Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Passing of a Ballplayer, a Friend, a Hero

"Every player should be afforded the opportunity of at least one season with the Chicago Cubs. That's baseball as it should be played - in God's own sunshine. And that's really living" - Alvin Dark, Ballplayer, friend, hero

Hi guys, remember me? Yes, it's been a while since I've sat down and written in RWA, mainly because there's not a whole heck of a lot going on that I think might hold somebody else's interest for longer than 2 seconds. I'm running fairly well. The fabled ankles, though stiff as cement pylons, haven't been too sore, and with our Alabama trails covered with a thick layer of leaves hiding the roots, rocks, and ruts, ol' Al is pretty thankful for that. And I've had no rants lately and I'm sure the world is breathing easier knowing Al will let it spin smoothly for a while more. I have been writing weekly in my other blog, TRAINING WITH AL, about training for the marathon, mostly directed at those in the Birmingham area training for the Mercedes Marathon, being run on February 22, 2015, so check it out if you're training for a full or half marathon and want some basic guidance getting to that finish line based on my thousand years of successes and failures.

One of the things I do just about each evening when I get home from work, is sit down with my tablet and cold beer (or hot coffee, depending on the temperature) and read briefly through Facebook (I have selectively very few "friends", so don't try) about what my running friends are up to. Also, I'll quickly rifle through a couple a hundred posts on Twitter. Most posts are garbage, but I get a kick out of the few that are funny or point you to interesting sites. 

Last Thursday night there was a short post on Twitter (has to less than 140 characters afterall) that read that Alvin Dark had passed away at 92 years old in South Carolina. Alvin Dark was a baseball player of moderate success (was Rookie of the Year in 1948 with the old Boston Braves, and later played with the NY Giants, Cubs, and Phillies. He was an All-Star three times, played in three World Series, and managed 5 teams). Never heard of  his passing mentioned on Sports Center or the news, so I was glad I was looking at Twitter that evening. You see, as a child, I knew Alvin Dark personally. My dad was an automobile dealer in New Jersey back in the early 50's and sold a car to Mr. Dark. A friendship ensued and for a few years, Alvin Dark was my hero...I knew a professional ballplayer! When he left the NY/NJ area, we still stayed in touch for several years. And as an adult, I collected all his baseball cards, not because I was a collector, but only to have them. Let me share some of my memories:

-- He gave me my first real baseball glove. I was about 8 years old and it was one of his just discarded pro gloves (he was a shortstop). On the back of the glove was written "#19". I used that glove throughout High School.

-- When I was around 6 years old, my dad took me to my first pro game. It was at the now-demolished Polo Grounds and I remember it so clearly. We walked out of the dark runway under the stands into the bright sunshine and I clearly remember two things: how green the grass was, and the red on the opposing player's uniforms (the Reds or the Cardinals?). Looking back, I realize any ballgames I saw on TV were in Black & White, so this color thing was crazy exciting. We got to wave to Mr. Dark as he warmed up before the game.

-- In 1961, the Giants had moved to San Francisco and Mr. Dark was now their manager. My dad and I drove down to Philadelphia one night to see them play the Phillies and were going to have dinner with him after the game. Unfortunately, the game went 15 innings and ended in a 3-3 tie because it went past midnight. So, sadly, no dinner. But, I did get to meet Orlando Cepeda and Jose Pagan, two SF stars, after the game in the locker room. 

-- In 1967, I was going to Jr. College in Miami, which happened to be the Spring Training home of the Baltimore Orioles. Mr. Dark was then managing the Kansas City A's, so when they came to Miami, I went down to see the game. I wasn't sure he would remember me (hadn't seen him since that '61 non-dinner). I snuck down to the rail next to the dugout before the game and called for Mr. Dark to come over. I introduced myself and immediately he smiled and recognized me. Surprised the heck out of me. He leaned up against the rail and talked to me for 20 minutes about my dad and what I was doing. I sure felt like somebody.

That was the last time I saw him...47 years ago! And, though it's been so long, his passing hit me. Obviously brought to the surface many pleasant memories. Maybe it's that next piece of childhood that we have to let go of, or realizing how fast time flies, or just realizing how much of life we have filled up...I dunno. I'm glad I was reading Twitter last Thursday or I might have missed it. Mr. Dark's passing is sad to me, but not knowing...that would have been very sad.

I'll see you on the roads - Al

"One child lost is too many...one child saved can change the world"  



Monday, September 8, 2014

Sticks and Stones (and Hills) WILL Hurt Me!!



"She went past me like I was sitting in my bathtub reading a book" - Anita Ortiz commenting on Darcy Africa passing her at 92k of the 100k Miwok Race









When I was a kid growing up in New Jersey about a hundred years ago, I used to wonder what it would be like to be all grown up. My last post dealt with the craziness of being active daily in those younger days and how I wonder if that helped shape the 67 year old body that I carry around now. Here I am, still wanting to get up early in the morning and shake it up with nature for a while. I feel like Sylvester Stallone or Robert DeNiro in "Grudge Match"...going through the same motions, but in slow motion.

I’m really struggling with my race-goal times these days (This is where we insert the Serenity Prayer, especially the part about “…the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.“) Ah, the wisdom part. It’s so damn intangible. Last Saturday, I ran another of the local Southeastern Trail Series Races. This one was the Ridge to Ridge race and consisted of 21+ miles of hilly, rooty, rocky, trail that gradually (from about a mile into it) eats you up. It has about 3100' of elevation, which if you're reading this in Colorado sounds like a flat single track. The worst part is the Yellow/White connector which is a trail that rises 600' over exactly a mile and has suitcase sized Lower-Appalachian-Trail-hardness rocks that don't give any when you trip into them. You do this loop twice and there is no doubt the second time is a real "let's get that heart rate up to maximum" test. As you know, I don't like to write race reports and I won't write one here. I have read some great race reports, but I just don't have the journalistic talent to make mine sound in any way interesting, at least to anyone but me.

But, the gist of this cloud over me is that I am 67 years old, which is not THAT old, but older than I've ever been. The age doesn't bother me, it's the daggum slowness that accompanies it on the road or trail. It's the declining balance that usually makes itself known as I'm trying to navigate a stream by stepping on the well-placed (for anybody else) rocks. Near the end of a long race, you know, that point where you're close enough to realize you might finish this god-forsaken test, but not close enough to say Yahoo yet...actually, I usually don't say yahoo until I'm directly under the finish banner...actually, there is no Yahoo, it's just a very slight pumping my fist into the air about the height of my chest, I feel like I'm nine million years old. I’m past-dead. A Coke will usually re-ignite the spark of life, but I am spent. A happy, proud spent, but spent none-the-less. And MUCH more spent than the runner in my head should be.

I’ve been running marathons since 1979 and Ultras since 1981 with a somewhat varying degree of self-competitive success this entire time. In the first 20 years or so, I put in some pretty good times, was competitive with the general group of runners around the same age, and hit some peaks that I'm rather proud of. Running was fun. Running faster and farther was funner. In my mind, the party was just starting. But dang, who’s the jerk that invited Father Time? In the early 2000's, I began to have some ankle pains that began to limit my performances. I realized that as I grew older, there was, of course, a birthday-candle-to-race-performance ratio that was not going in my favor, but this ankle thing was a wildcard that was dealt. I watched my times go off the Continental Shelf but I kept at it because I just didn't want to let go. I'm a PT, did my exercises, got orthotics, wore all kinds of supports, but when you pound down 3-4 times your body weight on your ankles EVERY step, it just doesn't give it a very good chance to improve if you keep trying to run long distances. So, I eased up for a couple of years, ran VERY slow and cut down the training mileage a heap. Gradually, very gradually, the ankles got better, not great, but better. They still stiffen up after sitting a while, stairs are a test in mental tenacity, and there is a loss of range of motion that doesn't allow me to jump higher than a cup or further than foot or two. If I see a snake on the trail, I can't jump out of the way, so I just scream like a little girl and hope the snake laughs itself to death. A few years ago, I re-entered the Ultra world and have been testing the the limits since.

Two things are incredibly different. First, any speed is non-existent. My morning "training runs" are like a caboose going uphill without an engine. If I try to drop my speed to faster than a trot, my ankles are shot the rest of the day, and a limping Physical Therapist doesn't lend itself to instilling much confidence in your patient that you're going to get them better. And secondly, my endurance has taken a huge tumble. Oh, I can run-trot-walk for several hours during a race (did it for 7 hours Saturday), but the little energy-producing mitochondria in my muscles are screaming the whole way. I can pump them with Gu's and Coke and electrolytes, but they are just a bunch of flat piss-poor inefficient energy producers. Every race, I finish last or pretty doggone close to it. So many candles on the running cake these days means it–or I–could blow up and/or fizzle out any moment now. When IS the ‘expiration date' on my running?


Here comes the intangible part: at what age do you go, “Yeah, I’m gettin’ kinda’ old… could I really meet my goals, or should I re-think them? Can I think more positively and self-talk my way into turning this around, or is the door closing?”. I mean, I don’t have "verygross" veins (well, ok, I do in ONE leg), I don’t have cataracts and I can still touch my knees! Of course, there is the morning show of getting out of bed and stiff leg it to the bathroom before you get dressed for your morning run. How many mornings have I said to myself "Oh yeah sure, you're gonna run for an hour and you can't even get your leg high enough to put your shorts on!".

After how many merry-go-rounds on this planet do you logically accept REAL slow race and training times? Is there a formula? Do you factor in ‘X’ number of sucky runs plus ‘Y’ number of missed goals plus a few bad falls and five or more niggling ouchies and divide it by 12 or something?


In the ultra world, we are hardwired to ignore any physical or mental glitches that might for a zillionth of a moment bring us down. Our culture emphasizes that we "suck-it-up-buttercup" (favorite quote of my buddy, Eric) and re-frame any bummer thought. We are trained to visualize any deterrent to our plans before they happen so we can deal with it. It’s mental leprosy to start allowing doubtful thoughts to crack one’s rock-solid confidence veneer. I train to perform at and to reach my genetic potential. You can’t get any better than that, correct? At some point, inevitably those DNA strands start unraveling and turning to slush. You can’t will or Pollyanna positive-think or train harder to outrun that process, literally. It sucks, but you’re just not going to run as well at 70 as you did at 50. I am guessing that it has something to do with cellular regeneration beginning to lag far behind cellular destruction, and probably a hormonal shift that makes your muscles shrivel. Or something like that. When your DNA starts to go haywire, it ends your heyday. Or maybe the running fairies go, “Time’s up little guy.”

This post went down a darker road than I wanted it to. I'm not moping around because of my run performances. Oh, I ain't happy about it either. But hey, give me the choice of speed on the roads or sluggishness on the trails, and I say bring on the dirt. I like to run long. I like to run on trails. I DON'T like to run extremely slow. I DON'T like to make race officials wait for me (though they never seem to give it a second thought). I'll keep setting goals, but those goals are less specific, like "Let's see if I can finish this run before my watch battery dies". I can still run and I am always thankful for that. I keep telling myself to run in the moment, not in the memories of the past. Much of the time it sinks in...sometimes, not so much. But, as always, I'll continue to see you on the roads and trails - AL

"One child lost is too many...one child saved can change the world"

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Young Self, You Made a Monster

Al's note: I have been having trouble sending RWA to those of you that subscribe by email, so I'm trying some tricks using paperclips and gum and see if that works. I apologize if you get this post twice - Al D.

"Where'd all the days go, when all we did was play? And the stress that we were under wasn't stress at all, just run and jump into a harmless fall" - Paolo Nutini

One day recently while having one of my solo run-arounds, my mind, as it usually does, started to wander. Here I am, a runner for 35 years and numerous marathons and ultramarathons, a runner who still likes to just get out there in the rain, heat, cold (ok, not so much the cold), and all kinds of conditions just to get in my fix. I was wondering on this run, how did I get in this way? I don't mean how did I start running, but what formed me to want to live part of my life outside, running up and down hills, on the roads, on the trail, sometimes for hours at a time.

Have you ever wondered about how the experiences you have as a child form what type of adult you become? Me neither, until this run where it just popped into my noggin. As I grow older, I begin to sound and act just like the stereotypical grandfather...I don't mean complaining about everything in site and passing gas all the time, but having some strong opinions about the world that surrounds me. I keep having the thought that the youth of today is going to hell in a wheelbarrow. I know it's not true, or even 50% true, but for goodness sake, so many kids today are so reluctant to get off their butts to do something physical. On top of that, we live in a world that protects kids from doing anything dangerous or allowing them to get themselves into situations that they have to figure out how to get out of. They can't play with anything sharper than a ping-pong ball or anything smaller than their foot!

What I remember of my young childhood, or what I perceive I remember, was playing all the time outside. In the summer, or on Saturdays, I would go out early in the morning, meet friends, and "mess around" all day until it was time to get home for dinner. Some days, we would play baseball, football, or soccer, but most days were spent playing games we made up as we went along. Games that would begin as tag would evolve into some form of tackling each other until you got your friend in a hold that he couldn't escape. Bike riding would become this mad dash down a hill on a road until you made a hard right into the woods at full speed and see how far you could get before you smacked into a tree. The further you got, the more adoration you got from your friends. I can recall jumping off this 100 foot cliff (probably 20-30 ft) onto the soft dirt below. The object was to see who could jump the furthest from the point at the top of the cliff you took off from. Probably explains a lot about the ankle problems I have today - can't even jump a log on the trail. And races...we always had races - bike races, running races, tree climbing races. No rules, just "I'll race you to the ____". Of course, this usually began when you were already running someplace, so the guy who called the race usually got a head start, which was ok because things always evened out and you got left in the dust just as many times as you were the first to kick up the dust.

So, how does this tie into my running self? Does the type of play you have as a youngster smolder until one day it becomes the type of play you have as a full-fledged grownup? I'm 67 years old and my play is to lace up my shoes and go for a run for a couple of hours down the road or through the woods. Sometimes I run down a singletrack and smack into a tree. Sometimes I jump over streams to see if I can get to the other side dry. Sometimes I "race" myself or my fellow runner, though you'd be hard pressed to actually say I was racing. If I didn't play as a child, would I be playing now? If it wasn't fun then, where would I be now? What kind of future are today's kids being pigeon-holed into with more video games, more social media relationships, more homework, and year-round organized sports. Oh, I know these kids will turn out fine. They'll learn that sharp things cut and hot things burn. My world was different from my child's world, and his is different from his child's. But, don't you think that so many aspects of your childhood mold your adult self? I do, and I think one of the biggest reasons running and me have this bond now is because we had this bond a long, long time ago. Yeah, it was different. Yeah, it was the same.

Maybe I shouldn't write RWA sitting on my deck on a hot summer day with a good, cold beer by my side, but this idea spawned in my head on a run, not from the heat or the beer. I've said many times in these blogs that running is a part of me. I used to think it was because I had nurtured it in all these years that I have been running, sorta like a good habit. But, now I think that fire was sparked many years ago when I was running a block, not a mile. Jumping over a cliff and not a log. Running with friends and...well, thank goodness, I'm still doing that.

I'll see you on the roads and trails - AL


"One child lost is too many. One child saved can change the world"

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Young Self, You Made a Monster

"Where'd all the days go, when all we did was play? And the stress that we were under wasn't stress at all, just run and jump into a harmless fall" - Paolo Nutini
One day recently while having one of my solo run-arounds, my mind, as it usually does, started to wander. Here I am, a runner for 35 years and numerous marathons and ultramarathons, a runner who still likes to just get out there in the rain, heat, cold (ok, not so much the cold), and all kinds of conditions just to get in my fix. I was wondering on this run, how did I get in this way? I don't mean how did I start running, but what formed me to want to live part of my life outside, running up and down hills, on the roads, on the trail, sometimes for hours at a time.

Have you ever wondered about how the experiences you have as a child form what type of adult you become? Me neither, until this run where it just popped into my noggin. As I grow older, I begin to sound and act just like the stereotypical grandfather...I don't mean complaining about everything in site and passing gas all the time, but having some strong opinions about the world that surrounds me. I keep having the thought that the youth of today is going to hell in a wheelbarrow. I know it's not true, or even 50% true, but for goodness sake, so many kids today are so reluctant to get off their butts to do something physical. On top of that, we live in a world that protects kids from doing anything dangerous or allowing them to get themselves into situations that they have to figure out how to get out of. They can't play with anything sharper than a ping-pong ball or anything smaller than their foot!

What I remember of my young childhood, or what I perceive I remember, was playing all the time outside. In the summer, or on Saturdays, I would go out early in the morning, meet friends, and "mess around" all day until it was time to get home for dinner. Some days, we would play baseball, football, or soccer, but most days were spent playing games we made up as we went along. Games that would begin as tag would evolve into some form of tackling each other until you got your friend in a hold that he couldn't escape. Bike riding would become this mad dash down a hill on a road until you made a hard right into the woods at full speed and see how far you could get before you smacked into a tree. The further you got, the more adoration you got from your friends. I can recall jumping off this 100 foot cliff (probably 20-30 ft) onto the soft dirt below. The object was to see who could jump the furthest from the point at the top of the cliff you took off from. Probably explains a lot about the ankle problems I have today - can't even jump a log on the trail. And races...we always had races - bike races, running races, tree climbing races. No rules, just "I'll race you to the ____". Of course, this usually began when you were already running someplace, so the guy who called the race usually got a head start, which was ok because things always evened out and you got left in the dust just as many times as you were the first to kick up the dust.

So, how does this tie into my running self? Does the type of play you have as a youngster smolder until one day it becomes the type of play you have as a full-fledged grownup? I'm 67 years old and my play is to lace up my shoes and go for a run for a couple of hours down the road or through the woods. Sometimes I run down a singletrack and smack into a tree. Sometimes I jump over streams to see if I can get to the other side dry. Sometimes I "race" myself or my fellow runner, though you'd be hard pressed to actually say I was racing. If I didn't play as a child, would I be playing now? If it wasn't fun then, where would I be now? What kind of future are today's kids being pigeon-holed into with more video games, more social media relationships, more homework, and year-round organized sports. Oh, I know these kids will turn out fine. They'll learn that sharp things cut and hot things burn. My world was different from my child's world, and his is different from his child's. But, don't you think that so many aspects of your childhood mold your adult self? I do, and I think one of the biggest reasons running and me have this bond now is because we had this bond a long, long time ago. Yeah, it was different. Yeah, it was the same.

Maybe I shouldn't write RWA sitting on my deck on a hot summer day with a good, cold beer by my side, but this idea spawned in my head on a run, not from the heat or the beer. I've said many times in these blogs that running is a part of me. I used to think it was because I had nurtured it in all these years that I have been running, sorta like a good habit. But, now I think that fire was sparked many years ago when I was running a block, not a mile. Jumping over a cliff and not a log. Running with friends and...well, thank goodness, I'm still doing that.

I'll see you on the roads and trails - AL


"One child lost is too many. One child saved can change the world"

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Me and The 10,000 Hour Rule

"At first people will ask why you're doing it, but eventually after the hard work pays off, they will ask how you did it..." - Steve Prefontaine

While looking at some of my awesome adequate pitiful statistics on Strava, I wondered how much of this is really meaningful. Except for those extremely frustrating occasions when my Nike+ Sportswatch doesn't makes friends with my personal running satellite, I download my runs to Strava (I hate the Nike Website). Strava will track all types of numbers that have to do with your run, and probably none of it has helped me become a better runner at all, but sometimes it's fun to look at.

Years ago, I used to be almost obsessed with getting in the miles, so that's what I would look at most. Could I get in my arbitrary weekly/monthly quota? Several years, I ran over 3000 miles, averaging better than 50 miles a week. Holy cow! That's a bunch. My all-time weekly high was 108 miles. Nearly killed me...did it in July...in Alabama...running to and from work from my home to downtown...over two significant mile-long hills each way. Yeah, did that once!

Now, when I download my runs, I still look at miles, but mostly as an interesting curiosity. I only run 4, or occasionally 5, days a week. I average about half of those "glory day" mile totals. These days, I like to look at elevation gain because I run about half my miles on trails over hill and dale and because I have no idea how to measure dales, I keep track of the hills. When I struggle through a Sunday run on roads with my non-trail running friends, I usually mention that I ran trails yesterday - "How far did you go?" - "Well, it was only 12 miles, but it had 2500 ft of elevation". Deaf ears...means nothing...may as well have told them it was 25,000 feet. But, I follow it. I know several thousand feet climbing will knock me on my can the next day! The time that used to get me 20 miles on the road barely gets me 10 miles on the trail now, but I usually don't keep close track of how the hours pile up.

In Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers, he repeatedly mentions the "10,000-Hour Rule", claiming that the key to success in ANY field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours. This nonsense controversial idea has been pretty much disproven, but seeing that he is one of my favorite authors, the premise has stuck in my mind. So, as usual during my solo trail runs, like this morning, I got to thinking. I began to wonder exactly how much time I spend running. Do I really spend that much time preparing for the "events" I choose to do? I know I get up early in the morning for just about all of my runs and I feel like that's pretty doggone dedicated to do that, but how does my training fit into Gladwell's "flat-earth" theory?

So, I consulted Professor Strava. Last year I ran 1370 miles in 303 hours. In 2012, I did 1424 miles in 290 hours (sigh! I know, slower!). So, in 2 full years, that's 2794 miles in 593 hours. I'll save you the trouble...it's 12:42 min/mi - hey, those hilly trails slow me down!!! Now, looking at elevation gain, in the past 18 months, I've climbed over 119,000 feet...That's over 4 times from sea level to the tip of the summit of Mt Everest! Still, even with the elevation excuse of slowing me down and adding to the "hours" spent running, the 300 hours per year average is not really that much of a dent in the 10,000 hour rule, is it?

I began running obsessively regularly in 1978 and have since run over 80,000 miles. Now, I was faster "back-in-the-day", so why don't we say the 36 years all averages to about 9:30/mi. Let's see, applying my New Jersey education, 9.5 x 80,000 = 760,000 minutes divided by 60 = 12,666 hours!! Obviously, this is well and above Gladwell's threshold for excellence! So, why am I so damn slow and always finish in the buttend of races? Yeah, yeah, age...blah, blah, blah. Ankles from hell...blah, blah, blah.

So, while I plodded around Oak Mt, I realized that the 10,000 Hour Rule doesn't just require lacing up your Hokas and moseying down the trail or road. Learning how to improve any skill requires top-down (brain-feet) focus. We have to strengthen the old brain circuits and build new ones for a skill to become sharpened and improve our outcome. It requires paying attention. When practice occurs while we are looking at the scenery or talking to our friends about that & this, the brain does not rewire the relevant circuitry for that particular routine, in this case, running up the Yellow/White connector. So, what happens is that each time I hit that Y/W connector, I huff and puff, stop and take deep breaths, slowly step over the boulders, and generally don't practice attacking the weak parts of my running. Daydreaming defeats practice. Complacency defeats practice. And yes, things like age and ankles defeats practice. But, paying full attention is what we have to do for everything to sharpen us into that "success" that Gladwell proposes in his 10 Grand Rule, not just simply putting in the time.

So, although I've worn down hundreds of pairs of shoes past the magic 10,000 hours, what Strava doesn't tell me is how many hours were actually spent focusing on those skills in order to get the most out of the vehicle I carry around. Oh, I wish I could run the hills just a little better, but you know, my mind was wondering on the trails this morning because it was warm, it was raining, it was quiet...yeah, that's fine with me. Do I really want to make work out of it? Nah. Maybe in the formative years, that's fun, but not now. Maybe I didn't use all those hours to it's utmost to achieve "success", but I did OK. For now, as Popeye said, "I yam what I yam".

I'll see you all on the roads and trails - AL

"One child lost is too many...one child saved can change the world"

Monday, July 14, 2014

Jabbering On The Trails

"A long run is easy until it gets hard" - unknown, but well known to experienced endurance athletes 

Man, it is hot out there. There being Birmingham, Alabama...in July...where it's supposed to be hot. I used to relish running in the heat, but as I get as old as Methuselah, the heat melts me down pretty quickly. Actually, yesterday, I ran better on the very hilly trails of Oak Mountain than I did this morning on the flat roads of Homewood. I was a wilted cowboy when this one was done. I'll never be ready for winter, but I won't argue with a little cooler weather.
Today, while running with Moha on the roads, Ken joined us in the middle of his 2nd 20+ miler of the week. Ken's one of these runners that just runs until he's tired and then checks his watch to see how far he's gone. Anyway, me and Moha were bantering back & forth and Ken said "Is this how it goes on for hours on the trail?". Well Ken, yes it does. Here's just some short snipets of the many conversations we had huffing and puffing and hammering up and down the hills yesterday:

Moha: We didn't go up this hill last week, did we?
Me: Yes we did.
Moha: I must've been in better shape last week.

Talking about James Durant, a local runner. I was mentioning that he's a very good runner -
Me: You know, he's a year older than me (68) and he'll finish the Hotter 'n' Hell race an hour faster than us.
Moha: Yeah, but he doesn't have your bad ankles or my big belly.

Both of us love soccer and Moha was trying to convince me that soccer is really catching on here in the states -
Me: You're full of baloney Mo. Soccer will never catch on. Folks won't support it here.
Moha: Oh, it's very popular. People in Atlanta support their team a lot.
Me: They don't even have a team in Atlanta, except maybe a women's team.
Moha: Yes they do. I remember seeing them when I lived there in 19...
Me: STOP right there. You're argument just fell apart. 19?? was at least 15 years ago.
Moha: Well, IF they had a team, they would support it

Standing under Peavine Falls, which is no more than a low-pressure-garden-hose trickle due to the lack of rain -
Moha: Can you drink that water?
Me: Yes, you CAN drink that water. How much toilet paper did you bring?

Coming out of the trail and onto road for maybe 20 yards to hit the Green/Yellow connector trail, we encountered the transition area of the popular Buster Britton Triathlon going on -
Moha: Now I have to suck in my gut
Me: Yeah, like that's gonna happen!

Just recently got my new Hoka Bondi 3's after 4 pairs of Bondi 2's -
Me: I don't like them as much. The tongue is not padded, the loop on the heel is too small to fit your finger(s) to pull the shoe on, the cushioning doesn't feel as soft, and they just seem more cheaply made.
Moha: Anybody else complain?
Me: Well, I went on line, but I couldn't find anybody else complaining.
Moha: So, shut the hell up!

Moha was recalling the recent Peavine Falls race on July 4th, an 8.2 mile race, 90% on road, last 10% on a twisty trail-
Moha: I came out of the trail and there was this guy just ahead of me. So, I ran as hard as I could and passed him. I was feeling good and then the son of a b*t*h passed me right at the end. Should have beat him.
Me: But you didn't
Moha: Nope.
Me: So, shut the hell up!

Just as we're finishing up our run, we come on the road to the parking lot and I noticed the gate to the Peavine Road is locked -
Me: Why is the gate locked?
Moha: I don't know. Why do you think it's locked?
Me: I just asked you because I didn't know
Moha: Do you think it's locked to keep cars from going on the road?
Me: Um, I would guess that's the point.
Moha: I wonder why they would lock it.
Me: Geez!!

Near the end of the run, coming down the Tree Top Trail -
Moha: How much more to go?
Me: A little over a mile
Moha: We're there, brother!
Me: Yep, we're there.
Moha: If we're there, why do we have to keep running?
Me: Excellent point. Keep running

And that's a piece of how I fill up two and half hours of running with Mo. Runs like this weekend I feel like an ice cube melting in a coffee pot, but laughter will get you to keep moving forward. So, yes Ken, this IS how it goes for hours on the trail when I run with Moha. Now, if I can just get these dang legs moving a little better. Next week....yeah, that's it...next week.
I'll see you all on the trails and roads - Al


"One child lost is too many...one child saved can change the world."
 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Jabbering On The Trails

"A long run is easy until it gets hard" - unknown, but well known to experienced endurance athletes

Man, it is hot out there. There being Birmingham, Alabama...in July...where it's supposed to be hot. I used to relish running in the heat, but as I get as old as Methuselah, the heat melts me down pretty quickly. Actually, yesterday, I ran better on the very hilly trails of Oak Mountain than I did this morning on the flat roads of Homewood. I was a wilted cowboy when this one was done. I'll never be ready for winter, but I won't argue with a little cooler weather. 

Today, while running with Moha on the roads, Ken joined us in the middle of his 2nd 20+ miler of the week. Ken's one of these runners that just runs until he's tired and then checks his watch to see how far he's gone. Anyway, me and Moha were bantering back & forth and Ken said "Is this how it goes on for hours on the trail?". Well Ken, yes it does. Here's just some short snipets of the many conversations we had huffing and puffing and hammering up and down the hills yesterday:

Moha: We didn't go up this hill last week, did we?
Me: Yes we did.
Moha: I must've been in better shape last week.

Talking about James Durant, a local runner. I was mentioning that he's a very good runner -
Me: You know, he's a year older than me (68) and he'll finish the Hotter 'n' Hell race an hour faster than us.
Moha: Yeah, but he doesn't have your bad ankles or my big belly.

Both of us love soccer and Moha was trying to convince me that soccer is really catching on here in the states - 
Me: You're full of baloney Mo. Soccer will never catch on. Folks won't support it here. 
Moha: Oh, it's very popular. People in Atlanta support their team a lot.
Me: They don't even have a team in Atlanta, except maybe a women's team.
Moha: Yes they do. I remember seeing them when I lived there in 19...
Me: STOP right there. You're argument just fell apart. 19?? was at least 15 years ago.
Moha: Well, IF they had a team, they would support it

Standing under Peavine Falls, which is no more than a low-pressure-garden-hose trickle due to the lack of rain -
Moha: Can you drink that water?
Me: Yes, you CAN drink that water. How much toilet paper did you bring?

Coming out of the trail and onto road for maybe 20 yards to hit the Green/Yellow connector trail, we encountered the transition area of the popular Buster Britton Triathlon going on -
Moha: Now I have to suck in my gut
Me: Yeah, like that's gonna happen!

Just recently got my new Hoka Bondi 3's after 4 pairs of Bondi 2's -
Me: I don't like them as much. The tongue is not padded, the loop on the heel is too small to fit your finger(s) to pull the shoe on, the cushioning doesn't feel as soft, and they just seem more cheaply made.
Moha: Anybody else complain?
Me: Well, I went on line, but I couldn't find anybody else complaining.
Moha: So, shut the hell up!

Moha was recalling the recent Peavine Falls race on July 4th, an 8.2 mile race, 90% on road, last 10% on a twisty trail-
Moha: I came out of the trail and there was this guy just ahead of me. So, I ran as hard as I could and passed him. I was feeling good and then the son of a b*t*h passed me right at the end. Should have beat him.
Me: But you didn't
Moha: Nope.
Me: So, shut the hell up!

Just as we're finishing up our run, we come on the road to the parking lot and I noticed the gate to the Peavine Road is locked -
Me: Why is the gate locked?
Moha: I don't know. Why do you think it's locked?
Me: I just asked you because I didn't know
Moha: Do you think it's locked to keep cars from going on the road?
Me: Um, I would guess that's the point.
Moha: I wonder why they would lock it.
Me: Geez!!

Near the end of the run, coming down the Tree Top Trail -
Moha: How much more to go?
Me: A little over a mile
Moha: We're there, brother!
Me: Yep, we're there.
Moha: If we're there, why do we have to keep running?
Me: Excellent point. Keep running

And that's a piece of how I fill up two and half hours of running with Mo. Runs like this weekend I feel like an ice cube melting in a coffee pot, but laughter will get you to keep moving forward. So, yes Ken, this IS how it goes for hours on the trail when I run with Moha. Now, if I can just get these dang legs moving a little better. Next week....yeah, that's it...next week.

I'll see you all on the trails and roads - Al

"One child lost is too many...one child saved can change the world."