Thursday, April 30, 2009

2009 poem in your pocket day!

the 2009 national poetry month ends with the "poem in your pocket day." last year i carried around a great poem from gary snyder. this time around it's a more topical take on the times from allen ginsberg.

while the 80's imagery may be somewhat dated, it still speaks to current events:

Velocity of Money

I’m delighted by the velocity of money as it whistles through the windows
of Lower East Side
Delighted by skyscrapers rising the old grungy apartments falling on
84th Street
Delighted by inflation that drives me out on the street
After all what good’s the family farm, why eat turkey by thousands every
Why not have Star Wars? Why have the same old America?!?
George Washington wasn’t good enough! Tom Paine pain in the neck,
Whitman what a jerk!
I’m delighted by double digit interest rates in the Capitalist world
I always was a communist, now we’ll win
an usury makes the walls thinner, books thicker & dumber
Usury makes my poetry more valuable
my manuscripts worth their weight in useless gold -
Now everybody’s atheist like me, nothing’s sacred
buy and sell your grandmother, eat up old age homes,
Peddle babies on the street, pretty boys for sale on Times Square -
You can shoot heroin, I can sniff cocaine,
macho men can fite on the Nicaraguan border and get paid with paper!
The velocity’s what counts as the National Debt gets higher
Everybody running after the rising dollar
Crowds of joggers down broadway past City Hall on the way to the Fed
Nobody reads Dostoyevsky books so they’ll have to give a passing ear
to my fragmented ravings in between President’s speeches
Nothing’s happening but the collapse of the Economy
so I can go back to sleep till the landlord wins his eviction suit in court.

february 18, 1986, 10:00 a.m
allen ginsberg

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

may 2009 race schedule

may kicks off with not only a "new" race for me, the long island marathon, but a last minute switch at that. i had originally planned on the seven sisters trail race in amherst this sunday, but switched to, and registered for, the marathon just two days ago. hopefully, i can run a bq on long island and mark boston down for next year.

the rest of the schedule is made up of some old favorites (brooklyn half marathon, boy scout 5k, and healthy kidney 10k), and two b.u.s. ultras (greenbelt trail and the memorial 100 mile trek). the biennial 100 mile trek is a great event and, unfortunately, i have to pass up another great event (pineland farms trail 50m) to run it this year.

5/3 - long island marathon
5/9 - long island greenbelt trail 50k
5/14 - boy scouts of america 5k run
5/16 - nyrr healthy kidney 10k
5/23 - pioneer memorial 100m trek - day 1 (kissena park)
5/24 - pioneer memorial 100m trek - day 2 (alley pond park)
5/25 - pioneer memorial 100m trek - day 3 (crocheron park)
5/30 - nyrr brooklyn half marathon

two important non-running events this month:

katie's confirmation and her annual dance recital!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

bob dylan's "together through life"

i picked up dylan's newest studio album. "together through life," this morning. with robert hunter (erstwhile grateful dead lyricist) co-writing nine of the ten songs, and featuring david hidalgo of los lobos on the accordion and mike campbell of tom petty & the heartbreakers on guitar and mandolin, the ten song set is quite a collaborative effort on dylan's part.

"together though life" had it's origins in the composition of the song, "life is hard," which dylan wrote for french director oliver dahan's upcoming new film. that french film, ironically, is about a road trip from kansas to new orleans. "this dream of you" is the only song on the album dylan wrote without hunter.

while i wanted to hear dylan's first new material since 2006's, "modern times," i was even more interested in his collaboration with hunter on the lyrics. they hadn't written together since the late 80's. one of those early songs, silvio, is occassionally covered by bob weir and ratdog. some of the new material on "together through life" is definitely "cover-worthy."

it's strange to juxtapose a "fresh" clean sound, with the soon to be 68 year old dylan. the stark, weathered - even ravaged - vocals we've come to expect from him glue together the string of "love gone wrong/not as planned" songs. a working subtitle to this album could easily have been joe jackson's ironic little chestnut, "fools in love."

dylan starts off with "beyond here lies nothin'" - in which he sings "just as long as you stay with me/ the whole world is my throne." but in the context of an exhausted, world-weary voice - the refrain at the end of each verse telegraphs an increasing beat, shrinking down-sized world to rest that throne upon. he isn't taking us on an upbeat stretch of love songs.

the plaintive lament of "life is hard" with lyrics like: "i walk the boulevard/ admitting life is hard/ without you near me" followed by "my wife's home town" and these lines: "she can make things bad/ she can make things worse/ she's got stuff more potent than a gypsy curse." make you wonder if her home town ain't hell on earth ;D we're treated to the dark side of love, relationships, and the human condition.

interestingly, while there is a certain creaky jaundice - an underlying weariness from the "i've been there before" - it doesn't come off as angry or spiteful. dylan paints some bleak - and to some, nightmarish - landscapes. but they're vivid pictures, and sometimes spiral down into the gutter, revealing the untrustworthiness and bitterness that plays out when things break down. to quote the title of the closing track, "it's all good."

while the preoccupation of the ten songs is all love and its attendant problems, the variety of music ranges from old fashion blues, bitter ballads, country, zydeco and, yes, even to rock. it's all good.

track list:

beyond here lies nothin'
life is hard
my wife's home town
if you ever go to houston
forgetful heart
this dream of you
shake shake mama
i feel a change comin' on
it's all good

Monday, April 27, 2009

john l. parker, jr.'s "once a runner" released in hardcover :D

i reviewed john l. parker, jr.'s "once a runner" a few months ago, when it was announced that the book would be reissued in hardcover! "once a runner" the hardcover was officially released - and runners of all abilities should rejoice at the news! now it's finally available - without resort to the obscene prices on the used book market, or borrowed dog-eared copies of the paperback - at a reasonable cost. that alone is reason to celebrate.

the other reason to celebrate - it's a great book about running! easily among my top 5 favorite running books of all time, it's a "must-read" at least once. and, what prompted my earlier review, the perfect antidote to that quintessentially anti-running classic, "the loneliness of the long distance runner" - seriously.

here is the short blurb from the yesterday's new york times book review (noting its entry on the top 20 list):

SLOW AND STEADY: John L. Parker Jr.’s “Once a Runner” enters the hardcover fiction list at No. 14 — more than three decades after it was first published. Unfamiliar with this come-from-behind story? Parker is the self-published author whose tale of a mystical miler named Quenton Cassidy was revived after it topped’s list of the most searched for out-of-print books in the United States for 2007 and 2008. Two years ago in Runner’s World, Parker described to Benjamin Cheever the publicity strategy that helped him sell 100,000 copies over the years, which included listing his personal records (he once ran a 4:06 mile) on the jacket and racing in a T-shirt promising a free book to anyone who passed him. (“I didn’t give away a lot of books,” he said.)

Along with not-so-subtle nods to Eliot, Faulkner and Kipling (a 4:30 miler), “Once a Runner” features some near-Joycean experiments with time. According to Cheever, it takes 15 minutes to read aloud the account of the climactic mile that Quenton runs in less than four. Cheever called the novel “so inspiring that it could be banned as a performance-enhancing drug,” but a sequel, “Again to Carthage” (2007), never made the list. Another comeback in the making?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

where the wild things run 5k: race photos and results

in a surprise addition to the race calendar, went up to wilton for the inaugural "where the wild things run" 5k held at the woodcock nature center. in something of a surprise, my 20:35 on the hilly course was good enough to win the race! right behind me, in second, was emmy!

here is my race report.

here are the official results.

here are some race photos:

pre-race registration



post-race: kids fun run

post-race: kids fun run

me and mark (rd)

dead at madison square garden: setlist

the dead played madison square garden last night - probably the venue they played most, outside california, during their touring days. unfortunately for me, went 0-2 with their nyc area appearances :( still have a chance to catch one of their hartford or jersey shows - keeping my fingers crossed for that :D

in the meantime, have to enjoy them vicariously - via my friends reports of the shows :D

here is the setlist from last night:

first set:

cosmic charlie
china cat sunflower>
shakedown street
ship df fools
he's gone

second set:

cryptical envelopment>
the other one>
born cross eyed>
st. stephen>
the eleven>
uncle john's band>
unbroken chain>
gimme shelter
one more saturday night


brokedown palace

here is the nassau coliseum setlist.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

2009 sybil ludington 50k: photos and results

well today was an incredibly hot day to run a race! the temperature soared into the 80's for a good portion of the race - argh! the short version: ran a 4:25:23 and finished third overall. at the risk of leaving some out: emmy, rob, grant, frank, al, susan, jill, and barbara all took home race hardware!

here is my race report.

here are the official results.

here are my race photos:

pre-race: rob and anthony


me and chris

susan and emmy


rob and grant (mixing his post-race recovery drink)

susan, emmy, frank, and richie

jill and joe

al and grant

emmy, ellen, and frank





tom and emmy


tom and barbara


check out anthony's race photos and videos!
check out emmy's race photos!
here are the 2008 race photos and results.

the dead kick off nyc region shows at nassau coliseum: setlist

dead shows at the nassau coliseum have a fond place in my heart - that was where, back in the spring of 1980, i caught my first grateful dead show. hard to believe that was almost 30 years ago! last night the band, sans jerry, kicked off their ny region shows there (and head to madison square garden tonight).

here is what they played last night:

first set:

jack straw
brown-eyed women
it's all over baby blue
easy wind
death don't have no mercy
don't ease me in
lost sailor>
saint of circumstance

second set:

when i paint my masterpiece (acoustic)
peggy-o (acoustic)
looks like rain (acoustic)
alabama getaway>
dark star
knocking on heaven's door
goin' down the road feeling bad


touch of grey

since a few of my friends were at the show, hopefully i'll update this post with their impressions of the show!

Friday, April 24, 2009

sybil ludington story to be filmed!

a couple of months ago i read an interesting story in the journal news about an ohio-based group scheduled to make a film about sybil ludington this spring. since the 50k race is tomorrow, i decided to follow-up on the status of the film.

here's the brief version (from wikipedia) of her story:

"Ludington's ride started at 9:00 P.M. and ended around dawn. She rode 40 miles, more than twice the distance of Paul Revere, into the damp hours of darkness. She is also known as the "female Paul Revere". She was only 16 years old when she made the ride! She could see the sky aglow from the burning town. "Muster at Ludington's", she shouted at the farmhouses of the militiamen. She rode through Carmel, on to Mahopac, thence to Kent Cliffs, from there to Farmers Mills and back home. She used a stick to prod her horse and knock on doors. She managed to defend herself against a highway man with her father's musket. When, soaked from the rain and exhausted, she returned home, most of the 400 soldiers were ready to march.

amazingly, filming is set to begin on may 1st! micah morgan plays sybil ludington.

Micah Morgan talks about Sybil Ludington on Vimeo.

follow the film's progress on their facebook fan page!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

from the archives: 2007 sybil ludington 50k race report

in anticipation of saturday's return to carmel for the sybil ludington 50k, i decided to post my 2007 race report. this will be my 4th sybil, but the first one with the race starting in the opposite direction! in an email, the race director announced the course change last month. the new course should be "safer" than the original now that we don't run down a busy stretch of route 6, and then trace the narrow contour of the south side of the lake.

the trade-off may result in a few more hills - and lost is the downhill slope of the first couple of miles. still, it should be an interesting race this year :D

Sybil Ludington 50k
Carmel, New York
Saturday, April 21, 2007

Sun and more sun! It was forecast during the week, and it actually came true on race day. That alone had me smiling all day long. After the waterlogged trip to Boston, and the string of lousy weather weekends we had this Spring, it was hard to believe we’d get to run in sunshine. Last year when I ran Sybil, it was my first ultra and I had no idea what to expect. The weather was miserable then - cold (30's), wind, rain and snow - which made it all the more memorable. My 4:43:58 finish was more about survival than running or racing. This year things looked to be different.

The course retraces the ride of 16-year-old Sybil Ludington, who some consider the female Paul Revere, during the night of April 26, 1777. She rode to alert the volunteer militia so they could go fight the British, who had just captured Danbury, CT. It seemed fitting, on the heels of the Boston Marathon, held on Patriots Day to honor the ride of Paul Revere, to follow up that race with the Sybil 50k and continue the thread of Colonial American patriotism.

I drove to the race with my friend Emmy. She had also run Boston earlier that week. She was undecided until we actually reached Carmel, whether to volunteer and then run some of the course as training for the Lake Waramug Ultras next week, or run the entire 50k. Luckily, she decided on the 50k. The race organizers car-pooled the runners to the start, which was a mile beyond the finish line. The finish was located, appropriately, at the statue of Sybil Ludington on horseback.

The first 6 miles were a downright dangerous run on Route 6. The race literally began in the breakdown lane and ran downhill into oncoming traffic. The course continued on this busy stretch into Mahopac Falls, before it turned north onto the less trafficked Route 32. In the first half mile I was pleasantly surprised to meet RunnerTim, from the Coolrunning Forum. He posted a query about Sybil a few weeks earlier and since we were both running the race, we’d look for each other. He had no problem finding me in my yellow Marathon Maniac singlet. Tim’s day began at 2:00 a.m. with a drive from Harrisburg, PA. In addition to Sybil, he planned to run the Promise Land 50k next weekend. I introduced him to Emmy and we three ran together for the first 10k of the race.

My ideal goal was to finish in less than 4:30. Aside from that broad objective, I didn’t have much of a pacing strategy in mind. This was a very hilly course, which made maintaining a constant pace per mile difficult. The mile markers were spaced at five mile intervals. The aid stations were not located at standard intervals. For example, the first aid station was a 4.2 miles, the second was at 5.8 miles, and so on. There was also a marker at the first mile, which we reached in 8:41.

We picked up the pace and ran a five mile split of 40:56 - an 8:11 pace. Just after the 5.8 mile aid station I pulled ahead of Emmy and Tim for a while. I also took this opportunity to switch from my cap to a headband. We had been running in a steady 15 mph headwind and I was tired of constantly fidgeting with my cap. I reached 10 miles in 1:20:41, dropping my pace to 8:04. The half marathon split was 1:45:41, and the 15 mile split was 2:01:42. Soon the combination of hills and constant headwinds caught up to me. As I tried to catch the runner ahead of me, Tim caught me in mile 16.

Then, we began a long stretch where the three of us pretty much ran together in a loose configuration. It was in mile 16 that we began walking the steeper hills. Tim and the other runner would pick up the running just at the crest of the hill and I would usually rejoin them on the bottom of the next hill down the road. For some strange reason there was a mile marker at 18.2, which I reached in 2:29:26, an aid station at 18.7 miles, which I reached at 2:35:09 and, finally, the twenty mile marker in 2:47:40. Then we reached the next aid station at 21.2 miles, in 2:59:09.

The husband and wife team at this station, set up in the back of their SUV, were very kind. They insisted Tim put on sunscreen, which they provided, because his skin was a little red! They wanted me to take off my shirt and run in just the singlet because it was too hot. I had on a short sleeve tech shirt under my MM singlet. I declined since it was still windy enough for me to benefit from that extra layer. When I reached this point last year, I was in such poor condition that she suggested that I go get some hot soup from the Chinese take-out place (free, I was told) in the adjoining strip mall. Emmy, who had just caught up with me that mile, grabbed my arm and insisted I keep going without the stop for soup. I skipped the soup.

The next aid station was more than 3.5 miles away (mile 24.9). Just after we after left the 21.2 mile aid station, I started to feel thirsty - not a very good sign. I was actually more than 5 minutes ahead of my 2006 time and in much stronger condition. We were in a two mile stretch of dirt road that, last year, was practically unrunnable for me. My quads had gotten so beaten up at Boston in 2006, that I was reduced to walking down the hills in this stretch. This year I ran the entire stretch without a problem. When we exited this portion and returned to the road, only to confront another long uphill climb, Tim fell behind slightly. The other runner and I pushed ahead as a duo.

During this stretch I ran into Joe, running Sybil at the young age of 76! Last year the race fell on his 75th birthday and the race organizers had a birthday cake for him at the finish! It was, as always, an inspiration to see Joe. At this point I seriously needed some fluids. We reached the 24.9 mile aid station in 3:34:07 and I drank about 6 Dixie cups of water and Gatorade before setting off. I passed mile marker 25 in 3:36:53, and set my sights on the marathon split. The fluids from the last aid station kicked in to give me a boost of energy and I passed the marathon mark in 3:47 - again a solid five minutes ahead of last year.

I still felt strong at this point. I wasn’t able to catch the runner ahead of me, but I was still running, occasionally mixing in some walking to climb the hills. But I could feel the dehydration creeping up on me. By mile 28 I was parched and all I could think about was water. I knew that there was an aid station around mile 29, but it seemed so far away. That aid station, it turned out, was actually at mile 29.6! Could it really be almost 5 miles between aid stations? In hindsight, I would have worn a fluid belt. Emmy caught me in mile 29. When she asked me how I was, all I could say was, "I need water. But go ahead and win this thing!" She was just two miles from nailing down the victory!

Just as I reached the 29.6 mile aid station, Tim caught me too. An aid station volunteer snapped a picture of the two of us there. Tim took the lead out of the aid station, but after reaching mile 30 in 4:22:19, we pretty much ran the last mile to the finish together. It wasn’t possible for me to do the last 1.1 miles in 8 minutes, so I walked the last two hills in mile 31. Tim crossed the finish just ahead of me. I finished in 4:34:31, an 8:51 pace - a full nine minutes better than 2006. I drank two entire bottles of water right there at the finish line! But even more importantly, I found out that Emmy had, indeed, won the race! Last year she came in second. This year she improved to first! Awesome!

Despite missing my 4:30 target, I was very pleased with my effort. This year’s Boston/Sybil double of 3:41:51/4:34:31 was slower than last year’s 3:16:36/4:43:52 performance. Last year my Boston run was all business - I needed a qualifying time for 2007, so I raced it. That accounts for the substantially faster finish in 2006. But in keeping with the trend of this year’s training cycle, this double worked out very well for me. I ran Sybil, a much more difficult course, in the same time I ran the Kurt Steiner 50k at the beginning of the April. While I hadn’t planned on the sun and constant wind creating a dehydration problem, it only slowed me down for the last 5k of the race. It wasn't that big of a deal in the overall scheme of things.

Next up: the Lake Waramug Ultras in New Preston, CT, this weekend.

check out the 2008 race report and race photos.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

earth day 2009

today, april 22, 2009, is the 40th anniversary of earth day! while i don't have a particular earth day celebration event in mind, i did watch a deeply troubling documentary, "flow: for the love of water" on the sundance channel last night. i reviewed "flow"its coverage of the corporate and political efforts to monopolize the worldwide water supply- here.

but, back to earth day: here in new york city check out earth day new york for information on earth fair 2009 events at grand central station - especially the free music lined up for this friday and saturday. plus, it has an extensive calendar of earth day events happening in the city.

go green today, go green every day! [and that's not license to cheer on the jets - ha]

check out earth day 2008's green comic relief :D

hudson valley 15k: race report

the inaugural hudson valley 15k was held this weekend in blooming cove, new york. my good friend todd mapped out the course and managed to collect every hill (large and small) in the surrounding three towns to include along the route. while the course was challenging, it was also incredibly scenic. since i wasn't running boston this year the timing worked out perfectly. in fact, last year, emmy, todd and i were all at the boston marathon. this year we all ran the 15k!

i warmed up with an easy 7-8 minute jog before the start - mainly to stay warm since it was a bit on the chilly side. i actually put on a short sleeve tech shirt underneath the long sleeved one i had on. while they didn't seem warm enough at the start, i knew once the sun burnt thru the cloud cover i would be overdressed. but for the time being i tossed on a headband for good measure. my only time goal was to come in under 1:10 and run a consistent 7:30 pace.

i ran the first 2 and a half miles with todd. we chatted about the course, running, the grateful dead among other topics. he's lining up for the vermont city marathon next month. i haven't settled on a new marathon yet - but definitely need to nab a bq at one if i want to head back to boston next year! those first few miles flew by, including the climb up the hill (400+ feet) in the middle of mile three.

here are those initial splits:

7:35 15:23
7:54 23:18

i was off my planned 7:30 pace, so it was time get focused. the next two miles were right on target, 7:33 and 7:32, respectively. but my five mile split of 38:24 was almost a minute off the pace and i had just 4 miles left to make it up. so i picked up the pace a little to make up some lost ground:

6:39 45:03
7:17 52:20
7:02 59:22
7:07 1:06:29
2:01 1:08:31

7:21 pace

i went straight thru the chute and jogged the quarter mile back to the car to get my camera. i got back just in time to snap shots of todd and emmy crossing the finish line! then we all walked back to the staging area outside bella luna restaurant together. what an incredible post-race spread of food they had - in addition to bagels, coffee and assorted fruit: scrambled eggs, chicken, sausage and peppers, and pasta!

while my time was only good enough for 5th place in my age group, emmy not only won her age group - but was the 5th woman finisher overall!

check out emmy's race report!

next up: the sybil ludington 50k.

seconds? maybe thirds? i won't fess up :D

here are my race photos.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

happy birthday pat!!

happy birthday pat!!

this is the second april birthday in our household, following katie's at the beginning of the month. it also shares the same day as my birthday will in a few more months :D

i won't mention how old pat is today - but will say she's definitely older than katie, and younger than i am :D

pat loves giraffees, james taylor, and pat metheny!

happy birthday pat!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

113th boston marathon is today!!

today is the 113th running of the boston marathon!!

wouldn't it be awesome to see a double american wins?! i'll be cheering for ryan hall and kara goucher to break the tape this afternoon :D

good luck to everyone running!!

update: hall and ryan each take third place!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

hudson valley 15k: race photos and results

today was the inaugural hudson valley 15k in blooming grove, new york. my friend todd was instrumental in putting this challenging race together, i love his description of the course (from the race flyer):

"Make no mistake, and listen to no one who says otherwise - this course has hills! A daunting one at mile 2, and at least two other "testers" further along the route. But the majority of the course is extremely picturesque, enough so that one might momentarily forget about the hills every once in a while."

it had the hills and the beauty - and great weather too. i finished in 1:08:31, a 7:21 pace.

here is my race report.

here are the official results from coolrunning.

here are my race photos:

pre-race: emmy and todd

pre-race: me and todd

pre-race quarter mile walk to the starting line.

todd, finishing.

emmy, finishing.

emmy, done

me and emmy.

me and todd.

back to the post-race activities.

post-race food included eggs, chicken, sausage and peppers, pasta, bagels, and fruit!

emmy and mark.


emmy, first place age group!