Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Formal Training, Day 1

My shins and ankles felt tight towards the end, but I got 1.6 miles done in today's group run. I'm in the second slowest group, but I don't care. I couldn't run it the entire way around, as I had to slow down to walk a few times. At the .8 mile mark, we could stop if we wanted, but I was here to do 1.6 miles no matter what. I did. I haven't run that far in a very long time. I'm nowhere near the times I used to get in the Air Force (I timed myself, even though I was in during that stupid bike test/ oxygen check era) but I got around. I completed 1.6 miles without a single wheeze, just a lot of phlegm. I can handle phlegm. No wheezing, though. I think my body is finally repairing itself from the years I smoked all those menthols.

I am not as out of shape as I thought, but I am nowhere as in shape as I should be. Training for Abe's Amble is going to change that. Next week, I'm going to do great, and do better than I did today.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

Sometimes our men and women in uniform can't express their opinions in public. This isn't because we love censorship, but if you're in uniform and well-meaning and community-minded journalist asks you about something political, they might wind up (though I'd never say it was out of laziness or due to bad editing) using your comments as the "official opinion" of your service or any other part of the Department of Defense. Trust me, you know when you've been given the official opinion of the DoD or your service, as those come down from your Chiefs of Staff, service Secretaries, the Secretary of Defense or President.

So, what's a serviceman going to do when he's got to get something off of his chest? Well, he can blog it, or if he's of an artistic bent, he'll grab a artist's pad and stylus and make webcomics.

The best place to start for these is Armed Forces Comics. I have a special place in my heart for Air Force Blues and The Crew Dogs having been a witness to many junior officer shenanigans during my time as a flightline avionics specialist. Some civilians won't get it. Some might even be offended. This is part of the military life: complaining. Your worst enemy during peacetime is boredom. Your worst enemy in times of war is the guy trying to kill you at that moment. Regardless, there's going to be something to complain about when you get back from your day's mission. These artists can at least take the complaints and make light of them, making a lousy situation a little better.

So, if you've got nothing to do today once the parades and memorial ceremonies are over, go click on that link and work your way down the list. Hit the archives on each page, too. There's some truly funny stuff in there that lets you know how well the American serviceman can adapt and make the best of lousy situations.

Happy Memorial Day to you all.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Abe's Army Meeting

I attended the orientation meeting for Abe's Army, the first-time runners who are going to be training for a 10K run. The meeting was actually way more informative than I expected. I had expected everything to be simple "Here's where we meet, don't forget to stretch, and try not to die on the first night" speeches. I got a lot of good information on how to properly stretch, why carbohydrates are a good thing, and even got to see that the training was going to be provided for smaller groups than I expected. The biggest challenge doesn't seem to be mastering the run, it's getting the proper mindset. I can't wait to start next week. One of the things we got in the starter kit was a running log. Between that and this blog, I should have a good record for other couch potatoes who want to become former couch potatoes. I'll probably be spending this week and this weekend getting some last-minute informal training in. Whee, fun.

Another option given to us is racewalking. I never knew about this style of footrace, and after seeing what it can do for you, I may switch to that in a few years. Right now, though, my goal is to run Abe's Amble. I can walk it later.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Well, I took this week off. I didn't go shooting tonight as I didn't feel like fighting the rush hour traffic in the rain. I didn't run, either, due to sheer laziness. Next week is the first meeting for Abe's Army, a large group of people training to run in Abe's Amble. I'll be getting in plenty of running very very soon. I'm excited. I won't have the speed I used to have, but then again, I'm much heavier now. Hopefully this will reverse some of that problem. Until next week, though, I'm going to take it easy.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Bowling Night Report - 5/9/08

This is my 500th post in almost 4 and a half years. That's not exactly what I'd call stellar performance. Regardless, it's time for a shooting report. Tonight's stage was 17 shots, so it was a bit tougher on the shooters who used Model 1911 handguns. Those usually only carry seven or eight shots per magazine in the single-stack format. Fortunately for me, I use an XD-40 and get twelve shots per magazine. Timing your reload is always important as having to release the slide stop on your pistol can slow you down. My first run was excellent. I had a decent time and lots of high-scoring hits. My second run was a mess; I got sloppy in my aim and wound up scoring worse, including missing a shot on a target.

The stage was a good example of counting your shots and doing a tactical reload. For newer shooters out there, a tactical reload is when you change magazines before the current one is completely emptied. Normally in IPSC you'll drop your magazine since it's as much a game as a shooting discipline, but other shooting groups may have you retain your magazine in case you need the remaining shots. I may try that and see how well I do next time. I know I could use the ammo on some stages. Tonight though, I did pretty well.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Informal Training for the Run Day 6

Okay, I know I don't have this down right, as I'm not training on a regular basis. So, instead of running to failure (basically run until it hurts to keep running) I'm going to try a new tack instead so I can run without 4 to 5 day gaps in between runs. What I'll do instead is walk for 5 minutes then run for 15 minutes a day, regardless of distance covered. I think with the 20-minute run on a daily basis I'll do better. So, hopefully tomorrow will be as good of a run as today.

Friday, May 02, 2008

No, I didn't go shooting or running last night. I went instead to the SIU-Carbondale Saluki Caravan. It was a chance to hear from the football and basketball coaches about their recruiting endeavors, mingle with fellow Carbondale graduates, and basically pack a downtown bar with alumni who are all looking for one networking opportunity after another. I also got to see an old classmate who's working with the Alumni Association.

For the football season, the Salukis have a new coach, Dale Lennon. He's a former Division II NCAA football coach from North Dakota State, and they tended to do very well in their division. Division I-A isn't a prestigious division, but it is competitive when you've got teams like SIU, Northern Iowa and Delaware. It's good football. Also, there's a chance (improbable, but not impossible) that someday you could see a Harvard-SIUC game for the I-A Championship. He's picking up where Jerry Kill left off so Coach Lennon has some huge shoes to fill. While we might not get perfect seasons like he did in Division II, it looks like the Dawgs are still going to be competitive this year.

Next up was Dana Eikenberg, the head coach for the women's basketball team. It sounds like her overall program deals with creating good players as well as good students. I'll be the first to admit that I don't get the appeal of women's basketball, but I'm willing to give it a shot.

Finally, Chris Lowery, the SIUC basketball coach took the stage and went over the program, his latest recruits from within in Illinois and his plans to get back into the NCAA tournament this coming season. He was right when he said that going to the NIT is no reason to hang your head in shame. If television revenues weren't so important to athletic programs these days, the NIT would likely still be the place to crown a national champion. The NCAA has more teams, so there's likely to be more eyes glued to sets. The only men's basketball that I watch is during the tournaments and once my teams are out, I don't bother with the rest of the games. Still, it will be nice to see the Salukis get back into the NCAA tournament next year.

That's really about the total of my previous evening. It was worth attending to see how each coach was handling the situations caused by last year's highs and lows.