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To Trot or Not

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!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYSOLDIERSWIFE 11/27/2009 11:50PM

    good for you! how did it go?

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Little Cars and Big Guys

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHARGER25 11/28/2009 11:58AM

    Oh so very funny! I am right there with you on the Corolla, I own one too. You take your life in your hands trying to get on the freeway here. Most of the truckers try and run me into the embankment.

Got another for you....When I was 50lbs heavier, If I would ask a server to bring me a Pepsi most time they would ask me if I would like a 'diet Pepsi'.....now they don't ask...go figure!

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HARRINGTON5 11/24/2009 11:39AM

    LOL....I hear ya buddy! I see this every day when I am out driving. I liked the first part about how much smarter you became when you lost 50 pounds...lol Congratulations on the weight loss, that is fantastic! Isn't that the way though? It is sad, but true. I saw it in the business world all the time. One person getting passed over for a promotion because "it wasn't a good fit". Of coarse it wasn't having a few extra pounds just wasn't the image they wanted to project. I don't have to worry about such things any more....thank God!

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SMARTIEBEE 11/21/2009 8:23PM

    You should try driving a Smart Car! The guys in the "Big Rigs" REALLY hate having a Smartie in front of them! And we have lots of pep, and could go 94 if we wanted too - but we don't! We drive the speed limit, or even a little over now and then and they STILL hate it!

Oh well, to each his own I guess. We just prefer the 41 mpg!

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SIGOSIX 11/21/2009 7:47PM

    Thanks writing out such common but unspoken-about occurrences. I enjoy such observations:-0

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I am hurt again!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Last June I hurt myself doing an 8 mile run with my 29 year-old son, Ben. Ben is a very fast runner. I ended-up doing months of physical therapy. Then football season started. I officiate high school football. Football has always suited my physical attributes. I was born a good “burst” runner. Each game I work is a great speed workout.

Then came Friday, October 16th. I was the Line Judge at a Trailblazer Stadium in Lakewood, Colorado. In the 3rd quarter there was a big pile-up on the sideline. I moved in to untangle the pile of bodies and retrieve the ball. A defensive player with too much momentum decided to dive over the pile so he would not get a personal foul penalty for piling-on. Unfortunately, he hit me! His helmet speared me square in the chest! I somersaulted backwards from the incredible force of the blow. I rolled to a stop several yards away. I couldn’t breathe! I managed to push myself off the ground, kill the clock and retrieve the ball. My ribs hurt really badly. The Back Judge came running over to see if I was OK. I couldn’t talk. The coach on my sideline asked if I needed to see his trainer. I shook my head “no”. I managed to stay upright and work the rest of the game. The pain was incredible! I went to see the doctor the next day. He diagnosed me with torn rib ligaments. He said I had suffered a Grade II rib sprain.


He told me this injury would take 6 to 8 weeks to heal if I took it easy. I had a game later that day. I was scheduled to be the referee for an afternoon game. Every time I blew my whistle to make the ball ready for play it felt like I was being kicked in the side. The season is now over. I still can’t breathe worth a hoot. My ribs still ache. I am slowly getting back to training. I am using my elliptical machine and lifting weights. I hope to start running again in few weeks. I want to start racing again as soon as I can.

I refuse to be hurt! My doctor told me if I can stand the pain I can do whatever I want. That is good enough for me!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYSOLDIERSWIFE 11/19/2009 12:47AM

    oh Bruce! you know what your Dr meant to say is "take it easy!" oh, wait- he DID say that! i'm just wanting to point out that when you push yourself and you are already injured you can prevent proper and timely healing. that said- i hope you feel better soon. i know what it's like to be hurt and legitimately need to take it easy and not want to-- i've been known to spit in the face of Dr's orders myself- but seriously- take care of yourself :-)

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HARRINGTON5 11/18/2009 11:53PM

    OMG! That sounds incredibly painful and you are really a trouper. Just take it easy, don't go out there and kill yourself! My knee didn't give me any trouble on my run at all and I am so grateful. Hang in there buddy, slow and steady wins the race!

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My First Pair of Running Shoes

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYSOLDIERSWIFE 11/16/2009 12:49PM

this is an AWESOME blog! i sometimes forget exactly how young i am until really having to face some of the experiences of the more experienced. this great to learn about shoes- i had no idea you didn't start running till you were 21- and those old shoes were awesome-- i love all the pictures. my current shoes are brooks cascadia pivot for trail running and i just got a pair of saucony progrid guide 2 shoes for street running. haven't tried out the second ones on a real run yet- that's on the docket for todays run though :-)

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Oh brother -- I am so slooow

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.

Oh, well!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHARGER25 8/30/2009 1:59PM

    Thanks for posting some good training information and websites on this blog.

I suck at running as well....I was always a sprinter in HS and college and I considered one lap around the track as 'long distance'. I was training for a triathlon about 5 years ago and found out rather quickly that I should not run when I am over 200 lbs. Too hard on the back, joints etc.

One thing about distance running for me was is 'slow and steady' gets you there.

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HARRINGTON5 8/30/2009 11:04AM

    Hi and thanks for the comments on my 50,000 fitness minutes. I took the whole summer off and just recently started trying to gear up for another race. I would be thrilled to run a 5K in 30:41. So far my best time has been 34:44 and I am even slower than that now. I can't even run the whole three miles any more. I really started back very slowly. I can walk for hours and I am hoping that will help me in the long run. I'm only running in 1/2 mile spurts and that is about all I can do right now. It is starting to get a little cooler, so I should be able to run for real very soon. It sounds like you are doing great to me. You have a lot of determination, so I would imagine that you will reach whatever goal you set for yourself. Hang in there! Cynthia

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    oh well? you want to do distance and you're just going to say "oh well"?? you can do it!

for me, distance is more about time then speed-- my speed is about the same no matter how fast i'm going, but how long i can do it is the tricky part.

if you want to do distance, look up programs that will work specifically on that- i bet if you slow down and little and pay more attention to how long you are going then you'd be able to go longer. keep trying! it'll happen! emoticon

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TAMTAM64 8/23/2009 8:16PM

    I always say that speed is relative... I'm also a pretty slow runner when compared to other people. But I see all the improvements I have made in my pace & distance over the past 3 years. The most important thing is... You are out there running!! Most people would still be sitting on the couch with the remote control.

Even with a 2 month layoff you will find it will not take long to regain your running fitness. Take your time in improving your running & remember to enjoy the journey! :)


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