Thursday, November 19, 2009

Necrotizing pneumonia

The table was set for a long "run" this morning. After reading the paper, with special attention to the sports section, I headed up to 57th at about 7:30am. Now since this blog's readership has undoubtedly spread to international territories, I have to describe the scene. There are thick, dark clouds overhead dropping copious amounts of freezing rain and snow. A brisk steady wind is blowing from the south. Cars travelling on 57th all have their headlights on. There are small pools of water on the street, and so there's the occasional spray of cold water onto the clydesdale who should know better than to be outside in these conditions. My first thought, even before getting to Weldon's Barber Shop, was to turn around and go home. Simply put, the only result that can come from this "run" would be a raging case of necrotizing pneumonia. Soon, the freezing rain turned to pure snow. A typical thoroughbred would have gone down to the local workout club and ran on a treadmill. And that was probably the smart thing to do. I kept "running" and was able to get in a total of 15 miles under these conditions. The whole process took about 3 hours. The pledges and checks for Brian's Legacy have served as motivation, and will continue to be a motivation. So thank you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Phones are jammed

The phone has been literally ringing off the hook! The pictures from the photo shoot have turned out even better than expected. As you know, Clydesdale photography is highly specialized, with very few willing and able to tackle such a task. And to no one's surprise, there are also very few sites in the world that will develop clydesdale film or download clydesdale digital pictures. Fortunately our photographer had an "in" with a small company in Turkey, adjacent to the Euphrates River, that was able to get the job done.

The race is now only two weeks from Sunday. I can honestly say that I have spent many, many mornings out on the street or at the track, and hope that the effort pays off. I haven't completed a final long "run", but there is still a little time left for that. I have my fingers crossed for that to happen on either Thursday (tomorrow) or Sunday. There's also a little obstacle called snow in the forecast.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Amazing Race

Last weekend was not a good training weekend, but we were able to go to a couple of football games in Texas. While there, I went forward to age 54 on Halloween but then was able to fall backwards an hour when we converted to standard time. We had a fantastic time - I highly recommend the Riverwalk in San Antonio. We did many things in the 65 hours that we were gone, and the entire experience felt more like the Amazing Race. One thing I can say for sure is that the fans at Qwest Field in Seattle are much more loud than the Dallas fans, and the Dallas stadium holds over 100,000 people.

I spent the last three mornings at the track, "running" five miles each time. The race is only three weeks from Sunday, so Saturday's "run" will be very important.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Although I'm on-call this weekend, my hope is to get in a long run. I don't even care about the weather - it's about getting enough time. My Tuesday and Thursday runs have been going quite well. The five mile loops are done in 53-55 minutes. So I'll check in again soon and hopefully have something good to report. The race is five weeks from tomorrow!

For those of you that are willing to contribute to Brian's Legacy, fundraising starts during the first week of November. Thank you in advance for your generosity!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Half Way Point

If my calculations are correct, the race is six weeks from tomorrow. So far, the longest distance "ran" is 14 miles; the fastest time on the five-mile loop is 53 minutes; 20 pounds of excess weight shed; current category: clydesdale. There have been a few bumps along the way, but all things considered, it seems like it is going pretty well. I have high hopes for the next two weeks as we close out October and get into the home stretch.

The pictures from the photo shoot are still in development. Believe me, I'm as anxious as you are. How was the lighting? Was the outfit color-coordinated properly given the angle of the morning sun. Lots of questions that are soon to be answered. Thankfully, the film has been insured.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Pretty good week

After the high of the photo shoot on Monday, I "ran" another 5 mile route later in the week, and I am proud to report a new personal best on that route: 55 minutes! That's two minutes less than the previous best. And then this morning: 14 miles and it took about three hours. In spite of the soreness, I am feeling pretty good about this right now.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Photo Shoot

Due to an overwhelming request for some action pictures, I contacted a local respected businessperson who recommended I call this one photography company. On the phone, the photography service sounded nice and professional, eager to offer references if necessary. So I answered a few of their questions on the telephone, and we agreed to meet on the corner of 57th and Freya for the "shoot" on Monday. I wasn't sure what to expect, and was admittedly nervous over the weekend in anticipation of Monday. I spent a little time on Saturday reading about photography terms, such as film speed, shutter speed, F-stop (referred to as Q-Stop by the Memphis ducks), camera, aperture, etc. Finally, I came to the conclusion that these are professionals and they know what they are doing.

After a night of tossing and turning, Monday morning finally arrived. I had set out a color-coordinated outfit the evening before, and, after a bowl of fruit and 4 ibuprofens, drove to the prearranged site, arriving promptly at 7:25am. Standing on the sidewalk looking up and down 57th, little did we know what was about to transpire. Off in the distance, about parallel to Luna's, I could see a dark blue semi truck headed east towards me. As it drew closer, the metallic blue and shiny chrome of the truck was nearly blinding in the morning sunlight. The trailer was nearly a half a block long, as it came to rest near the southwest corner of Freya. The first person to exit the truck was wearing a dark brown jumpsuit, steel-toed boots, and a hard hat. He placed orange cones around the front, back, and sides of the semi in order to alert other drivers in the area. Without saying a word, he then carried across the street a folded director's chair and placed it on the street near the sidewalk. Next, he walked over to open the truck's passenger side door to allow two other men out of the truck. The first of the two walked with a brisk gait, as if in a hurry. He was wearing dark slacks, and a buttoned long-sleeve shirt with the sleeves rolled up to the elbow, and was somewhat thin and wirey. He carried a clipboard, and had a pencil resting on top of his right earlobe. He reviewed some of the waivers and legal vernacular associated with the shoot. He said there is no warranty on their work and I would be responsible for any broken equipment. The next person to then get out of the truck was presumably the director. He was somewhat short in stature, and was wearing a French hat, or beret. He quickly sat in his directors chair as he reviewed the agenda with the clipboard guy. The director snapped his fingers twice, signalling the need for additional equipment from the hard had guy. Out from the back of the semi comes a four-wheeled vehicle that is about the size of a Volkswagon bus, only with a second layer placed on the top of the vehicle that contained a chair and some photography equipment. The top layer was able to rotate, so that the wheels were pointed east and west while the chair and photography equipment can be facing in any direction. The hard hat guy situated the photomobile adjacent to the sidewalk, with the chair facing north and wheels headed west. Another person exited the truck, wearing Oakley sunglasses, jeans, and a white T-shirt. He climbed into the photomobile and stepped up the stairs to take his place in the photographer's chair.

The producer said that he generally doesn't photograph clydesdales but that he was doing a favor for someone. He was now ready for me to take my place at the beginning of the sidewalk. The producer lit a cigarette that was connected to a deep brown porcelain or meerschaum cigarette holder, and said that he wanted to get this overwith quickly. My job was to simply "run" due west on the sidewalk. The clipboard guy yells "Places everyone!" and then the producer said "And......Action!". So I start "running" and I tell myself to just put one leg in front of the other. I was nervous, to say the least. Moments later, someone yells "CUT!". The photomobile guy gets out of his chair and walks back to the producer to complain that the "runner" cannot keep up with the photomobile, even on its lowest velocity setting, and could we somehow get him to run a little faster. So I said I would try to "run" a little faster. "Places everyone" was shouted, followed by "And.....Action!" Now this time it seemed to be going pretty well, and was even able to keep up with the photomobile for a short while. The producer then yelled "CUT!" and I looked back to see the clipboard guy trying to console the producer. "We need different lighting!" yells the producer. Now even amateur photographers know that clydesdale pictures can be very tricky if the lighting isn't just right - clydesdales cast a very large shadow, and if the lighting isn't correct, the shadow can become the predominant feature in the picture rather than the person or object. So jumpsuit guy runs over to the truck and hauls out four huge umbrellas. Clipboard guy says "Places everyone" and producer yells "Take three" and I begin to "run". Fortunately I am able to report that these pictures look like they will turn out, and we will be able to post them on the blog within the next week or two.

While the shoot is happening, traffic is backed up in both directions on 57th. Eastbound traffic is backed up to Perry and westbound traffic is backed up clear up and over Brown's Mountain and half way up Tower Mountain. Folks were straining their necks to see what the holdup was, and a news crew was hovering overhead in a chopper. I was able to see the semi-truck up close before the production crew left, and noted that the truck was a Kenworth, and the living quarters were designed and engineered by none other than Mark Shoaf, a WSU College of Engineering graduate. Then I knew for sure that I was dealing with a high class group.

The crew climbed into the truck and left heading east, taking a left on the Palouse Highway. I'm anxious to see the pictures and post them on the blog.

I am also happy to report, in all seriousness, that I was able to do 10 miles at the track on Saturday and five miles over 57 minutes this morning. Not too bad for 9/28/09.