Monday, May 31, 2010

I am a Master... of being old.

Bubbles made me a cake with race bib on it.
I turned the big FOUR-O last week.
In the context of running, this means I have entered the "Masters" category.

Moving up into the next age bracket is supposed to be a nice consolation prize for getting older. You get to compete against a new set of older and ostensibly slower runners for age group awards.
But it turns out that I have actually entered a more competitive bracket.
If you look at the results of just about any race around here, 6 out of the top 10 will be guys in their 40's.
I will kind of miss placing in my age group.Oh, well.

Anyway, Shannon and Bubbles threw a very nice birthday party for me. It had everything you would want in a  birthday party:
  • glow sticks
  • sparklers
  • a trampoline
  • dogs
  • haikus
  • limericks
  • a packed hot tub
  • baby bats
  • pink flamingos (plastic)
  • prune juice
  • running
  • law breaking
  • a piñata
  • a cake with no cake in it
  • lots of good friends
  • a turkey baster
My new lawn ornaments
First, I was forced to hunt for my birthday gifts, given only clues written in verse. For example:
Gift #1 will keep you quite loose,
It's a tasty, nutritious, dark colored juice,
When you feel you can't poo,
Ho lookee in the loo,
This will help you drop a deuce
Gifts were age appropriate, such as a large print Readers Digest and a VHS tape of Matlock.
Bouncing Bubbles

Outside, we were showing off our pet bats, Bruce and friends, who live in a bat box on the garage. We discovered a new addition to the family, two baby bats! Unfortunately, it is hard to get a picture of them for illustration here. It was quite a surprise, though it explains the recent surge in guano production.

whacking the piñata, filled with Gu and Kashi bars
There was a drawing for some fabulous door prizes including canned meat and a turkey baster.
Next came the cake.
Bubbles made me a wonderful cake from a recipe that I had stuck to the fridge.
It was my failed recipe for healthy oatmeal raisin cookies, which contains no flour, sugar, or oil. It only has oatmeal, eggs, yogurt, crushed pineapple and lots of dried fruit and nuts. While it is a fails to make cookies, it surprisingly makes a wonderful cake. Though some people would instead describe it as an "fiber brick".
In the background Quincy eyes the "cake" skeptically, while Bart heroically tries to choke it down 
Somewhere behind the clouds was a full moon, so around 10pm some of us headed out for a full moon run. We may or may not have broken several rules, regulations, and laws in the process, but it was fun.
To cap off the evening, we all packed into the hot tub:

It was a great party. Thanks to Shannon and Bubbles for throwing it, and to everybody who came!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

2010 Cary Half-Marathon

Pushing through the pain
"Aaaarrg!" every step was excruciating.
My left foot felt broken. A little bone on the top, near my big toe felt like it had snapped in half.
But I was running as fast as I could, limping, trying to keep up with Shannon. After a minute I could not take it any more and had to stop and walk.
She stopped and walked with me.I was breathing hard. More from the pain than the exertion.
But precious seconds were ticking away, so I tried running again.
"Oh. Are we running?", she asked, following me.
I managed to push through the pain the last half mile.

This was actually after the half marathon on Sunday. We were just hurrying back to our house so we could shower, and then meet our friends for beer and Korean food. Sometimes you have to suffer to get your Kim Chi (and sometimes you suffer after Kim Chi).
The fast guys.
Anyway back to the race. Before we went for Korean food, Shannon and I ran the "Inside-Out Sports Classic Half-Marathon" in Cary..

We are both still pretty beat up and worn out from the last few months, and the last thing we needed was another race. But we just HAD to do it. You see, the course is almost exactly our usual running route, going into Umstead and back down the Black Creek greenway past our house. I mean, it is right there. How could we possibly sit this one out?

So for the first time, we didn't drive to a race.We packed a backpack with dry clothes and jogged the half mile to the start. Although it was only 68 degrees, the humidity was oppressive, and I sweating before I even lined up.

One pair of VFFs. No bare feet that I saw,
though it would have been a good day for it

Last year 200 people did this race. This year, there were 700. It was the RRCA state championship race for North Carolina, and the cash prizes drew some of the really fast runners. It was also part of the Second Empire Grand Prix Series. 
Over 700 people did the half.
I had a surprisingly good race. I think the fact that I have run up and down this path a few hundred times helped. I knew exactly how to pace myself up and down each hill, and finished strong, but with a limp. I aggravated a lingering foot ailment, which is now full fledged injury. Possibly a stress fracture. I am taking a few weeks off from running to let heal.

What most of the course looks like.
And that's Bubble's butt
Shannon ran much of the way with 13 year old Winston, who was attempting his first half marathon. Bubbles came out to help pace Shannon for a few miles.

It is a great race, with a excellent course. Highly recommend it.
That's ultra legend Blake Norwood on the bike,
volunteering for the half

13 year old Winston finishes the half under 2 hours. His longest race ever.

Me, Bart, and Guy

This guy did the 13.1 miles with a 65 pound pack. Show off.

Shannon was unhappy with the bagel I gave her

Marathon Quest 250

My friend Neil Z up in Canada asked me very nicely to do him a favor, specifically he font-shouted DO IT!!! several times in his blog.

So I am giving a shout out to Martin Parnell, who is attempting 250 marathon distance runs this year. That is almost one every day, which of course is mind boggling.
He is doing this to raise $250,000 for Right To Play.
Right To Play is an humanitarian organization that uses sport and play programs to improve health, develop life skills, and foster peace with children and communities in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world.

His website is Marathon Quest 250.  Neil Z did a pretty funny post about hosting one of Martin's marathons up there in Calgary.

By getting attention on "Running Down" Martin has really hit the big time. This blog draws an enormous audience of literally tens of people every week. All of whom stumble across this blog searching for what type of olive oil to put on their bad case of runner's knee.

Good luck Martin! You have inspired me! I am starting my own similarly epic endeavor, called Shower Quest 250. Where I will attempt to take 250 showers this year. Yes, that is almost one every day, and I am exhausted just thinking about it.

Seriously, take a few minutes and donate a few bucks to Right To Play by clicking here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dearly Beloved...

"Minister" Randy presides over the ceremony
Dearly Beloved,
we are gathered together here to join together this man and this woman in matrimony.
If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together, forever hold your peace because they don't care...

Shannon and I got married last week. The ceremony had a running "theme", so I guess it qualifies for a post on the running-down blog.

When we got engaged, we decided to have the ceremony on the beach in Emerald Isle, NC. We reserved a few houses for the week and invited friends and family to come join us.
Since neither of us are very religious, we asked our friend Randy to be the "officiant".
The ceremony was on Friday, at the end of the week. So before that we had six days of fun in the sun, relaxing with friends and family.

Hardly anyone broke their finger playing volley ball
Calyx does a cartwheel
We even brought the trampoline
Living large... the hot tub overflowed
The Atlantic tries to drown me
On Friday we gathered on a deck, and "Minister" Randy presided over the somewhat untraditional ceremony:
...Do you, Anthony, take Shannon to be your wife, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, in dogs and cats, as long as you both shall live?
"I do!"
...Do you Shannon take Anthony to be your husband, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, in 5Ks and marathons as long as you both shall live?
"I do!"

We then exchanged vows and rings.
...And so, by the power vested in me by the North Carolina Board of Architecture, I now pronounce you husband and wife
You may now kiss each other.
We kissed, Champagne corks popped and the two Dads made toasts.
I thanked everyone, and then Shannon and I took off down the beach on our first run together as a married couple, with our wedding party in tow.

Lula was "Dog of Honor"
Jorge was "Best Dog"
We made our escape.
She stopped to take a picture, so I left her.
Bubbles brought Piñatas for the party
This one was filled with mini bottles of gin and rum

Wedding 2 - The Prequel

It turns out that Randy's particular profession is not legally qualified to be an official officiant.
So before we headed out to the beach, we stopped at the court house in Raleigh, and took care of that pesky technical "legal" part of the marriage.

We were directed to the "Worthless Check" court room, and waited as prisoners in shackles and orange stripes were brought in to hear charges against them. One of them was in jail for writing a $150 bad check at Food Lion 5 years ago.
The guys on Wall Street are getting millions in bonuses for scamming people out of their life savings, and this guy is in jail for bouncing a check to get some food.
I almost pulled out my wallet to pay the $190 to set him free, but didn't. We might go back and do that.

Anyway, that was our wedding week.
More pictures are here. Big thanks to Bubbles for taking the great pictures of the ceremony, and afterwards.
And now we are off to the races as an official couple...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Weekly Q & A

Here is the weekly installment on the Running Down questions and answers (see here for the first post)
Again, these questions come from the phrases that my blog visitors are searching for.

Q: "should i run a 5k fast until throw up"?
A: Yes. If you don't throw up, it is called "leaving something in the tank", and means you didn't run hard enough. You need to spew 100% effort.
However, make sure to carry a barf bag with you. I ran one 5K where the kid in front of me tossed his cookies all over the finish line, sending the timing volunteers jumping for cover, and I was not counted in the results.

Q: "philosopher's way trail run how difficult"?
A: I did the Philosopher's Way last year, and it was a lot of fun. It is not a difficult trail, not too rocky or hilly. But there are about a thousand switchbacks, so it is somewhat of a challenge to follow.

Q: "can runners knee be cured"?
A: Yes. Runner's knee is caused by the "Heelstrikococcus" bacteria. The cure is to rub anti-bacterial cream on your knee and eat one raw clove of garlic per day for a month.

Q: "runners knee mountain okay biking"?
A: it highly yes, recommend I!

Q: "knees turn red when running"?
Q: "lips turn blue after running"?
A: I bet these two questions came from the same person. If so, then I think all the blood is draining out of your lips and pooling in your knees. Try running with head between your legs.

Q: "comparing boston and nyc marathon"?
A: These 2 marathons are very similar, and have these things in common:
  1. Very crowded
  2. Hard to get into
  3. Interesting, fairly flat, point to point courses
  4. Long wait at the start
The big difference is that in Boston you are supposed to stop and kiss the girls on at mile 12. In New York, you might get punched in the mouth.

Q: "detroit marathon deaths poisoning"?
A: This was just a silly stupid rumor. For the last time, NO ONE WAS POISONED AT THE DETROIT MARATHON!
It was in the HALF marathon where the Gatorade was poisoned.

Q: "olive oil hamstring"?
A: Add a little Parmesan cheese and rosemary. Delicious.