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

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Don't Retreat!

     Monday was a library "retreat" where I work. I strongly side with not having retreats. There is no reason to have ice breakers or other "fun" games since we have all been working together for years. I really don't want to play games at work, but maybe that's my Eeyore coming out. Everything we talk about at these retreats could be accomplished in our normal one or two hour monthly staff meeting.
     We don't have much of a budget left right now, not until September anyhow when the new fiscal year begins. This means we can't actually retreat anywhere but the library. Bogus.
     Yesterday during the retreat I came up with 10 specific thoughts about these events;

1. There are too many food temptations. Breakfast at 9am (second breakfast for me), snacks at lunch time and yesterday ice cream sundaes (I passed on that). Retreat day can be a diet buster.
2. I forgot my work issued IPAD so I couldn't secretly read the newspaper during the meeting.
3. My stomach gets in knots worried about what new assignment I'm going to get that I don't really want to do.
4. Co-workers and administrators always talk and worry about things going on throughout the college that we have no control over and really don't concern us.
5. I have the George Costanza philosophy, say one good comment early in the day, then the pressure is off.
6. I kept day dreaming about the poor early morning run I had and wondering if tomorrow would be any better.
7. How many more of these do I have to attend before retiring? Four at the most? If I go to one my last year here I'm bringing a shot glass and bottle of Bourbon. Jan can pick me up when the retreat is over.
8. The boss gave a spiel then looked directly at me and asked in front of everyone what I thought about what we should do to improve certain aspects of the library (specifically getting more people, more awareness, more, more, more). He's a nice guy but that wasn't the question to ask after his doom and gloom speech. I went on an unusual for me defensive tirade shedding the Eeyore skin from my body and spoke about all the positive things we had been doing for two years (and much more). I'm not sure my speech was embraced by all.
9. I began thinking about my next workout during our afternoon games. Really, more games?
10. On the positive side we did get out of work early.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pecularities of an Endurance Athlete

Most of the readers of this blog probably don't ride in elevators, believing that to be the lazy person's way to go up in a building. I don't like the feeling of being trapped in a small space, especially if the elevator is crowded (which basically means more than one other person is with me). So many things could go wrong in elevators.
On those occasions when my legs are beat from workouts and I do take a ride up a few floors I have a couple of habits. If I'm wearing a step counter I pace back and forth. If not I practice balancing on one foot. Try balancing, especially with your eyes closed, in a moving elevator. It's not that easy.
When I do this and other people are on the elevator it's really weird. For them. I could care less, I'm an athlete, or at least athletic. They have to adjust, not me.

Are you one of those people who ride up escalators? I hope not, that really bugs me, unless it's a person with disabilities or a small child. Walk along with the escalator, it's good for you.

I constantly check the weather on the web. It's surprising how inaccurate is, but I still go to the site. I check other sites too. I like to see the dew point, which a lot of weather sites don't show. If the dew point hits 60 I know the run will begin to get tough. At 65 I have to shorten my run or go to the track and do laps so I can stop at any time. At a dew point of 70 it's impossible for me to go more than 3-4 miles. I keep hoping if I run 3-4 miles everyday after work when it's 75+ degrees and 60+ dew point that come race mornings when it's 60 degrees I'll be able to go fast.

Have running shoes, hiking boots, bicycling shoes, bike helmets, bright vests, wet suits and an assortment of bikes taken over your garage? This year we added a heavy boxing bag and chin-up bar. Amazingly we can still park a car and pickup truck in there, though it's a tight fit to open the car door enough to get out.

Our water bottles, Hammer Heed and whey powder have two shelves in our kitchen cupboards. Gels, energy bars and Hammer Endurolyte tablets take up another shelf.

The basement recreation room (man cave - I hate that term) is not for video games, watching television or relaxing. A 10x10 foot space is filled with a weight machine. The treadmill is tucked between a wall and the weights. Up to three bikes could be on trainers. We do have a television and radio in the room, but typically in the winter we watch Spinerval bike dvd's or Lord of the Rings tapes over and over.

My briefcase for work is a triathlon backpack. At any point, like today, it could have my lunch plus swimming gear, or running gear. I might have bike stuff for a ride home. Seldom does my tribriefcase have work stuff inside, other than a pen and sometimes an IPAD.

This is all normal behavior for our family and only once in a while do we realize everyone is not quite like this.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

It's Not Easy Being Green!

In our running group we have often wondered why Mike W. wore green tights. His bike helmet is also green. Apparently this is not a coincidence. New evidence suggests that MW is actually the pilot of the New Horizons spacecraft that is flying by Pluto. If you download software from NASA you can see photographs of Pluto and possibly see an image of Mike's face in the spaceship window.

Mike isn't on board the small spaceship, he never would survive a nine year trip without a bathroom stop. He works for a top secret firm that makes satellite "stuff" and NASA contacted MW to pilot the ship from his desk in Rochester, NY.  We always believed Mike worked on spreadsheets and was a business planning genius. In truth this has been a coverup. It turns out that in college Mike was an Asteroids video game champion. He is like Rain Man in the arcades, truly a pinball wizard.

When NASA found his name atop every Asteroids high scorer list in western NY they knew he was the man to autopilot New Horizons. Mike even graciously donated his old Dish TV disc for the project, knowing that would help hold down costs.

It only recently came to light that Mike was also behind the creation of The Great Gazoo. Most people thought the Great Gazoo was a cartoon fantasy, but they were wrong. All this time it was Mike. An alien in our midst, but it makes sense once you learn about his Asteroids prowess. And that is why till this day he wears green at most social functions and while running on the canal path.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Road Bike Tricks

Suddenly I feel so inadequate on my bike. Make sure to watch around 2 minutes and again at 3:40. Remember this is a road bike, not a bmx tricked out bike, though that would still impress me.

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.