Tag Archives: TKD

Summer Vacation Stats, Part 2.

Freshhell reminded me about They Might Be Giants’ “813 Mile Car Trip.” Here it is, in all its puppetoliciousness:

We sang that song a lot during our drive.

Our Tae Kwon Do yellow belt test is over. I passed outright — it’s the third time I’ve earned my yellow belt in TKD in the last 15 years, so I would have had no excuse for failing. Our instructor wants Unfocused Girl to redo self defense technique number 3 in the first class of the next session; a lot of the white belt kids have to redo even more of the test, so that isn’t bad. She knows the technique; to the extent she flubbed it during the test, I think it was just a combination of nerves and a partner (a kid from a different class) who didn’t know what he was doing. She’ll nail it at the next class and get her yellow belt, too. I think this is the first time she’s really had to work hard over time to achieve something, and she did a great job.

Back to the stats:

Number of years in a row the Atlantic Ocean has tried to take my son on our last day at the beach: 2. This year, I carried junior out into the water about up to my waist, past what had been, for most of the previous 11 days, past the break point. I misjudged it, and we were right where the waves curl over and start to crash down. I saw a big one coming, started back to the sand, and held Junior up to keep his head above water. Big mistake. When the wave came, I was already off balance, and got knocked over, and I lost my grip on Junior. It only took me a few seconds to find him in floating in the water and grab him, but it really shook me up. He handled it well, though, and wanted to go back in soon after.

And yes, Unfocused Junior was able to play in the sand and go into the water, even with his cast. We used a terrific cast cover, and while it meant he couldn’t use his right hand for much, he still had a lot of beachy fun. It also forced us to try a few things in the area other than the beach, so that he wasn’t wearing the cover every day, which was neat.

And finally, the running.

Miles run during vacation: 38, including five training runs of 6.1, 6.64, 5.23, 7.71, and 6.11 miles, respectively, and two 5K races (3.1 miles each). My goal here was to do well enough in one of the 5Ks to win an age group medal; these are small races, and it isn’t as though any of us are truly elite runners, so I thought I had a shot. In the first race (the first Sunday of our vacation, after we’d been there a week), last summer I was seventh in my age group; this year I came in fourth. There was a rainstorm during the race which slowed everybody down, so while my time was a little slower than last year’s, I don’t think it helped or hurt my relative showing.

In the second race, the morning of the day we left the beach, I used some strategery. It was a combined 5K and 10K; last year, I ran the 10K. These races are part of a series; for the people who are at the beach all summer, there is one race each weekend for eleven weeks, and the people who run them all are ranked for the whole series. If you’re competing in the series, you have to run the 10K, and of the three guys in my age group who finished ahead of me in the first race, two of them were definitely competing in the series.

I, of course, ran the 5K. My plan worked, and even though I came in one second slower than my 5K PR, I won my age group, the first time I’ve ever won any kind of athletic competition. Apparently, the secret is finding a race that the really fast people aren’t running. I didn’t get any better; I just arranged it so my competition was worse. I’m not complaining, and a win is a win and I feel pretty damn good about it, but I can’t pretend it’s because all of the sudden I got so much better.

Yes, I’m bragging. Sorry; I’m still a little giddy. I wore the medal (over the race t-shirt) for the first 200 or so miles on the drive home before I put it away. Next year, Unfocused Girl wants to run one of the 5Ks with me; we’ll have to work on her endurance, but it’ll be a lot of fun. Meantime, the local running store at the beach is sponsoring a marathon on the Saturday before Thanksgiving…


Summer Vacation Stats, Part 1.

Unfocused Girl and I are testing for our yellow belts in Tae Kwon Do this morning, so I may have to split this post in two to get something up before we head out. Seems reasonable, since I’m covering a two-week vacation.

Number of days of vacation, departure to return: 16

Number of those days spent traveling or preparing for travel (packing, closing up the house, etc.): 4. We drove to the beach this year, ignoring the conventional wisdom to leave early by leaving late and driving into the night. We weren’t comfortable trying to do the entire 813-mile route all in one day this year; next year, we will. The kids will be a little older and better able to handle it, and we’ll be more confident ourselves. We also used one of our own cars, Mrs. Unfocused’s Mercury Sable, instead of renting a minivan, which is what we did the last time we drove. It wasn’t as comfortable, but it was about $1000 cheaper just by saving the rental, not to mention the better gas mileage from the sedan.

Number of dishwashers at our family beach house: 2 — Mrs. Unfocused and me.

Number of days spent practicing Tae Kwon Do:  almost all of them.  We bought a couple of gym mats and hauled out our pads.  Taking a two-week vacation right before our test could have really blown our chances of passing, but we worked pretty hard, especially Unfocused Girl.  No guarantees, but I’m confident we’ll both do well.

Breaking News!  It’s Joe Biden!  GREAT choice for veep!

Okay, more about me.  Where was I?

Number of words of Meet the Larssons written: 1898.  It’s not quite what I had planned, but I had a lot of things I wanted to do, and the vacation was about spending time with my family, not hiding in a cave by myself to write.  Also, the beach house doesn’t have a cave.  I’ve written more since.

The running stats will have to wait for after the test.

Chillin’ at the Beach.

We got here Sunday night after 13 hours of driving, split over Saturday and Sunday. The kids were great, even though we skipped renting a minivan and did the trip in Mrs. Unfocused’s Sable. We went to the beach with our friends the S family yesterday, and went hiking with them in the state park this afternoon. We got a little turned around, so our hike was about an hour longer than we planned, but everyone handled it well.

I got in a six mile run this morning, mostly on the boardwalk, before the heat went from hot to brutal. I’m registered for a 5K here this weekend, so I’d better get used to the heat.

So far I’ve spent less than an hour each day on my Blackberry or on the phone, which has been very, very pleasant. I wrote 723 words of Meet the Larssons yesterday, and 361 words tonight, so I feel like I’m getting the novel back on track.

But the coolest thing is that this afternoon, the martial arts mats we ordered arrived. Unfocused Girl and I are testing for our yellow belts the Saturday after we get home, so I promised her we would practice while we’re here. We brought pads and plastic rebreakable boards with us from home, and ordered two 4-by-8 mats from a nearly manufacturer, and set them up on the screened-in porch in back. The Unfocused Do Jhang is open for business. Unfocused Girl has a wicked roundhouse kick, but for the test, she needs to break her board with a side kick, which she finds much harder to execute. We’ll practice kicks and forms and the other components of the test every day while we’re here.

It’s a little different vacation than we usually have, but all in a good way.

Summer Sunday Stats #1: The Long Run I’ve Been Waiting For.

Weather: Sunny and not godawful hot. I was out the door by 8:15, which helped too, but really it was a perfect day for a run.

Miles run: 10.30, in 1:23:28. I ran the same route I’ve been running, so don’t ask me why it’s suddenly half a mile longer. I think this is closer to reality, though; I think the pedometer was having some trouble the last few long runs. This was the best long run I’ve had in months. I’ve been eating better (read less) and training more. I’ve added speed work back into my training, which makes an enormous difference. For the first time this season, I finished my long run feeling like I could keep going for miles, and I ran the second half considerably fast than the first half (7:45 min/mi vs. 8:28 min/mi).

What I listened to during my run: Episode #140 (Running Barefoot) of Phedippidations, followed by Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel for the final push.

Words of Meet the Larssons written: The day isn’t over yet. I wrote about 400 words on Thursday, and approximately 300 words on Friday; I didn’t get a chance to update my word count meter yesterday, and I can’t do it now because I’m writing on my office Windows laptop (Lenovo Thinkpad X61s), not my MacBook, because I’m on the road again (I’m at O’Hare waiting for a delayed flight at this very moment — thanks, American!). I don’t have Scrivener, including its handy word counting tools, but I have MTL exported to a RTF file on my memory stick, and I’m planning to work on it on the plane. It felt good to get back into it on Thursday and Friday, though, and while I’m still a little rusty, I’m getting back into it.

The kids are getting a little sick of my travel, especially Unfocused Girl. It didn’t help that I didn’t find out about this trip until around 10pm on Friday night, so I had to spend all of Saturday afternoon at the office dealing with things I thought I’d be doing on Monday. Looking back at my calendar, I’ve been out of town 10 days out of the last 30, and working most of the rest; my usual travel schedule would be more like 2-4 days in a month. No wonder she’s unhappy.

Mrs. Unfocused, UG, and I spent this afternoon working on her Tae Kwon Do skills in the basement (it was raining by the time we finished lunch), while Junior played on the computer. UG wants to earn her yellow belt at the end of the summer — we’d all like to test, really — but she needs a lot of work. I think she’ll get there, but it isn’t easy for her; she isn’t used to exerting as much control over her body as she’ll need to master the moves she’ll be tested on, and it’s hard for her to focus her attention the way she needs to, and she gets frustrated when we point out where she’s going wrong. This is one of the first things she’s really wanted that hasn’t been easy for her — she was not this motivated to learn to ride her bike, for example — and it’s going to be hard for her to stick to it. But she knows she won’t be allowed to take the weapons class until she gets promoted, and she really wants to take the weapons class. She’s also taking fencing and archery for a week each at summer school this month.

My little girl is growing up, and someday she just might kick your ass.

Skipping the Solider Field 10-Miler.

The Solider Field 10-Miler started half an hour ago, and I’m not there.  A couple of days ago, I made the decision to skip it.

First, last Saturday everyone was dragging, so we blew off Family Tae Kwon Do.  Unfocused GIrl is hoping to test for her yellow belt at the end of this session, and missing two classes in a row would almost guarantee that she wouldn’t be ready.

Second, I’m not ready for the race.  I could have run it anyway and treated it as a training run, but I wouldn’t have been racing, so what’s the point of blowing up our Saturday morning routine?  I’ll run 10 miles tomorrow, and find a Sunday race.  The North Shore Half Marathon is coming up in a few weeks, and I may run that.  I ran it last year; it’s a very nice course.