Saturday, March 31, 2012

2012 Idita-Walk Completed

The Idita-Walk (Nome, Alaska) is over for 2012.  It started on February 1 and ended on March 31.  Quite a few people signed up for this and many completed the goal of walking 1049 minutes in that time frame.  Click here to see the finishers list.

Lapel pin received for finishing the 1049 minutes 

Many participants continued to post their minutes even after they reached the 1049 minute goal.  They really did have a nice, simple interface for logging minutes.

This would be a great idea for an app...  I ended up logging over 3700 minutes and this is pretty much the time/distance I want to continue doing.  My average was just over 60 minutes per day for the 60 days.  It's an average as I actually did miss a few days and I think I actually only did about ten ~60 minute days.  I definitely think it made a difference that I was logging this information for the 60 days; it was actually a motivator on some of those days.  A lot of the week days included two walks - one at lunch and one later in the evening.  I enjoyed that flexibility and will continue that approach.  This average will keep me on track with my 10,000 mile goal.

I look forward to 2013 Idita-Walk.

Just curious, anyone know of an app or a website that has a simple to use logging of either minutes or miles???

Saturday, March 24, 2012

No race this weekend - but there's baseball

No race this weekend - too many house projects going on.  By mid-afternoon I decided to go for a walk and take in a college baseball game  : )  I drove down to Oglethorpe University to walk around the campus and watch the Stormy Petrels (pronounced peatrels) take on Millsaps College.  Not only do the Petrels have a very unique mascot they also play their games in a very unique stadium - it sort of looks like a castle...

Outside the baseball stadium at Oglethorpe University

While walking around campus I started thinking about the incredible architecture of the facility where the Stormy Petrels play baseball.  Subsequent research revealed some interesting information.  In the picture above is 1/8th of what was suppose to be an athletic stadium and Greek theater.  The information I found said that Harry Hermance of the F.W. Woolworth Company pledged $50,000 in 1919 to build the the first section of this.  It went on to say that the cornerstone was laid in 1926 was formally dedicated on October 26, 1929 (link).  That was two days after Black Thursday when the stock market crash of 1929 occurred.

I suspect that is the reason why the stadium was never completed.

Regardless, it is an incredible structure and an incredible place to play NCAA Division III Baseball.  Reading through the Oglethorpe history I discovered that they originally played football in this stadium.  Their website says that the Oglethorpe Stormy Petrels had victories "over Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Florida".   That was a very long time ago.  The Petrels no longer have a football team and the world of collegiate sports has drastically changed since that time.

For now, the stadium is used exclusively for baseball and this is what it looks like inside today as the Petrels played against the Millsap College:

Unfortunately the Petrels lost this game 5-2.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Race 16 Georgia Half Marathon

Months ago my daughter said she wanted to run her first half marathon and picked this race as her first half.  That was all the motivation I needed to sign up for it.  :)  We were up early - coffee, bagel, banana and we were ready to go.  We decided to take Marta (the subway system in the Atlanta Metro area) down to the race instead of driving downtown.

The weather was unseasonably warm so dressing for this race was more like summer time,  Heck, just 2-3 weeks prior, she visited and we went out for a longer distance with tights, gloves, hats,...  So this was quite different.  Of course the only other people we saw on the Marta train were all doing the race.  This was good as far as not getting lost!  The train pulled into the Peachtree Center station and we walked downtown a bit and made to the race with plenty of time to spare and virtually no waiting for the porta-potties.

This was a pretty big race with 10,000+ people doing either the half or the full.  It was still dark but the crowds were getting bigger and bigger.

As race time got closer Jen had to get to her corral and me to mine.  I was so glad she suggested doing this; it was great watching her go through the process of preparing for this race.  As a dad, it just felt good!

I made my way to my corral - it was just a sea of people ahead of me.  At one point I saw a sign to the left that said "1/4 mile to Finish Line"

And we were off!  It took me just over 11 minutes to get to the starting line.  Yes, this absolutely qualifies as a back of the pack guy :)  I've done enough of these mega-races to know what to expect for the first few miles and this race was no different: jockeying for position, side stepping, watching for potholes,...

They had incredible race support the entire race.  There was actually some competition that we (racers) are suppose to vote on which crew provided the best support.  They were all good, lively, encouraging, and some where quite funny with their signs.  Actually after catching these signs out of the corner of my eye, I doubled back just to take their picture:

The sun was starting to come up as we rounded the corner by Ebeneezer Baptist Church and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site:

They had great support for this race - plenty of water/gatorade stops, great traffic control, they just did an excellent job on this race!

As we made out through Little Five Points I noticed this sign that read "We're all here 'cause we're not all there!"

Next we made our way to the Jimmy Carter Library and the Carter Center:

Even as we made our way past Piedmont Park around mile 9 or 10, it was still crowded!

Towards the end of the course we went through the Georgia Tech Campus passing the Yellow Jackets football stadium:

It was a great race; it was a hot day for a race too!  As we passed through the finish line, they gave us water, chocolate milk, medal, cold/wet cloth, and a pre-package end of race food bag from Publix.

I found Jen at our designated meet up place after the race.  She looked in pain and had ice wrapped around her knee.  The knee pain started at around mile 6 and she is not sure from what.  Maybe shoes?  Maybe a twist?  Not sure.  She is going to follow up this week with it to see what's up.  She was very happy to have finished her first half marathon but was disappointed with her time as this slowed her down.  I told her a finish is a finish - and that is what matters.

Garmin Stats:

Time: 2:43:43
Average Heart Rate: 139, 85% of max
Calories Spent: 1277
Distance: 13.1 miles

Steps: 50,512

Saturday, March 17, 2012

2500 volunteers needed

The two things that amaze me about this are:

1 - they need 2500 people to volunteer to help out with the Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon.
2 - they actually get 2500 volunteers to help out!

Last year I started volunteering for races, I'm not even sure why I started doing this.  However, what I have discovered about volunteering is that I really enjoy it.  So for this race I volunteered to help give out race day packets (bib, shirt, bag,...).

Besides meeting some really nice people during the process they typically give the volunteers a goody bag.  For this race they provided a parking pass (for the Georgia World Congress Center - where the expo was), snacks, a back pack, and a t-shirt.

If you've never volunteered before - try it, you'll like it!

The expo...

Race packet pick up volunteers...

Publix is the main sponsor of this race so they do get a huge area in the expo.

This youngster saw me and said this is where your starting corral is, way back at the end, for the race on Sunday.  Just kidding...  But he is pointing close to where my starting corral is.

The BEST thing about this race is the way Publix is doing the post race food for the participants.  There is a tear off ticket on the bottom of each bib.  For back of the pack folks like me, it is not uncommon at the end of a longer distance race that there is not much food left. So for this race, each person WILL get a pre-packaged end of race food bag!  This is good.
Marta station
After our shift ended at the expo, while waiting for a Marta train, I was talking to another guy who was also a volunteer (we all stood out with the lime green volunteer shirts on!) and I was so glad that he shared his story with me.  He said he was 35 and this race was his first half marathon (actually first race ever, no 5Ks, 10Ks,...) and he had just reached his 90th day of being sober!  Awesome!  He was looking for more half marathons, pointed him to and  I hope I continue to run into him at future races.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Road Closed

I had no race planned for yesterday and I also was unsuccessful in finding someone to hike a section of the Appalachian Trail with me, so to get some miles in I headed over to my usual longer distance place - Suwanee Greenway.

I was on the greenway last weekend and remembered that sections had been closed as a result of the storms that went through just prior.  Typically some of the lower sections get flooded out so they temporarily close them until the water levels go down.  So I just expected things would be back to normal by now.  However, this is what I saw as I approached:

Hmmm...  My curiosity got the better of me and I decided to get closer and take a look to see why this section was closed.

My assumption was wrong (good lesson).  So for now, this section of the greenway is not safe - I'm guessing that this did happen as a result of the storms that went through last week.  I made my way around this and continued on with my goal of 8 miles.  The rest of the trail was all okay but of course on the way back, I 'd run into this again - and I did.

This is where the really good lesson for me came.  You see that opening on the left side in the above picture, well I've seen that opening hundreds of times and never once went there.  My assumption was that it just went up 30 feet or so to the subdivision next to the trail.  Well it does lead there.  However, it also leads to:

This is great - another trail!  And I never even knew it was there.  Once again, my assumption was wrong and it took the 'Road Closed' to force to look in another direction.    

Trail is about a mile long around the lake

The "Road Closed" was good,  it made me look at things differently.  So as I went on down other parts of the greenway, I decided to get off the beaten path and look around so instead of going right (in the picture below), I went left...  

The farther I went down this path, the muddier it got.  There were times I had a hard time figuring out where the path was or even if it existed anymore.  Also, the farther I went the more deer hoof prints I saw.  I kept following them and eventually saw:

This was just a great 8 miles!!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Baseball - Oglethorpe Stormy Petrels

I love the game of baseball.  Many of my thoughts during long walks (especially this time of the year) are on baseball.  My plan for my walk the other night was simple - I'd take a ride over to Oglethorpe University, take my walk around the campus and then watch the Oglethorpe Stormy Petrels play baseball against Huntingdon College.

My plan sort of worked - I did not get much of a walk in but I did watch a pretty good game.  I suspected this might happen so I did take a walk during lunch earlier in the day.  However, it was great seeing the green of the grass on the field, the brownish tan of the infield, watching a few double plays, and seeing some good hits.

I have a lot of fond memories of Oglethorpe Baseball - my son played college ball there.  It's been a few years but some of the guys that he played ball with are still there.  It was fun seeing and talking with the parents of the guys.

For about 15 years, baseball was a huge part of our lives.  My son played Little League, travel ball, high school, college, and minor league baseball.  So we were always doing something baseball related.  Injuries ended my son's professional baseball career - but what a ride it was!  However, with each February/March I'm still anxious to get to games - college, spring training, minor league, it does not matter.  Just being at the ballpark is great!

I suspect I'll probably pick one day a week during the baseball season and post some baseball thoughts/stories.  But for now I will leave you with this:

Question:  What do you do with an elephant with three balls?

Answer:  Walk him and pitch to the giraffe...


Saturday, March 3, 2012

10,000 Mile Goal

When I started walking/jogging in 2010, I did not have any long term plan or goals.  The plan was simply to get off the couch and exercise.  After building up to it, I just started doing half marathons.  After about four or five of them, I started losing interest.  Also since my initial goal was met, I started losing motivation. 

To re-focus, I came up with the idea of doing 100 distance races before I retire.  This has worked out well.  I very much enjoy this – I like finding the races, planning for them, visiting new areas, finding new restaurants,...  The twist to this (for me) was deciding to do different distances leading up to the 100 race mark.  It just added a dimension to this that I really enjoy.

Another addition that has made this more interesting for me was to include hiking.  While doing some of the trail races, the thought kept on coming back to me - I need to do some hiking so I can see and appreciate the woods more than I do during a race. This lead to including the goal of hiking the Appalachian Trail In Georgia.

However, I did come to another bump in the road.  As the 100 race goal will spread things over a five to seven year time frame, I needed/wanted some other way to track/measure things more on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.  That is where the 10,000 mile goal will help me.  So along with the 100 distance races before retirement, I’ve added the dimension of also walking/jogging/hiking at least 10,000 miles before retirement.  With this plan, every mile that I walk/jog/hike counts towards the 10,000 mile goal.  Every single steps gets me closer to retirement!

Graphically, this distance is the equivalent of walking from Miami, Florida to Anchorage, Alaska and back!

Online Fitness Walking Class - Weeks 8 & 9

Muscular endurance is especially important if you engage in physical activity that lasts over a long period of time.  The principles for developing muscular endurance differ from muscular strength.  In this module we will explore muscular endurance training principles.