Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thursday Scramble: December 18, 2014

Grey? Gray? Or December in Chicago
My Magic Kingdom for some sun
I really wish the Walt Disney World Marathon would get here (Jan 11th). Not because I'm tired of training in the cold (although that is quickly becoming true) and not because I want marathon training to be over. I want it to be here so I can be reminded that somewhere in the world the sun still shines. Schmitty's cue ball good lucks aren't just form, they are functional. My head is like a freakin human solar panel. I need the sun. I love the sun. Why no sun? SUNSHINE WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?!!!!!!

But I digest.

Gadgets!
The Triathlife is now outfitted with the Jawbone Up. It's a fitness tracking band thing worn on the wrist. It tracks my steps by day and my by sleep by night. And it syncs to my iPhone via bluetooth with a clever little smartphone app to collect and track all this data.

Gracious! What did we ever do before the Jawbone Up? How did our ancestors survive? We live in such miraculous times - where you can order a burrito using a smartphone app and then find out how many steps it took to walk from the car to the counter for in-store pick up. SCIENCE!

Jen loves this stuff. It appeals to her Type A nature. To me it's more of a game. And it looks pretty cool on my wrist so there's that.

Like I said, it's called the Jawbone Up but I call it my "jib jab" because for the longest time, out of shear laziness or maybe my contrarian attitude, I refused to put the ever so clever - "Jawbone" - to memory. Kind of like a little boy who can't pronounce his sister's name so she forever becomes known by the cute moniker he created for her. But apparently it's not so cute when a 42 year old man does it. Of course if I were older it would just be kind of sad, like -- "ohhhh, Schmitty is really slipping, isn't he?" Instead I am the recipient of Jen's shaking head and rolling eyes of derision.

In addition to tracking steps, sleep and looking cool, the Jawbone serves as my new alarm clock. It's supposed to buzz me awake during my lightest sleep closest to the set alarm time...the theory is that I will wake more refreshed. The experiment is ongoing and the data collected so far is inconclusive. Though I think it's just a matter of time, one of these mornings, that I throw the damn thing across the room. Light sleep or not.

You know what really grinds my gears?
  • Drivers who back into parking spaces and garages. 
  • The guy at the gym who leaves his sweaty clothes in a festering stink pile under the bench when he goes to shower.
  • Other runners who don't say good morning
  • Men's tapered, ankle, cuff pants. (Don't. Just...no.)
  • Those shifty eyed squirrels and their yo-yo diets. 
-- HIM




Monday, December 8, 2014

Winner, Winner Turkey Dinner.

Team Schmitty went the way of the snowbirds and spent Thanksgiving week in Vero Beach,  Florida.

Vero has a great little 5k Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day. The Turkey Trot Against Hunger put on by the Vero Beach Harvest Food & Outreach Center and The Runners Depot (Vero Beach). All funds go to serve meals to those in need over the holidays and during the year. Lots of money raised. Lots of meals provided.

The race takes place inside one of the city parks...and you get to see ever corner of the park...some of it twice. The course switches back on itself three times (pivot! picot!). Lots of turning and navigating. But Turkey Trots are meant to be fun and this one doesn't disappoint. They even serve a complimentary sweet potato pancake and sausage breakfast afterward complete with coffee and OJ.

Outside. During November. In Florida.

For the first time in The Triathlife history, team Schmitty stood atop the podium in our respective age groups at the very same race. Go us! And Jen notched another PR. So if you're keeping score at home, that's three PRs for Jen this fall - 5k, 10k and half marathon. Yeah. I'll have whatever she's having. 40-something is indeed the new "kick ass!"

This was our second Thanksgiving in Vero Beach in the last three years. The more we venture out and explore the more Schmitty likes this place. It's a wee bit "retire-y" but I enjoy the pace.

WARNING: TRAVEL FACTOIDS AHEAD:
  • Located along Florida's Treasure Coast (insert pirate brogue - arrrrr!) Vero Beach used to be the spring training home of the Los Angeles Dodgers (a 60 year history that extends back to the original Brooklyn Dodgers). 
  • Vero Beach and neighboring Fort Piece Florida (just south of Vero) were home to a rather large naval base during WWII. 
  • The Amphibious Scout and Raider School was established at Fort Pierce...which became the birthplace of the uber specialized Naval Underwater Demolition Teams (UDTs)...the precursor of the Navy Seals. 

Boom! Dropping history all over this piece. You came for the Schmitty and you got served. Served with knowledge. (mic drop)

FYI - If you find yourself in Fort Pierce with a couple hours to spare, stop by the Navy Seal Museum. Jen tolerates my love of history museums but holds them in complete disdain (the walking...the reading...). But even SHE thought the Navy SEAL museum was pretty cool. They even have a brand new Navy SEAL "kids" course outside. Schmitty wanted to see if he had the "right stuff" so I took a go at the monkey bars...and NO not the short monkey bars where my feet could touch....I did the tall ones. And honestly, I don't know what all the fuss is about. Hell week? Whatever. I made it all the way across the monkey bars on my first try. If I wasn't over the age limit I may give that SEALS training a go ;)

Navy SEALS are an incredible sort of individual - that is an understatement. To be able to see the where, why and how is really quite impressive.

-- HIM




Thursday, November 20, 2014

TBT - November 20, 2014

Throw Back Thursday

Let's jump in the way back machine and set the dials to August 22, 1992.

Schmitty's first road race ever - The Crim 10 Miler in downtown Flint, Michigan.

I finished in something like 1:20:43. An 8:04 per mile pace. With little to no training. Ahhhh youth.

I was between my sophomore and junior years of college and was still living at home with my parents. Their home is located in a looped part of a subdivision -- .7 miles around. Occasionally I would head out late at night after school and work (but before Letterman) and I would get in three loops...and I thought I was some kind of something. A whole 2.1 miles. Sheesh, a 10 mile road race? Piece o' cake.

Occasionally I would even run holding my walkman and my summer jams mixed cassette tape.

Cassette tape.

One that I "mixed" together. Using multiple other cassette tapes.

I may have used a dual cassette recorder. But I also may have put one cassette player next to another cassette player. Pushing down the play button on one whilst also pushing down the play AND record button on the other.

Cassette. Tape.

I ran in Nike Pegasus. My first running shoe. Really my only running shoe. I have experimented with so many other running shoes over the years but I have always come back to my first love. I still wear Nike Pegasus. Go me.

And how about that race kit? With my Napoleon complex ("I am not a small!") three sizes too big for Schmitty tank top and cut off sweatpants. All cotton too. From the "whatever is in my closet" collection. You can run in it. You can go outside and mow the lawn in it. And everything in between.

Ignorance! I wish it were all still just that simple. No training plans. No coaches (except you, coach Liz). No sun block. No watch. No warm up. Nutrition? What's that? You mean, are we stopping at Taco Bell afterward? All right then sign me up.

-- HIM.