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Fool me once . . .  shame on you.

Fool me twice . . .  shame on me.

I ran my second marathon today in Pittsburgh.  If you have never been to Pittsburgh, let me sum it up for you in one word:  HILLS.

There’s a Hill District.  There are the North Hills.  There are the South Hills.  Here a hill, there a hill, everywhere a hill hill.

I know it’s not possible to start at one elevation and end at the same elevation without equal amounts of going up and going down.

But I went up hill a lot more today than I went down.  I broke the laws of physics.  I don’t know how.  But I did.

Why did I run a second marathon?

Runners

The origin of the modern marathon is rooted in ancient Greek history.

In a nod to Greek history, the first marathon commemorated the run of the soldier Pheidippides from a battlefield near the town of Marathon, Greece, to Athens in 490 B.C.

Apparently stupidity “ran” rampant even in 490 B.C.  (See what I did there?)  And history apparently repeats itself.  I ran a second marathon.  Shame on me.

What is often forgotten in that historic legend is this:

Pheidippides ran the approximately 25 miles to announce the defeat of the Persians to some anxious Athenians. Not quite in mid-season shape, he delivered the message “Niki!” (Victory!) then keeled over and died.

He DIED!  I obviously trained better than he did, as I have survived.  Barely.  I am walking with a limp.  I’ve been having some Achilles tendon problems (another Greek myth/legend!  Damn those Greeks!  Damn them all to Hades!)  And like any obsessed devoted runner I more or less ignored it.  Most days the discomfort went away after 1-2 miles.  I didn’t rest, ice, compress or elevate.  I ran through the pain.  I loosened it up!

It does not feel loosened up after 26.2 miles. What the Frick in Pittsburgh was I thinking?!

My heel is angry with me.  It is punishing me.  I would kick it if I could but it hurts too much to do that.

Notes from the race:

Despite the pain, I finished in 4:17:59.  Good for 52nd place in the 50-54 division.  For what it’s worth, I ran in the Asics Gel Nimbus 19 today.  I ran in the Brooks Ghost 9 in Philadelphia.  Think I preferred the Brooks, but the data may be complicated by my Achilles issue.

There was a threat of rain but it never rained.  With an average temperature of 55 degrees and no burning sun, it was actually a great day to run.

With the threat of rain, however, I thought the crowd turn out was a little less than in recent years.  I didn’t actually count them, but it seemed like there were fewer people cheering me on.  The energy level just seemed more subdued.  Maybe I was distracted by my pain.

No really memorable signs along the way.  May the Course be with you.  Liked that.  The “If Donald Trump can run so can you” signs were out in full force.  It was funny.  Give it a rest.  Maybe you should tweak it . . . “If Donald Trump can WIN, so can you!”  Also, the “This is the worst parade ever!” and “Did you think they said RUM?” signs are a little passe.  One lady who I kept passing for some reason on and off–one of us was time warping–had a shirt that read “Have you hugged your lawyer today?”  I have not.

I’m not saying I will never run another marathon, but I may need to be senile to do that.

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You would think that with those long legs I would win every race!

Shadow

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I came across this advertisement on Facebook . . .

RunOver45
Seriously?  Are we supposed to think that runner is over 45?  I’m wondering if she’s even over 25!

And by the way, I am over 45, and I can run faster than a nine minute mile (especially if I am following her!)

I guess I should get the rate I deserve on life insurance!

And if you are over 45, you should probably ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough to have running.

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How many times have you been at a bowling alley, ready to throw your next shot, perhaps a strike or two away from a perfect game (or just hoping not to throw ANOTHER gutter ball,) and suddenly it hits you?

“This ball stinks!”

I mean seriously.  When was the last time it bathed?  I have a bowling towel to wipe the excess oil from the lane, but that hardly counts as a good cleaning.

Somewhere, at some time, someone had too much time on their hands.  Or too much to drink.  And they thought to themselves, “why don’t we make scented bowling balls?”

I.  Kid.  You.  Not.

My kids bought me a Storm bowling ball for Christmas.  The box said fragrance: Caramel Pecan.  WTF?

NewBowlingBall

 

It really does have a scent.  It was making me hungry–like a huge piece of caramel candy.  I think I gained 15 pounds!  But who needs (or wants) a fragrant bowling ball?  And just what was wrong with the way my balls smelled before?

I promptly Googled this shit to see if it was real.

Aromatic Bowling.

Competitors dismiss Bill Chrisman’s scented bowling balls as a “novelty,” but he believes there’s more to his success than that, reports Jonathan Eig in The Wall Street Journal. Bill’s balls — marketed by Storm Products, Inc., stormbowling.com, of Brigham City, Utah — smell of peppermint, spearmint, orange, blueberry, amaretto, banana, cinnamon-apple, and pina colada, for instance. Bill’s been making the aromatic balls for about four years now, to a point where his brand is to the market leader in high-end bowling balls, ahead of Brunswick. (You might think Brunswick and the other ball-makers would be rushing scented balls to market. Storm does not officially claim that its aromas affect performance, but the company’s technical director, Steve Koempken, “says the aromatic liquid chemicals added to the vats of urethane had the unintended effect of increasing the tackiness or friction of the surface area, which resulted in a tiny bit of extra hook.” Not only that, but some customers report that the fragrances have the dual effect of relaxing them while distracting their opponents.

I am stunned.  Speechless (but I can still type.)  How does the chemical selectively relax one person but annoy another?  Technology is simply fantastic.

Do the chemicals act like pheromones?  Will my ball be attracting other balls?  What do the pins think about this?  So many questions; so little interest in answering them.

I wonder if they will start adding fragrances to running shoes.  Now that would be a great idea!

SniffingBall

I smell a 300 game in my future!

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My new shoes came yesterday!  Can’t wait for the first HOME GAME!

I’m glad I ordered them when I did–I think they are sold out already!

PSUshoes

They can’t possibly lose if I wear these!

Of course, that’s what I thought when I bought the PSU thong! 😉

At least these are comfortable!

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Eye doctors in picture may appear shorter than they actually are!

Eye doctors in picture may appear shorter than they actually are!

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Brooks is trying to kill me.

I came across this running “challenge” . . . the Brooks Run Happy Summer Challenge.  The shoe company is giving away two pairs of running shoes per day for a month.  Winners are randomly selected from those participting in the challenge.  No purchase necessary.  Odds of winning are practically zero, but better than one’s chance of hitting the powerball jackpot.

At the end of the challenge a grand prize winner will be drawn . . .

At the end of the challenge, we’ll draw one grand prize winner for an expense paid trip for two to the Las Vegas Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon on November 17, 2013.

Free running shoes?  Is this Florida State University?  Sign me up!

In the first few days, I was in the Top Ten of the Leaderboard, 5th out of 29,000+ contestants!  There are now over 30,000.

BrooksChallenge2

But what I didn’t realize is that this ranking system is based solely on how many days you have run and “rated” your run.  You have to log in your miles, time and click on a rating icon ranging from a smiley face to things like a frowny face, an oxygen mask and a coffin.  I’m just kidding about that last part.  It’s actually a tombstone.

Normally, I run 5-6 days per week.  Most running and fitness experts recommend that you take days off to allow your muscles to rest and rebuild.

But that means a day you can’t win the shoes you aren’t likely going to win anyway, and you have to watch as your name plummets down the list because you now have one fewer workout than the rest of the field.  The first (and so far the last) day I didn’t run, I saw my ranking fall from 5th to 30th.  I’ve slipped from 6th to 10th just while writing this because I only have 13 happy runs instead of 14!

In short, the shoe company is throwing sage running advice to the wind and rewarding runners for pushing themselves too hard.

You don’t need no stinking day off!

Take a day off?  NO SHOES FOR YOU!

I usually don’t run on Tuesdays.  After I watched my name plummet last week, I considered adding in a “small run” of like a hundredth of a mile.  I could always run it with the next run but not include it, but I’d have my workout total to keep me on the rank list.  But then my conscience got the better of me and I accepted my ranking such as it is.  After all, if we runners don’t have our honor, what would we be?  Cyclists or ball players on performance enhancing drugs?

So this Tuesday, I dutifully got up and donned my NON-BROOKS running shoes and ran.  I was only going to do one mile–slowly.  It would almost be like taking a day off, and yet I’d still have my negligible chance to win some shoes.  I ended up doing 3 slow miles, but my conscience is clear, even if my muscles ache.

Why do we runners do this to ourselves?

Its gotta be the shoes!

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