Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Tomorrow, pictures from the weekend, I promise. Marathonfoto just downloaded a pile of URLs for the pictures. They are all sideways and not at all sorted by time or mile marker. So I need to go through them first.
In the meantime ...
I had a little timy spaghetti squash that my sister gave me from her garden. It was about 6 inches by 3 inches. I halved it, seeded it, steamed it with a litle salt and pepper scraped it out, tossed it with some tomatoes and olive oil and BOOM, supper for two.
I really don't understand why I keep seeing recipes for spaghetti squash. It is so simple. It would almost be like giving me a recipe for buttered toast:
2 pats of butter, 1/8 inch thick, partially softened
2 slices bread
1 tbsp grape jam or jelly or strawberry preserves (optional)
For this recipe you will need a toaster or toaster oven.
Following the manufacturer's instructions carefully so as to avoid injury due to electrical shock or fire, place two slices of bread into the toaster and set the switch to beging toasting. Most modern models will shut off when the toasting timer runs out.
Remove the toasted bread from the toaster. Be careful as the toasted bread may be hot and cause superficial burns. Set the bread on a plate or a bread board and using a butter knife, spread the butter on the bread, starting near hte center and working your way out to the edges. Do this for both slices of toasted bread. If jelly, jam, or preserves are desired, repeat the process to spread the fruit spread on the buttered toast.
Serve on a plate with a glass of milk or fruit juice and coffee.
1 serving yields 2 slices.
So it is with Spaghetti Squash recipes.
Here let me make it easy for you.
Cook them in the microwave oven until their skins are soft, scrape out the innards, use butter or oil and salt and pepper.
Oh and by the way... be very wary of any recipe that suggests you can use spaghetti squash as an altenative for spaghetti.
You can't because it is not spaghetti. Don't even try!
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
A couple of days ago I posted the heartbreaking poem about an abandoned dog.
It made me cry and hold my foundling a little closer.
Today I want to link you to the a New Zealand Lottery Commission commercial found at dogwork.com. (I also read that the commercial is used by the Washington State Lottery.)
Suffice to say, the dog has his day:
Monday, October 17, 2011
I don't carry a camera on the course of my race. I feel like it's about running the race and not a Kodak moment. I am not dissing those who do bring their camera along, it just isn't me. And I knew that this wasn't a small local race like the Arbutus 10k where I could get a few snaps, run the camera back to my car, and get to racing.
This time I chose to rely on MarathonFoto to take pictures. Today they posted them and I will decide what I want to purchase tomorrow. They actually were faster for this race than they were for Maryland Half Marathon.
And they did get some good ones.
I never participated in sports in school and definitely not in college. So there is one thing I never experienced.
The roar of the crowd.
I always been part of the crowd. But on Saturday, there were people cheering for what I was doing. It was an entirely new experience. Well, not entirely new. I heard people cheer at the Maryland Half and at the Celebration Triathlon. But this time I had my name pinned to my shirt. So the first time I heard "Come, Tim!" it filled me with excitement.
People warned me that the adreneline would kick in and I would have trouble controlling it. They were correct. I had intended to run slow and steady from start to finish. Instead, I started running at a too fast rate for the first half. When I reached Harborplace and crossed the 13.1 mat, I was just undert he same pace I had run at the Maryland Half.
Too fast. It was the adreneline.
I have never been a big fan of the zoo. I don't like to see animals in cages. The primate house in particular disturbs.
The race passed through the Baltimore Zoo and zoo personnel greeted us with some of the critters. The first thing we passed was a handler with a raven. Was it Edgar, Allen, or Poe? Then there was a man holding a small, 3 foot, crocodilian (croc, gator, cayman?). We were also greet by a penguin and a skunk.
I gotta admit, that was fun.
I was born in the City. We moved out to Fallston when I was 5 years old, but I do remember parts of the city from then. I also have emories of other events in the city as I was growing up.
Our home wa sin the 2500 block of Guilford. The race passed Guilford at 28th Street and along 29th Street and I actually remembered things there from 53 years ago. Weird.
The Colts and the Orioles played at Memorial Stadium on 33rd Street until 1984 (until Irsay stole the Colts away to Indianapolis in pre dawn snowstorm) and 1991 (Orioles moved to Camden Yards) and I have many memories of being in that neighborhood for, especially Orioles games. Memorial is gone and a YMCA is in its place. There is a Cal Ripken sponsored ball field there. The neighborhood is called Waverly and the folks there were so nice to the runners.
My training plan called for me to run 30 to 45 minutes today. I did! I ran in my new shoes and my feet loved me. I have been using Brooks Adrenelines. I bought Brooks Pureconnect at the Expo. I love them!
And my run today was good and not at all painful. I was able to run at about 12:00 min/mile
Two days on and I still do not want to run another marathon beyond Savannah. So those who think I am going to chang emy mind are wrong.
I wish I knew this factoid when we went past the Occupy Harborplace protesters: about 0.1% of people have ever completed a marathon.
If I had known that I would have told them ""I am the 0.1%. Smithers, release the hounds."
Monday, October 17, 2011
What long long strange trip it's been!
Two years ago, I ran my first race. Ever! I told She(WMBO) that that was all I would be doing. OK maybe 10k, but really anything else would simply take too much of my time. "If I ever utter the word MARATHON, except to buy gasoline in the South, including Half-Marathon, 42k or 21k, dig a shallow grave, take me out back and shoot me."
At Thanksgiving, Dr Dani, our daughter, an OB/Gyn resident in Savannah, asked if I was going to run in the Savannah Rock and Roll Marathon in November 2011. "No, no marathons for me." By Christmas I had changed my mind. I went to the Doctor and got his OK. I signed up. I called Dr Dani and asked if she had signed up yet. "What are you nuts? I don't run. Besides I'm a medical resident. I don't have time for a marathon." I was snookered.
In February, I started half-marathon training with the Maryland Half on 15 May as my first target. I did that in 2:21. Before that I had done the Fallston Duathlon in 2:24. In June I did the Columbia Celebration Triathlon in 2:20. All that in addition to my regular 5ks and 10ks.
By late July marathon training began to get intense. 12 miles. Two weeks later 14 miles in Savannah. Two week 17 miles. Three weeks 20 miles on a converted rail trail. Then 3 more weeks 23 miles around Catonsville (my town) It was at that distance I began to get serious doubts.
Three weeks later, Yesterday, was my scheduled 26 mile go-the-distance week. It happened to coincide with the Baltimore Marathon. I had already planned to run this one slow. 5 hours or more.
I got up at 6:00 and made my way downstairs. I got dressed in my itty bitty Maryland Flag shorts and red singlet. It was cool outside and the forecast was for 48-52 at race start with a high of 65. Excellent running weather except the wind was expected to be 10-20 mph with gusts to 35. I hate running in the wind. So under the singlet, I put on a long sleeve running shirt that I didn't care much about. I set up my belt with five 8-ounce water bottles, 6 gel packs, two bars and some gummies. It was heavy. I added my iPhone with RunKeeper ready to start. People could follow my progress with that app. On either side of my belt, I hung a hand towel to wipe if I got too sweaty.
When I started the car the dashboard thermometer, which is fairly accurate read 57. The air was still. The drive was nice enough until I hit the Russell St. exit to get to parking near M&T Bank Stadium. The it stopped. One hour to the horn and I was going nowhere. I popped some BeeGees into the CD player.
Thirty minutes and 2 miles later I was parked in Lot J. Dashboard said 60 degrees. Still no wind. Still a one mile walk to the start line on the other side of Orioles Park. A good warm up, I decided, but no time to hit the portapotty there. So I hit the one on Lot J. When I got in I realized my needs extended to more than just the basics. And the was no TP. I felt stranded. Wait! I have two hand towels. I could make do with one and make doo doo with the other! (I know TMI but I though it was funny.)
I checked my bag (dry clothes, massage stick, etc) and quickly made my way to the other side of Camden Yards where I found the 5:15 pace group. The race took off promptly at 8:00. It was 8:03 before I crossed the mat. (No National Anthem? In Baltimore where it was written? Odd.) And we were off. Three miles up Paca St and McCulloh St we turned into the zoo. I was keeping my timing, 3 minutes run, 1 minute walk. I was running too fast. By mile 6, I notice that I was ahead of the 4:45 pace group. Not good.
Baltimore harbor is at the bottom of a bowl. That means that you have to climb out of it then back in then out etc to make 26.2 miles. So the first part was a steady uphill. What I call a flat hill. It looks flat but it's all up for a long way. Then back down St Paul St to the Inner Harbor and Harborplace. Out to the Under Armour headquarters (The Sponsor) where I ran for a spell with my cousin Kathy's cousin Kevin. Not knowing it was him, I was stripping my longsleeve shirt off (without removing my singlet ... ladies seem to be adept at this removing an undergarment without removing the outer, but it was a new trick for me) and I handed him my glasses to please hold. I tossed it into a box at the next water station. The temperature was nearing 70 and still no wind! Weather Channel got it wrong!
As we approached the 13.1 mile mat, back at Harborplace we had to go past the Occupy Baltimore (Occupy Harborplace) protesters. Sheesh. Most of them were supportive. One sign read, "Run like your student loan is chasing you." I paid off my student loan on time, so I thought that was funny. But Some were not so supportive and actually saw fit to criticize us. I stopped and asked one particularly obnoxious guy why he wasn't running. Who me? No way. What you're doing is stupid. "Only because it would require you to do some work and commit to something." and off I took.
I was still having fun by mile 15 as we turn to go into Little Italy and Fells Point, but somewhere before mile 16, something changed.
I was approaching three hours and still way ahead of my desired 5:15 pace. And I just started to get bored with the whole affair. At mile 18, I was falling in with the 5:00 pacers. And I was hitting the wall. I thought "What the fück am I doing this for? I have nothing to prove. I can take a DNF. I can ride that bus back to the stadiums and just go home. I don't need this. I don't have any money. I have to finish! Arrrghh!"
At mile 20 I met my half marathon coach. She encouraged me a lot. And after seeing her, I totally forgot to turn on my back up battery. At mile 21 my phone went dead. People following me on RunKeeper wondered what happened. (When my son Dave reported on Facebook to all that my battery died, my brother only saw the word "DIED" and went into momentary panic mode. LOL) I was now running without run/walk cues or music.
I was now running with the 5:15 pacers as we passed the site of Memorial Stadium where the Orioles and the Colts used to play. And I was getting really tired. I dipped into my peanut butter and honey in plastic baggies.
Before mile 23 a fellow had a sign that said "π miles to Camden Yards RUN!" (in case your browser doesn't render it, that's pi) So! 3.141459 mile. Who measured that I wondered. That's like the home stretch. This is going to be a piece of π to finish. I was getting silly. About then I came on a couple. She was stumbling. He was holding her up. She looked like a ghost. "Are you drinking?" (yes) "Have you eaten anything?" (a banana about three miles back and oatmeal for breakfast) I gave her a couple of gels when I spied a pug dog.
I thought "That looks just like David's dog." I was still trying to help my new friends when I heard "Hey, Dad!" It was David's dog! ANd on the other end of the leash was his wife Carolyn. That really cheered me up when I really needed it. We ran together for a short spell, maybe a quarter mile. Then he was gone.
That last 2.5 miles was brutal. It was mostly down hill, into the bowl, but there was a tough bridge. And an underpass after that that you had to climb out of. ( I got some wolf whistle about my shorts from some pretty women and that gave me some gas. Good gas.) Once we hit Lexington Market, it was finally all downhill. But it didn't matter. I had spent everything three miles ago. I had nothing left. Walkers were out pacing me. Old ladies in walkers were outpacing me I think. I was scraping around in the bottom of the bucket and I wasn't finding much there. I could finish in a walk and there would be no shame in that. But why not try to run just a little more?
This is Eutaw Street. If you have ever watched a baseball game from Baltimore, you may have heard Eutaw Street mentioned. At the bottom of the hill as I crossed Camden Street, Eutaw becomes a promenade. Camden Yard is on the right and the Warehouse in on the left. I passed a statue of one of Baltimore's favorite sons (even if he was a Yankee) Babe Ruth. I felt a choke of emotion. I was going to do this. 500 yards to go! Something kick in. I was now running faster than I had 10 miles ago. I check my watch. 5:30 was going to have to be it.
But I was going to finish!
Camden Yards left me and M&T Bank Stadium came into view! There was the chute! I felt my eyes start to tear! I did not expect that. People were cheering me on! They were yelling my name (I had it on a bib on my shirt) and encouraging me to finish. I never felt that before. Photographers were there taking my picture (ok everyone's pictures, but by now I was all alone out there. it was all about me!)
Now I saw the clock. (Subtract 3 minutes.) I was going to make 5:32! I was now crying and trying to not cry. I was laughing! I was doing this.
I crossed that line and I wiped my eyes. I took my medal and I kissed it!
26.2 miles! Official time was 5:32:46.
Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible, and suddenly you will be doing the IMPOSSIBLE!
Three weeks to Savannah. There I will try to race. I would like to get a new Family Record (Age-Adjusted) of 4:41. (My brother did 4:16 at age 15) And I have already decided that Savannah will be my last full marathon. The training was too much work. The event itself was simply too much, too long, and it got boring for a while. I had fun through 15 miles so maybe half marathons will be good for me. But I did not overall enjoy the marathon. And if I don't enjoy it, why do it? I was right at mile 18. It's just that mile 18 was the wrong time to make that decision.
But still ...
I DID IT!
... and I will forever be a MARATHONER!
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