Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 running year in review

i closed out 2014 with an easy 4.5 mile run which my annual mile to just over 2,100 (2,100.21 to be precise).  that was exactly 68 few miles than my 2013 total of 2,168.2 miles!  the shortfall can be attributed to the 2 weeks in september that is didn't run - recovering from the scalding my hand took in the kitchen (no fun walking around or running with a bandaged hand).  both totals were well off my goal of 2,400 miles for the year (200 per month average).

i can close the first half of the year - with may the only month i didn't run at least 200 miles.  in fact, april capped off a 12 month run of 200+ mileage months! as such it was a reverse of 2013 were i started slow but ended with a long string of 200+ mile months.  2014 saw a second half that didn't include any 200 mile months!  july, with 184 miles, had the highest total miles.  with august and sepetember my lowest points, at 136.3 and 127 miles respectively.

during the final 6 months i average 150 miles a month, and brought down the monthly average to 175 miles for the year as a whole.  while i'm not happy at missing my goal for the second year in a row, i'm still pleased to have gotten in all the miles - and races. in fact, at 160 miles for the month of December, i'm closing out 2014 with the highest monthly mileage total since july's 184 miles! hurray for that!  and onward to another shot at 2,400 miles for 2015 :D

as for races, i only ran 35 of them this year. that's my lowest number of races run in well over a decade!  i usually average around 50 a year and the drop off was a surprise.  but, again, that was attributable to the second half of the year - in line with the overall drop off in my running mileage.  but i did get in an ultra (sbyill 50k) - which i was a goal for 2014 since i ran no ultra in 2013!  in addition to the my 12th nyc marathon, those were my 2 longest distance events of the year.

other highlights included my 5th escarpement trail run (a wet and soggy one in july).  that sets me up for my 100 mile shirt next summer - after #6.  i'm really looking forward to that one!  i also completed all 5 borough races in the nyrr grand prix series!  that was a logistical surprise - and marked my second consecutive year doing it (i doubt a 3 pete is in the cards for 2015).  i'm sure that another race or two should be included here - and if i remember, i'll update this :D

so to wrap up, happy new year to everyone.  i hope you've all had great running years!  and here's to another great year of running in 2015!  cheers!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

more twists & turns from kerouac and cassady estates regarding "joan anderson letter'

last week sfgate reported on a couple of new developments in the ongoing saga of the recently discovered joan anderson letter - both involved lawyers.  in the first, lawyers in florida moved to reopen the estate of jack kerouac on behalf on paul blake, kerouac's nephew.  that's a direct consequence of a 2009 decision that held the last will and testament of gabriella kerouac - jack's mother - was a fake.  that surrogate's court decision was ultimately affirmed on appeal.  what remains to be seen is how that holding will impact the title and distribution of the joan anderson letter if it's found to be the property of jack kerouac.

in the second development, the cassady family has retained the services of marc toberoff, an intellectual property attorney. it doesn't seem to be in dispute that the estate of neal cassay owns the copyright to the contents of the joan anderson letter.  but, in a novel twist - pun intended - the joan anderson letter has been referred to as a manuscript.  in a distinction with a difference because whether it's a letter or a manuscript can lead to different outcomes with respect to ownership of the actual document (separate and apart from the contents).  it will be interesting to see how a court rules in that regard.

in any event, stay tuned because the saga will certainly continue!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

merry christmas - 2014

merry christmas everyone!

from festivus to christmas, it's been a busy - and wet - 48 hours!  after all the rushing around - and  presents this morning, followed by a few miles running - the payoff is our family christmas dinner.  katie is home for winter break, mom came tuesday night, and my brother and his family come over this afternoon.  instead of snow this year, we've had plenty of rain  - and, luckily, warm weather prevents it from turning into ice.

hopefully i'll get a chance to add some christmas day pictures to this post :D

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

happy festivus - 2014!

happy festivus everyone!  the holiday for the rest of us :D

for seinfeld fans out there, this is the  december holiday tradition to observe.  whether it gets you into the proper holiday spirit is another matter entirely (especially if your festivus centers around the airing of grievances).  either way, it's a great reason to watch some seinfeld in the midst of all the airings of "it's a wonderful life," "miracle on 34th street" (either version), "white christmast," "elf" - you get the picture!

so have a great festivus - and christmas is just 48 hours away :D

Monday, December 22, 2014

r.i.p. joe cocker

we i heard joe cocker died today at the age of 70, it saddened me to think one more performer from woodstock is no longer with us.  his iconic performance of  "with a little help from my friends" 45 years ago helped define not only woodstock the event, but became part of the fabric of woodstock imagery that helped define the generation.  but he was much more than a writhing presence on stage in 1969 - his career and music was much more than that one off performance.  probably no greater tribute came via joe belushi's performance as joe cocker on aturday night live less than a decade later.  not only an iconic performance by belushi, but also a defining snl moment.

i was lucky enough to see joe cocker perform at radio city music hall (in a double bill with steve miller) back in 2008.  it was a fantastic concert and he still had the musical chops almost 40 years after woodstock!

take a look - and listen - to him at Woodstock

rest in peace joe cocker.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

happy 2014 winter solstice :D

happy winter solstice!

winter officially arrived tonight at 6:03 pm (eastern time) - the shortest day, longest night of the year.  the best part of the solstice is that the days start getting longer again (until summer, when the process reverses itself)!  since winter arrived early this year, the cold weather isn't much of a surprise.  both of my runs this weekend were sub-freezing - with the temperature unpleasantly stuck at 30 degrees each morning.  it's hard to believe we have another couple of months of frigid temperatures looming ahead.  still, on a positive note, each day brings with it a little more daylight :D

Monday, December 15, 2014

auction of "joan anderson" letter canceled as result of claims by kerouac and cassady estates

in a predictable turn of events, following the assertion of claims by the estates of jack kerouac and neal cassady over ownership of the letter and contents thereof, respectively, the auction of the "joan anderson" letter scheduled for december 17 has been canceled (or indefinitely postponed).  shortly after news that the letter was miraculously found - and would be auctioned off - the kerouac estate claimed ownership of the letter and sought "an agreeable split of the proceeds."  with no agreement reached (estimates of the letter's value ranged from $300-500,000), the auction house, "profiles in history," canceled the auction and announced that it would institute legal proceedings to judicially resolve the various ownership claims to the letter.

stay tuned as the saga of the "joan anderson" letter continues to unfold.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

2014 ted corbitt 15k: race photos & results


when nyrr races start up at 102nd street i typically get off the metro north at 125th and take the local down to 103rd street.  this morning there was a huge crowd of runners walking over from the train station to the park for the ted corbitt 15k.  i thought there would be a record turnout (at least 5000 or so) for the race but was surprised to see that just under 4500 runners finished!

be that as it may, i had a great run - finishing in 1:12:21 - a solid 6+ minutes faster than the pete mcardle 15k last month (even if that was a xc course).  given my low mileage over the last couple of months, this was a pretty solid run. if it wasn't for one 8 minute mile (the 2nd climb up cat hill), would easily have come in under 1:12 :D

but the best part of the morning was the post-race brunch at the rambling house with my fellow taconic road runners!  nothing beats rehydration with friends.  in a funny brunch twist, after the pete mcardle 15k, i was invited over the van cortlandt park track club's post race brunch.  maybe a new post-15k trend?!

here are the race results from nyrr



here are the rest of my photos, up on facebook.

Friday, December 12, 2014

2014 ted corbitt 15k packet pick-up

headed over to the nyrr this afternoon, to pick up my bib and shirt for the ted corbitt 15k. seemed like a long time since i was there (early october) since this will be my nyrr 3rd race since the staten island half (nycm and pete mcardle 15k).  one thing i noticed at the shirt distribution was the option for a large (clear) bag instead of the typical, less than large size, bag.  that will be very helpful since it will need to hold my jacket - in addition to the dry clothes that i usually take to baggage check.

this will be my 12th nyrr race of 2014 - 11 of which counted toward the 9+1 for the 2015 nycm.  it's also the last club points race of the year.  as such, my taconic rr club members and i will probably head over to the rambling house for brunch - and rehydration :D

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

Sunday, December 7, 2014

2014 taconic road runners xc relay: race photos & results

it was chilly, but the sun was out this morning for the cross country relays!  after all the rain and grey skies of the last couple of days, it was great running weather - and resulted in a great turnout.  the temperature was more season appropriate than the mini-heat wave we had for the 2013 edition.

for the second year in a row the two relays went off at the same time (in contrast to holding the 3 person xc relays on saturday and the couples relay on sunday - with the club's holiday party on saturday night).  while i prefer the old couples relay course - this variation is also fun.
as for the relay, emmy and i teamed up again and we took 3rd place overall this year!  that was fun - but the pancake breakfast was pretty good too.  i actually skipped the pancakes and opted for just bacon and beer - a new breakfast of champions :O

here are the relay results from taconic road runners.


the rest of my pictures are up on facebook.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

estates of jack kerouac and neal cassady assert claims to "joan anderson" letter

it didn't take long - less than a week actually - since the discovery of the long considered lost "joan anderson" letter was found, before the estates of jack kerouac and neal cassady asserted claims to it.  the sfgate reported on thursday that representatives from the respective estates have made demands for a portion of the proceeds from the upcoming action of the letter.  in particular, if a settlement isn't reached, the Kerouac estate may seek to have the auction - currently scheduled for december 17 - put on hold.  the estate is actually asking for the return of the letter.

as a general rule, with respect to letters, courts have held that the actual document - the letter itself - is the property of the recipient.  the contents, on the other hand - the intellectual property rights to the material - remain the property of the sender.  whether the passage of time may effect that initial determination would ultimately be decided by the courts.

whether the contents of the letter can be published is a separate inquiry from the initial question of ownership.  the estate of neal cassady would generally have to consent to the publication of the letter.  whether the passage of time altered that result, once again would be a question for the courts.  a portion of the letter was originally published in cassady's book "the first third."

stay tuned for more news on the fate of the "joan anderson" letter!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

december 2014 race schedule

hard to believe december has arrived and another race year comes to a close!  this month race scheduled is populated with familiar races.  it kicks off with the jingle bell jog - a hilly 3 miler - in greenwich this weekend.  then it's a series of tough choices given all the great races out there.

the following weekend is the ted corbitt 15k - which, in the past, often conflicted with the norfolk pub 10 miler.  this year it's the same weekend as the roxbury marathon.  a tough choice, but will probably run the 15k in central park.

next up is the norfolk pub 10 miler.  it's one of my all-time favorite events - and this year it's on the same weekend as the bus fat ass trail mix-up 50k in queens.  in the old days i wouldn't have any problems doing these two events back to back :D  but now i may opt for the holiday run for toys 5k in fairfield the next morning.

on the final weekend of the year, may try to get in one last race - 1st night Danbury 5k.  or, may go for something new (for me) - the Nyack snowflake 5k.

here's how it looks so far:

12/7 - jingle bell jog, 3m
12/13 - ted corbitt 15k
12/20 - norfolk pub 10 miler
12/21 - holiday run for toys 5k
12/28 - nyack snowflake 5k

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

Sunday, November 30, 2014

neal cassady's "joan anderson letter" to jack kerouac is discovered!

long considered lost, neal cassady's epic "joan anderson letter" written to jack kerouac in the early 1950's and credited for inspiring kerouac's "on the road" writing style - was discovered, intact, in a storage box from a long defunct small literary magazine.  as reported by the associated press, the letter will be auctioned off on december 17 -- but the full text has yet to be released to the public.

the 16,000+ word, 18 page letter has been considered the holy grail of beat generation lore. about one-third of the letter has been available because it had been transcribed (probably by kerouac himself) and made public (it's available on-line).  but the original had been thought lost - at one point thought tossed overboard from a houseboat.

but the reality was less exciting.  apparently allen ginsberg had sent the letter to the "golden goose press" in san francisco - where it remained in the unopened mailer.  when the small press closed, the publisher boxed up all the unopened submissions.  amazingly, instead of heading into the trash, the boxes found their way into the garage of someone who shared office space with the publisher.  the letter remained, unopened, in that box for almost the next 60 years!  truth apparently is stranger than fiction!

hopefully, the purchaser of the letter will see fit to publish the full text!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

happy thanksgiving 2014!

happy thanksgiving everyone!

my favorite holiday of the year - and hard to believe another year has flown by so quickly!  any time family gets to gather around the dinner table is a good day :D

as is our tradition, my brother and his family will come over this afternoon.  my mom is already here.  and we all contribute to what will be a great dinner!

for the 2nd year in a row, however, i'll skip a thanksgiving morning turkey trot.  but since i got in the pete mcardle xc 15k at van cortlandt park on sunday, i don't feel too badly about getting my running miles in around the neighborhood.  i just hope skipping a pre-dinner turkey trot becomes any kind of tradition.

i hope everyone gets to share this day with family and loved one (sans any desire to head out to stores for early sales) - and manages to get in some running :D

Sunday, November 23, 2014

2014 pete mcardle xc 15k: race photos & results

after the frigid conditions in the days leading up the pete mcardle xc 15k in van cortlandt park, it was something of a surprise to run in shorts again!  for a race that's had weather conditions notoriously all over the map - in 2008 ran it in a torrential downpour - we had perfect (springlike) conditions.

the nyrr also had a 4 miler going on in central park - and at least a couple ran the 4 miler as a warm up to the 15k (bette and sal come to mind)!  i was more than happy to get in three loops of the park and log 15k for the day.  my 1:18:40 was well off my target of 1:15 (even if the minute bathroom break is taken off).  but i was pleased with that finish - and the great running conditions that went along with it.

afterwards, there was a excellent post-race party of socializing and rehydrating, hosted by the van cortlandt track club!

here are the race results from nyrr.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

2014 after the leaves have fallen half marathon: race photos & results

it's always fun when one of your favorite races gets "supersized" - in the sense on increased distance.  this was the first edition of the "after the leaves of fallen" half marathon - which i've run a few times in it's earlier incarnation as a 20k.  it's a fantastic, super scenic course.  this year included a finishers beer glass - the first time i remember any sort of swag (including tee shirts) given out - the views were plenty enough reward!

as for the race, I came in well under my 2 hour target - 1:55:04.  which itself was a couple of minutes off because I stopped at the top of the mountain to retie my laces - and take a few pictures :D

here are the race results from shawangunk runners.


here are the rest of my photos up on facebook.

fall of the berlin wall - 25th anniversary!

25 years ago today, bovember 9, 1989, the berlin wall was torn down by the berliners separated by it.  five years ago, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall i wrote:

twenty years ago today, november 9, 1989, the infamous symbol of soviet oppression, the berlin wall, finally crumbled at the hands of free people! that historic event paved the way for the subsequent reunification of germany - and, ultimately, the collapse of the soviet union and end of the cold war. the world hasn't be the same since!

while nothing will take away from the greatness of that moment, in the five years since i wrote that in 2009, it seems as if the cold war is about to return - thanks, singled handedly, to the efforts of president putin and his efforts to dismember and reclaim the ukraine.

but i won't dwell on the negatives - because in those five years i managed a trip back to berlin the following year - in november, 2010!  that closed the circle of my pre-fall of the wall visit back in the summer of 1984 and the post-wall city, 26 years later. that visit even included a fantastic reunion with my old friend from high school, phil - who's lived there since there the early 1980's.

check out this coverage of the city's celebration - which includes 8,000 glowing balloons to recreate the wall!

Friday, November 7, 2014

2014 nyc marathon race report

my 2014 nyc marathon experience was very different from my race last year.  in fact, the 4:10 finish, 15 minutes slower than my 3:55 in 2013, was my slowest nyc marathon.  while i was on pace to finish it in under 4 hours right thru mile 20, the last 10k became an increasingly difficult struggle to overcome calf cramps. in hindsight, the poor second half (actually last third) was probably a direct  result of my undertraining for this year's edition.  but i get ahead of myself --

contrasted to last year when i had a solid mileage base going into the race - and consciously working to put the effect of the chronic compartment syndrome behind me - i struggled to log 45 mile weeks.  i lost 2 weeks of running in mid-september when i scalded my hand.  and i spent a good chunk of the marathon week in barcelona - flying back to nyc on wednesday and heading over to the expo to pick up my stuff the next morning.

but even with those disruptions to my training, i felt good about the prospects of finishing it in under 4 hours.  i planned to run a conservative pace, enjoy the course, and finish as strongly as i could.  except for a sub-4, i really had no time expectation.  while i've had various cramping issues in many races, it never occurred to me that they could manifest themselves in such a debilitating manner for this one.  aside from cramping, i had no other biomechanical issues during the race.

as for weather, except for the high winds, it was almost a mirror image of last year's conditions - overcast and 40's at the start.  but the wind did make a big difference - the nyrr pulled the mile markers off the bridge because the gusts were so powerful.  i didn't see a mile marker until the third mile - on 4th avenue!  as for the athlete's village, i got to spend some time in the volunteer corral before heading over to my assigned corral. 

since i had the no baggage option, it wasn't too bright an idea to "pack light" for the village.  in a pair of random acts of kindness - one guy offered me an extra pair of sweat pants and a second one offered me his jacket - which he was about to discard as we lined up for the walk to the bridge. i decline both, sticking with my unkempt space blanket.  but it's nice to know that some runners will take pity on a fellow runner who's convinced that uncontrollable shivering is a legitimate source of warmth!

it's been a while a while since i've had an orange start - via the top of the bridge.  most of my more recent nyc marathons starts have been via the lower level.  as mentioned, the wind was a significant factor running across the span (as well as the other bridges on the course).  i can't remember when the gusts were that strong - literally moving discarded articles of clothing across the roadway!  but once off the bridge it wasn't really a continuing factor.

my splits for the first half were actually better than my 2013 first half times!  my 10k split of 50:45 was almost 3 minutes faster than 2013's 53:39.  the 15k 1:17:11 was 3+ minutes better than 2013's 1:20:23.  and when i reached 20k in 1:44:21 i was a solid 4 minutes ahead of the 1:48:50 - which increased to five minutes at the halfway point: 1:50 versus 1:55.

the pace slowly reversed itself over the next 10k, or so, until my 30k splits were equal (2:45:54 versus 2:45:52).  at that point i wasn't in any pain.  my pace dropped from 8 minute miles to 9 minute miles - i was just going slower.  but at the end of first avenue, as i approached the willis avenue bridge the left calf started acting up.  that itself was interesting because it was always my right calf/foot that gave me problems - the compartment syndrome was in my right foot! 

at 20 miles i had just crossed the 3 hour mark (3:00:10) and had a solid hour to finish the remaining 10k.  under most circumstances, that time objective wouldn't have been a problem.  the funny thing was that i actually felt fine.  my pace now slowed to 10 minute miles - and without the cramping i could have continued to run that pace.  instead, my pace quickly dropped down to 11 minute miles as i struggled to keep moving forward despite the cramping.

i was somewhat amazed that it took an hour and 10 minutes to cover the last 10k to the finish.  i was amazed that despite the hassle of my calf seizing up every few blocks i still managed to run the entire way.  even at the lowest point, i didn't consider walking any longer than it took for the cramp to ease up.  when i started to run again, i would literally count the blocks until the next cramp!  i distinctly remember turning back onto 5th at 120th street and saying to myself, "well, only 60 more blocks to get to central park south" - and i counted down practically every block!

i was so happy to cross the finish line!  that euphoria carried me for most of the walk out of the park.  but i made the mistake of sitting down for a minute and my calf seized up.  it was so painful to look at that one of the volunteer insisted on getting me into a wheelchair.  i was just as insistent that it would pass - and i didn't want a wheelchair ride to the medical tent.  luckily i was able to stand up and walk out of the park.

the rest of my post-race, outside the park, walk also difficult.  i was shivering and walked with a zombie-like determination to get a poncho to warm up!  then for the 2nd time, literally a couple of yards away from the poncho distribution, my calf seized up again - this time while i was standing and walking.  if it wasn't for the quick reaction of a volunteer i would have hit the pavement.  she also insisted on getting me into a wheelchair - which i again declined.  another volunteer brought a poncho over while the first one insisted i eat some pretzels for the salt - which i gladly did.  a french runner gave me a container of holistic pills to cramps - another random act of kindness.  i thanked him, but declined to ingest them.

from there the remaining 3-4 block walk to the westchester road runner buses parked on the south side of lincoln center was unremarkable.  the heat from the poncho worked wonders - and i was also occupied with eating the pretzels!  needless to say, within the hour - as i sat on a warm bus and wore dry clothes - those post-race issues quickly became distant memories!  still, all that cramping left me with a sore and tender calf for the next few days.  while the rest of me was fine - as relative as that term is after 26.2 miles - i couldn't get over how damaged my calf was from the experience!  that said, the passage of time - abeit here, days - makes that, too, seem like a distant memory!

now 12 are done - looking forward to finishing #13 next year!.

Monday, November 3, 2014

2014 nyc marathon: race photos and results

my 12th consecutive nyc marathon is in the books!  this will be short because i'll write up a race report in the next couple of days.  bottom line, at 4:10, this was my slowest nyc marathon finish - and probably my toughest because i was undertrained going in (and spending the last week before the race in barcelona - read, tapas and wine - didn't improve my performance).

still i had a fantastic time - and that's true for every nyc marathon i've run - and, hopefully, will continue to run.  i'm already set for 2015!  one highlight of this edition, it was my last point to finish up my 9+1 requirements for the 2015 race!  so crossing the finish had that extra little bonus for me :D

stay tuned, i'll post a race report for my day running the streets of nyc!

here are the official race results from nyrr.




 here are the rest of my photos up on facebook.