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

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.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Ironman Lake Placid 2014

Notes from the IM official site;
"Adverse weather affects the age group race
Thunder and lightning in the area forced race officials to cancel the second loop of the swim for the age group athletes. The official age group results will include one loop of the swim, the bike, T2, and the run. T1 will not be included."

I feel sorry for the competitors mostly, but it also sounds like a dreadful morning for spectators, volunteers and race organizers. Jan and I went to watch the race in 2008 and it rained quite a bit, though not horribly hard during the bike that year. In 2009 when Jan completed the race it rained some during the swim then cleared up. But neither year had the lightning this year brought. Yuck.

I also found this photo, which is quite disturbing on many levels;

Okay ladies, stop staring at the speedo man with the buttoned up white cover over his privates.

1. As MW wrote to me, who dresses like this in the morning and decides at the last minute that he must have a visor?
2. And why is the visor backwards? 
3. With any luck the State Trooper ran him over.
4. Speedo Man is obviously quite comfortable in his own skin (since that's mostly all he's wearing).while running and cheering, but what happens when he's done? He just calmly walks back to the car like he's strolling to the grocery store?
5. Where are his car keys?
6. What, do we live in France now and are watching the Tour de France with the loonies they have spectating?
7. I think he's wearing socks. Again, it begs the question why? His feet get cold?
8. Speedo guy has a really on his left hand. So, I'm going out for a run in my speedo, 90% naked, and I need to get the exact time and distance I ran?
9. I don't think there is a gel pocket in those shorts.
10. Okay, where is the Smart phone hidden?

Friday, July 25, 2014


Yesterday I received notification in my email that a new full IM race will be held in Muskoka, Ontario Canada. Why do I receive this notifications? I'm not sure, it must be a holdover from Jan entering Louisville and Lake Placid.
The new race will be held August 30, 2015 and the previous 70.3IM will be moved to July, making a perfect training race for the full distance. The cost is only 700 Canadian, plus HST (tax) plus fees. ($757 US, plus tax and fee, so way over $800).

Today, I was presented with a new offer in my email. If I register within the next 24 hours for Lake Placid IM 2015, I also get entry to the Syracuse 70.3 race held a month earlier, the so called "RACE READY PACKAGE". This package is limited to 400 athletes and costs $940 plus fees. It's a bargain I guess as Lake Placid IM entry alone is $725 plus fees. I suppose if you are entering LP anyhow this package kind of makes sense assuming Syracuse is your destination of choice for a 1/2 IM.

Interesting, when we went to watch the 2008 LPIM, to register for 2009 your best shot was to wait in line on Monday morning, charge account in hand, for 2-3 hours. With the link above you can register before this year's race, if you are ready to commit to two races next summer.

This also tells me the IM corporation (now an equity group owns IM, not a private person) is looking for new methods of marketing their product, expanding the brand and driving profits. When Jan completed LP in 2009 around 2,100 people were allowed in the race. The transition area was busy, lets say, but roomy enough. This year (Sunday actually) 2,500 are expected to start the race. At $700 per runner entry fee that's an additional $280,000, not bad if you can keep the race safe and not burn out the local townspeople.

So hurry, click on the one of the links above. Just choose Canada or the Adirondacks for your race!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Red-Eye Flights

Many U.S. airlines schedule red-eye flights to accommodate passengers needs. My belief this should be a discounted ticket due to the inconvenience and inevitable tiredness that will occur for several days after. Of course that doesn't happen.
A couple of friends of mine, let's call them Eileen and Mike, just came home from vacationing in Salt Lake City and arrived in Rochester on the red-eye. A recent poll came up with 10 things that happen or to be concerned about on red-eye flights.

1. Many of the passengers fall asleep, what keeps the pilots awake? Are they really awake or is the plane on cruise control?
2. If a plane speeds at night does anyone care or know? Is there a speed limit in the sky like the interstate system for automobiles? If the plane flew at 390mph instead of 340, what difference would it make?
3. People sometimes snore at night. This can be annoying if you aren't the snorer. Typically my friend Mike might get punched by Eileen for snoring, but on the plane can she go around punching every snorer? No, at least not without being on YouTube or Good Morning America. This is a minor victory for Mike.
4. I want whatever brand coffee the flight crew is having to help me stay awake at work.
5. If it's two in the morning and a passenger gets hungry does the flight crew mind him/her going to the kitchen and making their own snack? Isn't that what people do at home, like Dagwood?
6. I hope everyone wears their pajamas, no naked sleeping on the plane!
7. Does the flight crew only do red-eye flights, like when I only worked the B or C shift at Kodak?
8. Be sure to bring your own blankie, using the multi-used airplane blanket is a bit icky.
9. If you must take your shoes off to sleep make sure you have a good pair of socks. No one wants to see holes in your socks as you walk to the bathroom at 2am. Clean socks, please, no stinky feet wanted either!
10. Don't forget the sleep mask, headphones, soothing music and brush your teeth before boarding to make it seem like you are going to bed.