Monday, August 31, 2009

henry isola cross country classic 4 miler: photos and results

yesterday i ran the henry isola 4 mile xc classic at van cortlant park. the course may have come in a bit longer than 4 miles. it was a double loop that include two climbs up cemetery hill and i managed a 29:42 - a bit on the slow side for a 4 miler (even on trails).

here are the official results.

here are a few pictures:

me, tom, and emmy.

sal, partial hidden behind his bag.

bob, emmy, and sue.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

bob dylan's "highway 61 revisited" released 44 years ago today

on august 30, 1965, bob dylan released "highway 61 revisited," probably his greatest album and, arguably, one of the greatest rock albums of all time. dylan himself, had this to say about it: "i'm not gonna be able to make a record better than that one... highway 61 is just too good. there's a lot of stuff on there that i would listen to."

it's my favorite dylan album, although my favorite dylan song is still (and will probably always be) "joey" - one of his more infrequently performed tunes. i just finished reading greil marcus' "like a rolling stone: bob dylan at the crossroads" - a stream of consciousness tour of the song, and it's incredible impact on dylan and the world (i'll post a review of that book soon). the recording of "like a rolling stone" took place in mid-june 1965 - the remainder of "highway 61 revisited" was recorded in late july and early august.

between "like a rolling stone" and the remaining sessions for the album, dylan appeared at the newport fold festival. that appearance, when he played electric guitar for his second set and encountered a seemingly less than enthusiastic crowd - and plenty of "boos" as well - became known as the infamous "electric dylan controversy," and may have colored the mood of the subsequent recording sessions.

regardless of the electric controversy or maybe, urged on by it, the album's additional songs were tremendous. aside from the already released (as a single) "like a rolling stone" the album included (just to pick two), "queen jane approximately" and "desolation row" - now also dylan (and rock) classics.

so take some time to "revisit" highway 61 today :D

Saturday, August 29, 2009

first annual irvington high school peter oley 5k trail run

i had planned to run the westport summer series 9.3 miler this morning. instead, the nasty weather and a more civilized 9:30 start time for a brand new trail run here in westchester led to a change in plans. i drove over to irvington for the first annual peter k. oley trail run; a 5k race to benefit the irvington cross county team.

it was a beautiful course, which the high school team spent a good chunk of the summer cleaning up and maintaining. my 21:33 was good enough for third master - which wasn't tough since 95% of the field consisted of high schoolers :D

joe and me

check out joe's great race report.

dathan ritzenhein's 12:56:27 breaks american 5k record!!

while that's a picture of dathan ritzenhein is from last year's summer olympics games in beijing, it's works for his brand new american 5k record: 12:56:27 - breaking bob kennedy's 13 year old 12:58:21 (coincidentally, set at the very same track)!

ritzenhein, a marathoner(!) who also ran 10ks, took 3rd place at the golden league games 5k in zurich yesterday. in the process ritzenhein became only the 3rd non-african male to run a 5k in under 13 minutes. his previous personal best for a 5k was 13:16:06!

Friday, August 28, 2009

cheap trick, "sgt. pepper live" album review

i've purchased only a few albums this year; cheap trick's "sgt. pepper live" is the fourth one of 2009. it was released tuesday, and i'm listening to it now, for the 3rd time, as i write up this brief review. cheap trick performed the entire album in 2007 (at the los angeles bowl), to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the beatles' release of "sgt. pepper's lonely hearts club band," in 1967.

in an extraordinary coup (or, maybe, a neat trick - ha), cheap trick enlisted geoff emerick, the producer and engineer (together w/george martin) of the beatles' release, to supervise the sound for "sgt. pepper live." the cheap trick release includes the backing of the new york philharmonic orchestra, the indian sitar band, and various guest artists on select tracks (notable is joan osborne on "lovely rita").

the cd and dvd were recorded at a special benefit performance here in new york city (it's not the 2007 los angeles performance). next month, cheap trick will again recreate the "sgt. pepper live" performance in las vegas. the group is no stranger to beatles' covers - the last cut on their "greatest hits" album is "magical mystery tour." and as a "live" band, they hardly need introduction (w/"cheap trick at budokan" one of the greatest live albums of rock).

the cheap trick "sgt. pepper" performance is intense. it's definitely an edgier, harder driving version than the beatles. but the beatles soul permeates each song covered by cheap trick. the band definitely captured (reproduced) the beatles' sound without skipping a beat. it's all the more impressive since lennon himself is reported to have said the beatles were recording an album that could never be played live (because of all the effects).

while lennon made that remark after the beatles had stopped touring (and their last public appearance would be a 15 minute concert on top of the apple studios building), modern technology and the desire to get that incredible sound on a stage drove the production. listening to this album reminded me of the movie, "across the universe," the george martin released "love" and the cirque du soleil show of the same name - each brought the beatles back with a fresh and contemporary twist.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

2009 self-transcendence marathon: race report

on tuesday, as i drove over the tappan zee bridge and headed over to rockland lake, it felt like i was playing hooky from work with a tuesday morning marathon! the 2007 self-transcendence marathon was on a friday - and, while i technically missed work for that one too, it just seemed as if that was the kick-off a long weekend! the 2007 edition was tough, in terms of weather. as i drove over the bridge 2 years ago, the rockland shoreline was hidden behind a wall of fog - which set the stage for what would be a very hot and humid 26.2 miles.

my 4:27 finish in 2007 went into the books as my slowest marathon. this time around i planned to make amends for that poor showing with a sub-4 hour finish. the course (8.75 loops of beautiful rockland lake), under normal weather conditions, can generate some fast times. there were three aid station spread out across the (just under 3 mile) loop. the sri chinmoy organizers also had musicians on the course, including those who played drums, a violin, a sitar, and even dedicated clappers! it was a fun, upbeat scene!

the morning didn't have an auspicious start - as i crossed the field to pick up my bib, my feet got soaked from the wet grass - argh. i went back to the car and switched into dry socks. on the way back, i said hi to tammy and then chatted with al, as we waited for the conch to sound the official start. my first mile, 8:15, was too fast under the circumstances. my goal was to run as many 8:30 miles as possible. there was an outside chance at a 3:45 finish, but wanted to use this event as a long training run.

to that end, i wore my ipod and listened to phil lesh for all but the last loop. the first 4 loops were phil and friends at jones beach, summer 2008; the second 4 loops were phil and friends (w/joan osborne) at bonnaroo in 2006. the last loop was all green day - "21st century breakdown!" in addition to the good music, the course brought back great memories because i've run it multiple times with katie! lots of positive karma that morning!

my five mile split, 42:23, was just under an 8:30 pace. during the next 5 miles my pace slowly crept over that 8:30 target - my 10 mile split was 1:25:29. from that point on i would run precious few sub 8:30 miles. i reached the half marathon in 1:52:41 and it still possible to run a 3:45 race. fifteen miles passed in 2:09:11 and then i reached 20 miles in 2:52:42 - with just over 48 minutes to hit 3:45. even with a strong assist by green day, my 25 mile split of 3:35:43 left me less than 10 minutes to cover the remaining 1.2 miles.

while i came in well below the 4 hour target, i missed 3:45 by more than a minute. still, the 3:46:02 shaved more than 40 minutes off my 2007 finish! that alone, made me incredibly happy with this performance. except for mild dehydration, i didn't seem any worse for the wear. during the race i only drank water and cytomax. except for a couple of watermelon pieces and a handful of raisins, i didn't eat anything during the race.

it was fun to see tammy out on the course, as well as staci too. but i didn't see eliot - nor did i catch sight of dave (who came in 3rd overall with a 2:46!) - out there. this may have been a result of the wearing the ipod and listening to my music. in 2007, sri chinmoy not only officially started the with his blessing, but he was out on the course and cheered on the runners throughout the morning. sadly, he passed away in 2008, and his inspiring presence was missed out there.

because katie had field hockey try-outs that day, i couldn't stick around to socialized. on the drive home it felt like i should shower and head into the office for a few hours that afternoon! so seems that the heat did get to me after all - ha! luckily, i came back to my senses - work would still be there on wednesday ;D

here are some race photos.

check out tammy's race report.
check out staci's race report.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

dustin hoffman as "lenny" bruce - movie review

yesterday i watched dustin hoffman in bob fosse's "lenny" - the 1974 film about the life and times of comedian lenny bruce. i added it to my netflix queue earlier this month because it was the 43rd anniversary of lenny bruce's death from a heroin overdose - at the tragically young age of 40! i came to lenny bruce via the first amendment, rather than the typical route most people encounter him - via his comedy.

the 1950's and 1960's witnessed the incredibly repressive persecution of then cutting edge artists (mostly writers) and entertainers. by today's standards what lenny bruce was repeatedly prosecuted for under the guise of obscenity is considered tame stuff. within 10 years of his death, the play and movie versions of his life - both which incorporated his stage routines - were mainstream viewing (albeit the movie earned an "r" rating).

back to the film... with a dustin hoffman in his prime, it was a pleasure to watch. filmed in black and white, fosse weaved together a series of flashbacks to illuminate the three main interviews "conducted" with bruce's wife, honey (an ex-stripper and eventual heroin addict), his mother, and agent. if there is any serious criticism, the film paints bruce as a basically saintly heretic. the repeated scenes with his infant, then toddler, daughter underscored how selfless he was (not to mention repeatedly bailing out his wife). the guy just couldn't do wrong.

we're even led to believe that the repeated arrests and prosecutions led directly to his tragic death (fully portrayed with the infamous image of him sprawled out naked on his bathroom floor). but, it's is annoying vague on a lot of material. it nails the downward spiral bruce's stage routine devolved into - he literally read, ad nauseum, the transcripts of the trials to his audience! that wasn't comedy, it was drug-fueled self-pity. the film doesn't explore the drug-addiction (although it implied, via a mother's rant, that it was honey's fault).

while nominated for six oscars (including best picture, actor, actress, and cinematography) it took home none. but valerie perrine did win best actress at the 1975 cannes film festival for her portrayal of honey. the substance of lenny bruce's biography is thin, but the performances are first rate - well worth the time to watch. if you're a stickler for background and detail, balance the film with goldman and schiller's, "ladies and gentlemen - lenny bruce."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

bruce springsteen's "born to run" was released 34 years ago today

i just couldn't pass up the chance to mention that today is the 34th anniversary bruce springsteen's third album "born to run" - released on august 25, 1975. it's easily both his masterpiece and breakthrough album. while "born in the usa" would also be a blockbuster release for springsteen, "born to run" was what launched him into super stardom.

i was a huge fan of springsteen in high school. but this wasn't my first bruce springsteen album, "darkness on the edge of town" has that honor. "born to run," the title cut, is not my favorite bruce song, that goes to "spirits in the night," on his first album, "greetings from asbury park," released at the start of 1973. but "born to run" does have my second favorite bruce song, "thunder road!"

while i'm not as big a fan of bruce springsteen as i was in those days, i did go see him play giants stadium last summer. that was a tremendous show - and even after all the years gone by, he still has it.

2009 self-transcendence marathon: photos and results

i just got back from the self-transcendence marathon in rockland county. my 3:46:02 (8:38 pace) was good enough to move this event out of the unfinished business column! when i ran it in 2007, came very close to a dnf (the heat and humidity got to me) - and my 4:27 finish was a personal worst marathon performance.

here is my race report.

here are the official results.

here are a few photos i took:

Monday, August 24, 2009

peter falk "just one more thing: stories from my life" book review

peter falk's autobiography, "just one more thing: stories from my life," is a fun, quick read. i finished it in just a few hours because it was so hard to put down. it helped that i'm a big fan of falk, and his columbo is my all-time favorite t.v. detective. his book is hardly a traditional narrative, however. it's series of short vignettes, not quite in linear order, covering topics that falk in interested in talking about.

surprisingly, there is the barest of personal information. i never knew that he lost his eye to cancer at the shockingly young age of three! nor did i know he spent time in the merchant marine and attended four colleges while searching for a potential career (which at the time, did not include acting). when he finally broke into acting, it in a series of off-broadway productions in the mid to late 1950's.

his first major film role was in "murder, inc." - which, ironically, not only cast him as a career criminal, but earned him an oscar nomination in the process! but the bulk of his stories focused, as we'd expect, on "columbo" and the odds and ends surrounding his iconic detective! peter falk was responsible for trench coat and vintage car (along with all the bits associated with his style - especially searching his pockets for a pencil, paper... and the classic, "just one more thing" tag line).

aside from "columbo" we learn that "the in-laws" with alan arkin is probably his favorite movie. and that his favorite pastime is probably painting (and the book is liberally punctuated with examples of his work). but, there are large gaps - for example, little is said about his children, while much is written about his current wife. but, as noted, the book is filled with stories he's interested in telling.

the only sad part is the realization that peter falk now suffers from alzheimer's disease. the news was made public only last year (and a couple of years following the publication of his book). it will be a tragic end to such a wonderful man. peter falk just celebrated his 82nd birthday.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

sacco and vanzetti put to death in the electric chair 82 years ago today

on august 23, 1927, 82 years ago today, nicola sacco and bartolomeo vanzetti were put to death, via the electric chair, for a 1920 armed robbery and double murder in braintree, massachusetts. sacco and vanzetti were members of a militant italian-american anarchist group, the galleanists which was suspected of numerous bombings. some believed the infamous september 1920 wall street bombing that resulted in 38 deaths and 400 injured was a direct reprisal for the arrest and indictment of sacco and vanzetti.

to this day, the trial and conviction of sacco and vanzetti continues to spark controversy on both sides of the issue. many continue to believe that they were denied, at the very least, a fair trial and were, more ominously, the victims of a biased judge intent on their convictions at any cost. on august 23, 1977, 50 years after their execution, the then-governor of massachusetts, michael dukakis, issued the following proclamation:

"Any stigma and disgrace should be forever removed from the names of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. We are not here to say whether these men are guilty or innocent. We are here to say that the high standards of justice, which we in Massachusetts take such pride in, failed Sacco and Vanzetti."

i'm convinced that sacco did commit the murders. as his accomplice, vanzetti, then is guilty of felony murder. my admittedly completely subjective view was bolstered in 2005, with the release of upton sinclair's 1929 correspondence. in a letter to his own attorney, sinclair admitted that learned "both of them were guilty" from sacco and vanzetti's lawyer, fred moore.

while that certainly isn't dispositive, it's unlikely we'll ever find out the truth of what happened in baintree more than 89 years ago.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

"it might get loud" movie review

yesterday i went to an afternoon show of "it might get loud," a documentary on the work of three disparate rock guitarists, jimmy page, the edge, and jack white. initially, what drew me to the film was jimmy page's involvement - i would've been just as happy to watch a documentary on jimmy page alone! but within the first two minutes of "it might get loud," jack white hammer together some wood and wire, tossed in a coke bottle, then plug that mess into an amp - and play it (loud!) - i was seriously hooked.

the short version of this review: "it might get loud" is a must watch film for anyone with any connection to music. if you're a fan of page, the edge, or jack white and you skip this film, the regrets would be immeasurable. to put my fascination in context, i can't remember the last time i watched the credits of any film. not only did i sit thr0ugh the credits (the hook: the trio performed an acoustic "the weight") - but i could've stayed and watched another hour of them! it was that riveting to watch these guys on stage together.

the filmmaker, davis guggenheim ("an inconvenient truth"), brought together 3 of rock's electric guitar virtuosos - each from an ostensibly different generation (of time and music). guggenheim then interwove their back stories as he brought them together on stage for what amounted to a masters seminar on the electric guitar, history lesson, and jam session. how they began to slowly share stories and techniques until they picked up their guitars and started to play for (and then with) each other is the heart of the film.

watching jimmy page discuss the evolution of the double neck guitar and discuss it's importance to "stairway to heaven" - then watching the vintage footage of page play it on stage with led zeppelin was riveting. but the most astonishing - if not rewarding - part of the documentary was watching the three play "in my time of dying" late in the session. they were transformed into garden variety (albeit legendary) guitar geeks jamming together to learn a new riff - beautiful stuff.

as i mentioned, i was drawn to this film by page (and, coincidentally, it was robert plant's birthday the day before) - and loved the never before scenes of his private life. page was like a little kid taking the audience into his listening room, pulling out old album and once they spun on the turntable, played air guitar along with the riffs! he was transformed into every other teenager who listens to albums in his room (or today, i guess plays "guitar hero").

but aside from page, the film introduced me to jack white. i had never heard of him (or his music). from what i saw of him, that will definitely change. "it might get loud" also brought me back to the days i was into u2. the edge, going back to his early influences (the punk movement of the 70's - again, coincidentally, it was joe strummer's birthday when i caught the film), brought a new appreciation of the development of his sound (heavily influenced by tech and gadgetry).

the funniest part of the entire film was the counter intuitive close: how 3 electric guitarists found themselves learning the music and lyrics to "the weight" - and then played it acoustically to end the documentary was ironic (to put it mildly). coming off the monster jam they had just performed of "in my time of dying" it was actually a letdown! but that minor cavil aside, it was a terrific film!

watch it LOUD!

Friday, August 21, 2009

ex-ny giant plaxico burress pleads guilty to gun possession charge

yesterday former ny giant plaxico burress finally brought the long-running soap opera of his accidental shooting to a dramatic close when the plead guilty to a reduced charge in exchange for a 2-year prison term. with good behavior, he could be back out on the streets in only 20 months. unfortunately, for burress, that killed any chance of football for the next two seasons, at a minimum. maybe he'll get a chance to suit up for the 2012-13 season? lucky for burress, commissioner goodell announced that his one year suspension from the nfl will run concurrently with his jail time.

excuse me if i have no sympathy for plaxico burress! first, his gun-toting stunt - which backfired loudy - led directly (in my opinion) to the implosion of the remainder of ny giants' season. second, his poor strategy of digging in and hoping it would all blow over and he'd get back to football as usual was mind-numbingly dumb. third, and most obnoxious of all, blaming everyone (and everything) in sight for his travails was the last straw - mayor bloomberg ruined it, da morgenthal ruined it, nys mandatory sentences ruined it, my celebrity ruined it... and the whining went on, and on, and on!

the irony of all this stupidity, he could have taken a plea months after the incident - and probably gotten significantly less jail time. but his hubris? fear? poor legal advice? poor public relations? all ratcheted up the stakes and made doing real time in jail inevitable. and in the process, he lost at least one football season of playing time by dragging this out.

no tears - at least from me - for plaxico. hopefully, chilling out for 20 months may help him realize that ordinary people don't walk around with concealed (and loaded) weapons. and, whatever wild west delusions prompted him to walk into a crowded night club with a loaded gun, will seem like some long ago bad dream.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

happy birthday robert plant - led zeppelin's frontman turns 61 today!

robert plant (now "sir" robert plant) was born 61 years ago today, august 20, 1948. the legendary vocalist was the flamboyant frontman of led zeppelin in the 60's and 70's. then, in the 90's, he reunited with jimmy page for a pair of "plant/page" of albums and small (relative to zeppelin) tours.

the remaining band members performed a one time concert (and included jason bonham, the son of their late drummer, john) in december 2008. that immediately led to speculation of a more substantial led zeppelin reunion effort (tour and new tunes), fueled by the comments of jason bonham last summer that he was in the studio working with jimmy page and john paul jones!

robert plant single-handedly brought any thoughts of the reunion tour to a crashing halt - at least for the foreseeable future. he had been in the middle of a wildly successful tour with allison kraus, as they promoted their soon-to-be grammy award winning album. whether plant has second thoughts and revisits the zeppelin reunion project remains to be seen.

the remaining band members even auditioned potential replacements for plant before abandoning (shelving) the project in hopes that plant would reconsider once his schedule commitments permitted. be that as it may,

happy birthday robert plant!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

2009 waveny summer xc series: ekiden 3 person relay

last night was the waveny xc summer series ekidin relay (three progressive legs: 1k, 2k, and 3k). roy, rob, and i ran it as a team. i ran the first leg (1k), rob did the second leg (3k), and roy took the anchor leg (2k). our combined time for the 6k was 24:17 - which worked out to an average 6:31 pace per mile! i'll add a link to the overall results once they're posted.

here are a few pictures (all, except one, taken w/roy's camera):

Monday, August 17, 2009

2009 nyc half marathon: race report

this was my third nyc half marathon in it's brief four year history! i don't remember why i missed the second year (2007), but it's quietly become one of my favorite half marathons (probably second, behind the brooklyn half). the full loop+ of central park, the run down seventh avenue to 42nd street, then across to the west side and straight south to the finish line at battery park is a fast course. as in prior years, it would be a hot, steamy morning to run a race - but, thankfully, no rain for this edition.

for the second year i was part of the world lung foundation running team. last summer the team raised more than $45,000, which all went to fight childhood asthma in kenya. the funds we raised this year will also be used to help children who suffer from asthma. in addition to our returning members, the team included some first-time half marathoners. for a couple them, this wasn't just their first half marathon, but it was their very first race!

the day began with a 4:45 wake-up; then don and emmy got to my house at 5:30 for the half hour drive down to central park. we had planned to meet up with the wlf team in front of the guggenheim museum at 6. but some bright city planner decided that it would smart idea to shut down two lanes of southbound fdr traffic on the day 10,000+ runners and their families would descend upon central park.

we were late enough that everyone had dispersed for the corrals by the time we arrived. the upshot (or downside?) of the missed pre-race meeting was that i didn't have a wlf team singlet to wear for the race. my taconic singlet would have to do. but once we got to the corral, emmy insisted that i wear her singlet (which, to my utter astonishment, fit)! last year i lined up with my camera. this time around the pictures would have to be post-race.

my only time goal was to finish in 1:50 or better. emmy, who was using the race as a training run, had a similar plan in mind, so we ran the first 10 miles together. for the very crowed first 7 miles, the full loop+ of the park, we ran a 56:20 (just over an 8 minute pace). as we exited the park, yvette and some of the wlf team was cheering on the runners! without breaking stride, we ran over to yvette who gave my singlet to emmy; which she then wore for the rest of the race!

we were now on my favorite stretch of the course - seventh avenue and 42nd street. i've run so many miles in central park (training and racing) that the first half was merely the long intro to the fun, "touristy" miles of the race. as we exited the park (sadly, sans the sounds of ac/dc's "welcome to the jungle" - my favorite memory from past nyc half marathons), i said to emmy, "we're halfway there!" to which she corrected me - "we're way past [at 7.5 miles] the half way mark!" that was the first of two "math" slips for me!

i was impressed with the number of music acts along this stretch of the course! seemed as if there was a band every few blocks at one point! in years past, i only remembered the music at the turn south off 42nd street. running across 42nd street, with the music, crowds, lights, traffic free west bound lane, was fantastic! the only downer, the jumbo t.v. screen at 42nd didn't stream video of the runners coming down seventh avenue as in years past.

at the 9 mile mark, a couple of blocks before the turn south, i said to emmy, "wow! just a 5k left to go! woo hoo!" the heat must have gotten to me because she said, half amused - half concerned, "we have 4.1 miles left to go!" oops! as it turned out, the final 4 miles were the toughest - mainly because of the heat. at that point the sun was out and it had probably climbed 10 degrees from the 70 something degrees at the start.

with three miles left to go in the race, emmy dropped back a block or so. i was in my "let's get this thing over with" state of mind by now. in the last mile i passed a runner in distress - with one of his teammates and police officer trying to decide the best plan of action to help him. after the race i heard that many runners had succumbed to the heat on that stretch of the course (one of whom was a wlf teammate of mine).

during the entire race (except for yvette) i saw none of my friends on the course! after i crossed the finish (1:46:58), i said hi to mary wittenburg (who cheered on the finishers) and my friend bob. we waited for emmy to meet up with us, and then we proceeded to the baggage claim. in that short span of time i saw george (fellow trrc teammate) and, after baggage, mark (former wtc teammate). then we met up with the wlf team at the family reunion area.

it took a while for us to reunite with don (shades of the problem we had the first year), but then we took the 4 train back uptown to 86th street. the car was a few blocks from the station. with the exception of one wlf team member who didn't finish (heat problems), it was a great day. we'll definitely be back for the 2010 edition (which may be scheduled for the spring, according to pre-race speculation).

here are my race photos.

here are my 2008 race photos and my 2008 race report.

paula radcliffe wins 2009 nyc half marathon!

paula radcliffe won the 2009 nyc half marathon yesterday, and ryan hall hall took 3rd place in the men's race! radcliffe's 1:09:45 was just 2 seconds off the course record, and marked her 7th straight win (in races from one mile to the marathon) here in nyc! in her last race, radcliffe won the 2008 nyc marathon last fall. even more impressive, not only did radcliffe decide to run the nyc half at the last minute (literally, last week), but she had major foot surgery last march.

radcliffe finished 1:19 ahead of second place mamitu daska of ethiopia. catherine ndereba of kenya, who owns the course record set in 2006, finished third in 1:11:56. paula radcliffe is off to berlin, where she will decide by wednesday whether to run the marathon on behalf of great britain at the world championships next weekend.

in the men's race, tadese tola successfully defended his title with a 1:01: 06 win! the battle for second place was tight: ridouane harroufi of morocco took second in 1:02:33, with ryan half behind him by just two seconds, 1:02:35!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

2009 nyc half marathon: race photos and results

hot and humid day for a half marathon! finished my 3rd nyc half marathon in 1:46:58 (8:10 pace). it was a slow, but fun, race for me. race report to follow.

paula radcliffe won the women's race and ryan hall took 3rd place in the men's race. here are the complete race results from nyrr.

here is my race report.

here are some race photos (these are post-race). will add a few more (pre- and race) photos later today:

Saturday, August 15, 2009

woodstock festival 40 years old today!

the woodstock festival kicked off the first of its three days of music 40 years ago today, august 15, 1969! last night i watched the "woodstock: 40 years later" which is part of vh1 rock docs series (the woodstock documentary was co-produced with the history channel). tonight i even caught some of the original "woodstock" on vh1 classics.

watching both made me realize how woodstock was the high water mark of the 1960's. four months later, in december, the rolling stones tried to replicate woodstock at the altamont speedway. the west coast version resulted in the murder of one concert goer in a fight with the hells angels (hired by the stones for security)! in the wake of altamont, the grateful dead wrote "new speedway boogie."

in may, 1970, less than a year after woodstock, and 5 months after altamont, the national guard unleashed the kent state massacre - resulting in the shooting deaths of 4 students. in the wake of kent state, neil young penned "ohio" (and performed by crosby, still, nash & young).

hard to believe the peace and love of woodstock could have been dissipated so quickly!

2009 norwalk summer series 11 miler: race photos and results

just back from the norwalk 11 miler staged at the silvermine school. my 1:24:30 was two minutes slower than my goal of 1:22:30 (a conservative 7:30 pace). on top of the slower time, i had a camera malfunction that severely limited my post-race picture taking.

despite the two minor glitches, it was a fun morning! ikuko, in her first race back from injury - was the first woman finisher!

will add link to results once they're posted.

Friday, August 14, 2009

2009 nyc half marathon: packet pick-up

this afternoon i picked up my nyc half marathon bib, tech shirt, and goodie bag at the new york road runners club. it was a different experience from last summer, when the pick-up was held at niketown and had the feel of a small race expo staged in a large atrium. today felt like a pick-up at any other nyrr race (except for the package of paul newman's popcorn stashed in the drawstring goodie bag).

this is my third nyc half marathon (having skipped the second year a reason that now escapes me). like last year, i'm running on behalf of the world lung foundation team (which, last year, raised more than $45,000 to fight childhood asthma in africa). like the first year of the nyc half, i'll be joined by don and emmy!

i have no particular time goal in mind (aside from finishing in under 2 hours). i'm looking forward to the social aspects of this event more than the competitive ones. some of the runners on the wlf team will run their very first half marathon this weekend! a few are using this race as part of their training for the nyc marathon this fall.

aside from my old (and new) friends, i hope to catch sight of ryan hall, paula radcliffe (a very last minute addition to the already impressive elite field), and deena kastor!!

if you're at the nyc half this weekend be sure to say hi!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

paula radcliffe to run 2009 nyc half marathon!

the new york road runners announced yesterday that paula radcliffe will run the 4th nyc half marathon this sunday! radcliffe's won the 2008 nyc marathon last november and will now go head to head with fellow olympian, deena kastor, in the race this weekend!

from the nyrr press release:

"Making her first start of the year after being sidelined with a foot injury and looking to test her fitness, marathon world record-holder Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain will run in the fourth annual NYC Half-Marathon on Sunday, August 16, it was announced today by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg. Radcliffe last competed nearly 10 months ago when she won her third ING New York City Marathon. She had bunion surgery on her right foot in March. The NYC Half-Marathon will be her first-ever half-marathon in the United States."

not to be overshadowed, on the men's side, olympian ryan hall will be in the field!

UPDATE: paula radcliffe won the 2009 nyc half marathon and ryan hall took 3rd place in the men's race!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

happy birthday pat metheny - 55 years old today!

pat metheny, born august 12, 1954, is 55 years old today. one day younger than joe jackson, who celebrated his 55 birthday yesterday! i came to be a fan of pat metheny via pat, a huge fan of his. in fact, pat metheny is tied with james taylor as pat's favorite musician, both of whom she's seen in concert numerous times over the years.

last year pat went to see metheny with his trio, at town hall. i usually skip the smaller metheny formulations, preferring his shows with the pat metheny "group." it's been a few years (but less than half a dozen) since i've seen him perform (when we caught his group at suny purchase). hopefully, there'll be another metheny group show in the near future.

happy birthday pat metheny!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

happy birthday joe jackson - 55 years old today!

joe jackson, a staple of my college music scene (his "night and day: album was constantly on the turntable) is 55 years old today. born on august 11, 1954 - i never realized how close in age we are (8 years)!

i first saw jackson in concert in august, 1980, at the wollman rink in central park - he played there as part of the "dr. pepper" summer shows. it was the tail end of his "i'm the man" tour (that fall he'd release "beat crazy") my most vivid memory from that central park show is the rain! the audience was soaked as he snarled thru his set that soggy summer night!

hard to believe that night was 29 years ago!

happy birthday joe jackson!

Monday, August 10, 2009

michael streissguth, "johnny cash: the biography" book review

I just finished Michael Streissguth’s "Johnny Cash: The Biography" and found it a fascinating read. My interest in Johnny Cash has been building since I caught "I walk the Line" last year, followed by the documentary, "Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison: The Making of a Masterpiece." Picking up a Cash biography was the next logical step. Streissguth, the author of "Johnny Cash at Folsom: The Making of a Masterpiece" and editor of "Ring of Fire: The Johnny Cash Reader" is the perfect fellow to tell the story of the "man in black" - detailing the legend and reality.

Johnny Cash would have been 77 years old this year. He wrote not one, but two autobiographies during his lifetime. The public image incorporated the widespread belief that Cash beat his drug habit in the early 1970's and lived a drug-free life thereafter. Streissguth debunked that myth in the first few pages. While Cash did get clean, he only managed to stay free from drugs for a half dozen years - at most. By the late 1970's and until his death in 2003, Cash resumed his drug habit. When under the influence his music suffered, his relationships suffered, and he nearly died.

The second major storybook myth quickly disposed in the book was the "happily ever after" relationship between Johnny and his second wife, June Carter Cash. While they remained married for the rest of their lives, the relationship became strained - to the point June had drawn up the divorce papers. But they overcame the low points and managed to stay together. Any viewer, without the benefit of this knowledge, would leave "I walk the Line" with a sanitized, highly sterilized view of Cash and his life.

But the book just doesn’t tear down the Cash the legend. Streissguth, a serious scholar of Cash, labored - successfully - to present the real portrait of Cash. My favorite part of the book is his description of the Johnny Cash the songwriter. A truly creative writer in his own right, and in collaborating with his contemporaries - especially Bob Dylan in the late 1960's. That Nashville summit, if you will, paved the way for the emergence of country/folk. No small achievement to bring together two very different styles of music (and fan bases).

Cash reached out to Dylan, sensing their share interests: "Listening to "The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan" album of 1963, he heard a voice that siphoned waters from the past, protested the status quo, and sounded as good as any country-music performer’s he knew. Impressed, he dashed off a letter to Dylan, who also recorded for Columbia, initiating a halting correspondence fueled by Cash’s curiosity and Dylan’s obvious respect for a man who had recorded modern electric folk since the 1950s." They remained lifelong friends.

Streissguth conducted extensive interviews (including Cash’s three daughters and his in-laws, to mention just a few individuals with first hand knowledge to share) and exhaustively researched the Cash archives to write this biography. One startling revelation is the extent to which Cash’s father truly resented his son’s success. Despite all of Cash’s efforts to win a modicum of affection (and respect) from his father during his lifetime, he was rebuffed and insulted at every possible opportunity.

"Johnny Cash: The Biography" made me want to explore the complex, multifaceted Cash and his music even more. The one small quibble I have is the narrative. Steissguth often stepped out of the linear timeline and jumped ahead in the story to connect a thread or thought to his current point. That technique does get tiresome. But it won’t prevent me from recommending the book!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

jerry garcia died of a heart attack 14 years ago today

how strange was it that jerry garcia's long strange (beautiful) trip ended with a heart attack at a residential drug treatment center on august 9, 1994? garcia had celebrated his 53rd birthday - and had played his last concert with the grateful dead a month earlier, on july 9, at soldier field in chicago. a life cut way too short.

1995 was a very significant year in my life. garcia's untimely death that summer was but one small memory in a tapestry that included the death of my father, followed by birth of my daughter, and a fire in the st. george cooperative apartment building that we lived in at the time. that fire (and, ironically, the resulting water damage from the fire fighting efforts) left us among the sizable chunk of building residents physically displaced for a few months while our apartments were reconstructed.

1995 is not a year that i'll ever forget.

r.i.p. jerry garcia

Saturday, August 8, 2009

nyrr team championships: race photos and results

this morning was the nyrr team championship races in central park. i stayed up past my bedtime last night to watch the yankees beat boston 2-0 in 15 innings, so that may have contributed to my poor showing (35:20). otherwise it was a great morning!!

here are the men's results.
here are the women's results.

here are some race photos: