Posts Tagged ‘Running’

8th Annual Silicon Valley Turkey Trot

Right, then…

[This is something that I posted on TheBarefootRunners.Org]

I started to regain feeling in my feet after about 1½ miles. Up to this point, they were fairly numb due to the cold; after all it’s Thanksgiving Day. Well, maybe I should qualify that: The numbness was due to the “cold”. I have to put that in quotes because cold means a lot of things to a lot of people – so if you live in the Northeast, cold means temps are hovering around 0 F. But I wasn’t in the Northeast, I was in San Jose running the 8th Annual Silicon Valley Turkey Trot and temps were in the mid 50’s. Me and 8039 other folks were tooling through downtown San Jose, trying to make a caloric dent in forthcoming grotesque exercise in extreme gluttony to commence later in the day. This is the third year I’ve run this.

Overall, the run was good. I’d run 10K before BFR, but that was a trail run; this was all pavement. I hedged my bets by carrying a pair of Invisible Shoes with me, lest the road surface be too much to tolerate. Fortunately, they were not needed.

Also, I applied [ahem] “Nail Paint” to my toenails to make them aerodynamic.


Orange and brown seemed to be somewhat seasonal, but folks did not notice my nice Earl Scheib-quality paint job (or if they did, they felt awkward saying something). Regardless, bolder colors for maximum “Dig Me” effect are in order.

Interestingly, it took a bit before I was able to settle my mind into just cruising down the road. Normally when I run, I’m somewhat familiar with the surface, but this was all new. In addition to that, I had 8000 other people to contend with. So it was a lot of random thoughts: Watch out for the pothole; run in the center of the road at the top of the crest; the manhole cover has drain holes in it, don’t get your toes stuck in one; pass this dude; pass that dude; pass this chick….no – wait – let’s hang back behind her, what’s the rush?; I can run on the painted lines if the road surface is too rough; I think I just stepped on a LEGO; that guy has a tattoo of either Pat Robertson or Andy Rooney on his calf – can’t tell which one.

I’m not positive I was the only one running barefoot, but I would not be surprised if that was the case. At first, while waiting for the race to start, I’d get the random sideways glances, or someone would whisper something to their friend who’d turn around and look at my feet. After the race started, more folks felt comfortable saying something. I’m happy to report that the comments were along the lines of “Hardcore!” followed by a fist bump, or the general “You’re running barefoot!” I’d ask if they tried BFR – some had, some hadn’t but said they wanted to – fair enough. I happened upon a couple of folks wearing min shoes but they weren’t up to chatting too much about footwear. I must have intimidated them with my aforementioned hardcoredness.

In the end, I’m happy with the outcome – I did 10K in 1:08:14, which gave me 10:59/mi. Being that shod, I normally run 10K in about 62 min, I can live with the 1:00/mi slower time. All this got me back to my friend’s house in time to start setting up for a meal that could choke Henry VIII.


Biker on the Run

Right, then.

A quick check of MapMyWhatever shows that I have not been running since January 2, 2011.  That sounds about right.  I think what happened is that I started the year with an annual cycling goal, a new road bike and a sore left Achilles tendon, ergo I went headlong in to cycling.  Which is just as well, I reckon – part of my plan, I think was to give the Achilles time to heal – if memory serves, towards the end of last year, I was limping around quite a bit in the mornings due to soreness.

Well, about a month ago, I started to get an itch to run.  As my pair of runners were effectively dead (runners usually last me ~300 miles), I had an excuse to not run.  Mind you, I was still experiencing some soreness, made more noticeable due to recent work that required a lot of walking, so I’m not entirely sure my plan to give the Achilles a rest really worked.

I have a mental glitch.  When there’s something I need to do, but don’t want to do, I’ll do everything else under the sun.  Do I need to write a paper for a class?  Well, then I’ll get to that as soon as I shred the past 7 years worth of bills.  There’s a project do for work?  I’m sure that’s true, but I’ve been walking all over the pile of clean clothes for the past three weeks, and I really must fold and hang them up.  Does the bathroom need to be cleaned?  Sure…and I’ll do it right after I’m done researching Master’s programs.

This is the part of the conversation where I tell you that I need to do my taxes – something that I view with dread.  Thus, I went out and bought new running shoes and ran 4.91 miles…the first time I’ve run in over four months.

I’m happy to say that overall, I feel good.  I feel a little muscle twinge in the legs, as obviously riding and running use different muscle groups.  Also, the new shoes are awesome, and I’m stoked that I found a running store close to home.  I originally was going to go to Sports basement and get a pair of Asics GT-2160’s, as they are the 2011 version of the 2150’s I have (and the 2009 2140’s that I had before that).  Well, SB had 13’s, but not in the 4E that I need.  Almost drove down to Willow Glen to Athletic Performance, when I remembered that my chiropractor told me about a shop in Santa Clara.  Ryan’s Sports Shop is in front of where Shaw’s Lightweight Cycles used to be (they closed down at the end of March – Shaw is out of play, needing a heart transplant).

Gary, the owner, is a high-energy type.  He reminds me a bit of Jack LaLanne.  Some folks find him a bit off-putting, but I was OK with him…he reminded me of a coach or a trainer that was just really into whatever he was trying to teach you.  He had me try the 2160’s, which I almost bought until he wanted me to try a Mizuno Wave Nirvana 7.  Oh,  holy shit – I’m not sure what it is, but these fit great – better than the Asics.  They are about $140 (or ~50% more than the Asics) but they’re predicted to last 50% longer, so that equals out.

The run was good, though a little tough – it was four months after all.  Also, I suffered some fueling issues towards the last 1.5 miles or so – the gel pack did not have enough go power, alone.  Comparing the Jan 2 run to today’s run, I was 2 seconds/mile faster, but burnt 25 less calories due to being 10 lbs lighter.  Fair enough – I wasn’t pushing it and it will take me a bit to get back in to condition.  I’ll have to get back to doing sprints soon so as to build up my speed like I did last summer.

As for riding, things are going well, but I can see April being an off month, due to 3 weeks of travel.  That said, I’ve built up enough miles since the beginning of the year that I should still be able to easily make my goal of 3000 miles this year.

On the drinking front, this Sunday, it will have been 10 weeks since my last drink.  I’m doing well with it, I’m happy to say.  The worst was when I was in Florida last week, which has natural booze association to it.  I had to squelch the urge to drink with Chips Ahoy…but I did squelch it, so that’s a win! (in a non-Charlie Sheen sense of the word).

OK – enough of this.  Back to the regularly scheduled bullshit.

October and vanity

[Authors Note:  This post was originally written on October 19, 2010, but has been sitting in draft mode as I had run out of creative juices.  It’s now late November and I have more creative juices, thank you.]

Right then…

It seems that since summer showed up in June, it is determined to hang out until November, as summers typically last about five months in California.  To attest to this fact, it is – on October 12, about 88F.  Tomorrow, we’re looking at 92F.

So I ask the studio audience – precisely what the shit is this?   OK, yes, I realize that I was bitching about rain and overcast weather in May, but…that was May.  All this hot shit should have been done with by now.

Of course, as I’m typing this, I realize that I have forgotten about Indian Summer, where it gets unseasonably/unreasonably hot in October, before dipping in to Fall.  But it’s not that we actually have Fall in California – there’s just this period where we wear shorts and sweatshirts at the same time.  Now, after this unnamed period, there’s the period where we go to the snow.  In other places (like those with the snow that we go to) this is known as Winter.  The only real way we know it’s Winter is that there is less daylight and we can’t reasonably sleep with the windows open for a while.

But this is all academic, actually.

Personally, I’ve been going through one of my weird phases.  I have a fairly decent arsenal of interests in my quiver that I tend to rotate through – sometimes with frightening frequency.  A lot of these are somewhat seasonal or pertain to travel – I would not normally go sailing in November, unless I’m in the tropics.  Snowboarding in the summer has proven to be somewhat lacking.  I’ve never done any cold-weather kayaking, but it’s entirely a possibility.  All that said, I’m in sort of a lull.  I’m not sure what I’m interested in.

During the back half of the summer, my riding and running was severely off step.  I just wasn’t into it.  Even the commute to work was thrown off by the fact that I was not able to get out of be early enough to get things together and ride in.  Of course, things have picked up over the last week or so.   After having some work done to the bike, I’ve started setting my alarm so that I can get my ass out of bed and get to work.  On Friday I did a 26 mile ride to test out the new triple-chainring crank I just had installed (and summarily learned that I’ve lost some conditioning).  Sunday was kayaking in Monterey and yesterday I did mountain biking up at the Saratoga Gap (a place I have not been in almost 10 years).

I’m not sure the cause of this flurry of activity.  I was considering doing a ride today, but something told me that I should chill out a bit.

Part of that, I think might be the chronic injury that I have to my left Achilles.  I find that it’s fine when I’m good and lazy, but as soon as I do something (run, bike), it starts aching later that day (and gets worse the next morning).  I find this disturbing and somewhat irritating – it’s like my body likes it when I lie around and do nothing.  Hell, for that matter, I like it when I lie around and do nothing.  All of this running and biking and hiking and what have you is done in order to keep me in some sort of reasonable shape, so I can continue to eat and drink beer and not resemble an elephant seal.

Yes, folks – we now know the real reason why I subject myself to these things:  Vanity.   I’m vain.  In fact, I’m so vain, I probably think the song is about me, I’m so vain.

So, as you can see, it’s a bitch when the thing that I’m trying to keep looking somewhat good (my body) turns against me and prevents me from doing the things that help keep it looking good.

In addition to this, I’m fighting off a cold and bronchitis [which I learned after I had started writing this].  So not only are there mechanical issues, I also can’t get enough air in, anyhow.

What complete, utter bullshit.  Oh, well.  Time for a beer, I reckon.

I Don’t Wanna…

Right, then..

OK, so I had signed up for the 2010 Silicon Valley Marathon, as I had nothing better to do with my time.  Subsequently, I started training.  The problem:  It was harder than it was last year.  Worse, yet – I just didn’t care as much as I did, before.  But me being me, I kept at it.  After all, I had paid $85 (or whatever) and told everyone I was going to do it, so I had to, right?

Apparently not.  After feelings of misgivings and generally not giving a shit, I confessed to two different women in my life – both very important in their own way – about what was going on in my head.  The short of it was that, while I still enjoy running, I just don’t feel like doing another marathon.  So they told me – get this – not to run it.  Actually, that’s not entirely true:  They asked me why was I still trying, then?

It was a good question, actually.  Ego, for one, was my first reason.  I told folks I was going to do it.  ..and…well – that’s the only real reason.  Everything else has been signaling negative.  I mean, I like the sense of pride I get after I run 15 miles, but that feeling is diminished by the general shitty feeling (tired, fatigue) I get after running 11.2 more of them after that.

I guess, I felt I’d be a failure because I tried and then stopped.  It was something to identify with.  To wit:

Someone else:  “What did you do, yesterday?”

Me:  ” Well, I’m currently training for a Marathon, so I ran 19 miles.”

Someone else:  ” Holy shit.”

So letting that go is a difficult thing for me.  Mind you, this does not even take in to account the fact that I had already run the fucking thing a year earlier. I have the shirt.   The medal is on a shelf above my bed.  I can still do an easy 1/2 marathon, while others are still smoking in bed, for fuck sake!

Upon learning that I have a general ache in my left Achilles after I run, one woman told me that was a sign that my body thinks I should back off a bit.  True, perhaps, but that does not gibe with my wide open throttle way of doing things.  The other woman told me that “your body tells you all you need to know; ignore it at your own peril”.  She also reiterated the importance of being able to do things like walk after 50, and that there is benefits to not tearing out my knees, ankles and hips in the process.   Another true point as the knees are starting to ache a wee bit.

In the end, I’ve decided to hang it up.  It didn’t bother me as much as I thought.  I can still run, and I still enjoy running up to 1/2 marathons.  Further, my circle of friends that are runners would completely understand – in fact, most of them that have run 1 or 2 marathons have sworn off of them and now stick to 13.2 or less.  An added benefit is that now, instead of slogging through training runs, I can go do trail runs (8 to 12 K or so) without having to sweat my training schedule.  Further, I can participate in shorter runs that my friends are going to be doing (I could not, originally, as these fell on my long distance training days).

Now – does this mean that I’ll never run a marathon again?  Well, I believe in the phrase “Never say never”, so no, it does not.  It will just take me some time to get back to that place where I want to do it…and that time is not now.

Another thing I’m giving up:  Swimming.  It was good, but I just don’t feel like doing it.

Besides…I’d rather be running.

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Summary of Experience

Mr. Tolbert has ten years of experience in the gases and chemicals industry.  During this time, he has led operations teams in high tech and industrial manufacturing environments.  His experience includes safety management, emergency response participation, and participating in risk assessments.  Additionally, he has led incident investigations, tracked and implemented corrective actions as well as developed and delivered technical and safety training.


Occupational Safety and Health Certificate – UCSC Extension – In Progress


BS Business Management – University of Phoenix

Professional Experience

Running Pirate Consulting – Santa Clara, CA

Owner – January 2009 to Present

  • Collect, validate, scrub radioisotope data – load into ChemSW Database.
  • Developed and administered ChemSW Database training to EH&S and scientific staff
  • Acted as liaison between customer and vendor to configure pH monitoring probe
  • Monitor effluent pH, report excursions, gather waste water data for bi-annual Self-Monitoring Report
  • Project managed seismic bracing efforts – coordinated with lab and equipment users to prioritize equipment, liaised with vendor in order to provide quote, oversaw installation process
  • Perform scheduled lab inspections; record findings, inform lab owners of non-compliant items, follow up and close out
  • Developed database to track and report lab inspection findings
  • Performed equipment audit for annual machine guarding program review
  • Performed energy control and isolation program review
  • Acted as scribe for Process Hazard Analyses
  • Acted as technical resource for Process Hazard Analysis
  • Performed annual inspection for food processing facility
  • Perform Lock Out/Tag Out program review, wrote report, including suggestions for improvements

Matheson-Trigas, Inc – Newark, CA

Production Manager – October 2007 to September 2008

  • Oversaw daily operations of Inventory Procurement, Incoming Quality Assurance, Receiving and Package Production Departments
  • Performed job safety analyses on daily tasks
  • Conducted accident investigations and root cause analyses, assign and track corrective actions
  • Provided new-hire, on-the-job and recurring safety and technical training
  • Followed up on employee training status
  • Conducted safety and housekeeping inspections; close out corrective actions
  • Ensured operators are completing USD (Union Sanitation District) and wastewater release logs
  • Oversaw waste cylinder remediation program
  • Developed database and spreadsheet tools for better data capture and reporting

Air Products Polymers, LP – Dayton, NJ

Operations Superintendent – March 2006 to April 2007

  • Led team of three direct and 21 indirect reports covering inventory management, production, distribution, quality and on-time delivery
  • Chaired plant safety committee; identify trends, follow up and close action items
  • Investigated near miss and recordable incidents and update near miss database as events warrant
  • Conducted safety inspections in plant; assign, follow up and close action items
  • Conducted inspections to ensure plant is meeting stipulations of rainwater permit
  • Communicated near miss and environmental incidents to management and US polymers plants
  • Participated in confined-space pre-entry meetings; review and approve entry and rescue plan; sign off on confined-space entry permits
  • Participated in process-hazard analyses
  • Prepared for and participated in ISO 9000 audits

Air Products and Chemicals, Inc – Various Locations

Business Data Lead, SAP Implementation – October 2004 to December 2005

  • Coordinated quality of key master customer, material and vendor data for SAP implementation
  • Led effort for collection, verification and scrubbing of vendor and product data primarily through use of MS Excel
  • Interacted with leads for production, QC, customer, and MRP to ensure data completeness

On-site Operations Manager – November 2000 to October 2004

  • Managed 6 gas technicians; co-managed 6 chemical technicians
  • Led small-scope projects
  • Managed, tracked and reported on $10MM gas operations budget
  • Participate in customer emergency response team
  • Review and authorize new chemicals arriving on site; identify required PPE and implemented any necessary procedural changes
  • Managed corporate safety program; tracked progress and reported results to regional manager
  • Acted as liaison between customer and corporate personnel on technical and commercial issues
  • Provided risk assessment and mitigation on both hazardous and routine operations
  • Provided safety and technical training to employees, customer personnel and contractors
  • Developed safety training curriculum to be used for customer-based online training
  • Participated in equipment installation design review
  • Maintained customer inventory of specialty chemicals
  • Interface with customer EHS department on critical issues
  • Participate and lead site safety inspection; assign and follow up on corrective actions
  • Interfaced with end-users on gas usage requirements; advise on technical, safety and operational issues
  • Initiated, reviewed and approved Management of Change requests (procedural and equipment)
  • Prepared for and participated in ISO 9000 audits

On-site Operations Technician – February 1998 to November 2000

  • Performed daily equipment inspections
  • Monitored customer hazardous materials inventory (gases) and order as required
  • Ensured process gas lines are adequately purged and isolated (LOTO) prior to equipment maintenance
  • Participated in emergency response events
  • Provided technical training and explanation to customer and contractors
  • Performed operations, maintenance, troubleshooting and repairs on gas delivery equipment
  • Wrote and modified operational procedures; initiated and tracked MOC; trained affected personnel; updated document control system

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Grrh! Move to the right!

Right, then…

First, a quick update:  I’ve been a bit low energy and hungrier than usual this week – not sure what’s up with that.  I have done  workouts on  Sunday through Weds, but my mileage is off, I think (only 12.3 mi run, one swim).  That said, I plan on doing a 15 mi run tomorrow, so maybe I should just shut up.

So, anyway – ran in the JP Morgan Chase Corporate challenge on Weds night, in San Francisco.  A nice, quick 3.5 mile run – the hardest part was getting up and back from Santa Clara.  The longest part of the race was waiting (while wearing a sweat-soaked shirt in the cold, wind and fog) for over half an hour in order to get my bag out of equipment check.  But that’s not what I’m here to bitch about.

What I’m here to bitch about is slow runners.  Mind you, I’m a slow runner – and I’m aware of it.  I’m talking about slow runners that are in a race that do not move to the goddamn right and get out of the way! I’ve noticed this in the past few races I’ve been in:  For some reason, people think that a 9 or 10 minute mile pace is walking, so they just meander and dawdle and dick around after everyone starts moving.  Or there are folks with dogs and strollers, tooling along.  Or, they might be running at a good pace, but will then decide to take a rest – right there in the middle of the goddamn race course!

People!  Move to the right!  For fuck’s sake!

I am by no means a racer.  On a good run, I’m happy if I can get a 9:20/mile average.  But, again, I’m aware of it and when I notice that I’m the slower one in the group, I move to the right and let the faster ones go.  Or, for that matter, knowing my normal speeds, I don’t line up in the 7 min/mile group, knowing that I’ll be in the way.

Simple, right?

It’s called consideration for others.  Let’s all work on that.

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Completely Lazy…

Right, then…

I wish I had a really good excuse for laying off of running and riding.  But in the end, it was because of the weather.  For the past 6 weeks or so, we’ve been in “if it’s raining, it must be Monday” mode.  In and of itself, I don’t mind the rain, but it’s the constant changing weather that’s getting to me.  One day it’s 60F and cloudy, the next it’s 80F and sunny.  Then it’s down to 60F and cloudy.  I find it’s sapping my energy.  I stated earlier, that I have winter and summer modes – well, these days, I’m stuck in the middle.

All that aside, I’m happy to say that I’ve been trying.  Ran 9.5 mi on Sunday, biked to work on Weds, ran 7.16 mi yesterday and rode to Willow Glen and back this evening (just got back in fact).  To add to that, the 7.16 I ran on Thursday I PR’ed, averaging 9:02 miles, which, for me, is blazing.  Hopefully, I’m sliding back into the groove.

As for riding, coming home tonight, I experienced that quiet joy of riding at night.  Further, I had a couple of ports before leaving, so I had that fine, mellow high whist cruising home.  Always good.

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OK, it warmed up…

Right, then…

I’m glad to report that it warmed up sufficiently and that I was able to go for a nice 7 mile run (OK, 7.16 miles, to be exact).  A bit slower than my normal 10 minute mile (10:06), but that’s just me being picky.

Also, I realize that my earlier statement about a storm sneaking in while I wasn’t looking is complete utter bullshit.  After re-reading an earlier post, I realized that I wrote about the impending storms.  So, I guess it’s more appropriate to say that my mid-term memory is complete shit.

…But I’m still going to bitch about the cold until it goes away.

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