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

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Spectating at the Wineglass Marathon

·  Last weekend was the Wineglass Marathon and half-marathon. The marathon began in Bath, NY and went to Corning, the half began in Campbell, NY. The weather was perfect for long-distance running, around 50 at the start and ending around 60 degrees. Mike W. ran the marathon and Eileen W. ran the half-marathon. Jan, Lou, Joanne and I drove down in the wee hours of the morning hoping to follow them around by car. I also hoped to meet up with MW and run with him the last 3-4 miles. The course design (point to point) makes it fairly easy to see the racers at several places, as you can exit off the expressway and drive a half mile or so to see them go by on country roads. 

There are several things I learned while spectating and later, pacing, at this event; 
  1.  Watching runners in marathons is interesting. You really can’t tell how fast or long someone can run by looking at their body shape or running style. 
  2.  Lou is amazing finding parking spots. He was able to get so close to the action we hardly had to get out of the car. A spot barely big enough for an Urkel car was twice the size of what he needed for parking his Honda. 
  3.  There should be food/coffee trucks for spectators in point to point races. We get hungry too.
  4. It's easy to smile for the cameras when you’ve only run a mile or two.
  5. I like that people thought I had run 24 miles and still didn’t break a sweat.
  6. Pacers notice the scenery much more than runners who have been putting one foot in front of the other for three hours.
  7. Who needs a water stop? Not me!
  8. For the first time ever I saw MW not scoop up money that was on the road. He couldn’t bend down far enough.
  9. I could jog backwards waiting for MW to stroll through the water stop. I’ve never tried to run backwards in a marathon before. Maybe I would cramp less if I used that technique more often.
  10. The last 3.5 miles of a marathon typically has no port-a-johns. This isn’t a problem for dehydrated racers, but became an issue for me. It’s not easy to find a “hiding” spot in the middle of Corning.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September Goals

I began the month with three goals; run at least 2 miles everyday, and do push-ups and front planks everyday. I made two of the goals, push-ups and planks. The highest number of push-ups I could do without stopping was 41 (this morning, 9/30). My longest time holding a front plank was 1 minute 20 seconds (last week).
There were times I forgot about the plank and push-up goals until just before bedtime, but usually I tried to get them out of the way when getting ready for work in the morning. I also discovered that if I waited until after running, the push-ups, in particular, were much more difficult to do. Of course doing push-ups the day after a weight lifting session was also hard.

Now that the push-ups and planks have become a habit I hope to continue my streak through October and be able to do 50 push-ups without a break. My running goals won't change too much, but I won't aim to run everyday. The new goal will be six days a week and now that the weather is cooler extend my average daily run to 5+ miles with a 6+ miler during the week and 8-10 miles on non-race weekends.

I would like to know your goals for the month, so please comment.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Treadmill Repair

Two weeks ago I finally decided to take a chance and replace the well-worn belt on our treadmill. The original belt lasted for about nine years and hundreds or maybe even thousands of miles. Jan and I used the treadmill a lot over the years, and not for hanging clothes.

Last winter, though, it began to get slippery and every once in a while I would lose footing. Falling off a treadmill at 6-9 miles per hour is not on my list of goals.I purchased a new belt over the summer but knowing my lack of mechanical ability was always hesitant to try putting it on.

I watched a couple of Youtube videos on replacing the belt and went down into the basement with a collection of tools. I actually got the old belt off fairly easily, with some suggestions from Jan on removing the rollers. The process became a bit more difficult figuring how to get the new belt on and the rollers re-attached. After two hours it was time for a lunch break and to get my heart rate and swearing level back to normal.

When four hours had passed I was glad I hadn't called a couple of friends who had offered to help. Why waste their Saturday? Jan and I got the machine back together and it was time to test it. The noise was incredible. It didn't make bad noises with the old belt. We took it apart again, adjusted things and started it up. Noisy and if you walked on the belt it would hesitate every few seconds. Neither was conducive to using it, except as a clothesline.

I wrote to a guy on Youtube and Facebook who likes to fix things, including treadmills, RJ The Bike Guy.
RJ actually lives in the Rochester area and he wrote back almost immediately! He believes the belt from the engine may be loose or worn out. I guess my Sunday will be spent taking the treadmill apart again and checking the belt. The trouble is, usually when I get into projects like this and I can't get them fixed after a couple of tries my patience deteriorates, I feel less like a man and wonder why I got the family gene that doesn't know how to use tools?

I wonder how much I can get at the scrap yard?

Friday, September 11, 2015

And So It Ends :(

Only a few short days ago I made three goals for the month of September;

1. Run everyday with two miles being the least I could go and still have it count.
2. Do pushups everyday, gradually seeing if I could build to 50 without stopping.
3. Hold a front plank everyday, with 30 seconds being the minimum and building to a goal of two minutes.

Yesterday my run everyday goal was broken. I had a really good workout on Wednesday, running only 4.2 miles but I negative split the miles with the last one at 7:46. It was 74 degrees and a dew point around 64 so I felt good about the run. I had also lifted weights for 45 minutes before work in the morning which made for a nice double workout day.

Thursday I woke up tired. Really tired, I needed a lot more sleep. I felt sleepy and sore all day. When I came home I told Jan I wasn't going to run. Then I began feeling guilty, how could I let my goal slip away after only nine days? I went upstairs and changed into my running clothes. Slowly I put on my shoes and hat. Then I came back inside, said I couldn't do it, and went out again. It was a nice day, the heat wave had broken and the humidity was much lower. Surely I could run, even really slowly, for two miles?

It wasn't to be. I mentally caved in after less than 200 yards. I didn't exercise at all yesterday, which broke another streak of 26 days of working out at least once a day.

I hope those of you who accepted the September challenges are still going strong. Meanwhile I will try and start a new running streak.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Good Morning!

The weather pattern in western New York is continuing its' bizarre ways with our tenth day of hot temperatures and very high dew points, both higher than Alabama. I never thought we would have to go south to cool off.

The predictions for today were 90 with dew points between 66 and 71. That is very sticky weather. There is also the possibility of thunderstorms later this afternoon. These conditions prompted me to finally break my afternoon running habit and prep for an early morning, before work, 5:40am run. I'm not a fan of running that early in the morning. It's scary dark outside. It's hard to get out of bed. I have a strong need to be close to bathroom facilities. The muscles don't work quite the same at 5:40am as they do at 4:30pm.

I discovered a few things during and after today's short run;

1. My running everyday streak for September is a good motivator. I could have easily bagged the whole day if I hadn't made this promise to myself, simply to try and sleep another forty minutes.
2. I shocked Jan by actually getting out of bed and going out the door. Typically I lay out all my running clothes and don't use them for a morning run.
3. Since running in the early morning is not a habit for me I don't seem to sleep well while anticipating the alarm clock going off early.
4. We own a lot of reflective gear. I had a wrist band, ankle band and vest on. My running shoes have some reflective stripes. I wore a reflective hat. I had on my headlamp. I felt like a Christmas tree all lit up running down the street. Cars moved over though, so that was good.
5. I like the streetlamps around our neighborhood. They really help over just relying on the headlamp.
6. If I don't have all my gear out, my vest, sneakers and headlamp ready, I'm not going out for an early morning run. I have to be organized and ready the night before to stand any chance of moving my head off the pillow.
7. I seem to eat more and more often at work after running in the early morning.
8. I definitely drink more coffee, having a small cup before leaving for work, which is unusual for me, then having two more in the morning while at work.
9. I can't seem to get hydrated, even with drinking water all day. Though the hot, humid weather may be making that task more difficult.
10. What do I do when I get home? I'm going to have all this free time I used to use for running. Maybe I'll have more coffee?

Thursday, September 3, 2015

September Challenges

Floating around social media the past year or so were a variety of challenges for athletes. For the month of September I have made three challenges for myself to try and do each day.

1. Pushups. I do these each morning. It gets a bit tough if I did a weight workout the day before, but I seem to always be able to do at least 25. My goal by the end of September is 50 pushups without stopping.

2. Plank. Another morning exercise usually. Right now I'm averaging around 30 seconds for holding a front plank. I would like to get that to over a minute and once or twice a week up to two minutes. Planks are another exercise that I can really feel in my abs the day after weight training.

3. Running. In February, which was a brutal weather month in western New York, I made and accomplished the goal of running at least one mile a day. It helped me stay motivated and get back into shape after my December shoulder surgery.

I decided to repeat the "run every day" challenge for September. My goal is to run at least two miles a day, though I would prefer to make three the low end. This should help build up my aerobic capacity a little bit for races in October and November. If the weather cooperates I hope to have many 5-9 mile days. Of course this week we have been averaging 86 degrees and 65+ dew point, which are the worst kinds of conditions for me, and many other people. The mornings aren't much better, with fog, 69 degree average and mid-60's or higher dew point. Plus it's so dark in the morning already, with the sun not up until almost 6:30am. Running on the roads in the dark isn't one of my favorite activities. Our weather isn't supposed to turn to cooler temperatures for at least another week, so the three mile average will continue until then.

Join me in at least one of the challenges or comment on what your personal September challenge is. Even though it's September 3rd it's not too late to start!

Monday, August 31, 2015

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Remember in the old days when the elementary school teacher would make us sit and write an essay on what you did over summer vacation? I wonder if they really read all those papers? If so, did the teacher get jealous or sad, or think we lied?

Between third and fourth grade, after my father had received a promotion at work and I guess a significant raise, we went to Disneyland in California. We also bought our first color television (yes that makes me old), a Zenith. To top it off we moved into a newly built house. I'm guessing the teacher probably found that all too much and thought I was telling tales.

Last week Jan and I were on vacation. We didn't go anywhere for a night away. We began the week by running the James Francis cross-country race, a 5k at Black Creek park in North Chili. It was a well organized, well marked race with about 220 finishers. Jan finished first in her RROY age group earning ten points and I picked up seven points, in fourth place. Sometimes it's all about picking the right race. We can't control who shows up to participate.

On Sunday we drove to Canandaigua, looked at a cottage we aren't going to buy, swam 1.6 miles in the lake, then had great burgers and beer at a local brew pub we had never been to before. It was a good day.

Tuesday we worked out and then spent our 37th wedding anniversary at the FingerLakes race track and casino. We spent several hours there and came out pretty much even-steven. We began with each having $10 in free play money which I turned into $40 before losing all of it. But it wasn't my money to begin with so that was okay. I also won around $20 on the horses. Jan lost a bit on the machines, but not much.

The sad news of the week was taking our vehicles in for inspection. The $21 fee for each turned into $1500 in car repairs. That wasn't an expected expense. Did I ever write about how I hate cars? Why didn't I take auto mechanics in school? Or plumbing? Or become an electrician or welder? Bah.

And so you have it, my summer vacation in a nutshell. Running, swimming, weightlifting, eating, drinking, gambling and auto repair. I was never bored though.