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

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.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Why Should I Race This Weekend?

Recently there has been a lot of pressure put on me to run a 5k or 10k this weekend at the Pound the Ground for Vets race. Mr. Katz is a volunteer for the Veterans Outreach Center and former member of the Navy in the days when ships still had cannons, a crow's nest and sails.
After much arm-twisting last night Mr. Katz almost had me convinced to race. After waking this morning though I realized I really had no desire to race this Saturday. Mike W created the 10 reasons why I'm not racing.

1. Hates riding with Lou and Mike W. Can’t contribute to any Yankees talk. (true, I am no match for these two lifetime fans who have encyclopedic knowledge of useless Yankee statistics).
2. Is selling his piano at Joanne’s garage sale and is afraid if he is not there she will sell it for a quarter.
3. Hates driving to Mendon via Geneseo. (apparently Lou and Mike never heard of a map).
4. 10K is too long for Mike McTrisprinster.
5. Has to put mud flaps (with lady silhouette) on his monster truck.
6. Has to a new pine tree scent in Jan’s Malibu.
7. Has to do a anaerobic workout. He is up to 2 pushups.
8. Mendon has a hill. (it has several).
9. Mendon’s bathrooms are too “naturey”.
10. Top reason….Jan said no.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Urban Not-So-Fit

Monday night I attended my first Fleet Feet UrbanFit class. UrbanFit is defined as "both an aerobic and anaerobic workout, mixing cardio and strength training. It is outdoors using what nature and our city gives us--no fancy gym equipment needed! UrbanFit is both challenging and fun."
And it was.
The class last night was a freebie, on August 25 FF begins sessions at the Ridgeway and Armory stores, six weeks for $35, one hour per class.
The next morning I had the option of walking up four floors to my place of work, take the elevator or ride the escalator. Normally I would walk the stairs, this time I rode the escalator (yes, rode, usually I walk while it moves, not this time). The elevator, well, it's 100 years old and not something I want to be trapped in, so that wasn't an option.
My hamstrings, quads and calves are a bit sore. Not post-marathon sore, but definitely tender and in the need of recovery. Around 25 people of all ages and sizes showed up for UrbanFIT. We jogged a few minutes then went right into jumping jacks and pretend jump roping non-stop to warm-up. We did 3 minute intervals of pushups, abdominal exercises and squats. We moved on to tricep dips, lunges (so many lunges!) and mountain climbers (ouch). We did several other exercises involving all muscle groups. For fun we ended with the old stand-by, squat thrusts.
The time went by fast, the instructor kept us moving and motivated. I will be signing up for the next six weeks.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Horse, of Course

My equestrian daughter, who is also a trail runner in the deep woods and mountains of Alabama, thinks horses and runners are more alike than not. She offers up ten reasons why this is true;

1. Warm up; for the runner and rider, stretching your own legs and body is crucial for that graceful, fluid look; For the horse this means large circles to release tension in the ribcage, taking your time to move from a walk to a trot to a canter, riding your horse long and low to stretch the back. You can even start in the barn before getting on the horse, using a carrot to bribe the horse to turn its head as far as he can to the right, then the left, and even between his legs; I’m starting to think this should be incorporated into the runner’s warm-up routine; I’m sure that if someone dangled a cookie in front of me I could reach my toes with my fingers for once.

2. Proper footwear; My horses get their hooves trimmed and proper shoes if needed every six to eight weeks at $100+ per horse.  Runners spend almost that much on their running sneakers as well.

3. Appropriate clothing; A horse needs saddles and bridles that don’t rub or pinch; A rider needs boots with heels that will be comfortable with their tight pants; Ideally both would be color coordinated; A runner needs special tights or shorts, shirts made from the latest breathable technology, and should also have colors to match their new shoes.

4. Bug Spray. Ever hear of horse flies? Ever see my Dad run most anywhere? His arms are flailing, swatting his head, just like a horse tail swishing back and forth.

5. If I can use the horse stall as a bathroom, I can hide behind a tree when the urge to go arises. (editor note: she may have learned this from me).

6. Leg yields; The horse should move left and right with ease, able to control their every footfall in an ideal world; As a trail runner you may need to change your course quickly as you run around large rocks or start to roll on the smaller ones; I recommend practicing Prancersizing to help with the quick changes in direction.

7. Seeing your “spot”; When you jump your horse, you need to take him to the ideal take-off point with the right speed to soar over those 6 foot fences (ok, so the highest I made it was four feet, one time; I prefer to take my horse over the pole on the ground); On the trails, when those huge logs (sticks?) are laying across my path I can see where I need to jump in order to clear it and make a safe landing, adjusting my stride as needed; I look almost as graceful as the horse.

8. The Flight/Fight response. Most horses lean towards one or the other. It seemed anytime I took my horses in an open field, the flight response was the strongest even though he was a calm angel the day before with another rider. I discovered while trail running I have a strong flight instinct. If a leaf rustles, a twig snaps, a bird flies within 20 feet of my head, there is a buzzing noise, like a spooking horse I do anything from a quick look to snort, roll my eyes so the white is showing, immediately change direction, and bolt; Yep, if you run with me be prepared for my spook to spook you.

9. Cool-down. Walk your horse until respiration has returned to normal on a long rein so he can stretch his neck; Do the same for yourself after your run.

10. Treats; horses get a bag of carrots, apples, peppermints; I prefer a frappe, twix, or cookies to celebrate surviving.

Monday, August 11, 2014


No, it's not a remake of the Marx Brother's classic film, Duck Soup.

Duckweed "are flowering aquatic plants which float on or just beneath the surface of still or slow-moving bodies of fresh water" (Wikipedia). This is what Jan and I swam in on Sunday at Canandaigua Lake.
Fortunately all we had to do was wade through a few feet of the duckweed, which near Kershaw Park wasn't quite as thick as seen here. Around 100 feet from shore the weed was gone, otherwise the swim wouldn't have happened. The last thing I wanted to do was swallow a bunch of this stuff while breathing.

I did notice at night, when the glow from the supermoon came out, that Jan and I had a green aura sounding us, but that may have been my imagination.
In some cultures duckweed is used for food, containing more protein than soybean! Maybe Jan and I should have brought home a bucket for smoothies? 

Friday, August 1, 2014

High School Reunion

I don't feel old enough to be having a 40th high school reunion this weekend, but it's here. I am a reunion virgin, never having any desire to attend one in the past. Once I wasn't even invited, how's that for building up your self-esteem?
This weekend I'm breaking my rule and going. I'm taking my trophy wife, Jan, for moral support. A handful of people who were friends are coming in from out of town (the party is five miles from my house, traveling expenses being another excuse I can't use) and I haven't seen them in a long time.
Also, a bit morbid, but last year a high school friend passed away unexpectedly, he had come up from his home in NC the year before to a mini-reunion that I didn't attend. Who knew that would be my last year to have the chance to see him? Another friend died suddenly this past spring, we had reunited through Facebook, but again, I missed chances to see him.

So tonight is an informal get together at a local bar, Saturday night a dinner at a golf course banquet facility.  Mike W put together two top ten lists regarding reunions;
Top 10 things to look cool at your reunion.
1.       Enter the room and do a James Brown split on the dance floor.
2.       Yell into your cell phone, “Listen, you were the one elected President. Why should I fix this?”
3.       Tip the bartender with Monopoly money.
4.       Do a one arm pushup and then do a shot of tequila.
5.       When dancing with Jan, dip often.
6.       Wear dark glasses the whole night and act jumpy.
7.       Ask someone, “Is there a place to store my gat here”
8.       Show up in a horse and buggy.
9.       Pretend to have a conversation on your shoe phone.
10.   Call everyone Dude.

Top 10 things not to do.
1.       Enter the room and do a James Brown split and need 5 guys to pick you up…and split your pants.
2.       Yell into your cell phone, “Not now Ma. I’ll clean my room tomorrow morning.”
3.       Ask the former prom queen to dance and do the twist.
4.       Introduce Jan as your first wife.
5.       Tell anyone you hang out with Lou and me.
6.       Walk out of the men’s room with a trail of tp behind you stuck to your shoe.
7.       Wear any part of your old football uniform.
8.       Stand next to the guy who has great hair and is a VP for Microsoft.
9.       Bring your travel Yahtze game.
10.   Fall asleep at your table…at 8:30.