Sunday, January 30, 2011

2011 boston build-up 15k: race photos and results

this morning we had great weather for the rescheduled boston build-up 15k in ridgefield - and a good turnout to boot. i was well off my sub-1:15 goal (with a 1:18:45 finish - almost 10 full minutes slower than 2010). but, when we learned that the course was long (9.6 miles), it put my time in a slightly better context :D

afterwards, gail had a some of us over to her house for a post-race brunch (which included a belated birthday cake for neil). that was fun!

short race report to follow. here are the race results.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

another bout with snow... it's becoming an unpleasant habit :(

another snowstorm, another snowday... and more unplanned cross training with my snow shovel! these are the days (apologies to natalie merchant) :O

the news that nyc set a record for january snowfall (30+ inches - so far) with this most recent snowfall is hardly surprising. since the december blizzard it seems like we've been on the receiving end of snow storm at least once a week. have i mentioned that winter is my least favorite season?!

all this before february - which is typically our snowiest (dig that word) month. plenty more dates with the snow shovel still loom on the calendar. is snow exhaustion a recognized ailment? at this point i'm completely used to the drill (delayed school openings, metronorth switching over to a saturday schedule midweek, digging out the cars - with no visible road to drive on).

my problem is a bit more practical - with all this snow and the continued deep freeze - there's no place left to put the new stuff!! i found myself in the strange position of adding the new snow to the all too familiar piles of still unmelted old snow - creating heroic looking dirty white mountains in the process. i've reached the point where, without any appreciable melting in the near future, i'm going to have to shovel the shoveled snow to a new location to make room for the soon to arrive next wave - argh!!

apologies for the rant. i've succumbed to snow exhaustion (and january isn't even done yet)!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

spring semester underway...

it's been a busy last few days. i returned home from singapore on saturday night, via connecting flight in hong kong. the jet lag wasn't too bad - but i did sleep for 10+ hours! woke up late sunday morning and went out for a 6 mile run. it felt great to be home again! although i can't say i missed the weather one bit. aside from jet game, sunday was a day to ease back into familiar routines.

then, as if winter break had sped by in a nanosecond, monday morning kicked off with the start of spring semester (simultaneous with a temperature drop into the single digits)! i'm teaching a pair of fun (relatively speaking) classes: corporate tax and business law. i generally teach tax classes every semester. but i haven't taught business law in a number of years - that one i'm really looking forward to.

thanks to the frigid weather yesterday, i skipped running (wimped out is more accurate). a rebound into the high 20's made today's 6 miles seem balmy! this may turn into a low mileage week because the ted corbitt run around manhattan 34 miler is saturday. and the postponed boston build-up 15k is on deck for sunday morning in ridgefield. should be a great running weekend!

Friday, January 21, 2011

flying back today, via hong kong

our group finished up just after 5:30 yesterday. instead of going out, i went to the gym, then called it an early night after i packed up for today's trip home. when i woke up this morning i saw the email from jim: the bb 15k is postponed because of cold and icy conditions! wow! i really hadn't paid too much attention to the weather at home (but did get two emails from katie's school announcing delayed starts).

weather aside, the trip home (via the pacific route) will complete a round the globe circumnavigation for me - that's a first (thanks to last week's flight cancellation and rerouting me to singapore via british airways/heathrow instead of nyc - hong kong)! i wouldn't wish that trip on anyone! hopefully, this direction will cut my travel time by a third!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

group dinner at "no signboard seafood" restaurant

we went out for a group dinner at "no signboard" seafood" restaurant thursday night. the restaurant was on the esplanade - great views! a coach bus took the group of 20 of us there, in what was roughly a 20 minute ride from our hotel. the place, even on a thursday night, was packed, inside and out. the group was seated at 3 large tables inside.

we had a set dinner, which included 8-9 dishes. some of the highlights included the chilli crabs, crispy cereal prawns, and steamed sea bass. the only low point was the discovery that we didn't get the shark fin soup - the restaurant substituted a corn and mushroom thing in its place. but that didn't detract from what was otherwise a great dinner.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

newton circus food court and harry's orchard singapore :D

last night i met up with lee and ed, my taconic road runners team mates, here in singapore! it was great to see them since the relocated back to singapore last summer! we went to the newton circus food court, together with some of my friends from the workshop were attending this week. the culinary highlight of newton's circus was bbq stingray for dinner!

afterwards, we went out for drinks at harry's orchard (one of the ubiquitous harry's expat bars). there was live music, with a great bar band that did 3 eagle's cover during the first set! harking back to berlin (where i first tasted this beer), i had an erdinger's wheat - followed by the bar's namesake, harry's pale ale (or hpa for short).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

indochine waterfront restaurant and brewerkz singapore :D

after a quick shower, i spent the afternoon asleep - and did a good job knocking off some of the jet lag. i was up at 7 and down in the lobby by 7:45 to meet my friends for dinner. in between, i called the airline, only to discover the flight bringing over my baggage was 30-40 minutes behind schedule. never fear, they promised my bag would be at the hotel by 9:30 or so.

while i was worried, i wasn't going to let it bug me too much. we took a cab down to the clarke quay at riverside. after window shopping most of the restaurants along the waterfront (they overruled my initial impulse to eat at one of the brewpubs) - we opted for the indochine waterfront restaurant. it was a good choice.

i kicked off my first drink in singapore with - what else - a singapore sling. it wasn't a raffle's singapore sling (that may come later in the week). but had to go with the namesake concoction at least once this trip. for dinner i had a spicy green papaya salad followed by soft shell crabs - both were excellent.

after dinner we walked over the footbridge to brewerkz - a place that is remarkably similar in style and ambiance to boston beerworks! andy and i each had a 4 variety sampler. my choices included darkside lager, black rabbit, smokey the beer, and oatmeal stout. the oatmeal stout was easily my favorite of the bunch, with the smoked porter a close second.

in a rare moment i forgot to bring my camera along. the above photo of me at brewerkz is courtesy of marty (who had her camera and took some great pictures).

greetings from singapore!!

i arrived in singapore just before 1 o'clock this afternoon - and at my hotel just before 2 - after a long and challenging trip. because of delays, cancellations, a reroute from trans pacific to trans atlantic - and just some less than good luck - i was on the road for over 30 hours! and, on top of 3 flights, i arrived without my luggage! it's been an interesting day and a half :O

but, after a few hours sleep at the hotel and promises from the airline that my luggage will be delivered by 9:30 (or so), it's time to get on with the trip! stay tuned!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

singapore interruptus :O

well imagine my surprise - no shock - when i arrived at jfk this morning for the 9:15 flight to singapore (via hong kong) only to discover that the flight was now delayed until at least 11 p.m. tonight! apparently problems with the plane had it still stuck in vancouver - and no real guess when it would be on its way here to nyc.

they checked the luggage, issued boarding passes, and sent the bulk of us home - with plans to return at 7 p.m. (or thereabouts) when a realistic departure time would be available. my real concern isn't this delay, but having a connecting flight lined up in hong kong for the final destination - singapore.

at this point my monday night (singapore time) arrival will be pushed back to sometime tuesday afternoon - argh!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"hood to coast" movie review

last night, on the eve of our latest snowstorm, i went to see the one time theatrical release of the "hood to coast" documentary in white plains. i watched it with emmy and bill, in a remarkably empty theatre - most folks it seemed, wisely heeded the warnings of oncoming snow. in stark contrast to the packed theatre for the "spirit of the marathon" screening a few years ago (at the same theatre, coincidentally) - there may have been a total of 12 people, including us, in the audience. despite the tiny crowd, the film was worth going to see.

i hadn't heard of this film before last week. i hadn't even heard of the hood to coast relay for that matter. but it's a good bet that i'll be in the audience for any movie about running, or running-related adventures. the hood to coast relay, as i quickly learned, is billed as the "mother" of all relays - 1000 twelve person relay teams (12,000 runners), covering the 197 miles from mt. hood to the oregon coast. a race with that many participants, that kicks off on a mountain, and end at the shores of the pacific ocean is impressive - in and of itself.

the documentary followed four teams as they undertook the 2008 edition of the relay. the team selection process yielded "dead jocks in a box," "heart n' sole," "r. bowe," and "thunder and liakaning." the mix included a masters team of formerly competitive runners, a team of co-workers that had a training plan focused on beer and incredibly low mileage, a heart attack survivor from the 2007 relay, and the family and friends of a runner who died at the tragically young age of 30 - and left behind a very pregnant wife.

the back story of each team was laid out against the preparations for the relay. the progress of the each team, and how it coped with its individual issues, was interwoven with the actual race. the filmmakers used panoramic helicopter shots to capture the breathtaking vistas, pre- and post-race interviews, handheld footage of the runners on the course (or in the vans), and animations to clarify various race logistics, to put together the story. each team added to the overall impact of the film.

the relay itself consists of 36 legs of various distances and difficulty. each team member is expected to run 3 legs. kathy ryan, 67 at the time, had a near fatal heart attack as she started her 3rd leg of the 2007 edition. we see her as she discussed her race plans with her doctor. he immediately said, as he looked at the first leg of the race (which, we are told, is considered one of the most physically grueling of the relay) "i don't know what you're smoking, but you absolutely can't run this one!" and, without this being a spoiler, who should we see lined up to run the first leg for her team - none other than kathy ryan!

"dead jocks in a box" were animated by a slightly different objective - they want to finish among the top six teams in their age group to get a guaranteed spot in the 2009 edition. that would insure one of their teammates, who had run all the hood to coast relays since the first one in 1982 (when only 8 teams participated), gets to continue his streak. only one other runner has run in every hood to coast - and he was on a different team. these guys run hard, and don't want the aging process to slow them down (too much).

my favorite team, "thunder and laikaning" provided the comic relief - and proved that the relay isn't just for the "typical" runner. and, within that team, rachel larson and her hilarious approach to the race was my favorite runner on the screen! team r. bowe tugged at the heartstrings because the memory of ryan bowe's untimely death was still fresh. the team consisted of his family and friends. the relay (which ryan had participated in and was on a team to run again) was their way to honor his memory.

i don't know if "hood to coast" will find its way into theatres again - but when it's released on dvd, put it on your netflix queue! better yet, put together a viewing party with your running buddies. this is a film that should be watched in the company of fellow runners :D

Monday, January 10, 2011

new york running show podcast: winter series races

last night's episode (#13) of the new york running show focused on local winter race series here in the tri-state area. among the races we discussed were the boston build-up series (which kicked off that morning with the 10k in norwalk) and the taconic road runners' freezer fives (which are held in february). participants in the round table discussion included our moderator, joe garland ("runwestchester"), steve (""), emmy ("running around ct"), and yours truly.

listen to (or download) it, TalkShoe'>at talkshoe.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

2011 boston build-up 10k: race photos and results

another season of the boston build-up series kicked off this morning with the 10k in rowayton. and it kicked off with a record turnout - 400 runners at the start and over 360 finishers! on the heels of yesterday's "recover from the holidays" 50k, today's race was more of a training run for me - and opportunity to socialize. i ran a 51:24, 8:14 pace, over the hilly course and enjoyed every mile of it (even the short walk break on the hill at 9k).

here are the race results.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

2011 mhrrc "recover from the holidays: 50k: race photos and results

the mhrrc "recover from the holidays" 50k was a snow and ice filled affair. this is the second weekend in a row that i've run a race on snow (last saturday was the new year's half marathon at van cortlandt park). in addition to the snow and ice, it was cold - the temperature never rose above the mid-20's. while running in these conditions is not fun - the event itself was fantastic, and the organizers are incredibly generous. this is an old school fat ass event (and free), yet the runners were surprised to discover long-sleeved tech shirts waiting for them at the finish!

under the circumstances, i was more than pleased with my 5:21:28 finish. all in all, the 50k only had 20 finishers from the starting field. the highlight of the day was our post-race warm-up and "recovery" at the hyde park brewing company. emmy, francis, seth, and i went there to rehydrate with some locally brewed beer!

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

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2011 new year's (half) marathon: race report

the new year's day marathon (and shorter distances) was the third holiday race organized at van cortlandt park in just over a month. i ran the 10k on thanksgiving day and missed the christmas races. the course, a 6.55 mile loop, in the wake of the christmas blizzard, featured snow-covered trails! i had planned on running the full marathon, but once i saw the conditions i scaled back my plan to just the half (2 loops).

on friday afternoon, volunteers (hiro, jeff, kino, and lucimar) not only went out and marked the course - but they also strung a rope down from "holiday" hill to assist on the climb. we found out, soon enough, that someone had gone and stolen the rope!! despite the vandalism, everyone managed to survive the steep, snowy climb! given the above average temperature (i ran i shorts), the trail conditions were good at the start, but the footing got trickier as the day wore on and the snow began to melt.

aside from emmy, hiro, sal, and lucimar, i was pleasantly surprised to see don at the race! he had done the half on christmas day and was back for another go at the trails. i hadn't seen don since the norwalk half in september - so it was great to catch up with him! during my first loop i ran a few miles with other runners, but on my second time around there was no socializing. by that time i wanted to get it over with and warm up!

the first loop took me 1:08:14 to complete - a solid 10+ minutes longer than i took to run that loop under dry conditions on thanksgiving morning. in between loops i took a couple of minutes to drink a can of ice tea. i didn't carry fluids with me on the course, so the 12 ounces double as hydration and some easy calories/caffeine. i basically ran the second loop alone, with a couple of runner sighting alone the way. it took me, including the break, 1:13:46 to finish the second loop.

the 2:22:01 finish for the half was okay, given the conditions. but it was a hard trail workout regardless of the time it took to run. i learned afterwards, as i talked with some runners at the finish, that i had mistakenly gone off course twice - the same place on both loops! at the end of the back hills, just before we crossed the southern bridge back to van cortandt park, i ran on a trail parallel to the correct one - further north as it turned out. the trails converged just before the bridge and, except for the sensation of being lost with trail markers to follow, the distance covered was roughly the same.

hiro finished just ahead of me, and emmy came in just after i did. we waited for don - who had run the first loop and a half with emmy. she even ran back out to look for him when we didn't see him coming back. but it turned out that don skipped the second tour of the back hills. he cut the run short when he got back to the parade grounds. it was a bummer because we wanted don to join us for the post-race socializing. hiro, emmy, and i headed over to the bronx ale house to warm up, drink great beer - and eat! in a first for me, the culinary highlight was the fried pickles! who knew?!

all in all, even with the snow - it was a great day to be out on the trails!! and, stay tuned, according to the race directors more holiday marathons are on deck. the next one scheduled for valentine's day next month!

here are some pictures i took.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

the pony: a hell's kitchen craft beer bar

i heard about the pony bar last summer, when i was at a beer tasting at jimmy's 43. i finally had an opportunity to check it out this afternoon, when todd and i went over to hell's kitchen and sampled some of their draft selections. it was definitely worth the hike over to 10th avenue and 45th street (i walked there from 42nd and 7th) because what they had some pretty incredible beers on tap.

i started with a left hand "fade to black" dark seasonal beer that packed a solid 8.5% abv. and todd kicked off with an avery "collaboration not litigation" ale with an 8.7 abv. - both solid dark ales perfect for winter. my second choice was a goose island bourbon county stout - which, at 13% abv, could have easily been a barley wine! instead, it had a fantastic toasted espresso flavor, and the high alcohol content was barely noted in the taste. todd went with a north coast "old #38 stout" for his second round.

aside from the beer, we talked about running - mostly. we're both lining up for boston again (although plenty of races to run before april). back in 2008, todd and i ran the first half of boston together - i lost him when he stopped to collect some kisses at wellesley! still, that didn't stop him from finishing ahead of me, when all said and done :D hopefully we'll get to run some of the 2011 edition together.

but the bigger news, todd is coming over to the dark side. a couple of weeks after boston he'll run his first ultra - the north face endurance challenge 50k at bear mountain. and i doubt he could have chosen a tougher trail 50k to tackle as his first ultra! no doubt that he's going to have a blast out there!

now the question is - what should be the next craft beer bar we check out?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

january 2011 race schedule

i'm a bit late in posting the january schedule. that has as much to do with uncertainty as procrastination. i have another business trip planned for this month (singapore), and it pretty much eliminates two weekends in the middle of the month from the race calendar (i could do one on saturday, january 15, if i could find one). and, in a reprise of last year, i'd like to do the ted corbitt "run around manhattan" 50k the last weekend of january (but nothing posted about it yet).

but, there are a couple of sure bets - one of which, the "new years day (half) marathon" at van cortlandt park, took place yesterday :D

1/1 - new year's (half) marathon
1/8 - mhrrc "recover from the holidays" 50k
1/9 - boston build-up 10k
1/30(??) - ted corbitt "run around manhattan" 50k

i ran the mhrrc fa 50k a few year ago - so it'll be fun heading back there to run that one again next weekend. the boston build-up series is an annual fixture on my race calendar. the kick-off 10k is sunday. but i won't be back in time for the second race, the 15k in ridgefield. nor will i be around that weekend for the manhattan half marathon - another perennial on my winter race schedule.

even so, it should be a fun month of racing. and, who knows, maybe a few unexpected events will pop up here and there?

as always, if you're at any of them - say hello!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 new year's (half) marathon: race photos and results

wow, the new years marathon races at van cortlandt park could have been run with snow shoes! snow covered more than 90% of the trails and, even with trail shoes, those were tough conditions to run. i had wanted to do the full marathon (4 loops), but after 2 loops of slogging through the snow i had enough and called it a day at the half. even so, it was a great day to be outside!

afterwards, hiro, emmy and i went over to the bronx ale house to rehydrate with some great beer. in a culinary first, we tried the fried pickles! now that was a real twist on typical bar food (they were fantastic, by the way)!

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