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

Monday, January 26, 2015

Growth of Road Races

Can you guess the most popular race distance for 2014? The 5k still holds the number one position with 15,200 races. There were 3,200 10k's, 1,020 8k/5mile races 1,900 half marathons and 850 marathons. There were also 4,400 races of "other" distances.

That is one heck of a lot of races. Half-marathon finishers grew from 612,000 in 2006 to 1,960,000 for 2013, a 300% increase! Sixty-one percent of half-marathon finishers are female. The One America Indiana 500 festival led with 34,000 finishers. The median time has slowed by 3 minutes for males and females, from 1:58 in 2006 to 2:01 in 2013 for men and 2:16 (2006) to 2:19 (2013) for females.

The biggest increase has been the number of people who take longer than three hours to finish - a 13:44 pace. It comes as no surprise to me that 3 of the top 5 half-marathons with the most number of 3+ hour finishers are; Disney Princess (11,000), Walt Disney World (7,343) and Disneyland (6,400). The two others making the top five are San Francisco and One America 500 Indiana. Disney usually doesn't have to worry about public roadways to close down, has lots of staff to assist with the races, built in safety and security personnel and wants to make sure you enjoy the experience. For every person finishing the race there are probably another three who come to the park.

On a semi-related note, a new race timing organization has come to the Rochester, NY area. Racewire. They are currently in thirteen states and, for this region anyhow, seem to be competing directly with YellowJacket Racing and Score-This! They already took Vino & the Beast and Mind the Ducks 12 hr races away from YJR, or maybe YJR just didn't want those races anymore? Hopefully the competition is good for runners and doesn't just benefit the timing companies.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Grand Master of Charleston!

Congratulations to the Weinpress family for their outstanding results at the Charleston, South Carolina 5k and 13.1 mile races.
Mike ran the 13.1 mile race along the waterfront and through the streets of Charleston in a time of 1:45:00, an 8:01 per mile pace. He placed 6/144 in his age group! Fantastic.
Their daughter Meghan was 4/464 in her age group for the 5k, with a 26:07 time. Wow!
Then there was Eileen, who will forever be referred to as Grand Master!
Eileen was awarded a famous Water Buffalo hat from the Flintstones for her accomplishment.
Eileen ran the 5k in 26:33, an 8:33 pace and finished 1/55 in her age group! She really is the Grand Master champion. 
Rumors are the Weinpress family enjoyed a basket of Charleston Chews and danced the night away while celebrating their dominance.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Despicable Me

We have established I need to lose weight. After gaining 17 pounds in four months and setting an all-time heaviest weight record my belly has the shape of an NFL offensive lineman.

Pants stretched to their limit, buttons popping off, wearing sweaters because it’s too hard to tuck a shirt in, running tights I can barely pull over my legs, I think it’s time to get serious.
My diet plan is all mental. Who needs Atkins, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers or Hydroxycut? Not me!

It’s simple, I believe I will lose weight so it will happen. Last week was a blip in the scale, going from 186.6 to 188, then 189 wasn’t really my plan. This morning though, I was back to 186.6, right on target, well kind of on target. I have ten steps to losing ten pounds by the end of February.

1.       While bulking up I would eat at least three cookies with my lunch and three-four more after dinner. Around Christmas time I may have snuck in a couple of more for an afternoon snack. Now I eat maybe three a day. Calories saved – around 1500 per week.

2.       When working I got lazy and sat in my office during lunch eating, doing the crossword puzzle and surfing the World Wide Web. Last Friday I ran three miles on the treadmill in the MCC gym, otherwise I walk for twenty minutes. Calories saved/burned, another 500+ per week?

3.       Tossed salads. These can get boring to eat every day. I don’t care what you put in them, it’s still green weeds we tell ourselves are good for us. But I have upped my salad eating, including one or two lunches a week. Calories saved – 200 per week (instead of my PB sandwich).

4.       I couldn’t exercise, other than physical therapy on my shoulder and taking slow walks around the block, for about a month after my surgery. I did some lower body weightlifting and my left arm (which now looks like Popeye compared to my shriveled up right bicep), but that obviously didn’t make up for my gluttonous food habits. Now I can run 3-4x per week for 2-5 miles and bike indoors 2-3x for 30-50 minutes. Calories burned – 2,000.
5.     Alcohol. Last semester was one of my most difficult ever at work, very stressful for a variety of reasons. I would have one or two drinks every night, not the right strategy to deal with the stress, but it’s what I did. Now I’m down to two nights of one-two drinks. Calories saved, 500+.

6.       Drinking water. I’ve always kept a twenty-ounce refillable bottle with me at work. Sometimes I finished it, sometimes not. Now I’m going to concentrate on having the bottle empty by the end of my work day. Fortunately one of the best things about working at MCC is the plethora of bathrooms.

7.       Cheese and crackers. When I’m preparing another gourmet dinner for Jan (like tuna casserole or BLT sandwiches) I used to have a few slices of spicy cheese with crackers while also drinking my first Southern Comfort. No more. Calories saved – 400+ per week.

8.       Moving from my desk. Simple, get up every half hour or so and walk around for five minutes, stretch my legs, save my shoulder and burn a couple more calories. 500+ per week.

9.       My pickup truck. Jan and I can fit her car and my truck in the garage, which I think is good. But it can be a tight squeeze getting around the car door mirror to the truck door. Maybe if my gut isn’t poking out so far getting into the truck will be easier?

10.   The mirror. Looking at my belly is despicable.

 I should probably take a before and after photo, but not for sharing publicly, no one needs to see that!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Nationally Ranked?

Sometimes just showing up and participating is good enough, that automatically puts you ahead of most people whether it's a job or athletic event. Joining a particular organization and paying your dues can help narrow the field too.

What does this mean? That despite my finishing no higher than mid-pack in my three sanctioned triathlons last year I am ranked 83 in NY as a triathlete for the 55-59 age group. Curt Eggers, a local triathlete who is always ranked nationally was 2nd. Dennis Moriarty, another local tri legend, was 5th. Tim Dwyer, a relative newbie in tri's but a longtime great runner, was 6th.

A friend, Terry Christo, was ranked number 1 in her age group for NY state!
There have been many years where Eggers and Moriarty were in the top 5 nationally. Some of the scoring depends on what races you were in and who the competition was. For 2014 Eggers was 50th and Moriarty 89th nationally. Christo was 46th. I was a stellar 1,222 out of 1,782.

The lesson to be learned is that if rankings are important to you, join the right organization, participate in enough races to qualify and travel to races where the competition might be a bit stiffer. Sometimes finishing is good enough.

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Weighty Issue

Last year about this time I entered into a weight loss bet with MW and LK. I think Lou won the bet, but I did lose around twelve pounds eventually, moving from my highest weight ever of 183lbs to 170 by August. One-hundred seventy isn't a bad weight for a 6'1" male, in normal society it's probably considered thin. But I live in a world of runners and have a history of knowing my best running times occurred when I weighed 165-168.
By the annual Thanksgiving Day race, Race with Grace, I was back to 175lbs. When I got weighed in for shoulder surgery on December 2nd I was up to 180. At my one month checkup on December 29th I was at 190 (with running shoes and clothes on, but still, that is obese in my world).
The surgeon gave me permission to slowly add running back into my routine. I came home and ran a mile in 10 minutes on the treadmill. Two days later I ran two miles outside feeling like a bowling ball was strapped to my waist. My running tights were stretched to their limit. My form-fitting Craft running shirt bulged over my stomach rolls.
It's not a good look.
So a year later and another diet to go on. No bets this time, but by March the plan is to be down to 180lbs or less. When May rolls around 170lbs, maybe 168 if I really do well. That weight should help with my 2015 goal of finishing in the top three for the Rochester Runner of the Year races in my age group (55-59).  Maybe I'll even get back to my dream of looking like Captain America. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Wishes for 2015

2014 only needs a short review, not an independent blog post since it was kind of dismal as far as sports for myself, Jan and friends. Filled with lots of injuries, surgery, physical therapy, slower than desired race times and, really, a lack of participation. Personally I completed three sprint triathlons, a 5k and a 10k. Oh, I did complete last year's Freezeroo series which was going to lead me to a great 2014 but that didn't pan out.

There were a few top three age group finishes in various races, but not what Sals, or friends of Sals, usually win. I see 2015 as a comeback year for many of us.

I hope we are all healthy throughout the year. Sure, there may be some minor aches and pains, but nothing debilitating.  My personal goal, which may sound a bit silly, is to finish in the top three in my age group for Rochester Runner of the Year. To accomplish this goal I will have to run a majority of those races and consistently place in the top 10 and higher. The series typically includes a one mile race on the track, several 5k races, maybe one or two 10k's and possibly a 15k or half-marathon. If I am truly in running shape these are good distances for me.

I will not be attempting a marathon. After the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon (my 19th marathon) I said that would be my last one and am still sticking with that statement. I visit my shoulder surgeon on December 29th and am hoping he gives me clearance to begin running again next week or soon thereafter.

I'm curious what some of your goals are for 2015. Please send a comment with your thoughts.

Tough Being a Buffalo Bills Fan

We have suffered through fifteen years of not making the playoffs, the only NFL team not to make the playoffs at some time in those years. This year there was some hope, if only the Bills could beat the Oakland Raiders, a lowly 2-12 team with a rookie QB they would still be in the running for a spot. As usual the Bills flopped and lost the game and all chances of playing in the post-season.
MW came up with the Top 10 Good Things About the Bills Losing Yesterday (Sunday):
  1.    We now can openly discuss the real truth that they are not a playoff team and stop filling our heads with false hope. 
  2.     When the Bills get slaughtered by the Patriots next week it won’t be so bad.
  3.  Sundays just got 4 more hours of free time.
  4. Time to focus on how much the Yankees will disappoint us next spring.
  5.   We can play the Bills’ favorite off season game, Name Our Next Quarterback.
  6.  Post season awards. Is there a Most Valuable Offensive Defense award? The Bills are the only team I know that wanted to keep their defense on the field to score points.
  7.   Lou and Mikes can now go back to discussing health care and injuries.
  8.   We can get back to saving our money to buy the Bills a new stadium.
  9. We can purchase E J Manual Christmas jerseys for $5 instead of the original $85.
  10.  For the last game maybe they’ll do some trick plays, like the Statue of Liberty play or the old Three Stooges ball under the shirt play. 

I responded to MW with my own list.
Before the game I had a sick feeling they would lose. That is the type of game they always blow. It was sad to watch. Bringing back Spiller was a huge mistake, the offense didn’t know what to do with him and he just kept running directly into defenders instead of using blockers. Not that their O line is really good.
Top Ten Bill predictions:
  1. Orton will be back starting at QB. 
  2.  They will let EJ Manuel go to another team.
  3. They will draft a QB who will be let go in 2 years.
  4.   They will get a top notch offensive lineman from college, develop him over 3 years, and let him go.
  5. 2015 will be the year they win 9 games and don’t make the playoffs.
  6. The Pagulas (new Bills owners) will alternate Buffalo Sabres hockey players with Bills players. They all know how to lose.
  7.  Spiller will be traded for a tight end who will get injured in game 4. Spiller will gain 1,200 yards and be all-pro and in the playoffs.
  8.  The Bills will keep their incompetent offensive coordinator and remain a bottom 10 offense.
  9.  Brady (Patriots) will beat the Bills 2x again next season.
  10. All the home games will still be sell out crowds.