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

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Early Morning Thoughts

Miraculously (that looks misspelled but Google says it's not), I actually got out of bed early and ran before work! Getting up out of bed to run instead of finding an excuse to reset my alarm is unusual for me.
The weather people said we would have thunderstorms by 7am and again this afternoon so I took the chance that they would be correct in the timing of the storms and made it outside to run by 5:50am. I ran the short block, about .5 miles, and came right back inside for the bathroom. This is always my biggest fear on morning runs, being more than a few hundred yards from the facilities. After the stop I was able to run another 3 miles, still not straying far from home though.
Early morning runs also seem to stimulate the brain. I realized we have some terminology in running that would be quite alien to non-runners;

1. Tell a non-runner you are doing a ladder workout at the track. "You run with a ladder?" "Do you stop, place it on the ground and skip through the rungs?" "Do you use it to climb over the fence?"
2. Fartlek - too much gas on the run obviously.
3. Cruise Intervals - "You have a classic car, pretend you are 19 again and are going to the hamburger car hop joint?"
4. I'm going to run 10k pace for two miles. "What's a K?"
5. Form drills - "oh, that's a special attachment for your Black & Decker drill?"
6. Hill repeats - "you mean you run hard up a hill, jog down and repeat? That's fun to you?"
7. Cross Country - "Oh, now you help train cons how to escape and run across country?"
8. Clydesdale - a beautiful, muscular horse that pulls a beer wagon? No, it's a heavyset runner.
9. I do LSD. No, not the drug, Long Slow Distance.
10. Tempo - "Oh, you play drums in a band and keep tempo?"

Maybe I should run in the early morning more often? My brain needs stimulation.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


A few weeks ago I finished the book, "Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking", by Susan Cain. There were a lot of great points in the book about how people who are introverted are perceived in the world. It was nice to read that someone like me isn't really a bad or ineffective person or second class citizen and needs to become an extrovert.

There are many reasons I exercise a lot and one reason I lean toward the individuality of running or biking or swimming may be that I am an introvert, at least that is my theory. Not that I didn't play team sports, I did, and still could enjoy that camaraderie, but for a long time I've found enjoyment in many of my solitary runs. I have a few close friends. I talk to many people and have improved greatly over the years with my social abilities, but can easily and happily be quiet.

There is too much in Cain's book to go into detail in this blog, but here are a few things I learned;

1. There are different levels/mixtures if you will of introverts. A High Reactive Introvert is particularly sensitive to new sights, sounds and smells.
2. An introvert may have tighter vocal chords, more cortisol (stress hormone), a more jangled feel when confronting something new and stimulating.
3. They use more eye movement when comparing choices and making decisions than other people.
4. Introverts tend to be more empathetic, caring and cooperative. They are easily disturbed by cruelty, injustice and irresponsibility.
5. The need to have downtime-quiet time.
6. Introverts can do public speaking but are much more comfortable with topics they are familiar with and care about. If they continue to fight this burnout, stress and health problems may be a result.
7. Love is essential, gregariousness is optional. Don't worry about socializing with everyone. Think quality over quantity and don't feel like you have to be the center of attention. It's okay.
8. Reward yourself when tasks that make you uncomfortable are completed (like public speaking).
9.  Make a deal with yourself to attend a set number of social events and, again, reward yourself in some small way when they are done. You don't have to attend everything.
10. Continuing to feel like you have to act as an extrovert when you aren't one will destroy your health.
and one more for good measure;  Studies suggest that many of the most creative people are introverts, and this is partly because of their capacity for quiet. Introverts are careful, reflective thinkers who can tolerate the solitude that idea-generation requires.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

To Be Relevant

One of my big goals this year was to become relevant again in running races. At the very least I want to be competitive in my age group. Through four Rochester Runner of the Year Races I have a lousy 5 points, good for about 15th place. That is not really being relevant.

The last race was one of my usual favorites, the Medved 5k at Frontier field baseball stadium. For the finish you enter the stadium and run around the outfield ending at home plate. Typically I finish at least in the top 5 in my age group. This year was warm and humid, not my cup of tea. I had a slow last mile and no sprint. But I still hoped for at least 10th place or better despite a slower time than desired. When the results were posted I was 12th. No RROY points for me. A mere 30 seconds and I would have been 8th and at least earned 3 points.

What to do now? Well there happens to be another RROY race this coming weekend, a 6.6 ish mile hilly trail race. I decided today to enter it and then checked to see who else in my age group entered already. Out of about 170 current entrants 17 are in my group! I guess there won't any easy races this year, lots of old men to compete against, which is good really.

Jan is moving up in her age group, currently in 7th place. She is relevant.

Friday, June 12, 2015

That Wile E. Coyote!

Our home sits in the middle of a small village in a working class neighborhood of ranch, Cape Cod and colonial style houses. The lot sizes average .25 acres. We don’t have large plots of trees or parks within two miles of us. 

A week ago I was looking out the front window of our home, checking the weather before leaving to meet friends in the village for our usual Saturday morning run and soul cleansing. Running down the street was a coyote! He/she stayed on the side of the road facing traffic like any good runner should do. The coyote continued up our street a few hundred yards before getting out of sight. Jan was out running one early morning two weeks ago in the village and said she had seen a coyote. I’m guessing the coyote has a regular routine or maybe he just likes to run like we do?

Three days ago as I was pulling out of the driveway to go to work I looked down the road and saw our friend, the coyote, again. This time he was darting between houses with what looked like a small squirrel in his mouth. 

If the Roadrunner suddenly appears  I’ll really start to get worried. Until then at least our squirrel population might get under control.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Weekend Race Results

It was an exciting weekend of racing for some of the Sal’s Racing Team. The races began on Friday night with Jan and I doing the McMullenMile. My prediction was a 6:48 and I ended up at 6:54. At least I was under 7:00, which was important to me. I also picked up 5 or 6 Runner of the Year points, my first points of the season, so I’m going in the right direction. Jan beat my prediction for her of an 8:32 and ran an 8:23, good enough for 2nd place in her age group and 9 RROY points. I think the lightning storm that moved in during her last two laps spurred her on. I was surprised they kept racing and personally did not feel very comfortable standing next to the all-metal bleachers waiting for the race to end. The meet got postponed until Saturday morning after Jan’s race. 

Saturday morning Pete “The Ageless Wonder” won his age group at the Lifetime Assistance 5k. Across town Eileen won her age group at the Fast & Furriest 10k

Sunday morning Joanne and Lou ran the Niagara Falls Women’sHalf Marathon (in Canada no less). Lou ran the mostly all-women’s race because he was promised his own port-a-potty. Well, maybe not. Maybe he’s a nice husband who wanted to support his wife and help her finish a 13.1 mile race? You decide. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

McMullen Mile - Day of Race Thoughts

The annual Charlie McMullen mile is tonight. The elite men's race has pacers and invited runners in an attempt to break the four minute mile. I don't have to worry about that race, all I need to do is watch and cheer.
Jan and I will be in earlier heats trying hard not to run so slowly that we get lapped. I found out on Monday the race would be this week (Friday) instead of the originally scheduled June 12th date. It's probably best to get it over with, though there was a lot of hemming and hawing on my part before registering for the race.
I have a few pre-race thoughts;

1. I hope my mile time trial Monday night on the wet canal path isn't a true predictor of my race time tonight.
2. Physically it's great to be able to think I'm able to even consider running an all-out mile. Mentally it's tough realizing a great race tonight will give me a time I used to run for every mile in a 10k.
3. Based on pre-registrations I should be in the top 3 or 4 of my age group, Jan the same. Great, right? Of course right now there are only 3-4 in our age groups. I hope seven more fast guys don't show up and register to race tonight, I want the Runner of the Year points!
4. I should run a mile time trial once a month. The mile is a great way to test your fitness and mental toughness. If I ran it more often maybe I wouldn't be so nervous about the mile.
5. Two hours after I registered online the weather forecast for tonight changed. The temperature prediction went up to 78, dew point is higher and now the possibility of a thunderstorm. These are not ideal racing conditions.
6. The mile is a painful race. The first quarter is usually too fast and I go through wondering if I'm going to die. The second quarter I get back to my goal pace, hopefully not much slower and blowing the race. At the beginning of the third quarter the pain usually really begins. Breathing becomes difficult, legs might begin to tie up a bit. When there's about 500 to go though I realize I will make it, maybe not as fast as I would have liked, but if I grit it out still a good race. With 400 to go, the gun lap you always try to pick it up. I usually think I am, but really probably just hanging on. With 200 to go I'll try to sprint to the finish, glad it's all over.
7. Will the bear come out? Of course, there is no way I'll be able to breathe normally. Jan will laugh, along with some other spectators. A few people might wonder if the old man is going to die.
8. One of my best all-time races was a 1500 meter run on snowshoes around a 300 meter "track" in the Adirondack mtn's for the Empire State Games. With 500 meters to go I finally took off and was able to earn my first medal, a bronze, but still it meant a lot to me. I want to run like that tonight. I want to be proud of my effort no matter what the final time is.
9. Nutrition is tough today. Jan and I won't be racing until around 7pm. We can't eat a dinner without bad results, either spending pre-race time in the bathroom or getting physically ill after the race. I think it's all Hammer products until our races are completed.
10. Predictions - Jan 8:32, me 6:48.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Recent Runner's World Articles

A few people I know may be interested in adding a couple of these races to their Bucket List;

Races for wine lovers. Wineglass has been done and will be done again this fall by at least one of our readers. The Oregon and Disney races are probably ones Jan and I will participate in at some point.

 Never say you are too old to run a marathon! Harriette Thompson, 92 years old, just completed the San Diego Rock & Roll marathon in 7 hours and 24 minutes, breaking the world record for her age group by 2.5 hours!

An article on the recent ruling that World Triathlon Company (Ironman events) has to refund lottery entry funds from their Kona World Championship Triathlon was interesting. Last year more than 14,000 people paid $50 for a chance to get 1 of 100 spots. People who entered the lottery since 2012 will be getting refunds, a total of 2.76 million dollars. I'm not sure why they only had to go back to 2012 since they have been charging for this chance since 1989. There are many races that offer lotteries since they sell out so quickly, but usually they don't charge for the privilege. The lottery also has to last longer than 30 days and earn a minimum of $2k in a single day.