I’m not going to lie: I LOL’d. Can we just start the Tokyo games now?
The usually quiet Prime Minister emerged from a green warp pipe that’s commonly seen in Mario games – as well as in the animated presentation that tied into his appearance, shown on the screens in the stadium.
We spend so much of our time focused on how different we all are. We speak different languages. We practice different religions. We are from such different places.
You don’t have to look very far when watching the Olympics to find someone who is very different from you. They were born in Bulgaria, China, and Kenya. They escaped war-torn Eritrea with their family as a child. They come in every skin tone from the darkest ebony to the lightest ivory, and have names like Enkelejda Shehaj, Nana Fa’avesi, and Kanak Jha. Tattoo. Piercing. Hijab.
And that’s just on Team USA.
The thing is, you don’t have to look very far to find someone exactly like you, either. There’s 19-year old Simone Biles, who I’m convinced one day is going to make the transition from figurative to literal flying, and no one is going to be surprised. Or cyclist Kristin Armstrong, who turned 43 the day after crossing the finish line in the time trial, asking simply “Did I win?” and collapsing in exhaustion.
Maybe the Fiji Men’s Rugby Sevens team is more like you. Forget their homes: some of their home towns don’t even have electricity.
Or Sarah Robles, who joked after the competition that the reason she yells before each lift is to drown out all the voices in her head. While you might not be a weightlifter, you probably have those voices, too. I know I do. They tell her that she can’t do what she’s about to do. She yells, knowing that when the voice on the outside is louder than all the ones on the inside, she can do it.
Possibly Abbey D’Agostino, who encouraged Nikki Hamblin to get up and finish their 5,000 meter race after the two got tangled up, only to have Hamblin return the favor a few moments later, when D’Agostino realized just how injured her knee really was.
How about Fu Yuanhui, the swimmer that didn’t know she had won the bronze metal until the reporter told her halfway through this interview? That’s worth a second look, or a first one if you haven’t seen it yet. This video starts right after she found out.
That very likely wasn’t in a language you speak. It doesn’t need to be. She just like you.
Monica Puig. Mo Farah. Ibtihaj Muhammad. Usain Bolt. Katie Ledecky. Zahra Nemati. Meb Keflezighi. People just like you and me. Even when they are nothing like you and me.
Later this evening, a crier will walk on stage in Rio, and call upon the youth of the world to assemble in four years. All of us grown ups will go back to focusing on how different we all are.
Meanwhile, the youth of the world will look on in wonder, and think that assembling in four years sounds like fantastic idea. They will start dreaming of being the next fencer, or judoka, or master of any other sport that, three weeks ago, they may not have even knew existed. All because they saw someone competing at the highest level, sometimes winning, sometimes losing. Sometimes winning even while they are losing.
Someone exactly like them, even when they were completely different.
I don’t use Strava, and it looks like more people use it for biking than running, but this is interesting. A heat map of where people all over bike and/or run, making it easy to find new places to exercise.
100 million rides and runs, 220 billion data points visualizing the best roads and trails worldwide.
Source: Strava Global Heatmap
I hate running in the cold. Can’t stand it. I would rather run when it’s 100° outside and 90% humidity, with sweat in my eyes and a grimace on my face. I’ll take the heat, and you can have the cold. Hate hate hate. (I’m using the word hate here about running in the cold.)
The only problem is, I love running in the snow.
First off, it’s just pretty. Everything has a little white toupee on it. Except the ground, of course, which has on a big white blanket. Everything looks familiar, but strange. If you have right running spot, or are really eager, you get to be the first person putting down tracks.
And it’s hard work. Every step is an adventure, because you’re just always a second away from having your feet slide out from under you, and if the snow is a little crusty, you never know just how far your foot is going to sink into it before it finds something solid to push-off on. In that way, it’s like running on a sandy beach. (In every other way, it’s exactly not like running on the beach.) With every step being a struggle just to stay vertical, snow makes you check your pace-minding lizard brain’s ego and focus on the effort.
Today was a great day to start training for the year, because it was about 40º outside, so close to being warm enough to wear shorts, and there was a nice layer of snow covering the old railroad tracks between Barnesville and Baileys Mills. I knew I wouldn’t be the first set of tracks, but there wouldn’t be many.
Out the door, and into the woods.
The plan was to take a six-mile run, with the three out miles (all of which are downhill) being at a leisurely pace, and the three in miles (all uphill, naturally) at a half marathon effort. Plans changed quickly, though, when the ‘leisurely’ pace of 10:15 for the first mile had me puffing like steam engine. Four inches of crusty snow were having its way with me. Egos were checked, executive decisions were made, and the out section became the hard effort portion, finished at an average pace of 10:31 and feeling hard-worked, but great. No problem, turn around, and ease your way home.
Mile four? 13:08 and swearing off running for the rest of my life. Mile five? 13:38 and wondering if this hill is ever going to end. Mile six checked in at a trudging 14:06, for a section average of 13:37, and an overall run average of 12:04. Legs ached, lungs burned, and despite my best efforts, egos were a bit bruised.
But running is like that, sometimes. “Man, it feels so good to be training again!” can quickly turn into “what in the name of everything holy am I doing?” You keep pushing, you keep grinding, and you keep looking for the little wins. Today, that win came in looking back to the first training session of last year.
February 4th, 2014: 5 miles, 12:08 average pace. A mile shorter, and four seconds per mile slower, than today’s run. And just like that, it suddenly felt good to be training again.
I’m still getting together my racing schedule for the year, but I know that I’m going to do the Ogden Half Marathon Classic in Wheeling, West Virginia again this year. The 29th Street Hill is a bit like fighting a kraken: it is a two-mile, 600-foot climb that never seems to end. (Seriously, go over to halfmarathon.net and check out the elevation profile. It’s a monster.) To say that the climb absolutely stinks is like saying that a giraffe is a bit tall, but the crowd at the top in Bethlehem makes it worth while. Those people are awesome.
I’m also planning on tackling the Columbus Marathon again in the fall. Arch City kicked me squarely in the hindquarters last year, and yet it was such an amazing experience that I still haven’t been able to put it into words. Maybe some day.
This year for Christmas I thought I’d take a swing at a Columbus hopped Christmas IPA, flavored with walnut infused bourbon, cinnamon, and nutmeg. With any luck, they’ll be ready just in time for the family Christmas party. Here’s the recipe.
Place walnuts into a clean jar, cover with the bourbon, and seal. Set aside for bottling.
Bring 14 quarts of strike water to 163º F. Mash all grains for 60 minutes at 153º F. First runnings will be approximately 11 quarts. Sparge with 7 quarts for 20 minutes at 163º F. Total pre-boil volume will be 4 ½ gallons.
Boil for 60 minutes following this addition schedule:
Cool wort to 75º F, take OG measurement, and pitch yeast. Final volume should be 3 gallons.
|11/16/2014||1.018||Racked to secondary|
|12/7/2014||1.016||Secondary Complete. 5.6% ABV|
Strain the bourbon through a fine mesh filter and into a medium sauce pan. Add ground cinnamon, priming sugar, and water. Boil and cool to 70º F. Mix in with beer and bottle.
Up until today, I had never taken an ice bath. They seemed so, well, cold. So what if they help you recover? They are cold. All that ice bath abstaining ended today.
Next Saturday I’m running in the Parkersburg Half Marathon. So this week, to give myself a bit of rest in general and as a taper for the half marathon, I’m taking a slight break in my training for the Columbus Marathon, dropping my mileage a bit and letting the legs get rested. But, as the week wore on, my legs didn’t seem to be feeling much better than typical. In fact, they felt heavier than usual the longer the runs went on. Time for drastic measures.
As far as I can tell from my short experience, ice baths have five unique stages:
I’m not about an hour removed and have warmed back up again, and the legs do feel better than they did before the run, so I’m guessing that the ice bath was a success. Depending on how the legs feel tomorrow, I might have to take them more often.
As I mentioned earlier, the road to Columbus runs through Parkersburg next weekend, and we are quickly approaching the 70-day mark before my first marathon. The Columbus Marathon benefits Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, and I am honored to be helping fund-raise as a Children’s Champion with a personal fund-raising goal of $1,000. Anyone that would like to help me can donate directly to Nationwide Children’s Hospital on my fund-raising page or, if you prefer to mail in a check, you can download a donation form.
No donation is too small; many hands make light work.
Back to racing this morning at the Hospice of Guernsey Flamingo Run in Cambridge. This was the first year for this event, I think, but they put together a really nice event.
Basically the entire route was small rolling hills, nothing super steep, but you just constantly had to be thinking about them. The biggest of the hills (both in distance and steepness) were over the first mile of the course, first down, then back up out of the valley. The portion through Northwood Cemetery was mostly flat, but winding back and forth between St. Louis and Portland Avenues made for climbing the same hill a couple times on adjacent streets. After making its way back to the park, the course went up a short but steep hill and back into the park for the finish.
Final time for me was 23:50, good for a new PR and 1st in my age group, so that was pretty cool. All the proceeds for the run went to help out Hospice of Guernsey and the great work they do, and that was very cool. The event was also the first one that both Mom and I participated in, and that was absolutely awesome!
I’ll be finishing up the weekend with a 14-mile long run tomorrow, the last long before the Parkersburg News & Sentinel Half Marathon on the 16th. Going to be tough to wait two weeks for that one.
I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks on my running progress. Even though I only ran a race in two consecutive weeks, it has felt odd not racing the last couple. It has made a big difference in my long Sunday runs, making them faster and easier to complete.
I have noticed something funny when looking at the mile splits for my long runs recently, an anomaly I call The Feeling Bad for Myself Mile. I thought at first that it was just because I was overworking myself with races the day before long runs, but it’s continued even without races. The run over the weekend was a great example. Twelve miles, averaging 9:09 overall, with the slowest mile checking in at 9:18…
Except for The Feeling Bad for Myself Mile. 10:12 for that one.
I was grumpy, I was hot, and all the fun has gone out of running. Each week, right smack in the middle, there’s a mile that is horribly off the pace. Just awful. Bad bad bad, and that ain’t good.
I’m not sure if I should be alarmed by this or not. I seem to come back strong after The Feeling Bad for Myself Mile; before it I averaged 9:09, right on pace, but after it, I averaged 8:56 and felt good. Guess I’ll just have to watch out for it in the future, and get over it.
Going racing again this weekend at the Hospice of Guernsey’s Flamingo Run in Cambridge, and then a 14-mile long run on Sunday, just for fun. Don’t forget that I’m raising money for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. Tell all your friends. You can give at http://10t.co/brockcm14 or by downloading a donation form and mailing it in.