Thursday, June 30, 2011

Youth vs Experience

The small window where knowledge
and experience coexist, briefly

"Youth is wasted on the young.” -George Bernard Shaw. 

I have seen various interpretations on what Shaw meant by this, but what I have always found to be true is that when you are young you are blessed with energy, vitality, and strength. Unfortunately the young don't have the knowledge or experience we gain throughout our years and often times lack the wherewithal to successfully apply their youthfulness.

The unfortunate paradox can be put forward that experience is wasted on the aged. Once we finally gain the knowledge and experience we need; we no longer have the vitality to use it!

If you think about it we see this in sports, in business, and in all walks of life. Sure there are exceptions, but generally a young business man make mistakes that a more experienced one would not. A young athlete will not reach his full potential until several years into his league. We then see that same Business man hang on too long until his industry passes him by and that same athlete hang on too long until his body no longer responds. 

I contend that in sports, business, or any other aspect in life we have a small window of opportunity when we have both the youth and the experience we need to truly achieve great things.

I am hopeful and prayerful that right now as I look out on the many opportunities in life that I am in that window. I am confident that I have gained a degree of knowledge and experience to help guide my decisions I also hope that I still have the youth and vitality to still make those decisions!

I feel some signs of aging; there is grey in my hair and the body doesn't always heal like it used to, however with that hopefully has come some wisdom.

I still have some energy, and I feel I still love to accept a challenge; However hopefully I have gained the maturity to know which challenges to accept.

No sure how large my window is when I have access to both my youth and my experience and I am not sure how long it will be open. I know I will always continue to gaiin experience... but I know I can't hold on to my youth forever, but I can have fun trying, right?

 I want to leave this post with one more quote from Shaw:

“We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Brick By Brick

This morning I completed My first Brick Workout.. WHat i did would not be considered by some to be that tough, but it was my first attempt at mixing running and cycling into one session and it was tougher than I thought.

I started out with a nice brisk ride. I completed 9 miles and actually clocked my best speed to date. A little more than 15mph.

As I arrived back to the house I stopped long enough to park the bike , grab a swig of water and start running. I ran for 2 miles, but my legs began to feel heavy almost immediately. Going from the low impact ride to the high impact run was not an easy transition. I was not thrilled with my pace on the run, but I wasn't too disappointed either. Just a little under 19 minutes.

I know for a more experienced Triathlete this would probably not even be considered a real brick, but I was proud of my self.

How To Do a Brick Workout

I will close out with a saying I read in a forum some where:

How is a triathlete built? Brick By Brick!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rapid Review: Pagan Babies

I Posted on Saturday about our trip to the library; well I have already completed my first book from the trip and thought I would offer a quick review.  If you are at all familiar with Elmore Leonard Pagan Babies is exactly what you would expect a faced paced tale full of twists and turns with every character being severely flawed. If you are not familiar with Leonard This book is probably not your best place to start I would recommend "road Dogs" or "Riding the Rap" or even "Get Shorty." Regardless it is a good quick read (255 pages) that flows very well.

To summarize the plot Terry ; who is pretending to be a priest in Rwanda during the Genocide of the early 90s goes back to his home town of Detroit; which he had fled due to an indictment for smuggling cigarettes. While there he meets up with Debbie who has just been released from prison for trying to run over her ex-boyfriend and has decided she wants to be a stand-up comedian. Before she chases her stand up dreams her and "the priest" decide to try to get even with her ex-boyfriend who had stolen $67,000 dollars from her only to later marry a millionaire and get half of the new wife's money in a divorce settlement. Things get even more twisted when we discover that Randy (the ex who Debbie had ran over) now owns an upscale restaurant and has a silent partner who is the head of the Detroit Mob.

Like Most of Leonard's books the story is almost entirely dialogue driven and there are swerves until the end. Another thing Leonard is good at is somehow making you like an anti-hero who is so deeply flawed that no one would actually like him. Such is the case in this book with "Father" Terry. There is really no reason to like the guy, but for some reason you find yourself rooting for him to get out of the situations he finds himself in.

Leonard has a way of depicted his heroines as just as shrewd and scheming as his leading men. He never rides the woman as a meek innocent victim, and I like that.

Overall this was a great easy read that I enjoyed. Certainly not an all time favorite but but typical Leonard. I would rate it a 3 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Library Update

About 3 weeks ago i posted a blog about a trip to the local library. Yesterday I returned. I wanted to take a moment and give a brief update on the books I am returning and a quick snapshot of what I am reading now. Here is a link to the original post.

As far as a recap goes:

 American Assassin by Vince Flynn was exactly what I hoped it would be. it was a fast paced thriller that I could hardly put down I had it finished in about 4 days. I love his main Character Mitch Rapp and I can't wait for the next adventure.

Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis offered much more depth and it was a fantastic read. I found myself many times wishing I owned the book so I could make notes in it. This is a book I can guarantee I will make reference to many times in the future and will likely even post a full report on sometime in the future.   If you are a Christian and need help explaining exactly what we believe or if you are a non Christian who wants to better understand the Christian belief system this is a great resource.

As you may recall the other book I had checked out was The Complete Triathlon Book a book to use as I continue to prepare for my upcoming adventure. This book has been helpful so far and I decided to keep it checked out for a while longer.

On to yesterday's trip... This time I took Molly with me, she loves to read! Who Knew that the Library has a Wii game system and that you can stay there and play it! I didn'y but I had a great time getting beat at tennis by Molly before I beat her at boxing! After we played Wii, we each picked out a few books. Here is what I am reading:

No one writes crime dramas quite like Elmore Leonard. He has offered such books as Get Shorty and Jackie brown and always has a unique take on the criminal. This book is supposed to be about priest in Rwanda after the genocide who has a secret past. This is the first one I am cracking open and I am very excited to see what kind of web Elmore will weave.

The author of The Godfather in his last novel before his death explores organized crime from fifteenth century Rome.  I have read a few novels by Puzo and I thought this one would be worth a try. I am not real sure about the  story, but so far Puzo has not disappointed.

This book is a recommendation from my pastor. The is supposed to be an in depth look at the real person of Jesus described in The Bible. This book is suppose to show a biblical representation of Jesus who is very different from what society see Jesus as today and also different from the Jesus we learned about in Sunday School.   This book has very favorable reviews by some people I respect and with a referral from Dustin I am excited about digging into it!

I am looking forward to spending any down time I find reading these new books. Hopefully in 3 weeks I will be giving my thoughts on these books and letting you know what I am reading next.

Thanks as always for anyone who may be following....

Chevron Charity Run

Last weekend I competed in the Chevron Women's Network Charity Run. This is an Annual event that takes place in Pascagoula Mississippi. The proceeds from this event go to Home of Grace Women's Treatment Center in Gautier. I usually try to have my race reviews up within a couple of days, but as I had previously mentioned it has been a crazy week. So, now that I actually have a quite minute I will go ahead and offer my thoughts.

Let me start off by saying it has been exceptionally hot and humid lately, and if you follow me on Facebook you will know the heat has really been messing with my performance in training. Last Saturday was no different. The race started at 8:00am and it was already in the mid 80s and very humid.

Usually at this point I am regaling everyone some crazy story about running late, or moving, or the wife getting a concussion; not this time. We actually left the house on time and arrived at Beach Park with time to spare and time to get ready. The park was a great place to start and end the race because of the ample open space to warm up and socialize but also because of the very nice playground to keep the kids occupied.  Getting registered was no problem (getting parked without getting hit was more of a challenge, but the nice racer did offer his apologies). Due to the city not opening the park on time there was a bit of a frantic feel to the registration process, but it still went very smooth. I got Molly and myself our racing bibs and our race shirts and we were good to go. (2 quick side notes the shirts were perhaps the least ugly shirts we have gotten so far, however the overall "registration packet" I have grown accustomed to did not exist. There were no sponsor coupons or freebies, not a big deal, just a note.)

After a brief course description and some instructions the race officially started at 8:07. The Course was a large loop that went along the beach and then through a very nice neighborhood. I must take a moment to admit, I am not a lifelong "Coastian", I have been to Pascagoula many times but I did not realize that the  city had such beauty. I always thought of Pascagoula as the industrial area with the ship yard and the refinery. However the beach was beautiful this morning and the houses through the neighborhood were splendid.

There were some elements of the race I really liked. The course was very well marked and there were 2 water stations set up one at the one mile marker and another at the 2 mile marker. I also liked that at the one mile marker there was a larger digital timer set up that showed what pace you were keeping.

Unfortunately I started farther back in the pack then I wanted to and I felt sort of blocked in after the race started, I think that led to a little bit of a slower start. I finally got up to a good pace and I was keeping pace with a young man who worked at the local refinery for quite some distance. We were keeping a good steady pace and were even able to exchange a bit of dialogue. As I glanced at my watch as we were passing the 2 mile marker I noticed it was 8:24, we were making good time; However, the heat was starting to get to me. It had been at about the 2.5 mile point on my last couple of long runs that I had "bonked" and I could feel my body starting to give out again. The young Man I had been pacing with began to pull away from me, but I still kept running, just not with much gusto.

As we were coming back along the beach to finish the race I caught up with my nephew Gavin who had Started way ahead of me, and had blown up down the back stretch,. As I pulled up beside him I slapped him on the back, reminded him that I was more than twice his age and told him not to let me beat him. I was hoping the competition would fuel both of our fires and we would finish strong. I was half right, Gavin took the encouragement and took off I searched my tank and had nothing left. I finished the race, and I finished the race running, but my Time was back to 27:46. This is 1:20 slower than my last race. Gavin finished 4 positions and :17 seconds ahead of me. The young man I paced with for the first 2.25 miles or so? He finished in 26:50.

I am not as discouraged by this as it may sound, I knew how I had been responding to the heat and the humidity, so I was not surprised, I was pleased that I finished running and did not let it get the best of me. Next time I will be stronger!

The part of the day, that really made me proud however was when Molly ran the 1 Mile Kids fun run. She ran hard, and she finished her Mile in 8:20! She was First Place in her age group and finished second among all the runners. I am so proud of her! She got a trophy which she has been toting around. She wanted to take it to church with her last week!

All in all a good course and a good race. A good day!

One more side note before I sign off... I respect the older runners out there who have achieved the senior citizen status and can still run for miles and miles, However, at some point someone who loves them needs to tell them they need to run with a shirt. There is nothing quite like an old man running shirtless (being fit doesn't help!) So Please if you are reading this and someone you know is over 60 and likes to run, please do us all a favor and kindly suggest to them that they wear a shirt.

That is all for now the next race will be The Wesson Memorial 2 mile race here in ocean Springs on July 4th.

Until then don't stop moving... even if you are moving slower due to the heat!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Visit To Run-N-Tri/ Gait Analysis

I have been promising this post for a while now...

Image from Run-N-Tri Website
In a previous post I have recounted the story of meeting Lisa McCombs ( Marketing Director  for Run-N-Tri Company) at a race. I have also recounted that she invited me in to the store for a free gait analysis. Apparently she thought based on my clumsy looking running style that I may not be wearing the right pair of shoes.

I chalked the entire encounter up to her doing her job and trying to sell shoes; shoes which I knew had to be way overpriced if they were being sold at a “running store”.  As I described previously my perception of Lisa and of Run-N-Tri changed a couple of weeks later at another race. So, I decided to take a trip over and check the place out and my curiosity was piqued about the gait analysis, was I truly wearing the wrong type of shoes?  

Let me stop here for a second and tell you I had a bit of a negative expectations going into this experience. I have only made one of trip in my life to a running specialty store prior to this and it did not go well. I recall the staff (in this case the owner) being a bit of a running snob who seemed to be put off to have to bother with someone who didn’t know what shoes were good and what shoes were bad. I Also remember gasping and losing my breath a bit when I saw the prices on his shoes. This is what I expected when I walked in Run-N-Tri.

As far as the Gait Analysis I am not sure what I expected… I think I half expected someone to say “ ok, run” then after you ran in place for a few minutes telling you “ok, stop I have the perfect shoes for someone with your pronation” Then walking to the rack and picking out the super special shoes that would cost me  somewhere close to a mortgage.

Before I describe my experience let me just say… I am glad my expectations were wrong. As we walked in the door we were greeted politely and treated very nicely. Alex was our representative that day and while he was young he had a good deal of running experience and was very anxious to help. I told him I was here for the gait analysis but that I wasn’t sure I was actually in the market for shoes at this time.

I also told Alex something that everyone who knows me already know… I am a but thrifty (cheap, I don’t like to part with my money.) Even after hearing this Alex was undeterred and still very friendly. He told me not to worry about that right now, that we would go ahead and do the analysis and go from there.

Next, Alex asked me to remove my current shoes and socks and step onto this little plate that was on the ground. After I stepped onto the plate a screen in front of me begin to show me these radar like images of my feet showing the pressure points, foot type and other info.  

perfect feet?
Once the images of my were saved Alex then had me step on to a treadmill and start to run for about a minute. After I ran I sat with Alex and watched a video of how my feet struck the treadmill. As I went to sit and put my socks on Alex gathered a couple of pairs of shoes that he thought might be good fits.  We tried a shoe from one brand on my right foot and another shoe from a different brand on my left foot. I walked around a few steps and decided which one was most comfortable. Alex then asked me to put the matching shoes on and get back on the treadmill and see how they felt to run. 

As I was running Alex was fielding questions from my wife and my eight year old daughter. He wound up spending a good deal of time with us helping us and answering a lot of questions about running and the upcoming triathlon. He even recommended a couple of books.

I was very impressed with my experience at Run-N Tri. I thought Alex dd a great job with the customer service.

Now,  to the 2 questions I know everyone wants to know

Was Lisa right, am I running in the wrong type of shoes?. I have been running in a pair of New balance 760 STS designed for stability. Because of my gait analysis I now know I can wear a neutral show with much less support and will actually probably perform better with more comfort.  While I can get away with the shoes I have, technically, yes, Lisa was right!

Finally, Did I but the Shoes?- I am disappointed to say that I have not yet bought the shoes. Though I was very impressed with the service and Even though I admit the shoes were not overpriced at all, I simply did not have the extra funds to upgrade at the time. I knew I still had the expense of a bike and a kayak to worry about. Now that I have a bike, and I have been assured I have a kayak as well, both at very little expense, The next athletic purchase I make will be a pair of Saucony Progrid Ride 3 running shoes and I will make a point to buy them at Run-N-Tri.

Thanks to anyone who may be following along, i hope you are moving in the right pair of shoes