Sunday, September 28, 2008

A neighborhood 5K

WESTERN SPRINGS, Ill. -- I would have been embarassed if I didn't turn out for this one, a 5K race that started about .2 miles from my parent's house.

I learned about it the 4th annual Claddaugh Foundation Run to Walk 5k before and went to sign up in the morning. The course zig-zagged around my parent's neighborhood and was pretty flat and potentially fast.

That said, I had a really strange running time. My first mile was ok, my second mile was more than a minute slower and then my third mile was the fastest of them all. Usually when your time starts to degrade that's kind of it.

Maybe it happened that way or there is a possibility that the second mile was accidentally longer than the other two?

In any event, it was fun to do a run so close to my parents' house.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A new helmet

Today my new helmet arrived. It's a Giro Ionos, a slightly different model than the Giro Atmos I've had for several years.

This one has yellow streaks and has a nice reflective surface, something that's perfect for the night rides that I typically have these days coming home from work.

After I it was delivered, I used the extra padding pack that came with it to augment my old helmet -- the padding has long since worn from it.

And what do you know? There was a crack running down the front of my old helmet.

Maybe not enough to keep me from using it if it was my only helmet.

But since I have this new one, why risk it?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wii Fit (Day 2)

When I was at Best Buy on Tuesday looking for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, the store had three Wii Fits on the shelf.

Why not? So I picked one up.

It took me a few days to unwrap it and set it up (had to finish The Force Unleashed) but overall I'm pleased. It has neat balance games, the aerobics are so-so but the strength training and yoga include things that I wouldn't otherwise do.

Plus it keeps track of your weight and BMI automatically on a calendar.

I can do exercises when I'm taking a break from playing poker online, or even while watching TV. Today I did a series of reps after my morning run.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The cooler days have arrived

After a hot (but maybe not the hottest) spring and summer in Atlanta, the cool air is finally here. Hopefully this will make running easier.

Monday, September 15, 2008

An unfriendly sort

It used to be that commuter cyclists were so few in number in the city that it was common to talk to one another.

I guess with gas above $4.25 a gallon, things have changed. Even unfriendly people feel like they're forced to ride.

Once again, as I was on N. Highland on my way to work, some cyclist passes me- this time some chick on a road bike in a messenger bag.

She doesn't say anything, as do I, as we're both on the sidewalk at Ponce. When the light turns, she bolts ahead.

I keep pace but follow respectfully. If she turns onto my homecourt -- the Freedom Park PATH -- I will have no choice but to leave her in the dust.

She doesn't -- but damn. It's on. You're tagged as unfriendly and I will have no qualms to pass you on the street.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The weekend warrior

Yesterday, while I was on my way to work, some weekend warrior all decked out in road gear passed me.

What followed was three stoplights of stop and go but i was ahead on the Freedom Park PATH.

Of course, the weekend warrior raced ahead, almost hitting some little kid on the path. He was forced to slow down by a stroller, so at the base of the Highland hill, we were pretty even.

I decided to hunker down and draft off of him for the first part of the two part hill then blew him away on the second part.

It was funny to me because I was just in a T-shirt and shorts, carrying two Diet Cokes and in my hybrid.

I need to buy a rocket soon.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A reason to run

I knew from Armstrong’s memoir, It’s Not About the Bike, that his VO2 max (the gauge by which the human body’s capacity to transport and use oxygen is measured) is superhuman, his ship-sail lungs uncommonly efficient.

But at age 37? A 2,000-mile, 23-day race, much of it uphill? By next July? I asked him, rather ungraciously, if he wasn’t too old to get back into shape that quickly.

He laughed. And he was off and running. "Look at the Olympics. You have a swimmer like Dara Torres. Even in the 50-meter event [freestyle], the 41-year-old mother proved you can do it. The woman who won the marathon [Constantina Tomescu-Dita, of Romania] was 38. Older athletes are performing very well. Ask serious sports physiologists and they’ll tell you age is a wives’ tale. Athletes at 30, 35 mentally get tired. They’ve done their sport for 20, 25 years and they’re like, I’ve had enough. But there’s no evidence to support that when you’re 38 you’re any slower than when you were 32.

"Ultimately, I’m the guy that gets up. I mean, I get up out of bed a little slow. I mean, I’m not going to lie. I mean, my back gets tired quicker than it used to and I get out of bed a little slower than I used to. But when I’m going, when I’m on the bike—I feel just as good as I did before."
-Vanity Fair interview with Lance Armstrong

Some people don't give Lance Armstrong's comeback any credence, just like Brett Favre returning to football this year.

I just think, good for them. Michael Jordan was ridiculed for coming out of retirement but I don't think it hurt his legacy.

So there's nothing to lose but lots to gain.