Saturday, June 23, 2012

Pre Peachtree Road Race Workout

Although 60,000 people will be able to say 'yes' to the question 'did you do the Peachtree this year', I will not be one of them.  The 4th of July Peachtree Road Race is (we think) the largest 10K in the world and this year, for the first time, they went to a lottery system for entry into the race.    

However, I will get to partake in the event as a volunteer at one of the aid stations.  While signing up for this on their website, I noticed that they have water stations set up along the route during the weekends for the month of June so folks can train on and get use to the course, if they want.  So, in a sense, I will sort of get to do the Peachtree this year : )  I did a large part of the course this morning.

On another note, one of the other goals I've had was to join a walking group.  I found a group that has a nice setup - they have multiple sub-groups for different distances and pace.  This allows a person to fit in with a group that has similar goals.  Also, and this is really the best 'selling'' point of the group, each week they walk in different locations in the Atlanta area - so you are not always doing the same route every Saturday.  I really like that aspect.  Well, it was just my luck that this week they were doing their route on the sidewalks of the Peachtree Road Race course.  So at 6:30 AM, we all met up in Atlanta, broke up into smaller groups and headed out on Peachtree Street.

As a follow up from last week (falling in the river with my camera), I bought a new one and used it today just trying to get use to it...

Woodruff Arts Center
Flying Biscuit - great breakfast!
Piedmont Park
Others getting ready for the Peachtree Road Race
Current population of Atlanta

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Race 22 - Rope Mill Trail Run

I read the race description on the Mountain Goat Adventures website:
"This won't be your run-of-the-mill trail run...expect a course with a bit of everything including buff singletrack, ATV trails, knee deep river crossings, embankment climbs, coasteering, and some craggy scrambling."
Hmmm...  I've never done a race with a river crossing, but what the heck, it's warm outside, and I have no idea what coasteering or craggy scrambling are, but again, what the heck.  So I signed up.

This was my 3rd Mountain Goat Adventures race and Lisa (Race Director) always has something important to tell us about the race just prior, so all gathered round and listened:

Once again they had a 10 mile and a 4 mile version of the race; I signed up for the 10 mile.  So at about 8:00 AM, we were off.  The first couple of miles were uneventful.  However, we all knew that just after mile 3, we'd be in the river.  I caught glimpses of folks in the water as I made my way along the river and just as promised, at mile 3.1, there it was:

Okay, I really did know better, but I wanted to get pics of the river crossing...

Yep, it just wasn't my shoes and socks that were wet after I fell into the river!  Oh well, I'll try to dry the camera out later : )

Okay, the river crossing was checked off the list and now we were looking to do some coasteering or craggy scrambling.  So we carry on on the course and all of a sudden - BEES!!!  People were getting stung left and right, I got stung twice, immediately started running as fast as I could to get away from the bees.   So we were about a hundred yards up from the bees when the trail takes us down an embankment to riverbed, with about 6 inches of water in it.  Well this was not a crossing, the trail was actually in the river bed.  So we are all queued up in the 6 inch deep water making our way through the river bed, when all of a sudden, -BEES!!!  Once again, GET.OUT.OF.THERE as fast as humanly possible.  Got three more stings this time.  

This was no longer fun.

But the crowd thinned out, the 4 milers were gone, hanging with some other back of the pack folks, and no more bees.

So Jeff, Amanda, and I are moving along at similar paces, talking, laughing a bit - okay this is becoming fun again.  We come around a bend and notice a girl walking very slowly and we ask her if she is okay.  She (Katie) was having an allergic reaction to the bee stings!  Jeff and I stayed with her and Amanda headed for the next aid station to get help.  Gave Katie some Gatorade, checking her breathing, observing her, this was getting serious.  She felt like she was going to pass out, so we sat with her waiting on help.  At that point, Jeff stayed with Katie and I took off for the aid station to measure the distance.  Got to the aid station, they were on the phone with 911.  Wasn't too long before Race First Aid, Fire Rescue, and Police were all there, on bikes.  This was way too much of an adventure.

Back to the course.  The bee stings were hurting like hell, but I'll take that any day over an allergic reaction.  Once again, a few uneventful miles, but uneventful was so welcomed by this point.  When I got the end of the trail I cross paths with one of the Race First Aid guys and inquired about Katie.  He confirmed that she was getting the medical attention she needed.  That was good to hear.

I finished the course, but I have no idea what my time was.

I still have no idea what coasteering or craggy scrambling are.

And yes, the answer was "D", all of the above...     : )

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Daniel's Muddy Buddy

Okay, I had no desire to do the Muddy Buddy.  For those who are not familiar, the Muddy Buddy (race) is more of an obstacle course with the final obstacle being a mud pit.  It was 3.43 miles long with 12 obstacles.  A lot of people like doing these, I am just not one of them : )  However, my son Daniel does like doing these obstacle course races and for that reason, I volunteered to help out with the Muddy Buddy race this morning.  

Besides helping out this morning my only other goal was to get some pictures of Daniel and his friends, covered in mud.  Luckily, and this really was luck, I just happened to be by the mud pit when Dan's friends Brad & Jessica were in it.   Daniel and Raney were only about a minute behind them so I was able to gets some pics when they all came out of the mud pit.

Daniel, Raney, Jessica, Brad
Daniel & Raney

This was fun for me, to be there to take pics - still have no desire to do this though.  I'm glad I finally got to one of Dan's events.  It's been a few years since I'd seen him compete in anything, but this did bring back memories of travelling all over the southeast/northeast while he was playing minor league baseball in the Houston Astros organization - those were fun times.

Dan pitching against the Rome Braves
He cleans up pretty good : )  I'll have to ask him which he likes better...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Bucket Test

You have not heard of the bucket test?  I've been telling people about the bucket test for years in industry and academia.  I typically go as far as using a bucket or a container of some sort as a prop.  This conversation is usually after someone (at work) says they are irreplaceable, you know, incapable of being replaced.  You know the bravado "I am too valuable for them to let me go".  Take the bucket test.   

The outcome of this test determines if you are irreplaceable - stick you finger in the bucket, take your finger out of the bucket, if the hole remains where your finger was, you are irreplaceable!  It's that simple.

As this blog is called Walking to Retirement, it is happening in the last years of my full time working career.  And I am enjoying this walking and blogging towards my retirement.  However, I, once again, had to take the bucket test  : (

The college where I work is in a world of hurt financially.  Millions of dollars, well, are just not there anymore.  The President is gone, the VP of Finance is gone, others involved with the money aspect of running the college are gone.  I also read the State Attorney General is investigating.  So the bottom line, 185 people will lose their jobs this month as one of the corrective measures put in place to balance the budget.   This really sucks because none of the 185 people who will be let go, had anything to do with causing the problem.

Okay, what does this have to do with walking.  For me, walking, especially long walks, help relieve stress and anxiety.  So for the month of June, I upped my walking mileage goal to 200 miles (it seemed like a better plan than consuming 200 beers : )  So far, it seems to make a difference.

I've been through this before in my career, but this one blindsided me.  I hope I still have a job at the end of the month.

I need to go for a walk.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

New Place to Walk, Jog, Hike

Do you like finding & exploring new hiking trails?  I do!  Until a few days ago, I didn't even know this place existed - until my wife suggested it to me.  This new (to me) place is the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center.  They have about 10-12 different trails totaling about 8 miles.  And the crazy part in all of this, it's only 5 miles past the Suwanee Greenway where I do most of my longer walk/jogs.

The trails are multi-surfaced (natural, gravel, blacktop, boardwalk,...) and they crisscross all over the place.  This really adds a great dimension to discovering where everything leads to; it will take some time to really know where all over these trails go.  And, great for summertime, there is a lot of shade : )

Wild berries!
As I went along discovering all sorts of things, I noticed that it seemed that trails continued outside of the GEHC to other trail systems.  This was just getting better and better...  So at some point I was actually on Georgia Wildlife Federation Land on a different trail system.

While there met up with a couple of birders.  Talked with these guys for a bit, they were pointing out all kinds of birds to me.

Next, a bit further down the trail, noticed a small wooden amphitheater in the woods, with some people setting something up.  Come to find out, today was National Trail Day.   I did not know that.  They were setting up to do a presentation and invited me to join them.  So I did.

It was a great 8 miles this morning!