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. 


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Turkey Time

One of the biggest adjustments I have had to make since making the move out to the West Coast is the abundance of spare time that I have on my hands on weekends, now that I do not have to time races.

Truth be told, timing sucked up alot of my spare time on weekends that I would otherwise spend running, biking, etc. On days where I did work, it was challenging to come home from an event - where I would have been on my feet running around like a lunatic for a couple of hours - and find the energy to go out and run. I have all of these grandiose plans, now that I have all of this time. I want to run another marathon or an ultra. For too long, I used the excuse of not having free time on weekends to skip running long distance events. Now that I have the time, it's time to focus.

So I find myself this year with an day off on Thanksgiving. I've been timing Turkey trots for the last eight years. So what better way to spend my Holiday than by jumping into a Trot and actually participating. I've signed up to run the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot 10k with some of the folks I work with and as such, I've started a training plan. Honestly, it's going so-so. I have a love-hate relationship with running. For as much as I love it, I hate it. I hate it more often than not. I am finding it difficult to "get-up" for this event and finding the motivation to train has been challenging. My goal isnt to PR - for that, I need more time to train. I simply want to run 6.2 miles without wanting to punch someone.

What isn't helping is the general lack of a cohesive running community in San Jose. I might have touched on these in past blogs. The oximoron is that everyone and their mother out here runs, but there's no real sense of "community" that I can find. Or maybe I just haven't found it yet. I dunno - if it was so obvious, it shouldn't be that hard to stumble across, and trust me, I've been looking. 

I think my cat just ate a moth.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Run408

I've been getting alot of questions about race timing out here on the West Coast. One of the hardest adjustments I've had to make since I've made the move is the fact that I now have my weekends off. I've been accostomed to getting up every Saturday and Sunday morning for 9 months out of the year and running around like a lunatic for a couple of hours trying to keep crazy runners and disorganized race directors in line.

I didnt think I would miss it this much. Truth be told. I have had opportunities in the past to relocate for different job opportunities but I've "passed" because race timing was such an integral part of my life. And it's not about the money. Don't get me wrong, the money is nice, and I would love to have that cash flow back in my life, but what I really miss is the running community and the culture.

I had been with Run The Day since the early days. When I started working for Tim, it was basically me and him timing all of the events, and now, we're the best in the area - and growing. And I've grown with the company. The fact of the matter is that I was pretty damn good at what I did. So naturally, there's a part of me that says that I should be doing this kind of stuff out here - that I am just wasting my talents. But more than anything, I miss the runners, I miss the events, I miss the adrenaline shot that I get right before I fire the gun at the start line. I miss the runners who would make it a point to stop by the tent and give me and my crew a pat on the back for doing a good job.

The fact of the matter is that even if I wanted to try and get something going out here, I'm pulling 70 hours a week on average at my real job and what most people do not see with respect to timing, is the amount of time during the week that timing sucks up, replying to emails, on the phone with race directors, getting bibs prepared for packet pickups.... I really do not have the bandwidth at this point to take on that kind of responsibility. Granted, I wouldnt be timing every weekend - I'd be lucky to pick up a handful of races at this point- but my time right now needs to be focused on my real job, because that's what pays the bills and that's what brought me out here in the first place.

I've talked to a few timers about hooking up with them but so far nothing has really progressed any further than a couple of conversations.

The challenge is that the San Jose running community is not the Philadelphia running community. There's no "Run408" similar to "Run215." San Jose reminds me alot of Wilmington, DE. Both are considered cities in the sense that they both have big tall buildings, but neither possess that city vibe like Philly, or New York. I haven't found the equivalent of the Fish Town Beer Runners, or a store like Philly Runner which has become the defacto "hub" of the Philly running scene. I would imagine that San Francisco probably has a decent running scene, but SF is also an hour away from where I live, so not necessarily convenient in terms of travel.

And most importantly, there's no Pickle Run out here.... and that's the saddest fact of all.




Sunday, September 27, 2015

West Coast Recap, Volume I, Episode 1

So I am here in California. Probably old news by now, as it was fairly well known that I was leaving to come out here with the Family.

So it's been five months and now, I present to you, my recap, which will take place over progressive blog posts.

Firstly, I am apparently  as "East Coast" as it gets. I've been told this numerous times, by numerous people (including the President of our company).

Two Saturdays ago, on a group ride, our group got honked at repeatedly by a motorist. Granted, we were probably hogging up a *bit* of the road, but the level of honking was over the top. For some reason, I am the only a$$clown out of 25 riders who decided to let the driver know that her incessant honking was none appreciated and truth be told I did use some colorful language. As I explained to one of the other riders (who is a Bay Area native) on the East Coast, b*tch would have a water bottle thrown into her car. 

So, yes people are generally more polite out here then back home, which is refreshing. I just haven't caught up yet.

There's a couple of things I miss, of course some more than others.

I miss my family, clearly. 

I miss my running club. I haven't found "that group" out here yet. I have found several running "groups" on meetup.com but there are really just a collection of strangers or people with loose acquaintances that run together.

I miss a good cheesesteak. I have tried a few local places that bill themselves as having "authentic" cheesesteaks  - one is owned by what appears to be some Philly natives. The whole place is decked out with pics of the city, Philly sports memorabilia, etc - but the steak? Meh. It was the bread. Supposedly, there's a place in San Francisco - Jake's Steaks - that's supposed to be the real deal, and they have all of the Eagles games during the season, with a big following of Philly natives in attendance. I'll be checking that joint out in the weeks to come, even though it's a solid hour drive. I miss my peoples.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Shut The F*ck up

 



There's an interesting phenomenon happening at my YMCA.

For years, I was always a morning person with respect to gym attendance. I'd drag my ass out of bed at 5 am to get to the gym for 5:30 for spin classes. When I took my new job earlier in the year, I switched gears and now when I go to the gym, it's after work.

It's a different crowd, afterwork. I am of the opinion that most people who are dragging their ass out of bed at 4:30 am to get to the gym at 5 am and sit on a spin bike ain't there to fool around and play grab-ass with the guy/ girl sitting next to them. They are there to get the job done, shower, and then go put up with their miserable day job for the next nine hours.  So my guess is, at the YMCA at 5 am in 12 degree weather is probably the very last place they would rather be. They would rather be home, snuggled in bed, snoring happily and dreaming about puppies and unicorns and candy corn.

So now I am relegated to going afterwork.

To my follow spin class attendees: please just shut the f*ck up.

The first ten minutes of every class is permeated with at least 4-5 people who are just blabbering away with their neighbor as they go through the half-assed motions of spinning the cranks on level 0.