Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Looking for Donors, Two Product Reviews, and the Merrill Lynch 10K

Today's addition to the Fred's Team Honor Roll is


bringing the total going to the Aubrey Fund to


There's a ways to go before November 2, but I'd love to get a big chunk of money for the Fund now. It would be great to go into training knowing that I had your support, and even better, it would be a boon for Liam Witt, the incredible little guy I'm running for this year (see my previous post for more information.)

Won't you sponsor my NYC Marathon run and give more children like Liam a fighting chance at a normal life? Please click here, or my Fred's Team link at the side and bottom of the page.

I recently contacted Saucony, my shoe of choice, for sponsorship. I haven't heard back yet. I'm hoping for a $10,000 donation from them; it's what I asked for, along with enough shoes to get me through training. I may be a little delusional in hoping they'll read my humble story and help me out. But you never know. I would really love for a corporation or a business or just some nice rich person to give me a major donation for the Fund in Liam's honor. Not that I would stop fundraising, you'll all still get the entreaties, but it would just be so great for Liam and the Fund, and a real boost for the Team. Hint hint. I'd be happy to shill for whatever product you sell, or whatever business you may be in, and I can tell you from knowing so many people who have been helped at MSKCC and from visiting the pediatric ward there, it's an amazing feeling to know that you are playing a part in MSKCC's many success stories.

Okay, onto the running portion of the show! Two product reviews for you, and the Merrill Lynch Bull Run 10K.

First off, the battery replacement kit. In addition to a sexy new Nano, I also have a 30gig iPod Photo (the one they made just before the first Nano came out.) That warhorse has seen me through a lot of traveling. Well, it's almost 5 years old, maybe more, and it wasn't holding a charge as long as it should. So instead of sending it to Apple for a replacement battery, which would have cost Lordy knows how much, I spent $35 for the ipodjuice kit and did it myself. The instructions were very clear, and I will agree with ipodjuice's statement that the hardest and most frustrating part of the whole thing is opening the iPod. But once that was done, it was a fairly straightforward operation, and the whole thing took maybe 30 minutes (20 of those being opening the iPod.) The iPod works great, and it's really holding a charge. Plus they'll take your old battery back and dispose it properly. Thumbs up! If you're remotely handy and need a new iPod battery, check the site out.

Second, since you have all heard me complain bitterly about my hatred of humidity, I decided to invest a little $$ in some BluBandoo products. BluBandoo makes "cooling headwear and accessories." As I need all the help I can get, I ordered a hat (which came with a neckband) and a doo-rag. What makes their products different is that in the bands, there are what feel like granules. When you soak the bands, the granules swell up and it forms a kind of gel. The gel retains water and "coolness" and stays that way for hours. I tried the neckband out just sitting in the theater and I will admit, it felt really good. I have yet to try it in action, mostly because it's in the car and I keep forgetting to take it out and use it. I've been wearing the doo-rag for my last two runs and I'm not as satisfied with it. Maybe it's because the headband is dark-colored, or maybe because it covers my whole head and the material isn't very breathable, or maybe because I don't need the cooling point to be at my forehead (or all three,) but it doesn't cool me the way I think it ought to. I haven't tried the cap yet, but it's white and mesh, so I have high hopes for it. So I will give BluBandoo a thumbs-up, but not for the doo-rag, although it is black and red flames and does look good.

Lastly, the Merrill Lynch 10k. This was a 5k/10k /walk put on by the Boca Raton Road Runners. The pamphlet said to be at Spanish River Park between 5:30 and 6:30am to pick up race numbers and chips for a 7am start. My friend Sean decided to join me, so at about 6am I pulled up into the park and got my stuff. They put their timing chips on ankle straps and give you the whole gizmo, very civilized and nice! I started stretching at a picnic bench, and at 6:30 they started announcing that the race was starting at 7:15. Huh? The guy next to me asked what was up. Apparently their race promotions listed three different start times: 7, 7:15 and 7:30. So 7:15 was the compromise. Great. So Sean and I settled in for the long haul, when what do my eyes spot but a familiar orange-and-purple jersey. A Fred's Teamer! Here! I ran over to him, he was a nice guy named Gabe who used to live up North but was now a South Florida resident. He ran with the Team in 2006, which was my first year. Cool! I didn't wear my Team shirt -- I only have the singlet down here, and I got a little sunburned on my shoulders a few days beforehand, so I wore a shirt with sleeves.

After three trips to the loo (what else did you expect?) they called us to A1A for the line-up. It was a relatively small race, less than 600 between the 5k and the 10k. They sang the National Anthem, and then they said, "Two minute warning." Huh? Still delaying, very annoying. At about 7:20, the gun. This was the first race I've run where they don't time the start, just the end. It wasn't that big a deal for this race, but I prefer a start and end mat.

The route took us down A1A, one of the most scenic roads in the area, from Spanish River down past Red Reef golf course, at which point we turned into a development, one of those Golf and Country Club places. The 5k people turned around just inside the entrance and headed back, the rest of us kept going. I'm a fan of running through developments, especially rich ones; I love looking at nice houses and fantasizing about owning them. But to have a gated community road as part of a race course seemed a little strange to me. Maybe I'm used to Central Park, where you don't deal with that so much. We ran through the development, a very twisty and windy road that led to a cul-de-sac and a turnaround.

I was a bit nervous at the start of the race, with my hydration and humidity issues still somewhat unresolved, but I was feeling really good for the majority of the race. There were four water stops for the 10k, which would have been fine for a 7am start, but as we started late, it started getting hot around 8am and I could've used some Gatorade or maybe one more stop. I walked all the stations and drank every drop of water, but by mile 5 I was starting to feel a little queasy. I was keeping track of the miles with my stopwatch and the kilometers with the Nike+, although I could tell that it was off when it marked the halfway point a good three minutes before I arrived there. I was maintaining a negative split pace (from an 8:50 first mile to an 8:30 fifth.) By mile 6 I was ready to hurl, not from speed but from dehydration. I saw Sean at the finish line and knew that if I hurled in front of him, I'd never hear the end of it. So I sucked it up -- literally -- and gave it a final sprint.

10k in 53:18 according to the chip, 53:11 by my watch. About an 8:36 per mile pace, which is where I want to be right now in my conditioning. When we start Team training I'll be ready for hard work, but with lots of room for improvement.

The Boca RRC semed really nice, they had a pancake breakfast laid out in the park, plus bagels, cookies and lots of water and Powerade. If I'm down here again, I'll try to hook up with them. My times don't mesh with theirs too well, but maybe they'll be doing some long runs in the early AM on a weekend that I can tag along.

Finally, guess what's STILL on Military Trail?

More anon!

No comments: