Wednesday, November 25, 2009
There is a Turkey Trot tomorrow (Thanksgiving Day, of course). The "Turkey Day 5K Run/Walk" starts at 9:00AM. My wife wants me to go. I am not so sure. The rib sprain that I suffered in October doesn't bother me much anymore. I still can't breathe worth a hoot. Every time I take a deep breath I have a coughing fit.
Here's the deal.
I don't need to breathe very much to slowly jog the 5K. I will have to resist the urge to run like I am being chased by a tiger!
I think I am going to do the Turkey Day 5K Run/Walk. I will try and act like a responsible adult and not hurt myself. There is a first time for everything!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I officiate high school football. A normal game schedule is about 15 varsity games. Last year I worked 14 games. This year I worked over 20 regular season games and 2 play-off games. Play-off games are highly prized since only the best officials are selected.
I had never been selected to work play-off games before this season.
The only difference between last season and this season is that I lost 50 pounds. I am still the same official as last year. My command of the rules is the same. My ability to be at the right place at the right time hasn't changed. My judgment hasn't changed. I am just lighter.
Football officials, with few exceptions, are ex-football players and tend to be a bit heavy. Somehow, looks matter. I am now perceived as a superior official. Last year I was considered an average official. I am still trying to get my arms around that!
Along the same lines, I bought a used Toyota Corolla as a commuter car. I had been driving a gigantic Ford F-250 4x4 pickup. However, the monster truck's 12 mpg was killing me at the gas pump. The baby Corolla gets 36+ mpg.
As I drove the Corolla I found that some other drivers like to pick on little cars. For example, I did a lane change into the left lane on an interstate highway. There was plenty of room, I signaled, and changed lanes. I was zipping along and staying with traffic. Some idiot behind me did not like the fact that he was one car further back in the line. He zoomed up on my rear bumper and hit his bright lights. He rode my bumper for a few minutes honking and flashing his lights until he saw an opening in traffic. He flew by me, flipped me off, and started weaving through traffic at tremendous speed. He was driving a Dodge mini-van.
The point is that when I am driving my huge 4x4 pickup, nobody, particularly people driving mini-vans, ever messes with me. Some people feel compelled to pass me when I am driving the Corolla. I can be doing 80 mph and someone in a bigger vehicle will crank it up to 90 just to get around me. Then they slow back down. The Corolla has plenty of power and is quite snappy. I don't drive slowly. I guess some people just don't like to share the road with small cars.
Prejudice comes in all forms.
Monday, November 16, 2009
I bought my first pair of honest-to-goodness running shoes in 1978. A fellow named Jim Fixx had just published a best-selling book, The Complete Book of Running. I still have my original copy. The cover featured Jim Fixx sporting a pair of red nylon Onitsuka Tiger racing flats. Jim’s book helped push the running craze into the stratosphere!
In 1978 I was 21 years old. Up to that point I had never run a single step voluntarily. Goaded by coaches, I had done quite a bit of running, though. I raced the ½ mile in high school. I trained for football, but that was mostly sprinting.
Thirty years ago running shoes were primitive. Nike released the Waffle Trainer in 1974, which was a quantum leap forward in running shoe technology. Innovation came quickly. Adidas stepped in with the SL-72. Brooks sold a shoe called the Vantage. New Balance sold the 320 that came in widths from AA to EEE. However, only serious competitive distance runners bought these shoes.
I plodded along in PF Flyers. Even though PF Flyers could make you “run faster and jump higher”, they were woefully inadequate as training shoes.
Enter the superb Etonic Street Fighter KM! I was walking past a shoe display in JCPenney - and there they were! The most beautiful shoes I had ever seen. The Etonic Street Fighter (don’t you just love the name) was a rich blue shoe with yellow trim that just shouted “speed”! I asked the salesman about the Etonics. He told me these shoes were the latest thing on the market. He had my size in stock. When I tried on the Street Fighters they fit like gloves. I was hooked! I plunked down $27.50 and walked out of the store with a box full of cool!
I couldn’t wait to try my new shoes. The next day I stood looking down a ¼ mile cinder track wearing my brand-spanking-new blue shoes. I launched myself down the track as fast as I could go! Oh man - oh man - oh man! I felt like I was running on air! The track melted away behind me. I just kept running and running and running. My feet didn’t even touch the ground! I think that was the moment I decided that running was fun! I loved my new shoes! I have never bought a pair of shoes since then that impressed me as much as those Etonics. On that day so many years ago, for just a short time, I was invincible!
In retrospect, the 1978 Etonic Street Fighters were more like slippers than running shoes. By today’s standards the Street Fighters offered very little cushion and virtually no support. But they sure were pretty. And they were also real running shoes. The Etonics were better in every way than my old PF Flyers.
My current running shoes are Nike Air Pegasus 25+.
The 2009 Nike Air Pegasus is light years ahead of the museum relics of 30 years ago. However, my legs don’t work as well as they did back then. Would I trade my new Nikes and old legs for a pair of Etonic Street Fighters and young legs? Nope! I would be giving up all the enjoyable miles between then and now. Besides, running is not the in legs, nor the shoes – It’s in the heart.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
A two month layoff of running has taken a toll. I really suck at running now. I decided to do a 5K training run yesterday. I committed to keep running for the whole 5K. I have always tended to burst, run out of gas, walk, and then burst again.
I read someplace that the burst/walk strategy builds speed but not endurance. Who knows? I have looked up all sorts of stuff about metabolic energy systems, VO2max, and Type IIa fast twitch muscle fibers. All I know is that some people are fast and some people can run forever. There are very few people that can run fast and forever. Those that can are called Olympians!
Here is an interesting article about muscle types:
Here is a bunch of info on VO2max:
This article attempts to explain the complexities of energy systems:
I noticed that there is not perfect agreement on how all this stuff works to make a runner fast, slow, or in-between. I am starting to think I am a lost cause. I cover more distance in less time if I burst and walk.
I really want to be a slow and steady runner. I want to run for long distances with little effort. In my current state of fitness, I run until I am completely out of oxygen and collapse! Rats! I huff and puff, gasp and wheeze, and sound like freight train.
I shuffled, jogged, and staggered for 5K yesterday. My time was 30:41. I felt like I was going to die!
For you master runners, here is a neat little age norming tool:
My 30:41 puts me mid-pack a 48:85% for 52 year-old slowpokes. I am not sure I believe this little age norming tool.
I am still trying not to hurt myself again.
My wife is a long-distance runner. She just keeps going and going and going. She thinks I am a lousy long-distance runner. I agree.
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