Monday, May 16, 2011

Nugget #33

And now the rest of the Dribble Kabibbles

More Running Dribble Kabibbles
By Bill Donnelly

Running with the Dogs

            I have to admit, I was pretty pleased with my Boston Marathon this year.  My chip time of was almost exactly one hour slower that my PR, run almost exactly 30 years before at the 1975 Boston Marathon.  As someone at work told me, I had aged two minutes per year.  I’ll take it, especially after the dismal times I ran at my last three Bostons.  I’m here to tell you, my secret was in the training, which is similar to Jeff Galloway’s method in that it involves a lot of walking.  Different from Galloway in that it involves very little running.
            My special training started when I began working for the company that provides Natural Gas for the area.  It shall remain nameless, but its name rhymes with Irrational Fool.  Anyway, I began reading meters for them last year in April, and I usually walk anywhere from ten to fifteen miles a day.  I do my regular running workouts, but my main training is the walking.  Now, walking by itself will not get you in top racing shape, you must also work on getting your heart rate up, and a lot of bursts of speed.  And that’s where the dogs come in.
            You see, I meet so many dogs all day long.  All kinds of dogs, big ones, small ones, friendly ones, mean ones, cute ones, and ugly ones (I once met one so ugly I thought it was a donkey, but I found out it was a monkey working for FEMA).  Most times I know they are there because the hand-held computers we carry to punch in the numbers on warn us if the next stop has a dog.  Problem is, it beeps at us when we are halfway across the lawn of the next stop, and the beeping is a very high pitch that humans can hardly hear, but which seems to do a good job of irritating the heck out of the dog sleeping under the bush.  The hand-held will usually say something like “mean dog – inside invisible fence so it’s ok” but meanwhile, I’m inside the invisible fence too, with an irritated “mean dog” coming at me. 
            This is the sudden burst of speed part of my training method.  Many of these each day.  Often the dog is inside a fence of the next house after the one where you are bending down at to read the meter, so you haven’t been warned of a dog yet.  Just as you are calmly punching in the reading, a seemingly rabid dog is leaping the height of the fence right next to you with blood-curdling growls that would scare the ugly off the director of FEMA.  This is the part where the heart rate gets going.  I’m here to tell you my training method works.  Of course all the weight I lost walking helped me too.
            The big downsize to my training method would be dog bites.  If you do not like dog bites, this method would not be for you.  I have been through two episodes of bites.  The first was more annoying than anything.  Away back last year, a little old lady couldn’t catch her two little yappers, so she said to come on in, they would be fine.  By the time I got to the basement door, I was wearing one on my calf like some strange piercing, and I’m shaking my leg and the thing is still yapping while hanging on for dear life.  Not much of a bite, but I don’t even like needles, and I had to go get a tetanus shot, since I had carefully avoided getting one for, oh, 25 years.  Did I mention I don’t like needles?
            My next K-9 biting episode happened about a month ago.  On a steamy hot morning, I entered a yard to head for the back door of the house.  My hand-held did not warn me of a dog, nor did the wooden fence say anything about a dog, and the hand-held indicated I should go to the back door to gain access to the house.  Just as I reached the back door, a huge set of teeth attached to a blood-curdling growl latched onto my arm before I could react.  I started swinging my hand-held at the teeth (I really have no Idea what kind of dog it was, all I saw was snarling teeth) and used a chair to keep the teeth at bay until I could get out of the yard.  It wasn’t till I got out that I realized the teeth had gotten me pretty good, and blood was gushing out of my arm.
            I wrapped it and headed for the medical center.  Being a dog bite, they were reluctant to put stitches in, but the wound was deep enough they put in a few loose stitches.  NOT NEEDLES!  Yeah, they numbed it first, but that took a bigger needle than the one they put the stitches in with.  So there you have the downsize of my training method.  It’s a method that works better than Galloway’s, just skip the dog bites.  Oh yeah, try to stay away from monkeys and donkeys also.

Pet Peeves

            Speaking of Jeff Galloway, just a short Dribble Kabbible to tell of one of my pet peeves.  Not the Peeve I had as a kid.  That Peeve was a type of monkey (actually called Peeves because they peed a lot) that had a bad disposition, was constipated, and looked like a donkey, but I managed to sell it to some unsuspecting sucker.  No, this pet peeve concerns Jeff Galloway and part of his running advice.
            Galloway used to coach pretty good runners.  My brother Tom, better known as “Bill Donnelly’s slow little brother”, was training directly under Galloway back in 1989.  He had Tom and a couple other runners actually training quite hard.  They built up to doing 13 one mile repeats at about a 5:30 pace, and their long runs got to be up to 30 miles, while going through 26 at a 2:56 pace.  If Tom was ever set to break for a marathon, this was his time.
            I came to Buffalo to watch him attempt it at the Buffalo Marathon help the first weekend in May of that year.  Unfortunately for Tom and the others, Buffalo woke up to about six inches of wet, sloppy snow.  Starting off in that, the runners kicked up that snow onto their legs, and very few were happy with their times.  Tom’s legs tightened up so much he dropped out shortly after the halfway mark. 
            Since then, Galloway has dumbed-down his training method.  Now he aims at the greater masses of runners by preaching a method of running where you run ten minutes and then walk one minute.  You do this all the way, for long training runs and long races.  In marathons he suggests you do your walking at the water stops, and this is where I get annoyed with his method.
            I do not care if people use his method or not.  It works for some, and not for others.  What Galloway apparently didn’t think to tell the runners is to use common sense and common courtesy when stopping for water.  In any of the big marathons like Boston, Chicago, New York, or whatever, it’s a madhouse at the water stops anyway.  To have many of the people stopping right in front of you as you are reaching for water is so annoying and dangerous.  I grab water and then get behind those giving it out so I can stop to quickly drink it without choking on it.  You have to keep moving or get out of the way, and so many Peeves do not seem to understand this.  There, it’s off my chest, and now I feel better, until it happens to me again.  Then I will politely say to whoever stops in front of me “You are such a Donkey!”  But I won’t mean it as a term of endearment like some would.  


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