Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Some of my fondest memories of school was recess. We would get outside and play softball in the fall and the spring. If the fields weren;t too muddy, we would play some form of football. Or dodgeball! I loved dodgeball.
I went to Catholic school. Between the school and the church was the parish cemetery. Once I was going for the football and it was out of bounds. I almost caught it, but I tripped and went headlong into one of the tombstones. Got me 4 stitches in my head and a scar that has steadily crept from the top of my head to my forehead. Ok, ok, ok. My forehead has been creeping up to the top of my head.
Back to recess. I have been seeing about recess going away in schools. The first thing I heard was when the started to banish dodgeball.
"Under pressure from parents and the state to raise test scores, some schools are casting aside recess as a waste of precious time. Benjamin O. Canada, superintendent of schools in Atlanta, told The New York Times, "We are intent on improving academic performance. You don't do that by having kids hanging on the monkey bars."
"Other schools have banished recess because they're concerned about the injuries and lawsuits that can arise from outdoor play. Administrators also cite the threat of strangers to children outside of school walls, and a shortage of teachers and volunteers to supervise recess as reasons to eliminate it." school.familyeducation.com/education
SO at a time when kids are planting themselves in front of the TV with a video game, our schools are robbing Peter to pay Paul for good test grades and covering their butts. It has gotten so bad that we now ave to advertise to our children to "Play 60" as in play 60 minutes outside everyday.
You got kids. Throw them out! Make them play.
Monday, April 30, 2012
I must admit, I was once a not too adventurous eater. Meat and potatoes. And lots of both. Then I embarked on my Weight Watchers adventure and I need to keep my meals interesting. I started to explore.
Probably the most pleasant discovery I made was quinoa. It is a South American "grain" that is high in protein. Better, it is high in complete protein. Notice how I put grain in scare quotes above? That's because quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard.
It is so versatile. It is a starch like rice, high in protein like meat and has a nutty flavor like nuts. It has all nine essential amino acids.
It cooks up just like rice. But it has so much more flavor.
Breakfast is my favorite meal. So why not a little quinoa for breakfast?
Sunday, April 29, 2012
My neighbor, Brian Morrison is a great guy. He is the CEO (I think that's it) of Believe in Tomorrow. Whatever the title, he is the founder and head honcho. Here is what they do:
"Believe In Tomorrow provides exceptional hospital and respite housing services to critically ill children and their families. We believe in keeping families together during a child’s medical crisis, and that the gentle cadence of normal family life has a powerful influence on the healing process." from www.believeintomorrow.org/
For the last 17 years they and Home Depot have run the Port to Fort 6k running from the Port of Baltimore to Fort McHenry ... or so ... for 6 kilometers. The last several year it has started at the Baltimore Museaum of Industry. This year we didn;t actually go to the Fort, but why mess up a good name, right?
Since Brian is my neighbor, I really can't not run it. I did run in 2010. Last year since I was in training for the Maryland Half, I bought a sleep-in spot. I planned to run this year. But after yesterday's trail half, I woke sore. And the pemperature was about 35ºF cold.
I didn't want to run today.
But what's the rule if you just don't wanna run?
Run anyway. 90% of the time, you'l will feel great after the first 10 minutes. The other 10% you'll get a 10 minute run.
So, I pulled myself together and made my way downtown.
The horn went off at 9:10 (10 minutes late and what is new?). I was a liuttle back in the starting pack and I had to weave my way through the slow runners, the walkers who were too far up and the strollers (grrr, but is was billed as a family run). Once I got going, I set a wonderful pace. At one point I was as low as an 8:40 pace. I didn't maintain that, but It was a really good run. The aches from the trail half seemed to just melt away.
As we headed back for the final leg, I looked at my watch and I was surprised that I was tearing through at a 8:52 pace pace even at the end. That, of course is based on my Garmin watch which recorded a distance of 3.79 miles. Th eofficial distance of a 6k is 6.72. So my chip time (which agreed with my watch) was 33:34. Officially that make a 9:02 pace.
Let's not quibble over ten seconds in pace.
I am so glad I decided to go out for the run.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
I am pretty good at procrastination. Maybe I'll do some real work on the subject tomorrow.
"Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow. Delay may give clearer light as to what is best to be done." Aaron Burr.
Wow, I bet Alexander Hamilton wishes Burr had, oh I don't know, slept in?
"He who hesitates is probably right." - Bogovich
"There are two kinds of people, those who finish what they start and so on." -- Robert Byrne
"Do you know what happens when you give a procrastinator a good idea? Nothing!" -- Donald Gardner.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Newark, DE. Pronounced New-Ark, if you please. This was the 16th annual race sponsored by the Trail Dawgs of Newark. As I am pursuing a goal of 50 States Half Marathons, and as Delaware is right next door to Maryland (it is! check a map) I decided to do this one.
As the name says, it's a trail race. They warned to not expect a PR ... you want one of those, pick another race. The options were Full, Half, 10k, 5k, and Triple Crown, consisting of a Half, 10k and 5k. I chose to run the Half.
And a good choice it was.
The day dawned with a late April layer of frost on my car. I stayed at my sister's home in Havre de Grace, MD, (pronounced haver-dee-grace, thank you very much) about 30 minutes from the venue. Much better than the 90 minutes from my house. I had a slow go of getting out of my house so I didn't arrive until around 8:00 PM. We talked until after midnight, then up at 0500. Got myself together only to find a light frost! on the car. I did bring my cold gear. The for what ever reason my GPS did not want to find any satellites so I had to rely on the mute iPhone for directions. That program took my through downtown Newark and all its stupid "punishment lights" ... every one red and no one crossing and I was on the main road. The 30 minute drive took me 50, but that is one reason why I count on being in place 60 minutes before the horn.
The first 5k went very well. It was uneven terrain with roots, downed trees, rocks both protruding and loose, lots of hills. I normally do run/walk, but today, as cold as it was (35 - 40F at the horn) it was better and easier to run it out. Plus the trail didn't leave much room to let faster people to pass. At 5k, you could hear people screaming and yelling. They came upon what was called a creek. Now I figured a creek mught be at worst ankle deep, couple of feet across.
I was wrong. This is a small river complete with a strong current and uneven bottom and a knee deep pool in the middle, a good 40 feet across.
In we went. The next seven mile were not for the weak of heart. At one point, I was in the lead of a small pack, and not daring to drop to a walk, lest I got run over, and I was calling out obstacles as I came upon them:
"Dead fox puppy!"
Yes indeed. Right in the middle of the trail was a cute little kit, dead.
Many of the uphill, I saw seasoned trail veterans slow to a walk. As we went around from woods, to meadow, to swamps (on either side), an back, I watched in horror as my average pace dwindled from a sub-10:00 to a super-12:00.
The was a hard race. I had had a good dinner and a good breakfast, but I was losing steam. I ate my sports beans, my gu gel, the cookies and hard candies offered at the water stations, and yet I was still burning fuel fast. After crossing the "creek" the second time I heard my stomach growl.
I was actually hungry!
I always carry a Clif bar just for this. This time instead of just eating half, I had the whole thing. This was just after mile 11. After 25 minutes, it had no effect.
Soon there was a stampede. It was the 10k getting started coming at us from the opposite direction. And this trail was just about wide enough for one. These people coming at us were all fresh and eager and we were all finishing out the string on a half marathon.
Hell yes, I yielded the right of way.
The last mile was mostly a very steep hill that I walked up. At the top, you could see the finish area almost a mile ahead, but I just didn't have the energy to turn on that last kick. So I just barely jogged in. I walked across the finish. I was done.
2:44:xx which is a super-12:00 mile.
No medals for the half but I did get a coffee mug. As soon as I collect that trinket, I did a most uncharacteristic (for me) thing: I went over to the canteen and I had a couple of hot dogs.
So I know it sounds like I was miserable, but I wasn't. In some bizarre way, it was actually a lot of fun. Stretches where i would be in a string of people pacing behind another runner. Places where you would have to plan your pass. Downhills screaming like an idiot. Uphills ... those opposite uphills were Hell.
I had a lot of fun.
Tomorrow, the Port to Fort 6k in Baltimore City.
Oh for a nice short street race.
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