Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ogden Marathon Recap

The Ogden marathon is beautiful.  With having such a wet spring this year, northern Utah is so green and nice and so I was looking forward to the beauty of the canyon.



Since I was running with Team in Training we had 2 full days of activities with the marathon in the middle planned.
My wife and I got to the Hotel at about 2:30 on Friday afternoon, and after checking in, dumping our gear and checking out the team hospitality suite, he walked about a block to Union Station so that I could pick up my Bib and check out the Expo.  It was a cool day, perfect for running, and I kept thinking that it the temp stays like this the marathon will be great.

The expo was kind of cool, but small.  I stopped by the Cliff booth and picked up wrist band that had all the splits for a 5 hour finish.  My concern was that I would start out to fast and would burn out early, so pacing was something I really wanted to maintain.
After that we went back to the hotel for our team dinner, which was just awesome and inspiring.  There we were told that we had raised over $90,000 for the battle against Cancer... That was just cool!


I was up at 3:30am because I had to dress, eat, and meet the team at 4:30 for our team picture before we loaded into the busses.  As I was heading out the door into the early morning drizzle, a janitor was handing out garbage bags that we could use as rain ponchos while waiting for the start.

 
The bus zone was chaos, with lines of runners waiting to board half-filled busses.  I was with a couple of friends trying to figure out where we should get in line, when a guy comes by saying “the last bus leaves in 8 minutes, you better get on one of them!”  So, we just jumped on one.  In the background I heard some runner complaining that he’d been waiting there for quite a while and that we had just cut in front.  I figured… poop or get off the pot.

In the end, we got to the starting line at about 5:30am and then proceeded to stand around in the wet for an hour and 45 minutes for the start.
While waiting there, I ran into a bloggy friend, Susette from You’ll Always Have My Heart.  It was fun to talk to her while waiting around in the rain.

Anyway… eventually we were able to get onto the road and I found the 5 hour pacer, a nice lady from Virginia who kept a great pace.  The only down side was that she had asked the people who were going to be running with her if they wanted to take a 30 second walk at each mile marker.  Most said yes, so… when they stopped at the first mile, I kept on going because I was still feeling pretty fresh and didn’t need or want a stop, especially at the first mile.
Eventually I was able to catch the 4:45 pacer (at about the 6th mile) and stayed with her for quite a few miles.

 
The rain started just before the gun sounded and kept going for most of the race.  Many runners were wearing garbage bags, I just couldn’t do that, so I just ran in an old hoodie that I had brought as a throw away jacket.  I tossed it at around mile 7 or 8, and it was like losing 3 lbs because it was so full of water.  I was running easier then, but I started getting cold because the wind has started to kick up just before I entered into the town of Eden.
I stopped for a trip to the Honey Buckets at the 13th mile, and found that my hands were so numb from the wet and the wind that I couldn’t undo the ties on my shorts.  So… the potty break took a little longer that it should have.

 
There is a really steep hill between Eden and Pineview Dam, and I found myself walking quite a bit of that.  But about halfway up, I look and here comes Mary, one of my TnT coaches trotting down toward me with these purple pinwheels on her head.  A good smile on a bad hill is a wonderful thing.  One of my huge concerns was that I wouldn’t cross the Dam at Pineview Reservoir before the hard cutoff of 4 hours and have to be taken to the finish line by bus, so I pushed pretty hard and crossed that damn dam at 3 hours 10 minutes. And then it was all downhill from there… in all ways possible.
The trip down Ogden Canyon was the hardest part of the marathon for me.  I was so tired of being cold and wet.  The clouds opened up and gave us another good dose of water; so much so that I sometimes couldn’t see because of the water running down my face.  My hip flexors began to ache, probably because of the cold, and my arms and hands were beginning to tingle, definitely because of the cold.  I was a soggy mess, but my other TnT coach, Josh, met me at about the 20th mile and ran along with me for quite a ways.  That was such a boost to my spirits.  Thanks Josh!

My shoes were full of water (as were everyone else’s) but because I was wearing my trusty compression socks (from Spun Apparel) which fit like a second skin, I suffered no blisters, hot spots, or rubbing injuries of any kind.  That was awesome!

When I turned onto Grant Ave. for the final mile, I was done.  I mentally and physically could not muster the energy to run another step, and walking was even beginning to become less of an option.  I could see the finish line, and like a mirage, it seemed to get further away from me as I trekked forward.
And then a magical thing happened; I began to hear the crowds.  People who have come to see runners finish were there, lining the street.  People were cheering, I could hear my name being yelled from the Team in Training tent that was set up along the route.  I caught sight of my wife standing there with a sign, and so I ran up and kissed her as I passed.  I had energy again, and I ran even better toward the finish line.  It’s weird, I was a block away from the finish line and I could see the girl in front of me pick up her pace and start to sprint toward the finish line.  At that moment, I thought “you should sprint too.” But then another voice said “you need to save your energy for the rest of the race.”  What race?  I was done!  Strange things go through your head when you’re mentally toasted.  And so, with a small jump at the end I hit the finish line… and forgot to stop my Garmin… for about 10 minutes.

Anyway… Here are my stats:
Tag Time: 5:15:42
Overall pace: 12:03

Splits:
7 miles: 1:14:19, pace: 10:37
Half: 2:27:57, pace: 11:18
18 miles: 3:28:17, pace: 11:35
23.1 miles: 4:32:41, pace: 11:49

Overall, I’m happy with my performance, but I know that I could have made the 5 hour goal, had I not been mentally hit by the rain and cold.  I know that I vowed that I would NEVER run another full… but as my soreness wanes and the tightness becomes loose again, I begin to think… huh… I could do that again… and this time I’d…
Maybe there is just one more marathon in me…

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Rebranding A & F

I know that I don’t have a blog of note with millions of readers every day… but hey, it doesn’t mean that I can’t launch into a full on campaign against Abercrombie & Fitch in my own little way… right?
I figure that as long as it doesn’t get boring and drive away my one or two faithful readers, then hey… I say “Charge.”

So, today I found this little video and thought that I’d share.
 



I’m total sucker for a good cause, and if the cause has a killer video to go along with it… well… that’s a win-win.

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Full Weekend

I have so much to say, and it just can’t wait for two-Things-Tuesday, not that I’ve done any T-T-T’s as of late.

Mission Call

If you’re not a Mormon, you may not understand this one. My Daughter, BB, is going on a mission for our church. When our young men are 18 and our young women are 19 they’re encouraged to serve as missionaries for our church. If they decide to go, they fill out a packet of papers which go to the missionary department in Salt Lake City. Amazingly, in a week and a half, they get a letter in the mail (simply referred to as “The Call.”) that tells them their assignment location… which can literally be anywhere in the world. When I was a missionary, I went to southern California, my friends: Taiwan, Canada, & Switzerland. My wife went to a tiny island (Majuro) in Micronesia. And so, when mission calls come in it’s a big deal. Families & friends gather in order to participate in the opening of the call. We had a room full, with several people from around the country on Skype.

Here’s what happened:



It’s awesome! She’ll have a good experience and do a great job.

Race for the Cure

Saturday morning was my last team training run with Team in Training. We met at Liberty Park in Salt Lake and ran up 600 East to South Temple. After the turn around we could see the Race for the Cure 5k going past one block over from us. It was awesome! All I could see was this sea of pink moving up 500 East. It was awe-inspiring; plus, knowing that my friend Coby and her family were walking in it despite the fact that she has just finished her 3rd infusion of Chemo. She’s totally my hero.

Mother’s Day

I love my wife. She is my moon, my stars, my reason to get up in the morning. Without her, I’d be some lonely old man, living in the house that the neighborhood kids avoid. Love you Kiddo.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Abercrombie & Fitch = Elitist Bigots




I’m a little ticked off today.

During my lunch hour yesterday, I spent some time reading blogs… like I usually do… and I read a blog that said that Abercrombie & Fitch hates plus sized women.  Now I just couldn’t believe that a company would say such a thing.  In this day and age, with this economy, why would a company say that they don’t want a certain demographic to even darken their elitist doorways?  Well, it seems that A & F is just such a company.  Full article here.
According to Robin Lewis, author of The New Rules of Retail, “He (Mike Jeffries, CEO of A & F) doesn’t want larger people shopping his store; he wants thin and beautiful people.  He doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing.  People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids’”.

This from a 61-year-old poseur?  I found a picture of this piece of human debris, and you know what I see?
 
Years ago, I was living in the small LA suburb of Azusa, California and I had a roommate who was born in Queensland, Australia.  The guy was a total trip.  Anyway, when we would see a person of… mature years… who was dressed like their 15-year-old daughter, or like some high school surfer boy who said “Dude” a lot, my roommate would say that they were “mutton dressed as lamb.”  If you don’t know what that means, I’d be happy to explain.  Mutton is the meat from old sheep.  It’s greasy, tough, stringy, and thoroughly disgusting.  Lamb, on the other hand, is the meat of young sheep and is tender and tasty.  What I see when I look at Mike Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, is Mutton dressed as Lamb.  In other words, I see a ridiculous old man who’s trying to regain his youth.  What do you bet that his pockets are full of Viagra and condoms?

Oh… now that was uncalled for... My apologies… *insert evil laugh here*
 Now, in full disclosure, I am married to a beautiful woman who is… yes… plus sized.  She does what she can to control her weight, but she will never be a size 5, and I’m ok with that because she is beautiful both inside and out.  Also, really, I don’t care that Abercrombie & Fitch hates plus sized women, geeks, nerds, dorks, and other “undesirables.”  I really don’t because I will never buy their overpriced, crappy, beautiful people, sheep costumes.  I just hope that others will show their disgust for them by voting with their wallets and their patronage of other stores who treat all people as valuable.

It’s strange.  Usually when a company is accused of bigotry (and yes, I do think that this is a form of bigotry) they back pedal big time and go into full on damage control.  But like the high school quarterback or head cheerleader who needs to put down the captain of the chess club in order to score some points with their beautiful friends, Abercrombie & Fitch is acting the same way in the hallway of highly competitive retail.  They are standing in the middle of that hallway, arms stretched out wide, in a proud act of defiance, saying “what are you gonna do about it, Dork?” while the rest of us shake our heads in disgust feeling powerless to do... anything.
Here’s what Mike Jeffries doesn’t know; that unlike the chess club captain in high school, we, the undesirables, have power.  We don't want to play their way, go to their parties, or hang out at their table, because we have the power of the marketplace, and we can choose to spend our money anywhere we want to.

I hate calls for boycotts… but I think that this may be a good time to start one.  Let Abercrombie & Fitch drown in its own elitist self-righteousness.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

April Recap


April Miles: 80 miles.  I know that I’m down from last month.  All I can say is that I had one week that was really bad, and I didn’t get the miles in that I needed to.  Have you ever noticed that when you plan something important, or there’s something that you really need/want to do, the world seems to congregate around that date?  It’s weird… and happens to me all the time.
Races: None… but I did complete a 20 mile long run last Saturday and now I’m into the blessed taper zone.

Next Race: Ogden Marathon in 18 days!
Reading: Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger, yet another book in my “Books I Should Have Read in College” series.  Almost done, and I’m really not sure what the plot is.  So far I’ve figured out that Franny is a borderline basket case, Zooey is rude to his mother, and everyone is a chain smoker in one way or another.

Listening: A tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.  A very sad coming of age story set in Brooklyn.  The cadence and writing style reminds me of “To Kill a Mocking Bird” more than a little.
Latest Obsession: Arrows are done, and the Archers are moving to our outdoor range out near Tooele.  That’s a pretty long drive just to fling sticks around, but the Baronial championships are the first of June, and while I won’t win, I do want to make a good showing.

Netflix Habit:  Not really on Netflix.  I’ve been watching “Defiance” on HuluPlus, and quite like it.  I do have some issues with some of the more mature content… I just don’t think that it’s needed to carry the story forward, but other than that… it’s a pretty good story.

Blessing:  BB’s mission papers are in!  I’m not sure how long before she gets her call, but we’re all excited.  For those of you who are not Mormons… here’s what’s going on.  My Daughter BB has decided that she wants to be a missionary for our church.  We had a slew of papers to fill out (kind of like an application) with medical exams and what not to make sure that she’s healthy enough to go.  Now we just wait to see where in the world the church will send her for 18 months of her life.  My wife and I (both return missionaries ourselves) are very pleased with her decision to want to serve.
Irk:  It’s May first today, and it snowed… come on!

Whoo Hoo!:  Panda for lunch on Monday!  And no… I don’t mean Panda Express.  “Panda” is this nasty little hole in the wall of a Mongolian Bar-B-Q at about 17th and State in Salt Lake City.  Total Protein, Carb, Grease, Garlic, & MSG extravaganza.  And I get to do it with my old High School friends, of whom I see precious little.
Oooo Ahhh:  While I was on my long 20 miler last Saturday, the sun was shining and it was just a glorious day (unlike the snow flurries we’re having today), I passed a group of amateur astronomers.  They had telescopes out and pointed at the sun.  Being an astronomy nerd myself, I decided that I’d take a little break to talk to them.  They had filters on their telescopes so that you could look right at the sun.  It was coolness on a stick!  I could see sun spots and flairs and all kinds of cool things on that little star of ours.  I didn’t ask them who they were, but I thanked them for the look and finished my run.  Through the filter it looked a bit like this:

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