Tuesday, August 31, 2010

bxl cafe redux

it's been six months since i was last at the bxl cafe on 43rd street. (a fantastic belgium beer bar, with a sister location on 51st street). anthony spends a lot of time there since it's across the street from his office. for me it's more of trip, coming from city hall. this time around, in addition to the mussels and fries ("moules frites") for lunch, we sampled "sour" beers.

it was anthony's first time with "sours" and he seemed to enjoy the novelity (if not the taste) of some of them. we kicked off with a petrus aged pale - an incredibly refreshing choice for the very hot afternoon (no a/c - just open front windows). that was followed by a pair of rodenbach flemish reds (the highlight of which was a 2007 vintage oak aged ale). and, finally, a st. louis gueuze fond tradition.

we actually ended with a pair of traditional belgians: a dulles teve ("mad bitch") tripel - which was way too alcoholic for me, and an orval trappist ale - excellent stuff!

Monday, August 30, 2010

20 weekend recovery miles

my weekend kicked off on a low note because i decided to skip the westport 9.3 miler on saturday. that decision was a direct result of the slow recovery my feet were having during the week - argh. in fact, saturday would be my first running day since beast of burden. going 5 straight days without running was uncharted territory for me!


as it turned out, my first run on saturday morning was just 4 miles. while i could run, i couldn't push off my left foot without some lingering pain. still, i managed a 31:45, 7:56 pace for the run. skipping westport, while i wasn't happy about it, was definitely the right choice.

that afternoon i went back out for another 4 miles. i didn't push the pace, just wanted to get a bit more time on my feet (so to speak). the 33:35, 8:23 pace felt labored - and i thought i may have pushed it to far.


while i briefly entertained the idea of driving down to van cortlandt park for the 11:30 start of the henry isola xc classic, sanity prevailed. once again i was still uncomfortable pushing off my left foot. i upped the mileage to 6, and covered it in 45:58, a 7:13 pace. that would be my best run of the weekend.

again, that afternoon, i went back out for a second run. i did another 6 miles, this time in 48:15, an 8:02 pace. this time around the left foot decided to get with the program. i was back to my normal stride mechanics - albeit slower. i was pleased to have gotten in the second run and the additional mileage - which upped my weekly total to 20 miles!

on deck:

this week will be another recovery week, slowly building back some base mileage. i plan to run the westport 10 miler on saturday (one of my favorite races). not sure whether i'll be able to squeeze in any speed work - but i will try to get to the final waveny summer xc series race tomorrow night (whether i run it is an open question) :D

Sunday, August 29, 2010

the beatles last concert held at candlestick park, 44 years ago today!

with paul mccartney still going strong with concerts, albums, and appearances, it's hard to believe that the beatles last concert, before a paid audience, took place 44 years ago today on august 29, 1966 - at san francisco's candlestick park. the concert wasn't the beatles' last live performance, however. in 1969, three years and one day after candlestick park, as part of the sessions that ultimately produced the "let it be" album, the beatles performed on the roof of apple studios!

as for the candlestick park concert, it was very short - just 11 numbers. here is the set list:

1. Rock And Roll Music
2. She's A Woman
3. If I Needed Someone
4. Day Tripper
5. Baby's In Black
6. I Feel Fine
7. Yesterday
8. I Wanna Be Your Man
9. Nowhere Man
10. Paperback Writer
11. Long Tall Sally

the concert ended an intense 4 year period where the beatles performed more than 1,400 shows in venues of various sizes. it also capped a tour in which the beatles were attacked by angry mobs in the philippines (for refusing to meet with the marcos) and angry fans in the united states (over john's "we're more popular that jesus" remarks).

freed from touring... the beatles went into the studio and followed up with some of the greatest albums of all time!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

post-race recovery blues :(

sitting by idly, not running, is never fun. it's been 5 straight non-running days for me - some kind of perverse record (although i've gone 3 straight days w/out running plenty of times). this short break is a direct result of waiting for the blister damage from last weekend's run to heal. i had hoped to be back on my feet (excuse the pun) by thursday, but my left foot has stubbornly taken it's time to recover from what eventually turned into a 3 inch gash where the blister had been.

the trip into the office of monday and, later that day, proctoring the final exam for my students, was a set-back. walking was a very difficult thing that day, along with tuesday and wednesday, for that matter. but things returned to almost normal yesterday, with the exception of being able to put too much pressure (i.e. push off) on my foot. so i decided to wait out another day to give the skin more time heal.

unfortunately, no westport 9.3 miler for me tomorrow :( instead, i'll go out for an easy 4 miler in the morning to see how the feet handle that strange experience called running (or, in my case, shuffling) ;p

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"jack kerouac and allen ginsberg: the letters" book review

"jack kerouac and allen ginsberg: the letters" edited by bill morgan and david stanford was published last month, together with a second book by bill morgan, "the typewriter is holy: the complete uncensored history of the beat generation." while "the letters" will become a must have for fans of the beat generation, the same can't be said for "the typewriter is holy," a short, superficial history of the beat generation. this post is a review of the kerouac and ginsberg letters. i'll post a separate review of "the typewriter is holy" next week.

i've been reading the beats, and about the beats, for more than 30 years. that said, reading the chronological correspondence between jack kerouac and allen ginsberg was a revelation. the collection of letters selected runs from 1945 to 1963 (roughly a third have already been published elsewhere). the book is a treasure trove of kerouac-ginsberg material. for those familiar with the outlines of their respective lives, the letters flesh out their inner feelings and motivations.

the most fascinating aspect is watching the two develop as writers. the early enthusiasm of kerouac was beaten into submission by the endless stream of rejections he received during most of the 1950s. despite publication of "the town and city" in 1950, more than 7 long years elapsed until "on the road" was finally published in 1957. during that time kerouac amassed a trunk full of unpublished manuscripts (including, just to list a few, "dr. sax," "visions of cody," "maggie cassidy," "visions of gerard," "the subterraneans," "mexico city blues," and, "some of the dharma").

the extent that allen ginsberg worked tirelessly to get these kerouace books published (along with those of william burroughs, gregory corso, and his many other friends) was remarkable. ginsberg was a one-man publicity machine, anticipating his role as the major force behind promoting the beats and beat generation in the years ahead. ginsberg was the more social, extroverted, of the two. as the years wore on kerouac, because of his alcoholism and notoriety of fame, became more and more withdrawn and removed from the beat circle.

while there are some gaps in the chronology (they didn't write when they were together), the volume tapers off at the turn of the decade - and the book concludes with a handful of letters from 1963. the final decade witnessed kerouac fall into a downward alcoholic spiral that ended with his tragic death, at 47, in 1969. by that time he was a shadow of the man who began corresponding with ginsberg in 1945. still, kerouac was prescient when he wrote (to lawrence ferlingetti), "someday, 'the letters of allen ginsberg to jack kerouac' will make america cry."

the letters didn't bring me to tears, but they did evoke mixed feelings of awe and sadness. clearly these two guys loved each other and supported their respective works and endeavors. but in the end, despite so many similarities, they walked down two very different paths. if you're a fan of either one, or the beats in general, this book is a must read.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

beast of burden summer 100 miler: race report

the beast of burden summer 100 should have been the weather-friendly version of the winter race. but with extremely high humidity followed by hours of rain, the weather led to very low completion rate. aside from weather, everything else about the event - the race director, the volunteers manning the aid stations, and the erie tow path course - was great. on a cool fall (or spring) day, this course perfect for racing and scoring personal bests.

this race wasn't on my schedule until i dnf'ed at 70 miles in vermont last month. tough weather there (heat and humidity) wrecked havoc on my race and i pulled the plug after 17+ hours. ironically, the death march i wanted to avoid there, caught up with me in the last 25 miles of the lockport course! karma comes around... but i've gotten ahead of myself.

i knew i'd come in under trained - vermont was my last long run, and the rest of the time was a mix of recovery and low mileage weeks. i thought a 22 hour target was doable. the outline of my plan was simple: 10 hours for the first 50, then 12 hours for the second. emmy had agreed to pace me for the second 50 miles so i was in good hands. and, since anthony was running the 100 too, i'd have some company out there.

emmy and i drove up friday - and the only low point of the trip was getting stuck in a pair of smoking rooms at the motel. i woke up in the middle of the night and thought i'd fallen asleep inside an ash tray - pretty nasty. but we had fun at the packet pick-up at finnan's bar and grill. we met sam, the rd, and his wife. plus, sheri and bob had a birthday six-pack of southern tier phin & matt's extraordinary ale waiting there for me - which left me speechless!

in an unusual twist, the race started at 10 - somewhat on the late side for an ultra. that gave us time to swing by a dunkin donuts for a breakfast sandwich before we headed over to the start. emmy had signed up for the 24 hour run, since runners completing 50 miles would get a finishers buckle. since she'd run 50 with me, why not enter it? as it turned out, she did 75 miles (the first 25 mile out and back, then waited for me to at 50 miles).

aside from the start/finish pavilion, there were two aid stations on the course - gasport at 7.5 miles and middleport, at the 12.5 mile turnaround. i took along a 22 oz. handheld for hydration. but as the humidity climbed, two additional unmanned water stations were added to make reaching the primary aid stations manageable. there was one bridge crossing (at exchange street) over the canal. and, for some diversion, along the tow path there were mile markers at each half mile point.

i ran most of the first out and back with anthony - we reached the 12.5 mile turnaround in 1:53 (way too fast) and then continued on back to the gasport aid station together. after gasport i continued on alone and finished the first 25 miles in 3:54 (again too fast). i wasn't pushing the pace - but i did think the humidity would break and the running conditions would ease up a bit. no such luck. instead, the air got thicker and it seemed that the humidity climbed with each passing hour.

the second out and back took an unusually long 5:22 - and i was worried that dehydration was becoming an issue. i kept a close watch on my water supply - and 2 miles shy of the gasport aid station volunteers were on the course in a golf cart to resupply water bottles. that was a god send! once the additional water stops were added, hydration wasn't an issue. i also had on my ipod, but stopped listening to it a few miles from the pavilion.

my 50 mile split of 9:17 was well under my 10 hour target for the first half. but, as i told emmy as we headed out for the second half, it took way too much effort. the weather was really starting to weigh on me. my clothes had been drenched since the first few miles and we still hadn't gotten a break in the weather! emmy told me a major storm was headed our way, expected in just after 10 - so i took along my windbreaker.

the third out and back started off pretty much like the first two - and we made it to the 12.5 mile turnaround at middleport without any rain. anthony and his pacer caught up to us that point and we spent the inbound leg taking turns leapfrogging each other. the rain finally arrived just before we reached gasport - and it would stay with us throughout the night. at first, it seemed great - and finally broke the humidity. but that feeling only lasted an hour.

the third 25 mile out and back took 6:40 and gave me a 75 mile split of 15:58 - which was still on target for a 22 hour finish. but 6 hours seemed to be a stretch at that point. a sub-24, with an 8 hour cushion seemed the more likely outcome at that point. that was underscored as we set out from the pavilion only to be hobbled by painful chafing. emmy ran back to the drop bags to get me some glide, and that got me moving again.

on the outbound leg, things got progressively more painful for me. i started to have blister problems on the soles of my feet. that slowed me down to slow run/walk. but even that was too optimistic because by the time we reached gasport, i couldn't run anymore. an occasional shuffle to bread up the walking was the best i had left. we met up with anthony and his pacer just after they had left middleport. the rain had started to ease up at that point.

even with the rain pretty much reduced to a drizzle, every step i took at that point was painful. between chafing and the blistered feet (they were raw) i was reduced to a crawl. during the final 12.5 miles my forward motion slowed to a crawl - 2.5 miles an hour! it was one of the most a painful finishes to a race i've ever experienced. the last 25 miles took me an incredible slow 9:50 - and i crossed the mat in 25:48!

afterwards, i learned that the weather took it's toll on a lot of runners. the finish rate for the hundred was about 50% - with a similar drop off in the 24 hour run! despite the weather travails, i was more than pleased to finish. while i doubt anything would convince me to sign up for the winter version - i could see myself coming back next summer.

here are my race photos.
check out anthony's race report.

Monday, August 23, 2010

beast of burden summer 100 miler: race photos and results

i got home too late, too exhausted, and too sore from the drive home from the beast of burden summer 100 miler in lockport to post any photos yesterday! just enough energy for a quick update before i crashed and caught up on my sleep! i only took a few pre-race photos, which are posted here. but i'll add a few more taken during the event along with my race report.

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

a few more photos posted on facebook.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

beast of burden 100 miler update

just a quick update - been on the road for 9+ hours getting home (it's after 10 right now) from the beast of burden 100 miler - will post some pictures tomorrow. finished in 25:48 - and very pleased w/that given the tough weather (extreme humidity for 65 miles, then rain for the next 30)!! anthony finished in 22:47!! and emmy paced me for 50 miles!! more tomorrow :D

here are some race photos.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

beast of burden 100 miler

if the beast of burden races (the 100 miler and 24 hour run) didn't start at 10:00 this morning, i wouldn't get this post in. the race motel is 10 minutes from the start and i'm just about to check out and head over there (with a side trip to grab something for breakfast).

today is national trail running day! none of the course is on trails... but it does run along the canal for some nice views!

more tomorrow :D

update: here are some race photos.

Friday, August 20, 2010

packet pick-up for "beast of burden" summer 100 miler

after an almost 7 hour drive, arrived in lockport! made a quick stop at the motel to check-in and then headed over to the packet pick-up at finnan's bar. sam, the rd, and his wife were there to greet the runners. in addition to the 100 miler, there is a separate 24 hour race as well. all the runners start together, at 10:00 am tomorrow!

stay tuned :D

Thursday, August 19, 2010

katie home from camp!

pat and i brought katie home from camp today. the last day of camp also doubles as visiting day. after katie's stuff was stowed in the car, we spent the rest of the morning with her showing us her camp activities. a good chunk of that time was spent at the waterfront where katie did some water skiing. the the campers regrouped at the cafeteria for lunch and farewells.

here are a few pictures:

a return to ashland

we're back in ashland, new hampshire. it's hard to believe a month has gone by since we were here to drop katie off at summer camp!

pat and i made good time on the drive up, and even made a quick detour to the red hook ale brewery in portsmouth (but we didn't stay for the tour). instead, when we got to our hotel, i went out for an easy 4 miler. then we went out for dinner at the common man restaurant - who could believe there was a 30+ minute wait to get a table at this place!

anyway, our next stop is newfound lake in hebron to collect katie from summer camp and bring her back home :D

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

dna test: bobby fischer not father of 9-year old girl

the results of posthumously conducted dna tests establish that chess legend bobby fischer is not the father of 9-year old jinky young of the philippines. bobby fischer's remains were exhumed last month, by order of the icelandic supreme court, to obtain the tissue samples for the tests.

there was evidence that fischer, who died in in january, 2008, had considered jinky his daughter - including a card he had sent to her signed "daddy." while the test results resolve one claim to fischer's estate, the two remaining claims to his estate will be heard next month.

stay tuned!

Monday, August 16, 2010

2010 norwalk summer series 11 miler: race report

Saturday’s race was my fifth Norwalk Summer Series 11 miler in the last 6 years! The double loop (2x a rolling 5.5 miles) course always seems tougher than I remember it. My only time goal was a sub-8 minute pace - hopefully, a sub 7:50 pace. Last year I ran a 1:24:30, 7:41 pace, and I would be happy to repeat a sub-1:25 finish.

The race starts and finishes at Silvermine High School - which doubles as the start and finish of the Boston Build-up 25k during the winter. In that context, we get off a little easier in the summer with only 11, instead of 15.5 miles. The first mile is mostly downhill, reaching the bottom of the loop. The course has one long climb and one notable short, steep climb.

My first mile was also my fastest, at 7:13. I also had a pair of 7:21's at the end of each loop. My slowest mile clocked in at 8:12 (facing the short, steep climb the second time). The rest of the miles bounced between 7:34 and 7:50. My 1:24:36 finish, 7:41 pace, was 6 seconds off my 2009 finish. Emmy finished immediately in front of me, and Brian just ahead of Emmy.

Here are the splits:

7:49 15:03
7:50 22:53
7:34 30:27
7:45 38:13
7:21 45:34
7:50 53:26
8:12 1:01:38
7:46 1:09:25
7:48 1:17:14
7:21 1:24:36

7:41 pace

Afterwards, and a highlight of the summer series races, was a visit to the ice cream truck. But the real highlight of the morning was Roy’s fresh tomatoes from his yard after the awards ceremony - which, in turn, brought back memories of my own tomato growing years in Brooklyn!

Here are my race photos.

Next up: the Waveny Summer XC Series 3 person Eiken relay tomorrow night.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

2010 norwalk summer series 11 miler: race photos and results

today was the norwalk summer series 11 miler - the 5th, and last, of the 5 race series. but since points from the norwalk half marathon held in early september - technically, a separate race - can be included in the final standings, that race is the official end to the series. the 11 miler was my 4th race (i missed the 5 miler) in the 2010 series and i was more than pleased with my 1:24:36, 7:41 pace.

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

a few more photos on facebook.

Friday, August 13, 2010

"trail mix" 6-hour run, forest park, queens

hot off the press, details of a brand new ultra in queens, new york. in today's mail was a race application for the "trail mix" 6-hour run in forest park, queens. this event has just been put together by richie, our fearless b.u.s. leader-in-chief, to replace the traditional staten island 6 hour run (which has been cancelled for 2010). the date is set for sunday, september, 26 (and, unfortunately, conflicts with the vermont 50s, also set for the same day).

this is not your traditional 6-hour run. here is the description, in richie's words:

The objective of the event is to navigate the time period on the following three types of terrain:

1. Two hours on a 1.9-mile bridal path loop or carriage road type surface.
2. Two and half hours on a 2.35-mile trail loop.
3. One and half hours on a 1.3-mile road/footpath loop. ...

The trail loop is hilly and the other two loops would still be considered rolling and challenging. The event will be conducted like an ultra triathlon and may be presented with an informal flavor.

we've had ultras at forest park in years past. the most recent one, if i remember correctly, was the queens 60k. but the location also hosted the kurt steiner 50k/metropolitan 50 miler. since the "trail mix" 6-hour run replaces the staten island 6-hour run, the race (informal or not) will be counted in scoring for the ny grand prix series.

i'm in!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"terribly happy" ("frygtelig lykkelig") movie review

The ironically titled “Terribly Happy” (“Frygtelig Lykkelig”) is a taut Danish psychological thriller that doesn’t take itself too seriously, despite the bleak landscape it plays out against. This modern film noir is more like a subversive black comedy - a sinister take on Simon Pegg’s “Hot Fuzz.” Robert, a Copenhagen police officer, is exiled to the desolate outback town, Skarrild, to atone for his crimes (which include domestic violence and a nervous breakdown).

Robert, played by Jakob Cedergren (and bears a striking similarity to Hugh Laurie), is decidedly out of place - and the townsfolk are hardly interested in helping him fit in. While there is no overt hostility, he makes no friends at the bar (the center of the town’s social activity) and further sets himself apart by refusing the bartender’s just opened bottle of beer and asking for a soda. But he doesn’t want to fit in. He wants to get out!

Without further ado, Robert is immediately drawn into the drama of the town’s most difficult family - the Buels. Ingelise (Lene Maria Christensen) is the femme fatale/battered wife of Jorgen (Kim Bodina), the town bully/wife beater. But is Ingelise really a battered wife or is she just playing for attention. She quickly, and brazenly, flirts with Robert (who, we are reminded by his frequent calls home - is married and has a young daughter).

But despite the set-up for an ill-fated love triangle (Robert succumbs to Ingelise; Ingelise goes back to Jorgen; Jorgen resumes the beatings), events quickly spiral out of control - and include some interesting plot twists. More interestingly is that the trio’s activities (in all their various plot permutations) do not go unnoticed by the villagers! What makes this film work is how expertly a townie steps into the action - at the opportune moment.

The town is situated adjacent to a expansive bog. The film opened with a voice over description of a local fable about a cow that vanished in the bog - only to be recovered from the bog with two heads (one of which was human), and the bad luck that befell the town thereafter. The bog has a reoccurring role as the story unfolds.

In one of the more surrealistic elements of what sometimes seems like a nightmarish series of vignettes, instead of a physical fight - or duel, to play out the western motif - Robert and Jorgen “duke it out” with a drinking contest. The relationship between these two men (and their respective interactions with the town) is the focus of a good chunk of the second half of the film.

Finally, without giving away the resolution, the film's end is worthy of Sartre’s “No Exit” and Garcin's memorable realization, “Hell is other people.”

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

a pair of weekend road races in new york city

this weekend i ran a pair of short races: the nyrr team championships on saturday and the sgt. keith ferguson 5k over the brooklyn bridge on sunday. after the first, i ran another 6 miles to bring the total mileage up to 11 for saturday. on sunday i followed up the 5k with another 10 miles for a 13.1 mile day. i thought i'd post a combined race report/training diary for the weekend.

the 5 miler:

while i didn't have the leg speed to race this one, i was pretty sure i could bring it in under 35 minutes. my only plan for the race was to run 7 minute miles. it had been a low mileage week in terms of training miles, although i did run 6 miles (47:24) after work on friday night. 35 minutes would have been faster than my time last year (35:20), but it seemed doable.

after a 6:57 first mile i knew it would be a stretch. that wasn't because of cat hill waiting in mile 4, but because i put in too much effort for a 6:57 mile. while the second mile came in at 6:54, i was still working too hard for those splits. i slowed to a 7:09 in mile 3, for a 21:00 split. then cat hill took it's toll in mile 4 (7:30). i rallied back in the last mile with a 7:09 - and finished in 35:39, a 7:07 pace.

here are the splits:

6:54 13:51
7:09 21:00
7:30 28:31
7:08 35:39

7:07 pace

afterwards we cheered on the women's team. then we all relaxed with some post-race food, which included sandwiches and beer! when i got home i ran 6 more miles (48:20) that afternoon, at an 8:03 pace.

the 5k:

i really looked forward to the run across the brooklyn bridge the next morning. i was surprised to see how large the turnout was at city hall park! the race, held in honor of slain police officer keith ferguson, had over 600 finishers! the start was a bit iffy, with way too many people trying to squeeze through the narrow entrance to the bridge walkway. aside from that issue, the event was fantastic.

there were no mile splits, so it was difficult to gauge my pace. the morning was much more humid than it was on saturday, but there was a slight breeze mid-span. mentally, i was a little off because the course went to the end of the pedestrian walkway on the brooklyn side. i've always exited the bridge via the stairs leading to cadman plaze park - so the outbound leg seemed to go on, and on, and on!

i reached the turnaround in just over 10 minutes, which should have gotten me back over to the new york side in 20 minutes. but i struggled a little on the uphill to the first anchor. i passed a guy as we got off the bridge, but the course finished at the south end of city hall park. he passed me as we turned into the park and finished 3 seconds ahead of me. that was good enough to inch into 4th, while i took 5th, in our age group!

i was the 41st finisher with my 21:38, 6:58 pace. emmy finished right behind me in just over 22 minutes - and won her age group! when i got home i ran another 10 miles (1:20:26) later that afternoon, for a 13.1 mile day.

next up: the norwalk summer series 11 miler

Sunday, August 8, 2010

sgt. keith ferguson 5k run across the brooklyn bridge

this morning was a first for me - a race over the brooklyn bridge! i've run (and walked) across the bridge countless times (from the nyc side when i lived at pace and from the bklyn side when we lived in brooklyn heights). i heard of the sgt. keith a. ferguson memorial 5k last summer, but couldn't run it because of a conflict with the trrc biathlon.

this time around i didn't want to miss it. the race was really a fun run for me and the 21:38, 6:58 pace, was good enough for 5th place in my age group. emmy won her age group! i saw my good buddy sal on his outbound leg on the bridge (and when he was finishing) - but didn't see him before or after the race. i saw dorothy as she finished, and after the race.

here are the race results; and here are a few race photos:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

2010 nyrr team championships: race photos and results

it seemed like a small turnout for the club team championship races this morning - just under 800 men and just over 500 women finished their respective races. the corrals were pretty sparse. when the ropes were removed and the field moved up, the runners through at least the 4,000 corral all fit comfortably into the first!

i missed my 35:00 minute target by a wide margin. my 35:39 finish was something of a disappointment because i couldn't maintain a 7 minute pace beyond the third mile. my split at 3 miles was exactly 21 minutes, but mile 4 and cat hill took a toll and took 7:30! but i bounced back with a 7:09 last mile.

but the disappointment didn't last long. the taconic road runners had beer and sandwiches after the races. not quite the breakfast of champions - but still awesome :D

here are the result: men's race and women's race.

Friday, August 6, 2010

bib pick-up for club team championships at nyrr club

i picked up my bib and d-tag for the club team championships at the nyrr club this afternoon. no crowd whatsoever and, even with the bibs for the men and women's race distributed separately, it still looked like a small field. it's such a competitive event that i was relegated to the 4th corral this year! given my leg speed these days, that's probably the proper spot for me :D

i'm looking forward to this one. the taconic road runners (along with many other teams) will probably set up a spot where the team can meet up. not only is it convenient as a bag drop off, but it doubles as a great place for us to socialize after the races. which reminds me, dig out the team singlet!

as always, if you're at this one - say hello!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

death of a friend and colleague :(

for a trust and estates lawyer (and erstwhile professor) who deals with death and dying on a regular basis, it got very up close and personal yesterday when i learned that my good friend and colleague died early that morning. i had gone to visit him at the hospice last week and, despite the grim prognosis, he was in good spirits. the brain cancer was terminal, but i had no idea it would take him this quickly.

in fact, it all happened too quickly - from the diagnosis on st. patricks day to the tragic conclusion yesterday. he was only 55 years old. we met on opposite sides of a real estate transaction in the late 1990's and in the years that followed, became good friends. we shared mutual clients and interests. it's hard to believe he's no longer a phone call away to help with a real estate issue - or that i won't get a call from him with a probate question.

he had many interests outside his legal practice - and blogging was one of them. he not only had a successful blog, but he also lectured and consulted on blogging and internet connected media. beyond cyberspace, he was also into crafting (and sold his stuff at shows), gardening (especially landscaping), poetry (not many people i know can successful talk about ovid and dante during a closing), and he was especially keen on digging up bushels of clams during the summer.

we're really going to miss you :(

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"the big chill"

i stayed up late monday night to watch "the big chill" - it was actually tuesday morning since the movie ended well after midnight. i first saw this film as a senior in college - and shortly thereafter the soundtrack went on to become ubiquitous on campus, on fm radio, and later post-college album collections. even now, listening to motown brings back fond memories of this film, which i've seen many times over the last 25+ years!

it's pretty funny to watch jeff goldblum these days on law & order: criminal intent and think back to his smarmy, yet lovable, reporter for people magazine (who could get you a table at elaine's). this was long before he broke through on the remake of "the fly," was an expert on chaos in "jurassic park," or broke alien code in "independence day." a long time has passed since 1983!

same could be said for glenn close's sarah - the most grounded of the bunch. she softened her image from the year earlier - when she played jenny in "the world according to garp" (one of my favorite movies, by the way). only to whipsaw from sarah to a psychotic femme fatale in "fatal attraction" in 1987. some characters are hard to forget.

back to the film, which wasn't the first "reunion" film so to speak (that would go to "return of the secacus seven" a few years earlier). but it would inspire the "thirtysomething" t.v. series a few years later. a bunch of thirtysomething - see how natural that term sounds after all that usage - college friends arrive for the funeral of their mutual friend. after the service they collectively find themselves staying for a long weekend.

the film is an extended meditation on how they inter (or re-) act with each other 15 or so years removed from heyday of their college lives. there are a lot of good moments (and some cliches as well). for the most part the ensemble cast plays it straight. what stands out is the relatively conflict-free weekend they have.

the most anger illicited appears when kevin kline gets pissed at william hurt when he's escorted back with police escort (running a red light and having a bad attitude), when tom berenger gets pissed at hurt for bad-mouthing the deceased memory ("alex died for most of us a long time ago"), or jo beth williams storming away from berenger (when he advises her not to leave her husband for him).

aside from those scenes, it's all so very laid back - the 60's invade the 1980's. a lot of marijuana is smoked, lines of cocaine snorted (thanks to the drug dealing william hurt), and wine drunk (thanks to the hosts). the drug stuff seems like edgy behavior from the vantage point of 2010 - but it was business as usual in the 1980's.

sadly, the film doesn't have much of a payoff when the weekend ends. the story lines are neatly stitched back together and everyone returns to the "real" world. but maybe that is the point - you don't need to justify hanging out with old friends. they were there for a funeral (and that permeated the conversations). but wouldn't they have been just as relaxed with each other (albeit different conversations) at a wedding?

Monday, August 2, 2010

catching up with david at wo hop

this afternoon i walked over to chinatown and met up with my old friend david at wo hop. lunch there was a trip down memory lane - put in motion a few weeks ago when the ny times had a brief write up of wo hop! i emailed the story to david with a "remember this place" tag line. in the late 1970's we'd drive into the city late at night to eat there! not only did he "remember" it, but david had actually gone there two weeks earlier!

it's been almost 30 years since i ate at wo hop (either upstairs or down) - going back to my college days! in high school we always ate at the downstairs locale (but later it didn't really matter which one it was). as if to reprise old habits, david kicked off with a bowl of roast pork congee (something i've never seen listed, much less eaten, at any other chinese restaurant i've ever been at).

the place hasn't changed a bit - even down to the jockeying to secure a table. some of the staff looked as if they'd been waiting tables there since the 70's. as we headed out, the line stretched up the stairs and spilled onto the street. not sure if that's because of the food (good, but not spectacular) or the ambiance ;p

Sunday, August 1, 2010

august 2010 race schedule

the biggest surprise, for what would have been a relatively low-key august racing schedule, is the addition of the beast of burden 100 miler in lockport, new york. had i not dropped at 70 miles during the vermont 100 last month, it's unlikely i would have registered for this one. but the combination of grief from my friends for dropping and not wanting to waste the training from the vermont cycle made this the perfect redemption race - so to speak.

on the downside, adding it has pushed back my efforts to refocus race attention on the marathon distance. instead of a return to speed work in august, following vermont, the more likely time table will be september. in the overall scheme of things, a month isn't that long. but, on the very positive side, emmy will pace me during the second half of the race! given that we ran so much of vermont together, it will seem like picking up where we left off (on a decidedly easier course)!

for the rest of august, the races are all significantly shorter. next weekend is the nyrr 5 mile club team championships. the next day is a great 5k race over the brooklyn bridge. the sgt. keith a. ferguson 5k starts and finishs at city hall park (directly across the street from my office, in fact). it'll be the first time i've run a race on the brooklyn bridge!

the remaining races include the norwalk summer series 11 miler (the day before the bronx half - which i'm inclined not to run) and the westport summer series 15k on the last weekend of the month. in between is the waveny xc summer series 3-person relay. i may squeeze in a couple more summer series race but, for the most part, hope to focus more on training miles instead of races this month.

heres how it looks right now:

8/7 - nyrr club team championships, 5m
8/8 - sgt. keith ferguson 5k
8/14 - norwalk summer series 11m
8/17 - waveny summer xc series, 3-person relay
8/21 - beast of burden, 100m
8/28 - westport summer series, 15k