Saturday, May 31, 2008

thoughts on the nipmuck trail marathon

the unique nipmuck finishers award.
tomorrow is the nipmuck trail marathon. i'm looking forward to revisiting this race, but can't say the same thing about the drive to get there in time for the 8 a.m. start. i need to set get up at 4:30, leave here just after 5 and meet emmy at 5:35, then we'll pick up rob at 5:50, and make the the hour and forty minute drive to ashford together.

the somewhat ambitious post-race plan i had to drive over to fdr state park for the north country news 5k, has been officially shelved. i was outvoted by emmy and rob, 2-1, thursday night when we went to the dso concert in westbury. no second race, just plenty of old-fashion socializing. it will be a long day, regardless, when the combined travel and race times are considered.

last year race conditions were wet and muddy - here is my 2007 race report. despite the possibility of a thundershower late this afternoon, the course should be relatively dry for the race. my time goal is to finish in less than 5 hours.

2007 post-race shot of the back of our legs (taken with emmy's water-logged camera): joe, bekkie, emmy, and me

check out emmy's blog for photos of us facing forward : D

to wrap up my training week, in addition to the pair of six milers i ran on wednesday and thursday, i added an additional 6 miles yesterday and 4 more today.

here are friday's splits:

7:52 16:08
7:17 23:25
7:15 30:40
7:56 38:36
7:33 46:09

7:41 pace

and saturday's splits:

7:52 15:53
8:02 23:55
7:41 31:36

7:54 pace

which is a total of 22 miles over the 4 days leading up to the race.

Friday, May 30, 2008

dark star orchestra at westbury, photos part two

concert photos, page one.

westbury concert review.

dark star orchestra at westbury photos

page two of dark star photos.

westbury concert review.

dark star orchestra at westbury

first off, this was an awesome dark star orchestra show! the entire evening, from the start minutes after 8 until the finish just before midnight, clocked in at just under 4 hours! this was my second dso show; may, 2006, at the nokia theatre in nyc was my first. the nokia show was an original dso setlist. last night dso recreated the november 1, 1973, dead show at mcgraw memorial hall in evanston, illinois.

part of the fun of a dso show is to guess which dead show they recreate that particular night. the very first clue i had was the one drummer on stage - so that was either a pre-mickey hart show (1960's) or a show from 1972-75 when mickey had left the band. since dso rarely recreates dead shows from the 60's, the 72-75 period was the better bet. that was a momentary downer since, if it wasn't an original dso setlist, the song selection would preclude "terrapin" or "help > slipknot > franklin's tower!"

but there were plenty of good tunes to be heard! after starting w/"promised land" and "sugaree," they swung into "me and bobby mcgee" - sweet! when emmy, rob, and i saw ratdog in peekskill last winter, bobby opened his second set w/an acoustic version - also sweet! but, last night turned into an all bobby first set for me - after "brown eyed women," dso rolled into "black throated wind" - my all time favorite weir song. "bt wind" was followed by an amazingly tight "china > rider!" having gone to some recent phil shows where he played "rider" as a stand alone tune, it was great hearing it put back together again ;)

that stretch of tunes already made for a great first set! but the treat was yet to come - namely an off the wall "weather report suite!" i'll fess up right now and state for the record, i've never taken "wrs" seriously! at least not until last night, when i heard dso completely tear up "let it grow!!" it was such a powerful jam that i hardly recognized the tune! it made me want to pull out my "wrs" tapes and revisit the dead performances - for a sound check!

the second set opened w/"morning dew" and went into an "amazing playin' > uncle john's band > playing" improvisational block that just rocked! but i couldn't get into "mississippi half step" as the follow-up, which probably tainted my view of "he's gone > truckin" which i thought were okay, but nothing special. gotta hand it dso, however, they roared back with a tough "wharf rat" and ended the show with and upbeat "sugar magnolia > sunshine daydream!!"

but the real surprise was the encore! they played a jerry garcia band standard, "my sisters and brothers," which i don't think the dead ever played as a band! sweet way to close out the night!

here is the complete setlist:

first set: the promised land, sugaree, me and bobby mcgee, brown eyed women, black throated wind, china cat sunflower > i know you rider, mexicali blues, brokedown palace, beat it on down the line, loose lucy, el paso, they love each other, weather report suite prelude > wrs part 1 > let it grow

second set: morning dew > playing in the band > uncle john's band > playing in the band, mississippi half-step uptown toodeloo > he's gone > truckin' > wharf rat, sugar magnolia > sunset daydream

encore: my sisters and brothers (jerry garcia band).

concert photos.

concert photos, page two.

"world no tobacco day"

a very important public service announcement:

tomorrow is "world no tobacco day." the 2008 theme is "tobacco free youth," and includes a call for action seeking to ban all tobacco "advertising, promotion, and sponsorship."

for the sake of our children, "break the tobacco marketing net!"

and, for all of our sakes, let's work together for a tobacco-free planet!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

mid-week training and race update

i didn't run on monday and tuesday following the pineland farms trail challenge. yesterday i went out for my regular 6 mile run on the post road and still felt the fatigue from pineland farms.

here are yesterday's splits:

7:50 16:12
7:32 23:44
7:26 31:10
8:01 39:11
7:38 46:49

7:48 pace

this afternoon went back out for the same 6 mile run, without the yesterday's lingering fatigue:

7:32 15:14
7:16 22:30
7:20 29:50
7:49 37:39
7:30 45:09

7:32 pace

tomorrow i'll run another 4-6 miles, followed by 4 more on saturday morning. then sunday is the nipmuck trail marathon! emmy, rob, and i are car pooling up to the race in ashford, ct. the big question is whether or not we drive over to fdr state park after the race, for the mid-afternoon trrc north country news 5k :D

in fact, emmy and rob should be here in a few minutes. we're driving down to westbury, long island, to see the dark star orchestra concert tonight! and, with any luck, we'll also meet up with my good friend paul at the show.

full concert report tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

run nyc half marathon on behalf of the world lung foundation

a public service message from rundangerously :D

registration for the nyc half marathon has closed and the results of the lottery should be announced later this week. runners not selected in the lottery can still register for the race via the charity program. the world lung foundation, a charitable organization engaged in world-wide efforts to improve lung health, is a program participant. i actively support the efforts of wlf and hope runners who plan to run for charity will consider doing so on behalf of wlf.

contributions raised on behalf of wlf will be used to "provide hundreds of life-saving inhalers for asthmatic children at wlf-supported programs in Kenya and other low-income countries." and, more significantly, wlf has agreed to match those contributions, dollar-for-dollar, after race administrative expenses have been covered.

check out their site for more detailed information.

UPDATE: still space on wlf team!
FINAL UPDATE: check out photos of wlf team at nyc half marathon!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"the ten-cent plague" book review

the full title of david hajdu's new book is "the ten-cent plague: the great comic-book scare and how it changed america" (emphasis in the title). in an interesting coincidence, the unusual length the subtitle mirrors the length of the book. harping on the title a bit longer, the added emphasis to the conjunction "and" left me wondering not how, but rather, did america really change as a result of the comic book scare?

it's more than evident hajdu did exhaustive research for his book. i especially enjoyed the historical vignettes he reports of 1940's america. the post-world war two efforts to round up "evil comics" for burning was eye-opening! yes, it's hard to believe in the shadow of nazi germany's atrocities (heralded by book burning in the 1930's), middle america didn't grasp the sad irony of proudly burning comic books to purge society of their perceived evils. completely unsupported by any evidence, the biggest fear of these communities was having their children become juvenile delinquents after reading vivid true crime comics!

hajdu does a great job presenting the repeating cycles of fear that reignited the crusades against comic books. the initial revulsion with the depiction of crime and criminals kicked off the first efforts to ban comics. but then as that issue receded, concern mounted about the loose values depicted in "romance" comics and, later, the gruesome images found in "horror" comics. finally, the irreverent "comedy" of "mad" comic (the precursor to mad magazine) was just too much to witness for some. the outright "disrespect of traditional values" inked across the pages of "humor" comics, triggered yet another suppression effort!

but this long, sad string of events, spread out over more than a decade, is hardly constitutes a "great comic book scare." even the high (low?) -water mark of senate hearings, ad hoc legislative efforts by some states and localities, and the self-imposed comic code adopted to self-regulate the industry (and forestall legislation), just doesn't come together as a unified effort to repeal the first amendment and impose censorship across the comic book industry.

maybe i've missed the obvious, but 1950's america witnessed the mccarthy hearings, the korean war and it's aftermath, and the steep rise cold war tension (now that both the soviets and americans made atomic weapons, they raced to outproduce and each other). this list can go on and include, for instance, the rise of the beat generation - an arguably direct response of youth in the face of all that madness. but this is not to diminish the evil of any form of censorship, which was what all the efforts to rid communities of comic books essentially boiled down to. instead, it seeks frame the context of these efforts in the america of the 1950s.

while i enjoyed reading it, i though the book went on too long and reflected the essentially unconnected nature of the reported activities. while hajdu tried to weave the disparate efforts to suppress comic books across the country into part of a greater censorship movement, these incidents were discrete events - not part of a greater movement. the impact of his narrative could have been just as, if not more, powerful told with a 100 fewer pages. it took more than 300 pages to reach the passage of state laws in 1955 that "crippled" the industry! then just 30 pages more wrap up the book - and presumably detail the impact on america!

all that said, i did enjoy the "ten-cent plague," and would recommend it to anyone interested in censorship and it's disastrous consequences. but the title promises too much, and delivers something else. it's a well-researched and well-reported look at a very unflattering aspect of society which remained untold until hajdu excavated it for our benefit.

Monday, May 26, 2008

pineland farms trail challenge, photos part ll

finisher's cow bell

emmy, post-race

staci, post-race

me and sarah, post-race

meredith, anthony, eddie, and me, pre-race.
hey, wonder if they'd start this race w/out us?

more race photos (part I).
here is my race report.

pineland farms trail challenge photos and results

it's done!

bud, not ipswich - but it's cold!

staci, wayne, emmy, and "jane deere"

carrie and adam finishing!

me, anthony, and meredith (saturday night)

here are the official race results.

here is my race report (w/links to more rr's).

here are a few more race photos (part II).

rr: pineland farms trail challenge 50 miler

fresh as daisies, just before the 6 am start:
wayne, meredith, eddie, anthony, me, adam, and emmy

while it looks convoluted and complicated, the course consisted of two sections, one on either side of the pineland farms "campus" - a 10 mile loop on one side, and a 5 mile loop on the other. the 25k runners complete one loop, 50k runners do two loops, and the 50 milers run an initial 3 mile loop before 3 full loops.

the course elevation profile of the main loop.

this was the third year of pineland farms trail challenge. previously, the race had 50k and 25k options. this year the 50 mile distance was added to the mix. originally i had planned to run the 50k. but since emmy wanted to run the 50 miler, i moved up to the 50 mile distance. i didn't mind the extra time on the trails because i needed the extra training mileage (especially on trails). the alternative would have been waiting at the pineland farms campus for emmy to finish. while there would have been ipswich ale, organic gelato, and other good food to keep me company - this was definitely the healthier alternative :D

emmy and i drove up to maine saturday, with a stop in portland to pick up our race packets at the maine running company. in one of those spur of the moment decisions, emmy created the "rundangerously" team on the sign in sheet. our team consisted of emmy, meredith, eddie, anthony, wayne, and adam. team membership came as a complete surprise to all the members - especially adam, who had already joined a different team! after we finished with the race pick-up, we walked across the street to the great lost bear for a couple beers. then we went for an early dinner at three dollar dewey's at the portland waterfront.

while the race would be held in new glouchester, we stayed in nearby freeport. also at the same hotel were staci, adam, sarah, anthony, meredith, eddie and wayne - and those were just the pineland farms runners we knew about! the 50 miler started at 6 am, so i requested a 4:30 wake up call. in the morning i was packed and ready to go by 5. emmy had wanted to follow anthony up to the race site, but they had gotten an earlier start. instead she found someone else driving up to the race and we followed them to the pineland farms campus. we arrived there just before 5:30.

after a short briefing by ian, the race director, the race started just after 6 am. we had to run an initial 3.5 "campus" loop before starting the main 25k loop (which we'd run 3 times to complete the full 50 mile distance). the initial 3.5 miles was a good warm-up and i ran it in just over 30 minutes, then set-off on the main loop. i did not wear my fuel belt for the initial loop, nor did i put it on before the first main loop. it was cool enough and there were enough aid stations on the course that i didn't think i'd need to carry water before the second main loop.

i finished the first main loop (including the initial 3.5 miles) in 3:07:45 (roughly a 9:53 pace for the 19 miles. my 20 mile split was 3:18, a 9:55 pace. this was in line with my plan to run sub 10 minute miles for as much of the 50k distance as possible. my marathon split of 4:37 had my pace drop down to 10:33, and i was feeling fine. but i should've taken my fuel belt at the start of the second loop. just before 30 miles i was parched and felt myself hitting the wall. while i had been drinking at each aid station, the heat had taken it's toll and now i found myself in need of water well before arriving at the aid stations.

still , i reached 50k in 5:42, an 11 minute pace. i was mighty pleased with that outcome - which was a full hour faster than i ran the long island greenbelt trail 50k at the start of the month! now i just had to keep it together for another 19 miles! anthony and wayne had caught up to me just before mile 31 and gone on ahead. i was only a couple of miles away from my drop bag and would grab my fluid belt there (and change shirts and hat). i also wanted to take my ipod with me for the last loop. that was where emmy caught up with me and we would go on to run a good chunk of the third loop together.

despite the slowdown, i reached 34.5 miles in 6:17, a 10:55 pace. i didn't harbor any illusions of maintaining that pace for the final loop. in fact, had i not met up with emmy, i would probably have taken my ipod with me gone much slower than i actually did. just after 40 miles emmy, feeling strong, took off on ahead. i was in no condition to keep up, but my mood had picked up dramatically from the doldrums that had plagued me for miles 36-42. in fact, as i approached the final aid station before the campus and the start of the 5 mile loop, i heard the dead's "dark star" jam blasting!

i reached my drop bag, and only 5.2 miles left to go, in 9:10. i stopped to get out my ipod and it worked like a charm! listening to the dead ("ramble on rose," "i need a miracle," terrapin station," and "china cat sunflower/i know you rider") i finished the last 5.2 miles in well under an hour. i crossed the finish line in 10 hours and 10 minutes, very pleased and wondering if there was any beer left ;) each finisher received a cow bell and beer glass, each with the pineland farms logo. we also got a pair of gators.

while there was beer at the finish, i found out to my surprise that what came out of the tap wasn't ipswich ale - it was budweiser! they had gone thru 5 kegs of ipswich ale that hot and sunny afternoon! ian had them run out and get this keg so the late finishers would also have so me beer - a really great thing for him to have done! also, emmy won the "jane deere" award for the first female masters finisher. and, while still unofficial, our team may have won the team competition!

check out anthony's race report!
check out emmy's race report!
check out meredith's race report!
check out staci's race report!

race photos and results (part I).
race photos (part II).

next up: the nipmuck trail marathon

memorial day

today is memorial day (originally decoration day) in the united states and we honor all of the men and women who died in military service. whatever your political, philosophical, moral, or just plain idiosyncratic world view, please take a moment to remember them!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

pineland farms trail challenge 50 mile update: rr and photos to follow

quick update before we get on the road for the drive home. i finished the 50 miles in 10:11 (unofficial). my 50k split was 5:42, a full hour faster than my finish time for the long island greenbelt trail 50k - go figure. the remaining 19 miles went a lot slower :(

but, emmy with a sub 9:40 finish won her age group and got the "jane deere" award for fastest master. and anthony finished in sub 9:30, for a huge pr and major breakthrough performance. wayne, who ran most of the race with anthony, had a sub 9:45 finish.

but even cooler, our team "rundangerously" (with emmy, anthony, wayne and me scoring) may have come in first place. the results haven't been posted yet - but can't wait to see if our ad hoc bunch of 50 milers came in first in the team competition!

we had to leave before meredith and eddie finished the 50 miler - but they were on the last 5 mile loop when we departed. also finishing the 50 miler were adam, carri (sp?) and sarah! and staci finished the 50k!

and major thanks to ian, the race director, and his crew of "trail monsters" for putting on such a great runner friendly event!

here is my race report w/links to race photos and results.

road trip to maine

most of today was spent on the road to freeport, maine, with a short stop in portland. after a 4 mile run this morning, i packed my stuff and pat drove me over to emmy's. we were on the road just before 11 and reached portland just after 3:30.

packet pick-up, at the maine running company, was conveniently located across the street from . . . .

the great lost bear! i've actually had a few beers here the couple of times that i ran the back cove 5k races when we vacationed in maine!

so couldn't pass up the opportunity to show emmy what a great selection they had to offer. i'm drinking an allagash cask conditioned number 4 and emmy is having the daily special, a leinenkugel's sunset wheat!

wayne, anthony, eddie, emmy, and meredith arriving at the super eight. we were just heading over to gritty's to say hi to staci, adam and sarah - before a trip to shaw's supermarket for last minute supplies.
i just requested a 4:30 wake-up call from the front desk. tomorrow the 50 miler goes off at 6 - so after a quick shower, time to call it a day.

Friday, May 23, 2008

the telectroscope: a "tunnel" from new york to london!

a tunnel from new york to london? would you be interested in a slightly used time machine? the telectroscope may be the hippest bit of performance art to coincide with the brooklyn bridge's 125th anniversary celebration!

here is the official telectroscope site.
here is a background story from the new york times.

yesterday i walked over the brooklyn bridge at lunchtime. then i just couldn't resist continuing the walk down to the fulton landing to see the brand new telectroscope in action.

as much fun as it was to see it up close and personal, i had even more fun last night when i drove my daughter and her friends home from their lacrosse game. with a totally straight face i managed to tell them all about the "amazing tunnel that had just opened from new york to. . . ." and that i had seen this marvel with my very own eyes! of course, they refused to believe a word of what i said - what au courant 13 year would?

a view of the "tunnel" from the brooklyn bridge :D

view with the brooklyn bridge in the background.

new yorkers look in and see london, in real time.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

brooklyn bridge photos

banners on the bridge

view from fulton landing, brooklyn

view of manhattan, from brooklyn side

view from manhattan approach

a sweet welcome to brooklyn :D

retrospective: brooklyn bridge centennial 1983

bruce cratsley, brooklyn bridge centennial fireworks, 1983

while today kicks off the 125th anniversary celebration, i must confess that i vividly remember the 1ooth anniversary celebration in 1983! i was a student at pace university then, and watched the fireworks display from the roof of the downtown campus!

is it really possible that 25 years has flown by that quickly??

andy warhol designed the official poster for the brooklyn bridge centennial

select ny times coverage, may 1983

brooklyn bridge 125th anniversary celebration!

today is the start of the city's weekend long celebration of the brooklyn bridge's 125th birthday. party kicks off tonight with music at the foot of, and fireworks over, the top of the bridge.

while i can't attend any of the major events, i did want to start off my day with a walk over the bridge. but for the second time this week, rain forced me to change my plans. however, the revised timetable, a lunchtime walk, turned into a much better adventure. in addition to the walk over the bridge, i continued on to the fulton ferry landing and caught the telectroscope exhibit. then, while having a slice of pizza, i ran into a good friend of mine!

view on my daily walk to the office from the brooklyn bridge station of the lexington avenue subway line.

may 24th (saturday) is the actual 125th anniversary.
check out the great slide show of the fireworks posted by the ny times!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

taconic road runners club

today i officially joined the taconic road runners club!

for years i was a member of, and raced for, the westchester track club. in the short term, however, it will certainly feel strange not wearing my blue brooks wtc singlet - but the wtc is no longer the club it was when i joined in 2001. while i still have good friends on the wtc, others have moved on to different clubs and places. since i spend more time socializing with members of the trrc, it made sense for me to move on as well. i look forward to wearing my new team colors at upcoming races!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

rainy afternoon training update

last week i logged only 17.5 miles. the bulk of that mileage was run in 3 races (a 10k and a pair of 5ks). it was an unusual experiment for me because i had planned as a low-mileage (30-40) recovery week and it morphed into something completely different. i'm not sure if i'd reached the point of over training, but i couldn't (mentally) get out the door to do any meaningful training runs during the week. i did enjoy, and looked forward to, the races.

so with that strange week behind me, i kicked off this training week with what i thought was an easy 6 miler. the day actually began with a return trip to the dentist, where he removed the stitches from the implant/bone graft procedure i had done 2 weeks earlier. when i finished the run i was pleasantly shocked to see that i had run 6 miles in 44:07, a 7:21 pace.

here are the splits:

7:23 15:15
7:02 22:17
6:55 29:12
7:47 37:00
7:07 44:07

7:21 pace

that was faster pace than i ran the 5k on sunday (8:21, as a recovery run), the 10k on saturday (7:33), and the 5k on thursday night (7:24, slightly inspired by absinthe). i'm not taking that one training run too seriously, but it does seem as if last week's mileage cut-back has paid a small dividend - fresher legs and a renewed interest in just plain running.

the major focus for me right now, however, is which distance to run at the pineland farms trail challenge this sunday. i had originally planned on the 50k, but now think i'll move up to the 50 miler. that's probably the correct choice as i look forward to the vermont 100 in july. since the only major distance run i have planned prior to vermont is the unisphere 100k, which is on roads, the trail 50 miler gives me some well-needed additional time on trails.

the minor focus this rainy afternoon is, however, whether to do the wall street run tonight. except for the 20 minutes it took to pick up my race packet, it's rained pretty much all day. right now i feel like a wimp and want to bag the race. not because running in the rain would be too bad - that's actually the enjoyable part. but then i'd have to travel home in wet clothes. the thought of a wet subway ride to grand central, followed by another wet train ride on the metronorth, does not sound like any fun.

stay tuned...

at my desk, it was just after 5 and still raining outside - so i put on my wimp hat, and skipped the race... no regrets, but now i have to find another 5k to make up for this dns!

Monday, May 19, 2008

a modern song and dance girl!

katie and her dance class in performance!

while i did manage to run a few races, two non-running events were the highlight of my week.

on wednesday night my daughter, katie, had her chorus recital at the middle school. and on sunday afternoon we went to katie's dance recital.

here are a few pictures of the dance recital (circus theme) and chorus:

katie's dance class

post-performance flowers and accolades!

chorus recital (sorry about that bald spot)!

and, for an unobstructed view!

here are some photos from katie's 2009 dance recital!