2016 St Pete Run For All Kids

Where to start? It was a multi-length event with a 10k, 5k, and one miler. For the last year+ I’ve been running with a group, and joined the 10k with them.

http://runforallchildren.com/

Many of the races in St Pete take place downtown, with a route that runs past the bay. Not only is it scenic, but the police only end up blocking traffic from one side. In the weeks prior I began to add more runs for longer distance (5 & 6 miles). One week before, I go for a run at the scheduled start time of the race to gauge what the conditions would be like. Oof, 90% humidity and the heat spiked. Doubts began to creep in on whether I even wanted to run this thing.

Monday’s group run went fine, Wednesday was speed training – which led to some dead-legged feelings all of Thursday & Friday.

Spent Friday with more internal voices of doubt. I just didn’t think I was going to be able to turn in a decent effort. Couple that with the fact that I was running it with friends from the group, and now there would be witnesses to my failure. WTF, where is my brain getting this shit?

Saturday, get up early enough, get downtown, finally find event parking and follow the herd to the startline. Yay, there were my friends! Good times. Every couple minutes a voice over the PA would give updates. Soon we entered the start box, enjoyed the Star Spangled Banner, but again another race where the start was awkward. Just an out-of-the blue horn going off. And we’re off.

My friends quickly disappeared, I would catch a glimpse of them, but I could see I was not on pace, which was okay. I didn’t want to DNF, I knew my pace was good for me, so I cruised along. The race was great, the course is scenic and flat. I came across one woman that appeared to be running the course via intervals. It took me by surprise when she zipped passed me, then a minute later she was walking. I continue trundling along and pass her as she’s walking. Zip, there she goes again. This time though when I got passed her, I never saw her again. Another woman woke me from my slumber, when she came up along side me huffing, puffing, and groaning very loud. We were probably, maybe 2-3 kilometers into the race, and she was in bad shape. And trying very very hard to keep my pace. For those new here, I’m in my early 50’s, arthritic knees, former smoker, and had kidney cancer a couple years ago. I was fresh as a daisy compared to this woman. Folks, watching highlights of the Boston Marathon doesn’t turn you into a marathoner. Hope she was all right.

As I got closer to the turnaround, I began to see the gofast folks on the return leg. So I kept an eye out for my friends. As the first one went by I yelled her name, it came out louder than I expected. A minute later another friend was going by, but she wasn’t looking so I yelled her name – loudly. Had to get her attention. When the third one went by, I felt like I really needed to embarrass her, so I yelled out her name extra loud. They can just unfriend me later if it’s an issue (it’s not).

I really don’t remember the return leg. Just a few moments here & there. Ran into one of my friends again on a side leg, she told me she was losing speed, I said I was losing speed as well. That was with 2.5 km left. My mind began to send me warnings. On my training runs, there is a ramp at 2.5 km, and it sucks my wind from me. There was no ramp, but my mind kept telling me to prepare for it. Stupid brain. It was around that area that the 5k people joined the running herd. Many had a very brisk pace, and that kind of messes with the psyche. I begin to wonder, “how many of these people are 10k’ers?” From that 2.5 km point, the course meanders a little, it cuts back again at Dan Wheldon Way, then it goes back into downtown, but quickly turns again. I begin thinking that the finish line should be coming is sight, one more turn and there it was. It was still 300+ meters down the road, so I didn’t speed up a whole lot.

I had one guy in front of me, that wasn’t picking up pace, so I thought I would follow behind, I don’t think he was a 10k entrant, but he looked sluggish. Wake up brain! The finish line is right there! (well a couple hundred meters – striking distance) I hear a lot of yelling going on, it was my friends. All that loud yelling I had for them during the race, they gave back to me at the finish. That yelling got me to pour it on even more. Strong finish.

133rd out of 400. 6th out of 15 in age group.

Moving From Kinvara 5’s to Kinvara 7’s

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It was bound to happen. I bought the Kinvara 5’s a few years back, and swore by them even after a couple weeks when my big toe broke through. Light, comfy, flexible sole, and wide enough. Eventually the insole¬†wore out, and the hot spots & blisters happened. Sending tweets to Saucony, and never getting a reply. I bought the Saucony Breakthru’s, and they were okay. But they weren’t Kinvara’s. At the beginning of 2016 I bought a pair of Saucony Triumph ISO 2.

The Triumph was just a little more shoe than I wanted. Tiny bit big all over. Tiny bit heavier. Harumph. So instead of sending another tweet to Saucony, I sent an email, and told them about my Kinvara 5 insoles. Within two weeks, Saucony sent me a fresh pair of insoles, and thanked me for my dedication to Saucony.

Finally Saucony released the Kinvara 7. Joyousness & Joyosity! Pretty much the ride & feel of the 5. I got about 30+ miles in them already, and my big toe isn’t popping thru!

2016 Firestone Grand Prix 5K Review

I’ve run this 5k four, five, maybe even six times since I’ve known about it. Always a great run. You get to run the Indycar circuit, so that is cool! So each year, the event should be a little better than the year before, or at least the same.

MBA organized for what I think is the 2nd time. Online entry and promotion was fine (actually if you liked their facebook page you were barraged with a million reminders, so unliked.) Advance packet pick-up was fine, it was a change of venue, but still it was organized and went well. The t-shirt looks to be a higher than usual t-shirt.

The race. This year the brick road on the side of the Vinoy was not included. You know what? That is a positive thing, because the bricks are uneven, and if it rains, those bricks become slippery. Boom, good thing. Ran into some friends before the race, had some convo, good thing, none of that anxiety being built up, just hanging out. Boom, good thing. In years past, sometimes the mayor will have a speech, then the Star Spangled Banner is sung by a local. Usually the scheduled start time is delayed while this occurs, forcing wearers of run tracking devices to reboot or face the thing going into shut-down. With about five minutes to start time, the announcer comes over the PA to say that they will be starting soon, okie dokie, I’ll wait till the beginning of the national anthem to reboot my watch. For some reason I decided to just do it right then, since I was thinking about it. Good thing. Suddenly over the PA the announcer starts the race, “runners on your marks, get set, go!” No speeches, no anthem, just “go.”

Whaaaaat? Ok, no big whoop. Oh yes there is, what is this? Why are all these walkers in the front? Oh, I know why. The announcer never told walkers to get to the back, so they stumbled into the NARROW corral, and it took me over 20 seconds to move 20 feet. Did I say “narrow?” Yes the live timing group brought a very narrow starting arch and timing pads. Couple all the walkers in with the narrow arch, and you have a suckfest start. Once you get past the arch, you still have all the walkers to contend with, that were not instructed to move to the rear. So there was a wall of walking dead that had to be waded through, just to get into a running pace. That was probably a lost 45 seconds. Once we were moving, it was gravy.

Finish line and the great beyond. This is a sunset run, so the sun is setting when you start, and it’s dark when you finish. The finish line arch was unlit. I remembered where it was and I was picking up my pace, but it was like running into a blackhole. I saw a friend just ahead of me, and figured I would try to catch up to him. Cool, extra motivation! Really trucking now, and 5 yards before the finish, I pass my friend. Boom! That’s great! Then a little kid runs across my path and I come within an inch of burying him into the asphalt. Folks, I’m over 200 lbs. This beef doesn’t stop on a dime. There were no organizers to prompt people out of the finish area. Just a mess.

It was live timed, so there should be timing sheets posted to let you know how you did. Nope. The timing folks didn’t do that. An hour later the organizer had a brief handing out of the winner of each age group as well as overall awards. That was pretty much it.

There were no finish line snacks, no fruits or beer like in previous years. For the number of people entered (over 650), the age groups were in ten year brackets, which is a big gap. Usually races are 5 year gaps. A nice touch is that awards in each age group go back three deep. So just one award for every ten years. Plus there was no result sheets to look at, if you could find a guy from timing that had the lap top, you could bother him. If you waited in line.

So no post race amenities. Big age brackets. Winner only award. I bring these up, and gripe about them, because these are the differences than in years past. The event is not getting better. It took a decided downhill slide. There was very little sponsorship outside of MBA. Which is peculiar. This is downtown St Pete, even if you can’t lasso a runner into your booth, you can at least get some of the local yocals that are walking around the downtown.

Before I stop bitching, the course was short. Evidently organizers believe that 3 miles and 5 kilometers are the same thing. They are not. 3 miles is shorter than 5 kilometers. Folks, if you are measuring a course that is advertised in metric, measure the distance in metric.

Also the results were not posted to coolrunning.com. Big boys and girls that run expect to see their results on coolrunning.com.

The race was not the worst organized one I’ve run, but if you are the title sponsor of an event, that is YOUR NAME that is being advertised, and it looks like you are dropping the ball. Dear title sponsor, you must have people that run in your organization, talk to them. Because it doesn’t seem like you are listening to the attendees. Do better next year, or don’t do it.

2016 Run For the Cupcake

Is the End in Sight for Porkfork?

I’ve ignored this site.

Godaddy is a terrible host. Slow servers, make this site unwelcoming. Plus it would save me a lot of money to shut it down.

2015 St Pete GP 5k

Well, almost 5k. Closer to 4.87 kilometers. (I’ll write more later, I’m tired.)

More pics:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/porkfork/sets/72157651150039747/

Results:
http://www.coolrunning.com/results/15/fl/Mar27_Firest_set4.shtml

Saucony Breakthru

Last year I bought a pair of Saucony Kinvara 5’s, and within 30 miles my toe was poking through the fabric. It was around that time I realized the soles were showing a lot of wear and tear. Still, they worked.

A week ago I bought the new (2015) Saucony Breakthru. The fabric seems to be a lot more durable. I’ve worn them on a couple of short runs, and they work, but the soles of my feet are getting hot in them. Something isn’t rubbing right. I think it’s just a matter of my feet building some more callous.

More later.
*3-21-2015 update
Got a couple weeks of usage. I like the Saucony Breakthru shoe.
They are a lot like the Kinvara 5. The fabric in the Breakthru is more durable than the Kinvara 5. The sole of the Kinvara 5 while softer & prone to wear & tear is stiffer then the Breakthru.
This is where it’s hard to tell you about the sole. The Kinvara 5 was softer, but more rigid than the Breakthru. It blows my mind to convey that, but the Breakthru has a sole that is more durable, but is more flexible than the Kinvara 5. But just by a shade.
I like a flexible sole. So finding the Breakthru is a win for me. The Breakthru is really just an improved Kinvara. Some folks are going to love Kinvara’s, and they are ok for me, but the Breakthru is a better match for my feet & calves.

The Breakthru will be a shoe that I will have to buy a second pair, for future usage.

St Pete GP 5k 2015 Race Sign-up!!!

I like this 5k. Last year, the organizers were late getting the word out, but they didn’t snooze this year.

The race starts down by the Vinoy in downtown St Pete, and heads south onto the Indycar circuit. The runners get to do a lap around the track and then do the return leg back to the Vinoy. The Indycar lap is only 1.8 miles (that’s small when it comes to open wheel street courses), but the trip to and from the Vinoy makes it a whole 5k. The surface is smooth, you do a stretch down pitlane, and race campers cheer you along. I think it’s the beer that makes them so enthusiastic.

Here is a link to the St Pete Indycar info page:

http://www.gpstpete.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=343

and a link to race registration:

https://www.racersignup.com/firestone-grand-prix-5k-2015/

Oof! Gravity Tackled Me

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I’ve always known that I would eventually fall down. With my knee problem I really have to watch the surface as I run.  One wrong step,  and our would zap my arthritis pain. 
But there I was running at night,  on a group run, went from a lit path,  to a fall area. I knew instantly,  that my foot landed an inch or two below the pavement. Still in motion,  I looked down at my foot to realize there was a slab of sidewalk missing,  and my toe was up against the far edge. 
That edge grabbed the toe of my shoe like a bear trap and yanked me to the ground.
As I began my plummet to the ground, I put my hands down,  and arched my neck so that my chin was up. I didn’t want to break my fall with my face. My forward momentum negated all that.  I sort of did a bounce/slide on the heals of my hands,  elbow,  and knee. And of course that loud “OOF!”
I expected to hear laughs from people,  it was in a park after all. But I think it was so dark that people heard the oof, but with me in the dark & on the ground people were unable to see what happened.
Finished the last kilometer of my run. Was not seriously hurt. Glad it all worked out. 
Usually I run with some sort of knee brace or strap,  can’t remember the last time I ran naked,  so of course that would be right where I would impact the ground.

Fitbit Zip Review

Hey been a long time. I’m having a serious calf issue, that I was hoping would go away. Not so much.

But for Christmas, some relatives were nice to give me a Fitbit Zip! Already the proud owner of a Garmin Forerunner 220, I don’t have much use for the Zip.

My running was prompted when I was given a pedometer from my workplace. I used it, tracked my step-count on a spreadsheet, and eventually a person at work turned me onto a dongel that hooked into an iPod, that would track this stuff on Nike+. And out went the old clip-on pedometer and spreadsheet.

The Fitbit Zip is nice that it does all the tracking, and uploads to the fitbit website. *Warning, the next part of the review turns dark. This is where the little pedometer turns into the 400 lb gorilla. The software.

OH.MY.GOD. The software is a resource hog. Without it actually doing anything, it is chewing up the cpu. I don’t know what it is actually doing to be so busy, but it is. (Hello NSA?) Why don’t I just turn it off?

There is no “exit” available from the system tray icon. Yep, all the other user add-ons will almost always have an “exit” or “quit,” not the fitbit. Bring up the main panel, surely there would be a menu to exit the program. Nope.

To kill off this 400 lb monster you have to go thru your task manager, and kill the process there. You are tracking steps fitbit, why are you stalking me? So needy.

Creating a fitbit account was a little over-the-top, and again needing more than I want to give. It could hook into your facebook(or your google-plus account, which a lot of people would like, but I don’t need facebook to track my activities. (we all know that facebook is selling our data right? But is facebook giving me a cut of the action? Nope.) So I created my own account.

It was simple enough, email address, password, the usual stuff until it got very specific and wanted my “real name.” You can give your real name, but I chose not to. Why? The site is only counting steps, you don’t need anything else real about me. Let’s just be friends fitbit, let’s not get so serious.

The zip is useful, it’s small, it’s a neutral color that people won’t really latch on to. The software, oh that horrible software. Unforgivable.

*3-21-2015 update.

My gripe is still with the oh-so-horrible the software for the computer. The app seems to hook into the fitbit with no problem. Their software takes about 5 minutes to uninstall. It even asks you to kill it’s own process with a DOS window. I swear the software was written by kids in a vo-tech shop class. Fitbit, when I need your software to update, and I click the install button, you don’t need my permission to do every little thing. JUST DO IT. Once it’s finished with the uninstall, that’s it. It stops. Oh, that’s right I was trying to update the software, but the installer is such a mess (like the rest of the fitbit software), that you then have to go back and ask it to install.
I’m not a newbie to software. FORTRAN, RPG, C, Rbase, Dbase… I’m old, but your 2015 software is a qualified disaster.