Sunday, January 31, 2010

ted corbitt 'run around manhattan" 50k: race photos and results

just back from the ted corbitt "run around manhattan" 50k - which actually turned into 33.25 miles! it was the 11th annual edition of this fa fun run which began as a birthday celebration for ted, and is now run in his honor. i finished in roughly 6:55:00 - which included 3 planned stops for food and rehydration.

here is my race report... and will add link to finishers once it's compiled.

here are some race photos:

Saturday, January 30, 2010

a "run around manhattan" 50k in honor of ted corbitt

tomorrow, january 31, running legend ted corbitt would have been 91 years old. he died in 2007, a month shy of his 89th birthday. in 2008 a 24 hour run was held in his honor and, the following month, the new york road runners renamed the hot chocolate 15k the ted corbitt 15k in his honor.

for the the last 10 years dave obelkevich has organized a "run around manhattan" in ted's honor. ted was famous for his training runs that included a loop the city! since ted corbitt's death, the run has been to celebrate his memory. tomorrow morning, a couple of dozen intrepid runners and fans of ted will set off on the 32 mile loop. it's an informal, self-supported, event -and runners can complete any portion - or the the entire distance.

i'm headed in with eliot and emmy. a few more b.u.s. members, phil and grant among them, should also be there. any and all interested runners are welcome to join us. we start at 755 west end avenue at 8 am. here, courtesy of dave, is the basic outline of the loop - including the designated rest areas :D

W on 97, cross Riverside Dr., go into Riverside Park and run N about 1/3 mile.
Sharp L on path under HH Parkway.
N on "Bike Path" for 4+ miles. R on Riverside Dr; L on Staff St, immediate L on Dyckman to end. R on path, passing baseball fields to pedestrian overpass, going over train tracks, going N.
Keep L at any forks; goes W under Henry Hudson Bridge (which goes into Bronx), keep L to Inwood Park.
Enter the park, L on Indian Road to end; R on W. 218 St to Broadway and TWIN DONUTS and other places. Eat, drink, be merry for ~20 min.
South on Broadway to 215 (last farm in NYC!), bear L onto 10 Ave (under the El). Passing 207 St, bear R = NAGLE At Dyckman, angle L = ST.NICHOLAS (Ft. George Hill = UP!!).
At top of hill, S on St. Nicholas to 190 St.;
E on 190 to end; S on Amsterdam to 170 St.
E on 124 to MT. MORRIS PARK WEST = NYC Marathon route!.
follow outside of part to 5 Ave, turn R = south
South on 5th Ave to 87 or 86 St, turn L = east to York Ave: Bob's Bagels or Mansion Diner, cor 86/York Ave. Eat, etc for 20 min (alternate is Tal Bagels, just W of York Ave.
East on 86 St. into Carl Schurs Park (up the stairs), then South along the river.
At 62 St, W over FDR to York Ave, then South to the end = 53 St,
E over FDR to river; South along river to 34 St;
W (!) on 34 to 1st Ave, then South
E on 23 St. to end, go over FDR and South in the park.
Pass 8th St. track (optional 10 laps!) into BATTERY PARK; pass under 2 bridges
becomes SOUTH ST, go under BKLYN BRIDGE to STATEN ISLAND FERRY TERMINAL go upstairs. Approx. 24 miles.

N to State St, bear L along curve; 1st L = BATTERY PLACE to end.
R on WEST St. for long distance. Passing Chelsea Piers (22 St.) bear L to 12th AVE. Careful at STREET CROSSINGS!!
Enter Riverside Park near 72 St; exit at 95th St to RIVERSIDE DRIVE.
Cross exit road (go N) and continue N over bridge (note bldg. cor. 96th)
At 97 St., cross RSD, going E, up hill to WEST END AVE, 1 block = 755 WEA

1st Stop: Carrot Top Pastries, 5025 B'way @ 214 St. 212 569-1532; Twin Donuts, cor. 218 @ Bway; El Sol del Cibao, 5085 Bway S of 218 St. 212 304-3333
2nd Stop: Mansion Restaurant, 1634 York/ 86 St. 212 535-8888; Bagel Bob's, 1638 York 212 535-3838; Tal Bagel, 333 E. 86 just W of 1 Ave. 212 427-6811
Last Stop: 755 West End Ave.

bernard lagat wins a historic 8th wanamaker mile at 2010 millrose games!

last night at madison square garden, benard lagat won his 8th wananmaker mile at the 103rd edition of the millrose games! last year it was exciting enough to watch lagat win his 7th, and tie eamonn coghlan's then record number of mile wins at the millrose games! last night lagat surpassed coglan's record and, in turn, earned the title of "chairman of the boards." no more fitting person handed lagat his trophy than eamonn coghlin!

last night's race was especially exciting because lagat seemingly held back, in second place behind olympic gold medallist asbel kiprop, for most of the 11 lap course! at the start of the bell lap he exploded past kiprop into an ever expanding lead and crossed the finished in 3:56:34 to kiprop's 3:58:03! lagat's split for the last quarter was a remarkable 56.5 seconds!

in the women's mile (ironically titled the "fred lebow mile"), sara hall, wife of ryan hall, ran a 4:31:50 and was 2/100ths of a second behind the winner, hannah england. a true photo finish! last year kara goucher won the race in 4:33:19.

Friday, January 29, 2010

north face ("nord wand") movie review

nothing put our east coast cold weather in perspective as fast as the blizzard conditions atop the eiger did this afternoon! i left the office early and went to see "north face" ("nord wand") at the landmark cinema. this is a decidedly different film - in almost every respect - from "touching the void." both are based on true stories, and both are survival epics (with stretching that term), but that's were the similarities end.

SPOILER ALERT: anyone truly interested in "surprise" should watch the film before reading this review. there may some who would like to watch the story unfold and not know the outcome beforehand.

first, "north face," is a period piece set in 1936 nazi germany. the climbers are motivated, in part, to be the first to solve the "last problem" - scaling the north (practically vertical) face of the eiger. it had been summitted previously, but from easier routes. they were also motivated in large part because nazi propaganda was looking for more german triumphs leading up to the olympic games. while the climbers are basically apolitical, it's occasionally difficult to divorce the action on the mountain from the events transpiring beyond it.

second, the climbers never reached the summit. that sad fact they didn't conquer the eiger doesn't take away from adventure, the incredible climbing sequences, or the panoramic vistas of the alps. the film builds slowly, and the suspense leading to the climatic decision to turn back is palpable! the mountain scenes are harrowing - from start to finish. the two teams (in reality, all four climbers were part of the same "team") are competitive with each other at the beginning of the climb, but things changed dramatically when it became a simple question of survival.

third, there is a weak series of subplots - the strongest of which was the relationship between toni (benno furmann) and luise (johanna wokalek). the non-climbing scenes centered on the media-circus like atmosphere at the hotel lodging the reporters and spectators at the base of the mountain. the juxtaposition of the gluttony and excess of the guests with the primitive conditions faced by the climbers on the mountain (and even their base camp tents) was a bit much. luise occupied that world of excess until she "crossed over" to the mountain - metaphorically freeing herself from that hypocrisy as she walked the train tracks!

fourth, even in the face of the reluctant decision to turn back, there was no positive outcome to the adventure. toni sensed this at the outset - as he hauntingly left his climbing journal with luise for safekeeping before setting off. solving the "last problem"took another two years and was accomplished by a different climbers.

in that regard, the only false note in an otherwise authentic film centered luise's "climbing" scenes - where she ventured onto the mountain (still, marginally believable because she had some climbing experience). it was an interesting sequence - especially since she seemed to be the only one pushing for any sort of a rescue effort! when it was clear they wouldn't reach the summit, the reporters and spectators lost interest - and left! and, ultimately, the final scene of the film was just too contrived for my taste. but that's a tiny cavil in an otherwise outstanding film.

"north face" is well worth going to see!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

howard zinn: r.i.p.

historian howard zinn died yesterday, january 27 - he was 87 years old. zinn, while not a household name, was the author of "a people's history of the united states" - among the 20+ books that he published during his lifetime. while zinn taugh at spelman college and boston university (retiring in 1988), he was born in brooklyn and attended n.y.u. and columbia - a true new yorker :D

i first encountered his "people's history" - a decidedly alternative view of the united states - in the early 1980's. but it was zinn's more traditional "laguardia in congress" that made me into a fan. then a couple of years later, it was zinn's memoir, "you can't be neutral on a moving train" that converted me into a lifelong admirer of the man.

"you can't be neutral on a moving train" was subsequently (2004) made into a documentary, with matt damon as the narrator. more recently, zinn had been in the news as "a peoples history" premiered last month on the history channel as the program "the people speak." zinn has had an enormous impact on popular culture.

rest in peace, howard zinn.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

run the 2010 nyc half marathon on behalf of the world lung foundation :D

with the lottery results announced last week, anyone not selected has two options for running the 2010 nyc half marathon - guaranteed entry via time or guaranteed entry via charitable organization. if you're want to run the nyc for a charity, consider running it on behalf of the world lung foundation!

as we've done in the past (2008 and 2009), the wlf team will raise money to fight childhood asthma in africa. over the last two years we've raised just under $100,000, and following the 2009 edition made a $49,000 grant to the kenyan association for prevention of tuberculosis and lung disease.

for more information, check out the world lung foundation running team page. this weekend we kick off our first group training run in central park. join us!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

high winds, falling construction debris, close lower manhattan streets

yesterday was an interesting experience for me. when i walked by city hall park on the way to the office fire trucks, with lights flashing, blocked spruce street, adjacent to pace university. i soon learned that day classes had been cancelled because of falling debris from the construction site on spruce street. since the only day classes were cancelled, i expected to teach my monday night class - the first of the semester, in fact.

around noon, there were additional fire engines closing off traffic at the southern end of city hall park! apparently the 60+ mph wind gusts had caused additional debris to fall from other buildings in the area. the wind advisory that was in effect until 4 was extended until early evening. pace then followed up with a second announcement that evening classes would also be cancelled.

i've had classes cancelled for plenty of weather related reasons, administrative reasons, and personal ones. but cancellation because of high wind gusts (absent a hurricane or tornado watch) was a first. while my students are probably happy with a class-free evening, i need to make-up that time to cover the assigned material!

i used my new found free time to get in a windy 5 mile run (on what would have otherwise been a rest day) :D

Monday, January 25, 2010

2010 manhattan half marathon: race report

The 2010 edition was my 9th Manhattan Half Marathon in the last 10 years! It’s far and away the New York Road Runner race that I’ve run the most frequently (with the Brooklyn Half Marathon and NYC Marathon close seconds). My times for this two loop course of Central Park have ranged the spectrum from 1:27:28 to 1:45:43 (most falling in the mid 1:30's). It’s not an exaggeration to say it’s annual highlight of my race calendar.

I didn’t have any particular time goal in mind except to finish in under 1:40, and try to run a consistent 7:30 pace. Don, Emmy and I drove in together. We had great weather - above 30 and overcast. In fact, the temperature was 20+ degrees warmer than the arctic conditions (14 degrees) we had for last year’s race. I opted for tights and two long-sleeved tech shirts - and may have been overdressed.

On the way over to baggage we tossed out the idea of doing the Grand Prix Series again. I generally get in only 2 or 3 of the borough halves during a given year - and only completed the full series in 2005. In fact, we three did all 5 halves that year - and Don then went on to repeat the full Series again in 2006! Hopefully, the 2010 schedule for the other four races will be doable.

We ran into Jim and Sharon - headed in the opposite direction - on the walk over to the corrals. We also said hi to George, Eliot and a few more Taconic Road Runners on the walk along side the corrals. Before the start, Mary Wittenberg made a couple of brief announcements, including the tentative date (2/20) for a possible run for Haitian earthquake relief. Then, off we went - southbound, for a pair of counterclockwise loops of the Park.

My first mile was 7:24 - and seemed fast considering the crowded start. Mile two was a more manageable 7:31 for a 2 mile split of 14:56. While the 7:28 pace was faster than the 7:37 or so I that needed to come in under 1:40, I figured the Harlem Hills would slow it down without too much effort on my part. While I wasn’t going to push the pace, I didn’t want to back off either. Just after 2 miles, Emmy caught up to me and said that someone had taken off her shoe!

In the blur of running conversation she said that someone had stepped on her heel at the start and it came off in the middle of a crush of oncoming runners! After the race Emmy gave us the details - which involve her sidelined, watching the oncoming runners trample it under foot until someone stooped down, grabbed it, and tossed it over to her! Aside from that mishap, she went on to run a 1:36 (and second place in her age group).

I finished the first loop in 44:02, well under a 7:30 pace. The slowest mile was in the Harlem Hills, a 7:35, and the following mile along the rolling hills of West Drive, a 7:25. I caught Emmy at the 6 mile water station, and she seemed fully recovered from the shoe incident. But she did let slip a small regret about the evils of a stair master and her training for the Empire State Building Run-Up next week.

My second loop was relatively uneventful. I could see Emmy up ahead of me for most of it, but I didn’t see any other familiar faces. The 45:10 that loop took inched over a 7:30 pace. My 12 mile split of 1:29:14 made the sub-1:40 very doable. Mile 13 went by in 7:26, and the last 10th in 41 second, for a 1:37:22 finish. I was very pleased with that time.

Afterwards, I ran into my good friend Michael handing out info on the upcoming Cherry Tree 10 Miler next month - a fantastic race, by the way. In fact, along with Frank, Maggie, and Ralph (who I had just met thanks to Phil) I ran into more Prospect Park Track Club members after the race than Taconic team mates! Emmy, Phil and I socialized for a while. Phil had a great race, knocking off a 1:22 to cap a 100 mile training week!

All in all, it a great day to spend in Central Park.

No races next weekend. Instead, we’ll be back in Central Park for a group training run with the World Lung Foundation Running Team. Anyone interested in running the NYC Half on behalf of a charity - please consider running for the World Lung Foundation!

Here are my race splits:

7:31 14:56
7:16 22:12
7:35 29:47
7:25 37:13
7:08 44:21
7:36 51:57
7:32 59:30
7:18 1:06:48
7:41 1:14:29
7:26 1:21:56
7:17 1:29:14
7:26 1:36:40
41:32 1:37:22

7:25 pace

here are my race photos.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

2010 manhattan half marathon: race photos and results

just back from the central park and the manhattan half. a great day to run (and 20 degrees warmer than the icebox conditions we had for this race last year)! finished in 1:37:22 - which was 20+ seconds faster than last year. lots of familiar faces in the crowd!

here is my race report; and, here are the race results from nyrr.

here are some race photos:

Saturday, January 23, 2010

"run for haiti" fundraiser

this morning katie and her fellow winter track team members held a fundraiser for haitan earthquake relief efforts. from 10 until noon they ran laps around the outdoor track, and also held a bake sale.

here, in her words, is a brief recap:

Today my track team had a fundraiser called “Run For Haiti.” All of the members of the track team had gotten sponsors for it during the past week. It was suggested the sponsors donate $1.00 for every lap ran by his or her runner. Most of the runners were expected to run between 10-30 laps (each lap is 400m).

It was a lot of fun because everyone ran with friends and went at his or her own pace. My friends and I ran the majority of laps, but also walked a little too. By the end I had done a total of 21 laps (a little over 5 miles). It felt really good knowing that I had done something for a good cause.

After the run we all got some bagels and snacks from the bake sale. When it was over everyone was so proud of what we had accomplished as a team. Overall, we were able to raise more than $5,000 to send to the Red Cross to aid in Haitian Relief.

today is national pie day :D

today is national pie day - appropriately falling on a saturday to coincide with many a long training run :D

as i mentioned in last year's post, pie isn't high on my list of favorite desserts, but it's first cousin - the cheesecake - probably tops the list! and pecan pie definitely make the top ten :D

in addition to having a slice (or two) of pie to celebrate national pie, consider watching "waitress" - probably the definitive "pie" movie. but be forewarned, aside from making and enjoying pies, the movie a major league soap opera. it's only for the hardcore pie aficionado - or keri russell fan :D

Friday, January 22, 2010

haile gebrselassie wins third straight dubai marathon, next stop nyc half marathon!

last week the nyrr announced that current marathon world record holder, haile gebrselassie, would return to the united states and run the 2010 nyc half marathon in march. on his last visit to the united states gebrselassie ran the 2007 nyc half marathon and, in the process of winning it, he set the course record with a stunning 59:24 finish! today, gebrelassie won the dubai marathon, and took home $2,000,000 in prize money!

his 2:06:09 finish was well-off the world record 2:03:59 he ran at the 2008 berlin marathon. but it was gebrselassie's third consecutive win at the standard charter dubai marathon. the win was all the more impressive when we learned, after the race, that he ran it with a sore back!

with haile gebrelassie in the nyc half, it's just one more incentive to run it - or be a spectator at it :D

Thursday, January 21, 2010

packet pick-up for the manhattan half marathon at nyrr club

just back from a quick trip up to the nyrr club. i picked up my bib, d-tag, and a long-sleeved shirt (along with same for don and emmy). the manhattan half is a favorite of mine. although i'm probably in the minority because i liked it even more when it was run in heat and humidity of late august! it will be my first nyrr race of 2010.

as for the shirt, it reminds me of the late 70's disco scene! i love the black, but the splashy pink runner... wonder how that motif will play out across the remaining 4 boroughs :D

don, emmy and i are carpooling in. and there should be plenty of familiar faces doing the two loops of the park course. if you're running it this weekend, say hi!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"howl" with james franco as allen ginsberg, premiers at 2010 sundance film festival

the obscenity trial of allen ginsberg's landmark poem, "howl" took place in san francisco during the summer of 1957 (after seizure by undercover customs officials from "city lights bookstore" and then again by san francisco police officers) - that has been written about extensively, and is part of first amendment lore. tomorrow, the film "howl" which dramatizes the trial and backstory, starring james franco as the young allen ginsberg, has its world premier the 2010 sundance film festival!

the "docudrama" has been a long time in reaching the screen - originally planned for a 2007 release, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the trial. it missed that ambitious target by a few years. regardless, i can't wait to see "howl" when distribution is expanded and finds its way to the east coast - new york city in particular.

back in the fall of 2008, i posted that "howl" had been cast and was finally moving forward. ironically, ginsberg himself was never at the trial - nor anywhere in the united states, for that matter! franco won't have any courtroom appearances in the film. but jon hamm (that erstwhile mad man) will play jake "never plead guilty" erlich, the fiery lead defense attorney.

"howl" is a "must see" for my 2010 movie list :D

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

rundangerously on facebook :D

i finally put together a facebook fan page for rundangerously!

i've posted my race photos on facebook, but the fanpage will also include the related race reports and other running content.

check it out and let me know what you think!

Monday, January 18, 2010

2010 boston build-up 15k: race report

the boston build-up 15k (second in the series) is the one i've run least over the years. between the drive up to ridgefield and the icebox like weather, it's been the toughest one for me to line up for (and last year the weather was so bad, the race was postponed). but yesterday, the weather was fantastic - low thirties and roads free of snow and ice! not sure if it was because of the good weather, but the race had a record turnout -following on the heels of the record turnout for the 10k two weeks ago!

plenty of familiar faces (usual suspects), and at the risk of leaving off a few names: emmy, rob, don, kate, john, roy, brian, ronnie, jill, joe, jeanette, dawn, evan, tom, bob, sean, ikuko, and michael. but michael (a/k/a torpedo) and his very hot pink running tights lightened the pre-race mood. i didn't get in a warm-up before the start. my target was a sub 1:10 finish, which would have been faster than my last (2008) time on the course. rather than focus on mile splits, i concentrated on 5k splits - and keeping them under 23:20.

the first mile, basically downhill, was 6:59 - way too fast. i was running with emmy, rob, and tom at that point, but i wouldn't keep up that pace. mile 2 was 7:11 and mile 3 a more realistic 7:26 (the pace i'd actually average when i finished). but i was in for a shock because at mile 3, facing the uphill i was sorely tempted to walk it! i knew that if i gave into that temptation then and there, my race as done. so i shuffled up the hill and reached the 5k split in 22:30 - 50 seconds faster than my planned.

i slowed down mile 4 to 7:41 and picked up the pace for mile 5 - heading toward the turnaround - for another 6:59. but that one really hit home and i slowed down dramatically in mile 6, my slowest of the race in 8:02. at that point i lost sight of emmy and tom, and rob was up ahead of me. i reached the 10k split in 46:07, for a second 5k split of 23:37. i didn't think i had much of a second wind, but a sub-23 for the last 5k would get me in under 1:09!

mile 7 went by in 7:37, followed by a 7:00 for mile 8. but my luck had run its course because i didn't have much left for the climb back in mile 9 and the final 3/10s to the high school. mile 9 took 7:43, and another 2:37 for the final climb up the drive way to the finish line. the last 5k took 23:03 and in finished in 1:09:10 (official, 1:09:14) well under my 1:10 goal, but just off my revised target of a sub 1:09. still, i was very pleased with it :D

afterwards i got my camera and took pictures of don and john as they finished. emmy and sharon had gone back out to run in the last mile with john - who happily finished his second 15k (the first was the 2008 edition) - with a pr! then we all went inside to socialize before heading home - and afternoon football games :D when i got back i went out for an easy 5 miles before the rains came and stuck around for the rest of day.

here are my race photos.

next up: the manhattan half marathon this weekend.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

2010 boston build-up 15k: race photos and results

the boston build-up 15k at barlow mountain this morning had a record turn-out, and the warmest weather for this race in recent memory! i ran a 1:09:10, 7:26 pace, a solid 2+ minutes faster than my 2008 performance, but well off my course pr for this race. i was very pleased with the outcome :D

here is my race report, and here are the race results.

here are some race photos:

here are more photos i posted on fb.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

"off the record: rock, a social revolution" exhibit at rye arts center

my visit to the rye arts center to see the exhibit "off the record: rock, a social revolution" turned into a family affair! i had planned to go last sunday, for the opening festivities, but those plans didn't work out. plan b was to stop there on the way home from the boston build-up 15k tomorrow. but, to my embarrassment, the rye arts center isn't open on sundays. last weekend was an exception just for the opening reception.

as it turned out, katie decided to come along - and then pat did as well! i had wanted to go primarily to see the original beatles "yesterday and today" album cover. but it was even more fun looking at the photos with katie and giving her the background on some of rock's most iconic moments and images.

the entire exhibit of photos and album covers fills one large room - and can be seen in 20-30 minutes. well worth the effort to check out if you can visit rye!

Friday, January 15, 2010

from the archives: 2008 boston build-up 15k race report

since the boston build-up 15k is this weekend, i decided to post my 2008 race report (which was originally posted on rwol masters forum). i skipped the race last winter (2009) because it was rescheduled and conflicted with the manhattan half marathon.

for some inexplicable reason, this race is often the coldest of the four build-up races - and the 2008 edition was certainly cold. hopefully, this weekend may bring a slighter warmer race. i kept the rwol screen names in and added link to the results (which also include a link to kate's photos from the race).

Boston Build-Up Series, 15K
Ridgefield, CT
Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Boston Build-Up Winter Series is four progressively longer races, a 10K, 15K, 20K, and 25K, run on progressively tougher courses in Fairfield county, CT. A fifth race, the Boston Blow-Out 30K, is its unofficial conclusion. I ran the first one, the 10K in Norwalk, as a recovery run from the prior day’s 50k in Staatsburg, NY. The second race, a 15K at Barlow Mountain in Ridgefield, CT, would be a tempo run for me. I had run 60 miles in the 6 days preceding it, including a medium-long run of 14 miles the day before. Emmy ("Ctmarathoner") also lined up for the 15K. She, too, ran the 10K as a recovery run after the 50K. Emmy ran the Goofy Challenge last weekend.

Another reason I wanted to run this race was because our friend John was celebrating his 65th birthday - and running his first 15k! John's run plenty of 10Ks, and a regular at the Beach to Beacon 10K every summer in Maine. But this would be his longest race to date. I (and Emmy) offered to pace him during the race - but he wanted to run his own race. And this was after we pointed out that it was one of the toughest 15K courses in CT - run on Barlow Mountain. The bone chilling temperature (low 20's) and heavy winds wouldn’t make it any easier.

I ran for about 5 minutes in the school’s parking lot and just couldn’t get warm. So I grabbed a wind shirt (which would become my third layer) and mittens to cover my already gloved hands. I walked over the to start with my friend Mike ("Torpedo") and we caught up on some running news. Emmy and John were already lined up. She wore a zippered fleece, which was unusual only because I’m typically the one wearing the most clothes at the start of any given race.

Rob was also at the start. But I didn’t actually see him until the turnaround point of the out and back course. Kate ("Ultrabrit") was there taking pictures. Her return to the running scene, which kicked off with three races in one week to start the new year, yielded a nasty dividend. Her old injury had flared up again. Hopefully, it’s only a temporary set-back. There were other familiar faces at the start as well, including Jill, Brian, Don, and Joe.

Despite the crowded start, the pack thinned out quickly. Emmy and I ran the first mile together in 7:50. She said we had gone out too fast! I replied, "(expletive deleted) that was a gravity assisted downhill!" Not only should we have done it much faster, but we would have to climb back up that hill to the finish! Still, in non-racing mode, you have to take what you can get. We covered the next two miles in the high 7's and had a 3 mile split of 23:47. I missed the 4 mile marker (which I later spotted on the snow on the return leg), and the 5 mile marker (which I never did see).

As we approached the turn-around at the half way point, we saw Rob coming back at us. Before we caught sight of Rob, we saw the leaders - which included two Kenyans - flying back over the hilly course. One would win and set a course record of 49:33, the other would come in third with a 50:12 - the first three runners each broke the previous course record that morning! Emmy and I picked up the pace and caught up to Rob just before six miles. I pushed on ahead and reached six miles in 46:31 - for a second three mile split of 22:44.

My 10K split, 48:13, was 4 minutes faster than it took me to run the Boston Build-up race, a 10K, two weeks earlier! But that race was a recovery run for me. The I missed the markers for miles 7 and 8, but reached 9 miles in 1:08:53 - for a third three mile split of 22:21. At this point I was still pushing the pace, but found myself pulling back on the uphills. The final 3/10's climb back to the start/finish seemed to be in slow motion, and took me 2:27, roughly an 8:10 pace. I finished in 1:11:20, a 7:40 pace. Emmy was right behind me in 1:11:56. I grabbed my camera to take some finish line pictures, and Emmy went back out to run in with John.

I hung out with Kate, who was at the finish line taking pictures. We took shots of Don and Jill finishing, then my batteries died - rebelling against having to work in the cold - just as John finished. Emmy had run most of the last mile back with him and we were all set to celebrate. I got in fresh set of batteries in time to get a shot of John just as he exited the chute. John took 5th in his age group - woo hoo! Then we all headed inside the school to warm up and socialize.

All in all it was a good day, having run my fourth race of the year. Next up is the Manhattan Half Marathon.

here are the 2008 results (and kate's photos).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

humprey bogart died 53 years ago today

humprey bogart died of cancer on january 14, 1957 - he was just 57 years old, and already a screen legend (appearing in 75 films in a career that spanned almost 30 years). bogart won an academy award for his "charlie allnut" in "the african queen" - as did his co-star, katharine hepburn for her "rose sayer."

there were many sides to the real life bogart. at the height of the anti-communist which hunts in the late 1940's, he organized the "committee for the first amendment" and flew a delegation of fellow actors to washington to protest the house un-american activities committee's treatment of actors and screenwriters. interestingly, he subsequently distanced himself from the infamous "hollywood ten."

bogart was also a lifelong chess player (as was lauren bacall)! he would play chess during the downtime on the sets of his movies. he was also a tournament director and active in the california state chess association. in 19454, the cover of the june-july issue of "chess review" featured bogart playing against charles boyer - as lauren bacall watched!

and then there was the party side of bogart - a founding member of the original "rat pack." frank sinatra would later repopulate the "rat pack" with dean martin, sammy davis jr., etc. and immortalize them in "ocean's eleven" and their las vegas shows. when asked by a reporter what the purpose was (of the original rat pack), lauren bacall said, "to drink a lot of bourbon and stay up late!"

one last thing: there is no greater comedy send-up of bogey as a cultural icon than woody allen's "play it again sam!"

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

johnny cash played folsom prison 42 years ago today

it was 42 years ago today, january 13, 1968, that johnny cash performed two shows at folsom state prison in california. the album, "at folsom prison," which consisted of the first (morning) performance and one song from the afternoon set, was released 4 months later. the album single-handedly revitalized cash's career.

the album was re-released in 1999 with additional tracks (from the second set). in 2008, to celebrate the 4oth anniversary, a "legacy" edition was released that included both shows on two cds and a companion dvd "making of" documentary. my interest in johnny cash was sparked by the documentary and the legacy edition performances.

one highlight of the folsom visit was cash's performance of "greystone chapel" - a song written by then inmate glen shirley. cash and his fellow musicians practiced for two days at nearby hotel, and were visited by then governor ronald reagan. during the rehearsal sessions they learned shirley's "greystone chapel" - and concluded each of two performances with that song.

the shirley back story is fascinating (and tragic). he recorded "greystone chapel" on a cassette tape and passed it on to the prison pastor, and then found its way to cash, who immediately decided to record it. shirley had some additional success writing songs, and even performed with cash and other artists. but 10 years later, he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

as a follow-up to "folsom," johnny cash went on to record "at san quention" the following year (less well known, but equally as powerful).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

welcome forest william tatum, my newest nephew!

forest william tatum was born on saturday, january 9, in wake forest, north carolina, to amy and scott. immediately following his arrival, forest assumed the role of kid brother to his older brother, george!

we welcome him to the family!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

new york city launches effort to reduce salt content in packaged and restaurant foods

today the new york city health department announced participation in the "national salt reduction initiative" - a coalition of cities, states and health organizations attempting to get food manufacturers and restaurants to voluntarily reduce the amount of salt in their products. the goal is a 25% reduction in sodium content over the next five years.

here is an excerpt from the press release:

The New York City Health Department is coordinating a nationwide effort to prevent heart attacks and strokes by reducing the amount of salt in packaged and restaurant foods. Americans consume roughly twice the recommended limit of salt each day – causing widespread high blood pressure and placing millions at risk of heart attack and stroke. This is not a matter of choice. Only 11% of the sodium in our diets comes from our own saltshakers; nearly 80% is added to foods before they are sold.

as a card-carrying libertarian, i'd normally be against such a paternalistic government program. but i supported the city's efforts to ban smoking in public place, trans fats - and require the disclosure of calorie counts on menus. but reducing sodium intake is significant public health issue and is worthy of support. initially, the program is voluntary. but even if it ultimately become mandatory, i'd support it.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

watchung winter 50k: race report

yesterday emmy, rob, and i braved the ridiculously cold weather and ran the watchung winter 50k in new jersey. the backstory to lining up for this one is interesting. last year we had planned to do this event and bad weather kept us from it. instead, we ran the fred lebow 5 miler that day - and, afterwards, emmy met up with her brother and the two of them hiked the watchung loop! this year i had planned to do the "recover from the holidays" 50k the week before, in staatsburg, new york. we skipped that one and ran the boston build-up 10k, instead.

so here we were - leaving my house at 6:40 with 22 degrees on the car thermometer and arrived at the watchung reservation an hour later with the temperature at 20 degrees - ignoring the wind chill! i had on shorts over my running tights. i made a smart move in switching to a pair of running pants over the tights. that was the first time i'd ever run a race with pants over tights - and i never regretted that last minute change. as it was, i had on 3 long-sleeved shirts and a fleece running vest. i am not a happy cold weather runner!

the course consisted of three loops of a tough, mostly single track trail. it was hilly and rocky at points, but not especially technical. the most dangerous section was the initial half mile, which was covered in a sheet of ice! by the third loop the thin layer of snow that covered this stretch had been pounded away and walking was the safest (sanest) method to cover it. there was also a rocky stretch leading up to a nice climb up a hill that was tough going. and, for a change of pace, there was a short road portion that went through a ghost town/cemetery!

the loop was closer to 11 miles (rob had 10.8 on his garmin, and most runners measured between 10.7 and 10.9 on their garmins). there was a marathon option, where runners could bisect the third loop. but when i reached the first (of two) aid stations on the course (aside from the major one at the start and finish point, alan, the runner i had done the most of loop three with, had 26.6 miles on his garmin - and we were at least a mile away from the marathon turnoff!! if the 50k was 32+ miles, the marathon distance was easily over 28 miles! it certainly gave a new spin to the term "horton" miles.

my biggest mistake was not carrying water with me on the course. we were told that there weren't any aid stations on the course (except at the start/finish - which was amazingly well-stocked). but i figured i'd get by without a fluid belt for the first loop. it turned out there were two (one unmanned at roughly 5 miles and a second at 7 or 8 miles), which i was told were set up by a group of runners, independent of the race organizers. i'm not sure of that, but those aid stations were a life savers for me because i was seriously dehydrated by the end of my run.

i ran the first loop in 1:45 - and midway through it fell in with another runner, laura, who turned out was training for the upcoming umstead 100 miler at the end of march. the terrain highlight of the loop was a gigantic water tower in mile 9 - which i'd learn during the second loop was a popular local spot for committing suicide! but before that, i pull off at the end of the first loop to have half a pb sandwich and some coffee from my drop bag. i was also pleasantly surprised to see my good friend susan at the aid station! i hadn't known she was running it because she had opted for an early start.

i dawdled more than necessary before starting off on the second loop, hoping that rob and emmy would catch up and we could run a few miles together. as it turned out, i didn't see emmy for the entire day, and rob would only run one loop before calling it a day. midway during the second loop i hooked up with a local runner who gave me the back story on the water tower. years ago it had a wrap around staircase - which made it easy to climb - and thus facilitate those very sad swan songs. the stairs were removed to stop the leaps!

despite the 3 layers and fleece vest i was still freezing most of the time. when the wind howled my fingers were numb with cold and i seemed under dressed. when the wind died down, it seemed like i was overdressed! but since the wind had picked up during the day, wante my jacket. i finished two loops in 2:50 and was shocked to find rob in the car when i opened the door to grab my jacket! it took a lot of mental effort not to join him. but i zipped up the jacket and picked my way across the icy first half mile.

up to that point i had gone off course 3 times during the first loop, and 2 times during the second one - none of which involved too great a loss of time (just minor frustration). i missed a turn just before the first mile and found myself following yellow blazes - argh. retracing my footsteps, i was quickly back in business - and hooked up with another runner, alan. we ran together for about 5 miles - to the first aid station - before i ran out of steam and he went on ahead without me. that's where i hit my lowest point, mentally, and started an internal debate on whether to pull out at the marathon distance.

eventually, laura caught up to me and discouraged me from bailing at the marathon distance. we ran together, on and off, from that point. when we reached the second aid station (frozen gummi bears and water) at 5:30, we were on pace to finish up in 6 hours. instead, at 5:45 we found ourselves back at the aid station! the oncoming runners should have been a tip-off that something was wrong with our navigation! that was momentarily demoralizing - but with the wind picking up, i didn't want to dwell on it. i finish without further incident in 6:35 (well off my 6:00 target).

once done, i couldn't drink enough water/gatorade. i was seriously dehydrated by that point and drank a quart bottle of gatorade in one gulp! but the fluid highlight of the finish was undoubtedly the bottle of johnny walker black on the aid table! a kindly volunteer poured me generous two finger shot in a plastic cup - which went a long way toward thawing me out! back at the car i changed into dry clothes as rob and i waited for emmy to finish. amazingly, for such brutally cold weather - i had a great time! all the bonus miles, frozen fingers, and pangs of dehydration melted away as i warmed up.

here are some race photos.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

watchung winter 50k: race photos and results

the watchung winter 50k was probably the coldest trail race i've done! the course (three 10.7 mile loops) was tough on its own - but toss in the 22 degrees, wind gusts, sheets of ice that covered the first half mile of the trail - and the weather added an entirely new dimension! i went off course countless times - with one huge "oops" in the last 5 miles of the last loop! i finished up in 6:32 - and easily ran 35+ miles on the day!

will i be back next year - definitely!! here is my race report, and here are the race results.

here are some photos:

Friday, January 8, 2010

happy birthday elvis presley - the king is 75 years old in heaven today!

one of the first records i ever owned, back in the early recesses of my 1970's, was an elvis presley's greatest hits album (and elton john's yellow brick road - how's that for a startling juxtaposition!). amazingly, however, over the years i've never collected any more of his music. the only other elvis album i own is "aloha from hawaii: via satellite" - and i picked up in the late-1990's as a cd. even so, i love his music!

in honor of his birthay, yesterday i had his "number on hits" on my ipod. during today's run, i'll have "aloha from hawaii" keeping me company for the miles (and making me daydream of being in hawaii instead of this sloppy winter mess). when presley died in august, 1977, in between my freshman and sophomore years at high school, it was a few days shy of my 15th birthday! tragically, he was only 42 years old.

even at that young age he was already a legend - already the king of rock and roll. in the years since his legend has barely dimmed - still a rock icon, still a legend.

so take some time to listen to elvis today (or even catch one of his movies on tcm) :D

happy birthday elvis presley!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"touching the void" movie review

“Touching the Void” was the perfect antidote for the wintertime blues that seemed to have gotten a grip on me during this unrelenting blast of arctic weather intent on making each run outside a dreary chore. Years ago, I read Joe Simpson’s book, of the same name, about the incredible events that befell him and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, in the Peruvian Andes during a fateful expedition to climb the west face of Siula Grande in 1985. Almost 20 years later, in 2004, their remarkable story of survival was made into a gripping docudrama.

Simpson and Yates narrate the adventure against a stark, image-less, background. Brendon Mackey and Nickolas Aaron play the Simpson and Yates roles in the reenactment. The climbing scenes were filmed on location in the Andes (as well as the Alps) - and included experienced climbers as stunt doubles. One addition voice, that of Richard Hawkings, a fellow traveler they met at the outset of the expedition and agreed to man the base camp while they climbed, adds to the narration.

The two adventurers bypassed the traditional method of mounting such a difficult climb by the establishment of multiple camps (or equipment caches) along the route. They opted for the more “risky” - here that is a decidedly relative term - “one push” method which involved carrying all their gear on the journey. They successful climbed the practically vertical west face of the mountain and then, ominously, noted that 80% of all climbing accidents occur on the descent!

On the descent Simpson slipped and had a disastrous fall. He broke his leg so severely that the calf bone was driven up and through his knee. The only “luck” was it didn’t break his skin (and thus no blood). From that point on his ordeal gets increasingly more painful and harrowing. Simpson was initially surprised that Yates not only stayed with him, but attempted to get him down off the mountain. Both realized that a broken leg under those circumstances was practically a death sentence.

Yates attempted to lower Simpson 300 feet at a time (the length of their combined ropes knotted together). When he was lowered to the end, Simpson would secure himself and Yates would climb down to him to repeat the procedure. Instead, in the darkness and bad weather, Simpson was lowered over the edge of a precipice and left hanging in mid-air! After some agonizing (it was impossible for Yates to pull Simpson back up) Yates cut the rope and Simpson fell a 100 feet into a crevice. He landed on an ice shelf, which probably saved his life.

The rest of the film is the agonizing lengths that Simpson goes to survive - against incredible odds at almost every turn. Simply to escape the crevice he had to lower himself further into the void - not knowing what was at the bottom! Amazingly, he finds a way out of the crevice - and out onto the glazier! From that point his ordeal begins again because Simpson must travel 5 miles to return to base camp (with no food, melted ice for water, and thought dead by Yates).

It is an incredibly inspiring story (either on screen or in print)! After watching Simpson spend 3 days getting off that glacier and back to base camp - alternating between crawling and hopping on one leg - grousing about a cold spell, however brutal, in urban American, seems trite (to put it mildly). Put this on your Netflix queue and put winter into perspective!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

theodore roosevelt died 91 years ago today

on january 6, 1919, theodore roosevelt, the 26th president of the united states, died in his sleep at his oyster bay home. roosevelt was only 60 years old, and while he had been ill, his death was unexpected.

among roosevelts accomplishments, prior to becoming president, was his service as governor of new york, assistant secretary of the navy, and as an army colonel in the spanish-american war (which earned him, posthumously, the congressional medal of honor). as president he was a committed conservationist - protecting millions of acres of american wilderness and monuments for future generations. roosevelt was awarded the nobel peace prize for his efforts in negotiating an end to the russian-japanese war.

roosevelt is my favorite president. i've read many a biography of his amazing life. i recently finished douglas brinkley's "the wilderness warrior: theodore roosevelt and the crusade for america" (and will hopefully post a review of in the near future). it's the first major work to highlight his work in preserving american wilderness and natural resources. the book is a must read for any roosevelt fan.

so take a minute to think about teddy roosevelt today!