There Will Be a Brief Interlude for Attempted Humor

Our Saturday morning run was just cancelled – apparently 14 degrees below isn’t the best weather for it. To celebrate this rare opportunity to sleep in, I’m taking a brief hiatus (a winter break, as it were) from my adventures in fitness to share some of my favorite jokes. Hey, it’s damn cold out – we can all use a little humor, right? Enjoy!

Favorite Geek Jokes

Schrodinger’s cat walks into a bar. . .and doesn’t.

There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don’t.

There’s a mathematics convention at a hotel. One night, a physicist wakes up and sees his wastebasket is on fire. He puts it in the tub, turns the shower on, douses the fire, and goes back to bed.

An engineer wakes up and sees his wastebasket is on fire. He goes to his computer, calculates that exactly 1.65 liters of water is required, fills his ice bucket with that amount, douses the fire, and goes back to bed.

A theoretical mathematician wakes up and sees his wastebasket is on fire. He looks at his ice bucket and then at the bathroom faucet, calls the front desk and says, “The solution exists!” and goes back to bed.

Question: Who was setting the fires?
Answer: A statistician, looking for a larger sample size!

Favorite Pun-Type Jokes

Two vultures hurt their wings and decide to migrate south by airplane. They bring some rabbits along as a snack. The gate agent asks them, “Do you want to check those rabbits?”

“No,” the vultures say. “They’re carrion.”

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Never trust an atom. They make up everything!

I once met the world’s best scarecrow. He was outstanding in his field.

Favorite Golf Jokes

A golf fanatic plays 18 holes with his best friend every Saturday morning. He’s always home by noon, so when he doesn’t come back, his wife gets really worried. Finally, at 5:00, he staggers in the door, looking absolutely exhausted. “What happened?” his wife asks.

“It was Fred,” he says. “He had a heart attack right there on the first tee!”

“Oh, God!” she cries. “What a traumatic experience!”

“You don’t know the half of it!” he said. “All day long it was hit one, drag Fred – hit one, drag Fred – hit one, drag Fred…”

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I was a caddie as a teenager, so I really associated with a particular Lolly comic strip. Sorry, I don’t have the actual strip, but here’s the text.

The corporate CEO is on the course sizing up his next shot, and it’s clear he’s undecided on which club to use. “You know my game pretty well, Albert,” he says to his caddie. “What do I need to get to the green from here?”

(The caddie says nothing but holds out about six clubs.)

And this old chestnut:

A golfer walks off the 18th green, hands his putter to his caddie and says, “Kid, you’ve got to be the worst caddie in the world.”
The caddie replies, “I doubt that, sir. That would be too much of a coincidence.”

Other Favorite Jokes

Q. How many Californians does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Three. One to change it, and two to share the experience.

Q2. How many Oregonians does it take to change a light bulb?
A2. Four. One to change it, and three to chase away the Californians.

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A Catholic priest, a Baptist minister, and a rabbi are out walking in the woods, arguing about which religion is the best. The Baptist spots a deer. “You see that deer?” he says to the others. “I’m going to bring him to Jesus.” He goes over to the deer and preaches a real blood-and-thunder sermon. At the end, the deer is on its knees looking up to heaven and sobbing. The preacher baptizes him and the deer leaves with its head high.

The priest sees an eagle. “I’m going to make that bird a Catholic,” he declares, calls the eagle to his side and tells him all about God’s love and the promise of eternal life. At the end, the eagle is wearing a crucifix and plucking a set of rosary beads.

The rabbi spots a bear. “You guys wanna see real religion?” he says. “I’m gonna turn that bear into a Jew.” He walks with the bear into the woods. Suddenly horrible screams are heard, and the rabbi staggers back into sight, scratched and bloodied all over.

“What happened?” the priest and minister cry.
“Well,” the rabbi says, “perhaps I shouldn’t have tried to circumcise him.”

I’ll wrap up with one that was once declared to be Great Britain’s favorite joke.

A woman takes her baby on an outing and boards a bus. The driver looks at her and says, “Lady, that is the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen!” The woman is flustered and angry, but says nothing, pays the fare, and stomps to a seat in the back.

“You know,” she says to the man next to her, still fuming, “That driver was incredibly rude to me. I feel like going up there and giving him a piece of my mind.”

“So you should!” the man says. “You go right ahead and do that. I’ll hold your monkey for you.”

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Hope you enjoyed this post! Feel free to pass along favorite jokes of your own, running-related or otherwise.

Running Transforms a Town: McFarland, USA

There’s nothing like a story of overcoming adversity to make you appreciate your own life – and make you re-examine your attitude toward many things.

Last night I went to a pre-release screening of McFarland, USA, based on the true story of Jim White, the high school cross-country coach in the town of McFarland, California, and how he built the team into state champions. While there’s plenty of running, the story is more about the characters – the coach (played by Kevin Costner) and his family adapting to life in an overwhelmingly Hispanic community, and the struggles of the kids and their families to escape from the lifelong grind of working as pickers in the Central Valley orchards.

Movie poster (source: Wikipedia).

Movie poster (source: Wikipedia).

Once past the first 10 minutes, an awkward, clichéd “fish out of water” sequence as the White family arrives in McFarland, the story takes off. Jim forms the cross-country team and turns them into dedicated runners, making mistakes and dealing with their frustrations and family challenges, but never giving up on them.

So what adversity did the McFarland runners face? Start with getting up at 4:30 a.m. every day to work in the fields until school started, then after school going back to the orchards to train for 10 miles or more. On weekends, and when school was out, they worked all day, every day, in the fields, along with their families. And they’re up against better funded, better trained teams from privileged schools. Jim uses this as motivation.

“At the end of a race,” he tells them, “it’s all about who can stand the pain. You guys have the biggest hearts I’ve ever seen.” And they prove him right while coming to believe in themselves and their potential not just as runners, but as people.

There are some really good scenes of the kids running through the orchards and up and down tarp-covered mountains of almond shells while Jim accompanies them on an old bike. A low-paid teacher, he somehow finds the funds to equip the runners with shoes and uniforms. To help establish trust with the local families, he spends a day in the fields harvesting cabbage, with predictable results.

Piles of almond shells, like the kind used for hill training in the movie.

Piles of almond shells, like the kind used for hill training in the movie. (See Almond Girl’s blog for lots more about almonds.)

The acting is absolutely first-rate. You’d expect that of Costner, but the other actors, the kids in particular, also shine. I totally bought in. I thought the re-created meets and races were also very well done – long enough to satisfy the runners in the audience but not too long to bore the non-runners. (Let’s face it, if you don’t have someone in the race to root for, watching a race is akin to, well, watching golf.)

As it’s a Disney production, naturally there is a happy ending, but you don’t mind because it actually happened. There’s also a surprise at the very end of the film which I won’t spoil for you, but I have to say was really heartwarming, in the true sense of the term.

Watching the almond-hill climbing reminded me that I’d kissed off my own scheduled hill work last Tuesday, choosing instead to finish an important assignment at work. (That it was dark, cold, and snowy outside may have also contributed to my decision.) Still, what did it say about my own dedication to my training? They did back-breaking work in 100-degree weather and still trained. I get to sit in a temperature-controlled office all day, and I worry about a puny six miles with some hill repeats?

“Well,” my daughter said as we left the theater, “now I feel really good that I went out for my run this afternoon. I don’t have to feel guilty.”

“Thanks for that,” I said.

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P.S. Once calling themselves, “The Heartbeat of Agriculture”, McFarland transformed its image around its runners. Click here to see how.

Bonus: Click here for more talk with Jim White, and a few differences between the movie and the real-life story.

Stand Up to Work, But Sit Down to – What??

I hope you’re NOT sitting down when you read this.

In yet another wave in the media tide that says we’re f***ed no matter what we do comes the news that extended sitting is bad for your health. Not only that, it can apparently undo any good work you’ve done when you’re not sitting, such as walking, running, or engaging in other exercises that are supposed to keep you healthy.

Fine, I give up. Screw the run, pass the donuts.

Fine, I give up. Screw the run, pass the donuts.

The eye-catching, sensationalist headlines trumpet stuff like, “Sitting is the New Smoking,” “Sitting will kill you, even if you exercise,” and “Sitting All Day Is Really, Really Bad For You.” And even that famous medical expert and Apple CEO Tim Cook was quoted recently as saying that, “[S]moking is the new cancer.” I could not find a comment from him as to why he leads a company making devices that encourage people to be seated for extended periods.

Anyone who knows me knows my interest in maintaining and improving my health and fitness, and how seriously I take my training. And yet, in order to afford my fitness activities and the rest of my life, I have a job – one that requires me to spend considerable time in my office reading, typing, or meeting with people. Which, most of the time, is done while seated. As is eating most meals, driving, watching TV, and writing blog posts like this one.

No sitting means no laps! Bad idea! says Gabby.

No sitting means no laps! Bad idea! says Gabby.

Yikes! What ever am I to do?

You can see this, and other examples, at Amazon.com.

You can see this, and other examples, at Amazon.com.

Fortunately, brilliant minds have come up with solutions. Two recent innovations include the stand-up desk, and for those who want even more help exercising, the treadmill desk (although its benefits have come into question). These wonderful inventions come at a price, naturally, starting at around $300 and going up to whatever your fantasies and your wallet can stand.

The thought that while I’m sitting at my desk I’m undoing much of the good I do myself while exercising has been bugging me for some time now. So I decided to experiment with working at my desk while standing. But heck if I was going to drop $300 or more to get a desk unit to try out. Besides, once I’ve made a decision, I get impatient about carrying it out. So here was my solution.

Do-it-Myself Stand-up DeskWho needs IKEA? I’m an engineer!

I spent most of this afternoon (about 4 hours) working like this. I even conducted a meeting with someone while standing up. (He was seated, but hey, it’s his body to wreck.)

The results were mixed. The first 3 hours or so were comfortable. After that my back got stiff and I took some “sit breaks.” Many of the stand-up units can be raised and lowered for just such occasions. A few more trials may be needed before I spring for one, though. I’ll keep you all posted (pun intended, of course).

Meine Herren, Please Sitz Yourselves

Taking the opposite position, as it were, there is apparently a long-running debate in Germany about whether men should sit down when doing “Number 1″ or if they should continue to relieve themselves standing up. There are even terms for the two sides: sitzpinklers (those who sit down) and stehpinklers (those who do it standing up). Being a sitzpinkler is seen as “non-masculine” by some men, while others see it as progressive and a way to help out toiler cleaners, who are mainly women.

The issue came to a head (*) recently when an apartment renter in Duesseldorf sued his landlord for this right (standing up for standing up?). The landlord claimed the renter’s urine had damaged the marble bathroom floor due to his, shall we say, poor aim, and had withheld part of the security deposit. The case was decided by a judge in favor of the renter. The moral of the story: He who installs marble flooring near a toilet is a dummkopf.

For my part, I remain strongly in favor of a man’s right to pee standing. If nature gives one the ability, one should use it, I say. Besides, what would we do with all the urinals?

You know, the men's room is SO much more aesthetically pleasing these days!

You know, the men’s room is SO much more aesthetically pleasing these days!

Check out some highly entertaining (and somewhat shocking) unusual real urinals at this site here. One more example below.

Go ahead, sitzpinkler! I dare you!

Go ahead, sitzpinkler! I dare you!

See you next time, if I survive all my sitting. You know, even in doctor’s offices and waiting rooms, what are we asked to do? Sit! Quick, have Tim Cook set them straight!

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(*) Jeez, I’m full of puns today. Is it okay if I release them sitting down?

2015 Super 5K: 26 and Done

RIDDLE OF THE DAY: What causes schools to close, leads to massive traffic accidents, requires huge trucks and tons of salt to control, but has absolutely no effect on runners?

Meme - Late for Run - Snow

Sunday morning was the 2015 Running Fit Super 5K, and over 1,500 unstoppable runners showed up – because, after all, what else would they do on Sunday morning before the Super Bowl? While they’re all badass, especially the ten runners aged 70 and over, I think the baddest were the 20 who took over an hour to finish. That’s a long time to slog through slush and cold for a medal, pint glass, and a hot dog or two.

Super 5K starting line

The snow had already been falling a while when I pulled out of my driveway and headed to Novi. I gave myself extra drive time and arrived early enough to get my race bib and warm up (somewhat). Thankfully, the venue had changed from the Novi Civic Center to the high school, avoiding the frostbite-inducing quarter mile march of previous years to the starting line.

Super 5K - Me at start

The consecutive streak ends at 26! My bib number was an unintended tribute, I guess.

As the roads had not been fully cleared. I wore my Saucony Peregrine trail shoes for extra traction. Others wore Yaktrax or put sheet metal screws in the soles. While snowy and windy, the temperature was in the low 20s, positively tropical compared to the last four years, so my Heater Hog and a light wind vest kept me plenty warm, once I got going.

The race starts down a main road and tucks into a private subdivision about a half mile in. Although it’s a loop, it seemed like twice as much uphill as downhill, especially in the second half. This actually helped my cause, as I passed a lot of people losing steam on the long, slow rises. I was breathing pretty hard myself, but all that trail running pays off in races like this.

I finished a minute faster than last year, which was in deeper snow. I managed third in my age group, but once again, like in Bigfoot, I beat everyone in the age group below mine. “I wish I were 49 again,” I said to a friend. “I’d be winning my age group!” Maybe I’ll have to start lying about my age. On the other hand, the finishers over 70 got the most applause.

Super 5K finish line

Super 5K finish line 2

The post-race food was junkier than average, by design due to the Super Bowl tie-in. 9:30 a.m. is too early for me to eat a hot dog, but I broke down and had some of the meatballs – and went back for seconds. Dang, they were good. Turned out I needed those calories, as I spent the rest of Sunday, and Monday morning, shoveling my driveway.

This was a bittersweet race for me. It marks the end of 26 consecutive Running Fit events, starting with the 2013 Holiday Hustle through every event in 2014 and the first two events of 2015. Due to other commitments, I won’t be at the Dances with Dirt Green Swamp and Shamrocks & Shenanigans races next month. Ah, well – looking forward to the Pi Day run with my daughter on March 14!

At least this streak continues! Me with fellow PR Fitness racing fiend Michael.

At least this streak continues! Post-race with fellow PR Fitness racing fiend Michael.

Watch for Puking Mules: The Winter Switchbacks 5K

SO IMAGINE YOU’RE PERUSING A RUNNING WEBSITE, and you come across the following race promo:
Winter Switchbacks - Part of the PromoNo pre-race registration, no bathroom facilities, no food or water, and the only award you might get is frostbite. And when you get there, you hear this from the race organizer:

Up the Final Hill - Others 2“The race ends at the top of the hill. So you get to go uphill four times, – and you only have to go downhill three times.”

Sound like fun?

Somehow, some way, it was.

I’d gotten a flyer for this race a few years ago, but had other commitments and let it pass. But last week, while looking over the website for the new Ann Arbor Running Company store, I came across the 2015 flyer. Yep, same race: the only text that had changed was the date. So I blew off my assigned 12-miler on Saturday morning and drove to the Waterloo Recreation Area in search of adventure.

Methinks someone didn't like the sign.

Methinks someone don’t like being told when he can and can’t shoot.

With only the flyer as my source, I was half anticipating a group of bearded, fur-clad survivalists. And just a few hundred yards from the gathering place, I spotted three orange-clad guys with rifles heading into the woods. Their eyes were on me as I went past. Hmm..., I could hear them thinking, I wonder if he’s good eatin’.

This was as close to fur as anyone got. Yes, I could make the obvious joke, but I'll let it go.

This was as close to fur as anyone got. I will save the obvious “fox” jokes for another time.

So imagine my surprise to find that the majority of the runners were Chelsea and Grass Lake high schoolers in track clothes and sweatshirts. Turns out the race is run by the Chelsea High School cross-country coach. There were even kids as young as 4 there. They all seemed remarkably unconcerned about running 3.5 loops on trails covered in snow and lined with fallen branches, and a monster climb times four. Ah, the innocent nonchalance of youth! But I wasn’t too fazed; I’ve climbed worse hills, and run through deeper snow. Just not both at the same time before.

Winter Switchbacks - Start

At 10:00 a.m. sharp, after a briefing about the course (“Just keep turning right”) we were off. Each loop climbed up the switchbacks, with the steepest part just before the top of the hill. Fortunately right after that there was a steep downhill, so there was a chance to catch my breath, and I finished the 5K in a respectable 28 minutes and change, even managing a reasonable charge up to the finish line.

Just in case you were wondering what "switchbacks" were...

Just in case you were wondering what “switchbacks” were…

Funny, that wasn't there the first time. (We'd been warned about "surprises".)

Funny, that wasn’t there the first time. (We’d been warned about “surprises”.)

Finish line ahead! Please pass the oxygen, Sir Edmund.

Finish line ahead! Please pass the oxygen, Sir Edmund.

And the winner is...the guy in shorts. (I was only 8 minutes behind him.)

Me with Tom, the winner, who ran this race about as fast as I can run a 5K on a flat road. With a tailwind.

While the race was tough as promised, it wasn’t really so bad. With temps around 30 degrees I stayed quite warm, and the promised mush and horse poop never materialized. And I saw no puking, mules or otherwise. The race organizers seemed disappointed.

“Last year,” they told me, nostalgia misting in their eyes, “the snow was twice as deep and we ran this thing in a blizzard.” Better luck next time, guys.

Finish - Wiped OutPredictably, many of the high schoolers kicked my butt, but I still managed to finish in 10th place, and that with taking pictures along the way. That four-year-old never knew what hit him. Just wait till next year, when I take all those pre-teens to school. Yeah.

Oh, and I have at least two more snow races coming up – the Super 5K this Sunday, and the No Frills All Thrills 8K in March. Can’t wait!

 

Guest Post: Running, My Life Saver

Today’s guest post is from Myla Miller, one of my readers, who wanted to let us know how life-transforming running has become for her. It’s the kind of story I’m hearing and reading about more and more. Could anyone do what she did? Myla thinks so! Here’s her story.

Running is not only a great form of exercise, an excellent weight loss solution, and an activity extremely beneficial to overall health, but to me is also a life saver.

Throughout childhood I was always very active, playing sports and participating in almost every extra curricula that a young girl could, playing outside on every single one of those warm summer days. (Yes, us folks used to go outside and play when we were young – hard to believe these days, thanks to Playstation, Xbox, and Facebook).

Fast forward to my late teens through twenties, and I became less and less active for various reasons such as school, boyfriends, and a few other reasons that, to be honest, were just poor excuses.  The food I ate on a consistent basis was of poor nutrition, my quality of sleep was horrible, and the care I really gave about myself as a whole declined day after day.  During this time, I gained quite a bit of weight and became very unhappy, to put it mildly, with myself and my body.

So a once very active and happy young girl turned depressed, unhappy, and I guess you could say lazy. Lack of self confidence, and shame, were everyday problems.  To this day when I think back to those darker times, I get an overwhelming feeling of anxiety and a sense of, ‘what the hell was I doing to myself?’

At the end of my rope, I sought out help to get my out-of-control self back on the paved road.  It took months to woman up and take this step, but it was the best decision I have ever made.  After a short period of time, I began to bounce back and get those oh-so-great feelings I once had as a little kid.  My depression began to lift, my self-confidence began to grow, and I was starting to feel much, much better.

This enabled me to start putting my life back together and in that plan was exercising and healthy eating.  Healthy body and healthy mind means healthy overall being, and that is what my number one focus was.

Then I sat down and put an exercise plan together.  It was wintertime, so I would start out by simply walking and going to the gym.  My plan consisted of walking a mile on the treadmill for the first month and going to the gym for weight training 3 days a week (those leg days were killer in the beginning).

After the first month I extended my time on the treadmill to 2 miles and then 3, and after that I got the urge to pick the pace up.  After about 2 months it was starting to get nice outside and the flowers were popping up, so it was time to take my activities outside.

Being a long distance runner in my early years of high school, once I got back into the swing of things, walking just was not cutting it anymore.  The urge to step up the pace grew more and more as did the feeling that I could get much more out of my body.

And I discovered my true love, running.

I started with one mile the first week and then 2 miles a day for the next 3 weeks.  After that I stopped keeping track; I would just throw the ear buds in, hit play on the iPod, and run as far as my little heart desired. This, coupled with a great diet, allowed me to shed 25 pounds in the first 4 months of my new life, and my confidence began to soar like an eagle high in the sky.

(Jeff here) My mom once said runners never smile. I just had to prove her wrong!

(Jeff here) My mom once said runners never smile. I just had to prove her wrong!

And during those summer months I was able to get a few of my friends out of the house and turn them into runners like I was becoming.  This was actually a pretty big goal of mine, which was to not only look out for their health, but to get us all like-minded so we could motivate and be there for each other.

It worked out perfectly, to the point where we all grocery shopped together and shared some great healthy recipes with each other.  We all were feeling amazing and our bond really grew a lot that summer.  It really is true that if you surround yourself with great people, you will become great, and that summer we all found this out firsthand.

To this day we still go on our daily runs, share recipes, take turns cooking dinner for each other’s families, and grow each and every day.

I got back to my old self 100% and then some.  I was and still am the happiest I have been in my entire life and I have running to thank for that.  It not only has helped me lose weight, but it has made me feel great overall, grown many friendships, mentally repaired me, and allowed me to get back to that young girl.

Very few things can match the thrill of finishing a goal race!

Very few things can match the thrill of finishing a goal race!

I wrote this to show you how powerful exercising and a healthy lifestyle truly can be.  A diet change and running has brought me out of the depths of depression and has put me on top of the world.  I know that this same exact thing can happen for anyone who is willing and committed.  And it does not have to be running – it can be walking, weightlifting, inter-mural sports, swimming, anything that you personally can do and enjoy doing.  It will be hard to get started, but once that ball gets rolling, you will find yourself disappointed if you miss a day, or are too busy to do your daily activity.  It becomes an obsession. It is funny how it goes from dreadful to desirable!

Don’t be afraid, stop putting it off, there is no better day than today to get started with your routine.  So sit down, come up with a plan, start slow and build up, and before you know it you will be a machine.

Good luck and I’m rootin’ for ya!

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About the author:

Myla is an avid runner who enjoys all things healthy.  Her true love for running started at the age of 23 and has not slowed down since.  Myla runs a website where she reviews running shoes, and shares her favorite pairs.  As you can probably imagine, she has been through a lot of running shoes.  To check out her site go to womensrunningshoereview.com.

Big Feet, Cold Hands, Hot Shoes

“HERE’S THE WORLD’S MOST PROLIFIC RUNNER,” I heard over the loudspeaker as I charged across the finish line. As much charge as I could muster wearing snowshoes, but I tried my best to make it look good.

Saturday was the Bigfoot Snowshoe 5K race in Traverse City. One year ago here I began my quest to run every Running Fit event in 2014. Now one year later I was getting public props for continuing the streak. It’s fun to be notorious!

Me with Bigfoot Costume Guy - 2015Course conditions were good, with plenty of snow on the trails at Timber Ridge. The temperature was about 20 degrees but with a bitter wind, so it was damn chilly in the starting queue. My fingers were already numb from putting on my snowshoes and stayed cold throughout the race, even in heavy gloves. Took my feet over an hour to fully recover afterward, too. But hey, it was a fun time. Right?

Racing snowshoes come in several types of length, width, and style, but they all have an anchor at the toe and a floating heel. You slip your running shoes into the bindings and use a rubber strap around the heel. The running form is slightly wider so you don’t hit your ankles, and there is more knee lift. And snow flies everywhere from your shoes and those ahead of you, so wearing a waterproof outer layer is a really good idea.

The super snowshoes I wore for the race. See below for how I got them.  Also notice the ice balls on the socks!

The super snowshoes I wore for the race. See below for how I got them. Also notice the ice balls on the socks!

A good set of racing snowshoes starts at around $200, so like many racers I rented some and picked them up at the resort on race morning. Last year I really liked the pair I got. This year I was handed a set with odd bindings that came loose during a test run. I went back in to see if a different model was available.

The race director, also named Jeff, was standing near the shoe table. “Having a problem?” he asked me as I made the exchange. “Let me know if those don’t work for you. I have a pair you could use.” I thanked him but figured the second pair would work. They laced up just fine, but out in the deep snow the toe on my right shoe dug under the rim and locked up. That was a recipe for a multitude of face plants in a race.

Jeff noticed my trouble and beckoned me over to his van, where he pulled out a sleek red pair with sneakers already locked in. “These are the fastest shoes in the West,” he said. The shoes were a size larger than mine but fit fine with my heavy socks. I had no time to try them out; the race was about to start. I got in line a minute before the gun. But here I was, wearing the race director’s top-notch snowshoes. Incredible!

For me, the toughest part of a 5K is the first half mile – it takes that long for my body to catch up aerobically. In snowshoes, I’m going nowhere near as fast as a road race, but the effort has the same effect. Last year I started near the back and ended up behind a lot of walkers. This year I started farther up and was able to go as fast as I wanted, and after the first mile I felt good and began passing other racers in earnest.

On the trail (actually from 2014, but it was pretty much the same).

On the trail (actually from 2014, but it was pretty much the same this year).

I crossed the finish line in 35:40, over seven minutes faster than last year. (It helps to not get lost and climb an extra hill.) I had hopes of winning my age group but settled for third, and #17 overall (out of 417). The 50-54 group is tough – the top three (including me) beat all but three of the 40-49 racers, and most of the 30-39 too. And a 55-year old came in second overall. Just wait until next year!

I thanked Jeff profusely for helping me out and being so generous with his best snowshoes. A box of homemade truffles just might be headed his way. (Don’t tell him.)

In the men's room at the resort. I'm not sure why it appealed to me so much. Frozen brain, maybe.

In the men’s room at the resort. I’m not sure why it appealed to me so much. Frozen brain, maybe.