Hi! My name is Ken. I'm going to periodically write about running, writing, and a number of other topics. Please feel free to read my posts and provide your comments. If you have a question about any topic, leave a message and I'll try to help you get the information you're looking for. Thanks for stopping by. I hope to see you again soon.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

More UCONN Men's Basketball Talk

With 19 games left in the regular season, I wrote the previous post projecting how I thought the UCONN Men's basketball team would finish the regular season.  So far I have been spot on. They won the last three games against subpar teams ECU, UCF, and Tulane and lost the other three games to Wichita State, Tulsa, and to Memphis tonight in an embarassing way despite Terry Larrier being sidelined. That brings their record to 10-8 overall and 3-3 in the AAC. With 13 games left and match-ups with Villanova and SMU in the next ten days, things aren't looking too good.
I'm going to get real specific and say that UCONN will again beat UCF and ECU and then USF.  They will then beat Houston and possibly Temple at Gampel to end the regular season at 15-16. But there's a distinct possibility that they will only win three more games, period, which would be the worst season in the last 30 years. If this were to happen, they would finish with a woeful record of 13-18.
If you read articles in the JI lately, you would think the team has turned a corner and is improving. I don't see it that way.  Regarding Coach Ollie, I don't understand why he doesn't call more timeouts when teams are making runs. Tonight was a perfect example. Memphis had a couple of runs and he just sat there and let them run the score up. I was wondering if he had gone to the bathroom at one point.
Again, I hold out hope that the team with magically pull it together and prove me wrong. Oh, how I wish they would do that. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The 2017-2018 UCONN Men's Basketball Team

After a disappointing season last year, filled with injuries, I was hopeful this year's team would fair better. My wife and I again purchased season tickets at the Gampel Pavilion this year and have only missed one game. With disappointing play and recent losses to the three "A's", Arkansas, Arizona, and Auburn,  the turnout at home games has been well below average. I'm not normally a glass half empty kind of guy, but I don't think it's going to get much better this year.

At present, the team's record stands at 7-5, with the AAC regular season play starting this weekend against Wichita State at the XL Center. Wichita State is presently 10-2 and ranked among the top 25 teams in the country by the Associated Press. Heck, even the University of Central Florida, a team that UCONN had it's way with in the past, has a better record.

UCONN has 19 games left to play prior to the AAC tournament. A quick scan of their opponents reveals that of these 19 games, 13 of the games are with Wichita State, Cincinnati,Temple, Memphis and Tulsa (2 apiece), and Villanova, SMU, and Houston (1 apiece). I would be surprised if they are able to win more than 2 of these games. So let me do the math for you. 7+2+6= 15 wins, and a final regular season record of 15-16, which probably doesn't get them into any tournaments after the AAC.
I 'm hearing grumblings about Kevin Ollie and his failure to lead this team to some success on his own accord. If this pattern continues and UCONN again fails to make the NCAA or NIT tournament this year, I think his job is in jeopardy. 

Let's hope that I'm totally wrong with my predictions and the UCONN men find a way to turn things around. Beating Wichita State would be a great start, but there's no way they can win if they continue to play terribly in the first 20 minutes and fall asleep in the last 10 minutes.


Monday, December 25, 2017

Thanksgiving Day in Manchester

If you read back to a post I wrote last year, you will see that I pledged to try and get a seeding card for this year's race. Well, I only ran one race leading up to the Manchester Thanksgiving Day Race. As it turns out, my time in the Prostate Zero 5k was fast enough for me to get an under 42 seeding card. However, I didn't know if I could actually get my card though because I waited too long to register for the race, less than 2 weeks from it and they had shut down the online registering system. 

Every year there is a race the Saturday before Thanksgiving called "Know Your Race Pace", which I have run before. I remembered that if you run a qualifying time in that race, you could get a seeding card. So early Saturday morning on November 18th, I headed over to Main Street in Manchester to run the race. When I got to Bennett Junior High, the registration location, I bumped into several of my Amigo running friends. I could have just registered for the Thanksgiving Day race and went home, but I decided to run since I was already there ready to run. I guessed that my time would be 41 minutes and I finished in 41 minutes and 50 seconds. Not too bad of a guess. I was able to get my seeding card and register for the Thanksgiving race after that race.

Even though I was able to get ahead of many of the runners with the seeding card access, I again waited too long to get lined up and still ended up with quite a few people to run by. That was okay though and I posted a time of 41 minutes and 12 seconds, guaranteeing me a seeding card for next year's race. Now the next lower seeding card is under 38 minutes, which I believe I can achieve if I can stay motivated and healthy over the upcoming year. That's one of my goals for next year.

I ran three races this year, which is 3 times as many as I ran last year. In 2018, I hope to better that mark too. Happy holidays to all.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Summer Running

Running in hot weather can be a real challenge for runners young and old. I have done quite a bit of training over the years in hot and humid conditions. For years I ran around noon in Hartford, CT. This time of day when the temperatures are elevated really tests your strength and ability to run in such conditions. The city is always hotter than the surrounding areas too. What I've learned from these experiences is that I need water on the run especially when I run longer than 5 miles. Now eating and drinking while running can be hard for some people's stomach and digestive system. I've been at this for a long time and I even get the burps from time to time. But I'm convinced that water will help you train better and allow you to go faster.

On real hot days, we used to run along the Connecticut River where there are some water fountains you can stop at and get a quick drink. I prefer to carry my own water though. There are some insulated bottles that will help keep your water somewhat cool. But even if you don't have one, warm water is better than nothing.  So before you head out for a run on a particularly hot and humid day, make sure to take some water or some other water/liquid mix with you. Also, there are all kinds of bottle carrier belts that you can buy so that you don't have to carry your bottle in your hand. Find one that works for you and practice using it. You won't regret it.

One other thing to keep in mind on hot, humid running days. Don't be afraid to slow down or to run a little less distance. These types of conditions are obviously not ideal. But with some practice, you just might find that you are able to run much better in these conditions in races than many of the other runners.  


Monday, July 3, 2017

Zero Prostate Cancer Run/Walk-Hartford, CT

On Saturday, June 10, 2017, I ran the Zero Prostate Cancer 5K in Hartford, CT. I hadn't been feeling up to running races for a while now. It's been more of a motivational thing with me than a physical thing. All last year I didn't run a single race until the Manchester Road Race on Thanksgivings Day and I never got really going until the 2 mile mile mark without a seeding card. That's my fault because I didn't really care if I ran a race before then. To get a seeding card, you have to run at least one other race in a qualifying time, which I felt I could have with a little effort.

Anyway, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer back in 2007. After cancer treatment that same year, I have been doing well from that standpoint. My wife started asking me if I wanted to do this Prostate Cancer run three weeks prior, but I didn't get the hint. Much of the money raised from the event goes towards prostate cancer research and outreach. After some encouragement from her, I agreed to do it and she even signed me up using her smartphone. She wasn't about to leave that up to me.
So with some hesitation on my part, we drove into Hartford and parked near the new Dunkin Donuts Park, which is where the race started and finished. When I went inside to get my race number, it was a real family environment in there. There were mothers, fathers, grandmas, grandpas, brothers, sisters, and of course, a number of children. They even announced the survivors that were running/walking in the race beforehand.
Many people had on the light blue running shirts or braclets that were given to participants.

The weather wasn't exactly ideal for running though. It was in the 80's and fairly humid. But I didn't let that bother me too much. Perhaps 32 years of running in Hartford in all types of weather conditions from my office at CTDEEP helped me. I started out conservatively even though I had to run only 3.1 miles because of the weather. I was in about the top 50 out of around 120 runners at the 2 mile mark, but picked up the pace. I started picking runners off and entered the stadium in right field (the warning track) at a good pace. The race course followed the warning track into left field and then finished adjacent to third base. 

I ended up running 26:28 and finished third in my division (55-59), the third survivor, and 31th overall.
Not too bad considering all things. I was given two nice glass mugs for my third places finishes. This was the slowest 5K race I have ever done by over 2 minutes, but that was okay. It was for a good cause with real significance for me and my family. After all, I'm still trying to get that motivation back to compete. Perhaps this will be the catalyst to get me going again.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Where's Ken Been?

It's been almost 2 years since I have posted on this blog. I have had to deal with a work change and a few setbacks, which have lead to my loss of interest. First, I injured my right hamstring training in November of 2014. I then injured my shoulder. I was surprised at the level of pain I was experiencing with the shoulder issue. I had to suspend my running for almost 7 months because of both injuries. I finally had surgery to repair my shoulder in October, 2015. Then my dad passed away this June, 2016 after a number of months of suffering.

For therapy, I resumed running in January of 2016. It's been a very slow process of regaining fitness, especially with the extra 10+ lbs I gained. I'm back up to running about 20-25 miles per week. It's at a slow pace though even when I push myself. I'm hopeful that in time I'll be able to get down into the 6:45-7:15 minutes per mile range for shorter distances.

I actually did the Manchester Thanksgiving Day road race last November, without a seeding card. That was the only race I did last year and as a result, I wasn't able to avoid all the human traffic. My time was around 43 minutes, which was significantly slower than I have ever run that race. It's very difficult to run a good time without a seeding card because of the crowd that is in front of you. I was finally able to stretch my legs a bit around the 2 mile mark. So my goal for next year is to get a seeding card and actually run a good race.

Regarding my running friends, we were able to get together again at our local watering hole in mid-December, 2016 to remember Dave Cherico and  Doug Zimmerman, several of our running buddies that are no longer with us. I wasn't able to get a photo of the group like in past years, but we had I good turnout. I was able to see a number of my former coworkers since my retirement in early 2013. Don't worry. I'm still working though, just not for the state.


Friday, April 17, 2015

Running in Boston

I wrote a post a year and a half ago about running along the Charles River while staying at a Double Tree Hotel right next to the river. I enjoyed several runs that weekend, but had no idea that before long I would be working in Boston and running along the Charles on a regular basis.

Since the end of December of 2014, I have been running in Boston twice per week. At first, I ran around Boston Common to avoid all of the traffic and to get more familiar with the area. I did find several runners that work in my building who were nice enough to take me on some exploratory jaunts around Boston. Then I was fortunate enough to meet a local group of runners that go by the name of the Boston River Rats and joined them for some runs too.

I'm still trying to get back in shape after missing time with a hamstring injury and gaining some weight over the winter. The winter in Boston was bad because the area received twice as much snow as I got near home. But the good thing about it was that the walking trails/sidewalks/paths were cleared fairly quickly, which allowed runners to do their thing without risking their lives running the roads in Boston. With the high snow banks around Boston, it was even more dangerous than usual.

I'm not running fast by any means, but I'm starting to feel better with every run. Before long, I'm hopeful that I'll be running in the 7's again or faster. I'm doing about 18-20 miles a week now and want to increase this mileage to 20-25 miles per week this spring. Perhaps I'll add an additional day of running each week, from 3 to 4 times to accomplish this goal.

Today I ran about 5.5 miles along the Charles and saw a number of runners with Boston Marathon jackets on. Patriots Day and the Boston Marathon is this coming Monday so many people have already arrived for the marathon. I ran for a bit along the Charles with a woman from New Mexico who is running the marathon. I envy these runners who have qualified for the race or who are running for a cause. This race is on my bucket list, but it's been over ten years since I've done that distance in a race.

I wish all of the runners in Boston good luck on Monday  and hope the Red Sox also win that day. I will not be in Boston on Monday, but plan to run in Hartford with some old friends since I get the day off from work. Perhaps next year I'll give it a go and at least spend the day in Boston.