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The Almost Perfect Marathon - A Race Report

Monday, February 04, 2013

You know how once in a while everything falls into perfect alignment?

Today the weather was great, beautiful flat course, crowd support, food and water on the course. Beforehand, good training, lots of rest, good attitude, everything fell into place nicely.

Also, I had done some research on muscle cramping. Which was a big problem for me on my first full marathon. Two known causes - muscular overexertion, and low sodium (some say potassium depletion also). There is lots of anecdotal evidence that drinking 'pickle juice' can stop cramps. Use it as a preventative measure, or during cramping. So, I took 8 oz of pickle juice with added salt with me today. Tastes pretty bad but I had no significant cramping.

Yesterday I picked up my packet at the DoubleTree Hilton in Tallahassee. Tallahassee downtown is beautiful and the park across from DoubleTree is nice and had adequate parking.

Went back to my hotel for more rest. Fell asleep early that evening. Set two alarms, as usual, and woke up on time. Had all my 'stuff' ready. My room didn't have a coffee pot, so I went out to the RV and brewed myself a cup, and heated up some oatmeal, my usual pre-race breakfast.

My DW called and wished me well. She had craft fairs and art fairs to attend yesterday, so wouldn't tag along on this one.

When I got to the race site, I called my grandson. He was nearby and would see me shortly. He arrived just minutes before the start of the race, we said hello and I got in the crowd and placed myself near the end.

There were only 308 full marathoners and over 700 half marathoners.

Most of this run was on a small paved trail. Very enjoyable for me. Considering this was a smaller race with only about 1,000 participants there was a lot of support from the community. Probably had 20 groups of folks along the way. Some of them in costume! Even the road guards cheered us on.

The race got off to a slow start, maybe that was good, it forced me to start slowly. There was no room to accelerate from my spot in the back of the pack. I forgot to check my watch at the first mile but I imagine it was probably a 13/14 minute mile pace. Okay, I could make that up. I'd planned for an 11mm pace. Not being an elite athlete I knew my second half would be a longer time than my first half. I kept checking my watch and I was consistently running 10:45 or close to that - the miles ticked by. At the half marathon point the clock said I was right at 2:21 gun time - not bad, about what I wanted. I chugged on through to the turnaround which was at mile 14.

Coming back down the trail, more than halfway done, at mile 16 I see something out of place going on. About a tenth of a mile ahead of me, I see a woman coming towards me, look around, and turn back and go the other way! She was in the clear, and thought no one saw her. I sped up, and finally caught up to her and looked back at her bib number. I fully intended to report her, and I did. She was stealing from every other runner in that race, and possibly could steal an award away for someone. At the spot she turned back, she had effectively clipped about 4 miles off her marathon distance.

So back to the race, I was feeling great at this point. I took in a lot of 'GU' and water. My energy level was still very high. The miles were flying by. Maybe keeping track of my pace kept me so preoccupied that I lost track of my miles markers. I was often surprised at what mile I was passing. It seemed to be going quickly. At mile 20, still felt great, then I got some mild cramping. Took a couple of slugs out of my pickle juice concoction. The pain subsided. I think it began around mile 23 that I started to feel a loss of energy, but I had run so fast up to this point I felt I could break 5 hours easily if I didn't get into trouble.

I was slowing down. At this point I had been running with two other old coots, both in their late 60s. We chided ourselves for being at the back of the pack, but these guys, like me, were not about to give up. You could see the effort on their faces as they forced onward. I'd pass one or two of them, then walk for a bit, they'd pass me. Great fun - no competition here. I met and talked to several guys in my AG. There were a lot of older runners here.

Now I exit the running trail which had, in many places, a tree canopy and plenty of shade, now I'm out in the sun. My 'perfect marathon' began to get tough. Not exactly 'hills', let's just say a few inclines for the last mile and a half or so. The wind was really blowing now, too - directly into my face. This was tough going. I hunkered down, and pushed on, but it was really difficult now. Feeling a bit sorry for myself, that I was running up an incline against the wind, in the sun. But. My time was still so good, I knew I was going to finish under 5 hours. I was so glad I had that time buffer built in, because I was slowing down quite a bit now.

The finish line was on the track of the FSU campus. I ran through the gate onto the track and there was grandson Doug and his beautiful wife, Brandi. Smiling and clapping. What words can sound better than "Way to go, Grandpa, you're looking good"? Icing on the cake, for sure.

I struggled around the track.The announcer called out my name and hometown over the P.A. - another nice touch.

I had completed a second marathon a mere 3 months after my first. The kids came over to congratulate me, and I could hardly speak. I was really beat. I recovered really quickly, though.

My final time was 4:53:24. Almost 27 minutes off my previous effort! How did that happen? Everything just fell into place, that's how. The almost perfect marathon.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PMRUNNER 2/6/2013 9:38AM

    Your blog title reminded me of a Frasier episode where the two brothers go to dinner. When they come back, their dad asks how it went. They said it was great except for one small thing which bugged them. Then their dad asked, so it was perfect then? And they both agreed. Sometimes slightly flawed is perfect, it gives you something to go back and fix/do better the next time.

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    You are awesome! Thank you for sharing your running with us. It is very inspiring for sure!

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MBSHAZZER 2/5/2013 6:05PM

    Awesome, awesome and then some MORE AWESOME!!! Sounds like it was a truly enjoyable and perfect marathon. And you are darn fast!

Good on you for turning in the cheater as well!

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BIGPAWSUP 2/5/2013 11:10AM

    How awesome are you! This is fantastic. And I felt like I was right there with you! Wonderful and a huge CONGRATULATIONS!!!

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CM_GARDNER78 2/5/2013 12:33AM

    That is SO AWESOME!!! It sure sounds like the best day!!! Way to go - you should be SO PROUD of yourself!!! And WTG on reporting the cheater. Many people wouldn't bother - so good for you! You are right, she could be taking an award away from someone else....NO FAIR! :-(

Again, way to go!!! You are really awesome!!!

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MASRITE 2/5/2013 12:05AM

    So proud of you!!! Amazing that you did this one so close to the last and shaved off some time. Even better. Hope you're resting up and feeling good!!

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JACKIE542 2/4/2013 9:44PM

    This is great, you keep getting better. Way to go. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PIXIEMOM13 2/4/2013 8:02PM

    Awesome race report!
(and you are way faster than this chick here!) ;) I'd be honored to eat your dust! lol

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MARATHONDAD 2/4/2013 6:55PM

    you have inspired me to do a full marathon buddy

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LINDAKAY228 2/4/2013 5:46PM

    Congratulations on such a wonderful race and how it all came together! That is so awesome! And that is a lot of time shaved off your previous one! Way to go!

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DAPHNE_RUNS 2/4/2013 5:28PM

    Congrats Vic, on a wonderful race.

You had a perfect marathon from where I am sitting....and reading. Nice weather and not having a run in with a Lincoln while on a motorcycle will do wonders for your back. All jokes aside, I am so proud of your time. You put in the time and also prepared yourself well with hydration and nutrition; all you had to do was get out there and put one foot in front of the other. Glad to hear you reported the person trying to cheat. It could have cost someone getting an award.

Rest up and then......get back out there!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 2/4/2013 5:13PM

    I'm so happy for you! You prepared well and got the result you deserve.

I hope you really did report that woman. There are more people out there who cheat than you would realize. If somebody doesn't report them, they will continue to do it. I know this from personal experience which I'll explain later.

For now, Congratulations!! You make all of us old folks proud!

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LISAINMS 2/4/2013 4:32PM

    Fantastic! I love races that come together so well. Boo to cheaters. I also have difficulty with cramping due to dehydration and/or electrolyte imbalance. I have found that eating the Shot Blok Margarita flavor with higher sodium has really helped. There is also a Clif brand gu that has high sodium/potassium but I can't remember which flavor it was. Just check the label. That will help to prevent cramping.

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SOKKERNUT 2/4/2013 3:41PM

    Aaaahhhhhhh, emoticon I am so happy everything worked out for you.
emoticon on your time!

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CRYSBROWN1 2/4/2013 3:10PM

    This was definitely YOUR race!

Congratulations on your finish and shaving 27 minutes off your previous time too!

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WALKINGMAMMA 2/4/2013 2:41PM

    emoticon emoticon You did AMAZING!!!!! great blog too!

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QUAIL75 2/4/2013 2:33PM

    emoticon Congrats!

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RAINEMARIE214 2/4/2013 2:33PM

    What a great race report! Congrats on your PR!!

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KANDOLAKER 2/4/2013 2:28PM

    Excellent for you! Congrats on such a great run, and to cut so much time off your PR - just incredible. Loved reading about your race and thanks for the inspiration. I cramp too towards the end of long runs, and have heard about pickle juice - but just haven't tried it yet. Sounds yucky, but has to be better than the pain. Again, kudos and congratulations!


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NINJALINDA 2/4/2013 1:57PM

    Congratulations on such a wonderful effort! I'm nearing the end of marathon training, and just hoping I can 1) cross the finish line & 2) do it in the required timeframe (7 hours). I can only imagine doing it in less than five...

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KA_JUN 2/4/2013 1:31PM

    Awesome, just, awesome race report! Ach...sandbaggers/cheaters never win. Liked reading about the pickle juice, the camaraderie of your fellow racers as you went on and took heart from them struggling alongside you, felt like I was there racing.

Ending with your family at the end, that's great! Congrats to you on your accomplishment! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SALLY_MANDER 2/4/2013 12:51PM

    Way to go! You are such an inspiration :) Congratulations on both your runs and on your new PR!

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GODIVADSG 2/4/2013 12:27PM

    Way to go! Congrats!

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CHRISGORGME 2/4/2013 12:27PM

    Amazing! emoticon


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NATPLUMMER 2/4/2013 12:07PM

    emoticon You did great!!! Congratulations!

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ADAMM9 2/4/2013 11:54AM

    Congrats on the huge PR!

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JOPAPGH 2/4/2013 11:38AM

    Way to cut off time from the first marathon! Sounds like a near perfect second marathon.

I hope to run a marathon with a smaller field soon, but it won;t be my next one. Marine Corps marathon was like roller derby from beginning to end.

Do you have a third lined up?

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NWFL59 2/4/2013 11:25AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon That's a lot of time off from your previous marathon! Congratulations! emoticon

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SYNCHRODAD 2/4/2013 11:22AM

    Thank you for an encouraging and uplifting blog. I've been through Tallahassee to go to the Ironman in Panama City Beach, supporter for my son in law. He mentioned that the "flat" courses around there can get awfully steep across the smallest bridge when he is running. Thanks for the story and congrats on your time and pickle juice.

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WINDSURFNERD 2/4/2013 11:18AM

    A perfect race report! Congratulations on walloping your previous sounds like you had a GREAT race! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BUTTERFLY-1976 2/4/2013 10:48AM

    AWESOME!!!!! Sounds like you had the perfect race.
Congrats on shaving 27 minutes off!! That's amazing!!

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BUTTERFLY-1976 2/4/2013 10:48AM

    AWESOME!!!!! Sounds like you had the perfect race.
Congrats on shaving 27 minutes off!! That's amazing!!

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SRVFREAK176 2/4/2013 10:34AM


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DALID414 2/4/2013 10:32AM

    Great job!!
(How dumb for that lady to CHEAT! What's the point of signing up? I would have reported her too!)

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IFDEEVARUNS2 2/4/2013 10:21AM

    How wonderful! emoticon

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LAURIE5658 2/4/2013 10:09AM

    Oh Vic, how wonderful!! I am so proud of you and we will take those perfect alignments as we get them. You RAWK!!!


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PMRUNNER 2/4/2013 9:51AM

    Great job! You sonded a bit discouraged after the first one. I am glad to hear that you were much better prepared (physically and mentally) for this one which resulted in a great race. You definately don't sound discouraged anymore!

Looking forward to hearing about your next train up and race!

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ROXYZMOM 2/4/2013 9:19AM

    That is a great PR!! You were totally prepared for this one and demonstrated what happens when one trains correctly. I am glad you were able to continue to enjoy the run after you saw the cheater. I would have been so ticked!

That is so nice that your grandson and wife went. They must have been so proud!

So, of course I have to ask ...when is the next one?

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FLGIRL1234 2/4/2013 8:18AM

    Shaving 27 minutes off your time is alot considering you just did the first one only a couple months ago....sounds pretty perfect to me. Great work!

emoticon emoticon

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SKINNYPOWELL1 2/4/2013 8:18AM

    What a great race. What an emoticon time, way to go. You are truly inspiring.

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MIRAGE727 2/4/2013 8:14AM

    Outstanding achievement!

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CINERICIA 2/4/2013 7:57AM

    What a lovely race report. Thanks for the great morning read and congrats on your time. Excellent!

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SWEETNEEY 2/4/2013 7:51AM

    emoticon Ours is not to question why. Keep on Truckin.

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ONMYMEDS 2/4/2013 7:44AM

    Great job, Vic!! You'll be qualifying for Boston before you know it.

Let the love bombing begin.


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DARJR50 2/4/2013 7:43AM

  Great job. Keep it up.

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Short pre-race report.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Had a good nights rest. I'm carbed up, fat and happy. The weatherman is predicting cool weather. The course has been called "flat as a pancake". All good news for my 2nd marathon.

Spark people has been a huge part of my training and racing efforts. In my offline life I am kind of a loner, don't do group runs. Don't know a lot of local runners, except nodding at them on my runs. So, I do get lots of moral support from you guys. So, it's my friends right here in addition to my family that motivates me.

I'm seeking a pain and injury free run primarily. Of course, I wouldn't mind lopping a few minutes off my previous effort. That was 5 hr 20 min 04 seconds.

Here's hoping that this 66 year old man is still able to grow, and has not peaked, or God forbid, begun the downhill slide yet.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINDAKAY228 2/3/2013 9:27AM

    Hope it went great! I am kind of a loner like you and don't have any running buddies. Don't even know of any running groups in my area (rural small town). I kind of like it that way. But like you, I get so much support here!

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ROXYZMOM 2/3/2013 8:18AM

    You have trained well for this marathon! I am expecting great results and to read a race report filled with enjoyment over the 26 miles you are about to run! You are a great inspiration! Thank you!

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KANDOLAKER 2/2/2013 9:16PM

    Hope you had a fabulous 2nd marathon today! Can't wait to read about it soon, and hope your recovery is smooth and pain-free. All the best!!

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PMRUNNER 2/2/2013 8:09PM

    Hope you have a great run, Vic!

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DAPHNE_RUNS 2/2/2013 7:33PM

    Good luck Vic. I have no doubt you will get tons of support will find a few "Vic's chicks" during your run. Lol!!

I think this race will be a lot of fun for you. You were coming off an injury your first marathon and it was really hot and humid that day. Also, you have put in the just get out there and run!

One of these years I will get around to running a full, until then I will cheer my spark friends on who are willing to run the distance.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MASRITE 2/2/2013 6:50PM

    Good luck tomorrow. I know you're just going to kill it!! Can't wait to read all about the run. Rest up!! emoticon

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NWFL59 2/2/2013 5:23PM

    Hope you had an enjoyable injury free marathon in the cool weather! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KA_JUN 2/2/2013 3:46PM

    Have a great race! Know how that is, I typically am comfortable in my solitude when I ride or run. emoticon

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ONMYMEDS 2/2/2013 11:15AM

    From one 66 year old to another, Hell no, we haven't peaked yet. We've only just started. Everything else was just preparing us for these prime years.

Have a great race!!

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YOUNGNSMYLIE 2/2/2013 11:09AM

    emoticon Have fun out there!

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BUTTERFLY-1976 2/2/2013 10:45AM

    Good luck & have fun!!

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DALID414 2/2/2013 10:19AM

    You'll do awesome, I'm sure.

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RHONDALYN10 2/2/2013 9:49AM

    You continue to impress me! Flat for a second marathon is perfect!! Can't wait to read the post report and I am quite certain you will beat your first time!

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WONDERWOMAN 2/2/2013 9:17AM

    You're doing Tallahassee right? Becki (Marathon_Mom) will be there doing the full too. Look for her. I'm sure she'll be wearing her Marathon Maniac gear.

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NATPLUMMER 2/2/2013 9:06AM

    Good luck and have fun!!!

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FLGIRL1234 2/2/2013 9:03AM

    You're so inspirational! Good luck today!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 2/2/2013 9:03AM

    Go for it! You make all of us seniors proud just by showing up and doing it.
66 and still in the race! Good luck.

Comment edited on: 2/2/2013 9:04:56 AM

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LAURIE5658 2/2/2013 8:57AM

    Go gettum' Vic!!!!!!!


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SYNCHRODAD 2/2/2013 8:48AM

    Your ability to do everyday tasks and chores well is the true measure of the downhill slide. If you are a marathoner at all, then you have not gone downhill in the physical measure that counts. May you reach a new, pain free peak today!

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LHEFFERN 2/2/2013 8:39AM

    emoticon wow!

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Tapering for a Marathon.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Tapering for my first marathon drove me nuts. I was new to this and wanted to run all the time. Like all new things for me, I tend to get obsessive. I wanted to run everyday, and my aging body would not allow.

Now that I've been doing this for about a year and a half, I'm more accustomed to it, and feeling less inclined to overdue. Nice. I know my limitations, yet I continue to push on to strengthen until I peak. A delicate balancing act, training without overtraining.

My tapering process has returned. I've done my longest runs. I maxed out with a 22 mile LR; now my longest run, tomorrow, will only be 10 miles. I ran a shorter 4 miler and a 6 miler already this week.

Not piling on the miles during taper weeks is rather enjoyable this time around. I find myself with time on my hands, so I do other stuff to keep me busy.

I know I'm 'allowed' to eat a bit more too, to store up the glycogen supplies in anticipation of the approaching massive assault on my old muscles, tendons and bones. Another benefit - eating!

Yeah, taper weeks are kind of nice this time around.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MBSHAZZER 1/31/2013 4:35PM

    Personally, I LOVE the taper! It's the not being able to run AFTER the marathon that stresses me out. Enjoy your race!

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SKINNYPOWELL1 1/30/2013 2:54PM

    emoticon enjoy your low mileage, I can't wait to be on the taper in 4 more weeks, which seems like an eternity. When's the race?

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CM_GARDNER78 1/27/2013 3:54PM

    AWESOME!! Can't wait to hear about your marathon!!! :-) Keep up the great work...and enjoy the eating!! :-) LOL

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BROOKLYN_BORN 1/26/2013 7:37AM

    You've got the right idea. Just follow the plan. Looking forward to your race report. Good luck!

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STRIVER57 1/26/2013 2:09AM

    what was astonishing to me was that it really mattered, in my half. i can't run that fast on regular runs! enjoy & good luck!

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NWFL59 1/25/2013 8:45PM

    Glad you've been able to make the mental adjustment to have a taper week prior to marathoning. emoticon

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RUN4FOOD 1/25/2013 8:29PM

    Enjoy your tape time. Sounds like you are ready and will do great.
Have fun and enjoy the whole process. I always found it to be an exciting time.

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MASRITE 1/25/2013 8:09PM

    OK, when is the marathon again? You're going to do great again!!

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ROXYZMOM 1/25/2013 7:59PM

    You are doing great! I can't wait to read about you marathon. I had to laugh when you wrote
"only 10 miles"!!! That's my long run :)

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DALID414 1/25/2013 1:47PM

    I miss running. Haven't been healthy enough all month! I like running for the eating more part emoticon

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SOUTH_FORK 1/25/2013 1:43PM

    Best of luck on your upcoming race... actually- scratch that- best of you on your upcoming race! Good for you for enjoying this taper week; a foreign concept for me (still only sprint distance running)!

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KA_JUN 1/25/2013 1:26PM

    Nice job, sounds like you're prepared for your challenge!

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NATPLUMMER 1/25/2013 11:28AM

    I'm glad you are enjoying your taper :-)

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BUTTERFLY-1976 1/25/2013 11:27AM

    Enjoy your taper week!!

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SEABREEZE64 1/25/2013 10:36AM

    Good luck on your marathon. You will do great!

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FLGIRL1234 1/25/2013 10:32AM

    Ahhhh I can't wait until, for me, ten miles becomes "only ten". lol

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PMRUNNER 1/25/2013 10:23AM

    My favorite marathon running advice is "start slow and taper off" A different taper, I know, but tapering helps remind us that, at times, excitement and adrenaline are not our friends and can be counter productive to our end goal if used improperly.

Wishing you fleet feet and strength for your upcoming race!

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SYNCHRODAD 1/25/2013 10:05AM

    I have never run enough to taper. It is my hope someday..,,

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Inspirational Local News Story about my nephew, Nick Newell

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

10 second commercial followed by video of my nephew Nick Newell, being refused entry into Ultimate Fighting Championship.

The quote from UFC President, Dana White is shocking to me, but I give him points for honesty.

Hoping Nick will eventually prevail and gain admittance into the #1 MMA venue, which is the UFC.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MASRITE 1/29/2013 10:25PM

    Finally got to watch the video of your nephew. AMAZING!! He is so inspiring. I hope he gets to the top!!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 1/24/2013 8:42AM

    A very strong and determined young man. Thanks for sharing the update.

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ROXYZMOM 1/23/2013 9:21PM

    Your nephew has worked so hard to get to this point I have no doubt that he won't give up. His victory will be extra sweet!

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CM_GARDNER78 1/23/2013 4:03PM

    Dana White will be eating his words...I don't doubt it. He's too busy worrying about the women's events....when he has time he'll check out your nephew and we'll be hearing about him in NO time!! Thanks for sharing this. I love the UFC - can't wait to see him in the octagon!

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BUTTERFLY-1976 1/23/2013 1:32PM

    He should be allowed to fight!!!

Dana White said 'no women' now he's getting an all women event. He'll be eating his words again with your nephew!!

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SEABREEZE64 1/23/2013 11:58AM

    A very strong young man in many ways!

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NATPLUMMER 1/23/2013 11:21AM

    emoticon He'll get there...he's got the drive.

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DALID414 1/23/2013 10:42AM

    My boyfriend said the same thing dixieworkhorse did about Dana not letting women fight. He'll be eating alphabet soup soon!

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MARATHONDAD 1/23/2013 10:19AM

    he will get there soon Dana white talks out of his ass most of the time. he will be in there soon enogh

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SOUTH_FORK 1/23/2013 10:06AM

    Love these updates on your nephew. Shame on Dana White- Nick has enough of a fight in the ring to not have to fight just to get into the ring!

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    Dana White also said that he would never allow women to fight in UFC and that is about to happen. Your nephew will be there shortly. I will definitely watch when he does.

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DAISYBELL6 1/23/2013 9:01AM

    Good for him! He sounds like a determined young man. Hopefully, he will prevail and be allowed to fight.

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SKINNYPOWELL1 1/23/2013 8:47AM

    This is an outrage. They should not discrimate against anyone.

emoticon I am cheering for your nephew, all the way. This is one tough sport and if he has a record that speaks for itself, let him fight. WOW, truly a remarkable young man.

You should start a petition or an email campaign to Dana White, you have a lot of support from your fellow Sparkies to back you up.

Comment edited on: 1/23/2013 8:47:42 AM

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I Do Other Stuff, Too.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

One of my other hobbies is ham radio. My interest got started with radio stuff when I was a teenager. My grandmother bought me a transistor radio, which had a short wave band on it. I used to lie in bed at night and listen to the distant AM radio stations from the US and overseas. Also, I heard the shore stations sending and receiving morse code to and from the ships at sea. I was fascinated with the patterns and wondered how this strange language worked.

Years later when I joined the Navy, I tested high in morse code aptitude, and was offered "Radio School". I did well with the morse code, my electronics not so well. I passed school and was sent to the Panama Canal Zone at Navy Radio Balboa, and was assigned the CW (continuous wave, or morse code) station quickly. I rapidly progressed to high speed CW, and have loved morse code ever since.

So the years passed, and I got my ham radio ticket, and I continued with my love of CW. I often operate high speed. There are few people who do this kind of speed, and it becomes necessary to go much slower if you want to accommodate and communicate with others via morse code. However, one must exercise high speed if one desires to maintain this level of speed. It can be stressful operating at just above ones maximum speed, but that's how you improve. For what it's worth, I am talking about 40 to 50 words per minute, a very fast pace.

So, all this typing to express what I have found to be, the similarities between CW/morse code exercise, and running exercise. The paces in each can be stressful or relaxing. But both paces are necessary to maintain a useful fun filled stride. To backtrack for a bit, I cannot compare my skills in running to my radio skills, one is average - the other is excellent. But, the comparison remains, regardless of skill level.

I thought about writing this blog when I participated in a radio exercise on January 1st of this year. We had an event called "Straight Key Night" whereby ham operators are asked to get back to their roots and use a hand key rather than an electronic keyer.

To chat more and relax more with other like minded hams. This once a year event is very popular, and there were lots of straight key operators on that night, and early the next day. I talked to 14 different stations and had a swell time. This pace for me, in not uncomfortable, and enjoyable. Even though I am capable of the higher speeds, I acclimate myself to the pace and enjoy.

There can me much enjoyment in the excitement of fast pacing and knowing you are in an elite category of participants. And, the converse is true, there is also much enjoyment to be gained in the slower stride of just enjoying a hobby for the sake of doing it.

I hesitated to write this blog, because it necessitated a longwinded explanation of ham radio. My first draft was really long, so I shortened it a lot. If you've gotten this far in the reading, thanks for sticking with me and I hope you've found it interesting.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SKINNYPOWELL1 1/22/2013 8:49AM

    Thanks for sharing a little bit about you, who knew? And good comparision to running, I'm more of a dash dash dash instead of dot dot dot.

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FUNFROG79 1/21/2013 11:41AM

    Very cool, thanks for sharing!

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STRIVER57 1/21/2013 2:17AM

    very interesting blog. my father was a navy radio tech (in ww2).

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CM_GARDNER78 1/20/2013 10:48PM

    Wow! That is really cool! I love it! I do not know how to operate the hand key, but I have had the opportunity to tap on one. :-) Not sure I did anything that anyone could decipher, but fun nonetheless! I like watching people use them.

Thanks for sharing - I find this quite interesting!

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KA_JUN 1/20/2013 8:42PM

    Very interesting, thanks for posting it! emoticon

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NWFL59 1/20/2013 8:25PM

    Enjoyed the blog. The few times I use cw, its slow and mostly to work the short DX exchange but not to ragchew. For ragchewing I prefer PSK31 over most of the other modes. --... ...-- -.. . .-- ....- - -- -- emoticon

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JENN03275 1/20/2013 7:54PM

    Very interesting. Ty for sharing your other hobby.

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BROOKLYN_BORN 1/20/2013 7:43PM

    I was going to impress you with a reference to the Morse Code in Independence Day, but Synchrodad beat me to it.

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SPEEDYDOG 1/20/2013 7:32PM

    I know what you mean about long blogs. I think you did just fine explaining your hobby. I think it is cool that you can use a straight key. Can you tell certain key operators by their "fist"?

You probably don't use a key that often to be able to determine who sent a message just by listening to the rhythm.

Fun stuff.


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MASRITE 1/20/2013 7:24PM

    Loved reading about your other hobby!! Very interesting and didn't know much about ham radio until now!!

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SYNCHRODAD 1/20/2013 5:09PM

    Two current events in which Morse code saved the day. One was the peaceful acquisition of a first strike weapon called "Red October." Flashing Morse code. Then there was the world saving CW Morse code used when those pesky aliens had disrupted all enhanced communications in "Independence Day." I bet Samuel Morse never saw that coming.... emoticon

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DALID414 1/20/2013 4:14PM

    It was an awesome blog, I was very interested. Is this where the HAM part of your SparkPeople name is from?

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SOKKERNUT 1/20/2013 3:33PM

    What an very interesting hobby. How cool.

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RUN4FOOD 1/20/2013 2:21PM

    Don't think I've ever seen any comments on the similarities of running and morse code. Sounds to me like you are very good at both.

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BUTTERFLY-1976 1/20/2013 12:50PM

    Very interesting..Thanks for sharing!!

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JOPAPGH 1/20/2013 11:53AM

    I enjoyed this post. Rock on, regardless of speed!

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KELSEY54 1/20/2013 11:48AM

    That is so interesting. It is nice that you have stuck with it. emoticon

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NATPLUMMER 1/20/2013 10:48AM


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SEABREEZE64 1/20/2013 9:40AM


My brother was in the Navy and stationed in the Panama Canal zone - you know - a few years ago - probably about 1963 give or take a couple of years. He had something to do with electronics at that time.

Comment edited on: 1/20/2013 9:42:23 AM

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KANDOLAKER 1/20/2013 9:04AM

    Very interesting indeed! Thanks for sharing!!

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ROXYZMOM 1/20/2013 8:58AM

    Very interesting! I learned something new today! Do you practice every day to keep up your speed?
And...Is that why your Spark name has "ham" in it?

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