great day to run! i met my sub 2:00 goal at the boston build-up 25k this morning with a 1:59:29, so that was a plus :D but we had great weather, the roads were clear, and plenty of post-race socializing. even got to the race early ;p
here is my race report; and here are the race results from clubct.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
just back from the colchester half marathon. despite the snowstorm(s) of the past 48 hours, it was a great day to be outside running. time wise, the run over the hilly course was basically a training run for me. the 1:46:03 was 8+ minutes slower than the 1:37:44 i ran this course in last year. i was way too overdressed for the conditions, but nevertheless pleased to get the miles in after two days of cross training via snow shovel :D
here is my race report; and here are the race results.
Friday, February 26, 2010
i picked up johnny cash's "american vi: ain't no grave" on wednesday. the fifth and final instalment of cash's american series was posthumously released on tuesday - 3 days before what would have been his 78th birthday (today). the songs were recorded in 2003, in months before cash's death. material from the approximately 50 songs recorded during those sessions was released in 2006's "american v: a hundred highways."
while the "hundred highways" material was recorded early in those sessions, the songs on "ain't no grave" were recorded in the months following the death of his wife, june carter cash, in may 2003. the producer, rick rubin, noted the cash said recording was the main reason keeping him alive. among the 10 songs on the album, he covers sheryl crow's "redemption day" and kris kristofferson's "for the good times." his one original song on the album of covers and traditional material was "i corinthians 15:55."
surprisingly, and at cash's own insistence, the final song on the album is "aloha oe" - a bright end to an otherwise serious set of music contemplating the end of life. almost every song is wrought with knowledge of cash's impending death. yet none of them is in any way morose or maudlin in it's approach to the lyrics. especially worth noting is his take on "i don't hurt anymore," whose lyrics are of a relationship gone bust. one can't help but appreciate that cash sings about the breakup, but he himself is about to depart the world of the living.
with the real end of life drama that foreshadows the song selection, the upbeat and gracious "aloha oe" (roughly, "until we meet again") is a remarkable close to the album - and, while not literal - to cash's life. for a man who sings a number of potentially dark songs intended to confront mortality, he selected one that lightly reaffirmed the vitality of life - his life and ours - to bid us adieu. "ain't no grave" is a fitting coda to his "american" series - don't pass it up.
happy birthday in heaven, johnny cash - 78 years old today :D
Thursday, February 25, 2010
last night i had a great time meeting up with my old friend and freshman roommate, chris! we had an early dinner and drinks at jimmy's no. 43 in the east village. some good beer, food, and a lot of catching up on old time!
chris and i had some great beer, but since they featured stone brewing that night, i ended with a stone "sublimely self-righteous strong ale" - which, i paired with our dessert of hazelnut bread pudding, "w/ronny brook whipped cream, and six point brownstone reduction." it took me longer to write that sentence than it did to consume the stone and bread pudding :D
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
The Albany Winter Marathon once again turned into a tale about the weather! Last year, after a brief dry start, we ran in snow, sleet, rain, and generally damp and raw conditions for most of the event. This year it was dry, but all about the wind and wind gusts that refused to quit - and seemed to grow stronger as the day progressed! Be that as it may, it was still a good time - and the HMRRC put on another great event (with great volunteers out on the course).
As we did last year, Emmy, Rob, and I drove up together. Last year we dodged a snowstorm on the Thruway. This time around we took the wrong exit (one too soon), and spent too much time traversing the local streets to reach the campus. Then we used the wrong entrance and spent 15-20 minutes trying to “find” the race. At one point we spotted the race volunteers on the course and the athletics building - but couldn’t reach it without exiting that campus and driving down the road to reach the adjoining one!
Despite all that hassle, we actually arrived 5 minutes before the start. Rob had already pre-registered, so he just had to get to the start. Emmy and I, conversely, hadn’t registered. While Emmy parked the car, I learned that post registration had closed! I pleaded with the one of the volunteers and she graciously grabbed an addition pair of bibs and signed us in! We literally dropped our bags across from the registration table and ran out to the start!
The starting line was directly across the track, which was just outside the athletic building. Since the track was fenced in, we had a great view of the runners heading off in the opposite direction as we made our way to the start, turned around, and joined the race in progress! I thought we were the last people to start, but it turned out Rob started after we did! He had to make a pit stop, and changed into his running clothes. We were about 2 minutes late to start, and Rob was well over 3 minutes late.
Since the race wasn’t chip timed, we had to suck up those extra minutes. My first mile split was further slowed by a quick side trip to the porta-john (business I didn’t get to attend to pre-race). But I was treating this as a training run, so I wasn’t too concerned. My optimistic time goal had been 3:30, but given the hectic start - a 3:40 would be just as good. The course consisted of 1 short and 4 longer loops of the SUNY Albany campus. It was 30 degrees at the start, but the wind chill brought the real feel down into the teens.
Markers were provide at 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 miles. Here are my race splits:
My official time was 3:44:58, an 8:35 pace.
After a somewhat rough start to the first loop, I felt fine through the first 15 miles. I was able to maintain just over an 8 minute pace during that stretch. I saw Emmy, Rob, Barbara, Eliot, and Shannon, periodically, during the course of the race. In that respect, this edition was a very different experience from the 2009 race, where I ran most of the race without speaking to anyone (except race volunteers). However, once again the run turned into a battle against the inclement weather.
The heavy wind gusts finally took a toll during the 4th loop and I slowed down dramatically. It was the lowest point in the race for me - and I just couldn’t warm up. The bank clock on the course read 30 degrees at the start (loop 1) and just 33 degrees by my last loop! A whopping 3 degree increase over the course of the race - with no measurable drop off in the wind. At no point (even my lowest) did I consider walking because I was afraid that I’d become hypothermic and freeze to death!
When I crossed the finish my hands were numb and I needed to get warm. Uncharacteristically, I didn’t wait at the finish line for my friends, but made a beeline straight for the athletics building and grabbed a bowl of hot soup. It didn’t take long to warm up - and I recovered much quicker after this run than I did in 2009 (calf cramps bedeviled me after the race). Emmy and Rob opted for post-race showers, then, together with Eliot, we headed over to Evans Brewing at the Albany Pump Station for some beer!
Next up: Caumsett Park 50K
Here are some race photos.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
after the albany winter marathon we headed over the evans brewing company - repeating our post-race rehydration strategy of the year before :D once again we had a great time and would definitely recommend stopping in from some of the on-site brewed selections. although, for the second, time i missed out getting to try their munich dunkel :(
once again i opted for their generous sampler (8 types) and wasn't disappointed!
Sunday, February 21, 2010
our return trip to the albany marathon is in the books. last year it was snow and rain, this year it was all wind - and lots of it. my 3:44:48 includes missing the start by about a minute! after the race eliot, emmy, rob and i went over to the evans brewing company to rehydrate.
here is my race report; and here are the race results from hmrrc.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
almost 9,000 finishers at the run for haiti this morning! an amazing turnout, and the weather was great too (albeit some heavy wind gusts here and there). i ran a 28:11, despite the minute and a half it took to cross the start line! here is my race report.
here are the race results from nyrr.
Friday, February 19, 2010
patti smith's "just kids" is one of the best memoirs that i've ever read - the very short version! her look back at the unique love affair that she and robert mapplethorpe shared from their first meeting in 1967 until his incredibly tragic death at 42 years old from aids in 1989 is an intimate and mesmerizing look at the lives of a pair of struggling artists well before days of fame and recognition overtook them. while, ostensibly, an autobiographical look at her early days, it also serves as a moving eulogy for her eternal soul mate.
"just kids" style is similar to bob dylan's "chronicles: volume one" - details of a bygone era close enough in time to seem like yesterday, but far enough removed from our current realities that they are worlds gone by. dylan's excavated the folk byways of an early sixties greenwich village scene. smith paints the late sixties brooklyn and then moves on to manhattan - chelsea in particular - during the early seventies. her narrative style is rich in place names, textures, feeling - a veritable prose poem of descriptions. it's one of those rare works that's enjoyable just for the words.
patti and robert were, in every sense, starving artists. the amount of hunger they endured in those early years seems harrowing in retrospect. one of their favorite excursions was the train ride to coney island, where they spent the day taking in the scene. robert loved nathan's hot dogs. they could only afford one, which they would split. for days they would subsist on stale bread and cookies from a sympathetic bakery! the choice between food and art was literally that, as they often stood outside stores debating whether to purchase art supplies or a meal!
even when they moved into the city - and earned a foothold in the notorious chelsea hotel (the smallest room in the place, on the ground floor) - hunger followed them. in a prophetic meeting, patti stood in front of a cheese sandwich at the automat, without enough money to buy it. allen ginsberg happened by her and, thinking she was a he, off to buy it for her. embarrassed at the discovery, he still pays for her meal. ginsberg, wondering for posterity at the time(!) asked her how she'd report it. patti replied that she'd say "he fed her when she was hungry."
patti, more often than not, was the bread-winner (forgive the pun) those years. she took a number of jobs at bookstores such as bretanos, and even toiled away in the basement of the strand for a while. she also wrote the record reviews for publication. then she would collect the reviewer copies and sell them for extra cash. she would also searched out first editions and overlooked important books at flea markets and used books, then turn around and sell them for a profit. robert too, also found the occasional odd job, but wasn't as successful staying at one place. eventually he drifted into the world of hustling to earn money.
together, for a poor couple they collected - and prized - an eclectic assortment of possessions, which sometimes found their way into robert's collages. in those days he didn't even own a camera, much less take photographs! it was at her urging that he eventually borrowed a polaroid camera from a friend and began on his road to photographic fame. likewise, it was robert who urged patti to put her poem to music - and get out in front of people to perform them!
they had a very interesting circle of friends and patti, especially, found common ground with gregory corso and william burroughs! but it was sam shephard who purchased her a 1931 gibson guitar and taught her how to improvise ("it's like drumming. if you miss a beat, you create another"), as they co-wrote a short play together. and she would move on to live with allen lanier, keyboardist for blue oyster cult, as the merger of her poetry and music became more and more concrete.
it was in 1971, at st. marks church, that patti took the stage with lenny kaye providing accompaniment on his electric guitar - that she gave her first public performance. it was a first for st. marks poetry project as well - no one had ever played an electric guitar on stage there! it was reminiscent to dylan's going electric at the newport jazz festival, down to the sparse collection of boos in an audience filled with poets and musicians! after that night, patti smith was famous - "bombarded" with offers to publish and record her work!
"i felt it came too easy," she writes. but given what we've read up to that point, easy is hardly the word choice. she endured struggle after struggle to arrive at that stage. robert teased her afterwards, "patti you've become famous before me." by that time, while patti and robert were still sole mates, they had moved on to different partners. by the end of the decade, she married and moved to detroit to start and raise a family. she reconnected with robert when she learned that he was dying from aids
it was during that last year together that she promised robert that she would tell his story - and "just kids" is that remarkable story.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
for a race that has over 8000 registered runners, packet pick-up was fast and easy at the nyrr club this afternoon! but i went at lunch, so it may be more crowded after work. the large field should make for a very interesting run on saturday. i'm not sure how (or if) the corrals were seeded by time, but my bib is 4,1xx (and emmy's is 7,7xx)!
we had planned a world lung foundation group training run in the park that morning, but rescheduled it in light of the race. incorporating the run into training plans would be an even better option. the post-race "festival to support haiti" - with live music and performances - should be fun!
if you're running it, be sure to say hi!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
today, ash wednesday, is the first day of lent and i've decided to give up coffee for the traditional 40 day period ending on easter sunday. while lent begins today, i actually went cold turkey with the coffee drinking last friday. tomorrow will be a week gone by without something i normally drink at least 4 to 5 cups of a day!
by late friday, and well into saturday, i felt miserably - one long caffeine withdrawal headache that just wouldn't quit. but, by sunday afternoon, things brightened up considerably - helped in no small part by cup after cup of herbal tea :D now it's just the aroma in the morning that gets me - the craving has passed.
after lent, i may indulge in some decaf :D
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Presidents Day weekend began with the Stratford YMCA Sweetheart Run, included a two mile tempo run with Katie after the race, twenty miles on Sunday, and twenty more miles on Monday. They weren’t “true” twenty milers (in the continuous sense) because I briefly broke them up. The two miles (one mile out and back) with Katie was especially rewarding because the 15:10, 7:35 pace was the tangible result of her winter track practices! Previously, she’d run that same out and back in 18 minutes - or more.
On Sunday I ran 14 miles and stopped when Pat and Katie got home from church so we could open Valentine’s Day cards and chocolates. With a sugar high to fuel me, I went back out and ran the remaining 6 miles. This route incorporated the 8 mile course I resurrected a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, a good portion of it was still covered in snow and I had to run in the street, in the face of oncoming traffic. That was seriously unpleasant, but the remaining miles, on the post road, were snow free sidewalks.
I won’t break out all the splits, but here are the main ones:
5 miles 43:12
10 miles 1:26:30
14 miles 1:57:58
The remaining 6 miles took 48:56, an 8:10 pace.
Overall, Sunday's 20 miles took 2:46:55, an 8:21 pace.
On Monday I ran 16 miles, then I got in the car and drove Katie to the track where she and her teammates boarded the bus to the Armory for their track meet. Then I finished up the remaining four miles when I got home. The first 8 miles were identical (in terms of snow covered sidewalks forcing me to run against traffic on the road). The next six also followed the same post road route, but I the last two were on my neighborhood out and back.
Here are the main splits:
5 miles 43:24
10 miles 1:27:11
15 miles 2:07:24
16 miles 2:14:58
I decided to run the remaining 4 miles as a tempo run on my hilly neighborhood loop. Here are those splits:
Overall, Monday's 20 miles took 2:45:42, an 8:18 pace.
For the combined two days, 40 miles took 5:32:27, an 8:19 pace.
Monday, February 15, 2010
this was my 4th stratford sweetheart run - all 4 of which i've teamed with emmy. the 2010 edition was more of fun run for me because i wasn't up for running any distance that morning. but i wasn't going to leave emmy without a partner at the last minute so off to stratford i went for the hilly 4 miler.
in past years we did pretty well. 2006 was our best showing: i ran a 25:46, emmy set the f40 course record, and we just missed first place overall by 14 seconds! but in the years since my times have slowed (but emmy set the f50 course record last year). this year was my poorest performance, 29:17 - but under the circumstances, i was pleased with the outcome.
lining up at the start, i didn't have any time goal in mind, aside from finishing. there were plenty of familiar faces in the crowd: kate, brian, ronnie, darcy, kellie, and tom. don volunteered, first at registration, then out on the course. there was even a pair of teenagers wearing pink tutus - a brave choice in the face of such a cold and windy morning!
here are my splits:
i'm not sure the 3 and 4 mile markers were correct (long and short, respectively). don was at the base of the big hill at the end of mile 3, start of mile 4. in the last quarter mile to the finish line i managed to increase the pace to a nice sprint, but i had slowed too much climbing the hill to bring it in under 29 minutes.
while i couldn't stay for the awards ceremony, emmy took first in her age group and we took second in our combined age group! when i got home i went back out for a 2 mile run with katie. she ran a personal best 15:10 as a tune-up for her track meet at the armory on monday. all in all, a great morning!
here are my race photos.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
happy valentine's day everyone!!
and especially to pat and katie - and my mom and joan - and all of my sisters-in-law; amy, andrea, rosemarie and tina!!
all the great women in my life, past present and future :D
Saturday, February 13, 2010
just back from the ymca sweetheart run - a hilly 4 mile loop of stratford, connecticut. it's a great race - and this morning was my fourth time running it (with emmy as my partner). today was the course was more of a tempo run than race, with my 29:17 finish.
here is my short race report; and here are the results from hi-tek.
here are a few race photos:
Friday, February 12, 2010
cut out of work early this afternoon and joined anthony at the bxl cafe on 43rd street for lunch and a couple of beers -some great belgium beers, actually! the bxl cafe had a decidedly european flavor to it, down to the french bartender (chris) who served our drinks (and even recommended the some alternatives when our first choices weren't available).
we kicked off our beer drinking with a pails of mussels and sides of fries ("moules frites") - a classic that brought me back to some paris days where i had the same lunches. we kicked off with bottles of westmalle (dubble, for me). next round i tried a rochefort 6 (at chris' recommendation).
to round out our selections, we finished with a draft kwak (thanks to a recommendation from sam, drinking one next to us), in a traditional (and unique) glass - an hourglass shaped tube, held by a wooden handle.
great way to end a week, start the weekend :D
Thursday, February 11, 2010
our mailman, in the middle of yesterday's blizzard, delivered "beer wars" from netflix - the perfect antidote for cabin fever! the short documentary sketched the david versus goliath battle craft brewers face in competing for shelf space and attention against the big three brewers (aneheiser-busch, miller, and coors). filmed during 2005, the timing coincided with the news that coors and miller would merge to become the number 2 producer, behind a-b. then, that news was overshadowed by the announcement that a-b would be purchased by inbev!
the documentary is a series of sometimes guerrilla vignettes, narrated by the writer and director arat baron. while not a brewer, she earned her beverage industry experience growing the "mikes (hard) lemonade" brand. an ironic product background for a film depicting the struggle of craft brewers against the corporate machine. interestingly, the craft brewer perspective primarily focused on sam calagione of dogfish head brewing in delaware. he is an exceptional choice because calagione and dogfish are on the cutting edge of the artisan beer movement.
a separate story line followed rhonda kallman of the new century brewing company as she tried to promote her caffeine infused brand, "moon shot." while her beer industry bona fides are spot on - as a co-founder of boston beer (aka "sam adams") with jim koch - she isn't marketing a "craft" beer. instead, it's a self-processed niche filler (for the market out there looking for a caffeine boost build into the brew). however, her struggle mirrors that of the craft brewers in both are battling the same conglomerates for that precious shelf space. her efforts to establish brand awareness include personally delivering product and promotional material to retailers and bars (including having to listen to the occasional boorish drinker know-it-all).
in fact, the background on controlling the supermarket shelf space allotments was incredibly eye-opening. it's worth watching the film just to learn how much effort these companies put into securing the maximum space for its entire product line - not just for the success of any particular brand, but for the added benefit of freezing out the competitors. there is also a brief look at the three tiered distribution system, a complex hangover foisted on the nation in the wake of prohibition. this material wasn't as effectively presented because it was just too complex a topic to break down into easily digested sound bites.
when the film had it's one night premier last year, it was followed by a live panel discussion that included some of the principals in the film. that was included as a bonus feature on the dvd. it was an interesting coda to the film. but "beer wars" - especially its depiction of the big brewers voracious and seeming insatiable appetite for shelf space and market share - is worth watching on it's own merits. rent it and be to have a craft beer in hand during viewing :D
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
i managed a decent 8 mile run yesterday (1:02:52) in anticipation of today's little snowstorm. for about a foot of snow - i think we got about 12 inches here, but it's still snowing so that may increase a bit - seems like the entire tri-state area came to a standstill! i didn't even try to make into the office this morning.
but i did try running in between bouts of shoveling snow. i only managed 2 miles on the post road and that took way more effort than i imagined (18:43). it was more to get out of the house and escape that snowed in feeling than to log training miles. but the most fun and productive escape from the being snowed in was katie's snowman :D
we haven't had too much snow this winter, as opposed to the seemingly endless stretch of below average temperatures. so despite the repeated shoveling, it wasn't bad. now it remains to be seen how long the snow lingers!
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
the 2010 edition of the boston build-up 20k was cold, starting temperature in the 20's, with a wind chill that dropped it into the single digits! yet there seemed to be a record turnout for the race! the southport train station was, in addition to all the pre-registered runners just trying to stay warm, packed with a long line of race day registrants signing up for the race! this particular race of the series also draws a contingent from the west point marathon team! the field would be large - and fast!
while i wasn't going to be among the fast ones today, i did want to run a sub 1:35 to make up for my water logged 1:36 finish last year. while i missed that target by 16 seconds, i was still pleased with the result. we faced headwinds for the first 6 miles, on the out bound leg of the course. my last minute decision to keep a sweatshirt on over my running clothes kept me warm during that stretch. but, ultimately, i was way overdressed and it probably contributed to the dehydration that i felt on the return leg. four layers don't make for an efficient running style :D
it was a tough first mile because i just couldn't loosen up. my legs felt stiff and it wasn't until the third mile that i finally got into a groove. just in time for the gnarly climb up the hill leading to the 4th mile. i missed the mile markers for most of the splits. the first one i spotted was 4, which i reached in 30:35, and then 5, at 38:15. i wouldn't catch another mile marker until the 10 mile spit! at this point i was feeling okay and on pace for the sub 1:35.
after mile 6 we turned left and began the cross over to the return leg, parallel to the outbound one. this was a pleasant, sunny stretch - and thankfully, we had left the wind behind us. we had 3+ mile straightaway, the nicest stretch of the course to run - and make up some lost time on the hilly outbound leg. last year a suddend rain shower materialized during this stretch! i reached 10 miles in 1:16:20, and could feel the effect of the extra clothes.
i was still on target for a sub 1:35, but was fading fast. emmy caught up to me at mile 11 (1:24:20) and could see i was running out of gas. i kept it together for the last two miles, but it was a struggle to get it done. my 1:35:14 (1:35:16 official) was just off thetarget, but an improvement over 2009. afterwards, despite the weather, i was parched and dehydrated from the run. i skipped the bagels and stuck to the pouches of fruit punch.
there was post-race socializing at the station - which included catching up with wayne (who i hadn't seen since the knickerbocker 60k back in november). there was also speculation on the possible new date for the 25k. jim mentioned before the start that the 25k would need to be rescheduled (the traditional move back to the subsequent weekend may not work out this time around because of other race conflicts). then don, emmy, and i went over to joe's house for a post-race brunch and even more socializing!
despite the cold start, it warmed up and turned into a great morning to be out running :D
here are some race photos.
Monday, February 8, 2010
the boy scouts of america are 100 years old today! the "america" part distinguished them from their slightly older bethern, who started scouting a bit earlier in england. on february 8, 1910, william boyce incorporated the boy scouts in delaware. he had been inspired by an earlier trip to london, where boyce had met unknown scout who helped him and thereafter refused a tip. in 1908, robert baden-powell published "scouting for boys" in london, where scouting unofficially began.
my days as an active scout ended thirty years ago. from boy scout camping trips, to the order of the arrow, and then, finally, as an associate advisor to my explorer post, i had some great times thanks to scouting. i've relived some to those times vicariously over the last 10 years as katie now participates in girls scouts :D
most recently, i took a trip back in time to visit my old boy scout haunt, "camp pouch" on staten island. last fall a cub scout troop held a 5k trail run as a fund raiser! that was an incredibly fun time. but just last month the news turned sour when it was announced that camp pouch may not only be closed for financial reasons, it may even be sold outright and some of the pristine woods developed. argh!
anyway, that doesn't take away for an otherwise great milestone for scouting!
happy 100th anniversary!!
update: check out emmy's pictures from the 100th anniversary night celebration!
Sunday, February 7, 2010
despite the frigid start to the race, it was a great morning to run the boston build-up 20k in southport. no repeat of the mid-race rain showers from last year, and we missed out on any snow from the storm that engulfed the mid-atlantic the day before. my 1:35:14 was almost a minute faster than last year, but off my target of a sub 1:35.
here is my race report; and the results from clubct.
here are some photos:
more photos posted on facebook.