Thursday, December 29, 2011

Toy Haul

I am such a kid, and nothing brings that out like Christmas.  I've been told that I'm hard to buy for, but not really...anything running (or now swimming related) and you can't go wrong.  What do kids do right after Christmas?  They play with their toys then brag about them.  This year's running "toy haul."

Engraved iPod

Didn't ask for this one nor did I expect it.  My wife gave me a new iPod (I've worn out two of them on countless or should I say counted runs on DailyMile.)  Not just any ole iPod--this one's engraved with SeekingBostonMarathon.Com.  Bet you want one of those!

Swimming with Music
Swimming with the heck do you do that without ruining your third iPod in as many years? h2oAudio makes a waterproof case for the above mentioned iPod Shuffle endorsed by none other than Natalie Coughlin.  I've taken it out for a test spin already and it works as advertised.  My only problem is that my playlist is totally a runner's cadence playlist--not made for longer smoother swim strokes.  Not sure that Van Halen makes for a smooth 1500 yard swim--more like dropping a prop motor into the harbor.

Runner's World Calendar

Pretty sad when I'm drooling over a calendar and it's not a swimsuit edition or Minka Kelly, but this will be a page turner with great photos, running tips and a list of marys and half marys throughout the year.  Another "keeper" from the in-laws.

Best Gift of Them All

You're thinking how can you top that?  Last year marked my daughter's 16th birthday and I'd promised her a trip to New York City.  We went right before Christmas and had an absolute blast.  A Broadway play (Wicked,) visit to the 9/11 Memorial, Rockefeller Center, Macy's on 34th St., and of course lot's of shopping for her.  Years from now, I'm sure she will reflect on what a special moment it was especially with the holidays in the air. #priceless

Ironically my calendar has a shot of runners on the Brooklyn Bridge.  I'd packed my run gear and had hoping to run over that bridge on my trip.  I'd already notched Central Park off my running bucket list (future blog story?) but hadn't hit the bridge which we could see from our hotel.  My run gear stayed in the bag as our itinerary was packed with activities for her and it didn't bother me at all.  We drove over the bridge on our last day which served as motivation for my other bucket list item of running the New York City Marathon.

Brooklyn Bridge from Ty Godwin on Vimeo.

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and I think he's a runner.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Glass Half Full: Year in Review

It was a year that was and a year that wasn't.  A runner can't really complain about a year that included running in the Boston Marathon, but if adversity makes a man stronger, I'm in for a "whale of a" year in 2012. My running highlights, lowlights and a look ahead; read 'em and weep.

Boston Marathon

Boston:  How can a year be a down year when you ran Boston?  2011 marked my second year in a row running the Boston Marathon.  Surprisingly, this was my ONLY marathon in 2011, so if you were to only pick one to run, you couldn't find a better race.  Weather was perfect (with a tailwind no less) and it was a special one as my sister and her husband made the long trek from Colorado to watch her "baby brother" compete.  My Boston race report here.  I had my Andy Warhol "fifteen minutes of fame" as Runner's World's Facebook Page showed yours truly as I headed to Boston.  While I had a BQ for 2012, it wasn't fast enough to gain entry, so my streak has ended, but it's provided extra motivation for this coming race year.

Discovering my alter ego; Triathlete

Just like I stumbled into marathon racing in my adult life, I tripped into triathlon competition.  Due to injury and over training, I needed a competition fix to counter the running withdrawals I was going through without marathon racing. 

My supporting team of coaches, Drs. and PT's told me to take the rest of the year off from marathon'ing to recharge my run battery.  I didn't see any "fine print" that told me I couldn't swim or bike so I poured my energy into learning how to swim and bike.  I knew so little about triathlons, I literally couldn't even spell it.  I pushed a swim lesson...borrowed a bike and was determined to not embarrass myself.  Just as I became a run addict, I'm hooked on tri's.  Perhaps three podiums in my first three ever triathlons had something to do with that.  I'm not retiring from marathoning (more on that later,) but I plan to compete in more tri's next summer as part of my cross-training.

My favorite blog of the year:
Picking out my favorite SeekingBostonMarathon blog story is like trying to pick out your favorite child.  Some of this year's favorites include; "I was Beat up by a Ballerina," "Fox in Socks, Socks that Rock," "You Know You're a Marathon Addict When," and "Sore Nipple Calculator."

My favorite was, "Why Triathlons Are Like Frat Houses." "At times, you are taking your clothes off as fast as you can, but you're not very good at it." 

The toughest blog to write yet most liberating was "Behind Blue Eyes: Angels & Demons" which chronicled the other obstacles that dragged me and my running year down.  Not a "pick me up" story so flip the channel to the Frat House blog if you're looking for the funnier side of SeekingBostonMarathon.

A Lump of Coal

Clearly my Dr. imposed six months off from marathoning had me a bit "out of sight, out of mind" as I was rejected by the local running store's race team.  Rejected by the BAA and the race team in the same year.  I haven't had this much rejection since High School.  I can only conclude I'm more popular in the virtual world vs. real world or I have a face made for radio.  Perhaps my writing is not politically correct and has too many "F bombs."  Perhaps I should clean up my act..."Fuck that."  The good news is that Chico's Bail Bonds is looking for runners to sponsor, so I've got a Plan B.

Looking Ahead

I ended this year on a high note by delivering on a promise to take my daughter to New York for her 16th birthday.  Nothing better than New York city at Christmas.  I packed my run gear, but the weekend was all about her and I didn't run once.  I did have a running premonition as we drove over the Brooklyn Bridge heading out of town.

I've spent the last couple of months ramping up my weekly mileage and speed with plans to start my first marathon training plan in nearly nine months in January.  My energy level is good, but still in denial about some pain in my left hip.  I'm working my "bump wheel" with the physical therapists and chiropractors I've relied on in the past.  The "glass half full" is that I can run the Colorado Marathon for the first time in May which I've always wanted to run, but it didn't fit into my race schedule.  Registration already booked.  My other "circle the calendar" race planned for 2012 is my favorite half; Georgetown to Idaho Springs (also in Colorado.)

My goals for the year?  Another BQ and trying for my first NYQ (thus the premonition.)  Ambitious perhaps, but not when you consider I'm entering a new age bracket this coming year.  Never thought I'd think or write those words that I'm glad that I'm a year older, and hopefully a bit wiser.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

Took my Daughter to NYC for her 16th Birthday this last weekend. #priceless

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Anna-Nicole's Christmas List

Aside for my passion for running and writing about it, my family is my true passion and nothing brings that out like Christmas.

In 2001, I wrote and illustrated a book for my daughter, "Anna-Nicole's Christmas List." It was a very personal gift that she liked at the time and I hope that each year she looks forward to pulling it out of the Christmas decorations box just like I do.

Ironically, this was within the first year of my discovery of running, and even back then, running made it's way into my writing...although I referred to the shoes she wanted as tennis shoes. I don't use those words just like I don't care for the word, "jogging."

Hope you enjoy the book narrated by a Anna-Nicole when she was six. She's now 16 and a Jr. in High School and I think she still believes in the message from the book. One of my "bucket list" items is to publish this book perhaps along with "Seeking Boston Marathon."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Two Bad Christmas Gift Ideas & A Brady Bunch Life Lesson

I've blogged about my kids here before with their run and swim exploits, and while this one doesn't include running or swimming, it is too classic not to share.

Call me weak, a bad parent, or suffering from a lapse in parental judgment but the "man cave" in our house boasts a PS3 with a number of games including the popular "Call of Duty." It should be renamed "boy cave" as I've been overrun by the boys, but occasionally reclaim my lair for NFL on the Plasma while dipping into the almost freezing beer fridge. I resist the temptation to blow up aliens or race strangers online in the virtual world as my personality is too obsessive to get sucked into something with no significance yet I feel I need to master.

The real lapse in parental judgment (I'm sure there are already critics who have the score as lapses=two) was caving in on the boys request for airsoft guns. When I was a kid, I had a BB gun which would be used to shoot empty Coors cans in the backyard when parents weren't home so it would be hypocritical of me to not allow them to have the modern-day equivalent...right? (Insert Christmas Story's "you'll shoot your eye out!")

After publishing a list of rules and having them literally sign a safety contract, they had their guns (and of course safety goggles.) Two of the obvious rules were; always outdoors and always wear safety goggles. Independent of that, the most egregious house rule violation is lying.

We have a long list of toys our kids talked us into (the remote control alien car comes to mind.) The airsoft guns were used a few times with friends--the coolest battlefield is the temporarily abandoned spec home in a wooded area near one of my son's friend's home. Kinda like a "Dirty Harry" police academy. Eventually, the guns were set aside next to the alien car...a poor return on the parent investment dollar.

Last night, we're eating dinner and one of our boys comes downstairs with a red dot in the middle of his forehead that resembled a Hindu bindi (traditional red dot of jewelry.) One thing my boys haven't figured out yet is that parents don't need the lie detector test...we usually can sniff out the bullshit pretty quickly. The story went, that "I hit my head on the counter" cleaning the bathroom. First dead the bathroom...REALLY?!?...why not say you were doing homework...both are hard to believe, but anything is more believable than the bathroom story. Second dead giveaway...the wound didn't match the story--thank you Dexter.

I let it pass...trying to build "I trust you" with one of the boys. Just like Carol and Mike Brady discovered the broken vase in the family room and whose basketball broke it, one lie spins another and another before the truth unravels. Best accounting of what actually happened was that "we were horsing around" and Jesse shot me. Jesse's excuse was his brother forgot to set the safety. Both didn't fly with me and the "fine print" on their airsoft contract was any infractions and their gear would be on CraigsList. (Posting here.) The only proud moment was that as far as shots go, it was a perfect "killshot" symmetrically placed in the middle of the forehead. Perhaps too much time playing Call of Duty. An inch to the left and and an inch lower and we would have had a Christmas Story "you shot his eye out!" COD and airsoft guns make my two gifts NOT to give your teen this year.

Author's Footnote: While my writing style is light in nature, I cover topics sometimes that are not. We had stern discussions around gun safety before and after this incident. I grew up in a house where I wouldn't dare point even a plastic gun at another human or I'd suffer dire consequences. My kids are good kids and I'm generally a good parent with occasional lapses in judgment. More books, swim, run and martial arts gear in store for Christmas vs. the alternative.

Friday, December 9, 2011

I kicked Santa's Ass

Do times and placement count when it's a run, not a race?  As I've mentioned before, I have a hard time "running" in a race vs. "racing" in a race or not racing in a run.  Such was the case this last weekend, when the family loaded up the Griswold wagon for a trip to the Colorado mountains for a holiday weekend--complete with two Rusty's in the back seat (see National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation if the above made no sense, or consult the glossary at the bottom.)  Colorado had their Wassail Days' winter festival in the cool (it was actually quite cold) mountain town of Frisco, Colorado this last weekend.  Frisco boasts distinctive mountain charm far away from the drama and pretentiousness that you'd find in Aspen or Telluride (Charlie Sheen's ex-wife was arrested in the later the same weekend.)  Fraser is my kinda town.
Santa and my two "Rustys"

The weekend events included a chili cook-off, main street tree lighting, a Santa run "Dash for Cash," and lots of Wassail.  I had to ask my wife what Wassail was; essentially a holiday cider.  Framed by the Colorado Rockies with a light dusting of snow throughout the weekend was enough to get anyone into the Christmas spirit, and my wife is smart enough to lure me up there with a race.

Santa's Dash for Cash was a one mile "fun run" down main street with envelopes filled with "Wassail bucks" and cold hard cash awaiting the runners completing the race.  There were some items missing from the event that would indicate a "race."

No overall winner and age group category winners.
No bibs.
No timing chips.
No water stations (it was only a mile.)
No aid stations

YET...there were some signs of a typical race that got my competitive juices flowing;

Active.Com managed the Registration
There was a registration desk (but no bib or chip.)
The course was closed with police escorts and orange barrels.
The "finish" had the inflatable balloon finish line.
There was a timer/clock at the finish.
Plenty of runners that had the gear and runner's swagger.
Spectators cheering on the runners.

Fueled by a few cups of Wassail and the above, I took off at a sub-5K pace on the gentle downhill course from the RTD lot on the edge of town down mainstreet to the other side.  The fastest run/race I've ever run which was essentially at my Yasso 800 pace.  Unofficially (I ran naked) I ran my first sub six minute mile race and came in 5th overall and based on sizing up runners one through four; I was first in my age group and had my first cash prize--my envelope had a crisp Abraham Lincoln.  It was also my first race in blue jeans.  We ended the day with dinner and hanging out at the Moose Jaw; a great place after a day's worth of activity to un-wind and meet some locals.

Don't rain on my Santa parade...I know it was a fun run...I know my Garmin, nor BAA were there to validate my time, but let me have my holiday in the sun.  First overall in my age group for the first time with a cash reward!  Yes, Virginia, I do believe in Santa Claus.


Griswold:  American Family depicted in National Lampoon's Vacation movies lead by Clark (my alter ego.)
Rusty:  Miscreant son of Clark Griswold.
Wassail:  Fancy name for apple cider.
Run Naked:  Not as fun as it sounds.  Running without music or a Garmin.
BAA:  Boston Athletic Association who manages the marathon this blog is based on chasing.
Yasso 800:  Two laps around a high school track or 1/2 mile.  Used for speed training and a metric for predicting marathon finish times.
Lincoln:  A U.S. $5 bill.  Below the IRS race winnings reporting requirement guidelines.  At least my interpretation thereof.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pay for Play

Authors Note:  A rare non-running or swimming commentary on the sad state of High School sports.

When you hear the word valor, you think of heroism, gallantry, courage, and in the case of High School Sports, sportsmanship.  If you live in Denver, Colorado, it has a much different connotation; theivery, and cheating.

As expected, Valor Christian (is that an oxymoron?) beat up on Pine Creek (66-10) this last weekend in the 4A championship game.  I can't recall a more lopsided victory; it looked like the Colorado Buffalo's (the National Champ version of 1990, not the powderpuff 2012 version) beating up on on the tiny local schools of Wray or Holyoke Colorado. 

In their previous divisional playoff game they pummeled Castle View High School 54-7.  It wasn't even that close as they invoked the "mercy rule" and ran the clock and started putting in the "scrubs" in the second half.

Sour grapes?  No.  I live in the U.S. which is based on good ole fashioned capitalism, but should capitalism apply to high school sports?  Apparently, Valor reads a different bible than the one I read as a lad in Sunday school because everything is fair game in the name of winning a game or in their case, "loading" a football team.

Relatively new (opened in 2007) on the Denver High School scene, Valor took in big bucks ($93M) to build a campus that rivals the in-state University's and apparently used the same approach in sports--the best team money could buy. 

Saturday was their third straight football championship in as many years.  Everyone in Colorado that doesn't attend Valor cheer against them as if they were the Oakland Raiders or Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Denver's local news station, Channel 7 ran a story on the team's questionable recruiting practices.  The Colorado High School Activities Association's rule 1900.2 says "no school representative shall recruit any student or solicit or encourage any other person to recruit any student."  Accusations surfaced that

Valor officials were approaching athletes at a 2010 track meet.  Local coaches are fuming mad.

Denver's heroic Ed McCaffrey (retired Denver Bronco) has two kids that play on the Valor football team and Ed is rumored to have some role in either recruiting or coaching.  While Ed's kids have his genes and deserve to go to school wherever they live, is it fair to have a college equivalent offensive line open up holes that even today's Mike Ditka could ramble to the end zone? 

One of my boys played on a 13 yr. old team with a kid who always "took it to the house" who's already talking to the evil empire.  Something doesn't feel right about that.

I've been on the coaching end of playing the dynasty when one of my boys was in flag football.  The "Warriors" hadn't been scored on in two years and being a new team, I got the scraps.  My kids were crying in the huddle when we played them the first time and got trounced.  Our rematch in the final game of the season we pulled off a miracle and beat them on an interception at the end of the game.  Ironically, I used a Mike Shanahan (with benefit of Ed Mac) playbook to slay Goliath.  Today, there was no miracle for Pine Creek or pebble in David's sling.

Ironic this last weekend as Oklahoma State nearly eek'ed into the BCS National Championship fueled by T. Boone Pickens funded Cowboys.  I understand money is part of college sports, but High School?  As they say on ESPN, "C'Mon Man!"  Let's leave capitalism in industry and have parity and fair play on and off the field in high school sports.

Author's footnote:  Valor's website announces the former Colorado Avalanche Stanley Cup winner, Stephane Yelle has been added to the hockey coaching staff.  Here we go again...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sore Nipple Calculator

You've heard of the McMillan Calculator that calculates your projected race finish time based on other races (your projected marathon finish based on your half marathon time,) or using Yasso 800 times to do the same, but have you heard of the Sore Nipple Calculator? (patent pending)

Last weekend, I hit a long run threshold I haven't hit in nearly six months and that was a ten mile long run.  Not long for a marathoner, and a 5K distance for an ultra runner, yet I had something I hadn't experienced in quite some time.  Sore nipples.  Chafing is one of those topics like running & bathroom management that everyone deals with but rarely talk about.

Have I regressed that much as a runner that I forgot to lube up for this distance?  A rookie mistake.  I have mental notes that gauge a variety of preparations for clothing, body prep, and nutrient loading.  Some common ones;

Singlet vs. Short sleeve:  >35 °
Shorts vs. Running Tights: >32 °
Long Sleeve: <32°
Gloves and Warm Hat vs. Sun Hat: <32°
Warm gloves vs. light gloves: <20°
Jacket (cold:) <20°
Heavy Jacket: <12°
Single Water (4-6+ oz.:) >five miles
Water Bottle: >10 miles
Water Belt: >15 miles
Nutrients: > 4-6 miles (multiply single dose x four miles)

Which brings us to chafing.  I have a variety of socks in my arsenal.  For runs greater than ten miles, I prefer SmartWool vs. dreaded cotton flavors which limits blisters.  For BodyGlide application, there are a couple variables; predominantly distance, but weather plays a factor.
Simply put, greater than ten miles, you'd better lather up the nipples, feet, and any high rub areas (taint, inner thighs.)  If it's freezing out, subtract a couple miles or your nips will be barking.  Rain and wind factor in as well.  When I ran Portland last year, it rained the ENTIRE race...can you imagine, no BodyGlide for that one?  Ouchie Mama!

(Goes without saying, this is not a paid endorsement, but a public service announcement.)

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Average guy w/ an above average appetite for marathon racing and triathlons. Ran my 5th Boston in '15. 3:21, 1:29, 19:21 PR;full/half/5K Opinions & wit are mine