Sunday, October 5, 2008

Not Feeling So Mighty Man 2008

Here i sit in the Gig Shack on a somewhat chilly, raining late Sunday morning, sipping coffee and waiting for lunch to start so I can order some fish tacos. This is a pretty cool place, playing world music with "The Blue Planet Seas of Life" DVD splash on a big flat screen.

I should be heading back in toward transition on my second loop of the bike by now, on my way to crushing my Half Iron Man personal record. Instead I am nursing this coffee and taking two advil.

This morning Simeon and I woke at 4:45 (actually the crappy alarm clock in the lousy Atlantic Terrace hotel somehow woke us at 2:45 first. Please contact me offline to hear mostly negative things about this hotel). We had some coffee and some apple muffins my wife baked, and headed over to transition. He got himself situated and I found the staff tent to inform them i wouldn't be racing and turn in my timing chip.

I have been fighting a head cold for about two weeks, and been on the losing end. What started as I think a little fall allergy progressed into head cold, then chest cold, then sinus infection which eventually forced me to take a day off work, unheard of! On Thursday I broke down and went to the doc and he prescribed Azithromicin (Z Pac), a very strong and fast acting antibiotic. I had hoped for the best but so far have not seen any great improvement. One day left on this course, and I have a recall visit with him on Tuesday.

The way I felt last night after dinner, over night and then upon waking today, there was no way I could effectively complete, let alone compete in, a 70.3 event. I toyed with the idea of having the swim and bike and then DNRing. Because I volunteered at the sprint yesterday the race director said she'd make an exception and let me defer this year's entry, not normally allowed. So it really made a lot of sense to allow my body a chance to heal and be prepared for my off season training, to start in two weeks.

Even so, being in transition this morning made me rethink, if even for just a moment. That energy and excitement is clearly one of the great attractions of sport, and what keeps us coming back. As I rode back to the hotel I felt a little better and calculated I could possibly change my mind and get my chip back. On getting back to the room I laid down for a moment as my head had begun pounding again. Back to plan, nap until 10 and then head out to cheer on my friends.

At 9:00 I got up, got dressed and opened the door to walk down to the (nonfunctional) wifi hotspot, and saw it had rained! That was a surprise. But just a passing shower, surely, as the clouds looked to be breaking and the sun shone through over the ocean to the south. After failing again to connect to the interwebs, I packed my laptop in my day pack and rode into town to find a cowbell and a hotspot.

Nary a cowbell could be found on the eastern end of town, but the Gig Shack offers free wifi, and even though they weren't open, the outdoor patio was open and I hopped on for a quick email check before heading west to Montauk Bike Shop to hopefully find some kind of noisemaker. Presently the rain began again.

Ok I have been sitting here pondering now for an hour and a half, and it's still raining. I hope those guys don't mind if I don't ride up to the run course as I had planned. It's really raining, and cold too! This is sort of a replay of my Lake Placid spectating routine, in which i went to the start, got soaked, went back to the house to get dry, and then napped and watched golf on TV all day. Were the girls thinking I was letting my end down, staying inside while they donned ponchos and made repeated trips out to the course to cheer on our teammates? They never said a word, anyway.

Fish Tacos ordered. The skies are brightening, time to check I will have lunch, then if the rain hasn't let up it's back to bed for me. Got to get and stay healthy, my sights are now set on Lake Placid.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

2008 Phillie Distance Run

I ran the Phillie half last weekend.

We walked around alot the day before, the expo, liberty bell, constitution hall, ben franklin's grave , had fun, nice family time for the most part (the rest being the 'normal' family stuff that must go along with the Father Knows Best version of life).

I woke up at around 430, got shaved, showered and dressed and stretched some. Then i walked down and across 11th to the WaWa for a donut and coffee, to get things moving. Back up for some more stretching and then about a mile walk down Ben Franklin Parkway to the start.

On the way over I met Marion and Christina from Sunrise Tri . Their dad Frank is my bicycle maven/monger and he had told me to look for them. I laughed at the thought of actualy finding them, but there they were! I also met up with Erin from RwP, a surprise! Correct Erin, you cannot hide with that orange singlet.

Saturn is a major sponsor for this race and does somethign nice at the start, a stretchign area with yoga mats and physio balls. Actually I suggested the balls last year and so glad to see they listened. Next year please properly inflate them. And I also suggested ropes or straps for stretch assistance.

So 15,000 runners went off around 7:30 and what a great crowd of runners and spectators. Great atmposphere, great city, a fun race.

I bought some of these sports beans at the expo, figured i'd give me a try on Sunday. Around mile 3 I opened a package, and found I really needed to walk to eat them, or else dump the whole bag in my bean hoel at once and probably choke. Anyway, as I walked down the sidewalk, an older gentlemen with an australian accent commented on the number of people running.

Yes, 15,000 this year, a good crowd Never seen such a big race Oh this is nothing New York Marathon will have over 30,000 this year No kidding thats amazing Yes its really a great time have you ever run in a race you shoudl try it Well I guess where I am from they have some short runs maybe i would Where are you from? Canada Oh you don't sound canadian Well I am originally from Australia but I moved many years ago.

A small pod of runners weaved up the sidewalk behind us and jostled my new friend as they passed us, and one of them offered a rude excuse me as they conitnued snaking through sidewalkers. If you are racing, and you shoose to use the sidewalk instead of the road where everyne else is running, fine, but should you be surprised that teh city goes about its regular business, buying donuts and coffee on a Sunday morning?

My temporary race walking partner asked me how long it would take me to finish today.

"Depends on how long I talk to you!" I said and we both laughed.

So you start to get the idea. Not a serious race, but enjoying myself.

Around mile 6 I really needed to stop and poop, and there were a bank of portosans there before we turned left and crossed the river. As I exited my potty I found a woman with a baby stroller, waiting there with a sort of befuddled look on her face. I told her the one i was just in had paper, if thats what she was wondering. No, she just didnt know what she was goign to do with the baby while she went in. I offered to watch the baby for her, if she was comfortable with that. After all, i did have a race number on and wasnt one of the disturbingly vocal homeless who youll see in the area.

"oh. but aren't you racing."

yeah but ya know, this is my second stop so far this morning, it wont really make much difference.

And it really only did take a minute, and having done my good deed for the day I felt an extra spring in my step as i rejoined the race.

Runnign up the west side of the Schuykil River I found myself back a little further in the pack than I would normally expect, at about 10:30 pace. I realized this is the spot i really liek to be, with the huffers and puffers, folks workign hard and enjoying themselves.

There are alot of cowbells on this race course. I noticed one guy in cycling gear with what I beleive to be the smallest cowbell ever. About 2 miles later I saw him again, obviously following someone who was about at my pace. about 15 minutes later, again. and at the bridge back over the river there he was with his tiny cowbell.

All along this section of the race Iwas followed, passed by, passed and was followed some more by two young women in matching red shirts, shorts and red compression socks. On their shirt backs one had "Soul" and the other has "Sisters". I picked this couple to keep me focused until I got to mile 11.

Arond mile 10.5 the guy with the mini cowbell appeared again, and appeared to be cheering on the soul sisters! I asked them if he knew that guy. Yeah, he is 'Sister''s husband. I commented that that was probably the smallest cowbell on the course, and I had given him a special nickname, "Tinkerbell". We had a good laugh, and then they told me about the bell's history, the many, many road races that bell had been rung at, by him, to cheer them on.

Thanks Soul Sisters and Tinkerbell, for gettign me to the race that started at 11 miles.

Now it was time to dig in and work. I ran mile 11 at around 8:50, mile 12 around 8:30 and the last mile somwhere around 8:15. Finished in 2:09, 1 minute faster than my adjusted projected finish.

Organizationaly the finish line here just sucks. Pudding with no spoons. Lines to empty water tables. Stacks of sports drink still in shrink wrap, some racers walkign off with whole cases on their shoulders. the greenest bananas in Pennsylvania.

Crocs is a sponsor and they do somethign great, foot ice baths! Highly reccomended. I hope next year they will have the full body ones.

After the race I ran easy back down to the hotel and met my family. They had actually seen me a couple of times on the course, although I never saw them. I showered and we walked down to south phillie to see Pat's and Geno's and have cheesesteak sandwhiches for lunch. This was a very logn walk from old city, but if you can do it i reccomend it, getting out and seeign some of the real city and people.

Pretty happy with the day considering I definitely wasn't racing.

Pull my finger

Someone suggested I ask my massage therapist to pull my finger. Huh? Well then she directed me here and just told me to read it and be impressed (shut up).

Yes teacher.

Ok so I get it, and i have a series of appointments next week to work on my groin, and I will try this one of those days. A couple of thoughts:

1 Do not eat burrito the night before
2 Ask for finger pulling at the very end of the session.