Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Election Sprint

The election is going down to the wire ... and JibJab can't make anything funny about policies or about the characters in the election!  That is completely sad.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Holy Thursday and Good Friday and Chol Hamoed

Yesterday our pastor washed the feet of 12 in the parish.  If this isn't a sign that the Catholic Church blesses runners I don't know what is.  Today we look at Jesus last mile of the ultra he was running.  They even had to get a guy named Simon to carry his load for a while because they were afraid Jesus wouldn't make it.  I always wondered how a Jew could work during the Passover.

I'm a Christian, but my family has confirmed non-Christians in it.  Hence the Chol Hamoed title.

David a friend of mind reminds me that I am in some part a descendant of one of the tribes of Israel (on my mom's mom side).  And that during the passover there are two days (did I remember correctly?) when observant Jews could "work a little".  This time was called Chol Hamoed. So he's guessing that that's why Jesus got to work a little carrying the cross he would die on.  However I think this was always the day Jews went to the zoo (in the history of the city in Poland may family was from).  So maybe the day of crucification was the zoo?

I think I'm mixing too much religious metaphor!

Reflecting on all this, I can only think that your faith should give you a sense of meaning in all you do.  It needs to help you understand the why: in your heart, in your actions, in your life.

I wish you all peace, hope, meaning and over-flowing love!

Happy Easter and a warm and wonderful Passover!

If you have the real media player ... you can watch our celebrations at

Monday, April 18, 2011

Guelph Billy Taylor 5k - Race Report

When I run, truly run, I am certain of that. It is all there. My body does what it does best. The mind like a kaleidoscope constantly rearranges the things it has stored into new and exciting patterns. And my soul utterly loses itself in the present.
-Dr. George Sheehan
Race Weight 234 lbs
Weather: freezing and blowing snow
the bleachers
finish here / start across the track
before - with a lot on my mind

after -lookin' mighty light in the loafers

Milestone Goal Actual Effect
Pre-Race Scout out the start-finish area discovered no start-line chip reader carpet!
realize I need to line up with the awesome runners if I don't want to run an extra 40 meters
Warm-up increasing intensity drills completed felt pumped up
Can I see my wife? See my wife awesome! felt pumped up
Start Line-up off to the side but less than a meter or two from the start done - with looks from the other young heathly runners felt pumped up
Start! don't go too fast out of the gate! blew it! Ran the track and out the gates and down the road (about 300 m) in 4:30 min/k (7:12 min/m) Garmin kept waking up the neighbors - "slow down"
1K 5:53 5:45 slowed down so much to match up my pace to desired that I got suprised on the K-rollover
2K 5:53 5:57 started the split running 6:12 ... had to pick up the pace un-pacefully
3K 5:53 5:59 aggregated average pace 5:54 at this split ... feeling pumped for the pilon turnaround
3K-Pilon quick turn holy s**t did I ever slow down those 180 degree pilon switch backs are crazy ... I don't feel I can tell RDs what to do, but "RD do you know why there are no stop signs on a highway?"
Mid-3.5k keep the pace gusting wind and blowing snow in the face pace drops to 6:08 ... watch starts telling me to "speed up" now
4k 5:50 6:06 don't seem to get down on myself, even though my thighs and ankles are burning... I pick two runners in front of me and decide to pass them
4.5k 5:50 6:02 still running into this wind and snow, but I'm getting pumped because I need to start booting it!
4.7k setup for sprint high-knee, longer stride, forward lean soft track is a joy to run on ... my confidence is spilling out ... I know I can do this ... the finish-line announcer is announcing names and times of runners finishing ... holy s**t I'm pummped
Sprint Finish hair-on-fire hair-on-fire boom! passed one runner ... boom! passed two runners ... boom! passed three runners  was able to advance from the 30-minute mark with a sprint
Final 29:04 29:48 New 5K PR, beating Dec-11 PR by 1 minute!
Post Race analysis Ask about a shotgon start. Avoid these races in the future until I can develop into a faster runner. Keep yourself up during the bad conditions. Run only this split or to the next milestone, you'll have time later to run other parts of the race when you get there. Do your best now.

Someone helped me during the sprint. There is no way I had the power to run the last 45 seconds at under a 4:00 min/km (6:24 min/mi) pace. My face and glasses were covered in snow. I know I ran it, I can remember the looks of people when I passed them. But I don't remember how I felt. I want to stretch my abilities out in this area. I really want to develop a better finishing kick. This was an awesome feeling. I couldn't setup the sprint sooner because the entry roadway into the stadium was a climb of about 30 stairs from the street below ... I rushed my legs adjusting them quickly right after the path levelled on the track surface.

I missed my goal by 44 seconds. I probably missed it because I ran on ego at the start, instead of managing my energy better, and then I had this rollercoaster of run faster/slower for the next 4K.

official results

final run in:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday (and finish time)

Today Jesus enters into Jerusalem on the Christian calendar of commemoration.

Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. The gospels record the arrival of Jesus riding into the city on a donkey, while the crowds spread their cloaks and palm branches on the street and shouted "Hosanna to the Son of David" and "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord" to honor him as their long-awaited Messiah and King.

The significance of Jesus riding a donkey and having his way paved with palm branches is a fulfillment of a prophecy spoken by the prophet Zechariah (Zechariah 9:9). In biblical times, the regional custom called for kings and nobles arriving in procession to ride on the back of a donkey. The donkey was a symbol of peace; those who rode upon them proclaimed peaceful intentions. The laying of palm branches indicated that the king or dignitary was arriving in victory or triumph.

"What?" you say. You thought I was going to post about my Race today! ... ok

* * *

I crossed in under 30 minutes. Probably 29:45-29:50. Very happy with the struggle I had in the running, and the way I booted back into gear and passed three chicks near the end. I'll have a full report tomorrow. Right now it's hot shower time. Race weather was:

1°C (37°F)
blowing snow and rain
Feels Like: -6°C (27°F)
Wind: W 39 km/h (25 m/h)
Wind gusts: 57 km/h (35 m/h)

It was a shotgun start and a chip finish. Which I really should have asked about at first - I don't like these kinds of races. Garmin said I ran 5.04 km in 29:50.  So I improved my PR by about in a minute in the 5k.  Improved through excellent training and a lot of luck!  Official results will be up some time soon (once Bubba drives in the tractor or something ...).

Saturday, April 16, 2011

D-Day-1: Thanks Everyone ...

Thank you everyone for the cheering, wooting and general whoop-ass-conveyance!

The strategy was clearly summed up in the last post but my milestones and times look like this:

Milestone Target Pace
Start 5:53 min/k
1k 5:53 min/k
2k 5:53 min/k
3k 5:50 min/k
4k 5:50 min/k
4.5k 5:20 min/k

My goal is to finish in 29:04 (old PR from Dec11 was 30:48)

Weather prognosis is 3°C (37°F ) with rain/snow mix.  See you all on the other side ... and thanks for the mojo!

Friday, April 15, 2011

D-Day - 2 Race Strategy

From the Coach:

From: jill-parker
Sent: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 9:48 PM
To: Andrew Opala
Subject: Re: Rockin and Rollin

I'm glad you're feeling better and your spirits are flying high!! That's the confidence I love to see!

Do NOT go gun-ho at the start and use up all your glycogen by 3K and have nothing left in the tank. I can't even tell you how many races I've killed, especially 5Ks, because I thought I could maintain an insane pace for 3 miles. So don't repeat my past mistakes!

I didn't see a profile map for the course - is it relatively flat?

I think a good race strategy is to start out in front - I don't care how many people there are, I don't want you stuck in the back wasting time and energy and adding mileage weaving around people. Start a few rows back and hang out off to the side. Let's aim for 5:53 for the first couple Ks. Don't obsess over the time and your watch; just get your pace where it needs to be and then take a deep breath, relax, and let your legs and lungs go. Think about all the good things in your life: the fresh air filling your lungs; how fortunate you are to be running (when others can't);....anything but how easy or difficult it is. At 3k, ask yourself how you're feeling and if you feel great pick up the pace slightly - repeat strategy for 4k. At 4.5k, you just give the race whatever your legs, lungs and guts have and you race it down to the finish line in a grand sub-30 finish, smiling big and bright!

Plase remember to eat well, hydrate a lot! No refined sugar from now til race day, nothing fried and very low fat. Carb up the last couple days.


I know it's inside you buddy, now it's time to shine!


Certified AFAA Personal Trainer and RRCA Running Coach
Check out:

I went on MapMyRun and tried to get an elevation map and it looks relatively flat.  Total variation of 5 meters or about 15 feet.  That could easily be error in the terrain data and it could be flat as a pancake.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

D-Day - 5 Inspiration

Today is 50 years since Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, orbited the Earth.

And my first picture from my Astronomy Camera - the half moon as seen on Sunday evening.

The BBC has an interesting article about a sub-2 hour Marathon here.

And some inspiration for me as I train the last week before my Sunday sub-30 min attempt.  Thank you everyone for the inspiration!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wannabe Week in Review

Sun rest  
Mon Base 4 miles @ base + 6x30M strides drills weights
4.37 miles @ 11:58
Tue Interval 1 mi wu + 5x800M @ 9:50 – 9:56 with 200M slow recovery between sets + 1 mi cd
9:50 – 9:56
Avg Pace
Avg HR
Max HR

Wed XT Elliptical drills weights
Thu Tempo 1.5 mi wu + 4x1k @ 6:00 w/2 min recovery between sets + 1 mi cd
Avg HR
Max HR
Fri Easy 3 mi @ recovery pace drills
Sat Long 4 miles @ base + 3 miles @ faster ea. mile
Avg Pace
Avg HR
Max HR
4 mi
1 mi
1 mi
1 mi

25.1 miles (40.26 kms).

6 days left to my sub 30 mins 5k attempt.  But way too much stress with work, family, running to worry.

Friday, April 8, 2011

... just in from the BBC (and Know Your Meme)

LOL around the world

  • mdr (and derivatives)
    French version, from the initials of "mort de rire" which roughly translated means "dying of laughter" (Chris will like this one)
  • חחח‎/ההה
    Hebrew version. The letter ח is pronounced 'kh' and ה is pronounced 'h'. Putting them together makes "khakhakha"
  • 555
    Thai variation of LOL. "5" in Thai is pronounced "ha", three of them being "hahaha"
  • asg
    Swedish abbreviation of the term Asgarv, meaning intense laughter
  • mkm
    Afghan abbreviation of the Dari phrase "ma khanda mikonom", which means "I am laughing"


  • :D (smileys)
    Simple and clear but may appear childish. Are you a Comic Sans fan?
    Even more annoying than LOL.
  • !!!
    One is fine, three reeks of desperation: 'Look!!! I made a joke!!!' Yes, we noticed.
  • Haha, Hehehe, Arf arf
    The safe option. Effective but not very imaginative. Were you really laughing?
  • Hilarious! How funny!
    You are living in the dark ages.

source: Why did LOL infiltrate the language?, Know Your Meme: LOL

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I've been so busy, that I haven't had time to follow blogs or post.  I'm missing all the humor, jokes, points-of-view and RUNNING.  I have all of 8 days left until my sub-30m 5k run and it's not going so well.  I'm still in training and will post my training on the weekend.  But that doesn't mean much since I ...