Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 running year in review

my last run for 2009 is in officially in the books (a slushy 6.6 miles) and brought my total for the year up to 2,459 miles. that's just over a 100 miles short of last year's 2,571.1 miles - but i'm still pleased with the total. of the 2,459 miles, 879.8 of them were run at races. i ran a total of 67 races (10 more than the 57 in 2008).

here are my 2009 stats:

2,459.0 total miles
879.8 race miles

67 races

ultras: 6
marathons: 6

15k - 30k: 18
stair climb to 9 miles: 37

the mix of races is very different from 2008. i ran 12 ultras last year and cut that number in half for 2009. the number of shorter races grew as i focused on rebuilding speed (tellingly, the most frequently raced distance was the 5k - both road and xc - with 13 races).

it was a year that had many high points. i won a 5k race, "where the wild things run" - it's been a few years since i last won a 5k! i came in 2nd at the pioneer memorial 100 mile trek over the labor day weekend. i took 3rd at the sybil ludington 50k. and my 4 b.u.s (broadway ultra society) races netted me 5th place overall in the grand prix - and 1st place in my age group.

aside from running in races, i volunteered at 4 races throughout the year. even more fun than volunteering was coaching the world lung foundation running team (w/emmy as co-coach). we trained for the nyc half marathon last summer and our team's group runs in central park often doubled as great social events!

but the running high of the year involved neither racing, nor volunteering. proud dad warning - pacing katie to her 5k pr at the scarsdale fall foliage run last october was the singular best moment of my 2009. not only did she shave over 2+ minutes from her previous best - but a week later we ran the same distance, as a training run, a minute faster still!

the only low of the year was missing out on the boston marathon - argh! every time i think of my 5 year streak dead in the water, i wince. but, on the upside - i ran a new bq at the maine marathon this fall (my fastest marathon time in almost 3 years)! not to be closed out again - i uncharacteristically (for me) registered for 2010 (very) early :D

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

happy birthday patti smith - 63 years old today!

happy birthday, patti smith - born 63 years ago today, on december 30, 1946. the above photo is from the cover of "wave" (and taken by robert mapplethorpe) the first patti smith album in my collection (way back in 1979). in reverse chronological order i quickly added "easter" and "horses" to my collection. but, after "wave," the patti smith "group" disbanded.

while she's often called the "godmother of punk" - i more often than not think of patti smith as a beat poet, who happens to sing - a progeny of kerouac, corso, and ginsberg. smith was an especially close friend of allen ginsberg. when he died in 1995 she led many of the ginsberg tributes in his honor. it was ginsberg (along with michael stipes, of r.e.m.) that urged her to get back to making music ("work" as they called it) after a decade spent in quasi-music retirement raising her family.

she kicked off that return by briefly touring with bob dylan and releasing "gone again" - her first album of new material in almost a decade. it also began a decade long period in which her life was documented by filmmaker steven sebring and culminated with the release of "patti smith: dreams of life" in 2008. the previous year, 2007, patti smith was inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame (and performed the rolling stones "gimme shelter" at the induction).

in honor of her birthday, pbs - via it's series p.o.v. - is airing "patti smith: dream of life" tonight! don't miss it!

so in honor of patti smith birthday, listen to "because the night" (co-written with bruce springsteen), "gloria," "frederick," and "dancing barefoot" today :D

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"grizzly man" movie review

"grizzly man" was the second film i watched over the christmas holiday that included a troubling, tragic death of its protagonist! "vagabond (sans toit ni loi)" was a gripping account a middle class girl's descent into self-imposed homelessness and vagrancy. "grizzly man" was an equally gripping account of a idealistic kid (albeit in his 40's) - with no self-proclaimed death wish - who spent 13 summers living in the alaskan wilderness looking after grizzly bears! while "vagabond" was fiction, "grizzly man" was a documentary - culled together from over 100 hours of film taken by timothy treadwell during his seasons with the grizzlies.

the documentary was assembled by none other than werner herzog - who, to his credit, did not create a haliographic portrait of timothy treadwell in the process. "grizzly man" is in stark contrast to another filmmaker's take on yet another, decade earlier, tragic death in the alaskan wilderness. sean penn's docudrama "into the wild" recounted the tragic end of chris mccandless. while penn's "into the wild" was a fantastic ("must see") film, it was utterly one-sided in presenting mccandless and his "idealism" without criticism. in sharp contrast, herzog made no secret of his scepticism.

despite (or maybe because of) herzog's "non-approval" the "grizzly man" is an incredible film to watch. it is devoid of almost any sentimentality with respect to treadwell or the grizzlies. the story is presented in a stark, matter of fact, exposition. treadwell is shown outside alaska interacting with everyday people, in everyday (common) activities. and he is shown in his preferred element - the alaskan wilderness - interacting with "his" beloved grizzlies. his behavior in those clips is practically manic - over the top pledges that he's willing to die to protect his precious grizzlies!

i never doubted treadwell's sincerity, but i often found myself wondering about his hold on sanity. there is one key point, mid-way through the film, where he's shown as a guest on the david letterman show. to letterman's prescient credit, he asked treadwell the question that each of us was thinking: "is it going to happen that we read a news item one day that you have been eaten by one of these bears?" despite the audience laughter, we know the answer. even more tragically, it wasn't just treadwell's death that we read about - but of his girlfriend as well (she had spent the last two seasons in alaska with him).

the most jarring moment of the entire documentary - and it brought home the sheer sadness of the aftermath - is herzog with jewel palvok (of "grizzly people," the organization treadwell founded) and the audio of treadwell's last moments alive. the lens was covered, but the camera recorded the audio of the gruesome deaths. herzog listened to the attack on headphones - and did not play the audio clip for the documentary. after listening in her presence, herzog told palvok (who had never played it) "you must never listen to this. you should not keep this. you should destroy it because it will be like the white elephant in your room all your life."

what we would have heard was treadwell screaming to his girlfriend to run away - and her futile efforts to fight off the grizzly with a frying pan. treadwell, hours before his death, had filmed the bear that would soon kill him. it was a surly, unfriendly, creature - but as a park ranger unceremoniously pointed out, treadwell treated the grizzlies like people in bear costumes, not like the wild animals they really are. herzog also emphasized the empty stare of these grizzlies - and refused to humanize them. whether treadwell realized this - and ignored it - is open to question because he was certainly aware of the danger they posed.

it's a sobering film and worth watching. don't pass it up!

off on a tangent: i would have been fascinated to see what herzog's take on chris maccandless story would have been like. the parallels between treadwell and mccandless are many - despite the big difference in age. a glimpse at the outcome may be "the call of the wild" - the "other," more impartial view of chris mccandless and his saga.

Monday, December 28, 2009

holiday run for toys 5k - rerun: race report

it occurred to me that last week i mentioned what a twist it was a race was held twice in the same year (the 2008 edition of the norfolk pub 10 miler was moved into 2009 because of a snowstorm). now, just a week later, i'm amazed to note that the very same race was held on consecutive weekends! the original 2009 holiday run for toys was effectively cancelled because of a snowstorm. but that didn't stop the dozen (one of whom i was not) runners who braved the weather from doing the course anyway!

then came notice later in the week from marty, the race director, that he'd put on the race ("again") on sunday. in addition to the actual race, collecting the toys and clothes that didn't get picked up the first time around was a motivating factor. we were blessed with incredibly perfect weather - high 40's and sun - this time around. the field grew to 20 runners (well under the traditional turnout for this great holiday race). the course didn't include the short trail section through the pine creek recreation area.

the redrawn course included a double loop of the streets next to the scandinavian club. i ran that initial double loop with emmy, kelly, and roy. we reached the first mile split in 7:07 - way faster than the "fun run" pace i had planned (7:30's). the next mile, astonishingly, was even faster in 7:03 - a 14:10 split for two miles. i spent the last mile chasing emmy, who maintained a good 50 yard lead over me. mile 3 was an easier 7:17 - and i finished up in just over 22 minutes (22:13).

the post-race festivities - which included awards for every finisher - included bagels, coffee, tea, vitamin water - and sweets. on the topic of sweets, i traded my sobe polo shirt award with for emmy's ghiaradelli chocolate gift basket (which had been donated by darcy)! but the best part of the award ceremony was shrieking from the first time runners - who added awards to their first races :D

here are some race photos.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

holiday run for toys 5k - rerun: race photos and results

what a great (almost too great to believe) day for a run! after all the cold, snow, rain - and generally lousy weather over the last few weeks, 40+ degrees and sun almost seemed like a mirage! the holiday run for toys was originally scheduled for last weekend - but the snowstorm pretty much cancelled it. the few hardy souls who showed up (12) did the course as a fun run.

marty decided to restage it (with manual timining) this morning. it was a combination of getting in the race itself, and collecting toys and clothing for the needy. i ran a 22:13 on the course that excluded the typical trail portion.

here is my short race report. i'll add a link to the results once they're posted.

here are more race/post-race photos.

vagabond ("sans toit ni loi") movie review

"vagabond" ("sans toit ni loi"), a bleak and intense 1985 drama, is a seriously counterintuitive viewing choice for the holidays. i caught this one on ifc earlier this week, the second time i've watched this hypnotic character study that reconstructs the tragic road to a woman's senseless death. it's one of those films that, if you stumble across in progress, grabs hold of you and demands watching (like "drugstore cowboy" and "factotum"). it's barren landscape especially hit home with the early deep freeze that settled in these last couple of weeks.

the film unfolds in quasi-documentary style - following the startling open where the woman's frozen corpse is discovered in a ditch. no one really knows her, but the various people she interacted with are "interviewed" juxtaposed with the time she spent with them. what makes the process fascinating to watch (in an slowly unfolding car wreck sort of way), is the increasingly detached behavior mona (sandrine bonnaire) exhibits as she spirals toward her death.

mona is not clueless. we learn that she graduated from secretarial school and was gainfully employed in an office. but she hate it - and quit. we don't get any real background on her middle class family upbringing - but she's not without luck. at one point she meets a goat herder and his family. not only do they put her up (in a small trailer) but offer her land (to grow the potatoes that she said she'd like to do) to work. instead of work - she sits in the trailer all day, smoking cigarettes.

again and again, apparent life-lines are tossed her way - only to be ignored. begging for food and money are what she consistently falls back on (carrying a knapsack with her handful of possessions and a tent) as she constantly takes to the road. at one point, where she seems finally on the verge of settling down with a migrant tunisian vineyard worker - only to be kicked out when the other workers return from their trip and refuse to have a woman live with them in their already cramped quarters.

the terribly sad aspect of her story is the accompanying de-humanization of her downward spiral. at her very end she finally becomes aware of how far from civilization she has actually travelled. shivering in the frigid conditions, she collapses in the ditch and comes face to face with the harsh reality that she can't save herself - this is it! at an earlier point mona was picked up by a sympathetic professor who worried over her. gone is the self-confidence of that mona - replaced by the frightened and helpless mona.

in an exchange with the professor's student, mona asked "are you afraid of me?" he was afraid of her - and, metaphorically, the chaos and disorder she represents to his safe, traditional way of life. when charged by the professor to find her - and, miraculously he does at a train station - he refuses to help her. mona has devolved even into even coarser, behavior - and doesn't even recognize the student. he in turn is offended by her on multiple levels (no recognition, his professor's concern for her, and mona's contempt for civilized norms).

"vagabond" is a sad - but powerful - film. don't pass it up.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

some christmas day photos :D

here are few pictures from our christmas day. it was almost chistmas redux when we opened presents after christmas dinner! i was lucky enough to get in a decent run (10 miles) before dinner - but hardly a dent against all the calories i consumed ;D

and, a few more :D

Friday, December 25, 2009

merry christmas 2009!!

merry christmas everyone!!

it's been a busy 24 hours for me. a half day at the office, last minute christmas shopping, hours wrapping presents, christmas eve dinner, more wrapping, watching white christmas, a christmas story (and a fred macmurray/barbara stanwick christmas chestnut)... phew! on the downside, i didn't get a chance to run any miles or post a blog entry yesterday :(

this has been an exhausting, but great christmas, so far! we just opened the presents under the tree (ah, that wrapping was so fleeting...) and we will get to work preparing christmas dinner soon enough. but first, will get in some christmas morning miles!

my brother and his family will arrive early afternoon for more christmas cheer!

once again, merry christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2009 norfolk pub 10 miler: race report

last year (or, more properly, in january of this year) i ran the norfolk pub 10 miler for the first time. it had been on my list of races to run for quite a while, but always conflicted with a nyrr 15k race scheduled for that same saturday morning in december. well thanks to an early snowstorm that rearranged many a december 2008 race date, the norfolk pub 10 miler was moved back to january - and became very doable!

on the rescheduled date, the course was covered in snow and ice - and learned from the sign posts that the town's motto is "the icebox of connecticut!" my 1:20 finish was nothing to write home about - but i was more than pleased to have survived the hilly course because the post-race festivities included beer at the local tavern! there was no way i'd miss a return trip - especially with the prospect of drier course conditions (but mainly for another pint of beer)!

as emmy, rob, and i drove up to the race this weekend, a snowstorm raced up the east coast. luckily, we missed the arrival of the storm - but arrive it did late that afternoon. we ourselves almost missed the start of the race! rob had pre-registered, but emmy and i hadn't. i was the third to last, and emmy was the last, person to register that morning! we went straight from the registration table to the starting line - no warm up, no preliminaries!

i took my ipod with me and had it loaded with tom petty's "live anthology." my plan was to treat it as a hard training run, looking to finish in the same 1:20 i did it in last time. as the running gods often do, they can change plans mid-course. the first two miles of the course are basically uphill - a preview of the really tough hill waiting in (all of) mile 8! my two mile split had been just under 17 minutes (16:54) minutes for the 2008 edition. when i hit two miles in 15:48, i was a bit surprised!

but it was good surprise - and i decided to keep plugging away at that paced until the climb in mile 8. here are the splits:

8:33 15:48
7:42 23:30
7:30 31:00
7:06 38:07
7:14 45:22
7:29 51:51
8:29 1:01:20
6:50 1:08:11
7:29 1:15:40

7:34 pace

during mile 5 i got caught up chasing - and being chased - by a couple of runners. i wound up running much faster than planned! after mile 8, the course makes a sharp right and retraces the first 2 miles back to the start/finish. the 6:50 in mile 9 reflected the sharp downhill, while the 7:29 last mile reflected the few steps i walked to crest the very last hill! once we crossed the finish line we each were given candy canes!

emmy and rob were right behind me in 1:17 - emmy was the 4th woman finisher! we made a beeline for the pub (with a quick stop to change into dry clothes). it turned out that i finished 3rd in my age group (same as last year) - and won a pez dispenser! but the beer was more than good enough for the effort!

will definitely be back for another go in 2010!

here are some race photos.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

joe strummer died 7 years ago today - at the tragically young age of 50 :(

joe strummer, most famously the front man for the clash, died at the tragically young age of 50 on december 22, 2002. his untimely death was all the more tragic because strummer was in the midst of a musical resurgence, as he toured with his new group the mescalaros. after his days with the clash ended in the mid-80's, he fell into the musical wilderness for more than a decade before getting back to his roots.

it's no understatement to point out that the clash is one on my all time favorite rock bands (easily in my top half dozen favorites - along with the dead, zeppelin, the beatles, and green day)! their album covers ("give 'em enough rope," "london calling," and "sandinista") lined my dorm room walls. their shows in the late 70's/early 80's nyc are some of my greatest concert memories! it's hard to believe the interesting connections - such as allen ginsberg hooking up with the clash back stage at bonds (and how they collaborated on lyrics, no less)!

two great documentaries that focus on strummer are seriously worth checking out: "joe strummer: the future is unwritten" is must see for any fan of the clash, and "let's rock again!" is a short (one hour) documentary of strummer's brief time with the mescalaros. in memory of his death, a tribute album was released today in the uk ("winter sessions showcase album 2009") along with a christmas card handdrawn by strummer just before his death.

take a minute to think of joe strummer today!

Monday, December 21, 2009

happy 2009 winter solstice!

happy winter solstice! winter's cold weather actually arrived a couple of weeks ago - and was punctuated with the first snowstorm this weekend. as of 12:47 this afternoon, it's official.

winter is my least favorite season. cold weather running is tough. toss in wind, snow, sleet, and other unpleasant weather elements, and it's even less fun. but the miles have to get run.

thankfully, the upside of the winter solstice, the days start getting longer again! and there's plenty to be said for the occasional snow day (or two) ;p

jingle bell (island) fun run

last night i ended the snow day with a trip to rowayton with emmy for the jingle bell (island) fun run that jim had organized. aside from shoveling snow and digging out my cars, the only outdoor exercise i had during the day was a 4 miler around the neighborhood. i wore trail shoes for that wet and slushy experience - and reenlisted same for the fun run.

the turnout for the fun run was low (6), but it didn't lack for fun or enthusiasm. the 3 miler turned into 3.7 miles, in fact. we started at the roton middle school parking lot - a bit south of the actual start to the boston build-up 10k course, and followed the first 3 miles of that course. after the first half mile, we warmed up and had perfect running conditions.

we lucked out even further when most of the gnarly road conditions (i.e. black ice) didn't materialize - although there did seem to be a good deal of traffic on the roads. better yet, there were a few luminaria-lined streets along the way (with houses sporting candles nestled in white bags)!

a fun time was had by all!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

first snowstorm of the season, just ahead of the winter solstice and in time for christmas!

woke up this morning to a blanket of 6+ inches of snow. considering the 10+ inches that fell on the city - and twice that on long island and new jersey - we just got a dusting! still, it took a decent chunk of time to shovel - and another chunk to dig out our cars. so not going to feel too guilty about the huge breakfast i'm about to make in a few minutes.

on the down side, not going to make the holiday 5k in fairfield this morning. too much of a hassle to make the drive in these conditions. very glad that emmy, rob, and i made it up to norfolk for the 10 miler yesterday. we lucked out and didn't catch sight of any snow until the first few flakes found us as when we were practically home!

since most of my running routes are still covered in snow, have to figure out the best way to get in some mileage today. going to lace up my trail shoes and slog through snow later today. but the question is for how many miles? will worry about that after some breakfast :D

Saturday, December 19, 2009

2009 norfolk pub 10 miler: race photos and results

just back from a long trip up to norfolk, ct, for the 10 miler. given the rescheduled january race date, this made for an interesting twist - the 2008 and 2009 editions of this great race were held in the same year! no snow on the course this year (but the skies were pregnant with an impending snowstorm). i ran a 1:15:41, 7:34 pace, good enough for third place in my age group. interestingly, last year i ran it almost 5 minutes slower, and still managed a 3rd place age group finish! emmy and rob were right behind me, running 1:17's.

here is my race report - and here are the race results from greystone racing.

here are a couple of post-race photos:

and, a few more photos here.

here are my "2008" race photos :D
and here is the "2008" race report.

Friday, December 18, 2009

we got our christmas tree today!

it seems like this year we were a little late in getting our christmas house together. maybe a few days later than years past? took the christmas decorations down from the attic on wednesday and put up the christmas lights yesterday. this afternoon we drove to stew leonards in yonkers to pick up the christmas tree.

what's normally a fun time was dampened by the heavy traffic - normal rush hour traffic on the way seemed positively serene compared to the back up caused an accident at the entrance to the saw mill parkway! but with the tree filling the house with that oh so wonderful christmas scent, the traffic nightmare is a distant memory. tomorrow we'll finish up the holiday decoration by trimming the tree!

also on deck tomorrow is the norfolk pub 10 miler. i'm looking forward to that - and, with any luck, will get home before the impending snowstorm arrives. while i'm at the 10 miler, katie will be at a track meet with her team. if we really get blanketed with snow, may have to skip the trip to fairfield sunday morning for the holiday 5k.

this may turn into the second low mileage week in a row! between grading exams and christmas chores, i've only logged 16 miles for the week (on three days of running). today i got in an easy 4 miles (31:14) before we went to get the tree. unless i get in a decent run on sunday (regardless of the weather) may not get my mileage much over 30, for the week!

small price to pay for a white christmas :D

Thursday, December 17, 2009

katie's track meet hardware :D

proud dad post! last friday night katie participated in her first track meet. she ran in three events: 55 meters, 300 meters, and the 4 x 200m relay. i briefly mentioned this in an earlier post. the coach handed out the awards to the team at tuesday's practice. katie earned two. in 55 meters, she made it through the preliminaries and semi-finals, then took took 4th place overall in the finals! in the relay, her team took 5th place overall!

next up: katie has another track meet this saturday. she'll probably run 200 meters and the relay.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

grading exams, christmas decorations, and a windy six miles!

it's been a long - but productive - day! between bringing down the christmas decorations from the attic and grading my students' final exams, i barely had time to get out and run 6 miles! even though it was 5:20 when i got out the door (just after i picked katie up from track practice), it was plenty dark outside. that was actually more of an issue - between the headlights on the post road and the lighting challenged side streets - than the cold and wind!

i had taken yesterday as a rest day because i didn't get back home from work and class until after 9. it wasn't unexpected since practically every tuesday this semester turned into the weekly rest day :p i ran a decent 6 mile tempo run on monday. today it was just about getting an easy run. here are the splits:

8:09 16:19
7:49 24:09
7:45 31:54
8:04 39:59
7:46 47:46

7:57 pace

another pair of six milers on deck for thurday and friday - which would give me 24 miles heading into the norfolk pub 10 miler on saturday. in between, probably tomorrow night, we'll pick up our christmas tree! and, on sunday, a social holiday run for toys 5k in fairfield - which as the name implies, collects toys for kids!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

bill of rights day - december 15

the bill of rights was ratified 218 years ago today, on december 15, 1791. on the 150th anniversary, december 15, 1941, president roosevelt proclaimed the date the first "bill of rights" day. as a document that was originally intended to reign in the prospective abuses of individual liberties by the federal government, over the course of our constitutional history, the various amendments contained in the bill of rights have been made applicable to the states via the incorporation doctrine (sorry for the con law tangent).

my personal favorite - the first - contains the well worn proscription: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press...." ironically, in a twist of drafting fate, had the bill of rights been adopted, as drafted, we'd refer to this as our 3rd amendment rights! the first two amendments (that dealt with the number of representatives and their compensation) were not passed.

so take a moment today and dwell on the greatness of these straightforward protections (even if they've occasionally been abused and trampled upon over the course of history)!

know your rights!

Monday, December 14, 2009

six miles to start the week

i started off this week with a decent 6 mile run when i got home from the office. it turned out to be a much better run (44:18) than i expected because, warmer weather aside, i wasn't in the mood to run and had to drag myself outside.

my cold has finally faded into the background - after it pretty much killed my total weekly mileage (23.7). i haven't logged a week with such low mileage since last spring, when i was sidetracked with a bout of walking pneumonia!

here are the splits from today's run:

7:26 15:27
7:14 22:41
6:57 29:32
7:41 37:14
7:04 44:18

7:23 pace

this was marked improvement from last thursday, when i did the same tempo run in 46:47. that run was the day after my cold symptoms first faded - but i still felt some congestion. today i was glad to be back to my pre-cold self (albeit it was still was tough getting back into a running mindset).

tomorrow (as most tuesday's have turned into this semester) will probably be a rest day. my students have their final exam, so i won't get home until 9:30 or so - and not likely to drag myself out to run. but back to the roads on wednesday.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

2009 taconic road runners couples relay: photos and results

what an adventure the trrc couples relay turned out to be this morning. emmy and i beat the foul weather up to blue mountain reservation (it arrived just as the men began their leg of the relay). our combined 29:33 was good enough for 3rd place overall. as always, great post-race festivities (pancakes and bacon)!

but the ride home was a nightmare! black ice on the roads, bumper to bumper traffic, closed roads... took twice as long to get back as it did to drive to the race! still, a great time - and great event!

race report to follow - and i'll add link to results once they're posted.

here are some photos:

here are a few more race photos.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

no roxbury marathon, no race at all for me today

despite high hopes that i'd muster up the energy to run the roxbury marathon today - no such luck. as late as last night, with ipod charged and winter running clothes ready to go, i was ready (and figured that i could always drop down to the half marathon) to tackle one last long run for 2009. instead, when i woke up just before 6 and the temperature was 22 degrees - without factoring in the wind chill, i decided a better plan would be to sleep in.

so i completely wimped out and went back to bed! amazingly, i slept for another 4 hours(!) and didn't get out of bed until after 10 - the latest i've slept (under any circumstances) in recent memory! the exhaustion was probably the cumulative result of struggling with nasty cold symptoms for most of the week. even with the most glaring symptoms gone by thursday, it's been a tough one to bounce back from.

after some coffee, i ran a decent 6 miler (45:57) - and felt guilty that eliot, emmy, and rob were in roxbury running various distances from the half to the full. later i learned that emmy ran the full marathon, eliot logged 16 miles, and rob did the half! great job guys, especially in those icebox conditions! when i ran my 6, the temperature had risen to a balmy 32 degrees!!

the high point of my day was hearing about katie's first track meet. she ran 3 events last night: 55 meters (where she ran the preliminaries, semi-finals, and finals - and took 4th place overall), 300 meters, and the 4 x 200m relay (where here team took second). i'm hoping that, in btwn homework and social engagements, she'll write up a guest post about the event.

i also managed to visit zachy's for an exceptional california/french wine "taste-off" - of which i'll post separately.

next up - rain or shine, healthy or sick, the trrc couples relay tomorrow!

Friday, December 11, 2009

an early arctic blast arrives just in time for the weekend

i just can't believe each day this week was colder than the previous one! on the bright side, even though i broke out the running tights monday, last year i wore them by thanksgiving. that was a very early start to a long, cold winter last year. despite the arctic conditions that seem to have settled in this week - january weather in december - the brutal cold will be temporary. in fact, i don't mind the cold - but the wind makes for nasty running conditions.

after work today, i bundled up and went out for an easy 4 miler. the congestion from my head cold is gone, thankfully. the plan is to head up to roxbury tomorrow morning for the marathon. there is a half marathon option, so if i'm not up to the mental challenge of a 4 hour battle with more arctic conditions, i may just drop down to the half marathon distance. will make that decision on the drive up there.

other news: today is katie's first track meet! it's across the bridge, in rockland county. she's running 55 and 300 meters (and probably a team relay as well). i can't wait to hear how it went!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

cold or no cold, got in an easy 6 mile run today

after two days of inactivity (albeit i normally take tuesdays off because running when i get home from my night class can be a drag), i headed out for an easy 6 miles when i got home from the office today. while it was touch and go for the first couple of miles, i managed to shake off the feeling of dread that accompanied me. i was worried that i hadn't given my body enough time to recover from the congestion doldrums that haunted me for most of the week.

the 46:47, 7:47 pace, was okay under the circumstance. i started off with an 8:25 first mile, managed a pair of 7:22's and was pretty much content to listen to tom petty's "live anthology" for the duration of the run. for those interested, here are the splits:

7:54 16;20
7:22 23:42
7:22 31:04
8:03 39:08
7:39 46:47

7:47 pace

my other motive for getting out and logging a few miles today was to re-engage my running mindset. last week i barely logged 40 miles. even with today's 6 miler, just eeked above 10 miles for the 4 days. on saturday, common sense aside, i plan to run the roxbury marathon. the last thing i want is to show up in a stale and rusty state (physically and mentally)!

stay tuned...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

an inconvenient cold :(

well it's probably some sort of cosmic scale balancing karma thing. spent last week in the sun, return home to a 50 degree drop in temperature - and snow on the ground! then i catch a nasty cold within 48 hours - argh!

it came on strong yesterday morning - but i had to be at the office and then teach my last class before the final exam next week. when got home last night, i went straight to bed - and woke up this morning totally congested for a straight second day. i didn't even consider going to the office (and the nasty rainstorm outside made that decision even easier).

not sure if a day's rest has cured me - it definitely has me on the verge of going stir crazy! i do feel a lot better - more so than i have at any point over the previous two day! back to work, back to the daily grind, tomorrow...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

jimmy buffett "buffet hotel" review

shades of the doors and "morrison hotel" with jimmy buffett's new album, "buffet hotel" - a self titled hotel inspired album :D the spelling of the east african hotel (bamaki, mali) is short one letter - but it's close enough. the "buffet hotel de la gare" (its full name) was the site of some late into the night jams that buffett played during his trip to the "festival in the desert" in timbuktu during 2007. while the hotel may have been in africa, and inspired the title, the music is all margaritaville.

in fact, "surfing in a hurricane," set in alabama of all places, is buffett's first surfer song - complete with the dick dale rifts - and serves to revs up the album's 12 cuts. then there's the uptempo rift on "summerzcool" and the chatty "a lot to drink about," in line with traditional buffett numbers. and "big top" is all parrotheads and the circus-like concert experience. but buffet adds slide guitar and third world tones to the title cut, "hotel buffet" - and it works. there's a lot of sound and ambiance on that 6 minute train station tune!

i must say, the new album release was perfectly timed for me. i picked it up less than 2 days back from cancun - and 10 days removed from having finished his old chestnut "tales from margaritaville." not only was i in a perfect jimmy buffet state of mind, but holiday-wise, the dylan cover of "christmas island" off his newest album (seriously) had been rattling around my head for weeks. now if the warm weather would oblige and stick around...

aside from the good music, the release includes a 24 page booklet with song by song commentaries from buffett. that's a startling contrast to the non-existent liner notes tom petty's 4 cd "live anthology" (petty included extensive material in the box set version). the booklet is a great perk for fans. i find it interesting to read the back stories to the creative process. just the genesis of the title cut adds a new dimension to the album! it's hard to believe that it's been 3 years since buffett's last studio material!

it goes without saying that "hotel buffet" is a must get for parrotheads. but even for the the occasional fan, there's plenty on the album worth listening to - so don't pass it up.

for a guy born on christmas day, here's an early "happy birthday" to you. and thanks jimmy, for the early christmas present for us.

Monday, December 7, 2009

goodbye dell, hello hp probook!

after 15+ years using dell computers and products, time for a change. the last 3 weeks trying to get dell to repair and/or replace my vostro 1400 laptop have been a long and unpleasant nightmare. for the first time in a very long time i took a business trip sans laptop - thanks to my malfunctioning vostro.

hopefully, those days are in the past. today i unpacked my hp probook 4415s and worked on getting across the learning curve. so far, so good! i was a little hesitant to pass up an intel processor for an amd - but it looks like the amd chip is well up to the task.

welcome hp!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

last run, last day, in cancun - time to head home!

i can't resist posting the above photo of the "margarita y marijuana" restaurant directly adjacent to the convention center! not sure about the food - but probably great take out :D

but seriously, today is my last day here - flying back on a last afternoon flight. this morning did my last run (w/my friend jack) along the boulevard kukulcan. this time we ran toward downtown cancun instead of my typical route along the hotel strip. will be sad to leave, especially having learned that it snowed in new york yesterday - yikes!!

also, on the drive back from the chichen itza ruins yesterday, we just happened upon the run portion of a triathlon - in progress!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

visit to the chichen itza ruins, yucatan

went sightseeing today, which involved a 2+ hour drive from cancun. the chichen itza ruins are an incredible archeaolgical site. just wanted to post a couple of pictures since we just got back from the trip. will add to this post later - stay tuned "D

dinner at mb restaurant, cancun

last night we switched gears and went a bit upscale for dinner - at mb (michelle bernstein's) restaurant here in cancun. no waiters with drinks balanced on their heads for tableside service at this place - but a still great food and a great time!

world lung foundation at the 40th annual union conference on lung health in cancun

after a couple of meetings at the convention center that took up most of the day thursday, spent a couple of hours at the world lung foundation exhibit booth at the 40th annual union world conference on lung health.

here are a few photos: