Wednesday, November 09, 2016

"I didn't see you!"  How many times have I heard that from a driver?  Tonight, I heard it again.  So, SUV Driver, what was it that rendered me invisible tonight?  Was it the high-visibility yellow vest?  Was it the four blinking red lights on my chest?  Was it the bright white light on my forehead?  I think I know what it was.  I think it was your phone.  Put down the phone and look at what's on the sidewalk and the road!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Is it the SUVs?

Another silver-gray SUV, but this time I know the manufacturer.  It was a Honda.  The driver of this one ran a red light while talking on his phone.  Talking on your phone while driving is illegal in New York.

It makes running dangerous when drivers aren's even paying attention to the road.

Friday, April 15, 2016


At the “12 Corners” intersection, I see between one and two moving violations per day.  One morning this week, it was actually two by the same person.

As he exited the parking lot, driving a small, silver-gray SUV of indeterminate manufacture (they all look alike to me), he accelerated, tires squealing, trying and failing to catch the last of the amber light while making his illegal left turn.  

He ran a red light while making an illegal left turn.

People turn left at that intersection frequently, even though it’s prohibited.   I see people run that red light daily as well.

I am at that intersection for around 10 minutes each day.  10 minutes, usually two people running the red light or making an illegal left turn.  And that’s not even mentioning the people who, when exiting the parking lot, stop with the front end of their vehicle in the northbound traffic lane, blocking traffic while they wait to turn into the southbound lane.    

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Semi-Occasional update

So, I don't update anything here very often.  Mainly because I don't have the time (who does?).

So, maybe I'll start writing again, and I'll just write what I feel like writing, whether it has anything to do with training or not.

On Saturday, I went to the gym.  I've been running on the dreadmill, because I was having knee issues, and I wanted to be in a position where, if something happened, and I couldn't run any farther, I wouldn't have to limp several miles home.

So, there I am, in the locker room after running 3.5 miles on the treadmill.  The temperature in the room with the 'mills, stationary bikes, and the ellipticals is around 75 degrees F.  That's ridiculously hot for exercise.  It should be about 20 degrees cooler.  I was soaked.  My shorts, my shirt, my hair, my heart monitor.  All soaking wet.  I go down to the locker room.  There's a young father there (maybe early 30's) and his two pre-teen sons.  They are in the same row of lockers as I am.   Son number one has taken up one entire bench.  No room to sit and take off my shoes on that bench.  Son number two is taking up about half the other bench -- the one in front of my locker.  Good, right?  I can sit on the other half of the bench while I take off my shoes.  Guess who's sitting, taking up the other half of the bench?  Dad.  He's texting someone.  Thanks, dad.  Setting a good example for the kids.  Dad, by the way, was sitting directly in front of my locker.  Not only keeping me from sitting down, but also making it more difficult for me to get to my locker.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Blog Post or Advertisement?

So, I happened across this blog post the other day.  Essentially, it gives several "scientific" explanations for why "running makes you fat".  Of course, I'm obese myself (I have ballooned up to 155 pounds since my injury last year).  I never really realized before -- all that running is why these guys are so fat:

And why these two look so fat:

And, of course, why he is just so roly-poly:

Of course, no matter how many counter examples you provide, the author of the blog post will probably continue to push the idea that running, or aerobic exercise in general, makes you fat.  Why would she do that?  because she's invested in a high-intensity, low volume exercise program.  As is made clear in James Heathers blog, the Denver Post blog post is almost word-for-word the same as the advertisement for turbulencetraining dot com .  It makes you wonder if the Denver Post was paid for that little bit of advertising masquerading as health advice.

Don't trust "health and fitness bloggers".  Especially if they have their own personal training business.  They will be using their blog as advertising for their own business, and not giving you advice on your own fitness.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


If I could change one thing about the winter, it wouldn't be the cold.  I don't mind the cold all that much, particularly when I'm exercising. I throw off a lot of body heat and I don't need to bundle up too much to stay warm when the temperature is low. I will wear shorts down to about 28ºF.  I don't mind the snow, either. It slows me down, but then it slows everyone else down, too.  What I mind is the dark.  When I get home from work and it's already dark, it's hard to just get out the door.  Once I do, it gets easier, as I said, I don't mind cold or snow. It's just the motivation to get moving on the dark evenings.

As I implied above, I ran slowly tonight.  The yaktrax are heavy (or seem that way by comparison) and make it harder to lift my feet up.  I'm thinking that when the roads and sidewalks are cleaner, and I can run in plain running shoes instead of running shoes with straps and spikes all over them, I'll move a bit faster.  Maybe the running in the snow with the yaktrax will help me.  Assuming that I an get in some days where I can turn my legs over fast and not just the plodding through treacherous footing in spiky shoes.

Tonight, I only saw two cars run red lights, but then I ran less than three miles, and only a little over a mile of that was on main roads with traffic lights.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Quick little run of under three miles.  Within the first half mile, two cars running a red light.  Not in different directions, not even in different lanes.  One behind the other.  The first one wasn't even close, so you can imagine how bad the second one was.

Later on, crossing the same street about half a mile away (about a mile farther on in the run), two more cars running a different red light.  Same thing, one behind the other, first one wasn't even close.  And neither traffic light has a short yellow.

This is all in an inner-ring suburb of a small city.  About a quarter-mile outside the city limits.  I wonder why our fair city didn't make the list of Walk-Friendly cities?  Not even an honorable mention.  I read a lot of things online about cyclists running red lights.  But, you know, a 200-pound cyclist, on a 45-pound bike, traveling at 30 miles an hour (a worst-case scenario as far as getting hit by a cyclist) won't do anything near the damage that a small car -- even a Smart Car -- traveling at 20 miles an hour.  If you get hit by an average cyclist, you might get a few scrapes and bruises, a few cuts, maybe a broken bone.  You get hit by a driver going through a red light -- he will probably be exceeding the speed limit, so let's say he's going 40 miles an hour -- and there's a good chance you will die.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


OK, so it's been a long time since I posted anything here, but I'm going to start again.  See what happens.

I started running in Yaktrax this winter.  I'd never used them before, and now I've run in them twice.  Here are my impressions:

  • Heavy.  I don't know what I expected, but they felt like they weighed a ton when I got out the door.  As I got going, they didn't feel like they were getting heavier, though.  A lot of the time, extra weight can feel like it's getting heavier as you go along, making you go slower and slower.
  • Traction.  Not as much as bare shoes on dry pavement, but a lot better than bare shoes on packed snow.  That's what I've been running on, packed snow.  There was very little ice out there, so I can't say if they're any good on ice.  
  • Deep Snow.  I don't know how they'll do in deeper snow yet.  We only have a couple of inches of snow.  There is a space between the side of my shoes and the straps that run up the sides.  Deep, wet snow might get packed in there, and that would feel like it was getting heavier.  

As long as I'm running on plowed/shoveled roads and sidewalks, they will, overall, be a positive for running.  Very little slipping and no sliding at all.  Much better than using the old 1/16"slotted hex-head screws driven into the sole of the shoe.

 I have run into one problem with the yaktrax:  breakage.  Several of the spikes in the toe have been bent over, pushed in, or broken off.  In addition, one of the straps has broken.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a track?

I was trying to do some speed work, and I spent the first half an hour driving around to various places just trying to find a track where I wouldn't interfere with or be bothered by the soccer and lacrosse players.

Stop 1: Community college.

The community college has no track or cross country team. The track is in very bad shape. There are plants growing up through the track surface, the edges are crumbling, and there hasn't been a stripe on the track in several years. Obviously, nobody uses the track. Perfect, right?  The last time I went to use the track, it was unused, and I had the place to myself. The baseball players off to one side, the soccer tournament was using different fields, the cricket players were using the tennis courts. I did my interval session, or most of it, and went home. I say most because my right calf began to tighten up during the last one, and I don't really want to injure myself. I stopped about 200m into the last 600 of the day. So, after that very successful session, I decided to go back whenever I wanted to do interval work.

So, I went back. When I got there, there was a soccer practice taking place on the field inside the track. Pre-teen girls playing soccer. The track was full of parents, and I did not want to be perceived as the creepy guy who hangs around the fields where pre-teen girls are playing sports.

Stop 2: Middle school.

So, I set off in search of another track. I went to a nearby middle school (which used to be a high school), thinking that the current high school would be the place where practices/tournaments/clinics would be held. When I got there, all of the fields were in use. A lacrosse tournament was taking place, and the track was filled with parents and lacrosse players, not to mention flying lacrosse balls. Not only would the track be too crowded to use, it would probably be dangerous with all of the games going on at the same time.

Stop 3: High School

The high school athletic fields across the street from my house are always in use, it seems. I skipped over the track this time, not even bothering to see if it was in use. Instead, I went to a high school in the next town, not expecting to be able to use the track, but hoping that I could. Much to my surprise, the field was not in use and on the track was a single man, jogging around. It could have something to do with the fact that the field was under construction, and the track was stripped away, down to the asphalt foundation. In addition, there was a dirt "roadway" across a portion of the track to allow construction vehicles to cross the track to the field without doing any damage. So, once each lap, I went over a bump where the surface changed from a hard surface to a soft one, meaning that I had no traction during that portion of the lap. So, this means that I have a place to do speed work when I need a track!

The speed work session was good. I was two to three seconds under my goal time on each repeat. I became confused near the end, forgetting where I had started the lap and thinking for a few seconds that I had taken too long a rest, but I got it straightened out in my head pretty quickly.

The post-workout beer tasted good, too.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Heard it Again

I hear it a lot. Most recently, at the last race I ran. "I've never seen a runner smile."

Now, I've seen photos of myself running, and I don't often smile. The look on my face would best be described as stupid. Usually, my mouth is open, jaw slack, eyes partly closed. At the end of the run, or particularly at the end of a race, my head goes back and my eyes close all the way. In the words of David Byrne, "People in ecstasy look stupid."

It's true, runners don't often smile during their runs. But people don't often smile during sex, either. Afterwards, yes.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

It's raining again.

I wish. It's been cold and rainy for a few days now. Temps in the 40s to 50s, with cold rain coming down. Nothing like the other day, with the lightning and thunder. It makes it just that much more difficult to get out after work. When you're already tired it would just be so easy to sit down on the couch, open a beer and not do anything. The first quarter mile, I often wish I was having a beer on the couch. By the time I hit half a mile, though, I'm usually glad that I'm out there.

When I was young, a little coldness, rain, or even lightning wouldn't stop me from running. There were times when I swam across a river in the dead of winter just for the fun of it. Got out on the other side and started running again. You dry out as you go -- your body heat dries your clothing, and pretty soon only your feet are cold. That was in the days of cotton sweatpants and an occasional nylon jacket. Long underwear under running shorts. For gloves, we wore wool socks on our hands. They probably worked better than any of the modern "high-tech" gloves available these days. Wool socks keep all your fingers together, letting them warm each other, and become more wind-resistant as they get wet.

My wife doesn't like me running in the morning. She much prefers that I run "when there's people around." I can understand that, although I really don't think that very many of the people who drive by are (a) willing to stop if they see me in trouble or (b) trained in CPR.

I did manage to catch the gaps in the rain this week. I've not been rained on at all while running since my lightning episode.  I just got lucky that the rain let up and stopped when I was ready to get outside and run. With the BP meds, I'm actually looking forward to warmer weather. Come on, summer!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Monthly rant

About once a month or so, I get annoyed with drivers. So, today It's time for me to rant about people who don't know how to drive.

About a half a mile into my run, there was a car coming out of a side street. The driver, a man, looked about 10 years older than me. As he pulled up to the stop sign, he rolled through, never stopping, rolling through the intersection. Rolling through the intersection, not ever looking at the sidewalk, potentially killing me, with a look of utter confusion on his face as I shouted at him to stop. Later on, another man, this one 20 years or mor older than me, failed to stop at a red light. Just rolled through, doing about 20 miles an hour.

I'm beginning to think that we should have to take a new road test every 5 years. And driving without a license should result in the confiscation of the vehicle.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Where to start?

I've started writing posts several times, and even wrote out a post on paper, with a pencil(!), but every time I get close to typing one up on the computer, I get taken away and can't get back to make a post.  Most recently, my teenage son got hit by a car, and I spent most of the rest of the day in Emergency.

So here goes:

I hate the treadmill. Don't like it at all. I find it boring. When I am having a bad day on the road, I go about a quarter mile, and think "I've only gone a quarter mile?" After that point, I start feeling better until the miles start going by quickly and easily, and I'm thinking "Is it over already?"

On the treadmill, I start out with the same question, but keep asking it over and over again -- "only half a mile?"  "Only a mile?" "Only two miles?"  Ugh.

I do see the purpose f the treadmill, though. Over the weekend of the 18th-19th, I was out of town for my daughter's college graduation. The school is about a six-hour drive from here, and she was moving into an apartment in NYC directly after graduation, so driving down and back in one day was really out of the question. Fortunately, the hotel where we stayed had a fitness center, so I could get my runs in.

Having a treadmill available solves the problems of being in an unfamiliar city. Running in an unfamiliar place can cause one to get lost, or to run a shorter distance than intended. Running in unfamiliar territory often leads to overestimating the distance run as well, and not knowing the neighborhoods that one runs through can be dangerous.

It was incredibly hot in the fitness center, and I worked up quite a sweat, more than I would have liked. My shirt was soaked by the time I finished my run -- it was like an afternoon run in the dead of summer, only without the sunshine.

So, I'll probably be using treadmills in the future, but I know that I won't be enjoying them.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The secret of comedy... timing.

I got home today, changed my clothes as quickly as I could, and got out running. At about one mile, it started to rain. No problem, right? It's only water. At about one and a half, I saw a flash of lightning.

One thousand one

ont thousand two

one thousand three


Sh*t. OK, time to head for home. A mile and a half in a straight line. No shortcuts, and the lightning has just struck a little over 1000 meters away, probably at the top of nearby Pinnacle Hill, which I was planning on crossing over. I ran home as fast as I could, stopping several times to crouch in yards. I wonder what the homeowners thought I was doing, squatting there in their front yards. The rain just kept increasing in intensity, making me wetter  and wetter the longer I was out there. If it weren't for the lightning, I probably would have been running through the puddles, splashing and generally acting like a kid a fifth my age (do 10-year olds still splash in puddles?). As it was, I was watching and counting, dividing by five and trying to find shelter. For a second, I thought about heading for the pizza place where we usually get our pizzas, but immediately realised that I would actually be going farther than if I went straight home. By the time I got home, I was dripping wet, literally. The water was dripping from every part of my body -- except my face. I'd worn a hat, which was probably the only reason I could see where I was going the whole time. About 20 minutes or half an hour after I finished, the rain started to lessen and finally stopped.