Trying to Reason With Hurricane Season

Yes, I'm channeling Jimmy Buffett again. For about three days now I've been checking the computer every few hours to see what Hurricane Irene is up to. For a day or two it looked like we were dead center to have the eye pass right over us. Fortunately for us, the latest track has it moving just out to sea where it will pass by as a category three. The current forecast is for tropical storm conditions. Our biggest problem will be water. After the first half of the summer being totally dry, we've had lots of rain the last couple of weeks. The ground is saturated and all the ponds, drainage areas and streams are full. The key is to store up on non-perishable food because there is a good chance many roads will be flooded and getting to the store will be a big problem.

I'll be watching after it passes us to see how it affects all you folks in NY and New England. It looks like you might get it worse than us. Good luck.

My Exercise for the Day

Yesterday started out with a fairly brisk thirty-five mile bike ride. It was an out and back, with a bathroom/refueling break at the turn. I rode the first 17-miles with two pretty strong riders. When one of them was pulling at the front we clipped along at 23-25 mph. When I took my turns at the front the pace slowed to 21.  Hey, at least I took my turns. I let them go on the way back and rode with the rest of the group, doing a good share of the pulling at 18-19 mph.

When I go home Marlene was still at the gym so I worked out in the yard for awhile until she got  home so we could have lunch together. The big announcement when she got home was, if we were going to eat we first had to go to Wallmart to get some food. When we were checking out I packed all the stuff we bought into one of those cloth re-usable shopping bags. As I lifted it to carry it out, the checkout lady's comment was, "Well, it looks like you'll get your exercise for the day." Not sure how to respond to that, I just smiled and headed for the door.

20th Annual Jenny Kuzma Memorial Bergen 5K

It takes almost as long to say the name of this race as it did for many of the runners to finish. Bergen is a small village/town southwest of Rochester, NY with a population of about 5,000 people. Somehow this small town manages to put on a race each year that is a throwback to the golden era of road racing. If you follow this blog at all you know my son, Josh, has been running some very good races this year. Well, he ran another one in Bergen this past Saturday. He finished in 16:15, a time that for almost all small town races with 260 runners would certainly put him in the top five and often give him the win. At the 20th Annual Jenny Kuzma Memorial Bergen 5K it got him 28th place. Yes, that's right, 28th place. This small town race had twenty runner go under 16:00. Results It's great to see there are still races around that put that quality of runners on the starting line.

The Rochester area, home of the Genesee Valley Harriers, is a very competitive running area and it looks like all the best showed up for this race. It also looks like the GVH team is going to have some competition in this fall's XC season. Josh's Road Kill Racing team is starting to come together. They had four runners in this race,  with times ranging from 16:07-16:25. Stay tuned.

Watching the Pine Needles Fall

The picture is the view from my rocking chair on the front porch. As you can see, there are lots of pine trees. I've developed a new favorite pastime, one that's very relaxing and great for meditating. I sit in the rocking chair and watch for pine needles to fall from the trees. Sometimes a flock of birds (chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, woodpeckers, etc) will move through and lately there has been a family of blue birds working the front yard for insects. Every once in a while a bird will appear that I can't identify. At that point I should sneak back into the house and grab the binoculars and bird book, but that rocking chair is just too comfy, so I just watch and idly wonder what the bird might be.

I rarely sit down in that chair without the melody of the Band's "Rockin Chair Lyrics" going through my head. One of my goals is to fight off the inevitability of the line, "the days that remain ain't worth a dime".  So far, so good.

Updates and Technology

Just in case you were wondering – I still haven't run. The plantar fasciits seems to be a little better. Most of the time now I can walk without a limp. This week has been a little down on the biking mileage, but up on the quality of a couple of the rides. We did a ride out on the island yesterday morning and on the way back there was a little tailwind. Two of the better riders went into their usual "let's pick up the pace" mode shortly after we headed back.  I decided to jump in with them to see how long I could hang on. We did a three man pace line for about five miles that stayed between 24 and 27 mph until the last half mile when it picked up again and I got dropped at 28.5 mph. Even a little tailwind helps!

This modern technology sure has it quirks. When we built the house we put in a nice surround sound system in the living room and even bought a Blue Ray player in case we ever decided to watch a movie. I used it for the first time today. Shortly after I turned it on Marlene started complaining that she couldn't get the internet to work. I went in to see what the problem was. It turns out we had lost connectivity to the wi fi with a message that said our computer was being rejected by our host company. Marlene called the company while I went back in to turn off the movie. While I was on hold waiting for a tech to come on the line we suddenly got connectivity back. Ok, problem over. I jokingly remarked that maybe the Blue Ray player had caused the problem. Guess what, a couple of hours later I went to watch the rest of the movie and we lost connectivity again. I turned off the movie and bingo – the internet is back. Is this a cable company screw up or the people who installed the TV, stereo, Blue Ray system? Beats me. Phone calls will be made on Monday.

Making the Best Out of It

Instead of feeling sorry for myself (I'm doing some of that anyway) I've decided to make the best out of the plantar fasciitis situation that I can. My bike is getting a great workout. I've ridden over 120 miles in the last four days. The best part is, some of the rides have included some real good intervals. There isn't anything around here you could call a hill, but what inclines there are I've tried to work hard. It's actually been fun feeling my bike legs starting to come back. I haven't been in good cycling shape in a few years so it's great to feel that coming around.

My aquajogger came a few days ago and I've had that in the pool twice for 30-minute sessions. Both those sessions came after hard bike rides so just getting in the 30-minutes was work. If I use it on a day I haven't already done a bike ride I'll probably do some kind of interval workout. Just to mix things up a little I also swim laps before and after using the aquajogger.

The one thing I haven't tried since the plantar fasciitis kicked in is my in line skates. I'm thinking they might be good.

In a contemplative moment the other day I was wondering why working so hard while having this injury seems more urgent than with injuries I've had in the past. What I decided is, it comes down to fear. With only a matter of days before I'm going to be sixty-five, the question of how many more years there are left of  feeling like an athlete is one that's scary to contemplate. Making the most of each day of every one of those years becomes more imperative with each passing day. I know, in this day and age, sixty-five is not old. I get that. Still, the stopwatch does not lie. I know how much slower I am now than when I was 40, 50 and even 60. I don't ever expect to be "fast" again. It's a simple matter of feeling like I'm really racing no matter what the time is. Thus, the urgency to stay fit so that if/when this injury heals I'll be able to "compete".

Support a John Jay Alumnus

Former John Jay track and cross country runner, Eric Schwark, and his wife, Dana will be running the Marine Corps Marathon this fall. Because of recent events in their lives they have joined the Leukemia and Lymphoma Team in Training Program to help in the fight against cancer. To read about why they are doing this and to make a donation to help fight cancer go to: