Yearly Archives: 2009

That’s Better!

Ok, the flickr feed is fixed. Not sure what the problem was, but I think I noticed something similar last time I updated WordPress itself.

I purged the cached images and did the one click automagic update on the flickrss plugin and was back in business.

Cold and Tiring, But So Satisfying

As fall quickly slides into Central New York, I’m a little less exciting than usual due to the kinda crummy summer.  Normally, I’m totally ready for the long hot days to be done.  We had some really hot days, but nothing that stopped me from running; including a few night runs when I left and it was over 90 degrees.

But, those days seem to be long gone.  I was on my way out the door at 7am and noticed that it was only 48 out.  I hedged for a bit, then decided that some long sleeves were warranted.  In the sun, it was pretty comfortable, in the shade and with a little breeze, it was too cool for me to be without sleeves.

Running down the canal trail, I enjoyed watching the fog rolling across the water.  Someday, I’ll have to sacrifice some early morning run time for a photo walk.  There’s already some leaves starting to pile up on the fringes of the trail.   Slightly unusual, I didn’t run into any one on the trail until right before I turned off to get onto the Green Lakes trails.  I thought for sure that there would be some other folks out enjoying the coolness.

Right after cresting the first big hill, I ran right up on a doe.  Amazingly tame.  I actually had to slow up a bit so I didn’t spook him completely.

I reveled in how amazingly clear it was when I got to the first break in the trees.  After seeing the same vista on cloudy, rainy, and hazy days all summer long, its amazingly different.  Pure blue sky set against deep greens with random shots of red, yellow, and orange.   I’m guessing it’ll probably be another two weeks or so and there won’t be much green left.

I pressed on through the Serengeti.  My shoes were starting to get a little heavy from the dew soaked grass.  Since I left about an hour later for this run, so I missed the waves of fog riding across the rolling hills that I’ve been seeing more and more.  That’s ok with me, as I could do without the warm, cold, warm, cold that you run through as you go through the ups and downs anyway.

Even though I’ve been doing this same 2:45 route for a while now, for some reason, I was feeling really tired.  I’ve got a sore spot the top of my left foot and little twinge every now and again in my left hip.  No deal breakers thankfully, just signs of another out door running season getting ready to wind down.

I made it back home soon and safe enough.  Had some calf cramping for an hour or two after the run.  Was totally looking forward to a nice afternoon nap, but visitors, church, dinner, and grocery shopping left no time for that.  I was sound asleep by 10pm, tired, but satisfied.

Arc Half Marathon 2009

Earlier today I ran the ARC Half Marathon.  I wasn’t planning on having a fantastic run, as my training has been pretty hit or miss lately, and I’ve got a knee that’s a touch sore from that wreck last week.

Things started off well enough;  quite well, in fact.  Splits for miles 1 and 2 were in the 6:30s.  Knew things would be all down hill from there on.    As continued the rolling hills on Rt. 370, I got an all too familiar stitch in my right side.  Not sure why, but the ARC is the only race that I’ve ever had cramp issues, in the 100 or so races that I’ve run over the years.

I tried to grit my way through it, but my guts just weren’t on board.  After turning onto Hayes Road, I had to walk for a bit, maybe a quarter mile.  The pain seemed to be mostly gone, so I started jogging again.  I got about another third of a mile or so and the intense pain came roaring back.  What the crap?

So, I walked a little more, all the time people sailing by and telling me to stick with it.  Geez, its been a long time since I was on the receiving end of one of those.

I  started jogging really slowly again and tried to concentrate on my breathing.  Thankfully, the pain seemed to pass.  I chugged along for a few miles at the slower than normal pace.  I stretching things out a bit, and sped up.  I think I lasted about a mile or so and then I started getting the crazy stitch on my left side.

As I approached the turn off to the trails on the south side of the lake, I was really thinking about just walking off the course.  I’m pretty sure I’m gonna have a crummy time, so what’s the use?  Well, a slow finish is still better than a DNF, so I’ll just grunt my way through the last 4 miles.

It always feels like you’re hitting the home stretch when you make that turn back into the trails, but then you realize, that 4 miles, is still a ways to go.  Even though I’ve done this course a handful of times, I can’t seem to get my brain to remember how far it is out to the file turn around.  It always seems to be just around the next bend, and of course, its not.

Kinda depressing, but, I’m seeing some of the people that I started off with (and thought that I’d be leaving in the dust) already on their way back in, probably 10 or more minutes ahead of me.  Ouch.

In the final stretch, I was able to get myself up to a reasonable pace.   I was happy my cut up knee and elbow were burning a bit but otherwise not troublesome; however, I was feeling a lot more tired than I remember lately.  I really wanted to take a nap in the grassy area just beyond the finish line.  I passed a person or two in the last hundred yards.

105:09.  That’s pretty crappy versus the PR effort earlier this year, but in the grand scheme, pretty good, considering I probably walked at least half a mile.  After being blessed with so many ‘on’ days for races, I’m pretty satisfied with my efforts on an ‘off’ day.

Congratulations to Kevin Collins (my former coach) for taking the overall win and to all the 1st Marathon runners that I saw during the race.   Also many thanks to my unofficial teammates, Larry and Brian, who shame and humble me into keeping up with them.

Too Stupid to Stop

So I took last night off from running so I’d be a little more rested for a good long run this morning.  I was up on time (a little earlier actually, due to the full moon shining right in my face), through the requisite GI wake period and out the door by 5:45, anticipating a run of about 3 hours.

About 10 minutes into the run, I was on Kinne Rd, crossing Erie Blvd.  A car was making a right turn on to Erie from Kinne and got to the little turning lane right as I was just about across Erie.  I intended to run up over the little raised island that forms the turning lane, like I’d done about a thousand times previously.

At 5:55 am, its still pretty dark.  I’ve also notice recently, that my eyes are pretty much shot in low light applications these days.  As I was closing in the last step or two before the curb around the island, the car’s headlights dipped and I lost site of the curb.  I landed my left foot on top of the island, and caught the toes on my right foot on the lip of the curb.  This resulting in a spectacular Superman maneuver with me landing on my left knee, left palm, right elbow, and right hip in nice bed of gravel and sand.  Well, landing probably isn’t the right term;  sliding is probably more accurate.

I quickly got up and shook out some cobwebs.  The car stopped for a second, but kept on going when they saw I was back on my feet again.  No worries, he wasn’t at fault anyway.  I tried to brush the dirt and rocks out of the abrasions the best I could in the dark.  I couldn’t tell how bad the scrapes were, but nothing hurt real bad, so I kept going.

The first street light I encountered was at the corner of Kinne Rd and Butternut St.  I stopped for a second and pulled some of the rocks out of the cuts in my palm.  Hmm, the knee and elbow looked kinda angry but didn’t hurt all that much.  Do I stop and return to home base as an sensible person would?  Of course not, I’m far too stupid to stop.

I trudged my way along the canal trail, up through the back trails at Green Lakes, and then down through the park.  After not seeing a soul along the way, I kinda forgot that I was probably a bloody mess.   Didn’t see many people in the lower half of the park and was soon enough back on the canal trail heading home.  I passed maybe 10 runners and didn’t seem to get any weird stares, maybe its all in my head.

Eventually, I made it back to the house.  Wow, I really was a bloody mess.  The wounds on knee and elbow had nice red streaks below them.  I gave the wife a quick update that she’s not the only klutz and the low down on the incident and headed to the shower to start cleaning up.  I spent about 10 minutes doing some pre-cleaning action all the trouble spots and getting out what foreign matter I could, wincing the whole time.

I then stood there for 10 minutes trying to get the courage to get into the shower.  I considered waiting a while for things to scab up again, but realized, I’d only be trying to get junk out again later.   So, turned on the water, bit my lip, and dove in.  The first 2 minutes were fine.  Then I got some soap on one of the open areas, ow.  Then I really bit my lip and started to scrub out the cuts with the shower scrubber.  Tear inducing.

So, a few hours later, I’m sitting around sharing this fun tail with all of the blogosphere while I’m still oozing blood every now and again.  I just realized that my arm rest is a complete mess.

How was your run today?

WordPress Update

After seeing a scary WordPress update warning on mashable.com, I was guilted into doing a little maintenance work on the old blog.   I was half way through the normal WordPress update procedure that I know and don’t really look forward to… backup the database, back up the site’s files, download the new release, unzip and copy over the existing site.

I was already through the back up stuff and about to download the latest source when I read in the upgrade instructions and saw the Automatic Upgrade option.  I saw the link upgrade link in the admin interface previously and thought it was just a link to the download page for the latest release.  Not any more!  Its actually an update function.

Since I already had everything backed up and I clicked and confirmed that I wanted the auto install option.  After a minute or two I got some status messages on the updater’s progress and final message that the update was successful.  Wow, that was pretty painless.

Well, at first blush.  Oops, I should really rename my custom theme directory, my bad.  The upgrade was happy to replace my custom stuff with the default.  No worries, easily copied over from the back up.  Hmm, seems to have lost some of the widgets in my sidebar.  Easily restored with the widget manager.  Guess I’ll have to give the site a good going over look for other little things.  Oh well.

I really gotta get around to doing some redesign work anyway…

Brightroom Pics from the Boilermaker

I was so fast this year, they were only able to catch me at the finish line.  Well, that’s what I’d like to think.  In real life, folding my bib number down so just the actual number shows probably makes it hard to read for the far too dedicated folks who manually tag all the folks in each picture.

Pic from the crew, as well:

  • Larry
  • Brian (beginning to wonder if all his racing shirts are blue, or if just wears the same shirt to every race)
  • Chub
  • Bob

Boilermaker 2009

I think a shirt that I saw during the race pretty much sums it up:

“My sport is punishment in your sport…”

Yeah, that feels about right.

Splits:

  • Mile 1: 6:54
  • Mile 2: 7:36
  • Mile 3: 7:15
  • Mile 4: 7:40
  • Mile 5: 6:41
  • Mile 6: 7:08
  • Mile 7: 7:43
  • Mile 8: 7:12
  • Mile 9: 7:25
  • The Final 0.3: 2:05

Final: 67:44.  That’s a fairly impressive (for me anyway) 7:16 average pace, and a new PR by about 4 minutes and change.

On the drive out, I was really worried about GI problems finally catching up with me.  Thankfully, after making it over to the starting area, things seems to work themselves out.  Even though it was about 54 degrees out, I was feeling pretty comfortable.  I hung with the my crew a little longer than I probably should have and ended up getting stuck around 3/4 of the way back in the green section.  Thought I made up some ground when they started moving people up to the starting line, but felt like I had a ton of traffic to weave through.  Right before the first mile marker, things began to open up a bit and I started to find it easier to get around people.

The rest of Culver Ave and the Parkway up to Valley View Road was fairly uneventful, except for getting boxed in by a couple of guys running together.  Caught a few elbows, dropped back moved to the other side of the road and was able to get around them.  As usual, the turn into the golf course is pinched off pretty well with water stations on both sides of the road.  Luckily the middle seemed clear enough for me to squeeze through.  I also seemed to avoid an errant soaking and ice from other runners.

I’m happy see the lesser runners begin to wilt a bit on the big hill;  with all the retarded hill work that I put in, it doesn’t slow me much.  I’m worried about everybody catching up as I putter down the other side of the hill.  Even though I do about as much downhill work as uphill, my body just wasn’t made for downhill speed.  Regardless, I try to open things up to hold my ground.  At the bottom of the hill, I’m looking forward to more uphill.

Cruising down the Parkway from the Zoo to the tennis courts, I flash back to riding down the bike trail on the side of the road when I was I kid and thinking how fast it seemed.  I also remember looking back up the same hill when watching the Boilermaker when I was a kid and running how people could run that far, let alone the full course.  At the tennis courts, I snap myself back to the moment and start scanning the crowd for my mom.  She’s really good at being in +/- 5 feet of her spot every year.  Unfortunately, my eyes are getting worse every year.  I finally spot her and get a nice high five as I motor on.

In the next block or so, I picked it up for a bit.  Even though I seemed to going a little faster, others seem to start catching up and inching by.  Will strong, body week, I guess.  A couple of turns, and I’m at the base of heart break hill.  I’m happy to pass a fair number of folks slowing for water at the bottom of the hill.  I throw it in low gear and big the low but long grade.  Even though its still pretty cool out, the open road and lack of shade make things feel a lot warmer.  As usual, it feels like an eternity to get to the mile 7 marker where the hill finally begins to level.

Out of nowhere, I notice that I’m feeling kinda tired.  Nothing hurts;  quads ok, knees only a little angry, calves fine, ankles fine, feet fine.  Just plain tired.  Don’t remember feeling this was during a race before.

On the normally welcome downhill of Champlin Ave, it feels like everybody suddenly got their second wind.  I plod along, searching for my second wind.  If that wasn’t struggle enough, I had to choke back a little nausea as a not so shapely big guy passed me running in nothing but Speedos.  That’s a picture I really didn’t need.

When I make it to Whitesboro Street, I’m feeling a little better and pound a couple of quick swigs of water.  I don’t think I found a real second wind, but I was able to pick things up a little.  Still not really passing a lot of folks, but not getting passed by everybody it seems.  Still kinda feels like I’m in slow motion.  Right before the veering on to Court Street, there’s a guy in the crowd wearing a plush chicken mask high fiving runners as they go by.  Only in Utica, only at the Boilermaker.

Time to step it up one more time.  After the final turn, a bunch of people in front of me slowed to a near crawl.  I squeaked in between catching an elbow or two along the way.  No worries, I was out of their hair soon enough.   I’m moving pretty good when I get to the railroad tracks, making up ground, when I notice some other people turning it up.   I catch up and realize I’m just asking for trouble.  I’m pretty happy with my time, no use being stupid and getting hurt.  I zip over the maps right behind them.

I crouched down and tried to unstrap my timer chip.  Took a few tries, but I finally got it.  Maybe next time, I’ll use one of the handily provided chairs.  I stumbled through the end of the chute depositing my chip and picking up my 7th straight Boilermaker Finisher pin.

Waxing a bit, I guess I’ve got a lot to be thankful for:

  • my health.  not everybody can run, let alone race.  I’m trying to make the most of the time I have on my stock set of knees.
  • an understanding wife.  she’s gotta be to let me run for 8+ hours every week.
  • my running friends.  those guys and gals who motivated, challenged, shamed, and humbled me.
  • an awesome running community.  Syracuse and Utica both have excellent running clubs and first rate races.
  • courage.  while it pails in comparison with some of the folks I see at the Boilermaker (from first timers to wheelchair rollers), I like to believe that the special kind of stupid that keeps me running is a blessing.

That’s enough rambling for this year, I guess.  I gotta go register for 2010.

Twitter Integration

A little tech task I’ve been meaning to get to forever was adding my Tweets to the sidebar.  I was gonna cook up something myself, but stumbled across Twitter Tools.  It was a simple unzip, copy, activate, set some options type of affair.  As a bonus, it also files a tweet when I publish here;  something I’m always forgetting to do.

Well, its nice to cross one thing off the list.  About a zillion more to go.