"Mr. Ski Gloves" and other mysteries…solved!

I posted about a person I see just about every day, walking in the hottest of weather wearing Michelin Man ski gloves*: At random points in his perambulations, he drops to the pavement and does pushups. I guess the gloves are to protect his hands. Still seems like overkill, though.

The forecast for tomorrow’s half marathon in Connecticut is for 70 degrees and around 80% humidity. I suppose it could be worse (and it has been in past years, or so I’ve read). Fortunately, much of the course is reported to be shaded, so I’ll just focus on getting the water down my throat rather than the front of my shirt and taking it easy on the hills.

I will be one of 274 women in the 40-49 age group running (perhaps more, if there are race day registrations) tomorrow. I recognize one name from the NYRR races — someone who always beats me by just a minute or two. I want to try to reverse that trend tomorrow (although by her recent race times, it looks like she’s impervious to heat).

We’re promised a post-race “beach party,” which I hope means ice cream and beer (don’t ask me why I make that association). Way before noon! Sometimes, when you get over the whole taxes, home repairs, needing to hold down a job thing, being an adult is a lot of fun. Anyway, I’m hoping this “party” will make up for the fact that I need to get up at 4:30AM tomorrow morning to drive an hour and engage in strenuous exercise in high humidity.

Before I go, I want to praise Tivo. Because of Tivo we’ve been able to watch every single match in the Euro 2008 Football cup, at our leisure, in the evening. And we have about 30 “track and field” broadcasts scheduled to record in the coming weeks, Olympic trials from Eugene and otherwise. Heaven. Sheer heaven.

Also, since I’ve been making very little progress with weight (or, rather, butt) loss lately, despite running 90 miles a week and dropping my caloric intake to around 1500 a day, I decided to give the whole “your body will go into starvation mode and hold onto fat like it’s going out of style” theory some credence. For the past week or so, I’ve been experimenting with eating more (and more frequently). And rapidly losing fat. Who knew?

*Originally reported as “mittens.” I see now that they are in fact gloves.

Meet Report: Reebok Grand Prix

I took some really awful photos and even worse video. The video is boring and the photos are blurred. I suppose I should read the manual before being allowed out of the house with my camera.

Anyway, here’s a report on the Reebok event last night. Sure, you can read all about the results on some of those other sites. I’ll give you information about the things you really wanted to know about.

For instance, who knew Jamaicans were so nuts for track and field? We arrived to discover that the audience was basically 8,000 Jamaicans and us. They were an ebullient crowd — cheering for the high schoolers (who seemed well-represented by family and friends in the crowd, many of whom were dressed to the nines) and the elites alike.

And there were many, many Jamaican elites running, especially in the shorter events. They received enormous support, although the crowd was great in acknowledging pretty much everyone. And I do mean everyone

We had lots of thunderstorms moving through last night and at one point the events were delayed for about 45 minutes. The MC, Lewis Johnson, did a good job of keeping us all entertained by asking people to come volunteer to sing their national anthem in a “sing your national anthem” competition. We were treated to the U.S. anthem, the Jamaican anthem (of course), the Trinidad-Tobago anthem and China’s anthem.

Not surprisingly, Jamaica’s got the best response, although not the least of which was because the song sounds like a song you’d hear sung at a Dartmouth football game in 1936. It’s very much a “rah! rah! rah!” song that you’re supposed to sing along to. Much better than Trinidad-Tobago’s, which was more like a funeral durge. Who writes a national anthem in a minor key?

Once the novelty of that wore off, we all just sat there looking at the rain. But then, the announcer screamed, “Ladies and gentlemen! Lane six!”

And, lo, there was a squirrel running in lane six. Right toward the finish line. The squirrel bolted forward, then stopped just short. The crowd applauded. The squirrel reversed. The crowed applauded more. The squirrel turned around and raced across the finish line. The crowd went completely batshit, like the squirrel had just broken a world record! It was hilarious.

In short, it was more fun than I’ve had for $36 in a long while. I’m definitely in for more of these, especially if the crowd’s Jamaican again.

It’s hard to know what to highlight because there was so much talent out there and some very exciting races. Some of the best races were the high schoolers, especially the relays. Other notable events were the men’s 3000m steeplechase, the men’s 800m, the women’s 5000m, the men’s 5000m, the women’s 100m and, of course, the sub-10 second battle between Gay and Bolt.

Some good reports and photos, plus results:
RunBlogRun’s report
Selective recap on LetsRun.com
Some good quotes from the athletes
Prettier pictures than mine
NY Times on Bolt’s new world record
Complete results

Like a horse race…but with people

We spent a little over five hours last night watching some of the best track and field athletes in the world run, vault and throw heavy objects last night at the Reebok Grand Prix on Randall’s Island.

Full report later, but the best was saved for last: the men’s 100 metres, in which Jamaica’s Usain Bolt broke the world record. So we saw the fastest man ever recorded, running about fifty feet in front of us. Very exciting stuff. I’m hooked on track meets now.

I’m off for a 20 miler with 5 at race pace. Ugh.

More later, after pancakes.

Running as entertainment

I’m considering getting tickets for the Reebok Grand Prix, which is next Saturday evening.

This may be a true sign of madness.

It’s tempting, though, as the best seats are just $50. For nearly five hours of entertainment. That’s a lot cheaper than going to see “Mama Mia!” Heck, we spent $30 on movie tickets and Milk Duds to go see “Iron Man” yesterday.

Plus we won’t have to suffer the usual terrible television coverage:

  • Inarticulate (and ignorant) commentators
  • Pathological focus on the shorter sprint events
  • Getting to see, if I’m lucky, the last 20 seconds of the 1500 and 5000 metre races