31 December 2008

It Was a Good Year -- 2008

(Picture: From Chapman's Peak looking back down the road)

Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Closing Out 2008

This is my running summary for the year. It's more for my benefit but perhaps it will be of interest to someone else :) I think the most enjoyable part of running this year has been the group runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays from John Rolfe Commons. I've enjoyed getting to know a number of folks who live in Short Pump -- thanks, guys and gals -- you've made my last year in Richmond memorable.

Number of runs: 232

Distance: 1569.33 miles
Average distance: 6.76
Total time (hh:mm:ss): 219:27:52.92
Average MPM (mm:ss): 8:23.45

Distance: 1536.7307 miles
Average distance: 6.624
Total time (hh:mm:ss): 212:05:56.4
Average MPM (mm:ss): 8:16:52.32

Shoes: 2 pair Etonic Jepara SC, 1 pair Etonic Jepara SC 2 (current)
States: VA, NC, SC, GA, TX, FL, MA
Countries: South Africa, Kenya
Longest Run: 14.9 miles, Richmond, VA training run
Fastest Run: Richmond, VA, 15-Mar-08, 6.2137 miles@7:19.19 mpm
Fastest Mile: Richmond, VA 21-May-08, 1 mile@6:45.44 mpm (4th mile of 5.26 mile tempo)
Favourite Run: Chapman's Peak, Nordhoek, South Africa
Most Exotic Run: Chapman's Peak, Nordhoek, South Africa
Most Fun Run: Hmmmm. Not sure -- maybe one of the group training runs
Worst/Hardest Run: Maymont X-Terra Half Marathon -- I didn't drink enough early enough

Ashland 10K Railroad Run, 15-Mar-08, 45:29
Ukrop's 10K (Richmond), 5-Apr-08, 45:43
Patrick Henry Half Marathon (Ashland), 23-Aug-08, 1:53:10
Maymont X-Terra Half Marathon (Richmond), 27-Sep-08, 2:01:25

Run well, y'all,

24 December 2008

Runs With Dogs

My encounters with dogs have usually been good. But, my experiences with dogs and running have not, until yesterday, been pleasant ones. Several years ago, while running in a small Tanzania town early one morning, I had a most unpleasant encounter with a pack of about 6 dogs. They came out from behind the building I had just passed, barking and growling. I decided that trying to outrun them was probably not a good idea, so I stopped and faced them. Sometimes pretending to pick up a rock and throwing it works, but not that day.

This is not looking good, I thought to myself. I spread out my arms, palms forward and began talking to the dogs in Swahili as they circled me a couple of times. I watched in horror as one of them chomped down on my leg. He (or she -- determining that really didn't cross my mind at that point) bit once and then the whole pack turned and ran off. To this day I have no idea why they left -- I don't know if, while backing slowly away, I had crossed some invisible boundary line or if God sent an angel to scare them off or if, as I have teased my African friends, they just didn't like the taste of white meat -- but I was grateful. I happened to be about halfway through a 3 mile out-and-back route and had no choice but to go back -- fortunately, I was able to take a loop through town and circle around the dogs. I ended up getting both the post-bite rabies shot and the vaccine (it had to be flown from Johannesburg, South Africa to Nairobi, Kenya on a commercial flight and then from Nairobi to Iringa, Tanzania on a small plane owned and operated by our mission organization.

Needless to say, that has made me quite skittish about untethered dogs when I'm running. Seven or eight years later, I still have the brown marks on my leg where that dog bit me.

(*License information)
Yesterday, I had run about 5.5 miles at Lake Hartwell (GA) and had already had one untethered dog bark at me and another black lab pup follow me for a few yards. I made the turn into my sister-in-law's neighborhood and heard the patter of dog feet coming up fast behind me. Oh, no, I thought as I looked around. I knew there was a good chance it would turn out fine since it was a black lab and my experience with labs is that they are usually more interested in being petted and playing than in chewing on people, still .... This one turned out to be the friendly type.

The really neat thing about this was that she ran behind and to the side of me for the last 1.6 miles of my run. I chatted with her but every time I would look over my shoulder, she would move to the opposite side. Having her run with me, though, had a similar effect to running with other people. My mind immediately forgot about how tired I was and how much I was looking forward to finishing and I got my second wind. It was great. Pearl (I looked at her tag later) just seemed to be happy to be there, running as if this was the best thing that had happened to her all month. When I finished, she was quite happy to be petted and talked to. In fact, she stayed with me while I cooled down and then preferred for me to pet her rather than to get my stretching done. It was fun!

This morning I hit my 100 mile goal for the month and still have 4-5 runs left to do in December. So I have run 100+ miles each month this year -- 1538 miles this year. I ran a totally new route this morning. Later, my brother-in-law told me I had run through the drug-dealer section of Hartwell. Somehow, though, I doubt that the drug dealers or users were much of a danger at 7:00 this morning. I don't plan to run tomorrow, Christmas Day. But, hey, who knows.

Run well, y'all and Merry Christmas,

* Picture of black lab from Wikipedia. The owner of this JPEG file has licensed it under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 License. In short: you are free to share and make derivative works of the file under the conditions that you appropriately attribute it, and that you distribute it only under a license identical to this one. Official license

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22 December 2008

Another New Take on an Old Christmas Favorite

Yet another rendition of The 12 Days of Christmas. This one is by a South Asian animator. We found it last Christmas but it's just as funny as ever:

Run well, y'all,

A New (Sort of) Twist on an Old Christmas Song

We just happened to notice that the annual Christmas in Washington, DC show was on TV last week (17-Dec). I love Christmas music so we turned it on, especially since Casting Crowns was going to sing. We thoroughly enjoyed the show but a bonus was being introduced to the acapella group, Straight No Chaser -- yeah, we're behind the times. The group began singing at Indiana U in the mid-90's. They've come back together to produce a Christmas album. On the show, they sang their rendition of The 12 Days of Christmas. It was funny (intentionally) but also showcased their talent. Someone has posted the clip from the show on YouTube.

There are a number of other SNC videos on YouTube.

Merry Christmas -- run well, y'all,

Fun While Running

It was 20° and windy when I finished running this morning. It was COLD and I ran more slowly than normal but it was a good run. Still, there were moments -- like then the wind was blowing full in my face and freezing my nose, lips, cheeks, ears, etc. -- when the thought of being inside and warm were really good thoughts and it was tempting to turn back. I enjoyed the run and was certainly glad I went out. But, if you want to see what real joy is when running in the cold and snow, watch this video:

Run well, y'all,

10 December 2008

International Toothpaste [Virtual] Museum

Now, here's a site that you would never have thought of visiting if you weren't reading my blog! Actually, you probably would never have thought of looking for it -- The International Toothpaste Museum. Touted by its founder -- my cyber-friend, Paul Merrill -- as a completely green museum; [because] you cannot use any fuel to visit. Ahh ... and you thought variety in toothpaste was a choice between the various kinds of whitening toothpaste on the aisle in Wal-Mart!

Paul lived in Nairobi, Kenya for a few years and wrote a great blog on his day-to-day observations of life in Africa. He stopped updating that blog when he returned to the US, but it's still a great site for learning about life in Kenya from a street-level view. Now, Paul brings that same perspective on life in Colorado to cyberspace in his current blog, My Part of Colorado. Take a look and enjoy this well written blog (and don't forget to visit The International Toothpaste Museum).

Run well, y'all,

09 December 2008

An Inexpensive Way to Poor Health

® Jack in the Box Inc.

One of those "found while looking for something else" news items. According to the Washington, DC based, non-profit Cancer Project, buying many of the cheap fast food deals may be a way to fight the immediate recessionary concerns of your wallet but may not be of any help to your long-term physical health. The Cancer Project identified the following as the worst deals for your health, starting with the worst deal:

Jack in the Box's $1.00 Junior Bacon Cheeseburger with 400 calories, 23 grams of fat, "including 8 grams of saturated fat and 1 gram of trans fat," and 860 milligrams of sodium (Jack in the Box's web site claims 803.5 mg of sodium). To their credit, for those who take the time to go to their web site, Jack in the Box does make suggestions for making wise decisions as part of your balanced lifestyle and diet...by substituting or even removing ingredients to reduce calories or otherwise customize your food. [Jack in the Box - Our Food: Lifestyle Choices]


Taco Bell's $0.89 Cheesy Double Beef Burrito with 20 grams of fat, including 7 grams of saturated fat, as well as 460 calories and 1,620 milligrams of sodium.


Burger King's Breakfast Sausage Biscuit with "420 calories and 27 grams of fat, including 15 grams of saturated fat. 1,090 milligrams of sodium."


McDonald's $1.00 McDouble sandwich with "390 calories, more than 43% of them from fat. 65 milligrams of cholesterol, more than 42% of the recommended daily value. 920 milligrams of sodium, 38% of the recommended daily value."


Wendy's Junior Bacon Cheeseburger with "310 calories, 46% of them from fat. Two strips of hickory-smoked bacon, a processed meat. 670 milligrams of sodium."

Hey, let's go for lunch!

Run (and eat) well, y'all,

(All restaurant/chain names and menu item names are registered trademarks or copyrighted by the respective companies.)

Los Angeles Times,
Jack in the Box burger tops unhealthful list, by Jerry Hirsch, 9 December 2008
Wall Street Journal Health Blog, From the ‘Worst’ to ‘Least Bad’ on Fast Food Value Menus, Posted by Sarah Rubenstei, 9 December 2008