Another New Running PR, But Not What I Wanted!

On July 4th I travelled down to Jefferson City and ran the Firecracker Mile, a free one mile race put on by the Jefferson City Road Runners. I had read this was a “downhill mile” so I was thinking this was a great opportunity to try and go sub 5 for a mile. Turns out the downhill consisted of the first 1/4 which was sharply downhill to begin, had a 90 degree turn and leveled off for the final 100 yards of that first quarter, the rest of the mile was flat! I guess better than a track, or so I thought initially…

Having real no idea of what a fast miler looks like, I lined up for the start unsure if there was anyone else in the crowd of about 30 that would be trying to run sub 5 on the day (not that sub 5 for a mile is all that fast!) I had run about a mile for the warm up which probably wasn’t really enough. The horn sounded and we were off.

Turns out, no one else was apparantly trying to break 5 as I quickly found myself in the lead. Though when I passed the first 1/4 in 1:06 I realized maybe I had gone out a little too fast! Went through the next quarter in 1:14 so at the halfway point I was at 2:20 and was thinking I just about had the sub 5 wraped up…

The next quarter things really began to hurt especially towards the end of it and when I saw my average pace dropping fast I began to worry. 1:18, it was still within reach, all I needed was a 1:21 and I would do it! For the whole of the last quarter I could see the finish clock ticking down. With a hundred yards to go I still thought I could do it, but the numbers slowly ticked by as my legs got tighter and tighter. Eventually I crossed the finish as the clock read 5:02!

Turns out I had won the race by 32 seconds, but I would have been happier in second place if someone had been there to push me a little, had helped me break 5! On the trip home I somehow ended up betting a couple of friends that I could break 5 within the following two weeks, not sure what I was thinking!!

23:38:11 – Tony Rigdon

What your cable provider won’t tell you!

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve probably heard something about the government mandated switch to all digital for over the air broadcasting. At first I didn’t care that much about the switch until I saw two things, the incredible clarity of a digital channel versus a standard analog signal, and the new channel that became available (Columbia, MO area) via the new digital signal, Universal Sports channel which carries quite a few triathlons, bike races, and other sports I enjoy seeing.

I subscribe to basic cable through MediaCom, not a ton of channels, but I’m not willing to pay any more to get more channels that are just going to waste more of my time. But, if I’m going to take the time to watch TV, I want to see the best picture I can which means I really want to get HDTV! After deciding I was willing to pay a little more per month to get basic cable in HD, I found the following on MediaCom’s website: “Mediacom customers who have an HDTV with a digital tuner can receive their local broadcasters* in HD at no additional charge.” Hmm, no additional charge sounds great to me! However, after plugging the coaxial cable into my HDTV input on my TV and rescanning the channels, I still had no HD channels! Granted, I get a few channels occasionally by using amplified rabbit ears, but it’s spotty at best and Universal seldom works.

I decided to give MediaCom a call, surprisingly getting someone on the phone within several minutes! Five minutes later I was hanging up frustrated after being told that no, I would need to pay $9.99 a month for the digital cable package and that would included local broadcasters for free. Not exactly what the website said, but arguing with someone who’s probably reading a script doesn’t get you very far…

After doing some searching on the internet, I noticed several diferent references to QAM tuners. I had assumed that since I had a digital tuner built into my TV, I had what I needed to receive digital signals via cable. It turns out that most Digital Converter Boxes and some TVs like mine use ATSC tuners to receive over the air digital signals, these will work when using an antenna to pick up the new digital signals being broadcast over the air. However, cable providers use a diferent signal to send the digital signals over cable and a QAM tuner is what will receive these.

Unfortunately my television doesn’t have a QAM tuner built in, but I just happen to have an HDTV tuner card in my computer with a QAM tuner in it. So, as I’m sitting here typing this I’ve got NBC’s local news in HD playing in the upper corner of my screen. I get the four main network broadcasts (NBC, FOX, CBS, & ABC) along with Universal and multiple other channels.

Here’s what I found on Wikipedia regarding QAM tuners: “QAM-based HD programming of local stations is sometimes available to analog cable subscribers, without paying the additional fees for a digital cable box. The availability of QAM HD programming is rarely described or publicized in cable company product literature. Cable providers must provide rebroadcasts of locally aired programming in analog (if their plant is an analog/digital mix), but they may also carry rebroadcasts of high-definition digital locally aired programming, in an unencrypted form, that does not require the customer to use leased equipment, per FCC Sec. 76.630 and CFR Title 47, §76.901(a). These usually include the local affiliates for CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, and FOX, and the cable providers comply by rebroadcasting them over QAM channels. The law does not require the cable provider to advertise their availability, and the cable customer service representatives are known to unequivocally (and incorrectly) insist to customers that a converter box is mandatory to view any HD channels.”

Glad I didn’t believe her when she said I needed to pay $9.99 a month!

posted at 20:44:40 on 06/27/09 by Tony Rigdon – Category: General

Comments

Tim Chancellor wrote:

So are you saying that most of the converter boxes that the public purchased to prepare for the change do not work because they are not QAM? I share your frustration with the spotty pick up of local channels- I don’t have cable and the converter box doesn’t seem to help- Thanks for your research!
06/29/09 10:21:42

New Running PR!

Well, it isn’t really much of a PR, but I’ve got to go all the way back to 2004 to find my last documented PR in running! Back then I started out the year running a 3:06:39 marathon in Houston and then ran a 17:23 5k four months later, here we are more than 5 years out from that and still no new PRs!

I decided to recruit some other runners at the weekly “Wednesday Trak Nite” workout to run a fast 400 meters for time. After warming up with some striders and a couple of easy miles, four of us lined up for the 400. Two of the runners, Eric and Kevin Stone had both mentioned running in the mid 50’s in high school for the 400, I on the other hand had a 1:05 for my PR at a trak nite a year or two ago. Ted Zderic counted us down and we were off. I set the initial pace and led through the first 200, recording a 29 at 200. Around the 250 mark Kevin Stone pulled even with me and began to pull ahead. I attempted to stay on his shoulder but midway through the final curve my legs began locking up and he pulled ahead finishing at 60″ exactly. I crossed the line with a 62, shaving a full 3 seconds off my previous best time!

While a 62 second 400 meter time is pedestrian for most male sprinters, considering that I’ve never been a sprinter and have never run in a true 400 meter race, I’m very satisfied with my time. However, I do plan on breaking that minute barrier! Add that to the list:

– Sub 3 hour marathon
– Sub 1:20:00 half marathon
– Sub 1:00:00 10 miles
– Sub 35:00 10k
– Sub 17:00 5k
– Sub 1:00 100yard swim
– Sub :30 50 yard swim
– Sub 2:00:00 Olympic distance triathlon
– Sub 4:30:00 Half Iron
– Sub 10:00:00 Ironman
– Sub 1:00 400 meters

posted at 23:33:27 on 06/24/09 by Tony Rigdon – Category: General

Comments

STtrainer wrote:

Tony–are these your goals? Have you met any of these yet? You might want to start adjusting your goals–or at least hire a coach–if you haven’t met any of these yet.

http://sttrainercoaching.bl…

06/25/09 01:57:28

Adam Beston wrote:

I will take that bet. Add to it a sub 15 hour 50 mile run (or sub 36 100 miler) and a sub 5 minute mile of course. I wont even make those swim times (from dive?) and that would make 13 total. Fist one to any even number (2,4,6 ect) owes the other something or has to come to a dual race. I will have to think of a better bet though
06/28/09 20:57:44

Tony Rigdon wrote:

Hey Steve, yeah, they’re goals which I haven’t met yet. To be honest I’m really not that active in my pursuit of them, I get sidetracked with other things like the house I’m redoing… a coach I’m sure could help, but I don’t think I could follow their advice closely enough, I tried it once and it didn’t work… :(
06/28/09 23:00:58

Tony Rigdon wrote:

Adam, have you done any of these? I know you have a faster 1/2 marathon than I do! I would think you’re fairly fast in a 400meter run? Sub 5 I don’t think would be too hard but yeah, it should be in the list… I’m not sure I’ll ever try the 50 or 100 miler! Yeah, dive on the swim sprints. I just did 3 x 100 all under a minute, but with fins!

– Sub 3 hour marathon
– Sub 1:20:00 half marathon
– Sub 1:00:00 10 miles
– Sub 35:00 10k
– Sub 17:00 5k
– Sub 1:00 100yard swim
– Sub :30 50 yard swim
– Sub 2:00:00 Olympic distance triathlon
– Sub 4:30:00 Half Iron
– Sub 10:00:00 Ironman
– Sub 1:00 400 meters
– Sub 5:00 1 mile
– Sub 15 hour 50 mile
– Sub 36 hour 100 mile

06/28/09 23:04:41

This year versus last year…

TriZou is this weekend, formerly known as Race for Sight. Last year I was the 5th overall age grouper, it was probably my best performance of 2008. By this time last year I had won four races, run 2 half marathons in just over 1:25, and run a 3:08 marathon, qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Comparing that to this year, I’ve also run two half marathons this year, both of them 8 minutes slower than my two last year!

So what’s the difference? My first inclination is to think I’ve gotten older and I’m slowing down. Or maybe there’s something wrong with me and I’m only going to get slower and slower.

I went out last night and did a track workout. Half a mile warm up to the track, followed by four quarter mile repeats with three minutes rest during which I do a recovery quarter mile jog. I did each quarter mile in 1:15, or five minute pace! I then did two times a half mile with the same recovery and did one in 2:45 and the other in 2:48, so both around 5:30 pace. Then this morning I swam an easy swim workout, but also mixed in two hard hundreds, one in 1:24 and the other in 1:21.

So what’s the difference? I haven’t gotten any slower, I just don’t have the endurance. Last year at this time I had been running 60 to 80 miles a week for several months. I had also participated in a weight loss contest and was down to a svelte one hundred fifty pounds as opposed to the one hundred sixty-three I currently find myself at. Thirteen extra pounds over a couple of miles isn’t too terible, but combine a little distance, weight, and my lack of endurance and you end up with things like eight extra minutes on a half marathon. Considering that over a competition lasting an hour and a half, I’m about eight minutes slower than I was last year, and considering the duathlon this past weekend took me over two hours… Hmm, taking twelve minutes off my time would have put me in the top ten in my age group and qualified me for Duathlon Worlds! As they say, you can’t cry over spilled milk, but hopefully I’ll remember this next off season when it’s so easy to put on those extra pounds…

posted at 01:21:32 on 05/01/09 by Tony Rigdon – Category: General

Comments

Adam Beston wrote:

Better get those nice overall places in before I come back to the area. Good to have you posting again and best of luck at the race. I have a stupid 500, 5 MILE, 5K tri to compare coming up..
05/02/09 17:11:00