Brilliance!

It’s not too often that I talk about companies or products here.  I have talked about some cycling, running and triathlon related products over the years, especially once I’m confident that it’s something that I like.

This is one of those times.

Actually, a moment to rave about some phenomenal customer support from one of the companies.

The company is Light & Motion, creators of personal lighting systems for pretty much any activity you want to engage in, on ground, in the air or in the water.

The story:

I bought a set of Stella 300 Dual headlights back in autumn of 2009.  I needed them for my bicycle commute to/from work in Germany.  If you’ve lived in Germany, the winters are cold and dark.  Very dark.  Especially if you spend a large amount of time riding through the forest, hoping to dodge any deer or boar that want to cross the trail.

Brilliant riding!

They treated me extremely well through 3.5 brutal German winters, including two in a row that the German weather service declared “the worst in 40 years”, followed by “the worst in 41 years”.

Days like this:

Winter Riding in Germany

Except when I was commuting, it was pitch black except for what the Stella would illuminate.  Which on a snowy ride like this, pretty much everything was illuminated for a good 30-40 yards ahead.

Like I said, brilliant riding.

Here in Oregon, I don’t need them for daily commutes, instead breaking them out on occasion, like every Monday to get home from the bike polo game.  A couple of months ago I realized they were not working as they had, or should.  So I contacted Light & Motion.

A bit of talking back and forth and they suggested that I send it in for a look.  Which I did.

They arrived back at my front door today, an almost completely brand new set.

Looking at the work order, it mentions that they replaced the cable (that runs between the battery and the lights) as well as changed out the lights.  In other words, they rebuilt a new set, which is great since they no longer make this model.

So the lights are almost five years old and completely rebuilt.

They covered it under warranty work!

The quote that they gave me prior to the work was extremely reasonable, coming in at around 1/10 the cost of buying a new light kit.  I was pleased with that, knowing that their standard warranty length is two years.  But three years after that point, they still covered it.

Amazing service that was completely unexpected.  Unexpected, but greatly appreciated.

Broadcasting their excellence to the world is the least I can do.

So if you’re in the market for headlamps or headlights or dive lights, buy from Light & Motion.

I know any lights I buy in the future will be from them.

 

Advertisements

Future

It’s been a great week of watching the Paralympics.

Unfortunately, it took a bit of work and some references to find something more than just a daily recap, in words, of the events.

But we’ve got a nightly video feed.  Which has been inspiring.

Although it is a damn shame that we have to search that hard for the truly inspirational games.  Especially the opening ceremonies, where Professor Stephen Hawking addressed the audience.

If there is a currently living larger representation of the human spirit and the human mind, please let me know in the comments below.

I’m always looking to stretch my mind.

I am a huge fan of the Olympics, both Summer and Winter.  Because they show the true sports, not the ones that suck in lots of cash.  In my opinion, they show the true strength of the human spirit, unlike the overpaid egos of popular sport.

But that is not the point of this post.

Filtering through my images from Munich this past weekend, I really enjoyed the very large painting of a bicycle in the middle of the road traversing the Marienplatz, signifying that the entire area was a bicycle path.

That speaks to me.

Tackling it from different angles gave me some very beautiful compositions.  Some worked photographically.  Some didn’t.

I initially marked a few for presentation.  That marking did not include this one.

But in light of the performances we’ve watched this week and some reflection, this is the best one to present to you:

Future

Currently we’re watching the post-post-race interview of Ireland’s Jason Smyth, who earlier today set a new world record in the T13 200m sprint.  The coding T13 signifies track athletes who can recognize contours between 2-6 meters away (an S13 designation [as we saw tonight] means that swimmers cannot typically see the black line at the bottom of the lane, but can see the wall once they’re within 1-meter).

Immediately after Jason set his new world record tonight, covering the 200 meters in just 21.05 seconds, he breathlessly stated during his off-track interview:

“We’ve all got issues. You just do the best you can with what you’ve got”.

Absolutely.

So get out there and give it what you’ve got.

And if you are not giving what you have got, no matter how uncomfortable you are – quit your whining and just do it.

Or in the vernacular, HTFU.

For some great first-person images of the games, please click here.  And here.

Or here.

Quitcherbitchin.

And do this.

Or something similar.

That stretches your comfort zone.

Headphones

I had to laugh at this one.  I get this question a lot, especially by the folks at work that try to wrap their brains around running for three hours, riding for six, or swimming for two (not that I’ve done the last two this year, but it’s happened).

I don’t wear headphones.  I don’t listen to music.

Except what’s playing on mental radio.

I agree with Frazz.  I’ve got to hear what’s going on around me.  And music is too much of a distraction.

Every time I run a race, I am reminded of why it’s a good idea to not wear headphones.  Little islands unto themselves, runners with headphones take hard right turns with no warning so they can get a cup of water or get to the curb to tie their shoe.  They cross center lines on the (open) road, not hearing the car on the other side, just so they can jog with a bit more space (even loud screams couldn’t get this guy’s attention).

I understand the desire to distract oneself from the discomfort and pain.  I do wear them when I’m on a dreadmill or trainer.  But never outside.

I must be one of the old diehards that this NY Times article is referring to.

Fast Training Run

Part of my prep for my marathon, which is in two weeks time, was a 1/2 marathon today. It fulfilled three purposes, to make sure my recovery from my IM attempt was complete, my run focused training was on target and that I could hold a sustained pace faster than I normally do during training runs or during a 1/2 IM or IM. All three were achieved.

The Team Nashville Half Marathon was definitely a well executed event. It’s been a while since I had attended one of those (yep, that’s a swipe at my recent races).

I was talking with a co-worker of mine on Wednesday. He had mentioned a few months back that he’d like to pace me during the marathon leg of my IM-distance race, but already had long-standing reservations for a family vacation. He asked when I would run my marathon, so I told him. He recognized that it would be too far for him, so he stated “well, I’ll run with you during a half marathon”. I responded “Good, it’s this Saturday”. His jaw dropped and he stammered about having things to do.

Thursday rolls around and he starts asking about it, then says he’ll let me know. Friday night, he calls the house and arranges to meet. All the while, I keep asking him if he’s sure, since the furthest he’s ever run has been a 10K. He was sure. I didn’t worry about him too much since he has quite an extensive physical background, so he had a solid base fitness.

Anyway, we get to the race area this morning, which starts at the Historic Mansker’s Station. Quite an interesting location. Sign up, get our goodies and then keep moving to stay warm, since it was 33 degrees. The crunch of frost underfoot was quite loud.

This was a “C” race for me, with no time goals. So when we filtered down to the start area, we hung out in the back. The gun went off and we strolled towards the line. We started jogging slowly to make sure our chips registered and we were off. All 190 other racers had crossed the line in front of us. We were bringing up the rear.

It didn’t take long for us to start weaving through the crowd. We were jogging comfortably and hit the mile at 8:38. My co-worker mentioned that it was quite an ambitious pace. We crossed the second mile 8:26 later. He started slipping back a bit and I wordlessly kept moving forward.

Miles 3-5 were pretty uneventful. I was still warming up. By mile 5 I started feeling good and the miles kept slipping by, as did fellow runners. I was starting to think of a race strategy. I figured I’d start picking it up at mile 8 and see how it went from there. I got to the mile 8 water table, grabbed some water (no, not my first) and proceeded to look straight up a wall. Several folks ahead of me were walking. It was a killer.

Going down the other side was just as steep, but I went loose and managed to pass several more runners. The next three miles were a very gradual downhill and I was able to pick up the pace again, cruising at a very nice tempo. After mile 12, we started into the hills again, cruising through a nice subdivision. After 12.75 miles, it was all downhill all the way to the finish.

I cruised in at 1:49:38 chip time, my watch said 1:41:15. I still can’t figure out where the disparity is in my watch, since the times flow perfectly. No one else seemed concerned about their published time, so I won’t be either; it’s time the watch be sent in for some other issues too.

I crossed the start line in 191st (or 192nd, doesn’t matter); I crossed the finish line in 75th overall, 10/18 in my age group. So that’s 116 passed on the course.

13.1 miles @ 8:23 average. Not too shabby. It won’t win any awards, but I sure enjoyed it.

My co-worker ran a hell of a race, considering he’d never run further than a 10K – 2:05:38, which was 4:22 faster than his goal of 2:10, or 10-minute mile pace.

So while I’m pleased with my results, I was shocked to read the news of today’s US Marathon trials. Excellent results for Ryan Hall, but a crushing tragedy for everyone. Keep Ryan Shay‘s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.

Well, it’s time for another recovery beer. And good tunes while watching Wilco on Austin City Limits.

Ever Have One of Those Races?

Or at least felt like this?

Taken during the Men’s 3,000 meter steeplechase at Osaka, Japan.

My first reaction was “oooommphhhh”!

Then it got me to thinking about my first (and second to last) experience with steeplechase. And as with any good story, it starts with that phrase. What phrase is that, you ask?

Well, there I was.

Senior year of high school. At a track invitational whose name has since escaped me. But it doesn’t matter.

Anyway, there I was. Done with my races, which results escape me as well. After my last race, it was time for a feed. And right next to the track of the school that we were racing at was a Carl’s Jr. How convenient! My favorite fast food joint to stuff my gullet while growing up. So, being a 17 year old runner who had already burned plenty of calories, I opted for my choice of meals – two (2) Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger’s. With fries and a Coke.

And during that time, what restaurant wouldn’t win a teenage boy’s heart with the slogan – “It doesn’t get all over the place, it doesn’t belong in your face”. 😀

Anyway, back to eating. I scarfed it down. And it was good. All 1900 calories for just the burgers, plus the fries and Coke (no Diet Coke for me back then).

So afterwards, I rolled back over to the track to watch the rest of the races.

A little while later, the coach comes walking over and says “Bill, they’re going to run a steeplechase at the end. So I signed you up”. “Oh $h!t. Thanks, coach”.

Having never run the race, I had no idea how to approach it. Especially with 4lbs of meat in my belly.

I wish I had video. It had to have been the funniest thing ever. None of us racing had ever run the race, much less jumped the hurdles and vaulted past the water hazards. I’m sure that a few of the hurdles should have been shown on American’s Funniest Home Video’s.

I didn’t trip, I didn’t land face first in the water. I didn’t puke, although there were some serious doubts, especially during the last lap.

I did curl up into a ball on the side of the track after the finish.

Over 20 years later, I can still picture everything.

Good times.

Oh yeah. The second time wasn’t any better, although I had more notice so I didn’t fuel for it the same.