Monday, November 24, 2008

Criminally Fit

Ever think you could get arrested for exercising? Well, that's what happened to Kieran Clark. He has been exercising regularly in the same spot for the last 25 years but recently police arrested him.

The world is getting crowded. Some of the most beautiful views in the country are privately owned. In Santa Monica, the Fourth Street median is very much like any other boulevard. It is public property. Unlike all property it is located in a posh neighborhood with breathtaking views of the beach and ocean. As a result, many people come to this spot to enjoy themselves. The neighborhood residents, in an attempt to address the noise, garbage, and crowds fought to pass ordinances prohibiting people from squatting in front lawns. The law was also origionally intended to keep homeless people from camping out in the boulevard. Recently, police have began to heavily patrol this area. In fact, a police vehicle now sits in the area all day. Watch the video and decide yourself if this is a case of the law run amok or a good example of zoning to control a crowded space. I believe in private property but also realize that ownership of certain assets carries a special responsibility to society in large. This responsibility goes beyond the letter of the law and strikes at basic human decency. This responsibility cannot be legistlated it is completely up to me. If I am a stickler for seclusion, I wouldn't buy a property in a high traffic area to begin with. This is controversial because it pits the individual rights of people against the public. Enjoy and comment. Happy Thanksgiving!

Why Lying Is Better Than Viagra

Some friends will stop at nothing to garner the slightest edge. But now they are taking things to the next level. I am reading in the New York Times about how Viagra will improve my running times?? On reflection it makes sense. After all, it is a male PERFORMANCE enhancer.  I mean you don't think aspirin knows to work only on your headaches do you? Of course not. The drug effects all systems and the head, er or your other appendages in the case of Viagra are merely where we first notice the effects.

This gets me to thinking (I am a bit paranoid)....Hmmmmm. Many of my friends are getting to the age where they can feign a "legitimate" use for this stuff. Plus, last time I checked, there were no blood tests of the age group winners at the Morton 5k. Believe me. The BWS (AKA Bastard Jag Bag) will do anything to beat me in a race (you should hear the voice mail he just left me). The next time I am running with the pack, I am going to be very careful. If I feel anything resembling the pointed tip of the spear, I am pulling over! I noticed even Schroffy is wearing those loose fitting shorts and big droopy t-shirts. Coincidence????

Now, before you go grindin your blue smurf tablets up in your Endurox, here is my advice to you jags. If you are going to cheat or lie, go big! Swallowing a blue pill just to be faster than Schroff is thinkin small. What do you gain? I say, why EVEN pace your next 5k and pick up a second when you could have sprinted off the line and gone for 5 minutes! Trust me, YOU WANT TO WIN BIG! You NEED the satisfaction of knowing you put it ALL on the line! JAGS, JAGS, JAGS...I'm not talking about drugs, I am talking about lying! And not just one of those little white ones either. I say GO LONG MEN!

So, your goin in for a penny GO IN FOR A POUND!  Are your tired of not getting enough time to train? Is your wife always coming up with useless stuff to do?  Just tell her you have lymphoma!?!***

I figure it will take her a month before she catches on to the fact you are not really sick. Think about it! That's 30 days of not having to watch the kids, take the trash out or do any laundry!

[IMAGINATION: Scene 1, Rob Lies about Having Cancer]

Rob:  "Honey, I just found out I have Cancer.  Lymphoma.  Most likely I'll be dead in a year."
Shev: "Poor baby, can I take the kids for a few hours so you can get another run in? "
Rob: "But what about you honey? Don't you need to train too?"

Shev: "Don't sweat it hon. I am a survivor just like you. As long as your still here with us and healthy, I don't really need to exercise. You just go. Later, after I fix you dinner, let's have sex again. We really need to make the most of these moments while your still healthy." (eyes fawn, and she grins)  
Rob: "Sure Babe" (yawn)

Shev: "What's wrong honey?"
gazing into her eyes lovingly...
Rob: "I noticed your eyes are a bit uneven, and by your eyes I mean your breasts."

I swat her butt and jog out the door.... 

[IMAGINATION: End of scene 1]

Disclaimer: Despite her claims of my continued effort to drive her out of her "goddamn mind" and turn her every waking hour into some kind of living nightmare my wife admitted (under duress) she still loves me! 

Awww, now ain't that cute :-)!

*** I don't have the guts to actually try this experiment because my wife can bench press over 175 lbs and I've seen her mad.  For the time being, it's  just a thought experiment but I am hoping one of you might try it let me know how it goes IRL.

Ford Re-Introduces the Model T Line That Made It Great

DEARBORN, MI—Still reeling from a $12.6 billion loss last year and a steadily declining customer base, the Ford Motor Company announced plans Monday to invest its entire third- and fourth-quarter manufacturing and advertising budgets into reintroducing the Model T, one of history's best known and most innovative car models.

While Mulally admits that the initial cost of producing the so-called "Tin Lizzies" will be an enormous investment, the company will save millions of dollars by paying workers on the man-powered assembly lines—once considered a revolutionary breakthrough—wages at 1911 rates. Working in back-to-back 10-hour shifts, employees should be capable of producing 20 to 25 units per week, meaning the 32,000 Model Ts that Mulally believes will lift the company out of near bankruptcy will be on the road within six years.

Regaining Historic Market Share

Source: The Onion

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Real Life Pac Man

Ok. This is really immature but then again, so am I. If you grew up playing Pac Man you will immediately get this.....I couldn't stop laughing. Wish I'd thought of it first.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Here Today, Here Tomorrow.

On my way into the office I notice a billboard for my hometown bank that read "Commerce Bank. Here today. Here Tomorrow." While it is certainly an achievable level of service that won't create unrealistic customer expectations don't, you agree it's kinda lame? I mean, another way to read this is "We promise not to go out of business and close our doors." Is it possible for my bank to offer less service? How about, "Commerce. We Don't Do Anything but we are open every day."

I am pondering this all after dropping the kids off. I pull in and fill up my tank with really cheap gas (one upside of economic recession). I get back in the car and the darn thing will not start! Cripes! Anyway, I call the dealer who happens to be caticorner (wtf is caticorner?) to the gas station. Not 2 minutes later a van pulls up, jump starts my car and I drive to the dealer. THey immediately drop what they are doing and put a new battery in. 20 minutes tops and a free coffee later I am back on the road to ruin! I turned them down but they even offered a free wash! THAT IS SERVICE (although, this story really doesn't work on a billboard)!!!!!


Now here's the kind of signage that makes me want to pull in and check it out!

I will say that Commerce is a fine bank and my family business has had accounts for many years but I have to give em a hard time about this one.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Same Old Crap

A lot of people are saying that the guitar work on Sympathy for the Devil, off The Runs' latest CD (Same Old Crap), is "the best jamming [they've] heard since early Angus Young," or "on par with Neil Young makin' it scream live on 'Down by the River'" or "simply cannot be played loud enough or often enough." But that's just most people.

-- Anonymous (ok, maybe not)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

See Surfwise!

Jon Poskowitz from MarieLynn on Vimeo.

This is not running related but check out satarist Stephen Colbert's interview of former world long board surfing champ Jon Paskowitz. After watching this interview I rented the documentary featured in this interview. The film is Surfwise. It centers around his family. His father is a medical doctor dedicated to treating the poor. Dr Paskowitz lived a very unusual life. He believed he was giving his family the most valuable and challenging education they could ever hope to receive by living on the beach (in a 14 ft rv camper) and surfing. I am guessing that not in a million years would my wife agree to any of this. She hates to even use the restroom at Denny's let alone live in a camper. It is facinating to see someone do something you'd never dare to do. Hey, I guess it works for them. Although unorthodox, they aren't any more neurotic than the rest of us.


Quote of the day.....

its looking like i may have to push to 6:15 departure time. i've got to take collin to theater at 6:00

i've got a headlamp and am not afraid to use it...

-- Mike Krause replying to my email

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ryan Ori's Thoughts on The New Garmin 405

I've been using the Garmin 405 for a few months. The first one they shipped repeatedly froze up, but Garmin mailed a new one and it works great. One of my regular running partners also has the 405, and we both agree it takes some time to get used to the touchiness of the bezel. If you accidentally wander into the wrong mode, it can be extremely confusing trying to navigate back to the correct screen. Once you get used to jumping around by light taps on the bezel, and once you learn to keep the watch in locked mode while running to prevent accidental taps, it seems a lot easier to use. One other minor complaint: the 405 seems like it needs to be recharged more often than the older models.

On the plus side: The new model seems to be remarkably accurate and consistent in computing distances. My old Garmin used to cut out in heavily wooded areas, around taller buildings, etc., but the 405 does a much better job of holding a GPS signal. The 405 isn't as bulky. It looks and feels more like a regular watch. If you're big on lots of bells and whistles, like downloading workouts or loading course maps into your watch before a race, the 405 offers plenty of toys.

I would recommend getting the watch and playing around with it before using it in a race. Once you're comfortable with it, you'll really like it.


Ryan lives and runs in with the Illinois Valley Striders in Peoria Il. He writes for the Journal Star to support his running addiction.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Use Hills To Your Advantage! (alternate title: How to be Eff'n Faster Than Schroff)

-- By Adam White

Simply stated, hill training is imperative to the success of any runner. I don’t care if you are shooting for the Olympic 5k finals or trying to break four hours in the marathon, at some point, getting faster will require more strength. One of the purest and most direct tools in developing “running strength” can only be gained by hill training. Now stating that, I don’t want to get into some hair-splitting argument about the exception to the rule, for in everything, especially running where anomalies are ever-present, there is a case to prove or disprove anyone’s point. I will agree there are some people who have achieved great successes without doing much hill training. There are also some individuals whose body simply doesn’t respond well to hill training for a variety of issues. Consequently, that person has to keep hills out of a training program. Nonetheless, my argument would still be the same, how fast could they have been if they had run hills?

I want to clarify the phrase “running strength.” I regard running strength as a fusion of the psyche and body within the act of running. If you want to get faster, you have to get stronger - both physically and mentally. Neither of these two happens by accident. Getting stronger in these two arenas requires one to push his/her body into areas that cause the senses to be bombarded by a variety of different degrees of discomfort. Invariably, pain is guaranteed to clash with your senses. As a result, you must train you body and mind to respond to this physical pain and psychological anguish. One might think that I’m being overly dramatic. Admittingly, my enjoyment of running has sadistic and masochistic roots, but I don’t think that I’m overstating anything when I say that running uphill ‘effin hurts!! Granted, it’s also rewarding as all get up to persevere through a quality hill session. However, the thoughts that go through most people’s heads ¾ of the way up a hill is usually, “Holy S*@#! I think that I need to slow the down!! I might ’effin die!” Being able to overcome these intense feelings and thoughts takes practice. Thus practicing running uphill aggressively in a variety of different applications is necessary. This builds strength, true running strength.

It’s probably a good time to re-state that which goes without saying: when running hills, good form is more important than pace. Proper form when running hills is making sure that your both is properly positioned against the incline of the hill. If you are asking yourself, “What does this mean, and how would I know how to find this position?” This position can be found by imagining a rope coming from the center of your skull pulling your body straight upward toward the sky. This position should place your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles in a straight line with one another exactly against the percentage of incline. Consequently, when ascending extreme grades, the ground in front of you just might be within reach!! Now that we have our shoulder-hip-knee alignment established we can focus on the leg and arm mechanics.

Strong arm and knee drive are critical to strong hill running. The arm drive helps lift the knees. So, if you can’t lift your arms then your knee drive will slow. If you knee drive slows then so to will your pace – rapidly!! When you lift your knees make sure that your foot is properly dorsiflexed and coming down with as close to a mid-foot strike as possible. If you are over-striking your heel then your body’s momentum is being broken when trying to ascend. By the same token, if you are prancing too much on your toes then you are putting more stress on your calves than necessary. This can lead to prematurely “deadening” your legs in the workout or race. Remember, properly running hills is supposed to hurt! I would far rather have an athlete be walk-running up a hill but with perfect form than seeing someone flailing through a workout. Compromising form quality in a hill workout will drastically diminish the quality of results of that workout.

Since racing is an application of training, let’s start with hill training. What is the best way to do hill training? The answer to this question is not a simply one, for there are many different applications of training on hills depending on what part of the engine you are trying to work. Traditional “hill repeats” are commonly found in successful training programs. These repeats refer to finding a hill that is 200m to ½ mile in length and doing a number of repeats at a certain pace with a specified recovery. However, hill training should be more than just doing a few hill “repeats” every couple weeks. Some type of “hill” discipline must be happening far more frequently.

As an athlete who still enjoys competing and one who has a small bit of experiencing, I think there are two other hill workouts that need to be worked on regularly. The first is a workout that consists of taking a particularly hill route and establish a time for the run…say 70 minutes. Give yourself a set warm up and cool down time (10 minutes) and you’re off! Now after your warm up, every time you come to the bottom of a hill you need to pick up the pace for a period of time (usually 2-3 minutes). Now if your time is expiring just as you are coming to the bottom of another hill, then it is time to do another one. At 35 minutes turn around and continue with these “surges” until you have ten minutes remaining and then cool down.

The other workout is done on the same type of course but this time you must surge hard at the top of every hill for a period of time (1-3 minutes). The same rules apply. Naturally, there is a ton of opportunities to modify and customize these workouts. The principle of the workouts must be maintained: While engaging in continuous running, a runner must learn how to successfully respond to the entire hill.

Notice, I said respond. I am not suggesting that all runners who want to get faster need to learn how to annihilate hills, that’s silly. Responding to a hill means that one is able to evaluate the hill at the bottom of the hill the energy it is going to take to maintain a solid pace and form through the incline, and still allow the runner to crest the top by truly accelerating back to “race pace” as soon as possible as the inclines levels off. This is the point of hill running that people often forget. Getting up the hill is half the battle; the hardest part is teaching the body and mind to accelerate at the top of a hill when all of its senses are saying “we’re at the top, time to relax cause I’m hurting!”

Now might be a logical time to that some of you will be asking what percentage of total effort does all of this translate out to? “Am I supposed to start at 50% effort, and then ¾ of the way up go to 80%, and then being at 95% effort at the top? Or should I start at 70%, drop to….?” You get my point - forget percentages. You’re already over thinking the hill. The hill doesn’t think, it simply is. Your job is to conquer the hill, not let the hill conquer you! If you are training with a GPS you should be pushing to have your pace be virtually the same between ascent, level, and descents. That should be your goal. I know easier said than done. You conquer a hill when you are strong enough to endure its length while being able to come off the top and physically surge in order to make up time from the time you may have lost going up the hill. If you run hills thinking of this, I think that most people will find that hill running cannot be dissected mathematically, hills must be finessed. No one can out-muscle a hill, that attitude will lead to the hills conquering you by going out too fast and getting served half way up the hill or half way through the workout!! Either way, you didn’t pace yourself properly and didn’t leave enough fuel in the tank to either crest the top or finish the workout. The bottom line is when you get to the top of a hill and you are racing, your legs and lungs should hurt. However, you should have the strength, psychologically and physically, to overcome that discomfort and step down in order to return to race pace as quickly as possible.

By being able to surge at the top of a hill is not only important to help one return to race pace as quickly as possible, but it is also a great opportunity to gap your competition. Since the natural tendency of a person is to relax at the top of a hill, and it is clear that most people don’t incorporate adequate hill running into his/her training program, I think it goes without saying that one who has trained on hills has a great opportunity to gain an advantage mentally or physically by gaping their competition going up or coming off the crest of a hill. A person who has trained properly on hills has composure on the ascent. This is something that can often be sensed and seen in a runner while moving “up” the hill. While everyone else is straining to keep pace, the properly trained runner moves with greater ease and relaxation. While everyone else’s breathing elevates and becomes increasingly shallow, the properly trained runner only elevates. Finally, as the top approaches and everyone else is slowing to the point of sometimes that of a walk pace, the properly trained runner can literally accelerate in the final stages of the ascent and continue that surge through the next 200-400 meters.

I know that I have not differentiated between the differences between practicing on hills and racing on hills. Practice teaches us to race. Therefore, when practicing hills, it should be with the thought and effort that one will eventually need to race on hills. Consequently, practicing hills is often times more uncomfortable than actually racing on them. Practice your hills with intensity and tenacity, the same way you want to race on them. Successful hill running is not the one who attacks the bottom of the hill kamikaze style and crawling up the last half. A successful hill runner is one who can maintain pace as much as possible on the ascent and who can surge over the top. Train with control and composure, always putting forth an “A” effort when your training calls for a hill workout!

-- Adam White Owns Running Central in Peoria Illinois. He's ALWAYS helpful and one of Peoria Illinois best! I asked him to be a contributer to Faster-than-Schroff (thanks Adam!). The address for the store is 700 Main Street phone (309)676-6378. You will NOT be dissapointed!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Canal Connect 2008


Halloween Fun!

I beat my family home on Halloween so I could get a 4 1/2 mile barefoot run in around my neighborhood.  It was a bit farther than I had run barefoot in a while and my feet were feeling it.  Then I decided to go trick or treating barefoot as well which in hindsite wasn't such a good idea.  I had a 20 mile run planned for Saturday and by the end of the night I found standing in the cool grass to be releaving.  Not a good sign.  Luckily I didn't get any big blisters and my run went off w/out a hitch.  I dressed up as a monkey in running gear and the Danimal came by with his daughter to join the fun.