crew update

Two weeks ago, our Winter Park crew team hosted a dual regatta against Plant High School of Tampa. The Plant coach wrote up a glowing assessment of both the WP team and his team’s experience visiting us on that chilly saturday morning. Some excerpts follow here, the complete article is posted on the Plant website.

pareking0464After the lopsided results, one may wonder: why even race Winter Park when we are clearly overmatched? There are two reasons. First, we don’t plan to always be overmatched. Plant is competitive and strives to be the best it can be in competition. Though it’s a cliche it’s true: to be the best, you have to beat the best. Winter Park is currently the best in the state. Therefore, though I know it sounds like General Custer saying, “bring on the Indians,” we will keep racing Winter Park.

Winter Park had parent volunteers flagging buses, trailers and cars in to the parking lot at their boathouse (Ed note: that would be Bob and Linda!!). Also, and perhaps most impressively, they had a cookout for our parents and athletes. All the Winter Parks folks with whom I interacted were friendly and welcoming.

All the previous mentioned facets of excellence are important, but I don’t want to take anything away from the Winter Park athletes. They train hard, practice relentlessly (traveling away for a spring break camp) and execute during races. Winter Park’s excellence shouldn’t be judged by hamburgers or buildings or boats, but by the excellence with which their athletes perform and conduct themselves.

As mentioned, it was healthy for our program to see this excellence up-close. It gives us all a goal of what Plant Crew can be, and hopefully a little more motivation to reach that goal.

rhonda vincent

I don’t know quite how we managed it, but I was delighted when we were escorted to our front row center seats at the friday night concert by Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, at Northland church in Longwood. Damn, I forgot to take my camera. She hasn’t had a big hit record in a few years and the promotion for this concert was nil (did find this column item in the sentinel published the day of the event). Therefore, the turnout was sparse — the 1200 seat hall was less than half filled. But Rhonda and her band put on a great show nonetheless. Judging by her tour schedule, this is just all in a days work.

Gina called in the middle of the second act with an urgent need to be picked up, so Linda went to retrieve her and missed the final songs and the encore. I talked to the band briefly after the show on my way out of the facility. They do some really sweet four part harmonies and I only wish I had my pitch pipe with me. Just kidding; I wouldn’t have had the nerve to whip it out. But you can call me fanboy.

runners high

I completed my longest run yet this morning. It was for the CNLBank 30th Annual Winter Park Road Race.

Prior to this, the longest I’ve run outdoors was the 5K’s (3.1 miles) I’ve done in the past year. I’ve worked up to 5 mile morning runs on the treadmill, so my strategy for this morning’s 10K (6.2 miles) was to pace myself way back at the start, and set 5 miles as my initial goal. then I’d give myself permission to walk for a bit at 5 miles, and try to finish the last mile in a run.

I started out and was able to hold myself back to 12 minute miles for the first two, then I let myself speed up to a bit more comfortable pace. I hit the halfway point (3.1 miles) and still felt pretty strong. By the time I got to 4.5 mile I realized I could finish the whole thing without walking. I did break my stride twice — once for a cup of water at 4 miles, and then near 5 miles my shoelace came untied. But I finished the last mile running real strong, and crossed the finish line at 1 hour 7 minutes!!! Thats equivalent to my usual morning treadmill pace, and I felt great. In fact I have never been so exhilarated from a run; I guess thats the runners high they talk about.

One other thing. I don’t know if I could have done it without the ipod. I put it on shuffle and it put me into my own little world. A few rocking songs came up that were helpful, but what really did the trick were the real sublime cuts I heard. A dreamy song by Dixie chicks, After the Gold Rush by Neil Young, some slow and jazzy thing by Corrine Bailey Rae. Those moody songs put me in the zone I needed to be in. It was just awesome.

Linda sped-walked the two miler part of the event a little earlier in the morning, and I’m delighted to report that simultaenous to my run, Gina rowed stroke position in a crew regatta a few miles away, her 8 woman boat took first place and she clocked her best time ever! win-win-win for the Solash-Reeds this weekend!

Incidentally, this race this morning brings me up to 21 total miles I’ve run this past week. I may just start thinking of myself as a runner and stop complaining about it. I might as well go public: I’m planning to tackle a half marathon next fall, and I now believe I can do it.

Update: this photo of me crossing the finish is available from a photo service:

I felt a lot better than I look in this.

odd catch


I picked up this sheepshead this weekend while casting a shoreline in search of snook or redfish. The fish grabbed at my 6″ soft plastic bait which imitates a swimming mullet. This is unusual because sheepshead feed off of barnacles and other small shellfish, thats exactly what their sheep-like front teeth are for, hence the name. They’re supposedly good eating, so I brought him home and will probably cook him up tonight.