Monthly Archives: April 2010

More China

Caterer's van.

Many of the workers live in a dorm at the factory. The main building has three stories. The first and second floors are offices and the workers rooms are on the third floor. There is a dining room, recreation room, bathrooms, showers, and sleeping quarters. A caterer delivers three meals a day, seven days a week. We eat lunch there and so far it has been very good. The rec room has a TV and a ping pong table.

Construction site between the factory and our hotel, 5 cranes. From my hotel room I can see nearly 20 similar cranes. To say there is a construction boom in China would be an understatement.

Wanted to post more pictures, but the internet is just not working well.

China

Boarding flight from Shanghai to Weifang

So far the China trip has gone very well. The food has been awesome. I’m not a huge fan of seafood, but over the last few days I’ve eaten some things that I could not identify. I did eat a couple snails last night that I didn’t like so much. Last night at dinner they said I was the guest of honor and so they offered me the fish head. I did eat some of the fish and it was very good, but I passed on the head. I did eat a chicken foot last night. It was ok. I also had jelled pigs feet which tasted very much like the jelled pigs feet I have made myself.

Right now it is 10:30 Sunday morning and there seems to be one heck of a party going on in the room across the hall. Earlier the guy had his door open and was singing loudly.

Jason and I went for a long walk this morning and made plans for a run later this afternoon. In about 30 minutes we are going to Wal-Mart to do a little shopping and then out to lunch. Should be interesting.

Dinner with Diamond Weifang team. Awesome food, good friends. But perhaps a little too much Tsingtao.

Dinner with Diamond Weifang team. Awesome food, good friends. But perhaps a little too much Tsingtao.

Weifang University Athletic Center

Just returned to the hotel from the Wal-Mart/lunch trip. Lunch was excellent. We drank hot water and hot corn juice with our meal. One dish had some little red peppers that were very hot. The first three I ate with little problem, but the last one burned the back of my throat pretty good.

CW from bottom: fish, spinach patty, chicken with peppers, tofu with onion, broccoli, chicken wings, beef. In center: breaded pumpkin, fried pork.

My First Twofer Weekend!

This weekend I ran a 5k on Saturday and did a sprint triathlon on Sunday, 400 meter swim, 10 mile bike, and 3 mile run. My first ever twofer weekend.
 
Race For The Cure is a huge event. Something like 40,000 people participate in the run/walk. Most of them are just out for a casual stroll to support the cause of finding a cure for breast cancer. Only 1172 participants wore timing tags. Of those I finished 24th overall and 1st in my age group. God is good. The weather was picture perfect for a 5k race. My strategy for this race was to run like hell right from the start and not slow down, no matter what. Do not slow down! Do not slow down! Shorten the stride keep the cadence high. The first mile included a nice little upward incline and my time surprised me, 6:03. I didn’t think I was running that kind of pace. Ok, no stinkin thinkin right? So I’m not going to think about the likelihood of me being able to run a 6:03 for the next two miles. I will not make the conscious decision to slow down.
 
“Kirk to engineering!! I need more power Scotty!!!! We need warp drive now!!!!!
I’m giving it all she’s got Captain it can’t take much more of this or the dilithium crystals will not hold up!!!”
 
If I slow down it will just be a matter of the dilithium crystals not holding up, but I’m keeping the pedal to the metal regardless. Mile 2 time 6:22. Ok, enough slacking, only 1.1 miles to go time to get the lead out. Pushing as hard as I can. I’m passing people. I can see the turn to New York Street and the finish. What I didn’t ever see was the 3 mile marker. My time for the last 1.1 mile 7:03. I’m guessing my last mile was somewhere between 6:20 and 6:30. Total time 19:28, a new PR, pretty happy about that. Praise God! It’s never too late, even an old guy like me can get faster. Heck, the guy who finished 2nd overall is 50 years old, he ran a 16:41. Ok nothing to do now but go home, mow the lawn, and recover for the tri on Sunday.
 
Accuweather was predicting the low temperature Sunday morning would be 31 degrees. I don’t ride my bike when it’s cold out. Not only would I be riding my bike in the cold, but to make it all the more thrilling I would first be dipping myself in water for about 10 minutes. My strategy for this event was to swim as fast as I can, ride as fast as I can, and run as fast as I can, but don’t worry about the transitions. I hadn’t had time to practice transitions and I’ve never done a tri in cold weather where I actually had to put clothes on so no sense in worrying about it. Just do what I can. Since I don’t ride in cold weather I don’t have any appropriate cold weather riding gear. The best I could do was the green pullover from the Tecumseh Trail Marathon. It’s a little loose and would flap in the breeze, but it stops the wind and keeps the heat in.

My bike and gear.

When I arrived at the transition area, my rack was nearly full already and I guess those who had already racked their bikes didn’t think anyone else was coming because some of them were taking up way too much space. Must have been a rack full of rookies, because all the bikes were facing out the same side rather than every other facing the opposite direction. I managed to squeeze my stuff in place and headed inside for some warmth. 

I saw quite a few familiar faces but I don’t really know most of them. I did run into Cindy, one of the girls from my mini training group. I also ran into my co-worker Jason. We are going to China together on Wednesday. We are planning to run through Beijing, The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, etc. Jason is responsible for getting me in this mess. Grrrr! As we are waiting to get in the pool I’m so nervous/excited I was sure I would throw up. Once I hit the water though it’s time to get busy. I went out pretty fast and after about 150 meters I switch to breast stroke. I then alternate between freestyle and breast stroke for the rest of the swim. I finish the swim in 9:51 which is pretty good for me, but is pathetically slow compared to others. I really need to get some professional help for the swim. I exit the pool a little winded. I

Jason and I waiting for the show to start.

start jogging out the door and whoa, it’s cold out here and I’m soaking wet and half-naked. I run as fast as I can barefoot through the parking lot to my bike. I remembered to bring an extra towel to dry off a bit. I pull on a long sleeve shirt, the Tecumseh wind breaker, gloves, helmet, sunglasses, and cycling shoes. I run for the exit finally. It’s a pretty slow transition at 3:30, but not worried about it. The bike ride was somewhat smooth. The course was a little more hilly than I thought it would be. I went into one of the roundabouts a little too fast and thought I might not make it out on two wheels. The hairpin turn on 111th street was pretty tricky. I averaged 19.3 mph, which isn’t too bad considering the ten miles of this race nearly doubled my mileage for the year. The road leading to the dismount had a couple nasty speed bumps so I didn’t attempt to slip my feet out of the shoes while riding. This transition was a little better. I only had to ditch my gloves, helmet, sunglasses, wind breaker and change shoes. 1:50, much better, but not great. It was not nearly as cold as I had feared it would be. I probably would have been fine without the wind breaker. 

For the first half mile of the run my right knee and toes were pretty sore. Not sure why the toes were sore, cold I guess. My legs of course felt like sacks of cement. About a mile into the run I realized I forgot to grab my number belt. Too late to worry about it now. I never felt as though I was moving very fast, but I was breathing hard the whole way. The legs wanted to slow down, but that just wasn’t going to happen. Very happy to see the 2 mile sign. Just a mile to go. I finish the 3 miles in 20 minutes (6:26 per mile). My run time was 40th out of 672. I can’t complain about that. 

My total time was 1:06:19, 103rd of 672, 15th of 55 in my age group. Not bad for an early season effort.  As I said I’m going to China on Wednesday, returning on April 30th. I think my next race will be Run With The Foxes Trail Half Marathon on May 15th. Then I’m doing the Buffalo Marathon on May 30th. Run Happy!

DINO Comes to Avon and More Free Stuff

Another awesome DINO 15k trail race is logged into the record books! The weather could not have been more perfect! The course was once again changed from previous years. For some reason they are building a road through the park toward the haunted bridge and therefore ruining a beautiful piece of woods. There were a few spots with mud, but nothing to get excited about. I currently live in Avon (though I’m moving to Carmel in May) but haven’t been in the park since last year. I actually previewed the course Friday night on my mountain bike. There was a free MTB racing “clinic” that mostly consisted of riding through the course with an expert rider to demonstrate how to negotiate the obstacles in one piece. This is not an easy course to run so facing some of the obstacles on a mountain bike was a little unnerving especially after seeing one of the “experts” crash off the side of a wooden bridge. He was trying to eat a clif bar while riding and I didn’t have a clif bar so I should be ok. Several years ago I had a scary little crash in this park that put a huge damper on my desire to ride a bike over rugged trails. The crash occurred on a relatively flat easy section so for this training run my heart was racing even when I was standing still staring down each obstacle building up the courage to attack. I’m happy to report I made it through the entire course unscathed. Well, almost unscathed, I did get a little up close and personal with one tree. I don’t know how the tree fared, but I have a little bruise on my left forearm. Some riders rode through the course a second time, but I did not want to push my luck and I would need to save my energy for the morning race. As it was my Tuesday 10 mile run had been moved to Thursday because of the celebration at Butler so I would be nowhere near fully rested for this race.

My strategy was to avoid going out too fast at the start, take it easy going up hills and through the tough winding sections, and run hard in the flat easy sections. I did manage to hold back at the start and not burn out right away. Within the first mile though I my legs were already starting to protest. You can rest when this is over I shouted back at them, just keep moving. Half way through the first lap I passed Vernie who would wind up blowing out his hamstring around mile 3 and DNFing. Vernie is very competitive and someone told me this was his first ever DNF. I’m praying he has a speedy recovery. Starting the second lap I could see Robert Burns was maybe 50 yards ahead of me. If figured I’d be doing well if I could just keep him in sight. There were lots of twists and turns in the first couple miles of the course so I was catching glimpses of Robert, but couldn’t really tell if I was gaining on him or falling away. After mile 2 there were some straighter sections including almost 100 yards on that new road through the woods. On the road and the mud section just off the road I pulled to within a few yards. In the last mile of the lap there are a couple nice little hills. I probably could have passed him on the first hill, but I was content to stay behind at this point. Near the top of the second hill Robert slowed to the point that I had no choice but to pass. I then started to think he was messing with me, letting me pass so I would burn myself out and then he could pick me off later in the last lap. Ultimately it wouldn’t really matter if he passed me or not because 1) we aren’t in the same age group and 2) I’m really just out there to have fun; however, I do use the other runners for motivation and if he was going to pass me I was going to make him earn it. Initially I got a pretty good lead on him but toward the middle of the last lap I could tell he had closed the gap. I figured I could gain ground in the mud section. Then for the last trip up those hills I never looked back. No sense in saving anything now. Just charge up those hills as fast as I can. At the finish I was about 26 second ahead of him. I finished in 1:05:45 good for 16th overall and 2nd in my age group. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact I was able to run so well on tired legs, that I was mentally able to ignore the fatigue and soreness and just keep pushing.

After the race Qdoba was again on hand dishing out naked burritos. There was no line so I grabbed one along with an awesome brownie for desert. After eating the burrito I went out for a cool down run of about 2.5 miles. There was still some time to kill before awards so I grabbed a second burrito. The brownies were all gone though. Speaking of pleasant surprises, I won a $25 gift certificate to The Runner’s Forum as a random door prize. Earlier in the week I won a pair of socks from The Runner’s Forum in the Indiana Trail Running big sock giveaway so I’ll be heading up there this Saturday to do a little shopping.

Another big weekend coming up. This Saturday is the Race For The Cure 5k. There will likely be 35 to 40 thousand runners and walkers, actually mostly walkers. My plan is to run like hell right from the start, never slow down, and set a new 5k PR. Even with the large crowd it should be pretty thin up at the front. Then on Sunday I’m doing the Carmel Sprint Triathlon, no expectations, just swim, ride, run hard and finish.

Run Happy!

Free Stuff

When I signed up for the Buffalo Marathon back in January, they had a special deal going where they were giving away free “I’m training for the 2010 Buffalo Marathon” t-shirts. The t-shirt arrived in the mail Friday. Since it was free, I can’t really complain, but, the print is so small you would have to be in my face to read it and it’s cotton so there’s little chance I would ever wear it while running. I am wearing it as I type, but it will soon be covered up with shirt and sweater as I’ll be heading off to church any minute now. Happy Easter!

Yesterday I looked at the Portland Marathon which is October 10th this year. Some people from Portland who I saw at the CIM in Sacramento said Portland was an awesome race. Entry fee $135. It can’t be that awesome. The aforementioned Buffalo Marathon with its cheap free t-shirt only cost me $75. Of course it is Portland. Oops, never mind, there’s a DINO race that weekend anyway, no way I’m going to skip DINO at Southwestway.

Run Happy!

If you can read this, you are way too close!