Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Star Wars Running Quotes

A long time ago in a running store far,
far away....

Little did you know that the Star Wars films are filled with running quotes that until this post were not summarized for the running world.  Having seen the first Star Wars movie originally in the theatre and having two teenage boys, I know enough to know that the first movie is not episode one, it's actually episode four.

Whether you're a Star Wars geek or not, you've seen one of these classics.  With hours of research and careful scrutiny, I've plucked the top "Run Wars" quotes.

1)  "Luke, I have your water." (Darth Vader) (Sometimes confused with, "Luke, I am your father."

2)  "Runners have nice buns." (Princess Leia.  She should know, she had two sets of them.)

3)  "Grrrrlll" (PR!) (Chewwie)

4)  "Glide you must use, or nipple bleed you will." (Yoda lamenting the long run where he forgot his BodyGlide.)

5)  "These are not the shoes you're looking for." (Obi-Wan Kenobi)

6)  "Echuta!" (C3PO) (Cursing when he loses his Garmin signal.)

7)  "May the unicorn be with you." (Darth Vader)

May the unicorn and the run force be with you.  Let me know which ones I may have missed?

Drawings and photoshop work courtesy of Ty and SeekingBostonMarathon.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Shame on You Rolling Stone

I was enjoying some speed work on my lunch hour at the gym today.  Joy turned to sickness when I saw a familiar face on T.V.  Just as I'd seen the face pop up again last week in the news as legal proceedings began with the second coward captured in the Boston Marathon bombings.  Ninety days ago, everyone in the running community was affected by what happened on Boylston.

I ran Boston and finished the marathon roughly 50 minutes before the mayhem began.  I was two blocks away having just reunited with my wife.

After Boston, it took me awhile to get life back to normal as I had a delayed reaction to what tragedies transpired.  My wife and I both struggled with normalcy.  I eventually decided that I would not cave into cowardice and would begin to celebrate what was my best marathon yet which happened to be at the ultimate race, The Boston Marathon.

I am shocked and repulsed by Rolling Stone magazine's decision to place a terrorist on the cover of this month's issue.  Rolling Stone is not a news magazine.  It is a music magazine that idolizes the masters of the music industry.  I understood the coverage of these individuals at the time of the event with news-related publications.  Placing this coward on the cover of Rolling Stone only glamorizes him.  It makes me sick.

My two sons are both musicians and we have issues of this magazine in our house.  Those issues are going in the trash.  We will no longer spend money with the morons that decided this cover and article is somehow appropriate.  I don't want to know the position of the article or what was written.  I won't buy it.  Shame on you Rolling Stone and Jann Wenner (publisher) of this garbage.

I Was a YouTube Triathlete: My TriRock Colorado Race Report

If I’m in love with running then triathlons must be my mistress.  I consistently train for “marys, but often stray to the sexy triathlon.

My last race was the Slacker Half Marathon in June.  Most of my run friends had run a 4th of July race.  I did not.  I needed a race fix.  With another half marathon likely in August, I opted for the TriRock Colorado Sprint Triathlon this last weekend.  Birthday weekend, rock and roll, and the fact that I had only one triathlon this summer made this an easy choice.

Transition Village
Earlier this summer, I sat down with a prospective triathlon coach.  I had seen what a run coach did for my run game and was obvious to see if I couldn't replicate the success with this crazy triathlon business.  After hearing about my current coach, progress, and plans to run the Slacker Half Marathon in June, we both decided to not "part ways," but put a hold on any triathlon coach relationship.  Problem (wrong word for it) is that I still have unfinished run business, and my current Boulder for Sports Medicine (BCSM) has seven days a week dedicated to run training so I've got little time in the pool and on the bike.

My only open water swim was my other TRI in June.  If I had a triathlon coach or even a triathlon training plan, both would have told me how stupid this sounded.

While the race was described as a good beginner's race, my tour of the course area the day before told a slightly different story.  Being on the eastern plains of the Denver area, the wind was whipping up pretty good late in the afternoon at the expo.  Okay if it's a tailwind, but that logic flies out the window with an "out and back" course on the bike and the run.  The expo itself was fairly small, but well organized as I'd find the race to be the next day.  Included in the race packets were temporary tattoos for race numbers.  A nice touch as you felt like it was a much bigger race vs. a "Sharpie" numbered arm and calf.  The transition area also struck me as well laid out with outdoor green carpet along the aisles.  The folks at TriRock and seemed to know what they were doing here.  Before leaving the expo, I tuned into the athlete briefing which helped understand the course a bit better.  I also drove the bike portion of the race and found it to be anything but flat, but nothing too long on each rise.

My pre-race evening was fairly routine as I laid out all my gear, applied the tat's, and relaxed.  As usual, my sleep however was "pure crap."  The wife had a glass of wine with dinner (equals snoring,) and one of my boys was up until 11.  I was lucky if I got two hours sleep yet I felt ready and energized when the early alarm went off.

My pre-race routine was just that as I racked my bike and laid out my transition gear.  While it was nice that the racks were numbered individually, they were packed pretty tight as the other athletes eventually arrived and racked their bikes.  The only other area of improvement was that the majority of the porto-pottys were outside the transition area which was fairly large which meant a bit of a walk to take care of any last minute business.

While Colorado and the Aurora reservoir are warming up, this made the race wetsuit optional yet legal.  I decided to use my Helix for (only) the second time.  Researching the nausea I had in my last open water race, I had also bought silicone ear plugs as some online triathletes theorized the cold water had something to do with that.  Another new twist was that this was an "in water" start roughly 20 yds from the beach.  After the olympic wave, the male sprint triathletes in our orange caps were off.  I was able to get some warm-up prior to the race which I thought would help.  What "played in my head" was the only swim I had Monday that week where in the warm confines of a clear water rec center pool I felt out of swim shape.  As the swim progressed, my breathing became labored and the smooth swim stroke I thought I'd developed started to resemble a chicken with one wing in the water--not pretty.  My sighting was off so my path in the water probably resembled a dashed line in a treasure map.  Not exactly point A to point B...or more appropriately A to B to C to D in the rectangle course shape.  Once I took the last turn towards the beach I saw a lot of swimmers ahead of me.  Crap.
Coming in at number five...or six...or ninth...
The nice transition area was a bit of a hike from the beach so my T1 (swim to bike transition) was a bit slow.  I could have also used some practice on getting out of the wetsuit.  Wobbly legs and inexperience marked my wetsuit disrobing.   I’m glad this was not caught on video.  Once out of the suit, the rest of my transition was pretty smooth as the sunglasses and helmet went on and I ran barefoot with my bike shoes already mounted on my bike.  At the "mount here" sign, my mount and slip into my shoes once again went fine.  Good news considering this was only the second time I'd tried the "flying squirrel" mount with rubber-banded shoes.

As I exited the bike village, I could feel my confidence rise.  My conditioning is strong and previous bike rides (although not many) had been strong.  I had also learned in other races that I could pace my peddling throughout the bike leg and have enough in the tank for the run.  I don't know how many cyclists I passed, but I only recall getting passed perhaps once by another bike.  I was aggressive on the first major uphill getting out of my seat.  I felt strong.  The course didn't have many turns beyond the first few around transition, then turning right onto Quincy for the bulk of the miles.  Halfway out, I took the turnaround and started to push the second half of the bike ride.  Passing riders again gave me confidence, and I didn't see too many coming towards me before the turn.  I'd made up ground from that crappy swim I thought.

I picked off three to four more bikes within the last 3/4 mile back into transition.  I slipped out of my shoes and started to peddle on top of them.  I dismounted quite smoothly just like I learned on YouTube.  Yes...true confession, I have no triathlon coach, have not read a book, nor do I follow a triathlon training plan, but I know how to Google and YouTube.  Thank you YouTube as my T2 transition (bike to run) was a mere 41 seconds which I believe is my fastest yet.  As I started out on my run, my shoe insoles felt like they'd bunched up.  I'd later learn that the two waxy silicon ear-plugs I'd tossed in my swim to bike transition landed one per shoe.  I don't think I could do that again if I was paid.  My other minor mistake at this point was that my Garmin was left on my bike so I was racing "naked" at this point.  On a 5K run leg, I wasn't that worried about it.  I ran by "feel" on the out and back, up and down run course.
My First Place Trophy

The one part I like about an out-and-back run course in a triathlon is you can see who is ahead of you as they've already "made the turn."  It can also work against you as it can be demoralizing if there are plenty ahead of you.  On the run portion, I once again passed a number of runners.  I counted at least two in my age group.  As I counted the runners running towards me, I realized I was sixth overall.  Fifth place sounded a lot better to me.  I slowly caught up to “Mr. Five” and noticed he seemed to be wearing basketball workout gear...perhaps the run leg was not his forte in the triathlon.  This gave me confidence even though he was some 15-20 years younger.  My eyesight and late race math prevented me from knowing just how much younger he was.  I considered drafting him and taking over near the finish.  "Screw that," I thought.  "Pass him!"  I did just that right before someone coming towards us said, "you're fifth and sixth!"

As I crossed the finish line, my Dad was there cheering me on as was my eighteen year old daughter.  I told them both that they didn't have to come to my race as it didn't really matter.  I lied, and drew energy from them just as I'd done getting out of the water, and as I'd come in and out of the transition area.  For perhaps a half hour, I reveled in the fact that I came in fifth overall in a triathlon.  My final standing was ninth overall, and first in my age group.  What I don't understand is that I came in sixth overall male.  Clearly my ranking dropped as there were some women who came in faster than I in the wave that started after the Sprint men.  What about mysterious male number five?  Must have been the heat, but I can normally count up to five even in the heat.  Nevertheless, I'll take it.

I met two others in my age group at the end of the race as we congratulated each other.  One of them told me, he had "nothing in him" as I passed him on the run.  I didn't have the heart to tell them I was a YouTube triathlete.

Author's Footnote:  On Monday after my triathlon, my run coach prescribed an hour of cross-training.  On DailyMile, I reported that I did "punishment miles" in the pool swimming 2550 yards.  You might say that I still had a bad taste in my mouth over my Saturday swim.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Running Topless: Weinergate in Highlands Ranch

My wife has a rule around the house, or more appropriately when you attend a football game or the like.  Keep your damn shirt on.  Double the violation if you paint your teams letters on your upper torso, and triple the violation if you've had too many beers and you and your buddies line up the letters wrong and spell B-R-O-C-S-N-O instead of B-R-O-N-C-O-S.  It's not that she's not a fan of the male body or mine, it's just that most people who "pop top" shouldn't.  Add body paint, and look in the mirror.  Ask yourself, am I proud of this image should it land on the internet forever?  Probably not.

I tweeted or Instagram'ed myself once after a sweaty run wanting to demonstrate the sheer amount of sweat I generated on a hot and humid run.  (Don't knock it...spend a few minutes on Instagram and you'll find plenty of runner sweat photos.)  Kind of like a runner's badge of honor.  The more you sweat, the better the workout.  My run friend Dustin responded with "Nice Weiner pic Ty!"  I promptly removed the post.  "Weiner" was the U.S. Representative who got busted flashing his pecs and "marky marks" to his mistress.  This wasn't Ryan Gosling flashing his pecs, this was the kid who got beat up in High School that made it to the House of Representatives.  No one wants to see Weiner's weiner except Mrs. Weiner...that is prior to her viewing his sophomoric phone chat blunder.
Does anyone really want to see this guy without his shirt on?

Even before Dustin's "Weiner" comment, I'd already had a bit of an unwritten rule that kept my shirtless activities to the swimming pool and in the privacy of my home.  I can only think of one or two runs where I've run topless on a run.  Perhaps my wife's "stadium rule" was playing in my head.

That all changed today.  I was out late last night catching Robert Plant at Red Rocks (catch my Facebook page if you're a Plant fan--awesome show!)  I had early calls which meant no early morning run.  Evening was not an option, so that meant a lunch run.  My run coach had a 60 minute "recovery run" scheduled.  I started late as I couldn't find my running water bottle.  My teenage sons had done the dishes the night before and the lid to my Amphipod water bottle was gone.  Probably in the land fill at this point because it was trash day.  I took way too much time looking for it and frustrated, I poured my Generation UCAN chilled drink from my lidless water bottle into an empty water bottle from the recycle bin.  What this all meant was I took off in the peak of the afternoon heat.  I'd learn later that it hit 100 degrees.

I was stubborn and did not want to take the run indoors.  It was sweltering hot.  As I ran out of my neighborhood people stared at me like I was crazy.  "Who runs in this kinda heat,?" they seemed to wonder. I did not run "Weiner style" (shirtless,) but was in a singlet and my short run shorts.  I picked a route that went along a canal trail near my house, but heading southwest instead of northeast, it passed a landscape supply yard.  The wind blew the mulch dust in my face and it felt like Hades.  It smelled like it too.  "I love running," I kept thinking to myself.

Screw this...I took off the singlet around the forty minute mark.  Mulchdust stuck to my sweaty torso.  Housewifes were swerving off the road "rubber-necking" at the near-naked man running in Conservativeville, USA.  Dogs threw up when they saw me, and smelled me.  I did not Instagram this run with a #selfie.  I got into the house without anyone realized I'd just shamed myself in my own zipcode.  My wife did not catch Representative Weiner enter the house or the shower.  Of course, now it's on the internet, and I've been exposed (pun intended.)

Author's Footnote:  For the running readers, what rules (if any) should apply to the male runner and topless running.   I limit this to the word "male" since I have never seen a female topless runner unless cable t.v. counts.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Race Pic Glutton

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?

Or...hello, my name is Ty and I'm not only a marathon addict, but I'm a marathon race pic glutton (aka race pic whore.)  I'm convinced the former is an addiction of the healthy variety, but I'm beginning to question the value of the later.

I was out last week celebrating the holidays when my wife's girlfriend noticed my screen saver which shows me passing the Boylston flags along the Boston Marathon finish line in April.  That race held special meaning for me in multiple ways so I didn't hesitate to open up my wallet and spring for the digital images, yet it made me wonder, what kind of narcissist asshole carries around a picture of himself?  Umm...Gaston would have.

Gaston was the jerk from Beauty and the Beast that Belle rebuffed to hang out with the Beast.  (Proof that women dig #beastmode.)  Gaston was such a self-absorbed jerk that he loved looking at his own image.  No doubt if he'd run marathons, he'd have a picture of himself on his phone, in his office, and on his favorite photo coffee mug.
My race "Ninja" photo

There's no question that you buy the photo for your first marathon, or your first BQ, or your first Boston, or your first run in a new city, or your first run in the rain, get my point.  At what point, do you say, I'll skip the $49.95 for the images and hold the memory in the photo album section of my brain.  At what point do you draw the line on pictures you order; 5K race, trail race, first triathlon, first Ironman (absolutely...that one goes in the Boston Marathon automatic category.)  What about a muddy buddy, color run, or nude 5K?  Ahem...haven't run any of the later, but they're all on my bucket list.  Blog readership could certainly shoot up or spiral with some of those pictures.

Love this pic as it looks like I'm flying.
On the positive side, the photos I do purchase are usually symbolic of a lot of hard work that went into that particular race or held special memories.  I crack up at the pictures of my first marathon in San Diego which I've posted here before.  I look like I'm giving birth near mile 18-20 while some dude 20 years older than me is about ready to pass me.  I do tend to buy more pictures than the average runner because of this blog and all the usual race reports that would be more boring without the accompanying photos.  I tend to buy pictures if I podium which isn't often when I run and more often when I compete in triathlons.  With my new run coach, I have been buying a lot more run photos than I have in the past.

Because of this weird set of rules, I admit that I've even bought a couple 5K race pictures including my ninja race pic.  One of my all-time favorite race pics became part of my first blog logo.

This all brings me to my most recent race; the Slacker Half Marathon (from Loveland to Georgetown, Colorado.)  Another race that held special meaning for me.  I ran a new half mary PR by three minutes, cracked 1:30 for the first time, hit the podium in a tough field, and came within 18 seconds of accomplishing my "secret goal" of qualifying for New York.  Once again, Gaston opened up his wallet and sprang for the full digital set.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Where in the World is Seeking Boston Marathon? Amsterdam!

I have notched another country in my travel belt.  Work took me "over the pond" last week to Amsterdam.  As I always do, I packed my run gear in my suitcase to take in a run on foreign soil.  I've been a bit spoiled over the last year with two trips to Barcelona, halfway around the world to India, and now to the Nederlands.

Flying as much as I do does have its privileges as I have achieved 1K status on United Airlines.  That normally means a good seat on a plane with the occasional upgrade.  I didn't get the upgrade, but I was up in economy plus on the way out with the prospects of an open middle seat on the long flight over.  The middle seat was occupied--by a two year old.  I rarely am able to sleep on an outbound international flight, and "Timmy the Terrible Toddler" guaranteed that.  You can't do much about weather, taxes, and who randomly occupies the seat next to you on a plane.

I arrived at Schiphol International airport just after 7 AM and went through the routine of customs, grabbing some Euros, getting a jolt of coffee, and heading out in my taxi for the short drive to my hotel.  Surprisingly, after running a PR in my half marathon on Saturday, and traveling overseas, I had a fair amount of energy as I tried to convince my mind and body that it was seven in the morning, and not midnight with no sleep in the last 24 hours.  The good news was the business work didn't start until Tuesday so I had a day to acclimate my body to the new time zone.

This was a new part of the world for me which I knew very little about.  I knew more than my daughter who thought Amsterdam was in Germany.  Note to self...get daughter some geography lessons.

I ran into one of my co-workers in the lobby checking in who informed me a small group was headed off to some museums after setting up the trade show.  After a "power nap" of a couple hours, I was re-charged and ready to explore.  A little known fact about "Seeking Boston Marathon" is Ty the artist.  I was a bit of an eccentric nerd as a kid as I loved to draw and still tap into my creative side (writing, drawing, painting, and graphics on the computer.)  One of my favorite Christmas gifts I received as a kid was the board game "Masterpiece" from Hasbro.  I know...nerd city, USA, but it was my first exposure to the Dutch Renaissance master painters.  I was one of the few kids on the block who knew who Rembrandt or Van Gogh was.  Glasses, braces, zits, and art lover.  Good's amazing I didn't get beat up.

The museum on our schedule was Rijks Museum which had been closed for ten years and had only recently re-opened in April.  I asked one of the museum employees why it took so long to remodel and a bulk of the delays were related to structural issues.  Much of Amsterdam is built on water and many of the original buildings were built up on wood.  I'm not a structural engineer, but imagine that wood doesn't do well over several hundred years under water.  Rijks is easily a museum you could spend an entire day in, but my energy and attention span had a couple hours in me.  I was on a mission to find Rembrandt and Van Gogh.  One thing I noticed was how close you could get to the artwork.  Most paintings merely had a short glass wall around 18" high 18" away from the wall.  I rarely "flip out" over a museum, but I felt in awe of some of the works I was able to get up close and personal with.

The city of Amsterdam is laid out in a cobweb labyrinth of city streets and canals.  Color me stupid, but the canals was one part I didn't realize was so prevalent in the city.  It certainly added to the glamour of the city.  Some city blocks were under construction as buildings were awkwardly leaning over due to the aforementioned wooden underground.  As far as getting around the city, the most apparent thing is that everyone owns a bike and it seemed to be the most common form of transportation.  Young and old get around the city on typically a basic one-speed newspaper style bike.  Far more bikers than runners as near as I could tell.  From our Novatel hotel near the convention center, it was a convenient rail trip to the center of town to take in all that Amsterdam has to offer.

Offer is the right word for it as the city is known for its excesses in "coffee shops" where they don't sell coffee and the infamous "red light district."  I did not "partake" but in the interest of journalism, I did a lot of observing of this part of town.  Crazy...only place in the world where you will see a hash bar attached to a church.  As far as food, I'd have to put it right up there with Barcelona as the dining was phenomenal the few nights we were there.
Coffee bar built into a church

As far as running, as I mentioned above, I had just come off a half marathon the weekend before on an all downhill course, so my legs were a bit trashed, so I took a few days off, but certainly logged a fair amount of kilometers walking the city.  I was NOT going to get out of this city without a run so I plotted a short run through Amstel Park on my last day there.  I ran past the park along a river (Amsterdam is known as the city of rivers,) and even spotted some windmills and cows.  Just as I marveled at the museum, I realized how fortunate I was to be running in this great city.  One of the few comedic highlights of the trip and the run was getting a bit off course and wandering into the petting zoo and train area which was closed off for a private party.  I was trying to casually open a gate and escape when an older gentleman started cursing at me in Dutch.  Most people in the city speak English which makes it easy to get around.  He finally yelled, "English?" and realized I was just a slightly lost tourist.
Not a "run of the (wind)mill" kinda run.

A great city to get lost in.

About Me

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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