Friday, July 31, 2009

some pictures from pat's trip to san francisco - guest photos

pat just sent me a some great photos of her first full day in san francisco. here are a few of pat's trip to coit tower and its incredible views. she followed up that climb with a walk over to fishermans wharf. i'll post a few more of her travel photos over the next few days.

puffy's tavern and sushi at zutto: a few pictures

last night i spent a few hours with a couple of my oldest friends, danny and jose, at a puffy's tavern in tribeca. i couldn't possible overstate the number of hours we spent hanging out in that bar during the early 80s!

afterwards, we didn't have far to walk (next door, literally) for dinner at zuttos. given the stark change in venue, we traded in our beers and bourbon for sake :D

here are some pictures (mainly taken by jose, and his high powered camera):

Thursday, July 30, 2009

august 2009 race schedule

i just put together my tentative race schedule for august, the highlight of which is the nyc half marathon. and the month kicks off with the last wlf group training run leading up to the nyc half marathon.

this weekend, assuming i can summon up the courage to swim a half mile, will do the trrc biathlon! the biathlon is the only "new" event on the schedule. but the schedule is still tentative because we haven't confirmed or finalized a team for a return trip to the catskill mountain relay the following week.

in addition to the nyc half, anther nyrr event on the august schedule is the team championship race. august also includes the final norwalk summer series race, the 11 miler. the separate, but scored, norwalk half marathon, concludes the series next month. i've pencilled in a pair of westport summer series races at the end of the month (but may only run one of them).

finally, in a midweek change of pace... will head back to rockland lake to do the self-transcendence marathon - on a tuesday!

8/1 - wlf running team group run #3
8/2 - trrc biathlon
8/8 - nyrr team championships, 5m
8/9 - 100k catskill mountain road relay
8/15 - norwalk summer series 11 miler
8/16 - nyc half marathon
8/22 - westport summer series 8.4 miler
8/25 - self-transcendence marathon
8/29 - westport summer series 9.3 miler

if you're at any of these events, be sure to say hi!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

35 years after her death, judge rules will of jack kerouac's mother is a fake!

40 years after jack kerouac died, and 35 years following the death of his mother gabrielle keroauc, a florida judge has ruled that her will was a forgery! the litigation was commenced in 1994, by jan kerouac, jack kerouac's only child (and who jack refused to acknowledge as his child for practically his entire life). sadly, jan kerouac died 2 years later, in 1996. but the will contest was continued by paul blake, jack kerouac's nephew.

when kerouac died in 1969, he left his entire estate to his mother. when she passed away 5 years later, her will purportedly left the entire estate to jack's third wife, stella stampas. jan kerouac was jack's daughter by his second wife, joan haverty (and to whom he was married at the time he wrote "on the road").

last friday, judge greer ruled that gabrielle kerouac would not have been physically able to sign a will on february 13, 1973, and "that which appears on the will dated that date is not her signature." the consequence of this ruling is not immediately clear (and since the decision can be appealed, may not be the final word on the legitimacy of the will).

if the decision is upheld, what happens to kerouac's estate will depend on a variety of issues - not the least of which is whether gabrielle kerouac had executed an earlier will, when she did have capacity, that could subsequently be admitted to probate.

it will be interesting to see how the case now unfolds in the wake of this important decision

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

2009 escarpment trail run 30k: race report

the escarpment trail run has been on top of my list of "unfinished business" since the 2006 edition - when i ran the course with relatively zero trail experience (and easily made every trail running mistake i can catalog - including not having wore trail shoes). with the passage of time and, presumably, the experience gained from many trail miles logged since that summer of 2006, i'd have a fair shot at finishing faster the second time around. remarkably, with (or, despite) all those hard lessons learned - i managed to finish 23 minutes slower on the return visit.

now, once again, escarpment will occupy that infamous spot on top of my "unfinished business" list (which it only shares with the umstead 100 mile endurance run... but that's another story). it means that i'll be back for a 3rd run (and, unintentionally, inch my way toward that 100 mile shirt - earned after 6 finishes - yikes!). there are a few mitigating factors to consider. the one that stands out as the season's biggest questionable call was running the norwalk summers series 9 miler the day before.

okay, enough moans, groans, and whines. instead of heading up the day before, emmy and i drove to windham race morning. she picked me up at 6:30 and we had an easy trip. we arrived at the trail head just before the buses did! on the downside, driving to the start meant we'd need a ride back to the car after the race. pre-race crowd was filled with so many familiar faces - and i ran into john and doug right off in the parking lot.

john tore thru the course and notched a sub 4 hour finish (after pacing 30 miles in vermont the previous week). doug worked the finish line (after having knocked off the 100k in vermont). doug had some stone arrogant bastards in his trunk, but there were none left by the time i rolled into the campground. luckily, ian and jim spotted me a "vacationland" to rehydrate with at the finish. what a great moniker for a post-race beverage - but i get ahead of myself (ignore that ridiculous pun).

before dick vincent finished the attendance and started the race, i managed to say hi to kim, todd, ken, and barbara. it had rained straight through the night making trail conditions wet and extremely muddy. it was almost silly to avoid the puddles as we crossed the foot bridge and began our assent of windham! it took 1:07 to reach the peak (a 3.3 mile climb). that conservative start (almost 20 minutes slower than 2006) set the tone for my day.

i carried a full fluid belt, with four small water bottles, and a fanny pack with my camera and some expresso gu. despite the wet, muddy conditions - humidity was the byword of the day. i was constantly drinking - and sweating it back out again. thankfully, at most aid stations the volunteers let us refill our bottles. coming down into the second aid station, i was pleasantly surprised to see it manned by members of the wolfpit running club!

after the climb up windham, the next two peaks (burnt knob and acra) seemed eminently reasonable - especially with blackhead looming in the horizon. i happily forged my way through the muddy slop at what i thought was a conservative pace. i reached the base of blackhead in relatively good condition. but half-way up the 1,200 foot assent, which quickly became hand over hand rock climbing, i suddenly found myself exhausted and started to wonder how i'd deal with the last two peaks if i felt this way now!

at the top of blackhead, i had half a pb & j sandwich and immediately set off, thinking - somewhat insanely in retrospect - that i could recover the descent! i had conveniently forgotten, or blocked out, that the descent to dutchers notch was the most intimidating part of the course. to worsen matters, my calves started to cramp up! a couple of nasty butt slides later, a fluid bottle of gatorade, and expresso gu, i was temporarily back in business. when i reached the base of stoppel, the first thing i begged for was an s cap!

s cap ingested, and a couple of peanut butter crackers for good measure, i set off on the 1,200 foot climb to stoppel point. as a result of the extra fluid, food, and the s cap, this climb seemed much more manageable that blackhead did. i reached the peak in fine spirits, and stopped to take a picture of the plane wreckage. i also somehow left one of my fluid bottles at the aid station (finishing with one fewer than i started with). but at that point i didn't care - only 4 miles to go.

again, i conveniently forgot 2006 - and the last 2.5 miles of boulder hopping! but i had gotten a second wind by this point. i was running (jogging) as much as possible. i really paid the price here for the 9 miler because i had no leg pick-up whatsoever. even so, i was more than pleased with my forward progress. it began to rain just before the final aid station, so the boulder hopping stretch got a bit iffy in the rain. luckily, the only injury of note was a scrapped up pinky finger when i jammed it against a rock.

i hooked up with a middle school teacher from rockland during the last mile or so - and we, in turn hooked up with a husband wife team in the last mile. the four of us pretty much crossed the finish line one after another. i said hi to doug, who was calling out finish times (5:40:20 for me), and was met by ian and todd as i headed into the campground. while i was done, there would be a bit more excitement around the corner as we waited for emmy.

emmy told me before the race that she planned power hike much of the course and take some pictures along the way. when 6+ hours came and went, i asked doug if i had somehow missed her finish? no she hadn't. another 15 minutes passed and, then, we told by a course official that she had missed a time cut-off at mile 12.9! that, in turn, began a separate adventure for emmy - just exiting the course involved a 3 mile hike (on which she was accompanied by the aid station volunteers).

if that wasn't enough for one day (but not race-related), on drive home we encountered delays on the taconic state parkway - and eventually learned that both the north and south bound lanes had been shut down. tragically, eight people had died (4 of them children) in a head on collision when one driver mistakenly drove against traffic on the northbound side)! not something that will easily be forgotten!

check out the 2009 escarpment photos.

Monday, July 27, 2009

2009 escarpment trail run 30k: race photos and results

yesterday i did the escarpment trail run for the second time. 2006 was a long time ago - long enough to forget how grueling a roller coaster ride up and down 6 mountains in 18.7 miles can be (even without the muddy conditions we had)! i finished in 5:43:20 (23 minutes slower than my earlier performance). despite the muddy, wet conditions, it was a great time!

here is my race report. link to the results once they're posted.

here are my race photos:


ian and me

buses, unloading runner cargo :D

doug and john


dick vincent

wolfpit mans an aid station!

frank and frank

infamous wreckage landmark


the "money" shot :D

post race: todd and ian

post-race: ken and me

post-race: todd and family :D



emmy and john

great plates and bumper stickers!

emmy, ian, and jim

Sunday, July 26, 2009

from the archives: emmy's 2006 escarpment trail run 30k race report - guest post

emmy wrote up a great race report when we ran the escarpment trail run back in 2006. it was originally published in the hi-tek newsletter - and since we're heading back to the catskills for this grueling trail run this morning, thought it would be fun to post it here.


(and here are some race photos)

I survived my first long trail race yesterday... the July 30 Escarpment 30K trail run (yes, 18.7 - actually - miles of rocky, root-strewn, muddy, slippery, ledge-like trails running up and down 6 Catskill mountain peaks). Oh, and it was 90 degrees in the shade (and most of the trails were shaded), so I wore a fuel belt for the first time. It was a day of firsts for this road racer… (and Frank - we entered together, and yes, even with our endurance base, we were both nervous).

I have many trail running friends (like Rick, Carol and Nick) who have said that it is truly an accomplishment JUST TO FINISH the Escarpment trail run. We were told by the race director that we could severely injure ourselves, fall off a cliff, or even get lost further into the Catskill mountains. The 150 runners in the race (no awards; just the glory of finishing) have to qualify by finishing an ultra, marathon or ultra trail race in a certain time (a road marathon is nothing compared to this!). The trail starts in Windham, NY and ends at North Point - along the way is the most challenging, unrunnable terrain imaginable - it is crazy to even think about 'running' the Escarpment trail, yet the winners do finish in sub-3 hours! They even run up the climbs! and fly down the unrunnable last 2 miles of ledges.

We lined up at the trail head to Windham Peak, and I was told, as a rule of thumb, that one adds 1:30 to a marathon time to predict a finish (well, I finished more than 2 hours after my time!). The first part of the course was up Windham High Peak. It took me 57 minutes to power-hike up the mountain, and we had only gone 3 miles into the 18.7 - although I felt good (I had been pounding the water on Saturday), I was cursing my decision the day before to race a 5K at Shea Stadium (when I got to the top of the first peak, Saturday seemed like a million years ago). We were offered water and gatorade from volunteers who had hiked up, and then everyone continued down the mountain - the rocks and roots were slick from the Sat. rain (it rained all night) and I was terrified of falling.

I hopelessly watched 10 other women pass me like I was standing still-as I type
this now, I realize that they were had experience 'free falling' over rocks and were wearing appropriate trail shoes (I stupidly wore my supportive Nike training shoes - I chickened out on wearing my new-ish trail shoes as was afraid of blisters) - one man told me to keep my nose over my toes! and just 'go for it'. After another climb up Burndt Knob - 3,180 feet!(I found the climbs easy – was able to run up parts and passed alot of the big men and women! who passed me on the down hills).

I found myself all alone (until i tried to relieve my bladder on the side of the trail - then ironically someone passed by) until the 6.2 mile aid station - this was a gift from God, as my friend Rick had backpacked in (he does this every year) food and drink - he offered many words of encouragement (like the fact that i wasn't last)but he did warn me about the biggest climb ahead - Blackhead Mountain - 1 mile of a climb up 3,940 feet. He said 'when you get to the base of Blackhead, you'll know' - and I did, as many well-wishers and volunteers were at the bottom.

I loved the climb up Blackhead, as I felt great scampering up (we had to climb up vertical ledges at the top and pull ourselves up trees) - I passed at least 10 men who were 'breathing dangerously hard (at least my lung power got me some help in the race)- the top of the climb was lined with balloons and cheering volunteers (including kids - mountain goats). Only 18.7 more miles to go! We were offered candy, all kids of snacks... the peanut butter and jelly sandwich was the best I ever tasted - oh and the view was spectacular!! 2 men asked me to take their photo and I figured it wouldn't put a damper on my slow race time!!

The runners had to pass through the next climb in 4:15 to stay in the race (Dutcher's Notch, another big climb to 12.2 miles) and I hit that aid station in 3:38 - thank goodness I wasn't going to be sent off the trail head! The sun started to beat down, although the trail was shaded, and the ground dried a bit. I became more confident about 'jogging' over the rocks, roots and stumps - I had stubbed my big toe and yelled in pain for all to hear every time I tripped on a the next climb up to Stoppel Point, I had been on my feet for 4:30 - more than any ultra - and my legs were beginning to tire - it was harder and harder to navigate the relentless rocks and ledges (instead of jumping, I crawled over) - we did see the infamous wreckage of a private airplane that crashed - that was spooky.

Finally, an aid station volunteer told me that we 'only' had 4 miles - that 4 miles took me over an hour to complete! We had to go along big flat rocks and cliffs and jump down big ledges - again, the view was spectacular. The last 2 miles seemed to take forever - we had to follow the blue flags and had to again get through steep, rocky, ledges. I looked at my watch and I had been climbing, jogging, or crawling for 5 and ½ hours! A volunteer then yelled that we were 100 yards from the finish - truly, I though I would never see the light at the end of the trail tunnel - but there it was - a finish line.

My brother and sister-in law (and Frank who had just finished) were waiting for me. Oh, and to add insult to injury, in the last downhill climb, the women's winner had hiked back to cheer us on - hadn't she had enough climbing for the day? Didn't she know she had to back down the darn trail?? I was hot, sweaty, bug bitten, and exhausted but so elated to finish in one piece. Diet coke never tasted so good, as did the pasta salad and bagels and peanut butter. After a quick campground shower, we were on our way...oh, and the most exhausting thing was having to focus on the trail the entire time - to take one's eyes off the ground could be fatal!

I realize now that with some downhill running training (maybe I'll never be fearless) and some decent shoes (like the new Merrills), maybe I can take an hour off my time...but then, I should just be proud of myself for power-hiking the 6 climbs and the 18.7 miles. Taconic RR member Nick finished in 4:11, Frank in 5:20 (he also slipped down the downhills with the wet conditions and had to be extremely careful going down - he had tootsie rolls in his race-ready shorts and every time he tried to unwrap one he fell!). Obviously, the real mountain goats (like the winners) can shave hours off their times by flying down - but then again, maybe it's good to be slow - at least I survived.

p.s. a volunteer cheerfully told me at the finish that since I came in under 6 hours I could get into the 'race' next year - as if it was the best news we'd heard all day ...