Runners who don’t say hello

Okay, this is a pet peeve of mine.

I run along similar streets and paths nearly every day. I see lots of the same people several times per week — people I’ve been seeing for years. 95% of them acknowledge my friendly wave, head nod or spoken “hi”.

But there’s a small minority who don’t engage in any way whatsoever. After a few tries, I finally gave up, and when I pass them, I return their stony, robotic silence, since saying hello seems pointless.

I have admiration for anyone who laces up a pair of shoes and goes out walking or running and, as such, I’ve always felt there’s a natural camaraderie amongst us all. Besides, it’s generally accepted that you acknowledge people you see constantly, no matter how tangential or insignificant the relationship.

One pattern I’ve noticed (or maybe it’s just a coincidence) is that a lot of the “don’t say hello” people look like serious runners. They have special wraparound sunglasses on, 4% body fat, impressive running gear. So maybe their attitude is that they’re so busy concentrating on their run, they can’t be bothered saying hello. I can sort of understand that. When you’re doing something like intervals, where you need to focus on speed and distance, you can’t worry about socializing. But I always see these people when they’re just running along, doing what looks like an easy or tempo run — something that doesn’t require a tremendous amount of concentration.

So, I’ve concluded that the people who don’t say hello are one of these:

Happy birthday, cocktails

You’d better head down to the local Hallmark store, because there’s a birthday you missed. Yes, the cocktail turned 200 earlier this month. The cocktail has a rich history and a complex etymology. But, once you’ve knocked back a few, who cares about all of that?

I am a martini fan, although my long runs on the weekend have certainly curbed my consumption. On the other hand, I’ve discovered that the best cure for a mild hangover is a good, long run. I think I’ll raise a celebratory glass this weekend for the humble cocktail. On Saturday night, after the Bronxville race.

Post-run snack recommendatons

From what I’ve read, after a race or hard run workout, you should eat food that will help you recover faster. This means carbohydrates and some protein. The carbs help restore your muscles’ glycogen stores, and the protein helps rebuild damaged muscle. Ideally, you should take this in within a half hour or so of the conclusion of your activity.

My favorite post-race or post-run snack is a glass of milk and a snack bar from Trader Joe’s. You can buy a six-pack of these bars for $1.69 or $1.99 — a bargain compared to something like Clif Bar or PowerBars. I like the “Sweet, Savory and Tart” bars, but the “Vanilla Almond Crunch” bars are also quite good. Also check out the Apple, Blueberry and Fig bars — they’re like extended Fig Newtons.

Get more information about recovery foods.

Today’s haiku

Well, I just went and checked out the route (thank you for the Google map, Joe Garland) for Saturday’s 5 mile “run for fun” in Bronxville. Why it’s called a “fun” run, I don’t know. It’s not exactly fun. It’s extremely hilly, and you have to run the extremely hilly route twice. I shall have to eat my Wheaties beforehand.

I have no idea who is going to enter this race. If it’s people expecting a “fun” little run, but haven’t checked out the route, it should be entertaining to see the shocked facial expressions upon seeing that first big hill. Or the second or third one.

In honor of the upcoming race, here is today’s haiku:

The hills of Bronxville
A run designed by sadists
Why do I do this?

Katamari race pacer

A colleague sent me this entertaining link this morning, showing some creative runners in the Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco, dressed up as their favorite characters from the Japanese console game Katamari Damacy.

Their costumes are amazing, as is the approximately 8 foot in diameter katamari they built. But I wonder, did they roll it the whole 12K? I’d think the novelty would wear off after the first couple of miles. But if you can win a free trip, I guess it’s worth it!

Hey, kids! It’s racing season!

I live in New York State, which means that for five months out of the year, the weather is wonderful and for the other seven months, it’s brutal. So, for those five months during which I can actually run outside*, I try to do so as often as I can.

Running outside also means running in races. If you’re a runner and you’ve never run in a local race, try it sometime. I started running shorter races because I knew I wanted to eventually run a half marathon and thought I should get some racing experience before going to a big event with 3,000 other runners.

Thing is, I got hooked. Now I run every race I can find during those five decent months. I’ve only been racing since Thanksgiving 2005 (my first 5K “turkey trot”), but since then I’ve run about six races, including a half marathon, and I have races scheduled for pretty much every weekend over the next month.

What’s fun about racing is that you have a purpose for running. You can train for specific race distances, and shoot for a particular finish time. Or just go to have fun. Most of the races I run in are sponsored by charities, so your money is going for a good cause — and it’s tax deductible. Plus, you usually get a free tee shirt. How cool is that?

This weekend I’ll be running in a 5 mile race in Bronxville, NY. I’m going to check out the course today, inserting it in the middle of a long run. Last weekend, I raced in a 10K in Congers, NY (Rockland Country). It was a nice, flat race around a big lake (although a bit windy). I was very happy with my time, as my goal was to finish in under 53 minutes. I came in at 50:53. That’s over four minutes faster than my first 10K, which I ran in February. Training really does work (and a flat course helps). I also came in third in my age/gender group. Yay!

*Soon enough, I’ll be stuck inside on my treadmill, doing my runs while watching the paint fade.

Well, I guess there was always shit on television

I’ll admit it. I’m a Netflix addict. And sometimes, inbetween the high quality Kurasawa and Bergman fare, I need to watch some garbage. During those times, I look no further than 70s televisions shows on DVD.

This evening, I’m enjoying a few wholesome episodes of The Protectors, an early 70s show starring Robert Vaughn.

This show is, quite simply, awful. Episodes have no story — just random scenes, random characters. There’s no continuity from episode to episode. And the title sequence is a mess:

  • A shot of a bathrobed Vaughn in his bedroom with a blue (yes, blue) dog…
  • A car rolling over and crashing…
  • Vaughn cooking eggs…
  • An exploding bridge…
  • Vaughn and dog eating the eggs…
  • An ugly woman (The Contessa) lunging forth with a foil…

On the plus side, the theme song rocks, featuring a big horn section and a Tom Jones sound-alike. And the lyrics…oh, the lyrics…

In the avenues and alleyways
Where the soul of a man is easy to buy
Everybody’s wheeling, everybody’s stealing
All the low are living high
Every city’s got ’em
Can’t we try and stop ’em
Some of us are gonna try

Yet another new blog is born!

(Cue the lame party noisemaker)

It’s the inaugural post to a new blog! Does the excitement ever start?

Okay, let’s get it over with. I’ll hit my stride soon enough and this will get a lot more interesting.

The basics — I’m starting this blog because:

  • I love to write and I’m sick of message boards
  • I’d like to encourage non-runners to become runners
  • I’d like to encourage runners who do not race to start racing
  • I need a way to unwind from the insane hours I work; yes, running is not enough

I have plans for this blog. Oh, yes:

  • Haiku. Who wants haiku? Anyone?
  • Information about running-related things: podcasts, books, sites, shoes and apparel, races…
  • Other, non-running observations about, but not limited to movies, books, teevee, weird places I’ve been, odd things I’ve witnessed and more!

And so, here is the inaugural haiku:

I have more blisters
In mysterious spots
Where’s my BodyGlide?