Andy's LunchBucket Running Blog
June 14, 2008: Runner Nicknames
I am not much into horse racing, but the recent "hubbub" about Big Brown and the Triple Crown got me thinking, "Why don't human runners have nicknames?" And of course the next question is, what would your nickname be?
It goes without saying that it would take some time for each individual to settle in on one nickname that suited his or her fancy and for others to get comfortable calling you by that nickname.
Just like many facets of life, nicknames would probably come and go. The uncomfortable conversations will arise when you change your nickname:
Friend: "How's 'Jazzy Jogger' today?"
You: "I changed my nickname. I'm now 'Slow Runnings'."
Friend: "Ohh...I didn't know you changed nicknames. (BLUSH) How's that going..."
Here's where it gets fun. There will be a place on race entries for you to put down your nickname, but it is optional. We want to ease people in. If you do put down a nickname, you automatically become eligle for spectators to place charitable wagers on you. Each participant with a nickname will have specific "odds" to win the race, based on past performance. You may find yourself 2000 to 1 to win the Garry Bjorklund half, but don't let that put a damper on your enthusiasm. Your "odds" may even become a conversation piece during the spaghetti dinner.
Chartiable wagers can be placed up until the gun fires and then all winnings are placed to designated charity in the winner's name.
Forseeable problems with this system so far are: 1. People fighting over the same nickname. 2. Finding several bored people to compile odds and collect wagers. 3. People spending money on the wager and getting nothing in return.
Well, until USA Track and Field adopts this idea, you will have to settle for your loved ones calling you by that special name while you run by them at your next race. Good Luck at Grandma's.
April 13, 2008: Don't Ask..Don't Tell
Like the tulips in our front flower garden, I am resurfacing for a blog entry. I had been sitting down here writing for about three minutes and only produced two lines. My wife got up to take the dog out and said something like, "That's all you've written? A lot of 'tippy tap' and not much action." It takes a while to get respect again when you haven't blogged since calendar year 07.
I know shopping at Wal-mart can be a touchy subject for some, but being thrifty shoppers as we are, I can't pass up on some of the deals. It can be a bit embarrassing shopping at Wal-mart as a runner. Instead of buying "Manwich" and the like, I load up on my favorite fruits and whatnot. Well, just as a fisherman doesn't want to give up his favorite spots, I have found there to be a wonderful deal on fresh strawberries as of late. We are talking better than summer prices. Ok, 98 cents a pound. I couldn't resist telling you or buying six cartons today. This is not to mention the four I bought last Monday and the four I bought two days before that. My grandma had the coupon for Super One and so did I, so that made another two more at 99 cents each.
Ok, long story longer, we (my wife and I) brought the cart up to the secret checkout in the back where I proceeded to place the six strawberry containers on the small area where normal people place their bag of potting soil. Next I placed my four bundles of bananas and my wife's one bundle. I usually comment on the temperature in the garden area to the checker so I did that. Well, that allowed the attendant to lose her inhibition while looking at all the produce she was about to ring up. "I want to know, but I don't want to ask," she said.
I didn't want to tell her that I was going to probably be back for more strawberries mid-week or that four out of the five banana bunches were all mine. I also didn't think it was appropriate to mention that all of this fruit has no effect on my digestion system...knock on wood. All I could muster was, "I wish I could tell you that it was for a giant fruit salad." She then responded by saying, "For all of Cloquet?'
A simple smile and thank you was all I left her with as my wife paid and we headed out for another week of training and another delicious bowl of strawberries after my morning run. I forgot, there are some grapes in the bowl too. Sometimes it is just easier if people don't know what we do as runners. Or then again, maybe as I have heard before, "I'm off in my own little world."
November 24, 2007: Paper Route
Not that anyone has been waiting, but I am excited to create my first blog entry in quite some time. The time killer over the past month has been a paper route. That's right, a good old-fashioned paper route. Let me try to explain below.
I THOUGHT I would have the energy and stamina to: 1. run before the paper route. OR 2. run after the paper route. Week one and two consisted of option 1. I woke around 1:30am to run before the paper route. A bit scary outside at that hour (the bar closing time put some fear in me) and while in the bathroom one morning getting ready I thought to myself, "This is by far the most crazy running thing I have done yet."
Okay, so option 1 didn't go so well. Option 2 requires waking at 3am for the paper route which consists of getting out of the Ford Escort around 80 times and walking to between 90 and 135 houses. This option went okay for a few weeks before my times for my easy eight mile skyrocketed by about six to eight minutes. MY QUADS WERE THRASH, PERIOD!
So, after some classic Andy waffling, I have twenty days left on my thirty day notice countdown before I can hang-up the paper satchel. If you are a runner and have the desire to really shock those quads and risk overuse injuries to all parts of your body from the waist down, you may want to consider giving the paper route a try, although I wouldn't recommend it. But, if you are just looking for a way to stay fit without any other exercise involved, I think I would recommend it. Why you ask? Here are some reasons:
1. The carriers are really nice. Seriously, for a group that gets up at 2:45 am everday and earlier on Sunday, they were great as a group to work with. I met some very nice people!
2. You don't want to miss someone throwing-up while you hand him his paper. By the age of the person, I don't think it was related to last night's lasagna. A bit scary, but it only happened once. Nothing touched me :)
3. It is not often that you get to have a neighbor of a subsriber ask you about the wind and have him follow that up with a "s@!#" when he realized what that meant for the day's deer hunt. That one made my day.
4. One fellow greeted me at the door almost everyday for a brief chat. It brightended both of our days.
5. Only once did someone apologize for being underdressed when being handed that paper. It was still rated G. Don't worry!
So, there is the long version of my last forty days or so. Along with my regular workday, I have bitten off more than I can chew. My legs are looking forward to celebrating the end of the paper route with a Saturday long run that doesn't feel like mile 16 at mile 1.
October 4, 2007: TEMP IS BACK!
For those of you who haven't heard the news out of Esko, the temperatue reading is back on the electronic sign at the main intersection downtown!! That's right, two exclamation points!! It was perhaps the most exciting day of my fall when I discovered it was 44 degrees on Wednesday morning.
The previously mentioned sign sits on the school lawn at the corner of Highway 61 and Thomson/Canosia Rd in downtown Esko. In it's early years, the sign's main screen was time, date, and temperature, followed a few seconds later by scrolling community and school messages. Said messages range from school picture announcements to the main attractions of Esko Fun Day, the Kristin Burkholder 5k and Esko Duck Races.
THEN, about a year ago, the sign's main screen went to strictly time and date, followed by scrolling messages. The heart of the sign was ripped out of it. Speculation ran rampant around our house. Did the temperature gauge break? Was the temperature gauge really accurate anyway? Did lightning strike the sign? Was the issue fixable? All these worries started to pile up.
To ease the load, my wife and I called on the resources of Town of Thomson board member Ruth Janke when we saw her out and about. We come to find out this issue may simply be a programming issue with the sign, fixable by Esko Community Education. Not one to point fingers, but this important piece of information may have slipped throuh the cracks when the director of community education changed hands.
"Wait a minute!" I said to myself. "This is simply a programming issue!?"
I don't know if the frustration eased the pain of the friend we had lost or what, but I ceased to think about this concern for the next few months. Sure, I could have brought this issue to the attention of the community education department, but then, they would have really known what a boring life I lead. It's not weird enough that I spend fifteen minutes per day doing toe raises on either my porch steps or those at work.
THEN, out of the blue, like a long lost pet returning home, there it was, 44 degrees!!!! !!!!
Now, like I did before, I will have one more thing to write about in my running log and one more thing to talk about on my run. Was it -30 or +101? The ironic thing is that I don't really care. I will be out there anyway, running.
September 24, 2007: Running Before Events
One of the best times to run for me is before "big" events. I classify "big" events as being out of the ordinary. This past Saturday, I did my longer run before my mom and my wife and I went to a Twin's game. It gives me time to have the experience sink in and to anticipate the days events. It really doesn't get much better in my world than a run like that.
I really don't care what time I have to get up to run before something. I don't mind getting up at 2:30am if I have to. This year, my sister ran the "Half" at Grandma's. My whole family drove her to the DECC to get on the bus, so I got up to run at 2:30. Very quiet that time of day. Even as guy I get a bit scared of being alone on the roads at that time of day, but it is the perfect start to an exciting day for me.