Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Lookin' out my back door

Well, OK, not looking out MY back door, looking out a friend's back door here in Oro Valley, Arizona. That's the Santa Catalina mountains in the background. Somewhere up there is the exact location where Jenny and I got engaged a few years ago.

This past weekend was the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon and Half Marathon. The event has become Elite Racing's premier event, as far as I can tell. 25,000 or so in the half. 10,000 or so in the full, and 3,000 kids for the Children's Race on Saturday. I was doing the finish line announcing for the full marathon and had a ball watching everyone come in.

The marathon was also a qualifier for the U.S. women's Olympic Trials. The "A" standard is 2:47 and, I think, about 8 women made it out of about 160 or so that tried. It was a pretty emotional moment as, one by one, they came across the line. Clearly they had all be working together during the race and the cooperation paid off.

I had to make my way from Phoenix to Oro Valley [just northwest of Tucson] to speak at the Northwest Medical Center's "Commit to be Fit" information session. This is all tied in to the Arizona Distance Classic on March 16 which includes the 5K AND the Valley of Gold Half Marathon. [ArizonaDistanceClassic.com]

The most interesting aspect was that I was, at 59, one of the YOUNGEST people in the room. I guess there's a market out there, at least in this part of the country, for folks that might seem a little beyond the traditional running demographic. I enjoyed the show, and they seemed to as well. It just wasn't the crowd that I was expecting.

The past few days have been Chamber of Commerce perfect here in Arizona. There's no question why people decide to leave the snow and cold behind. As soon as I'm finished with this I'm headed out for a run in the cool morning air and BRIGHT sunshine. Later today I'll fly home where the temperature is in the mid 20's. AAARRRGGGHHH!

This is a short turn-around week. Jenny and I are off to Cabo San Lucas on Thursday with a group from her Chicago Endurance Sports program to run a half marathon there. The "high" in Chicago on Sunday is supposed to be 5 degrees BELOW zero. I'll try to feel sorry for everyone as I'm sipping an iced tea by the pool.

I won't be able to enjoy it for long because I'm back on a plane headed to Lethbridge, Canada [just below Calgary] the next week.

If I get internet access I'll try to post a little something from Mexico.

See you on the streets.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Year in Review

Happy New Year, a week or so late. 

As I said in the January Penguin Times newsletter [subscribe] I am just not ready for the new year to begin. Also, as I said, I think it's because I was actually able to get some time away at the end of the year and I'm not quite back into the full-on, work mode.

To be fair, when you work for yourself it's not like you ever REALLY take time off. There were emails to answer, phone calls to take, and meetings to attend, but I was either at home or with family during most of the holidays and haven't been on an airplane in almost a month. THAT'S a holiday for me.

That's the grandkids on Christmas morning. Well, it was Christmas afternoon before they got to the present opening. The twins went to Christmas morning services at the National Cathedral where their father was performing, and we had the whole "extended" family gathered for Christmas dinner. It was a very special day.

For the first time in YEARS I actually stayed up until midnight on New Year's Eve. I am, honest, about the most boring person you can imagine. This year Jenny and I enjoyed the company and cooking of some good friends and found ourselves making our way home at 3 AM. Of course, then it took me days to recover.

2007 was one of the most difficult years I've had since I started running. I've struggled with being banged up a little, struggled with motivation, and struggled with a schedule that really made training difficult. It was also the first calendar year since 1993 that I didn't run a marathon.

But, the GOOD news is that I've never enjoyed running more. I've mentioned this before, but because I'm not training for anything in particular I've been able to run more often then when I'm training. Some weeks I'll run or walk every day. Most weeks it's more like 5 or 6 days. 

And, I've found, that I'm using walking as a legitimate form of cross-training. This time of year most of my training - when I'm home - is on the treadmill. I've been doing some incline workouts based on heart-rate that seem to be paying off.

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to be better about blogging. I'm going to try for twice a week, Tuesdays and Fridays. So far, I've only missed one week!

Please check out JohnBingham.com for all the fun things going on this year. I'll be at a bunch of events, we've got our JBR races, and Jenny and I will be out and around here in Chicago. 

Now, let's get this year started!