Sunday, March 31, 2013

2013 Spring Break

We hadn't been to California in a couple of years, so it was time to go visit Mom in Marin County.

On the trip down, we stayed overnight in K-Falls. Nice lodge near the lake.

The view from our deck
The next day on the drive south, Zoe decided to make a blanket tent.

There's a child in there somewhere
First up: a little city tour. Problem is my idea of a city tour: it's by foot. And across the Golden Gate Bridge, along the waterfront, to AT&T Park and back. 19 miles, starting at 0600.

The GGB in my rearview mirror
Man, it was cold and blustery up there, probably 45F and 20 mph winds. I had to wait almost two whole miles before I took my shirt off. Oh, the humanity...

Made my way along the water to the other bridge, looking toward Oakland...

Bay Bridge at sunrise
Halfway there, but a long 9 miles left...

Ferry Building

Really wanted to stop here!!!

I wanted to run up Hyde Street like I did a couple of years ago (all the way up), but my coach would have killed me..
One of those city streets that are nearly vertical

The San Fransisco waterfront is a wonderful place to run. Trouble is, if you're heading back to Marin County, the Golden Gate Bridge seems a long way off. For a very long time...

Before I reached the bridge, I came across a casual 10k race along the water. Hmmmm, a little speedwork? Maybe not today. The race was in honor of Walt Stack, one of the earliest (and oldest) Ironman finishers. He was well into his 70's when he first did the race three decades ago: 2.4 mile ocean swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run. Afterward, at the awards banquet, he accepting the prize for oldest finisher by saying, "I have surgery scheduled for tomorrow; going to have this bicycle seat removed from my ass."
I gave a little salute to the long-departed Mr. Stack, then kept chugging over the bridge. All good things must come to an end, though. And this ended after 19 miles; nice run!
Next up: a little ice skating...
Up in Santa Rosa, Charles Schulz built himself a gorgeous ice rink, regulation size, and it's open to the public. Very cool. And right next door is...
Upon entering the musuem, you see this on the far wall...
Get closer, and you see this...
The entire mural is made up of over 3,500 individual comic strips!! Very cool to see.
Then it was a quick lunch break at Russian River Brewing...

The next day, we took a trip down to the Monterey Peninsula. Man, I really want to live there...

The aquarium is really neat...

The following morning, I had another early run along the water...

Monterey Bay
Nice place for a bench, eh?

Back at the ranch; here's Zoe and Grandmom...

Mom and I...

 Zoe ate about three pounds of waffles and bacon before our departure...

Then there was a young blog writer still on his mom's wall...

Nice trip! Need to do that more often. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Best Athletic Quotes Ever

a good friend asked me what i think the best running quotes are. She found a good one from Oprah, but then she realized it was, well, from Oprah. Not exactly an experienced runner.

So I got to thinking....

Some of these are off the top of my head: I've spent way too much time committing trivia to long-term memory. There might be some rough paraphrasing here...just sayin.'

Here goes:

Frank Shorter (upon winning the 1972 Olympic Gold Medal in the marathon): "I wasn't elated as much as relieved, thinking that I finally got one right."

Kenny Moore (as a college sophmore, running a two mile race against the reigning NCAA XC Champion Dale Story. Moore went out slow, with a 10 second deficit halfway, then picked it up). "(In the last turn) Story looked back, his shoulders tightened, and for the first time I felt the full savagery of my competitive heart."  Moore went on the win the race in a 27 second PR, and ran in the Olympics two years later.

Bob Schul, 5000m Gold Medalist in the 1964 Olympics, who ran a 38.7 second final 300m on a wet cinder track in the rain 49 years ago: "(entering the last 100m and pulling up to fading race leader Michael Jazy)...for the first time in the race my legs are heavy but it doesn't matter now." Schul crossed the finish line laughing.

Bill Rodgers, many-time winner of the NYC and Boston Marathons and prodigious junk food eater (mayo straight from the jar): "I don't know if I run this much so I can eat like this, or if I eat like this so I have to run so much."

Emil Zatopek, multiple gold medalist 1948-1952, and Runner's World Magazine's Best Runner Ever: "If you want to win something, run the 100m. If you want to experience something, run a marathon." His training regimen included 40 x 400m in army boots.

Bill Bowerman, Nike co-founder and longtime head coach at the University of Oregon: "No one wins a mile race by winning the first lap."

Frank Shorter to a complaining Steve Prefonaine while training at altitude in a New Mexico snowstorm: "Steve, right now, there's no one in the world training as hard as us."  One of the few times anyone shut Pre up.

Rafer Johnson, 1960 Olympic Decathlon Gold Medalist, in a dogfight with C.Y. Chang during the final event. "All that got me through that race was knowing I'll never have to run another 1500m race. Ever." Rafer did not like distance running at all.

Dean Karnazes, legendary ultramarathoner: “Some seek the comfort of their therapist's office, other head to the corner pub and dive into a pint, but I chose running as my therapy.” 

Adidas ad: "It is impolite to count people as you pass them. Out loud."

John Stephen Akhwari, Tanzanian Olympic Marathoner: Early in the 1968 race, he collided with another runner and fell, dislocating his knee. He kept plodding along, completing the race an hour after the winner. When asked why he continued running, he said, "My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; they sent me 5,000 miles to finish."

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Track Season 2013

It's good to be back. First meet of the year...
Marching out onto the track, we approach the Bowerman Building behind the 100m start. Bowerman was the long time coach at UO, co-founder of Nike, and coach of a guy named Prefontaine. Bowerman paid for an athletic facility specifically for the track teams, and the building is strategically located to block the tailwinds from the north that could negate record sprint times.
I'm marching behind Bob, our head umpire, a guy who's been coaching track almost as long as I've been alive. We commute together for the meets, and we spend the whole time in the car talking track history. I look up on the Bowerman Balcony, and I see two white-haired guys. First guy with the beard is Vin Lananna, former head coach at UO and the guy who brought the last two Olympic Trials here.
Vin Lananna
No surprise to see Vin at the track. But the other guy?
I nudge Bob, and ask, "Is that Jeff Johnson?"
Bob looks up and nods. I smile.

Jeff was the first guy hired by Phil Knight to help sell shoes at a small company called Blue Ribbon Sports, later known as Nike. Jeff is the one who came up with the iconic company name while sleeping. He hung around for 18 years, then retired at age 41 after Nike went public. Great article in Running Times about him. Oh, the stories he can tell...
The Preview Meet is the first outdoor competition of the season, and everyone is getting into shape. The Oregon women's 4x100 team is DQ'd after botching a baton pass; English Gardner, faster than most pros while still a college junior, runs the backstretch so fast that the third runner can't get the exchange done before the passing zone ends.
I smile. Good day to work out the kinks, and the UO women have a very nice problem to solve.
Most of the Oregon athletes are running in non-standard events to work on conditioning. Mike Berry, one of the nation's best 400m runners, is in the 800m. Sprinters don't like distance; when Berry comes by at 700m, he does not look happy.

One guy who isn't running is Elijah Greer, recent NCAA indoor champion in the 800. I know what he gave up for Lent: haircuts.


Men's 4x100m relay: I'm stationed at the last exchange coming out of the turn. UO's anchor is De'Anthony Thomas, starting RB for the football team and lightning fast. He's my height with 20 extra pounds of pure muscle and explosive power. He strips off his warmup tights, takes the baton, and blazes home.
He left his tights trackside. It's starting to rain, so I put the tights in my pocket to keep them dry.
2 events later, still no De' Anthony. If he doesn't want the tights, I'll return them to the team or keep them.  I turn around, and here he is, looking around and looking sad. I pull them out of my pocket, and he beams.
Then he hugs me.
I love track.