Monday, July 24, 2017

Run Forrest Run

Considering that it's been nearly FIVE YEARS since I've run any race longer than a 5k, I figured I'd do a summary of this weekend's San Francisco Half Marathon. For context, the last half that I ran was the 2013 Rock n' Roll Half a prep run for the Labor Pains 31k Ultra.I ran that sucker in 1:55 on a flat course.

I ran a 2:20 yesterday for 13.56 miles. Yes, I took a wrong turn. More on that later. My average pace was a little over 10 min/mile so adjusting for the extra distance, I figured I am looking at about a ~4 minute deduct. So I ran this thing in 2:16 (2:12 on my watch accounting for the handful of times that I stopped).

Not terrible, considering the following:

  • Hilly Course. Hilliest course that I've ever run aside from the Running Of The Monk (and that's only a 5k). 
  • 10 weeks of training with no base. Like zero. No joke. I didnt start running until May. Before that, I did shit. No running, no biking. Zilch


On a flat course (like Philly R n R), I think I could have done it around 2:10. With more training, maybe 2:00. I think my PR days are over (1:44). That was 10 years ago when I was 32 and about 30 lbs lighter than I am now. But I think a sub 2 hour is doable at this point.

As for the race itself, although the course is hilly AF, it's a beautiful course. The first five miles are flat as a pancake. The remaining 8 are mostly up with a few decent downhills. But mostly up lol. Long, not necessarily steep climbs. The kind of climbs that make you think that they'll never end.

We start straight down the Embarcadaro, through Fisherman's Wharf, through Crissy field, then across the Golden Gate Bridge. Ironically, I've never driven across the Bridge. The Bridge was covered in fog which was really cool, yet really surreal at the same time. I couldn't see shit in front of me or on either side of me. By the time we got back across the bridge, we were at 9.5 miles.

Kyle gave me some good advice that in all of these years of running, I've never thought of myself: run the first third of the course with your head; the next third with your legs and the last third with your heart. He couldn't have been more right. The last third of that race with all them motherf*cking hills is all heart.

Weather conditions were PERFECT: 55 degrees at the start and it never got about 60. The sun started poking out around mile 9.

The only complaints that I have are minor:
  • TONS of people taking selfies- which wouldn't be a problem if they didn't either come to a complete stop or slow down to a walking pace without any warning. I had words with one dude on the GG bridge - the course is very narrow, so stopping or slowing creates a big bottleneck for anyone running behind that guy. 
  • I made a wrong turn at mile 13. There was a split on the course - half marathoners got one way. full marathoners ho another way. One guy at that split with no signage trying to direct 25,000 runners. I wasn't the only one who went the wrong way
  • Water stations were completely undermanned. 
Outside of that, great race. I felt good. F8cking hills.....

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

#KeepItReal

I've been doing some traveling as of late, and I have made some fascinating observations and some hard to accept conclusions. 

Before I continue, this blog post is not for the feint of heart. I am going to say somethings that need to be said, that people are too afraid to say. So turn back now. But do not say that you haven't been warned. 

I am going to make a statement, and then work backwards to make my point. Kinda like that one episode of Seinfled, where the whole Seinfled gang travels to India for a wedding, but the actual episode plays out in reverse chronological order. 

Little kids are assholes.

There, I said it.

Think about everyone that you've encountered in your life that's an asshole and think about the qualities which make those individuals assholes. Selfishness? Disregard for others? Prone to tantrums? 

Ok, so now think about most of the kids you've encountered under the age of 3. Not all, but most.Think long and hard enough and you'll come to the same conclusion that I did -  that kids are assholes - just tiny, little snot nosed versions of their adult counterparts. 

What gives kids a "pass" however is a general lack of self awareness that most adult assholes that I have encountered seem to possess. Which is amazing, because most adult assholes generally know they are assholes. Not all the time, but most of the time, yet they still continue onward and upward with their assholely ways. You'd think that at some point there would be some moment of introspection where one says to one's self "I am a class A d-bag. Maybe I should work on that."




Saturday, January 2, 2016

Journalistic Integrity

I have been noticing more and more on social media the propensity by which people post "news" that is factually incorrect. Clearly, this is not a new phenomenon - I guess I am just late to the party.

What brought it to my attention was a picture that someone posted comparing the fallen-from-grace former bloated spokesperson for Subway to some other famous person in the news (cannot recall who) who was busted for pot (this is relevant to my point; I'll get to that later*). The picture claimed that Jared Fogle was sentenced to 6 years for underage prostitution while this other fellas was given the same sentence for carrying marijuana.

In the event that you've been living under a rock, Jared Fogle was busted for soliciting an underage prostitute and sentenced to 15+ years in prison and what's notable is that that the judge imposed the maximum PLUS a couple of years.

This picture received a couple of thousand views and alot of likes. There were two glaring errors with the picture. "Fogle" was misspelled as "Fogel" and the sentence was 15 years, not 6 years.

I find this disturbing on many levels, but more than anything else, I find it disturbing that people took this for fact. I also found it disturbing that whoever created the picture was so lazy that they couldn't perform a simple google search to not only get the sentencing term correct, but to spell the guy's last name properly. How much lazier could one be?

Is this a testament to our society's blind consumption of anything that appears to be newsworthy, regardless of the actual facts? Have we finally thrown in the towel after years of being spoon-fed ratings- distorted news by the main stream media? Have we finally accepted the "if it's on the internet, it must be true" meme as truth?

* The "source" of the story was the Cannabis News Network. I could have clearly mentioned this earlier in the blog entry but that would have negated any further discussion, because clearly the Cannabis News Network is a reputable news source. My point would have clearly been better made if the source was an ACTUAL news source, like CNN or MSNBC. At least those two sources has SOME journalistic integrity, even if slanted to the left.



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Welcome Home, Part 2

This week's episode is the last and final chapter of my recap from my most recent trip home to Philadelphia. Surprisingly, there was not much of a reaction to my blog post regarding my "observations" about Delaware County. Perhaps more people agree then disagree. I find that Delco people fall into one of four camps (with a strong percentage of the population falling into bucket #1)

  1. I love Delco and it's the epicenter of the universe. Go Eagles. Dallas Sucks. 
  2. I hate Delco and I can't wait to leave
  3. I hate Delco but I will never leave 
  4. I love Delco but I am out, yo. 
if you want to get a really good glimpse relative to how others feel about the crown jewel of Southeast PA, check out this page on Facebook. But enough about my love-hate-love-hate-love relationship with Delco.

 

What else did I discover upon my return home? Truth be told, I missed my family. I missed my friends. I missed hanging out races. Nothing quite Earth shattering or unexpected. In retrospect, I should have stayed longer. I tried to cram alot in 2.5 days.

I'll be back in June to drop the kids off to moms, who's gonna have those two little knuckleheads all summer. I'll be sticking around for ten days, but nothing says "welcome home" like 95 degrees and 100% ass-sticking-to-the-pleather-seats-in-the-rental-car relative humidity.

 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

2016 Race Calendar

This is what I have on the calendar for 2016. Everything is no more than an hour from where I live, which is in keeping with my rules of racing (rule #27, to be exact).

April 9th, Golden Bears Duathlon
5 mile run/ 18.6 mile ride/ 2.2 mile run

May 21, Santa Theresa MTB Race (tentative; the promoter is still trying to get his permit)

June 18, DU-TOES
3.6 mile run, 22 mile bike, 1.8 mile run

I also found a website that has a nice MTB schedule listed, but they haven't released their 2016 schedule as of yet. Ten races, starting in February.  Wouldnt mind jumping into a few... just to get my ass handed to me. It's humbling.

Resolutions

Everyone has their own resolutions around this time of year; it might be weight loss; it might the desire to run a 5k. The gyms get crowded and Weight Watchers gets the inevitable New Year's uptake in membership. I am human, just like everyone else, and I guess I need a resolution as well.

One of the biggest differences in terms of my lifestyle that I have had to face with the move from East to West is the abundance of free time that I have on weekends, with the absence of having a viable "race timing" career. I haven't had this much free time on weekends in years.

I also need a goal, something to motivate. To get up in the morning just for the sake of getting up to workout isn't motivating. I need a race. I remember back in the day, when I was training, I'd get up and get to the gym, and I'd be angry. I'd walk into the spinning class and I'd have this chip on my shoulder - I needed to walk out of there after 60 minutes knowing that I was the baddest mother fucker in the room. Sounds silly -it's only a spinning class- but it's what motivated me (Fun Frank fact: I have been known to have some latent "anger" issues). I am very competitive person. My former CEO used to ask this question - do you love to win, or hate to lose? It's one of those questions that doesn't have a "right" answer; rather, it's supposed to illustrate some level of thinking by the manner in which the questions is answered. I hate to lose. I do not necessarily need to be the "winner" every time, but when I look around the room, and take stock of the competition, I'll identify those who I KNOW I can beat, and losing those people stings more than losing the race. I'll go into this in another blog entry. 



I used to bitch and complain when I was timing that I wish I had more free time to run, or ride, or train. Now that I have that free time available to me, I need to do something with it.

So I took stock of my situation this week past. I had alot of time to think while I was home in Philly. I asked myself a couple of questions:

1. What am I good at?
2. What do I enjoy?

It's probably easier for me to answer those questions in terms of what I DON'T enjoy versus what I do enjoy. The truth is, I really do not like running. I've blogged about my love-hate relationship with running in the past (which, truth be told, is more hate than love).

The fact of the matter is that I really do not like to run. Strike that. I really do not like to only run. I enjoy other things as well- mountain biking, etc.

 So, the first conclusion we can draw is that I do not want to just run anymore.

So the next question - what am I good at - is easy. I am good at riding my bike. I am good at running. Not great, just good. But I am really good at doing both of those things back to back to back.

So, I've decided for 2016 to jump back into the world of multisport, specifically, duathlon. Years ago, and two age groups in the past, I was a pretty decent duathlete. I could hold my own in my age group.

I've ruled out triathlon for a variety of reasons. Most notably, I am not a good swimmer. Actually, I am an awful swimmer. I have no business being in the water. Period. Case closed, end of story. Secondly, I do not have access to a pool. Thirdly, training for two events is much easier than training for three events.

So I've started persusing some websites for local races out here in the Bay Area and I have my sites on an event in April. I need to drum up a training plan.

That's it for now. I'll tell you mom you said hi.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Welcome Home - The Recap, Part I

I got the chance to take a trip back to Delco this weekend past and surprisingly, there were some things that I've come to realize now that I have had the chance to put a significant chunk of time into the Bay Area.

Warning: some of what I am to say will probably be offensive, perhaps even incendiary, especially to the Delco natives, which I imagine is where most if not all of the five people who actual read this reside.

Delco is a dump. Well, some of it.

There, I said it. Don't read to much into, because there are some qualifiers. I don't hate Delco. So hear me out.

It's a dump relative to where I currently live in Northern California. You can argue the point to your heart's content, but let's be absolutely clear on this one thing before we go any further: Northern California is beautiful. It is one of the most beautiful places in North America. Not the most beautiful, but definitely, hands down, a much more scenic place to live than Delaware County and not a by a slim margin - a very WIDE margin. Case closed, end of story. On this point, there is no debate.

Getting back on subject, let's get granular-  there are many faces of Delco. There's East Delco (Darby, UD, Folcroft, etc), there's West Delco (Glen Mills, etc) and there's the Main Line.

So I guess my comments are really in reference to East Delco. It's a dump. There are some nice parts. But overall, it's still a dump. Keep your comments to yourself. I present this to you, the reader, as an observation, not as invitation to debate why Delco is the crown jewel of the Tri-State area. A) I don't care - I've already formed my opinion and quite frankly, this is my blog and B) you know that I am right. Spend more than a week of your life trying to navigate McDade Blvd - that five mile wasteland of "Cash For Gold" storefronts and dollar stores - or Baltimore Pike, and you'll realize that I speak the truth, unless an endless stream of used car dealerships, shitty diners and multiple Targets is what you define as high-luxury living. If that's the case, do yourselves the favor and do not ever leave Delco, because you will never be happy where ever you decide to live.

So perhaps in a couple of years from now when if I decide to move back, one of my Delco acquaintances will say "yo remember dat blog entry where yous were makin' fun of Delco n' shit? What you got to say now homo?? E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!!!" and I will acknowledge the observation with a curt smile and a nod. Perhaps my grammar challenged acquaintance is right. Home is home. And I don't hate Delco - again, let's be clear on this. Being a dump is what gives it it's charm. I pride myself on the fact that I wasn't raised on the Main Line, that I was not given everything on a silver platter as a kid. Being from Delco has made me who I am and I wouldn't trade that set of experiences for the world. And we have Wawa. There is nothing like Wawa on the West Coast. And trust me when I tell you that there have been more times than I can count where I have had a hankering for a mediocre* hoagie only to be let down, because 7-11 doesn't make sandwiches.

So let's summarize:
  • Delco is a Dump
  • Wawa = good
  • Your mom says hello.

* Quick sidebar: Yes, Wawa Hoagies are just mediocre. Great in a pinch, but not our region's best work when it comes to sandwiches. If you think that Wawa is the yardstick by which all sandwiches should be measured against, move to Alaska, because clearly you're an idiot.