Friday, June 29, 2012

Random Thoughts for Spring 2012 - Ticks, C rings, Axles

No, not these kind of ticks

When I used to have the newspaper delivered at home, it would be late occasionally. To my surprise this happens with electronic delivery too. I received an email notifying me that the electronic version was ready to read at 12:35 p.m. when I usually get that email at about 6 a.m. Even though the email came late though, the electronic paper was already available at 5 a.m. I was just surprised at how late the email notification came.
Southern California Edison gave me an Amazon gift card for participating in a remote monitoring system for electricity use. What was required was to remain in the program for 3 months. Just as I was about to contact them about it when the 3 month period passed, the gift card came in the mail. It was only for $10 but hey, I’ll take a free 10 bucks any day. So what did I use it for? I’ve always had this tick problem at home and I needed something with no ticks so I could sleep better. So I bought a quiet sweep clock with the Amazon gift card. Now I have a clock that’s quiet and doesn’t tick. Ha! I bet you thought I had bugs in my house!
As part of our admission process in the hospital, we inventory the belongings of patients when they come in. This includes clothing, money, credit cards, and other paraphernalia. Not seeing him wearing a watch, ring, necklace or bracelet, I asked a male patient if he was wearing any jewelry or piercings underneath his clothes. He mentioned that he had a ring in his private area but he was not going to show it to me. I said “It’s okay, I’ll take your word for it”. I didn’t even use the metal detector wand that we have for fear that the magnet would make the ring rise. Does that count as a jewel in his family jewels?
I finally had the broken front axles on my car replaced at a greater than expected reduced cost by going to my neighborhood mechanic which was recommended by my neighborhood smog check station. Thank goodness because other mechanics were quoting me hundreds more. The wobble in my brakes have even subsided significantly after the axle replacement. I asked if they also do ankle replacements. They don’t, so I’ll have to wobble on mine for the rest of my life.
Would you believe that since I turned 55 a few weeks ago I started looking at what Leisure World and Laguna Woods have to offer? Just in case you don’t know, those are retirement communities near Long Beach for people over 55.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

AREC Training - June 23, 2012 : Arthroscopy, Pregnancy, Euthanasia, etc.

With a heavy heart due to hearing about my mother’s health, I left home to join AREC for a run that I hoped would lighten my spirits and relieve my angst. If you told me 6 weeks ago that I will be running 9 miles by today, I’d would have told you that you’re nuts. Then I’ll tell you that I would be nuts to try doing it. Well it turns out you are not crazy after all but I may be.
Before the run, one of the AREC members was selling new blue AREC team tank tops. I tried the men’s small size over my t-shirt but it felt tight. Before trying the medium, I asked Kevin if I could try on the small without the shirt underneath and he agreed. Voila! The tank top fit perfectly so I bought it. Really, I don’t know why I would buy one. I have a yellow one from years past that I rarely wear because as you know I don’t participate in races any more. I guess I’ll have to wear them on my rare routine runs instead.
I encountered Mike and Jennifer on my warm up jog to the rest room and found out the unfortunate news that Mike would need arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He will miss the Long Beach half marathon but it will still be a go for his wife Jennifer whom I ran with the previous week. After I took that short warm up jog to and from the bathroom, I felt that it might be a good day for running.
At the start of the run, I stuck behind Dona and Bhavana (the nurse whose name I forgot two weeks ago). We hit the first mile at almost exactly 10 minute pace which may have been a little too fast for my comfort. Fortunately they seemed to have eased it shortly thereafter. At two miles I took a little hop on my right foot because I felt a twinge in my left ankle. I thought I had tweaked it, but luckily it was just a misstep and didn’t get any worse. When we hit the water station at about three miles, I saw Jennifer and Ellen just a few steps behind so I joined them after the water break. I ran with Ellen once two years ago and she had gotten married since then. It was during last Saturday’s run that I heard the joyous news that she was expecting a baby. I hardly noticed the slight baby bump. Her doctor gave her permission to run as long as she did it at a pace that she can talk without being breathless. Well, that does it! I can never get pregnant because I need the breathless experience that working out gives me. Well, being the wrong gender helps. With Ellen’s non breathless running, the topics of conversation between her, Jennifer, and I ranged from their birthdays, their significant others’ birthdays, and mine which I announced that I was now officially a senior citizen, to learning that Ellen worked in the fashion industry (something that didn’t come up two years ago). Other things discussed were eye doctors, dermatologists, primary care physicians, death and dying. On that last topic, we talked about end of life care and euthanasia. I won’t expound on that because we touched on some personal matters and preferences.
 All that talking took us to just short of the last mile where Ellen had to walk briefly to catch her breath. I don’t think it was the running that caused her to be briefly breathless, but the talking. So Jennifer and I went ahead. When I turned my head around to check on Ellen, I saw that Dona and Bhavana had caught up with her and she resumed running. The course was slightly short of 9 miles so I asked Jennifer if she wanted to turn around and join the pack of three who were only slightly behind us. We did that for a couple of hundred meters until we reached that last hill (2nd Street Bridge). Jennifer started picking up the pace going up and I tucked behind her before launching a counter attack. I risked life and limb (well, not life) attacking that last hill. That unwise move could have overstretched my ankle tendons again and I would have been out of running for months again. When I peaked the bridge, I eased up and didn’t attempt to roll down the other side like I used to in the past. With about 200 meters to go, Jennifer said let’s pick up the pace and finish strong. In years past, I may have taken up her challenge but this time I declined. I already took a big risk attacking that last hill hoping my ankles would hold up, so that was enough pushing for the day for me. I then returned to Dona, Bhavana, and Ellen, and finished the run with them.
                There should be no more surprises about running for me since I’ve been doing it for more than 30 years, however nowadays, every running step I make surprises me. In this case, 9 miles of steps.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Trickle Down Technical Running Clothes Update

Legacy Running Company (photo courtesy of Tam P. Thanks again Tam :)
          I mentioned the Legacy Running Company in my last post where after our run last Saturday, the owner did a presentation on choosing the proper running shoes. This is a relatively new store which used to be a Taco Bell years ago and incidentally is just steps away from where Runner's High store used to be. The owner, Tom has a long history of owning running shoe stores so he definitely knows what he's talking about. This post has nothing to do with shoes however. A couple of weeks ago, there was a sale on C9 (by Champion) technical running tank tops at Target in the boy’s department. I first tried the medium, then large and after finding those a little too binding, the extra large. The final choice fit me just about right so I bought two of them. Cost = $9.00 each. I stopped by Walmart afterwards to buy some deodorant and noticed their Starter brand (did you know that this company is owned by Nike?) technical t-shirts and tank tops but this time in the adult section. The adult small size fit me just right. Prices? $5.47 for the t-shirt and $8.47 for the tank top. There are slight differences between the C9 and Starter tank tops though. The C9 feels a little tight on the neck while the Starter has a skosh more room in the neck and armpit areas and seemed to dry a little bit faster after being hand washed, wrung, and put on a hanger indoors. The neck tightness of the C9 could possibly be attributed to them being children’s sizes.
Men's Starter muscle tee from Walmart =  $8.47
Boy's C9 muscle tee from Target = $9.00

          A couple of years ago, I blogged about my trickle-down theory regarding technical running wear. In it I mentioned that a couple of years after the major brands come up with the latest technical products, stores like Target and Walmart come up with very similar ones for much less cost. Case in point: while browsing the tank tops at the Legacy Running Company last Saturday, I saw that the Nike tank tops were being sold for $33 while the t-shirts went for $30 (!!!). When I bought those similar products a couple of weeks prior, I thought maybe the major brands were selling them for around $20. That just shows you how long it’s been since I’ve visited a specialty running shoe store. Can you say sticker shock? For someone who is on a very tight budget like me, those prices are just not an option. Another thing I noticed is that there seems to be a trend back to traditional cut tank tops instead of the muscle type singlets of recent years. You may have to wait another couple of years for this style to trickle down to department stores. Or if you are inclined, you can find similar cuts in the female sections of Target and Walmart, if males are brave enough to wear the feminine colors. Isn't it amazing, or perhaps sobering that the cost of technical shirts are now approaching of what running shoes in the early 80's used to cost?
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Sunday, June 17, 2012

On The Run, The Shyness Is Gone

A Running Experience Club Training - June 9, 2012 (photo courtesy of club president Dave K.)

By nature I’m an introvert. Grade school and high school parties? Wallflower. Senior prom? Didn’t attend and even forgot that there was one. Partying and clubbing? Not for me. I have a hard time approaching , introducing myself, and talking to people. That is until I’m out running with them. What alcohol does to loosen other people’s tongues, running does to me. Running with others exhilarates me.
I didn’t get a chance to blog about last week’s AREC training run. I guess I was too exhilarated to compose it. Besides, I got invited by my cousin to watch the Pacquiao/Bradley fight at her house so I was gone for most of the day. Anyway, it was a 7 mile run and I finally got a chance to talk briefly with one of the runners from Train4autism. I asked her how the program worked and she said she just signed up but hasn’t had the opportunity to raise any funds yet. She even wasn’t sure what the requirements were. I also got to talk with someone named Aileen who joined the 12 minutes per mile pace group and found out she does boot camp fitness training every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in addition to running on those days. Sounds like a hard core fitness enthusiast to me. I ran with her until the three mile mark and when we reached the water station there, I went ahead on my own. About a mile later I caught up with an old friend, Dona who was supposed to be pacing the 10 minutes per mile group, however there were only two of them. Since I have long lost my sense of pace, I’m not sure anymore if they were really doing 10 minutes per mile. Nevertheless it was nice to hang with them for the last three miles. Dona’s companion was a young lady of Indian descent whose name escapes me now (I’m so poor at remembering names). I mistook her for one of the Train4autism runners because she was wearing a baby blue shirt. It turns out she was a nurse who works at UCLA Medical Center so we talked about nursing stuff. So these two ladies led me to finish the 7 miler, then I ran back about a hundred yards to pick up Aileen and bring her to the finish.
Flash forward to this week’s AREC run. We met at a different location close to a relatively new running shoe store – Legacy Running Company, which was about 4 miles from where I live. The owner was going to give some running shoe advice after the run which we have been doing every year but at a different store. The run course were just a simple 2 loops around the park for the 6 milers and 2 ½ loops for the 8 milers (this was to minimize crossing too many traffic lights). Well darn, I couldn’t find the pace leaders I usually run with at the start because some people were running on the grass while others followed the bike/pedestrian path, and I got concerned that I may have to run by myself. No chance of that happening of course with all the people running. It was just a matter of finding someone with a similar pace. The problem was I was running faster than 12 minute pace and I was either going to be in oxygen debt soon or tweak my ankles. I managed to draft behind a couple of baby blue shirted Train4autism runners and we chatted briefly, then at about the 1 mile mark I caught up with a lady who had passed me earlier so I ran with her the rest of the way. Her name was Jennifer and she and her husband Mike were training with us. Unfortunately Mike had injured his knee and wasn’t running that day. He was scheduled for an MRI at noon. Jennifer was in pharmaceuticals (the legal kind), so just like the previous week with the nurse, we talked about medical stuff. All that chatting helped a lot though because some of the streets were angled so much not to mention that the pace was much faster than what I’ve been running the past several weeks, that my left ankle started to hurt. The last mile tested the limits of my cardiovascular and tendon endurance. Thanks to this lady, I finished an almost 8 mile tempo pace run J.
So there it is. Pre-run and post run, I’m mostly quiet as a dormouse, but once my legs get moving my lips start flapping. I may not be able to run as much as before but I’m still able to run my mouth when I’m running.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Reasons Why Manny Pacquiao Lost

Inadequate warm up due to watching the Miami/Boston basketball game.

Should have asked WGWG Phillip(ines) Phillips to sing the Star Spangled Banner instead of Jessica Sanchez.

The judges were pissed off for having to wait for him to start the fight so he could watch the NBA.

After being awarded the win against Marquez in a bout many agree he lost (including Flips), karma happened.

The Tiger Woods effect: all downhill after being discovered by wife that he was having extracurricular or extramarital activities. He was lucky that Jinkee didn’t clobber him with one of her hundreds of Louis Vuitton bags a la golf club by Elin on Tiger.

As you can see, I’m no boxing expert so that’s all I have to say about that.

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

National Running Day and the IRS

Unbelievable, I went to bed at 11 p.m. Friday and was already awake at 2:30 a.m. Saturday.  After lying in bed for another half hour and unable to fall back to sleep, I thought I might as well get up and finish this post which I started writing last Wednesday.
Wednesday, June 6th was National Running Day but running was not even on my schedule that day because I decided to take a few extra days off since my ankles were still hurting from the three hour birthday walk the previous week. That all changed after I opened my mailbox and found a letter from the almighty IRS. So on National Running Day I dealt with an audit notice from the Internal Revenue Service. How did you spend yours? What does one have to do with the other? Well, other than most people trying to run as far away as possible from the IRS, nothing whatsoever.
Basically, this is what the letter said: please send us a check for $32,800 if you agree with this audit for tax year 2010. Good heavens, I don’t even make that much in a year! So I kept on reading and saw what they said was additional income I had in 2010. Due to the recession which started in 2008, I lost a lot of money in the stock market and moved my regular IRA and Roth IRA to safer bank CD’s which were still earning a decent yield at that time. Well, those retirement CD’s matured in 2010 so I closed my account from this particular bank and immediately brought the checks to another bank with a not so decent interest rate (but slightly better than the previous bank). I opened the same type of retirement accounts – regular and Roth IRA’s so I would not be penalized by the IRS. Their rules state that you have to rollover these types of accounts within 60 days or you would be taxed for the extra income and given an additional penalty of 10% for early withdrawal of a retirement plan. The earliest you can withdraw without being charged the 10% penalty is when you turn 59 ½ years old. I certainly met the 60 day rule since I rolled over the money within 30 minutes of getting the checks.
So this is how my National Running Day started – by digging out my 2010 income tax return, bank statements from that year, copies of the check stubs from the bank I withdrew the money from, and printouts showing me opening accounts of the same type in the new bank. In my 2010 tax return, I indicated this amount in line 11a as a rollover. Apparently this was not enough for the IRS since the previous bank sent them a notice required by law that I withdrew that amount. To the IRS auditors, this just came out as extra income which brought my tax bracket to what for me was the stratosphere. For what they are trying to collect from me, I can’t even imagine what kind of annual income I would have to make. I was given approximately a month to respond to the audit and if I was not a meticulous record keeper, I might have been up sh*t creek trying to contact a couple of banks to get copies of the paperwork because that would have taken time and money. Believe me, they charge you fees for just about everything nowadays. Well, to make a long story short, I found all the supporting paperwork, made copies of them, called the IRS to verify that those were adequate, and typed up a letter of explanation for the discrepancy.
I can see how this happens though. The bank you close your account from is required to report the withdrawal to the IRS while the next bank where you deposit the check doesn’t have to. You will have to do it yourself which I did on line 11a and marked it as a rollover, but apparently, the humans and computers of the IRS missed it. This is apparently the peril of using tax software and electronic filing. Not all the supporting documents are sent to the IRS so they have to question where some inputted numbers come from.
I had to spend several hours dealing with the above situation instead of working out on what was supposed to be a relaxing day off from work. Afterwards, I had to find a compacted stress relieving workout to decompress. So despite not planning on it, I went out for a run on National Running Day to work off the IRS caused stress. Because of the problems with the ankles, I thought I’d just do a 1 minute run with 1 minute walk recovery for 30 minutes so as not to aggravate the injury.  After the first minute and feeling not much discomfort, I kept going to the next minute then the next until I finished a loop back home with my watch indicating that I had run non-stop for 32 minutes. Well that certainly helped a lot with the stress J. At least I was able to contribute to National Running Day even though it wasn’t planned.
Finding the supporting paperwork and running = great stress relievers. Now let’s just hope the IRS agrees with me.
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Thursday, June 7, 2012

A New Stair Stepper and Other Random Thoughts

I’ve had this exercise machine for more than an month now and you are  probably scratching your head and thinking “What? He got another exercise machine?! Doesn’t he have everything already? Is he nuts?” My answers are: yes, no, and probably. Here are what I have: a treadmill, elliptical machine, recumbent bike, spinning bike, stair stepper, weight bench with barbells, dumbbells, resistance bands (rubber tubings), and a chin up/pull up bar. In the last 30 years, I’ve had 3 stair stepping machines. The first two were utilized until they finally broke down. When I bought the elliptical machine, I thought it would take the place of the stair stepper but after just a few uses, I found out that even though it was low impact, the forward and backward motion of the pedals irritated my bad ankle tendons, so I used it infrequently. The up and down motion of the stair stepper does not. When I first looked for stair steppers online, the cheapest one I found was $128. A few weeks after, I found the same product at for $108 with just 2.95 shipping and no tax. When it arrived, assembling it was pretty easy. My concern when I first saw the photo online was if my book rack would be stable on the machine’s handle. I found out after assembling the machine that it would not, because of the curvature of the handle. I tried to think of a remedy and I finally came up with one. I wrapped a bungee cord at the base of the book rack and around the handlebars of the machine. At least even if I bumped the book rack accidentally, it would hold steady and not drop my Asus Transformer, which I use to read while working out.

So what to do with the now unused elliptical machine? Maybe I’ll put it up for sale on Craigslist. Anyone reading this wanna buy it? I bought it for about $500 and am willing to part with it for half that, or best offer.
And then there is this matter of my Nike Velo cycling/touring shoes. I’ve had them since the 80’s and they have served me well. I’ve patched them up so many times that the tops look like they have more Shoo Goo than leather. Well, the glue had become so stiff that they were beginning to hurt my feet. Since I’ve been using the two year old Louis Garneau shoes the last couple of months (even though they are not as comfortable), I finally parted with the Nikes.

          We have a couple of swimming pools in our condo complex but the human occupants haven’t used them yet this year because of the cool spring climate. However this hasn’t stopped some visitors from a nearby park from cavorting in the water and leaving their droppings. I’m talking about ducks who usually come in pairs. Maybe they found our pools to be a nice place to bring a date. I'm not sure if they are the same two every time though.

          And finally - I was going to post some photos here of my face unshaven for 8 days (I don’t shave on my days off from work) and after shaving, but they are too dorky and ugly so I’ll spare you. Thanks for reading y’all J.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Visit To DD’s

What, you might ask, is DD’s? This one has nothing to do with being developmentally disabled or the preferred term nowadays, developmentally delayed. This is merely an outlet store.
A few weeks ago, a nurse I work with mentioned that the pants she was wearing came from a store called DD’s which I’ve never heard of before. She bought a couple of pairs for $6.00 dollars each. She mentioned that the store sold men’s clothes as well and told me where the stores were located. The nearest one I found on the internet was in the city of Carson. I found out on the web that DD’s was owned by Ross Stores, only the clothes were cheaper than at Ross. On one of my days off, I drove down to the store which was past the Carson Towne Center, Cal State Dominguez Hills, and the Home Depot Center (where the L.A. Galaxy and Chivas soccer teams are based). When I arrived at the store, I went directly to the men’s department to look for pants. Not just any pants, but ones that would match my scrubs because I don’t like wearing scrub pants due to the thin material. I found a couple of pants but before I tried them on, I went to the area where they sell nursing uniforms. Unfortunately all of them were for females. Would you believe that the pants I tried on cost $5.99 and $6.99? They were slightly big at the waist at size 30 (I’m a 29) but the length was just right without further alterations, and the loose waist can be taken cared of with a little belt tightening. Believe me, you can hardly find size 29’s now. Some stores even start at 32 or what should be 32 without vanity sizing. Even though the pants I got were supposed to be irregulars, I couldn’t seen anything irregular about them. One of the workpants even had removable kneepads. These pants make my skinny butt look even smaller though, but that can easily by remedied with a well positioned wallet… or two, to balance things out.
So was DD’s worth the drive to Carson? Yes indeed and it looks like a good place to buy cheap luggage too. Maybe next time, because I only had 20 dollars in my wallet that day, but with two pairs of pants, I even had change left!

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Birthday Walk - 2012 Edition

It was time once again for my annual birthday trek. Only, I had to do it the day before because I had to work on my birthday and didn’t want to be limping while doing my job. As you will find out later, that turned out to be a very good decision. To prepare, I took out my decades old waist pack the night before so I could fit in whatever accoutrements I planned on carrying: cell phone, camera, HD radio, ATM card, ID, keys, and some money (in case I had to take the bus or a taxi). Oh by the way, I haven’t done a walking workout in about 6 weeks.
At about 2 miles, I had to cross over the 405 (San Diego) Freeway
What used to be a 2 hour run has now become a 3 hour walk the past two years. For the first time in years, I wasn’t particularly motivated to be out on the streets for 3 hours especially that I’ve managed to compress my workouts to shorter blocks of time to get the same result as easier and longer ones, by doing them with more intensity. Since this was going to be a loooong walk, I didn’t feel it necessary to push the pace. So I started slowly and through the 3 hours, I never felt the need to racewalk. Last year I only hit the flat streets but this time my goal was to walk from home to Signal Hill, meander around there to add some time, then walk back home while trying not to hit the same streets twice. At around three miles, I reached two of the oldest  cemeteries in the city: the Long Beach Municipal Cemetery and Sunnyside Cemetery. The graves there go back to the 1800’s. I went around both briefly looking at gravestones and saw a recently erected flagpole that was put up last Memorial Day. Some of the graves were probably there when Long Beach was still named Willmore City.

 From the graveyard, I headed to Signal Hill. I didn't want to do the route that the Long Beach Walking Club had so I went down different streets until I reached Pacific Coast Highway. When I checked my watch, I figured I might overshoot my 3 hour time limit since I still have to turn around and go back home and I was already at 1:45.
The base of the infamous Stanley Avenue 13% incline hill
Hilltop Park

 After a bathroom break at Hilltop Park, it was time to head back. Then what I feared might happen did - my ankles began to hurt after two hours. Surprisingly, my trapezius muscle was getting sore too for whatever reason. But I was more concerned about my ankles. Would I find a bus route or call the cab company? After all I have their number in my cell phone. Eh, let’s just soldier on I thought, since by that time it was either all downhill or flat. I had planned on stopping by an ATM machine on the way back and the bank was just a mile and a half from home. I knew that I was going to make it from there even if I had to limp all the way back. My watch said I had been walking for about 2 hours and 50 minutes. I was indeed going to go past my 3 hour goal. By the time the odometer on the GPS watch ticked 12 miles, I had walked for exactly 3 hours and 11 minutes. I think my pace was slower than last year since I didn’t push the pace, but I walked longer distance wise. Halfway through the walk, all I could think about was how nice it would be to have some hot and sour soup for lunch. By the time I got home, my ankles were too sore and I was too hungry to order and pick up the soup from the nearby Chinese restaurant so I just ate what I already had at home – some El Pollo Loco type chicken and salad with Greek dressing. I waited till the next day (my actual birthday) to give myself a treat in the form of Super Nachos from the neighborhood Mexican Restaurant. Man, I haven’t had those in three years! Last time I had them, they were just $4.75 and now they’re $6.00.
I know the presentation doesn't look good because the sour cream and  guacamole have been squashed in the styrofoam container. It has taken me 3 meals to finish these super nachos. 

 In the meantime, I did the usual Ibuprofenizing, capsaicinizing, and ankle binding after efforts like this. That might have helped but not by much. What was supposed to be my better left ankle was hurting until the next day and up to this writing almost two days later. Right after the walk, my lower back was also sore for hours. I may have to rethink this self imposed tradition next year. Maybe I’ll just walk my age in minutes.
I took a few pictures during this walk. That’s the reason I brought a camera instead of relying on my cell phone, because the camera boots up faster. Coming and going, I saw a pair of dark men’s underwear on the street. I passed on taking a picture of that one.

To this day, Signal Hill continues to pump out oil and the area has numerous oil wells.

Other sights around Signal Hill

This the Unity Monument erected in memory of September 11, 2001

American Gymnastics Academy

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Friday, June 1, 2012

AREC Training With Train 4 Autism

I won’t be able to participate in the Wrigley River Run this year which falls on June 2 because I have to work on my birthday. Instead, this post is about last week’s run.
If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you might have seen a post or two about my dizziness problems. If you haven’t, well that’s okay. I have labyrinthitis, an inner ear problem which causes dizziness and hits me from time to time for no apparent reason. Saturday morning was one of those days. I drove to the AREC run not knowing how that was going to affect my running later. Not only that, I was nursing a slight right calf discomfort which I was hoping wouldn’t get worse if I ran slowly enough. When I got to the location, I noticed that there were a lot more people than in previous weeks and that was because the athletes from Train 4 Autism (a fund raising group) had joined the fray. They sure had some nice looking baby blue uniforms. I hazard to guess that there were at least 150 runners that morning.
After a very brief talk by Nadine, we were off. I was really apprehensive about my dizziness so I just kept pace with the 12 minute milers hoping I wouldn’t topple over. Within the first half mile, I noticed that some of the mentors of Train 4 Autism were pretty speedy. They zipped past us in their baby blues. Their group was nice enough to mark the course with blue and yellow markers on traffic cones indicating which way the half marathoners or full marathoners have to go. I ran with Rosie and Tina up to the 3 mile water station and when we resumed, I got to talking with Mark F. I didn’t know that he had stopped running for a year and he recently just started again because of another mid life crisis. He did not elaborate and I did not probe. He suddenly asked me how long my every day running streak lasted before I had to quit. I didn’t even know he knew about that. He was guessing a thousand days and I told him it was actually 21 years and 8 days. He said, no wonder my ankle tendons were shot. We had a quick laugh about that. Incidentally, someone asked me this question the previous week:  What was the minimum number of miles you ran when you had your 21 year running every day streak? The requirement of the running streak association which I’m not a member of is one mile, so to simplify, that is what I would say my minimum was even though it was more like 1 ½ miles. Anyway, back to the run. Mark then regaled me with stories of his trail running races and how one time he and another friend of ours – Roberta, finished last at a very technical (i.e. rocky terrain) Colorado trail race. He pulled me for about a mile and a half, then for some reason, I pulled ahead and caught up with who I think were mother and daughter experimenting with the Galloway 5 minute run to 1 minute walk system. I asked them if they were with AREC and we ran together for the next mile. With half a mile left, I attempted to run with a full stride. Not my natural gait, mind you, to protect my ankle tendons, but at least a semblance of a full stride. And I resisted to do a full out sprint in the last 200 meters, also for ankle protection reasons. I hardly noticed that by the time I finished 6 miles or so, my dizziness had dissipated. Running had calmed my inner ear.
Hopefully in the coming weeks we could mingle with the Train 4 Autism runners and get to know them better instead of sticking to our packs and them in theirs during the run. They seem like a pretty good group. Thanks for running with us Train 4 Autism athletes J

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