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.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

november 2014 race schedule

last month i only ran one race - the staten island half.  i can't remember the last time i only managed one race in an entire month (albeit i did travel to barcelona for business last month)!  this month should see me run a few more races :D

... starting off with the nyc marathon tomorrow!  this is probably my favorite race, and this one will be number 12.  it will complete my 9+1 requirement for guaranteed entry into the 2015 edition of the nyc marathon - hurray!  while i'm not especially trained for it this year, i'm still looking forward to running every step of it :D

next weekend i hope to change things up a bit - running the beautiful trails of minnewaska state park at the "after the leaves have fallen" half marathon (bumped up from its previous 20k distance).  i've done this one before, as a 20k - and run those trails in other races - and its a spectacular place to run (any distance).

then my schedule gets a bit iffy because i'm planning to head up to Michigan to visit Katie, but haven't nailed down the exact date.  right now it's looking as if it'll be the weekend of 15-16 -- but it may be pushed back to 22-23.  given the uncertainty, i really can't pin down a race for either weekend.  but stay tuned and i'll update this once we confirm the travel weekend.

but i will definitely run thanksgiving morning - and right now that looks like the gateway gobbler in greenwich.   then, keeping with tradition, i'll head back to greenwich that weekend and volunteer at the 5k (which, for the first time, i also ran last year)!

here's how it looks so far:

11/2 - nyc marathon
11/9 - after the leaves have fallen half marathon
11/27 - gateway gobbler, 6m
11/29 - alliance for education 5k [volunteer]