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Posts Tagged ‘Penn State’

Today I competed in my second Pittsburgh Half Marathon.

PM2016Logo

By “competed,” I mean I tried to 1) finish, 2) without injury or embarrassment, and 3) with a better time than last year.  I managed the trifecta!

With an official time of 1:49:05 (pace=8:19) I came in 1305th place overall, and 51st in my age group (50-54.)  51 years old and I came in 51st.  Kinda cool.  This outpaced last years race with an overall time of 1:50:46 (pace = 8:26) and an overall place of 1802 which put me 72nd in my age group.

I’m not sure how many half marathon runners there were, but let’s just say there were a lot.  I lost count, oh, about 10 yards into the race.  (According to the website, there were 14,127 in the half marathon and 3,681 places in the marathon.)

The weather started out iffy, and it drizzled/rained for the first couple of miles.

RunningRain

IF IT RAINS, YOU RUN.  IF IT THUNDERS, YOU RUN FASTER.

It was actually a little refreshing, but it became a little humid after the rain stopped.   At the last minute,  I switched from a T-shirt to a long sleeved shirt.  Mistake.  Should have trusted my weather.com temperature predictions!  Instead, I looked out the window of my hotel and saw a lot of people wearing long sleeved shirts and light windbreakers.  Psyched myself out.  It’s kind of like reviewing your answers on a test and changing a correct one at the last moment because of second guessing.  Oh well.

I seemed to be the most popular runner.  I kept hearing, over and over again, “GO TODD!”  Now, I did have an ear bud playing music in one ear, and there was a lot of background race noise, so it is slightly possible that these folks were yelling “GOOD JOB!”, but I think they were cheering me on.

One sign read:  “IF TRUMP CAN RUN, SO CAN YOU!”  Thought that was pretty funny right there.

TrumpRun

Not from this race . . . . too much SUN!

Another one said “SHORTCUT” with an arrow pointing away from the main course.  I thought about it, but it seemed a little questionable, especially since the arrow looked like it pointed to a parking lot.  Maybe they offered a shuttle service to the finish line?  Had it pointed to a bar offering free beer, I’d have gone for it.

And, as I passed a group of young women sporting Nittany Lion logos on the back of their tank tops, I said “GO PENN STATE!” as I passed them.  A guy running next to me then yelled, “Penn State!  Let’s hear it.”  So someone else started yelling “WE ARE!”  and a chorus of “PENN STATE!” ensued.  After three cheers, the cheerleader yelled “THANK YOU!” and we all politely responded, “YOU’RE WELCOME!”

Never had that happen in a race before.

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BSR2015

This race combines three of my loves:  1) running, 2) the Paterno family, and 3) Beaver Stadium.  The fact that it benefits Special Olympians is just icing on the cake.

But I need your help.

I’m okay with the running part.  Three miles is a warm up for me.  I don’t even need you to bring me water.  Or bananas.  (Beer and donuts would be great, but I don’t NEED that!)  I don’t need you to stand on the sideline and cheer me on, but you are welcome if you so desire.

No–what I need is your financial support.  I have set a goal to raise $1200.00 for Special Olympics. As of writing this blog, I have raised $745.00.

If you can afford it, and think the Special Olympics is a great cause, then donate in my name at my home page.

I thank you for your support!

Here is a photo of me crossing the finish line last year just to prove I can do it!

BSR2015FinishLine

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After watching Penn State lose to Georgia in the TaxSlayer Bowl, I decided to go out for a late afternoon run to burn off some frustration and holiday sweets.  I am usually a morning runner, but I slept in.  I planned on running 6-7 miles, and surely I could get it in before dark.

Please don’t call me Shirley.

I was visiting this weekend and running in unfamiliar territory.  Being not far from Valley Forge National Park, and having run part of it a few days ago, I thought this would be a good place to run.  There appeared to be a nice loop on the map which looked about 6-7 miles.  What could go wrong?

This same question was asked by James Franklin and the Redcoats.  Neither fared well, and neither did I for that matter.  The plan looked great on paper.

Everything went well for the first five miles, until I reached a point which on the map below, corresponds to a covered bridge.

The bridge was closed for repairs, and so was the nice little blue path I had been following.

I was at the red circle.  I was parked at the green square.  I was as far from my car as I could get, and I could not go any further.

Valley-Forge-1

At this point, I had three choices.  One, I could turn around and head back the way I had come.  This would have put me in the 8-10 mile range which was a little longer than I really wanted to do.  The advantage, though, was that I would be traversing known ground.

The second option was to take a trail which ran along the same river as the blue paved path.  I hadn’t bothered to bring a map, but this same map was posted alongside the road before entering the trail.

The third option was to curl up in a fetal position and suck my thumb, waiting for a park ranger to come and rescue me.

Valley-Forge-2

Alas, I opted for the dotted line trail.  It didn’t look too bad.  Besides, it was getting dark and my mind was still numb from Penn State’s loss.

I made a mistake.

The trail climbed a mountain.  I was weaving in and out of trees, roots and rocks as the sun was disappearing and the already dimly lit woods was getting darker.  Each step brought me closer to a difficult choice:  turn around and go back, an ever longer alternative as I continued forward to what I hoped was the warmth and comfort of my jeep.  But I could sense lions, tigers and bears rustling in the underbrush around me, waiting for me to collapse into an asthma attack with the elevation, or in the fetal position sucking my thumb and waiting for a park ranger to rescue me.

Either way, I was wondering if I would ever get home.  I wasn’t even sure this stupid dotted trail would cross the water or if I was even going in the right direction anymore.

Just as the westering sun was setting, the trail headed back down Mount Krumpet and eventually deposited me on Route 23.  A welcome sight came into focus.  A bridge!  And on the other side–a paved trail that headed back to Washington’s Chapel.

I was saved!  I lived to get lost another day!  I wonder if Washington ever considered collapsing into the fetal position, sucking his thumb?

Probably not.

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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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I have signed up for the annual 3 mile Beaver Stadium Run, which courses through State College and ends at the 50 yard line of Beaver Stadium.  Proceeds from the race benefit Special Olympics of Pennsylvania, and the run is sponsored by the Paterno family.

BSR2015

This race combines three of my loves:  1) running, 2) the Paterno family, and 3) Beaver Stadium.  The fact that it benefits Special Olympians is just icing on the cake.

But I need your help.

I’m okay with the running part.  Three miles is nothing to me.  I don’t even need you to bring me water.  Or bananas.  (Beer and donuts would be great, but I don’t NEED that!)  I don’t need you to stand on the sideline and cheer me on, but you are welcome if you so desire.

No–what I need is your financial support.  I have set a goal to raise $1000.00 for Special Olympics. As of writing this blog, I have raised $260.00.

If you can afford it, and think the Special Olympics is a great cause, then donate in my name at my home page.

I thank you for your support!

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If you didn’t live in central Pennsylvania in the last forty years, you may not know what a “bank button” is, or more specifically, what a “Penn State Bank Button” is.GettheGoat

It all started in 1972, when Central Counties Bank issued buttons in support of Penn State football with a weekly slogan to match their opponent.  The first button was simple and said, Get the Goat.  (Penn State played Navy, whose mascot is a goat, in case you are not college football savvy.)

The style changed slightly over the years, so that this is what it looked like 10 years later, when Penn State beat Nebraska en route to Joe Paterno’s first national championship.

AmaizeNebraska

Over the years, things slowly changed.  Central Counties Bank became Mellon Bank.  Mellon Bank became Citizen’s Bank.

The slogans evolved from simple two and three word phrases to more creative slogans as Sleepless in Ann Arbor (Michigan 1994, playing off the movie title Sleepless in Seattle,) Driving Mich Crazy (again, Michigan in 1997, playing on Driving Miss Daisy,) and Don’t it Make Your Buckeyes Blue (Ohio State in 1999 off the song with brown eyes blue.)  You can see the entire list of buttons ever made here.

But I’m not here to critique the slogans.

If you don’t know already, I am a Penn State fan, bleeding blue and white.  When we returned to Pennsylvania in 1994 after graduating from my residency program, we were faced with having to choose a bank.

Sure, I could have researched who had the best interest rates.  Or who has the most convenient ATM locations.  Or used any number of other pertinent criteria to choose the right bank for my personal accounts.

In the end, I chose Mellon Bank . . . BECAUSE THEY PRODUCED THE PENN STATE GAME BUTTONS.  I kid you not.

Been a customer ever since, even though the name changed to Citizen’s Bank.  Not a problem for me.  They still make the buttons.

Since 1994, I have always had a good relationship with my bank.  I am a good customer.  They may not pay me as much interest on my savings account as someone else, but come August, I could always count on getting a stash of the season’s game buttons.  It was like Christmas in September!

Someone at the bank–and we have moved since 1994 to another city–and a couple of branch offices have closed over the years–but someone always set aside a quantity of buttons for each game and I would pick them up before the season.  Most years they gave me an entire plastic sleeve (20 some buttons) for each game before the season started.  During the season, I would distribute the appropriate button to friends, relatives, fans, and my co-workers and employees the Wednesday before each game.  I never gave them out early to spoil the surprise, and I never charged anyone for the service.  It was a wonderful system that worked well for all parties involved.

Until this year.

When I called to arrange picking up my buttons, I was told they couldn’t do that any more.  There was a “MEMO.”  From “Corporate.”  Apparently, access to game buttons is now being regulated by the NSA.  It is frowned upon in their establishment.

Now let me tell you how this whole thing works.

The Wednesday before a given game, someone at the bank puts the buttons in a basket on the counter for patrons to take.  The button has the Bank’s name on it, so it is essentially free advertising for the institution.  If you have ever been to a Penn State game, you can see a lot of people wearing these buttons.  A fair number of dedicated fans “collect” the buttons, displaying them in various ways.

1981buttons

 

ButtonCoat

You do not have to be a bank patron to take a button.  They are free.  You can take as many as you want.  They won’t give me the season ahead of time, but I could dump the whole basket in my pocket and walk out if I so chose.  (I haven’t, but I do take a sizable handful because a lot of people want these buttons and have become dependent on me for their fix.  I had to go back to the bank today because I was short and one of our techs in the office didn’t get a button.)

The bank informs me that I can get a complete set by mailing a check for $10.00 to the bank.

Ah, the plot thickens.

That’s a set of one button per game.  Let’s see, 20 sets?  $200?  And I give them away free?  I don’t think so.  They want my business AND they want to charge me for advertising for them!

Company policy.

Is it company policy, then, to alienate a dedicated customer like this?  Now I have to make 12 trips to the bank in 3 months (I usually go once a month, and that is only because my paycheck exceeds the amount that can be deposited by their mobile app, or I wouldn’t even go then.)  As a surgeon, it is not always convenient for me to drop by the bank during the week.  And since I’m still getting handfuls of buttons (which I don’t get paid to distribute) each week, what difference would it make if my bank helped me out a little.  I suppose I should be thankful they don’t limit the buttons to one per customer!

It’s not like a convenience store or grocery, where a free coupon might draw other business while I’m in there shopping.  I’m not likely going to stop by and pick up a button and say, “oooh, that is a great rate on a loan.  Can I get one today?  Or how about giving me two of those Certificates of Deposit over there.”  Forcing me to enter the bank doesn’t generate any more business.  But the advertising might.  Isn’t that why they are still doing it?

I see a lot of people during the day, and have frequently fielded questions about the button.  One of the most famous was Forrest Thump.  Think about it.  It’s a play on Forrest Gump.  Penn State played Indiana State.  Their mascot is a tree–the sycamores.  Trees=forest=Forrest.  Tree falls–thump.  Team falls–thump.  It’s probably a little too complicated for a fan button, but it generated a lot of questions.  And that’s a lot of eyes looking at the Citizen’s Bank logo.

I’d close my accounts and switch banks as a protest if it wasn’t so much trouble.  But I think about doing that every week when I grab my handfuls of buttons which should already be in my desk ready for distribution.  I’m starting to hate my bank.

But alas, I still wear the buttons, because at the heart of it all, I am a Penn State fan.

I want the buttons.

I need the buttons.

I just wish my bank would stop pushing my buttons!

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