Friday, March 17, 2006

Tourney Pool Update No. 1

After day one of the NCAA Tournament, I'm tied for second place in my office pool. More importantly, however, I'm ahead of the Magic 8-ball who is tied for fifth out of the 10 participants in our pool.

The 8-ball's pick of Southern over Duke
didn't come to pass, but the game was close well into the second half. My upset pick of Winthrop over Tennessee didn't pan out either, but the Volunteers won on a late basket by Dane Bradshaw.

My day one picks record was 13-16, correctly picking Duke, George Washington, LSU, Indiana, Gonzaga, Alabama, UCLA, Washington, Illinois, Wichita State, Boston College, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Forida to win their openers. I missed on Winthrop, Syracuse (lost to Texas A&M) and Nevada (lost to Montana).

The 8-Ball's day one record was 11-5, correctly forecasting wins for George Washington, Texas A&M, LSU, Gonzaga, UCLA, Washington, Wichita State, Tennessee, Boston College, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Florida. The 8-Ball missed on Southern, San Diego State (lost to Indiana), Marquette (lost to Alabama), Air Force (lost to Illinois) and Nevada.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Let the Games Begin

Spring is my favorite time of the year . . . warmer weather, flowers blooming and the NCAA Tournament. In less than an hour, the magical, three-week ride that is March Madness begins in earnest. Last year's tournament ended with me celebrating a Tar Heel championship on Franklin Street.

I've filled out my bracket, but don't have a good feeling about any of my picks. So after making my picks, just for fun I decided to match wits the fortune-telling
Magic 8-ball that we have in our office. Now I'm actually concerned about losing to the 8-ball in our office pool.

While the 8-ball picked what would be the upset of all tournament upsets in predicted 16th-seeded Southern would topple top-seeded Duke in the first round (No 16 seed has ever beaten a No. 1 seed in the history of the tournament, mind you), the 8-ball does have good picks the rest of the way.

The 8-ball's Final Four is LSU, UCLA, Connecticut and Villanova, with Connecticut beating LSU for the national championship. My Final Four picks are Duke, Kansas, Connecticut and Villanova with Connecticut beating Duke for the championship.

Along with the rest of my coworkers, I am genuinely concerned about losing to the 8-ball in this year's tournament pool. So during the course of the tournament, I'll keep you updated about where I stand with regard to the 8-ball.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Negative Split

Ran eight miles this morning on my midweek intermediate run and for the first time in my running career I ran a negative split, meaning the second half of my run was faster than the first. My overall time was 1 hour, 19 minutes and 22 seconds. I did the first four miles in 40 minutes, 39 seconds and the last four in 38 minutes, 42 seconds.

On another note, this morning's run afforded me the chance to bask in the glory of God's marvelous creation. When I started my run at 5:20 this morning, I did so in the light of bright, full moon. By the time I finished, the morning sun was coming up over the horizon in an orange and purple sky. Truly spectacular and breathtaking.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Steady Improvement

I'm not a fast runner, so I don't get too caught up in running faster times each time out. I am, however, particular about keeping a detailed running log where I document the distances I run and the time it takes me to run them.

While I don't get too caught up with faster times, I do like to see tangible evidence that I am showing steady improvement in my running times at specific distances. So after logging 16 miles in 2 hours, 49 minutes and 28 seconds this morning, I decided to look back and see how my time today compares with the two other occasions I've logged 16 miles. Here's what I found.

  • Jan. 29, 2005: 16.2 miles in 2:58:59 (11m 02s/mile pace)
  • Nov. 20, 2005: 16 miles in 3:04:45 (11m 32s/mile pace)
  • Today: 16.05 miles in 2:49:28 (10m 33s/mile pace)

    Granted, each of these runs were done over different routes, but I was quite pleased to see that my average pace is a full minute faster than it was just four months ago.

  • Wednesday, March 08, 2006

    Early Morning Run

    My midweek intermediate runs are getting too long for me to squeeze in at lunchtime, so it looks like it's back to early morning runs on Wednesdays. Ran eight miles before work this morning in 1 hour, 20 minutes and 51 seconds (10:06 average minute per mile pace).

    I'm not much of a morning person, but I do feel good after getting my run in during the morning. Besides, I got to watch the sun come up while I was running. The only thing I dislike is the cold. Although the afternoons are feeling more and more like spring, the mornings still feel like winter. It was 33 when I went out the door this morning.

    Thursday, March 02, 2006

    Trying a Tri

    For the past year and a half or so, I've been toying with the idea of participating in a triathlon. I love to run, I was a swimmer back in high school and still swim on occassion for cross training, and I bike some here and there. The thought of combining all three disciplines in one event has long appealed to me, and now I've decided to give a triathlon a try.

    I dropped my registration for the Mission Man Triathlon in the mail today. The Mission Man Traithlon is a sprint distance, consisting of a 750 meter swim, 15 mile bike and a 5K run. It's scheduled for Saturday, July 29 at Lake Cammack Park in Burlington, N.C.

    I don't really know what I'm getting myself into, but fellow blogger, veteran triathlete and former Mission Man finisher Tri-Daddy was kind enough to offer me some encouragement and helpful advice to get me started when I emailed him out of the blue. Thanks Tri-Daddy, and I enjoy your blog.

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    Marathon Bug

    After finishing your first marathon, one of two thoughts enter your head...."I'm never doing this again," or "When's the next one?"

    Well, following my run at the Disney Marathon in January, I've definitely caught the marathon bug. After taking a week off, I resumed my training regimen and have set my sights on the Country Music Marathon in Nashville, Tenn. at the end of April as my next go at 26.2 miles.

    After Nashville, I plan on doing some shorter, local events over the summer and then do another marathon in the fall. The fall marathons I'm considering include Baltimore, the Marine Corps, Richmond, the Outer Banks or Atlanta. If all goes well, I'm already looking ahead to possibly doing the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in Arizona in Janurary '07.

    In my running travels I've met some individuals whose goal is to run a marathon in all 50 states. That idea sounded appealing to me, and I've decided that's something I'd like to accomplish in my lifetime. I love to run, and I love to travel, so why not do both at the same time? Besides, another one of my lifetime goals is to visit all 50 states, anyway.

    There are two national running clubs whose members either have already completed the 50 state circuit or are on their way. They are the 50 States Marathon Club and the 50 States and D.C. Marathon Group. Well, if I plan on doing 50 marathons, one more can't hurt. Sign me up for the 50 States and D.C.

    Deep Thoughts

    If a blog exists, but the person who started it rarely posts, is it really a blog?

    Nope, I didn't think so. So after a lengthy absence, here's to giving this blogging thing a try once again.