Saturday, February 23, 2013

Race 32 Thrill in the Hills Half Marathon

The race should have been called "Thrill in the Mud"!   After days of heavy rain, very thankful it stopped two hours before the race started though, there was just an incredible amount of water on the trail.  This was a trail race at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, Georgia with 575 full and half marathoners signed up and this was my third time doing it, however, first time with these conditions.

All week long I was watching the weather predictions, it was bleak -  rain all week including during the race.  I have been super lucky to date as this was my 32nd race and none of them have been in the rain.  Luck.

Arrived at Fort Yargo with plenty of time to check in, cycle through the porta-pottie line, and try to stay warm, temps were in the mid 40s.  The full marathoners started at 8:00 and half at 8:30.  The walk over the starting line was definitely an indication of things to come as there were puddles everywhere.  We watched the full marathoners trek through this and began to wonder if all 13.1 miles would be like it.

Thrill in the Hills Half Marathon at the start
This race was a test of my knee.  Since going to the Sports Med. Doc I have been stretching, after every walk, a lot.  However there is a huge difference between doing 13 miles on my own and doing 13 miles in a race, so this was a test.  My normal approach to these races is typically a combination of walking  &  jogging/running, mostly walking though.  For this race there would be absolutely no jogging/running, none.  And I did have the knee brace on from the start.  The hardest part was the beginning, I always jog/run with the crowd.  

At 8:30, we were off.  The first 2 miles or so wasn't too bad, mud, puddle wise.  But that quickly changed.  At first when we came upon puddles, we could go around them.  Sure it takes you off the course but it helped keep your feet dry.  But the puddle frequency increased and going around them began to mean going into marshy areas (think sink your foot in and if your shoe is not tied tight, it might just stay in the mud without your foot) or going through briars.  Hey, this was not in the brochure  :)

After a while, with mud caked up to your ankles and your feet as wet as if you hosed them down, well that was pretty much how the race was to be.  As the race organizer said on their website (, "FREE Mud Run".

The entire trail was not like the pictures above, but there were so many hills and the water was always in the low parts.  I was glad I got to do the race but I was really glad when it was over.  

Oh yeah, no, none, nada, knee pain.  :)  Very pleased about this.  And of course as soon as I finished, did 15-20 minutes of stretching while eating the post race pizza they provided!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Planet of the Apes Marathon

You know, I did get a flu shot, but flu like symptoms hit and I've been on the couch for days  :(  Needless to say - no walks, jogs, hikes, nothing since Wednesday but lots of TV & movies.  

Watched the Planet of the Apes Marathon (Planet of the Apes, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, and Escape from the Planet of the Apes) yesterday on TV and that was only because there were no more season three episodes for Downton Abbey (which I only started watching a few days ago on the iPad).  

When getting sick, the mental debate always comes up - should I still go out and get the miles in?  Each sickness is different but with this one, there was no debate!  There was no way I could get my body out there and even get one mile in, no way.  However, on the mend now, anxious to get back out there and get some miles in.

I did enjoy watching these though...

Planet of the Apes movies -  I have not seen any of these movies since they originally came out in the late 60s.  There was a whole lot more to these movies than I remembered and I'm sure the deeper messages in the movies were totally missed by me as a teenager.  Glad I got to see these again.

Downton Abbey - Guess I'm hooked on it now!  Not only am I looking forward to seeing episode seven tonight, but since I started with season three via PBS iPad app, missing out on seasons one & two, downloaded the first two seasons to the iPad.  So hopefully I will be able to watch those to help fill in the blanks.

In hindsight I'm pleased that I did not sign up for the "Run the Reagan" half marathon as it was yesterday.  That would have been money wasted, would have missed it.  I had been contemplating it for the last month or so.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New Hampshire Races

With my daughter and her family moving to New Hampshire this summer, I needed to look for some races to do up there.  As usual and both provided a number of races for New Hampshire.

There were quite a few to consider, still have to figure out if it will be a full marathon or a half.  One that looks good  so far is the New Hampshire Half Marathon, but there are still others to consider.   So I'm checking out the information on their website and I find a link for "view the race".  Looked interesting so I click it.  Turns out that they have a link to a website where you can view a video of the entire race course.

Pretty neat idea this guy has.  Think he's got over a 100 races so far that you can view the entire course.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Confession of a non-stretcher

Confession of a non-stretcher, or at least one who stretches very little after a workout.

Went to the Sports Med Doc for the recent knee problems I'm having.  It was an awkward appointment as I had no pain at all in the knee by the time the appointment came around.  I experienced the pain in races where I was doing some jogging (jog 90 seconds, walk 3.5 minutes, repeat) and it would last up to a week or so.  I actually contemplated doing a 10K the Saturday before and jogging just so I would hurt my knee - but thought better to not do that.

Long story - short, doc is checking out my knees while I'm laying down, back side first then stomach side down.  He says everything looks fine but you do not stretch - he didn't even ask me, he could just tell.  He was right.  Actually I do stretch, a bit, but not nearly enough.  He thinks the problem may be caused or exacerbated by me not stretching after the workout.

So now I am stretching after every walk, religiously, a lot.  We will see, time will tell.

 It actually feels really good once the muscles get all warmed up to stretch them out with various stretches over 15-20 minutes or so.  It really was that 15-20 minute thing why I never use to stretch.  Now I make the time. 

So a few days ago I'm stretching after a lunchtime walk - it was a set of stairs leading up to a parking area near the office, I was at the bottom and a woman walks up behind me and says - "oh, you're stretching, I though I was going to have to help you up the stairs".    :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Kingfisher at Lunch

About a year ago I started walking every workday at lunchtime.  There is a pond in the office complex with sidewalk all the way around and it is just a really convenient to get a two mile walk in each day.  Through the seasons I've seen various turtles, birds, geese, etc.  But the one that sticks out more than any other is the Kingfisher.  I've seen this bird perched on branches and various vantage points just waiting for its prey.  On a few occasions I've witnessed the dive into the pond for a fish. Nature.  


I only wish I was able to snap a picture like above, I've tried, but a shot like that has alluded me.  Credit for this picture can be found here.   Below is the best I've been able to get so far:

Now what I find interesting with this bird, it knows I am there, walking around that pond.  The last few days, it continually stayed ahead of me.  I would get close to where it was and it would fly ahead to the next tree or spot around the pond.  This continued for eight laps around the pond!  I did read that they are territorial - I guess that is what it was doing?  Or, was it playing a game with me?  Can/do wild birds do that?

Anyway, it sure does entertain me during these daily walks around the pond!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Songs from 100 Years Ago on the iPod

On many of my walks I listen to music.  A lot of the music I listen to is from the 60s & 70s.  It's feel good music to me and it typically brings back great memories.  I enjoy it.  However, I needed to change it up a bit, needed to add some new tunes, do something different.  The idea I came up for 2013 was to go through the 20th century, decade by decade, and select popular tunes/songs to add to my iPod.

The plan - each month get a sampling from a different decade:  January do 1900-1909, February do 1910-1919, and so on.  These would just be inter-mixed with whatever I have on the iPod.  So far, the choices have been:

January:  1900-1909

Give My Regards to Broadway
I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy
The Entertainer
The Ragtime Dance
Waltzing Matilda
Pomp and Circumstance
Take Me Out to the Ballgame

February:  1910-1919

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling 
You Made Me Love You   
I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier  
Over There  
Santa Lucia
Ragtime Cowboy Joe
Good-Bye Broadway, Hello France
Come, Josephine, in My Flying Machine
By the Light of the Silvery Moon

So far, I've gotten these from iTunes.  However, recently was made aware of (by my son-in-law, thanks Will!)  It's definitely worth a look if you've never been to that site.  A lot of the things out there are in the Public Domain so that will allow me to download some of these instead of buying them via iTunes :)  Anyway, below are a few songs from that I figured out to embed in a blog post...

The Entertainer, 1902

Take Me Out to the Ballgame, 1908

Come, Josephine, in My Flying Machine, 1911

By the Light of the Silvery Moon, 1910

It was interesting doing the research for popular songs from 1910-1919, with World War I from 1914-1918.  A lot of popular songs during that period were very specific to the war (Over There; I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier; Good-Bye Broadway, Hello France).  It was just an interesting tidbit that I was not expecting.   It has me curious now to what I'll notice in subsequent decades.

Off now for a long Saturday walk to listen to the "new" February songs...