the same undershirt everyday and/or drinking beer from a can while sitting on the back porch in his underwear and belching loudly.

Now if that same man has the initials MW, what do you think he is doing?

1. Babysitting three dogs, only one of which is his?
2. Watching Yankee rerun baseball games because he lost the remote control?
3. Counting his nightly nip of Scotch as a vegetable serving?
4. Sending text messages to random numbers on his phone?
5. Running twice a day to fill up his time since Eileen isn't there to tell him what else to do?
6. Using the same dishes for breakfast and dinner so he doesn't have to wash them? (all the food mixes together eventually anyhow, right?)
7. Wearing two different colored socks on two consecutive days, not realizing if he had switched them the colors would have matched?
8. Driving a different Subaru each day so he doesn't have to get gasoline?
9. Still sleeping on "his" side of the bed (with two dogs next to him and one at his feet)?
10. Setting his chronograph to count down to when to pick up Eileen from the airport, his smile getting bigger with every second that passes?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ten Activities for Retired People

Three close friends of mine recently retired. Yes, I am horribly jealous, but besides that I believe it is important for them and any other retiree to stay active. So I present to you ten activities for the newly retired;

1. Erie canal path tollbooth attendant. Due to a recent influx of FF runners/walkers, Hilton people, dog walkers and other miscreants, booths will be set up near Henpeck Park, Union St. Bridge in Spencerport and Adams Basin. The retirees will collect $2 from each person to use our path. We need coverage from 7am-6pm Monday-Friday and 7am-11am on weekends. Sals began using this path 25 years ago, when it was really a dirt trail barely wide enough for two people. It is OUR path!
2. Free lawn care. Why should I mow my lawn when all of these retirees are available? Think of the exercise they could get. Retirees would be doing the working people a favor. We will supply a step counter to provide motivation.
3. It's fall in upstate NY, which means leaves, lots and lots of leaves falling. Raking is a valuable service. In our little village the leaves don't even need to be bagged, just brought up to the curb. More exercise and fresh air!
4. Book club reader. Sometimes it is difficult for those of us still with jobs to complete whatever book has been chosen for our club to read. Retirees have loads of reading time. They read the book and prepare discussions freeing me up to concentrate on the food and wine/beer at our meetings.
5. Traffic control. From 4-6:30pm Monday-Friday Main St. in our village is a traffic jam, with lines of cars more than a mile to get through the village. It's become worse over the past couple of years and needs to stop. The retiree will stand at the intersection of rt. 31 and Union and direct every other driver to the east towards Gillette or west to Trimmer so our village isn't continually abused. I can't get across the street when running without being scared of getting hit by a car. Ridiculous. It's probably those Hilton people again heading home!
6. Significant Other flower delivery. Retirees should feel obligated to grow pretty flowers year-round then deliver cuttings once a week to homes. With this service it would help make some husbands still appear romantic.
7. Food Delivery/Chef. Why should I, a working man, have to prepare meals every night? Retirees can cook the meal and deliver to homes, sort of like Meals-On-Wheels for the elderly. Of course I would pay for the ingredients, but not the cooking or delivery.
And 3 more - by an anonymous author:
8. Crime concealment technician. After the wife of this author reads the list the retirees should aid in the covering of what would surely be a capital crime. Body hiding could be on the canal or near the yellow line on Union St. in the village.

9. Political advisors. It seems that once one retires they become experts on public policy. The first step is to write down all of the world problem solutions that are yelled at the TV and told to their working spouse before he has a chance to run to the kitchen and stick his head in the fridge.
10. Entertainment coordinator. With free time during the day, Geva tickets, TV recording schedules, and weekend race arrangements can be procured leisurely on the veranda with their laptops and bon bons.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Things I Don't Understand

When is a running race a charity walk? I volunteered as a road marshal for the Rochester 1/2 marathon on Sunday (Jan helped too). The number of people walking slowly past us at 6.5 miles was incredible. 1881 people finished the half-marathon. Forty-three participants took over 3:30 to finish, a pace of 16+ minutes per mile. Eleven more took over 4:30 to finish at a pace of 21 minutes per mile.
Admittedly this is a long way to walk at any pace. But are they helping themselves physically? No. Better to walk 30 minutes at a faster pace and do some other exercise for another 30 minutes. Or, since it's a running race, why not train to run?
Four plus hours for a half-marathon, that is when most of the marathoners are done. It takes resources of the city, the police, the race event staff and volunteers to make the events stay open this long. Is it worth it?

In 1982 I completed my first marathon in 3:33. I finished 107 out of 250 finishers. I was pretty disappointed by that time and place, especially since I made it to the halfway point in 1:33. That same time this year, on a less hilly course, would have placed me 49th out of 543. Top 10% versus 40%.  The last place person in 1982 finished in 4:58. This year last place was 9:14, almost double the time, at 21 minutes per mile. Another 27 people took over 6 hours, a pace of 13:50.
Again the question must be asked, is this a worthy athletic achievement? Is it worth the time of the police, emergency crews, volunteers, inconvenience to the regular population and traffic? How about store owners whose customers can't get to their shops?

I have an internal struggle with this development all the time. I like seeing people being active, but I don't believe walking 13 miles or 26 miles at more than 15 minutes a mile, on a normal road marathon course, is a race or a significant athletic achievement. Call me elitist or old-fashioned.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

An Unpopular Opinion

Someone much smarter than me is going to have to explain the uproar over the NFL, in particular, regarding the recent domestic violence and child rearing practices. It seems like the players, even before being fully investigated by law enforcement, are supposed to be suspended and/or permanently kicked out of the league.
My problem is that I don't believe that is fair. I believe domestic violence is horrible, but it is also rampant in society, not restricted to the NFL. I think for these players the courtroom, jail time if so determined, counseling is appropriate. Taking their job away makes no sense. I work at MCC. If I did the unspeakable and hit Jan and she turned me in to police, they would handle the situation. MCC would only be involved if I had to go to jail and miss substantial work time. Otherwise my job would be fine.
It should be the same for the NFL and other sports leagues. The players illegal behavior needs to be dealt with, but by the proper authorities, not the league. If the Ray Rice case, the current poster child for domestic abuse (which was extraordinarily heinous), had been handled correctly and Rice punished to the full extent of the law, why should the Ravens and/or NFL in general have to do more? I don't believe it's any different than if Rice had been working for General Motors. Are you telling me no one, man or woman, in the tens of thousands who work there, didn't commit the same crime? But yet they keep their job.
I don't believe it is up to the league, any sports league, to do more than offer counseling or other employee assistance in these cases, the same as most medium to large corporations we work for would do. These people aren't role models, they are entertainers. They represent a cross-section of our population and will do good and bad things just like the rest of us. Only some believe taking their jobs away will make a difference. For whom? Not the player, his family or others who make money from him.
By the way, if Rice had been an offensive tackle or other low-profile position, no one would have cared. He has issues, as does his wife, but that is for the them, the courts and counseling to work through, not the NFL or the rest of us.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Beet This!

How can I write about beets and not include an old time classic? I can't. Michael Jackson and "Beat It".
In the yet to be published book, "Faster, Higher, Stronger" by Mark McClusky that I am reviewing for LibraryThing, the author writes about beet juice as one easy, legal nutrition aid that has been scientifically proven to help athletic performance. In some studies, drinking about 2 cups of beet juice daily lowered blood pressure in healthy adults.

Beet juice helps your stamina when you exercise. People who drank beet juice for 6 days had better stamina during intense exercise. The effect is more profound on an average athlete than an elite one. Though even if an elite athlete can enhance their performance by .1% it could make a difference in their results.
Published studies show a nearly 3% gain in events lasting from 5 to 30 minutes. Right now studies don't show a definitive relationship for longer events, though that doesn't mean it won't help. The nitrate in beet juice becomes nitric oxide in the body which causes blood vessels to dilate, allowing more blood to pass through. The juice also effect mitochondria, making them more efficient at creating energy while using less oxygen.
You may not have to drink beet juice everyday, though doing so may increase your ability to train harder and recover faster. Drinking two cups the night before a race may be helpful for the next day.
Be aware your urine and feces may have a reddish tint to them when drinking or eating beets (only drinking the beet juice works as a performance aid, though there are health benefits to eating beets too).
I would recommend introducing beet juice slowly into your diet and see what effect it has on you personally. Each one of us is unique. Don't just take two cups before your important race without testing it first in practice.
Check out WebMD for a bit more information on beet juice.