Meme ‘o’ the week

Got tagged by Jeff

q: what are you training for now?
a: I’m planning on continuing my current theme of not necessarily doing the smartest thing, according to whatever training book you want to read, and doing my first marathon at the Mystic Places marathon (which, curiously enough takes place not in Mystic, but about 15 miles down the coast in Niantic) in late October, and then following it up with the New York Marathon the first weekend in November. My goal is to finish.

Actually – scratch that. Right now, the biggest reason I’m running is that I decided last winter that I was sick of being overweight. Not like really and truly fat, but at the point where I could make jolly and plump jokes. I am training because I want to be lean. The marathons are merely vehicles.

q: if you are raising money for a cause, what is it and why is that cause important to you?
a: I’ll be honest – I’ve done the MS 150, but kind of looked at the minimum fundraising goals as an entry fee. I’d like to pretend I’m doing something important, but frankly, my training is all selfish now, and likely to remain so for another year. I might do a charity ride/run, but right now fitness is all about me, so again, minimum goals would be mostly a donation from me.

q: what is the furthest distance you’ve run in your training and what is the furthest distance you will run before your event?
a: If you’re willing to count the attempt I made to train for the 2000 Disney Marathon back in 1999 (before I gave it up in favor of my first, and most impressive) sympathy pregnancy, I’ve hit 16 miles at a shot. This time around, I’ve hit 13 miles so far. On my training plan, 20 miles (3x) will be my long runs. Although I’m looking at Niantic more as a training run for New York than a marathon in its own right.

q: what is your favorite flavor of gu? (or other sports gel)
a: Uh – yeah. I’m kind of a luddite as far as this is concerned. I do the gatorade and bananas thing. I will rock a powerbar occasionally, but that’s usually whatever’s on sale. Oh, and cookies – I fuel my long runs/rides between gas stations and Chips Ahoys.

q: How many days a week do you run?
a: I try for five. I do Tuesday through Thursday, long run on Saturday, and try to do a short recovery run on Sundays. I’ll skip the Sunday runs pretty frequently, but we’re usually pretty active after church, so if I miss the run, I don’t feel bad. I try to do something cross-training wise on Monday and Friday.

q: Are you injured in any way right now? if so,what are you doing about it?
a: Nope, knock wood.

q: what is one item of running clothing/gear (shoes don’t count) you can’t run without?
a: shorts? ID? I guess shorts would be it – don’t see myself recreating the ancient Olympics, though mostly for legal reasons.

q: do you have a talisman you are planning on taking to your event? if so, tell us!
a: No.

q: Share one thing about yourself we don’t know.
I was quite the thespian in High School. Always did the school plays. Even got to pinch Penny Grigsby’s butt as lecherous old Uncle Willie in “The Philadelphia Story”. In college, even as an engineering major, I got a part in one of the Senior directing class one-acts. Despite having an audition that began with one of the directors asking “Uh, is this serious? Are you really an engineer?” After the performance, the biggest compliment my girlfriend (now wife) could muster was “Well, we could really hear you…”

And, just because I’m in an early generation, I’ll tag Jon, April-Anne, and Susan

25 things I love about the bike – #10


Originally uploaded by billjank.


Much like the frame, they’re a perfect marriage of form and function. They hold tasty beverages, they keep out grit, and they let riders drink without spilling.

I’ll admit, my first waterbottles were treasured for their ability to let me sneak rum and whatever into venues that wouldn’t sell booze to me for the silly reason that I was too young.

But as I started biking, I gained a new appreciation. Filling the bottles is as important as filling the tires with air before a ride. Then there’s the subtle joy in learning to put the bottles into the cages without breaking cadence, and finally the zen that comes with learning to drink out of the side of one’s mouth, staying nice and aero, and not obscuring one’s view.

But the ritual is the best. Find a new shop? Buy a bottle. Take a trip? A bottle’s a great souvenir.

25 things I love about the bike – #11

New Pavement

New pavement is a gift. There just a joy to cresting the top of a favorite hill, looking down, and seeing a new, smooth ribbon of blacktop stretching out to the horizon. There’s the quick transition from the road humm off of old blacktop to the silence of new blacktop. The joy or riding on a shoulder completely barren of sand, gravel, or potholes.

Somehow, it just makes you faster.

25 things I love about the bike – #12

water bottle cage side

Originally uploaded by billjank.

Bottle Cages

Form follows function. As the bicycle frame represents a finely honed trade between strength and weight, between stability and maneuverability, the bottle cage represents a compromise between strength and weight, between accessibility of beverage and safety of beverage.

I’ve tried fancy bottles, holders, and combinations of both, and I keep coming back to the classic bent wire bottle cage. Works with a wide range of containers, from actual water bottles to 20 ounce soda bottles out of the grocer’s cooler. In a pinch, you can roll up a shirt and a change of pants into a nice, tight cylinder and be set up to be seen in public.

But, sometimes, the option in place just works. When that happens, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon that works and ride it until the wheels fall off.

25 things I love about the bike – #13


Sunsets are easy – most everyone gets to see them, they cater to the folks on the west coast who are set up to watch the sun sink into the Pacific, they fit nicely into circadian rhythms. I’m not knocking the sunset – it’s spectacular, but gushing over sunsets is like rooting for Lance Armstrong. It’s a great thing to do, but lacks a certain sense of dedication.
Continue reading 25 things I love about the bike – #13

July errata

1. Actually ran today. Had 5 on the schedule, and did the Jamestown route that I had thought was just over 6. The Google Maps Pedometer lists it at about 5.9. Which makes sense – I did the out in 23 minutes, and the back in 25, spending 5 walking trying to get my iPod to unlock (I was able to reset it in the car on the way home). First run I’ve had in two weeks that actually felt good – not quite a runner’s high, more like a runner’s contact high. Oh, and the guy who programmed the Gmaps Pedometer is raising money for the American Cancer Society when he runs the Chicago Marathon.
Continue reading July errata