Monthly Archives: February 2011

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Ramones Wanna…

Ramones Wanna

Ramones Wanna

Another Running & Rambling Shoe Giveaway

Running & Rambling is having yet another shoe giveaway.  This time it’s a pair of New Balance Minimus Trail.

Here’s the full link:  http://www.runningandrambling.com/2011/02/new-balance-minimus-trail-review-and.html

Shooze

Lately I’ve been considering my options for this summer (a post of this is coming soon), and a minimal/trail shoes keep popping up as an option regardless of which direction I go. Since I have some fantastic trails just out my front door, it’d be stupid of me to ignore the opportunity to vary my training routes and terrain, not only to fight  the boredom of doing the same routes over and over again, but also the benefits of working out all the supporting musculature in your legs and feet that road running may not provide.

Anyway, the Minimus Trails look awesome, hopefully I can snag a pair!  Check out the review and giveaway.

Cheers

Off Topic Rant…Driving with Douchebags

Maybe it’s the time of year?  Maybe it’s the fact I haven’t been able to get out lately and I’m in a poor mood?  I’m not entirely sure…what I do know is that since the start of 2011 I have noticed more and more completely self-centered douchebag drivers on the road.  Perhaps it’s a “goodwill towards men” hangover from the holidays, or just the February blahs?  What I’ve seen is people repeatedly driving like complete a-holes for no apparent reason.  Not signaling, tailgating, speeding, cruising slowly in the passing lane…I even saw a dumptruck run a red light in front of a police car!  A few everyday and it starts to accumulate after a while, for the most part I can ignore it but lately it’s been increasingly obvious to me.

What tipped the scale is the dillholes who refuse to brush the snow off their car before they drive away.  “Flip on the ol’ windshield wipers, we’ll be fine!” My neighbour is the worst for this.  He can’t be bothered to take 2 seconds of his “valuable” time to increase his own ability to see.  I don’t think I’ve seen him brush off a car yet this winter, can you guess whether he’s shoveled his sidewalk or not?

I could go on and on about how he’s endangering others and himself, or the fact that he’s a complete tool but I’m sure you get the idea.

Sorry for the rant everyone, had to vent, now back to your regularly scheduled program.

Foot No Broke

X-Ray Hey, look Ma!  No breaks!  Just a quick post before I go have my Osteopath probe my foot trying to find the source of the piercing pain.  As happy as I am that it’s not broken, I’m still frustrated at the fact I haven’t been able to do much of anything as of late.  At least if it was broken I could have a reasonable expectation of what I was looking at for recovery time…now it’s kind of up in the air.

Well, at the very least I get to voluntarily be manipulated in severalpainfull/akward ways and I get to scream like a little girl…let’s consider this masochistic therapy.  Hopefully I’ll be back in action sooner than later, chasing PR’s and prepping for race da…the only thing I’ve chased lately is one beer with another one…or two.

Boston Marathon Qualification Adjustments

…just a quick outline the happenin’s surrounding the Boston Marathon debacle…you can check out DCRainmaker’s much more thorough breakdown here

Since the BAA’s announcement of their modified qualification standards, and sign-up procedure the web has been buzzing with activity.  Just quickly, here’s what the BAA folks had to say…

The following section is completely, utterly and with–malice-of-forethought stolen from here:

2013 Boston Marathon

For the 2013 Boston Marathon, in addition to the new “rolling admission” process for registration which will be in effect for the 2012 Boston Marathon, the B.A.A. will adjust the qualifying times by lowering them by five minutes from the times which have been in effect in recent past years. The adjusted qualifying times will go into effect on September 24, 2011, and are as follows:

2013 Qualifying Times (effective September 24, 2011)

Age Group Men Women
18-34 3hrs 05min 00sec 3hrs 35min 00sec
35-39 3hrs 10min 00sec 3hrs 40min 00sec
40-44 3hrs 15min 00sec 3hrs 45min 00sec
45-49 3hrs 25min 00sec 3hrs 55min 00sec
50-54 3hrs 30min 00sec 4hrs 00min 00sec
55-59 3hrs 40min 00sec 4hrs 10min 00sec
60-64 3hrs 55min 00sec 4hrs 25min 00sec
65-69 4hrs 10min 00sec 4hrs 40min 00sec
70-74 4hrs 25min 00sec 4hrs 55min 00sec
75-79 4hrs 40min 00sec 5hrs 10min 00sec
80 and over 4hrs 55min 00sec 5hrs 25min 00sec
*Unlike previous years, an additional 59 seconds will NOT be accepted for each age group time standard.

Registration for the 2013 Boston Marathon will begin on Monday, September 10, 2012.

What does this mean to the average runner?  Not only will you have to run 5 minutes faster than you used to just to meet the qualifying times, but with the graduated/rolling entry dates based on how much further you exceeded your BQ time you may find yourself SOL.  Unless you are supremely confident that the speedsters won’t fill up the all entry spots before it gets to the general registration date, you’ll still have to digitally dual with all the other folks who couldn’t manage to squeeze out another 5-10 minutes of speed.

In my case, I was planning to try an BQ next year when I jump into a higher age bracket, thus giving me a 5 minute cushion and an additional year to build my speed.  Now, if I factor in needing an additional 10 minutes off my BQ time which would allow me to signup earlier, plus the 5 minute qualification-wide time adjustment I’m looking at going from running my first sub-4hr marathon this past fall to attempting a sub-3hr marathon in just a year and a half….let’s say I’m not terribly optimistic.  At the same time I’m not terribly heart-broken either, maybe I’m never expecting to be that fast, or maybe I’m just not sold on the prestige of the race…I’m not sure.

Congrats to those who can and will BQ in the future, to those who enjoy the race, and to those who take it upon themselves to strive for that lofty goal.  Good Luck

Foot Update

DOH!Since I already had an appointment with my Osteopath/Athletic Therapist lined up tonight to get my lower back/hamstring jumped on I figured it would be an excellent opportunity get get an educated opinion on what was going on with my foot. Most people would have seen a Dr. by now and be trotting off to be shot at by radiation, but not this guy…this guy does things the hard way. Actually, I was kind of avoiding the whole situation and hoped a few days of rest would miraculously heal my foot. Sounds reasonable, right? In reality, Matt (the Osteopath) has been a friend of mine for years, let alone being the only person so far to being able to fix me up after things like this happen (which is more often than I’d like to admit), so I trusted his opinion. Plus he does a lot of the same activities as I do , so he has a pretty good idea of what I’m going through. After a lengthy, in-depth discussion and a bit of poking, prodding, bending he gave me some grim news:

“Probably broken, but only an X-Ray will tell you how badly”
“shit…How long does a broken foot bone take to heal?”
“Could be 2-4 weeks for a small hairline fracture, or up to 6-8 weeks for something worse. That’s why you’ll need the X-Ray” *
(groan)

Overall, it means I’ll almost certainly be missing next weekend’s Grimsby Half Marathon, the Brass Monkey Virtual 5km this weekend, and a good chunk of (hopefully not the rest of) my Around the Bay 30km training. If it’s a decent break I’ll be out 4-6 weeks and ATB’s race date is 6 weeks away this Sunday. The only upside is that I’ve already been off it for a week and it’s feeling a bit better, plus with referrals/getting the X-Ray/having it read It’ll be another week as well.

I still can’t place much pressure on the ball of my foot, but you never do that much in running anyway so that’s a plus….

sigh….I need a beer.

*Paraphrased by 51FU for clarity

F@ck You February

Ever had a bad patch of time where all you could do was grin and bear it? Simply endure, and wait for the ebb? Well for me that time is now. Don’t get me wrong, in the grand scheme my life really isn’t that bad. I know there are tonnes of people out there that have REAL problems, so just take this for what it is. A gripe, my gripe, put simply…I’m bitching. It’s only half way through the month and already feel like I’ve been walked on, kicked while I’m down, had my junk treated to a nice stiletto tap dance.

Crapruary started with a lovely but persistent stomach bug which left me constantly feeling like I was going to puke, or starving, or both. If I ate I felt terrible, but not starving and terrible so…awesome. As I was pulling out of that, my wife came down with it which created extra stress with the family, house, helping her out, etc.

In other news, all of the above started on my birthday. Woo Hoo! The one day a year you are supposed to be to do anything you want, and I got to feel like crap. To top it all off my wife left me alone with the kids for a couple of days while she was out of town for work. Single parenting is stressful (I don’t know how people do it everyday 24-7) regardless of constantly feeling terrible on top of it. Anyway, as one of my gifts this year, my wife bought us tickets to see the Banff Mountain Film Festival. A night out for the two of us, babysitter included…it’s been… FOREVER since we’ve had a night like that. In fact, (other than a few work Christmas parties) I couldn’t even tell you the last time we had a night out to ourselves, this was going to be great. As I should have expected though, once my wife started perking up out her own bout of the cursed stomach bug, the kids came down with it too. Our night out together ended up being me out on my own while she stayed home being the super-Mom she is.

Broken Foot?

Broken foot?

Finally, and most recently, I took a puck off the instep of my left foot this past week. I use hockey as a stress reliever, and cross training to compliment my running training so it’s been a constant in my life for the past few years. I love the game, and the social aspect of seeing the guys every week helps keep me balanced. When a puck hit me in the side of my 1st metatarsal and left me with shooting pain whenever I move my foot in certain direction it throws off my balance. Figuratively AND literally. Injuries are nothing new, but the timing and location of this one was really a kick in the junk. I had been planning to run a half marathon as part of my training session this spring but hadn’t signed up for it…until two days before the puck incident. The race is in 10 days, and at this rate it looks like I’ll simply be showing up to get my free shirt. Things were really starting to come together with my training. My paces were up, my conditioning felt good, but now I have trouble walking let alone pounding out sub 5 minute kilometers. To say I’m frustrated would be an understatement.

There have been a lot of little things that, had they happened independently, would have been no-big-deal (like nearly severing my thumb making stew), but they decided to gang up/arrive in waves. Additionally, there are some bigger items of a private nature that I won’t divulge on the interwebs but rest assured Murphy’s Law was in full effect.

I’m having my foot looked at on Tuesday, so until that time I really can’t schedule anything. My big concerns right now are the half marathon in a couple weeks (minor), the Around the Bay 30km (major), and my attempt at a 3:40-3:40 marathon in late May. Only time will tell at this point.

Let’s see if the last half of the month is any better or worse than the past 15 days?

Christopher McDougall Video From Ted Global

Check out this vid of a talk Christopher McDougall gave at TED in DC, it’s hard not to like him.

Cheers

Sony NWZ-W252 Review…or something slightly more witty!

Last summer my MP3 player died on me…not suddenly mind you.  Slowly. Over a period of weeks.  Frustratingly slow. It probably would have been less of a hassle if it had just keeled over, or exploded in my hand, but the slow decline not only notified me that it was time for a replacement, but let me know that the MP3 player would also be as much of a pain-in-the-ass as possible until that time.

I should have seen it coming, however after the headphones became “difficult” to deal with (only working when the cord was held a certain way, or cutting out repeatedly, etc.) I went out and dropped some decent cash on a better pair. Not good enough to entice theft, but durable enough to take a pounding and quality enough to combat that “lost in a tin can sound”.

The player itself was cheap to start with, however when I bought it the ads proudly declared that it was “Splash Resistant” and “Impact Resistant”.  How could I resist? Inexpensive, AND it could weather the abuse that an active (cough)clumsy(cough) fellow such as myself could dole out? PERFECT!  Don’t get me wrong, I had reservations about ordering something that was $30 vs. the $150-250 of the iPods (they were so sleek and sexy!), especially after touring the local stores and saw the other offerings in that price range.  When it arrived in the mail though, I was pleasantly surprised.  It was just as advertised, and although the memory capacity was a tad small it fit my needs perfectly, plus if something ill-fated happened to it I could replace it 5-6 times over before hitting iPod territory.

Fast-forward 5 years (yes 5!) the Hydra was on it’s way out and I knew it.  It didn’t owe me anything.  In it’s final act of defiance, it stopped playing any treble/upper mid portions of the music…which is… only usually the melody/singing/guitars/solos etc.  Message received.  With a race coming up, it was time to search for a replacement in earnest.

Although I liked the styling etc. of the iPods,  I wasn’t ready to drink the Apple kool-aid just yet.  For the most part my concerns centered around cost…If I could get my last $30 mp3 player to last 5 years, I was was doubtful a$150 one would/could be worth the extra money.  I wasn’t dead-set against Apple, I just needed to be sold on what made the iPod simply better than the options.  Another catch was Apple’s proprietary data issues, I have a Windows based computer both at home and work, and wanted to be able to access my music anywhere/everywhere as easily as possible.  Apple didn’t seem to facilitate this at a glance.

On the plus side for the iPod was the size and functionality of the Shuffle. Extremely light and small, plus the ability to clip it to a piece of clothing and forget it made it extremely attractive, however the latest generation has the controls on the ear bud cord, which means if you need/want to replace them with a better set (sound quality or ear-fit) you were hooped.

Then one day in my digital travels, along came the Sony NWZ-W252 (damn, that’s a sexy name).   A cordless, semi-waterproof mp3 player from Sony, that shoehorns all of the necessities of a digital player into a single headset.  Cordless.  Let me say that again: CORDLESS.  No more sliding the cord down my back, in between shirts,  and into my pocket to keep it from bouncing the earbuds out of my ears.  No more getting it caught on things and having your head jerk around when you go to walk away (I can be quite clumsy at times).  Freedom from the cursed tether.   But would the device itself, live up to the billing?  The tipping point for me was the price; $50 meant I could gamble on it, and if it was crap I could pass it along to some other sucker…I mean…wrap it up as a birthday gift…or something…(cough).

I ponied up my hard-earned dough and raced home, mp3 player in hand.  I wanted to get the sexy black one, unfortunately all they had was white or bright pink, and after briefly considering support the pink ribbon campaign I realized this wasn’t really the support they were looking for.  White it was.  After some confusion as to how it fit on my head, I got it settled and looked in the mirror;

<- Instead of looking like this guy

I looked more like this guy….with more hair ->

 

Sacrificing form for function, I donned a balaclava (to hide my face in embaressment) and headed out for my first test run.  The Sony is a winner.  The sound quality was MUCH better than the old mp3 player, and I attribute this mostly to the earpieces.  Earbuds are notoriously poor fitting for some (for me they were awful), whereas the Sony’s earpieces fit directly into the ear canal, and are held in place by the friction force of the headset itself.  I’ve yet to have an instance (6 months, tonnes of training runs and one marathon later) where they’ve fallen out or become too irritating to wear.  Dorkiness be damned, the Sony NWZ-W252 is here to stay.

The software utilized to place music on the device is actually located on the itself.  It installed quick and easy like selling beer to teenagers.  Once installed it was ridiculously easy to operate with a basic “drag and drop” interface that works form both Windows Explorer and iTunes….which means it plays the highly coveted .mp4, and .m4a formats (which the Hydra couldn’t do).  The unit docks and charges via a stylish stand that plugs into your computer via USB.  You can do a quick charge (couple of minutes) which gets you enough juice to complete a single workout, or a full charge which will give you 10 hours of playtime.

So far the durability and usability has been fantastic, well worth the $50 price of admission…and best of all: NO CORDS!  My only beef being that there is no output on the player which would allow me to plug it into my car stereo…but that was a known quality when bought it.

If you want a fuller/clearer/knowledgeable/coherent review hit up this review (or set of reviews) at Test Freaks