Tag Archives: birthday

My “Double Nickel” Promotion

I GOT A PROMOTION TODAY.

Not for anything I did, or didn’t do. No, this was entirely due to three lucky accidents: that I was born, that my parents didn’t kill me when I was a teenager, and that I have lived this long.

You see, I turned 55 today.

And it’s been a good day! I got in 14 miles with my favorite run club, birthday wishes from family and friends, and free ice cream at Coffee House Creamery to go with my Sweetwaters OMG Chocolate Cake. And kisses and a funny/sappy card from my wife. Can’t ask for much more.

Coffee tastes really good after a cold morning run!

Coffee tastes really good after a cold morning run!

But for a competitive runner, turning 55 means one more thing – advancement to a new age group.

What does that mean? Not much, really. While some “senior discounts” kick in at this age, they don’t include race entry fees or running gear prices. There are a couple of minor benefits, such as ten extra minutes on a Boston Marathon qualifying time, and, based on my observation of race results, an improved chance to win age group awards. (Not that I need more pint glasses or spray-painted shoes.)

Final race in the 50-54 age group. Went out with a bang!

Final race in the 50-54 age group. Went out with a bang!

The group I’m leaving (50-54) is a strong one. There were times over the past five years I’ve beaten every runner aged 40-49 and still not been the top Masters finisher. Heck, a 52-year-old won the Bigfoot Snowshoe 5K a few years ago. And there are some age 55+ runners much faster than I am; they inspire me to try to keep improving.

I know some people get bummed out about reaching a “milestone year” such as 30, 40, 50, or whatever. Not here. My “year of being 50” was a celebration of events such as a 600-mile bike trip and first 50K ultra, and “my year of 55” will be celebrated in the same spirit.

First 50K at 50. How to top that at 55? We shall see!

First 50K at 50. How to top that at 55? We shall see!

Like how? In addition to my first Boston Marathon, I’ve got some off-the-wall things on the calendar:

  • An ultra in the snow (likely) in January;
  • A 100-mile race that takes place entirely in New York City;
  • A 50K in the Nevada desert in August (at the Burning Man festival)
  • A special bike event in Portland this summer (details later)

As well as more Aikido, bike rides, and strength workouts at Body Specs. Skip just sent me an email promising a “special birthday workout”. I can hardly wait for Monday. Yeah.

And there will be more of the “Zero Waste” sustainable events work I’ve done this year with RF Events. We achieved some amazing results this year! In fact, I’m about to launch a new website dedicated to that topic. I’ll let you know when it goes live.

And, of course, this blog will continue. I hope to keep it going as long as I have stories to tell, And I also hope you’ll continue to read enjoy them! Hearing from readers is always heartwarming. You rock!

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Twin Peaks

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my little bro and sister! Today they reached a certain milestone that I passed a couple of years ago. For the sake of propriety I won’t mention what it is, but anyone who remembers the original name of this blog (*) has a clue.

Why yes, they are my siblings. I've been told I look just like my brother.

Why, yes, they are my siblings. And I’ve been told I look just like my brother.

So as my brother and sister are twins, in honor of them the rest of this post will cover stuff in sets of two. So here are some highlights from the other two running events I had the previous week.

We’ll start off with the 41st Dexter-Ann Arbor run, where, by some odd circumstance, I found myself with two racing bibs. I must have been so eager to run it, I signed up twice. Or I have an evil twin somewhere. (And if I stole your bib, whoever you may be, I’m sorry. Really sorry. I mean that.)

Man, was it ever a beautiful day. As for my performance in the half marathon – it was a beautiful day. Learning from last year’s race, I prepared much more carefully, stayed hydrated, sucked down the Gu on schedule – and still finished a minute behind last year’s time. I overheated in the second half (it was pretty warm out there) and decided that a new PR wasn’t worth heatstroke. This time, anyway. So in place of a glowing race report, here are a few photos.

Look at that form!

Look at that form!

She looks all ready for something. I'm just not sure what.

She looks all ready for something. I’m just not sure what.

Got a double shirt shot here. Not sure which one is funnier.

Got a double shirt shot here. Not sure which one is funnier.

Michael, me, and Aaron. Have you ever seen a more handsome group of guys? (I mean behind us.)

PR Fitness bros: Michael, me, and Aaron. Have you ever seen a more handsome group of guys? (I mean behind us.)

The other event was the Wednesday evening shindig at the property of Running Fit owner Randy Step. Consisting of a 10K run on dirt roads followed by beer and pizza, it promised to be a fun, low-key event.

Until they brought the clock out.

Wait a minute. A timed 10K? With prizes? My inner greyhound began to stir. Or maybe it was the grey in my hair. Whatever the cause, I felt surprisingly good after the first couple of miles and opened it up, finishing third and getting a surplus Ann Arbor Marathon pint glass for my effort. Since I don’t have a photo of my triumphant charge to the finish, here are a few others.

The Head Goat himself leads us out.

The Head Goat himself leads us out.

Rocker Lemon James (in the green print) streaks to the finish. (Hmm...maybe not the right word.)

Rocker Lemon James (in green print) at the finish. (See her at Run Woodstock, or check out her gigs on her website.)

You have to cross a swamp to get to the beer. But the real trick is walking back in the dark, after the beer.

You have to cross a swamp to get to the beer. (But the real trick is walking back in the dark, after that beer.)

Amazing what some people will wear, isn't it.

Amazing what some people will wear, isn’t it.

Next up: Saturday’s “Uncle Sam Slam” 5K + 10K (yep, two races) at the Canton Liberty Festival. Then my first triathlon next Wednesday. Enough twos – on to the threes!

======================

(*) Fitnessat50.net. Okay, no more clues.

My Great Desserts, and Internet Creep Gets His Just Desserts

Birthday e-card from my mom. Pretty cool!

Yep, Tuesday was my birthday, and I enjoyed a nice quiet dinner with my wife and daughter at The Quarter Bistro, one of my favorite restaurants. All the food is good there, but it’s renowned, in our family anyway, for its incredibly rich desserts. I prepared for the event with a vigorous session at Body Specs followed by sets of pushups totaling my new age. That, and by not eating (much) chocolate beforehand.

Birthday dessert 1The Black Forest cake was the consensus winner. My wife’s lava cake was too dark for her, so daughter and I stepped up to the plate, as it were. I topped it off with a tall and smooth cappuccino. All in all, a very nice day, with the minor inconvenience of having to spend much of it at work.

Another pleasant surprise was the number of birthday messages on my Facebook page. I don’t use Facebook for much other than forwarding blog posts, but I still got some very nice wishes from family and friends, including Aikido classmates and several folks I know from the Ann Arbor Writers Group. Thank you so much, everyone!  I am really blessed to know you all.

And in the “just desserts” department: while I was looking up “how to thank everyone for Facebook birthday wishes” I came upon this incredible story on the same site, in which the king of revenge porn, after screwing up the lives of lots of people, finally meets his match and gets shut down, hopefully for good.

One Woman’s Dangerous War Against the Most Hated Man on the Internet

Hunter Moore, scumbag extraordinaire.

Hunter Moore, scumbag extraordinaire.

Basically, revenge porn is sexually explicit material (mostly topless or nude women) that is posted online ostensibly as “revenge” for a romance gone wrong. But the genre includes material stolen by hackers from computers or phones. Worse still, personal information is often posted with the photos, such as email addresses, phone numbers, and place of employment, leaving victims vulnerable to job loss, humiliation, and even threats from the sick devotees who patronize this crap.

But when a seminude photo of Charlotte Laws’s daughter got hacked and wound up on an infamous revenge porn site, Charlotte struck back. Her resulting fight to get the image off the Internet involved lawyers, the FBI, and the rogue hacker group Anonymous, who served as “white knight” in this case at least.

While I’m glad this guy got stopped, there’s still a lot more of this kind of stuff out there. So protect your personal information and your photos! The Shields Up! tests at Gibson Research will perform free security checks on your computer. Try it. My guess is your information is not as secure as you may think.

This result means you could be vulnerable to hacking. Get secure!

This result means you could be vulnerable to hacking. Get secure!

I leave you for now with this thought: “Desserts” is the reverse of “stressed”. Stay relaxed!

Celebrating the New, and the Longstanding

I JUST GOT SOME EXCITING NEWS from my recently departed Aikido instructor, who has settled into his new place in Middlebury, Vermont. Today I got an invitation to visit the new Aikido Yoshokai Vermont Facebook page. Classes begin in September!

Our new Vermont dojo sensei (center) at a black belt test demonstration.

Our new Vermont dojo sensei (center) at a black belt test demonstration.

(By the way, if you visit that page, the current main photo is from our Rec & Ed class. The new Vermont dojo sensei is second from right, and our new Rec & Ed instructor is leftmost. Yours truly is second from left.)

Another recent milestone occurred last Sunday, as mother celebrated her 80th birthday. It also happened to be Bastille Day, another excellent reason to sit around and eat stuff. Vive La France et passe le chocolat!

My mom, her three kids, and my wife (the awesome cake maker).

My mom, her three kids, and my wife (the awesome cake maker).

Naturally, I wanted to suggest we all go for a refreshing five-mile run, followed by dinner at a nice vegetarian place with lots of nutrient dense organic goodies, with yummy carob tofu pudding for dessert. (Those of you who want to believe that, please stop reading here.) So after stuffing our faces at our favorite Middle Eastern place, we repaired to our house for cake and ice cream.

This most definitely does not show up in any "10 Healthiest Foods for Runners" list. Tough rocks.

This most definitely does not show up in any “10 Healthiest Foods for Runners” list. Tough rocks.

This plain yellow cake with a thick, fudgy dark chocolate frosting is her favorite cake and was also my favorite cake growing up. The frosting is made with lots of butter and confectioner’s sugar, and leftover frosting can be eaten by itself as fudge. It gets laid on thick so we can eat the cake layers first and leave the frosting standing by itself. Can’t beat it.

 

Now I can’t say that Mom is the same kind of exercise nut that her son might be, but she does get around.

"It's the little old lady from Pasadena Dexter Township"

“It’s the little old lady from Pasadena Dexter Township!”

Thanks again, Mom, for bringing me into the world, and for not taking me out those times I most assuredly deserved it.