Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Trenton Half Marathon November 2013 (might be some child abuse)

It has now been a year since I made or should I say my village made the decision I was no longer completing a 200 mile mountain bike ride that started in Botswana, went through Zimbabwe and finished in South Africa.
welcome there. This time last year I had just returned to the United States after

Once I returned from Africa we got a group of friends together from the Full Moon Running Club to run the Trenton Half Marathon.

The same group decided let's do it again this year. We had a few new players. You all know Crazy Christine, since the Half Ironman, Crazy
Christine has run the Steamtown Marathon, Marine Corp Marathon placing in both. Now she plans to place in the Trenton Half Marathon and then run the Philly Marathon. Also joining us this year are SweetWillie Davis, and Texas Debbie. While Texas Debbie has run several Marathons and Half Marathons this will be SweetWillie Davis's first Half Marathon and longest distance he has ever run.

Back from last year are Laine, Kate, Heather, Klark "Kevin" Kent, and Lynn Adams, missing are Lorenzo and Michael. Heather and I decided we would run with SweetWillie Davis, and Texas Debbie as it was their first time running this race. We did not have a set goal, while it would be nice to beat last year time the important thing was to run together. I guess I forgot about that around mile

The weather was colder than last year with a starting temperature of 40 degrees. The sun was shinning and there was no wind so it was actually a nice temperature to run.

Whenever you get a few thousand people together you are going to have a logistics issue with bathrooms. It is a fact, all humans Pee and Poop. This is one of the biggest issues for Race Directors.
I want to give a congratulations to the trenton Half Marathon Race Directors as they did a great job of getting plenty of porta johns - very clean ones. At least I thought they were clean.

We had two issues with our group, one was SweetWillie Davis. He was so nervous about the race that he could not make a BM. He was in the porta john so long we thought he fell in, finally he emerged successful. As I mentioned the Johns were very clean, though not clean enough for Texas Debbie, the second issue was Texas Debbie had to checked 50 porta johns, before she found one clean enough to use.

As we got in line for the start we noticed a little boy with his mom, the boy could not have been any
older than 5. He had a race bib for the Half Marathon. Margarite had told me she read about a boy trying to set the world record for being the youngest child to run a Half Marathon. This is just STUPID and I think the parents are as close as you can get to committing child abuse without getting arrested. Running is hard on your body, yes thousands or years ago running was a form of transportation, that was before people lived to 85 and running surfaces were made of concrete.

The boys name is Anthony Russo here is a little clip from the local news.

We spoke to Anthony and he told us his goal was 2 hours and 30 minutes. As we walked to the starting line I noticed Anthony had a very slight limp and as he ran it was little worse. You can see this limp on the above video. Like I said child abuse.

Our group Heather, SweetWillie Davis, and Texas Debbie started toward the end of the pack. We
wanted to go out slow and warm up. The first mile was an out and back through the Route 29 tunnel. As we started to enter the tunnel we saw Crazy Christine coming out of the tunnel. She was
already a good three quarters of a mile ahead of us. We entered the tunnel and Klark "Kevin" Kent passed us, we did not know it then but we would not see him again until the finish line.

After the tunnel we headed down Route 29, we hit the one mile mark with a time of 8:52.4. My goal was to get the group to negative split the race with each mile being a little faster than the last. As we exited Route 29 and turned right, running through some of the fantastic neighborhoods of Trenton, we hit mile 2 with a time of 8:51.9 a half second faster than mile 1. It was 8:30 on a Saturday morning and many of the residents of Trenton were out cheering us on. We all felt great and
were warming up.

As we approached mile 3 there was a local band playing on the side walk. Our mile 3 time was 8:39.8. With this being SweetWillie Davis's first run of this distance, I was concerned that we increased our pace by 11 seconds. I felt it was ok to maintain this pace, but not go any faster yet. We continued through the neighborhoods of Trenton completing mile 4 at a pace of 8:39.1, I was happy with that.

I took a health check on everybody and everybody was feeling good. Mile 5 had a slight up hill so slowed our pace, this surprised me. Part of mile 5 is the Trenton Makes the World Takes Bridge. This
is a steal grate bridge and I would have bet that Heather was running a 6 minute mile across that bridge. Heather was so scared she would fall through the grates she really picked up the pace. We completed mile 5 at a time of 8:49.2, which was actually a better pace for our group, though I was surprised it was this slow.

As we passed mile 5 we caught up to Lynn Adams. She was running the 10K, Lynn had run the Army 10 miler a few weeks back and hurt her
hip, so she was just enjoying herself doing the shorter distance. We ran with her for a bit and then went our separate ways.

We wound our way through Morrisville crossing mile 6 at a time of 8:40.1 we maintained our pace and were very comfortable. We turned left and headed over the Calhoun Street Bridge, back into New Jersey, crossing mile 7 at a time of 8:41.3. We now had a mile on Route 29, flat and straight. My plan was to make up some time and get our legs stretched out for the up coming hills.

Texas Debbie changed my plans, she had to pee, real bad! Now what were we going to do, there was just one Porta John and I knew there was no way it would be clean enough for her. What we found out is, Texas Debbie lowers her Porta John standards during a race. We completed mile 8 with a time of 8:51.1 our slowest mile, but that included a Porta John stop.

We needed to make up some time and the hills were coming up. I decided to push the group and see what we were made of. Mile 9 had a hill with an elevation change of about 100 feet. 100 feet might not sound like much, but that is equivalent to a 10 story building. In running terms, that is steep! We completed mile 9 with a time of 8:32.0 our fastest mile so far and our steepest hill. we got some great cheering from Laine and Kate, as we were climbing the hill, they were coming down, they looked like they were on fire.

We recovered on mile 10 enjoying the downhill. We covered mile 10 in a time of 8:35.7. We were now running in uncharted territory for SweetWillie Davis. The furthest he had run up to this point was 10 miles. I could tell he was tiring, but I knew he would make it, Texas Debbie and Heather were both looking strong.

The course was flat all the way to the finish line. We picked the pace up a little and pulled SweetWillie Davis through mile 11 at a time of 8:25.5 our fastest mile so far. I had mentioned our plan was to stick together. I calculated our time wrong and thought there was a chance that Heather and I could beat last years time. I decided to pick the pace up a little, though I knew it would put a strain on SweetWillie Davis. Texas Debbie, and Heather had no problem hanging, though SweetWillie Davis was having a hard time as I expected. We finished mile 12 in a time of 8:00.2, yes an 8 minute mile, after running 11 miles. This may have been the fastest mile SweetWillie Davis every ran, he was all heart. Our group was breaking up a little. We were losing SweetWillie Davis, but his spirit was right with us.

We could now see the stadium and I let the excitement and adrenaline get the best of me. We covered mile 13 in a time of 7:31.8. Heather was just steps behind me, and Texas Debbie was just steps behind Heather. Last but not least SweetWillie was just behind Texas Debbie, we all had a great run.

Crazy Christine had finished the race and come back out and was running with us from mile 11 on. Keeping and eye on our group working to
keep us together.

The toughest part of a Half Marathon is that last point one mile. Why not have a 13 mile race instead of a 13.1 mile race? In The Trenton Half Marathon the point one is a little harder than in mot other half marathons. Toward the end you enter the stadium, the entry way is somewhat narrow and crowded as the Half Marathon and the 10K both finish at the same time. There was a
little bobbing and weaving to get into the stadium. The last point one
mile we ran at a pace of 7:44. Our total time was 1:52:51.3 and our average pace was 8:32. Very respectable. Though the last point one mile was crowded I would not
give up the stadium finish running the bases and finishing on home plate. What a thrill.

Another nice thing about this race is the after party party. I never knew this but Heather likes to drink beer. Each runner gets a free beer. Heather must of found all the runners that were not drinking, because she ended up with 15 drink coupons. Yes, she drank all 15 beers. She earned each and everyone of them.

It is off to Yosemite National Park for some Kilimanjaro training. Only 3 months until summit day.




Friday, November 8, 2013

Should I live in Florida? (some is true and some is not)

I had been hanging out in the Northeastern part of the United States for the last few months. I plan to
go back to Africa in February. As I continue to search for my next place to live I thought Eastern Africa and climbing Kilimanjaro would be a good place to check out . I have just about given up on being able to live in the United States, the cost of living is just to high compared to other places in the world.

I have a few more months before I head back to
Africa, I hate to leave any stone unturned, and thought I would try a few more places, just in case.

Fall is setting in and the temperatures are dropping in the Northeast, I figured Florida would be a great place to go. I recently read an article about a 9 year old boy that flew from Minneapolis to Las Vegas without a ticket. My funds are getting low and a flight to Florida is out of my budget, but if a 9 year old boy could do this I should be able to do this. I hope the NSA is not reading my post.

Here is what I did.

I am a member of the Global Entry Program. I am not going to tell you what that is, if I told you I would have to kill you. Being a member of the Global Entry Program increased the odds of success.

1) Take an Old Boarding Pass from a past flight 2) Scan the Boarding Pass into a program like Photo
Shop 3) Look on-line for flights going to Florida that have very low passenger count. 4) Look for an empty seat on the flight. Pick a middle seat toward the back of the plane, as they are the last to fill up. 5) Using Photo Shop changed the scanned copy of your boarding pass to reflect the flight and seat you want to take.

Now you have a boarding pass for the flight and it was free. As long as no one else shows up for the flight and is assigned your seat you are golden.

Not to bore you with the details I made it to Florida and the flight was free.

I plan to visit the East Coast and West Coast of Florida a few days at each.

First stop was West Palm Beach. The weather was perfect slight breeze 70 degrees at night and 85 during the day, low humidity. I was visiting my buddy Gary, I have known Gary since I was 5 years old. Yep that is a long time. Gary and I drove from Florida up the East Coast back in 2009, he had gone with me to Las Vegas, and Reno.

I hung with Gary and his family for a few days. His Parents also live in West Palm Beach. He has a lovely daughter Fallon.

Gary gave me a good run down of the area, we toured the beaches as well as some of the residential areas. While the area was beautiful and the climate perfect, it was way out of my price range, my range is free to a few dollars a week. Gary did suggest the homeless shelter. He said the
services are real nice and the food is top notch. The only issue with the homeless shelter is they force you to have a roommate, you get stuck with whomever they stick you with, I need my privacy.

After a few days in West Palm Beach I was off to Sarasota. From West Palm Beach to Sarasota is about a 4 hour drive, there are three routes, I decided to take the shortest in miles but longest in time. Highway 70 all the way across.

I would be staying with my Favorite Cousin Robyn. You may remember I visited Robyn last year.

When I arrived at Robyn's she had chores set up for me. She had read about me losing my income when the Unites States shut down the On-Poker sites. Robyn was trying to help me build my funds back up.

The first chore she had me do was clean the out side windows of her apartment. This might sound easy but she lives on the 22nd floor. Next she had me hanging some pictures in her Pent House. Robyn is not hurting for funds. Once my chores were done we went out for a nice dinner at PattieGeorge's Fine Coastal Cuisine, dinner was wonderful and the view of the Inland Water Way was fantastic.

Robyn really wanted me to stay in Sarasota so she lined up a job interview for me as a Tour Boat Captain. I had no idea it was a job interview I just thought we were going out for a ride on a friends boat. What a beautiful day we took the Inland Water Way from Long Boat Key up to Marker #60. The day was so clear we could see the Sunrise Bridge from there. We stopped for Lunch at Mar-Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub then headed back to Long Boat Key. On the way back we spotted a guy training for the Swim from Cuba to Florida. He was towing his own supply boat. This guy was an animal. He plans to swim from Cuba to Florida without any support crew, towing all his own equipment.

We had a great day out on the water, I was offered the job as a tour boat captain, but working is not for me. Once back at Robyn's, I found some free Photo Shop Software for my Ipad and created a Boarding Pass to get me back to the Northeast. I hope I never have to buy a plane ticket again.

On to my next adventure.