living in the now

Still rambling about running. Sometimes other things.

Filtering by Tag: Observations

Sorry bird

"Duke, look at that bird." The only problem is, Duke didn't see the bird and that bird wasn't flying away. And then he stepped on it. Twice.

The bird flapped around and chirped, and then two birds came out of nowhere and sent us on our merry way.

It's not much to this story, but it was story I had to tell. And the baby bird was OK, I think. He hopped back up and appeared to recover. We didn't stick around too long though -- mommy bird wasn't too happy.

Noticing the little things

Growing up in a small town, it's easy to know every little detail about places and things. There's a story to be told about every building and place. But growing up in the small town of Bedford, Va., I never ran on the streets. I rode my bike occasionally, but I rarely spent much time up close to certain areas. If you're familiar with Bedford, anyone can tell you about Vista Foods, which still is around; the Kroger that is now home to the Bedford Bulletin; Citty Ford, which is now Franks Pizza and yes Citty is spelled correctly; Rubatex, where my grandmother and many others from that generation worked, but it now looks like a ghost town; and the McDonald's that closed in the 1980s. Then there are the churches.

I thought I knew about all the churches within Bedford's "city" limits. That is, until last night's 10-miler (the fourth 10-miler in four weeks). My friend and I (and Duke) were running up Court Street -- a fairly big hill that is pretty much just that. A street that's a big hill next to the big Courthouse downtown near the museum. But going up the hill I noticed Court Street United Methodist Church. It was just a small gray building with little fanfare, only a tenth of a mile (if that) from the church I grew up in -- Main Street United Methodist Church.

I told my friend, "I grew up here and I've spent a lot of my 31 years traveling these roads, but I never knew there was a church right there."

It's funny how we rely on the Internet for quick information, but trying to find information about this church isn't easily found on Google. Click here to see what I found after several different searches trying to find the church. It's obviously not on Court Street anymore. It's just a small church doing its own thing, like many small churches in this area. They don't appear to have a website, nor do they probably need one. I bet the church isn't on Facebook either.

The point with this is that with running it's so awesome to find little things that you didn't know about before. From businesses to little side streets to houses you didn't know existed to historical markers to churches, every community is full of things we don't know are out there. If you think you really  know about your community, think again. Next time you're on a run (or a walk or a bike ride or in the passenger seat), look around you. Is there something there you didn't know existed?

With a month to go ... plus a rare rant

One month from tomorrow is the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon. You know, that race I'm training for? I haven't really mentioned it too much. I'm not sure why though. Maybe it's because last year was such a disaster with the heat and was easily one of the worst race experiences I've ever had. With a month to go, I'm feeling pretty good about where I am with my training, but I know it'll still be a relatively slow race for me. My goals for this race are pretty much dependent on the weather. I learned that lesson last year. This year, though, I don't want to be happy just finishing. I don't want to be forced to walk like I did several times last year. But if it's hot again, I can't really rule that out. With Labor Day this year on the last day it could possibly be, this race is essentially a week later than it was last year, which could make a huge difference with the weather. Labor Day weekend is usually crazy hot or the first relief from the summer heat, which I'm hoping for.

My ultimate goal in the next year or so is to break my half marathon PR, which is 1:44:23 in the frigid Shamrock Half Marathon in 2007. This isn't the race to do that. The nice thing is last year was so bad time wise that it'll be easy for me to break the forgettable 2:06:03. If it's nice weather -- meaning low humidity and temperatures in the morning in the upper 60s -- I'd like to be around 1:50. If it's hot and humid, I'll shoot for beating 2 hours. Once race day gets closer I'll adjust those goals as necessary.

* * *

Looking ahead a bit to 2010 (which is just really weird to write), I am all but sure I will not do this race again. I am unimpressed with the promotions offered to people who didn't sign up early to save money. Just check out the Web site right now and see the "Register on the 9th and Reap the Rewards" offer coming up in a few days. The first 50 people to register that day get a "sponsor gift" -- new shoes to the first 20, a nice gift card to P.F. Chang's. While I did "save" money by signing up early, where were the sponsors then to get people to sign up? This coming from a race that has never had an issue with filling up.

I know the economy is bad and this offer may be a direct reflection of that, but it is not a good move at all. Not for the Rock 'n' Roll group and not for the sponsors. I'm not a big fan of New Balance anyway, but a chance at a free pair of shoes would've been nice back whenever I signed up for this race. And a gift card to P.F. Chang's likely would have led to my first visit ever to that restaurant.

This isn't the only reason I will probably not do this race next year, but it did kind of send me over the edge in the past couple of weeks. Responses to them on Twitter and Facebook did generate some personal responses, but in the end they were very generic and basically told people to read the small print to still enter to win the promotional items -- "with all promotions it states in the official rules that anyone can register for a promotion by sending in their name and contact information on an index card by the last day of the promotion." I'm sorry, but after I've signed up for a race, I don't read that fine print on promotions that don't apply to me.

Sorry for my rant, but I had to get it out of me.