Thursday, December 31, 2009


New Year’s Eve night and in a few hours I am going to be heading into the city to time a race, which is really wacky because a) I figured I was done timing for a couple of months until the spring and b) I am timing a race thats going to start at midnight on New Year’s Eve. I am excited though – this should be a good time.

The weather is looking a little iffy. I am bringing my pop-up tent and a bunch of bags for all of my equipment. I pray that rain holds off until. Trying to do the results in the dark, with the wind and the rain would really, really suck, but at least there’s a full moon, and I am bringing my head lamp and a lantern with me, just in case.

I am going to try and take some pics – the race director is giving out awards for the fastest runners in tux’s and evening gowns and I would like to get some shots of those fools. I am hoping to get home by 2:00 am, assuming we’re wrapped up at 1:30 am. This should go smooth – there’s a 120 people pre-reg’d and the RD doesnt think he’ll get more than 200 total. I don’t have to mark the course, and I didnt have to make up bibs or anything like that. I want to be in and out.

I am kicking around the idea of running a 5k tomorrow morning in Swarthmore. I did this race last year. Its a small little event ~ about 50 people if recall. Tomorrow looks to be nice ~ 38 degrees by race time which is downright balmy compared to some of the weather I have been running in lately. I am also thinking it might be a good day to get a mountain bike ride in – the weather looks good, but the trails will be sloppy – you take the good with the bad. We’ll see I guess. It will depend on how motivated I am when I get up in the morning, and if any of the guys want to ride as well.

Speaking of running, its been a dead week. I was a bit more than I expected on Monday, following my 12 miler on Sunday. I am assuming its due to the fact that Sunday’s 12 was the longest run I have done in a while. So I skipped Monday. Tuesday, I woke up and felt like crap and that ickiness went right into Wednesday. This morning I did a 4 mile snow run with Tim over at Ridley Creek State Park. We measured one of the five Pickle courses that we’re doing at the January Pickle Run.

The run itself sucked. My calves were KILLING me. I had to stop ALOT to stretch, and the stretching didnt help a bit. This calf thing has me concerned. Its not my shoes, because this tightness has happened with at least three pairs of shoes that I rotate. I cant put my finger on it. I am using The Stick on it every day and I am applying liberal amounts of Tiger Balm before I run. I find that the balm warms the muscle up and helps with the tightness.

The game plan for the rest of the weekend is up in the air. Sunday, I am about 90% sure that I am going to *try* and run 14 with one of the girls on my running club. We’ll do 9 miles at 7:30 am and then another 5 miles at the 9:00 run. I dunno – we’ll see how the calves feel. I am keeping my eye on the situation.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Relax and Do Nothing

Thats what God told me to do over the five days that I have off. He told me that in a vision. I was sleeping and an apparition appeared at the end of my bed. It was god. At first, I didnt think it was God, because the apparition looked like the Fonze. I said “Fonzie, why are you standing at the edge of my bed?” And the Fonze said that he wasnt the Fonze, he was God. And I remember thinking to myself – that’s awesome – God looks like the Fonze. I also remember thinking to myself – I wonder if God ever jumped over a tank of sharks on waterskis while wearing a leather jacket? That would be one badass God, and it would be much cooler than turning water into wine. Any two-bit hack magician could do that. I think I once saw David Copperfield do that on a TV special. Anyway, I am getting off track.

So the Fonze, I mean God, told me that I am not to exert myself over the next five days, and if I did he would smite me with his almighty hand. So, I have been taking it easy, more or less. I’ve been getting alot of exercise (up until today). I also fixed my storm door, visited alot of relatives, and fixed my heater. I also installed a new brake line on my mountain bike and tru’d my front wheel.

On Christmas Eve, Mike, Dom and I went out for a snow-ride over at Swarthmore College. It was a shit show. The snow was too deep. Mike blogged about it on his blog as well. We ride nearly thirty minutes and went 1 mile. The trails dont get enough traffic to really pack the snow down. Mike and I bagged the ride and did a 2 mile trail run. It felt like we ran 4 miles, since we running in fairly deep snow for half of the run. The day before, I ran a “mixed bag” run – 2 miles at tempo, then a mile and a half of extreme hills. Couple that with the 7.5 miler I did the day before, and I had nothing in me for a deep-snow trail run.

I didnt do any running on Christmas day – I was due up for a rest day anyway. I was planning on running long today, but it’s been pouring all day, and the prospect of running nearly two hours in the rain wasnt appealing, and I knew the most that I would get out of the treadmill would be 7 or 8 miles tops, before I would go nutty and take a hostage. So, I decided to defer the long run until tomorrow. Looks like its going to be a nice day and Sunny, so I’ll save the legs until tomorrow. I am thinking about doing the 7.5 mile Delco RRC Springfield Run and then maybe the 5 mile run immediately after. Thats assuming that someone shows up for the 7.5 miler. I put a post up on our club message board to see if anyone else plans on going and wants to run my pace, which is going to be super easy.

Christmas Hijinks

Pics from various Christmas functions:

Xmas 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Moose Tracks

I did another four miles this morning, bright and early, after another round of shoveling (the final round!). Today, I tried my “moose tracks” for the first time. Moose tracks are a slip-on rubber harness that you place over your shoes. The bottom of the harness has a couple of small metal studs that help with track in the sloppy stuff. The conditions this morning were worse than yesterday, only because this morning’s snow was slushy, although there was more “road” exposed than yesterday morning.

What you just read was written on Sunday, but I never posted it. When I told the peeps at work that I went running outside both Saturday and Sunday, they thought I was nuts. Honestly, it wasnt that bad. I dont know if I would do something like that three weeks away from the marathon, because with my luck, I would slip and go ass-over-teacups and injure myself.

This morning didnt start off well. I wasnt feeling 100% yesterday, so I went to bed at 9:30 last night to recharge the batteries. I have been eating like absolute shit lately. Sunday, Heather made cookies for Hope’s Christmas Concert, and I think I must have consumed a pound of cookie dough, not to mention all of the actual cookies that I ate. I paid for it yesterday.

Anyway, I was up and out of the house at 4:40 am this morning. Of course, as luck would have it, the car wouldnt start. Dead battery. WTF. I fired up Heathers car and gave my car a jump. I blew about 20 minutes or so screwing around with car, but it was no big deal because I had plenty of time still to run once I got to the gym. I decided to bag the spin class this morning because I didnt run yesterday, and I am going to do a mountain bike ride with the guys on Thursday.

I wasnt more than a mile from the house at a traffic light and everything in the car goes dim and the car suddenly dies. So here I am, in the middle of the street at an intersection with a dead car. WTF. Luckily, by some miracle of god, I got the f*cker to turn over, but I kept the heater and the radio off the rest of the way to the gym, and at every stop light, I kept revving the engine to get the amps up and hopefully charge the battery that much quicker.

As bad as my morning started, the rest of my workout was excellent. I ran 7.5 miles at about an 8:50 pace – nothing crazy – just an easy run, but I felt great. The calf felt fine, and my knee felt fine. Outstanding. I have been taking some supplements to help with the joints – glucosomine and fish oil. Maybe its all in my head – the placebo effect – but my knee has been feeling great since I started taking both supplements.

So this week is a bit crazy since its a holiday week. As I had mentioned I decided to skip the spin class this morning, because I needed the mileage and I am riding on Thursday anyway. I am not sure what the training schedule has on tap for this weekend in regards to a long run, but I need to do one in the worst way. Two weeks in and I havent broken 7.5 miles yet. I gave myself a pass for this weekend past. There was no way I was doing a long run in the snowy conditions, and getting to the gym would have been tough and quite frankly, not worth the effort.

I figure that with 7.5 under my belt today, another 4 or 5 tomorrow (tempo run), and a long run on the weekend, I should be around 25 miles. That’s with me riding on Thursday, and not running on Christmas day.

Speaking of long runs, I am thinking about trying to get the long run in here and there during the week, as opposed to the weekend. For a 12 mile run, for example, I would need about an hour and forty-five minutes at a 9:00/ mile pace. If I left the house at 4:45 am, I would still be home by 6:45 am, which would give me plenty of time to get showered and get ready for work. I leave the house to go the gym at 4:45, so running at that time in the morning isnt a problem. It works out for two reasons – a) I cant run 12 miles on a treadmill. I’d take a hostage and b) I save myself the 10-15 minutes I would loose driving to the gym. I think that in theory, I could do a max of 14-15 miles in the morning before work, but I would be up at the ass crack of dawn, but it would only be necessary on the rarest of occasions. I’d have to map a decent course or two before I set out. I can create a course with the Garmin software that came with my GPS, and upload it to the Garmin, and as I am running, the Garmin will tell me where to turn and the distance between each turn, etc. Neat stuff.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


This is the girl of my dreams

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Der Schnee

I love this weather. This is the perfect snow storm – nice, soft, fluffy snow. I have already been out shoveling three or four times, and this is the kind of snow thats not wet and heavy. Oddly, I dont mind shoveling, but when the snow is wet, it friggen sucks –it becomes a miserable back-breaking experience thats best left to cheap immigrant labor, not white collar types, like me.

I was supposed to go out and measure the Pickle courses at Ridley Creek State Park this morning, with Tim. That never happened. Instead, I through my winter running clothes on and my trail shows and did 3.5 miles out in the snow. It wasnt bad – I was out there around 7:30 am, and at that point, we only had 3 or 4 inches. Most of the snow on the road was hard packed from the plows or what little traffic there was out there on the roads.

I wasnt killing the pace – running in snow is like running in mud and I had a fairly strong headwind on the way out on my “out and back” course. I wasnt particularly cold, but my face went numb because the headwind was blowing the snow directly at me. I should have worn my balaclava and maybe my ski goggles.

Once home, the girls and I went outside and played in the snow. We have a small hill in the back – not much – but the girls like sledding down the hill.

Snow 001Snow 004 

Snow 013

After the hijinks were over, we headed to Swarthmore Pizza which is our favorite local restaurant. Figuring that we’d be snowed in all day, a trip out for lunch would be good for everyone’s sanity

Snow 019

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Biggest Pickle Ever

I think I am taking today off. I definitely went to hard yesterday. Sure, I could do an easy run, but I dont think I would be getting a quality workout if I tried to do a tempo run. So I am skipping the gym this morning, and heading to work early, and I will try to get out a bit early and head to to the gym and run my tempo workout. I figure that might also give me some extra time to recover as well. And my stomach is bothering me right now. If I went to the gym and tried to run, I think I would wind up with a case of the "trots.”

If worse comes to absolute worse, I’ll skip running today, and run tempo tomorrow, and skip the spin class.

Pickle Run Update: We’re up to 90 pre-reg’d runners!!! The upcoming January Pickle will definitely be the largest pickle so far. I think we’re confident that well hit 200 runners!!!! Tim and I are going out this weekend to officially measure the courses. We have four courses to measure. I guess the bright side is that I am supposed to run 12 this weekend, and with all of the course measuring on tap, I’ll probably get the 12 in, albeit it might be broken up into pieces.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I think I overdid it

I had an intense workout this morning at the gym. A three mile run followed by a 50 minute spin class. The run wasnt all that intense - kept it easy for the first mile and then ramped up the speed every quarter mile. The average pace was probably 8:45 - 8:50, but the last mile and a half was fast.

I went overboard with the spin class. I try my hardest to keep the intensity low but its tough. I get really caught up in the moment. I dont have my heart rate monitor on me, so I dont know what my average HR was for the class, but I think it's got to be in the mid/ upper 150's. I was in the mid 170's here and there in the class, especially in the sprints, and I was in the 160's fairly often.

My legs are sore which is not a good sign because I am supposed to hump out a tempo run tomorrow.

I think I overdid it

I had an intense workout this morning at the gym. A three mile run followed by a 50 minute spin class. The run wasnt all that intense - kept it easy for the first mile and then ramped up the speed every quarter mile. The average pace was probably 8:45 - 8:50, but the last mile and a half was fast.

I went overboard with the spin class. I try my hardest to keep the intensity low but its tough. I get really caught up in the moment. I dont have my heart rate monitor on me, so I dont know what my average HR was for the class, but I think it's got to be in the mid/ upper 150's. I was in the mid 170's here and there in the class, especially in the sprints, and I was in the 160's fairly often.

My legs are sore which is not a good sign because I am supposed to hump out a tempo run tomorrow.

Monday, December 14, 2009

1 Down, 15 to go.

Week 1 of marathon training didnt go exactly as I planned. I fell short of some of my planned mileage. I think I hit 17 miles for the week and I was supposed to do something on the order of 22-23. However, I did an hour and thirty-four minutes on the spin bike, so at least I got some quality cardio work in, although more of it should have been via running.

A big piece of the mileage shortage happened yesterday – I was scheduled to run 10 miles, but the weather was absolutely miserable, so I headed to the gym instead. Things didnt start out well. I got to the gym and realized that I didnt have shorts, so I had to run to Target, which is directly next-door to the gym (lucky for me), to pick up shorts. I got a little over 7 miles into the run and called it quits – I was bored out of my mind.Additionally, the gym was empty, as would be expected at 2:00 on a Sunday. If there were a more more peeps in there, I think I would be a bit more engaged. I like the energy when the gym is packed and people are pumping. I guess thats why I like running with other people 

I look at this way – no harm no foul on the bad start. Its too early in the training to get worked up over some hiccups. Now, if this was week 14, then I would be a bit more concerned. I’ll work out all of the kinks as the weeks progress.

I had some calf problems last week. Nothing major- more of a symptom of the fact that I havent been running outside in a long time. To make the situation worse, I ran my first outdoor run on an up-hill off-camber road, and I have always had some issues with calf tightness on uneven ground. It flared up yesterday in the gym, but this morning it was fine. I am doing some extra calf work 2-3 times a week now, to really work out the kinks.

IMG00010 Snow Ride at Valley Forge


I found out today that I am going to be timing a race on New Year’s Eve at Midnight on Kelly Drive. This sounds like a lot of fun. If anyone is doing anything that night and wants to help out, let me know.

So I am starting Week 2 of training. I was scheduled to run a four mile easy run this morning, but I only did a little over 3 – I woke up later than I wanted to do and I was pressed for time. I was hoping to get out tonight and maybe do another 3 with the running club, but I got held up at work. Getting up this morning was a pain in ass. I got up late yesterday, so I popped a Lunesta around 8:00 last night to knock me out. It did the trick, but it usually makes getting up the next morning a very difficult exercise. Supposedly, Lunesta isnt supposed to have any day-after drowsiness side effects that are usually associated with over the counter sleep aid but that aint the case. Regardless, I managed to drag my ass out of bed a bit later then I wanted to. Tomorrow, I am going to drag my ass out of bed even earleir and run an easy three, and then sit in on the spin class. I dont think I am going to be doing the entire spin class from this point on. I like to reserve some extra time do some stretching and some calf-work.

I am also not minding the cold so much. I have plenty of winter gear and once I am moving it aint so bad. I get a little chill when I start but usually within a quarter mile I am ok- warm if anything to be honest. This morning, it was a balmy 40 degrees, but last Monday, on my first run outside in the cold, it was about 30 degrees.

The asian guy standing next to me on the train has ass-breath. I am covering my nose with my scarf. Its that bad.

Its all about the kids

I get a bit depressed this time of year, and I will tell you why.

So Friday morning, I was waiting to take the train at the Morton train station and I had some time to kill, so I ran across the street to this little coffee shop to grab a coffee. Right next to the counter is a basket for new toy donations.

Something like that breaks my heart. My girls are my life and they havent never gone without. We have a very generous family, and the girls arent necessarily spoiled but they are certainly treated well. Its to the point where Heather and I dont have to do very much for them around the holidays. Anyway, I see this basket and then I get this picture in my head of some poor kids living in some ramshackle house and they are just over-joyed that they have this awesome new toy to play with. While at the same time, that picture makes me very happy, it makes me sad at the same time, that there are kids who dont have it as good as my kids.

Every year before Christmas, Heather and I go through all of the kids toys and donate some of the old ones to Goodwill. The girls get excited about this, and I think thats a friggen great behavior to instill in these kids. Additionally, I think we’re going to do what we did last year after Christmas – we took one new toy from each of them and had the girls donate them. Amazingly, my girls do not take any exception to this – I think most kids would vehemently protest if there parents tried to pull this on them.

I am going to say something that might sound politically incorrect on the surface, but hear me out. While I think its notable that people are adopting asian kids from China and Vietnam, I gotta wonder why were not looking internally at the kids in this country who use a good home. I understand fully that the living conditions in some parts of China are third-world at best, but there are kids in this country who are suffering as equally bad.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Good Morning

I am not having a good morning. Let’s start with the weather. Getting up at 4:30 am and leaving the house to go to the gym in a downpour was exactly the best way to welcome the day.

I get to the gym, and as I am grabbing my gym clothes out of the trunk, I noticed that all of my shirts are wet. Last night when I got home, I must have not closed the trunk all the way and one of my shirts was sticking out. That shirt kept the trunk open just enough to let water in, and all of my crap was soaked. I managed to find one shirt that wasnt as bad as the rest.

Once inside, my nose starts to bleed. At the same time, I noticed my Garmin was dead. So while I am in the bathroom trying to stop my nose bleed – which took about 30 minutes – I let the Garmin charge. The fact that I had the charger with me was the only piece of luck I had this morning.

I finally get the nosebleed stopped, and I hop on the treadmill. Today’s workout called for a 3 mile tempo run at 8:30, with a mile warmup and a mile cooldown.I start the warm-up at a slow jog and I am noticing that my left calf is tight. I stop and stretch that out a bit, and proceed with the first mile of the tempo. Within a half mile, I am feeling like shit. My calf is still tight, and I think all of the blood in my stomach (gross, I know), wasnt sitting well either. I finished the first tempo mile and called it a day. So, I might try this again afterwork – we’ll have to see

The first day of training – Monday – went well. I got up and layered up, and did 4.4 miles on my old out-and-back loop from my house to Bortondale and back. The “out” is uphill and the “back” is a downhill. I keep separate splits for both legs. I think I was pacing at a 9 minute mile on the way out, and a 8 minute mile on the back. My blended average was 8:45. I noticed that my left calf was tight. I havent had this in a while. It might stem from the fact that the road that I run on for a good 2 miles of the course is a bit off camber. I have a detour that I can use, and I think I am going to have to use that in the future.

So with the calf feeling tight this morning, I stretched the shit out of it, and because I cut the run short, I did some calf work, which I think I am going to have to do a few times a week, also taking into consideration that one of my previous injuries was a calf/ ankle issue.

Yesterday, the plan called for some crosstraining. I am opting to take my normal spin classes twice a week, but scaled back a bit in the intensity. I tried to keep it easy yesterday, and for the majority of the class, I was doing my own thing and not necessarily following the instructor. I think I went a bit harder than I should have, but that’s more of a behavior based on the fact that I go full throttle at every spin class. I also look at this way – I dont need to be in good riding shape at this point because a) as the training progresses the mountain biking will unfortunately tail off and b) I dont do much winter riding anyway so there’s no point in keeping my bike fitness high. I am not in great shape to begin with relative to Mike and Dom. And even I was riding, I would probably be following a periodization plan that I used alot for triathlon and alot of cyclists also use it.


Periodization works like this: training is broken down into Periods and the Periods all culminate into peak fitness, which typically coincides with the one’s race season. So, the first “period” over the winter is called the “base” phase – easy spinning, low heart rate, letting things repair from the previous season, and working on spin technique. When I was training for tri’s, this phase would start in December and go for about 6 weeks. There might also be some weight training mixed in as well.

The next “period” would be “Strength” where the workouts progress into muscle building – lots of interval and time trial based riding. The strength period would be followed by a Speed period, which is where the fast twitch muscles are really built up. In this phase there’s a lot of above-threshold riding. You’re hitting this Period in the Spring, which is typically when the Road Racing and Triathlon season begins. At this point in time, most athletes still arent at their peak fitness level. The early season races are really the last piece of the puzzle to build up to peak fitness.

Peak fitness typically lasts for two weeks. That doesnt mean that if you peak in June, you’re done for the summer. You can multiple Peak Fitness Periods over the course of the summer, as long as you have proper rest and/or lower intensity workouts in between. To get into another phase of Peak Fitness, you would follow a very mini-version of the Periodization schedule, and you wouldnt have to do the Base phase, because you should aready have a strong riding Base already.

To think that you’re going to have your A game all season is ridiculous. You’ll burn out. That’s what happened to me two summers ago when I was full-swing into duathlon. By the time the end of the summer came, I was toast, but in the Spring, I was greasy fast. I tried to keep the fitness up which is like chasing a carrot on a stick. And to boot, every ride, every run, was a hammer-fest.

The marathon training plan is also a quasi Period schedule. The first couple of weeks are base – lots of slow running, some temp runs here and there. As the training progresses, the plan will mix in some speedwork, and the longer runs encompass the Strength period.

Sunday, Dom and I did the first “Snow Ride” of the year. It was a shit-show. My neighborhood got a light dusting, but the area up by Valley Forge got at least 2-3.” Unfortunately, the ground is still to warm, and none of the trails were covered in snow. Rather, they were a sloppy, muddy shit fest. After 45 minutes, I was covered head to toe in mud, and I was wet, and I was clod, and I couldnt feel my feet. Awful riding conditions.

Friday, December 4, 2009

There will be Blood

This isnt the way I wanted to go into my first week of marathon training. I havent run a single mile this week, for a variety of reasons. Early in the week, I could feel a cold coming on, so I bagged the running and figured I should rest up before a sniffle turns in the swine flue. Wednesday I was just plain lazy. I got up at 4:45, got all of my outdoor running shit on, and then promptly sat on my couch and surfed the internet.  And yesterday I was traveling for 16 hours – Philly to Chicago and back. Today, I am just tired. And there’s another limiting factor to throw on top of all that: my nose has been bleeding incessantly

I broke my nose pretty bad when I was a tyke – no , I was beaten. I took a spill into my grandmother’s marble coffee table, head first. The coffee table came out on top of that one. Anyway, it was so bad that I had to get my nose cauterized once or twice when I was young because I suffered from constant nose bleeds. Now, the problem isnt anywhere near as bad, but I still get the nosebleeds about twice a year. I get them in the spring occasionally, but I really get hit hard in the fall. Its mostly a function of the dry air – it must shrink my blood vessels or something. I took some dingers in karate over the years that certainly havent helped the situation either. I had a few bleeds in the beginning of the week and they werent terrible, but Wednesday and yesterday, my nose was a like a geyser. Oi. Flying didnt help.The air in the plane cabin is extremely dry, and on the return trip back to Philly, I could feel the pressure change as we descended all up in my sinuses. I must have hard three bleeds over the course of the day, yesterday. I had one last night, and another bad one this morning that I couldnt stop.

So, running wasnt in my best interest in the last couple of days. The last thing I wanted was a stream of blood to start gushing out of my nose while I am on the treadmill.

My goal is to hit the treadmill tomorrow and do a couple of good solida miles. Ultimately, I would like to get outside, but I think the weather is going to be a crappy mix of snow then rain then snow then rain throughout most of the day. I’ll probably be driven inside. I need to start getting outside to get acclimated to the cold. Sunday, I am trying to line up a mountain bike ride with the fellas, because it looks like most of my time is going to be consumed by running for the foreseeable future.

Monday, November 30, 2009


So I got me one of these Blackberry jawns. Having just had my iPhone stolen, I needed to get another Smartphone, and after much research, I decided on the Blackberry Curve 8310. Its not the fanciest model, but its got what I need. If its good enough for the leader of the Free World, the President, than its good enough for me

So, here is my review of the Apple iPhone 2G versus the Blackberry 8310

The 2G iPhone operates on AT&T's "Edge" network. Its not the super-speedy 3G network on which the new iPhone 3G operates. The Blackberry also operates on the Edge network as well, so from that perspective, I didnt downgrade.

I could have gone up a model and gotten a Blackberry that runs on 3G, but I dont do much web-surfing, so I really dont care.

Both the iPhone and the Blackberry have cameras. The Blackberry takes the edge here because it can also shoot video. I could never understand why a phone as robust as the iPhone didnt come right out of the gate with video recording. Blackberry takes the edge here, but I think the new iPhone 3G has the ability to record video. Additionally, the Blackberry has a flash for low-light pictures, a feature that should have been incorporated into the iPhone from the start

MP3 Player
iPhone = iPod. IPhone wins by a landslide. However, the Blackberry makes a strong challenge with its ability to connect to my stereo bluetooth headphones - a feature that was missing with my iPhone (although the new 3G iPhone has this feature)

Blackberry wins. The iPhone doesnt have the ability to send pictures text messaging (the 3G does).

The iPhone has a virtual QWERTY keyboard; The Blackberry has a physical keyboard. Right now, the iPhone has the edge - the keys on the Blackberry are very small, and the iPhone's screen would rotate to allow me to type with two hands.

The iPhone had on-board Wi-Fi, the Blackberry does not. I didnt use the Wi-Fi terribly much on my iPhone, so this is a draw for me. The Blackberry has built in GPS; the iPhone didnt. the GPS might come in handy with the Google Maps app that I have installed on the Blackberry. Winner: Blackberry

iPhone, hands down. The screen is enormous and the touch-screen functionality is certainly more user-friendly than the Blackberry's trackball.

Blackberry wins. What it lacks in screen size it makes up in reduced weight and size. The iPhone was a brick, but a really nice brick

The iPhone battery SUCKS and its a commonly identified weakness for the phone. However, the Blackberry battery is outstanding. I charged the phone Saturday night, and I have been using frequently and I still 2 out of 5 battery nits on it.

I had to get a data plan for the Blackberry, and it appears to be just about the same cost as the iPhone's data plan. My iPhone was jailbroken and I had the ability to put a number of 3rd party apps on it, but it appears that I might be able to put some apps on the Blackberry as well.

I could have moved up to Blackberry models that have Wi-Fi, a touch screen, 3G connectivity and a host of other features, but I would never use them.

So, at the end of the day, who wins? I'd have to say at this point, its a draw

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Rockin’ out the 2-1-5

215 – thats the total number of finishers that we had today for St. Bernies. That’s phenomenal for a first year race. I had 150 runners pre-reg’d going in, so that had 60+ walk-ups. That’s outstanding, and what makes it even more impressive is the fact that there was another large race happening at the same time less than two miles away. I told the RD that if she moved the race a day or so, they could probably break 250 next year, easily.

I already have 11 races on my calendar for the spring/ summer of 2010. That doesnt include the four Pickle Runs. That’s good stuff. Its alot of work but I love it. People ask me alot about the burden of having a full time job and a side job. I dont mind it. Most races I am home before 12. It would be a different story if I was working ten hour days on the weekends.

I didnt get a chance to run or ride after the race – I was beat. Actually, I came home and slept for two hours after I helped the girls put up all of the Christmas decorations. Theres some talk about doing a ride tomorrow, but the plans arent finalized

Friday, November 27, 2009


I’ve been thinking about what I posted yesterday, about not having alot of oomph in the engine lately. I have been cramming in alot of stuff in lately, and I dont think I am giving myself alot of recovery time, relative to my present fitness level. For example, Tuesday morning, on five hours of sleep, I took an hour-long spin class that knocked the shit of me. I go hard for the entire hour. Tuesday’s class was alot of climbing and I try to keep MY HR fairly high were a portion of the class.

I followed that up on Wednesday with a hard trail run. I think I suffered on the trail run because I was still recovering from Tuesday. I took Thursday off and then rode today. In theory, I should have been fully recovered for today’s ride, but I think that trail took more out of me than I thought. I dont think it was the distance – it was more of the fact that I havent done a run like in a long time, and I need to adjust.

Look, when I am in shape, running and riding on back to back days isnt a real problem, within reason, but I guess I am not where I need to be just yet that I pull off some of these harder efforts without alot of rest in between

Turkey Day

Its been nice having a few days off from the office. I’ve been doing a whole lot of nothing. I did some leaf raking, some banking stuff, but nothing that’s on the level of a major home improvement project, like my neighbor across the street. This fucking guy, let me tell ya. For the last three months, this guy has been out in his driveway with a saw cutting wood and trim, just about every night of the week. I think he’s re-building the house at this point. Dude, go inside. Relax. Spend time with your kids. Go have sex with your wife. Do something. Enough with the bandsaw. You’re making me look bad. Motivated people annoy me.

I started the holiday out with a nice, sloppy trail run over at Ridley Creek State Park with Tim and some other folks that I know. Kevin, owner of one of the area’s largest residential painting companies and frequent sponsor of alot of the area’s races, just bought a beautiful piece of property adjacent to Ridley Creek State Park, and six of us met over there for a trail run on Wednesday afternoon, in a steady stream of rain. The trails were an absolute mess, and I loved it. Some of the pansies I ran with were trying their best to avoid the sloppy stuff, but I charged right threw that sh*t. That’s how I roll. There’s no room for dresses and high-heels in trail running. Christ, you’re already out there running in the slop – running around puddles isnt really accomplishing anything, so take off the dress and be a man.

I suffered a bit on this run. Our group of six broke up into two groups about midway through, and I ran with the slower group for a bit. Near the end of the run, the course took us back onto the main paved trail that loops around the Park, and I got dropped on one of the hills. I think we were about 6 miles into the run at this point, and the trails killed me. Its a whole different story running 6 miles of trails versus 6 miles on the road, and I havent run trails in ages, and it sure as shit caught up with me. I am still feeling it today.

Thursday, I helped Tim time the Gobble Wobble up in Abington. It’s the biggest run that we have chip-timed to date. Things went off without a hitch. Looks like we might have walked out of there with a few more races under our belt – there were two other area race directors in attendance watching our setup. One of our competitors has had some issues with larger races, and we’re in a prime position to pick up some big events.

I headed over to Brandywine with Mike and Dom for a traditional post- T-day MTB ride. We settled on Brandywine since it was the closest place to all three of us and would have the least amount of road traffic since its not located near any major shopping malls. I gotta say that I aint feeling good on the bike. The last two rides have sucked. Its a combination of me being out of shape and Dom and Mike being much faster than me. I bagged the ride after 50 minutes today while the two of them soldiered on. Add in the fact that I am not a big fan of riding in cold weather. As crazy as it sounds, I would rather ride in the heat. That’s just me. But anyway, it was good to get outside. The forecast had originally called for a really crappy day, but it turned out to be nice – chilly – but nice. The trails were a bit muddy, but not so sloppy that ride was a shit-show. Running through mud is one thing, but riding through mud is awful.

Tomorrow, I have to time a race at St Bernies in Drexel Hill. This is a first-year race, and I think they are expecting a decent sized crowd, but lots of walkers (and luckily I dont have to time the walkers). After that, I am thinking about going for a run or maybe a ride. There was some talk about the group of us getting together again tomorrow afternoon to ride, and if I have the energy level for it, I am in. These races can be a lot of work – I am usually on my feet from the minute I get to the venue up until the minute I leave. Its not unusual for me to get home and pass out.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I admit that I have been lazy as of late – I havent been all that motivated too blog. I apologize.

I did a nice ride with Mike and Dom today over at Brandywine. Everything was great, especially the weather. There was one problem: I had absolutely no legs. Eight miles of running yesterday, and six the day before really put a hurtin’ on me. Sad part is, we werent killing it today. We had one small problem: we ran into some condescending running prick on one of the trails. He “politely” reminded us that bike running is prohibited on the side of the river that were riding. It wasnt so much what he said, as it was the way he said it. It was very condescending.

I am not a bike snob, in that I believe that cyclists have some sort of inalienable rights to ride wherever they want. I am runner, as well as a cyclist, so dont lecture me on trail usage. Yes, I will admit that were were probably on the wrong side of the river; fine, I will admit the mistaken, but dont speak to me like a self righteous prick.

Rant over

My iPhone got stolen on the train. No joke. Friday, I took a half day in the morning, and took a much later train back to the office. I dozed off, and my phone was by my side, when I woke up the fucker was gone. Talk about having some big balls: what would have happened if I wasnt really asleep – merely “resting my eyes” – and I wake up and catch you in the act. I cant win for trying

Its amazing the things I think about on daily basis that I want to blog about, but when I actually get in front of the laptop, my mind goes blank.

Looks like were gonna do the traditional post-Thanksgiving MTB ride on Black Friday. So far, it sounds like its me, Dom and maybe Lou.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Guess Who’s Back?

I made a vow to myself to get back on a normal schedule once my traveling was over. I got off to a great start this week!

I managed to get to the gym four times this week, all in the morning at the ass crack of dawn. Every day I was there, at the doors, at 5:00 am. I have to admit that the first two days were rough. I havent gotten up that early in a very long time. Hearing that alarm go off at 4:30 am was a bitch. Getting out of the bed was worse.

Monday, I kicked things off with a good run. Honestly, I think there was something wrong with the treadmill. I kept jacking up the speed on the treadmill and it seemed like running was effortless. I capped that amazing run off with a session of lifting.

Tuesday, I dragged my ass out of bed and ran brisk three miles on the treadmill, and capped it off with a tough spin class. I didnt feel great, but I havent been on a bike in ages. Legs felt good but my HR was pegged. At one point, during a spring, my HR was in the mid 180’s. That’s redline for me.

Wednesday I woke up at 3:30 am and I felt like I was having a heartache. My chest was extremely sore from lifting on Monday. It was excruciating, so I bagged the gym and went to work instead, since I was up anyway.

Thursday, I did some lifting and then took a spin class. I felt a bit better, but my friggen arms were killing me, because I still had some residual soreness in my arms and chest, and holding myself up on the bike was sapping my strength.

Today, I hammered out four miles and then another three-quarters of a mile on a straight incline. I followed that with some lifting. The soreness is more or less gone at this point.

So, not a bad week eh? Tomorrow I am timing a race so I wont be able to hit the gym in the AM. Maybe after I am done….

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I have never been on a plane that’s this empty in my life

Just like the title says, I am on the last leg of my trip back home to Philly. I am on a wide body jet and the damn thing is empty. I am in a three person row and I have the whole thing to myself. Nice leather seats. This is shocking, considering that I almost didnt get a seat.

IMG_0019 Admiral Jackass at 30k over the US

My trip is over. Another EEI has come to end. This particular show is unlike any other trade show I have every attended. The crew that comes to the show (and its the same crew at every show) is nuts. Usually we have the conference at a really nice city that always tends to be a party city – the last two shows were in Vegas and New Orleans. The next two are in Boston (on St. Patty’s day no less!) and back to Vegas. This show very low key in comparison. The hotel that we stayed in was very, very nice but there was nothing around it. zilch. We were relegated to the hotel bar, which closed at 12:00 every night. The show attendees were not happy at all, and I imagine that the folks who organize this had the best intentions when picking this particular venue, but they should know better. This group is a not the type who eat dinner, maybe have a drink, and then hit the sack for the evening. Quite the contrary – these people are absolute lunatics. I think I might have told some stories from the Vegas trip many blogs ago. I’ll give you an example from this show, to put things in context.

So, on the last night of the conference, there are many dinners happening between customers and vendors, etc. But when its all said and done, everyone retires to an establishment for some after-dinner beverages. And it amazes me how things travel through this crowd throughout the day. So, last night, after I got home from dinner with my co-workers and a customer with whom we had the pleasure of dining with, I retired to the hotel bar, which was packed with show attendees. The hotel kicked out at 12:30 am, and I decided to pack it in. No sooner then I get to my room, I get a call from my boss with the word that some folks are heading to the pool with a couple of cases of beer. Dont ask me where the beer is – this group is very resourceful. Never one to miss a party, I thre on my bathing suit and headed over to the pool, where I find about 20 other people kicking back beers. There was a even a guy with a laptop and speakers playing some tunes. Only at EEI. I wound up hanging out until 2:30 or so after having a couple of beers and taking a dip in the pool. We were making a fair amount of racket, but we werent that close to any of the guest rooms, so I guess the hotel staff figured its better to have us out by the pool, then inside the hotel bar. Placate us, because you’re not going to beat us, there’s too many of us. We’re like the Borg.

That’s what happens at this show. There’s a gang of criminals that are always out partying. It’s amazing.

Tomorrow, its back to the office, and I have a boat load of work to do. I just hope that I can get back into a normal routine now that the bulk of my traveling is done – I have one small trip planned in Chicago in December, but I think that’s it until the Spring.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Let the games begin

There’s talk about some of us chipping in some cash, going out to store and stocking up on some booze, and renting a golf villa for the night. These people here are serious motherf*ckers. Let the hijinks begin.

Last night was rough, but I have had worse. I had to sit in our little booth for two and half hours and mingle, etc, yada yada yada. We had some good foot traffic, but I know most of the people at these shows already, so this is really an opportunity for me to talk to people that I normally talk to on the phone.

After the cocktail, I went up to my room and watched the last three innings of the game. That shit show on third base lost the game for us. Not only did Lidge pitch like shit, he also didnt cover third.

After the game ended, I headed over to the hotel bar, and surprisingly, it was dead. I met some peeps that I know and had a couple of drinks, which turned into more drinks, which turned into a bunch of us going to someone’s room and breaking open the mini bar. Around 1:30 I bagged and ordered some room service. I dont know what it is about alcohol but it makes really friggen hungry.

Now, I feel kinda shitty, but not terrible, because I didnt go over the edge with the drinking. I feel worse from the pizza I ate at 2:00 in the morning and the resulting four hours of sleep.

The conference officially kicked off this morning with a series of presentations. The first hour is always fun – they have a mock game show and they bring in two clowns who do a Carson/ Ed McMahon thing. After that, its 2+ hours of presentations. Half-way in, I bagged it, along with the rest of my crew. I came up here to the room to catch up on some emails. I have to admit that this iPhone is really helping me chomp through some of the email traffic, which means when I get back to the office on Thursday, I wont have to slog through 200 emails, which would normally take up half of my day.

I have to be at the booth at 12:30 for two hours. On deck for tonight: the host utility is having a meet and greet at 5:30, followed by a social/ party thing. Thats usually fun. Thats when the alcohol really starts flowing.

Its always Sunny in Philadelphia

I managed to get up and run this morning, and although the weather was great – 82 degrees and sunny when I left the hotel- I felt like shit. I think its the combination of a) shitty sleep b) drinking the night before c) not eating much yesterday and d) no running for three weeks

I managed to get a little over 3 miles, but there was some walking inter mixed there, but I’ll take what I can get.

After, I retired to the pool for three hours. Not a goddamn cloud in the sky today. Friggen beautiful. I then registered for the conference and constructed our little display booth thingee, which was a really pain in the ass. There’s a cocktail hour thing starting at 5 where I have to be in the booth and what not. I havent heard from any of my cohorts yet, so I am going to head down and man the booth on my own I guess.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I am here. Finally.

The plane got in without a hitch. Got my bags, jumped in a cab, and took a 20 minute ride to my hotel, which is absolutely amazing. By it the time I got myself settled, unpacked, ironed my clothes (that were crumpled up from sitting in my frame pack for nine hours), it was about 10:00 PCT. I decided to head down to the bar and get a drink, because, as crazy as it sounds, I was a bit wired.

So it turns out that the hotel has some really high end nightclub

called Costas that’s open only on the weekends, and they were having some kind of big Halloween Party. I ran into one of the other vendors that I know from these shows, and she told me that her and some other folks were heading over. I am not a big club person. I would rather sit at the bar and relax.

Down at the bar, I found some counter space and ordered a nice G&T (that was a little light on the G). I wound up talking to a guy named Danielle who is from the area but here on vacation with some friends, and a girl named Cody who was here for Phish. Oh yeah, I should mention that Phish is playing some huge show not far from here – its a festival actually- so there’s a bunch of Phish fans running around this place. However, these arent your typical dirty-hippy Phish fans. The people in this place are the upscale fans that can afford a really nice hotel room. So anyway, I wound up talking to these two until about 11:30, and in that time I had a watered down G&T, a shot of Cuervo and a small Long Island. I was buzzed, but not drunk. It was enough to put me out when I got back to the room.

However, I guess with the time change, I woke up at 4:20 am PCT raring to do, with a massive headache. I needed sleep, so I tool a Lunesta and passed out again until 9:00, got up, had some coffee and went to the gift shop to pick up some Excedrin- which is a miracle drug because my head ache is gone. Amazing. So in a bit, I am going to go for run and then sit at the pool for a while. Nice.

iPhone: Steve Jobs get your head out of your @ss

So I got one of those iPhone jawns. I didnt get one of the new 3G shits – I bought a used 2g because a) I am not due for a phone upgrade anytime soon and I dont want to pay $300 for a phone, and b) I didnt want to buy the mandatory $30 data plan that AT&T horn-swaggles you into . Sons of bitches.

I like this thing. I can check my work email, which although I had eschewed in the past as being “too connected,” I find it rather convenient to check my mail on the train, for example, and get some of the bullshit out of the way before I get into the office.

This thing also has an 8GB iPod, which is great. I also “jailbroke” the phone, which is a hack that allows the installation of 3rd party applications. Without the hack, only applications from Apple’s iStore can be installed on the phone. What’s amazing is the ads I see on Craigslist advertising jailbreaking services. It took me an hour to google “jailbreak,” find the right software, download it and install it, and then proceed to jailbreak the phone. It’s not rocket science. But I guess people are willing to pay some one upwards of $30 to do something that probably takes someone with experience 15 minutes to complete.

The one thing I do not like, and this a big source of consternation among iPhone fans, is the inability for the phone to send MMS text messages. MMS is a fancy way of describing text messages with pictures attached or imbedded. I have been doing a fair amount of research over the past two weeks on various on-line iPhone hacker forums. There is a way to hack the phone with 3rd party software to enable the MMS texting. I got that piece installed. However, there’s something on the AT&T side that prevents the message from going through. There’s a number of iPhone geeks working on this and I am watching the situation very closely. Some of the guys have described these really convoluted work-arounds that involve calling AT&T’s tech support and having them enable various things in your account, like WAP-pushing (dont ask). And in alot of cases, the AT&T tech people have caught wise as to what’s going on, and they may or may not enable the required features, so some of these guys have called multiple times to get to the techs that dont really give a shit and enable the features without any push-back. And, to complicate matters, the jury is still out as to whether all of this enabling of this and that actually works. Some people have had mixed results. They’ve called AT&T, gotten to the right tech, had everything enabled that needs to be turned, and they get zilch. Nada. Nothing. Some of the posts on these forums go back to 2007, so its obviously been on the radar screen for a long time.

Anyway, all of that seems like a lot of work, so I am waiting to see if a simpler solution presents itself.

The Hustle

So as I am writing this, I am on the second leg of my trip out to Palm Springs for a conference/ workshop/ trade show. The first flight left Philly at 3:40 pm (on-time!) and arrived in Denver about 7:00 EST. The 2nd leg from Denver left at 8:00 EST. I am also missing Game 3 of the World Series, but before I left, the word was that the game was delayed due to rain in Philly. As soon as I land I’ll fire up the cellie and see what’s wh

We hit some turbulence on the first leg and some really nasty shit at that. At one point the plane dropped straight down and I saw people lifting out of their seats. Good Stuff. The plane had the feature that allows the passengers to listen-in on the cockpit chatter. I was “tracking” the turbulence situation as we headed west. All the pilots were chiming in, trying to get a report on where the turbulence is and what altitude they should fly to avoid it. Neat stuff.  As I was walking off the plane, the Cap’n was there wishing all of well, and I really had the urge to ask him if there is anyway we can actually try to aim for the turbulence on the next trip, rather than fly around it. Now there’s a guy I want to fly with. He’s not some pansy who’s worried about some of the passengers spilling their free soda all over themselves. He’s a daredevil. He probably made his bones flying fighter jets does barrel rolls for shits and giggles. That’s who want handling the stick of this bird. Hands down end of story case closed.

The ride on the way out was nice. I was in one of those newer jets with the bigger leg room, and I was on the exit aisle. On this flight, I have an empty seat next to me, but this plane is the size of my closet. But in comparison to the recent flight I had from Denver, with the fat Mexican guy next to me snoring like hibernating bear, and the 2 hour delay, this is trip, so far, has been a godsend.

By the time I arrive in CA it will be close to 12:00 am our time, but if you figure in Daylights Savings Time, Its really 11:00, which is good.

The weather looks AWESOME. The next four days: 90 degrees and nothing but sun! I scoped out some running routes near the hotel last night on MapMyRun. Looks like no matter where I go I should be in good shape – all the streets criss-cross over each other. My tentative game plan is to get to bed by 11:00 Pacific Time, then go for a run tomorrow in the morning, and then either take walk around or sit at the pool. Its a real shame Heather couldnt come with me, but as luck would have it, her parents are here visiting. The place I am staying at is a RESORT and from the pictures I have seen online it looks AWESOME.

Now, if I can manage to not go out and get shit-faced every night, I would like to try to get in some runs here and there. There’s always one night at this show where I get completely obliterated, although in the Spring, when I attended the show in New Orleans, I managed to behave, but that’s only because I had Heather with to keep me straightened out. Vegas, however, which was the year before, was an absolute shit show of the highest order. By the 4th day, I had nothing left. It was the combination of the drinking, the staying out till 4 am every night. Not good. I remember getting up Wednesday morning to leave, and we were going to meet a customer at 8 am before we left. I met two of my co-workers, one of whom is a demon when it comes to partying and entertaining at these shows. The two of us looked like shit- I mean like absolute hell. I think I took the next day off, and if I remember correctly, I picked up a cold immediately after, which I assume was the result of four days of parting and no sleep. It took me three or four days to recover.

The last two weeks have been an absolute blitz. It all started with my trip to Dallas, which resulted in some long days at the office playing catch-up. That rolled into my trip to MYC for two day. I spent a 12 hour day on Monday to get ahead as much as I could on my work. Tuesday I did a normal day and then left for NYC. Thursday, the day I departed, was a three trek home. Friday, I was back in the office for another 12 hour day, and then cap that off with this morning, where I timed a 160+ person race up in Burlington County. Whew.

The good news is that I am in the clear for traveling for the foreseeable future. I havent run or biked in 3+ weeks, with the exception of a small run here and there. I need to get back on some semblance of a normal schedule. This is getting ridiculous, but the good news is that I dont have any races to time this weekend coming, so maybe I can get on the ole MTB (although I could really use the money from timing).

Getting back to NYC, it was  a good trip, although if you saw my previous blogs or saw my status on Facebook, the class that I took wasnt quite what I expected. It was the second time this particular firm had given the class, so I think they still need to work off some rough edges. However, I got to spend alot of my time with my boy Tommy and his awesome wife who is so far out of his league it hurts. We went to dinner at a really nice Mexican joint on Tuesday, and then Thursday we hooked up to watch the Phillies at a bar on the Upper East Side

In Manhattan…

Surrounded by Yankees fans…

While wearing Phillies hats

And making ALOT of noise, because neither one of isnt exactly “Mr. Discrete.” Tommy’s got a big mouth, and he’s a world class shit-talker, although half the time the stuff that comes out of his mouth, doesn’t make much sense to anyone but him, but its the way he says it that gets the point across.

Actually, it wasnt that  bad. We were in Manhatten for christ’s sake, not the “Bambino’s Bar and Grille” in the heart of the Bronx. Regardless, we were in the Lions Den. We were amongst the enemy. Rat bastard Yankees fans. Front runners.

We only had one jerkoff mouth off to us as we left the bar. He saw our beautiful Phillies caps as he was leaving, and in a very “I am not kidding around because I take this shit way too seriously and I am a scumbag Yankees fan with no class” tone, he turned around and said, “ NICE FUCKING HATS.” He was big. He could have taken the both of us by himself. I mean dont get me wrong, I am pretty wiley, and Tommy would come at you with all teeth and claws, like a badger, and we would have given him a run for his money, but in the end, he would have gotten us. But we just kept going.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Ok, I am ready to go. I have three train rides ahead of me. New York Penn Station to Trenton, Trenton to Philly, Philly to Rose Valley. Whew.

I’ll you what, these Russkies can power through. Its 12:00. She aint taking a breath for lunch. The other instructor had to shut her up yesterday, otherwise we would have gone straight through. Take it easy comrade. Your boy has to get his grub on.

She’s loosing me…

This Ruskie is loosing me

Take a look at the closet I stayed in while I was here in the Big Apple. This picture was taken with me standing at the doorway, almost in the hallway.



I’ll keep this brief because I am sitting in a training class in NYC and I should be paying attention but the instructor is Russian and she has a bad accent. I posted to my Facebook that I feel like I am back at Drexel. I have an instructor that I cannot understand, she’s monotone, the room is hot, and there’s one chick out of 30 guys. All we need to make the whole thing complete is an overhead projector with a professor scribbling gobidly-gook that makes no sense to anyone but him.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Back in the Hood

I had to take my car in for inspection last week. I am fearful of the dreaded car inspection. My little POS mitsu has alot of rattles and pops and all sorts of fun sounds. While I firmly believe the car is safe, it’s condition would probably warrant a fair amount of repair which I cannot afford right now. And so were clear, “safe” is probably a relative word. Safe to me means that there is no imminent danger of the wheels spontaneously falling off or the engine blowing up. “Safe” to most people means the seat belts work they way they should.

So, I got this guy in Northern Liberties (that’s the trendy Philadelphia nickname for the former shithole known as Fishtown) whose recommended to me by Karen at the office. I am told that he is one of those type of mechanics that will just put a sticker on the car. *Wink Wink*

Anyway, so I drive the car over to the drive after work. Surprisingly, the mechanic tells me that I can wait for the car if I want. I was kind of shocked – I’d figure I would have to leave overnight. With time to time kill, I decided to take a nice stroll through the neighborhood. Oh, and for the record, the mechanic told me that I should check out the corner bar – the bartender has big tits.

Now, what man doesnt love Fishtown Bartenders with big tits, I ask you? So I make my way down to this fine watering hole, but I detour to the small coffee shop right across the street from the bar. I figured there might possibly be a barista with big tits as well. I kid.

I grabbed an ice coffee and sat down on a couch. What I saw for the next two hours amazed me.

Northern Liberties aka Fishtown aka Port Richmond is, and has been, an upcoming neighborhood for the past couple of years. Philadelphia has these boom ‘hoods. Many years ago it was Manyunk. Then the Art Museum area. Then it was Bella Vista (another fancy way of saying South Philly). Northern Liberties, or “No Libs” as the locals call it, is the rising star right now. As with any up and coming area, there’s been an influx of folks moving in. Many of these folks are what are commonly referred to as “hipsters.” If you dont know who the hell I am talking about, we’ll get to that later.

Anyway, so I am sitting there, I am seeing a steady stream of folks in and out of the place. Everyone seems to know everyone. Some of the customers would leave, then come back again some time later.

I got a real sense of neighborhood out of this, and when I mean neighborhood, I am referring to type of environment that I grew up in. I grew up in a row-home neighborhood. A row-home is kind of like a townhouse, only the shitty version. Anyway, in my hood, when I was kid, and I guess to a certain extent now, everyone knew everyone. In the summer, kids played out at night until god knows when. The neighbors sat out of front every night and shot the shit. It was a great place to grow up, and it wasnt the Main Line, and I think that’s what made it unique. Listen, when you live in Gladwyne, where the houses sit a quarter of a block from each other, there is no “neighborhood.” The township throws the word “community” around, but that’s just as much of farce. Perhaps the parents know each other from the kid’s schools or sports leagues, but that’s about it. There’s no neighborhood there.

As I was sitting in this coffee shop, I got the sense that this place was the hub. The corner bar, right across the street, is alive and well. This coffee shop, however, is the corner bar for the hipsters. To be fair, I saw a wide of assortment of customers coming in and out of that place, so I dont want to pigeon hole the joint has a meeting spot for a bunch of trendy dirty hippies. I think it would be neat to live in a place like this, just to have the element of being part of a real neighborhood again. Oh, and I got my car inspected without any problems. *Wink Wink*

Work has been a blitz. Again. My hours have been more in-line with a forty hour work week, but I’ll tell you whats killing me: these goddamned Phillies. I have been staying up late way too much, and that just throws my entire schedule out of whack. I cant get up early to go the gym, and I tend to work an hour or two late, so by the time I leave the office, I want no parts of going to the gym. Last week, I did some traveling, and that threw me further out of sorts. This week is more of the same. I’ll be in NYC for a couple of days,and the week after that is no better, with my impending trip to Cali.

All of this wouldnt be a problem if I could control what I eat, which I cant, so who the hell knows how much weight I am putting on now. I am scared to get on a scale.

Monday, October 19, 2009

What Happened?

I feel very disconnected from a lot of things in my past that I really used to enjoy. Poker night is a good example. A bunch of used to get together semi-regularly to play poker. There was never a set schedule – it was always more of an ad-hoc thing. I miss it. I dont get to see any of the guys that much with the exception of mountain bike rides. I think I will have to try and throw one together.

We also havent had a camping trip in a while. We were doing the bi-annual camping trip with some regularity over the past couple of years, but this year, it fell apart. I dont want to set these kind of patterns. I am too close to any of these guys to have things dissolve and go away.

With the way I dress for work, I sometimes wonder how many people get on the train and think I am a student on my way to school in Philly. Granted, if I am mistaken for a student, most people probably think I am the really old guy – you might have had one in your classes as well. The guy in my class was well into his thirties, and he was full time, which is very rare. One would think that a guy like that, who is immersed in a culture that is predominantly populated with kids in their late teens/early 20’s, would have the propensity of regressing back into maturity level to attempt to fit in. But the guy in my class played it cool and kept mostly to himself.

See, I would regress. Quite frankly, it wouldnt be a big effort for me to regress- I dont think I have fully embraced the maturity level that is commiserate with my age.

I flew out to Dallas to give a presentation at a conference for retail facility managers. I got off the plane and it was 80 degrees. When I left Philly, it was 44 and raining. The presentation went ok. I used a presentation that was created by the president of my company. I had reviewed many times over, but as I was giving the presentation, I felt very disjointed because I didnt create it. I didnt know the seg-ways between slides. Lesson learned: next time I will make my own presentation. It also didnt help that I was hung-over and working on three hours of sleep. The night prior, I had met some folks from a large retailer and had some (many) drinks with them, to the extent that the security at the hotel kicked us out of the bar at 3:00 am, well after the bar had closed. Good times.

Of course, as luck would have it, my plane leaving Dallas was three hours delayed back into Philly because of the shitty weather. I cant fault Philly for this one, as much as I would like to. The weather truly was awful. My luck just got better as I got on the plane. I had managed to snag an aisle seat, but the guy sitting next to me was on the large side. To complicate matters, five minutes after sitting his ass in the seat, he passes out and starts snoring like a howitzer. Without the sounds of the engines to drown him out, it was unbearable. People in front of me and behind started looking around, thinking perhaps one of the engines broke. It was that bad. Once airborne, the engines drowned him out and I had some relative peace and quiet.

I am a bit out of sorts with respect to my running schedule. I havent run since Wednesday. I wasnt feeling great this weekend. I cant put my finger on it – I never felt motivated to get off my ass and run. I dont know – maybe it was the weather. It just wasnt there.

Saturday, I timed a race at Ridley Creek State Park for the ACDC Animal Shelter. Only 20 people ran. I really felt bad for the race organizers, but this weather we had was brutal, and there were two other races taking place that morning that runners had to choose from. I have races lined up for the next two weekends, and then things calm down a bit. I just got word from Tim that the weekend of December 12th, we have three huge races back to back and each race will have 1,000+ runners. Wow.

…. And then the Pickle Runs start….

Monday, October 12, 2009

I got alot of my frustrations out this morning at the gym. I was on fire. I ran 3.1 miles in a little over 23 minutes. On the surface, that's not blazing fast, but it's the fastest I have run in weeks. Additionally, I ran the first mile relatively easy. I started the thing out at 6.5 mph, and kept cranking it up to 7.0. When I hit the 2nd mile, I jacked it up to 7.5, and then kept increasing it until I got 9.0. So, I probably ran the 2nd mile in about 7:15 and the third mile in 6:50 or something. The fact of the matter is I was hauling ass. After I finished up on the treadmill, I moved over to the spin bike do a quick 15 minute hill workout. From there, I did some light arm work withe weights, then stretched.

All that time off that I took after the PDR actually helped my knee heal up a bit. It's still "tweaky" but no where near as uncomfortable as it was last month. Granted, I am not logging a lot of miles, so that's helping as well.

I was blowing smoke up your ass yesterday. Eastern Philosophy my ass. When I was really heavy into karate, I studied a modified form of Tang Soo Do, which is the blood relative of Tae Kwon Do. Both forms are a Korean kicking art. Anyway, my instructor was never into the Eastern Philosophy stuff. We never spoke anything in Korean, which alot of traditional Korean karate schools integrate into their programs. We never had a picture of some old Asian Grandmaster from the Ming Dynasty or some shit hanging on the wall. My instructor used to take us to other schools, and I remember walking in and all the kids would be bowing and talking in Korean. We'd just sit there and wonder when we was going to get to the good ole fashioned punchin' and kickin'.

With all that being said, I still want to try Yoga. I think it would be good for me. Then again, sparring for an hour and half and getting my head kicked in was very therapeutic for me. It's like going from one extreme to the other.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


The old lady has been complain that my blogs are to vanilla now that I have toned things down. I agree with her. I need to step it up a bit. So with that being said, I would like to share with you my thoughts on mexicans…

Just kidding.

Seriously,  I am rather mellow these days. My wife would argue, but she gets to see me when I am driving, and that’s when I am at my angriest. Sure, I’ll admit that there will always be things that will rile me up, but overall, through a good course of mood stabilizing medications, extensive therapy, and my studies in the Eastern Philosophies, I have become a kinder, gentler Frank. Think of me as Frank 2.0.

Pickle Runs are Back

Plug is over. Commence blogging.

So, yes it’s been a while since I have blogged. I got a few comments as to where I have been. My personal favorite was from Mike: “I saw your blog on the back of a milk carton.” Cute.

My lack of dedication can be blamed on a number of factors. Work has been a bit nuts. My schedule has been wacky. I come home at night and I am too tired to really do anything. I havent been bringing my laptop on the train, which has been my primary time slot for blogging, and, quite frankly, I’ve been lazy.

Photo.ashx Poll: Who is the hottest person in the pic?

What’s new you ask? Not a goddamn thing. Been running here and there. No mountain biking though – my bike is undergoing some brake work from my old mechanic. Kinda sucks – this time of year is the best for mountain biking.

The race timing schedule is really picking up. This month alone I am timing four races. This weekend past, I timed the smallest race I have ever worked – 19 people! It wasnt even worth using the digital clocks. It was kinda of nice timing such a small race – there was a very “homey” atmosphere, not that dissimilar to the Wife’s Away 5k crowd. We’re also getting ready for the Winter Pickles, so from this point forward, I’ll try to show up at as many races as I can that Tim is timing  in the Pickle Suit. We go these really awesome post cards made up. I went to the Women’s Distance Festival yesterday, and pulled bib tags with the suit on. Today, I went to the Hero’s Run in Springfield and did the same thing. After each was over, I worked the crowd in the suite and handed out postcards. People love this goddamn race. Heather ran today’s race while I walked around like an asshole in a big suit. Nice


I was supposed to race today in the French Creek Adventure Race with Lou and some of the other guys. Lou got sick not that long ago, so he bailed. I dont have a bike, so I was stuck, Mike was traveling or studying or something – I never got the full story. And G is back in Guatemala for another visit.

They got me traveling alot. This week, I am heading to Dallas for a day. I am giving a presentation on Energy Efficiency Best Practices. Two weeks after that, I’ll be in NYC for two days taking a class on energy modeling software. And then immediately following that, I fly out to California for four days to a trade show. I cant complain – they are sending me some place warm. Nice.

I’ve been trying to get back into my early morning gym routine. I am getting back on the path. This week, I took the plunge and weighed myself. I nearly fell off the scale – 172.5 lbs! I was expecting at least 180. Nice.


Sunday, September 27, 2009


I hit both ends of the trails this weekend. I got a good hour and a half mountain bike ride in yesterday afternoon with Dom and Lou, and then a 5 mile-ish trail run in with Tim in the morning, in the rain, in the mud. I forgot how hard trail running is. I havent done it in quite some time. Tim and I ran over at Smedley and I had to walk some of the hills, and it doesnt help that he is a good trail runner. Trail conditions were nice and sloppy after a steady rain overnight. Given the conditions, and the fact that my trails running skills are rusty, I am lucky that I didnt take any major ass-over-teacups spills today.

Yesterday’s ride at Valley Forge was the first quality ride that I have had in a long time, which is surprising considering that I havent been on a bike in three weeks. The trail conditions were perfect. I am very close to getting the bike “dialed in.” In the past couple of months I have added new rear suspension, new (used) front suspension, and just this week, I installed a used Magura hydraulic rim brake. I got the set (front and rear) for a steal on Ebay. They are very much used, but they work, and they are a vast improvement over the V-brakes that I had on the rear wheel.

V-brakes are a style of mountain brakes that utilize a side-pull brake actuation. The brake arms, when mounted on the brake bosses, for a “V”. The side pull actuation creates a tremendous amount of leverage, which equates to generous stopping power. V-brakes were the successor to “cantilever” style brakes. Canti’s, as they are affectionately called, use a top-pull mechanism. Canti’s ruled the game for many many years until V-brakes came on the scene, and V-brakes held the mountain biking braking crown until disc brakes became the norm. Early disc brakes were very expensive and very heavy. But, as with anything, prices have come down significantly, and cable-actuated disc brakes have taken over the market. Hydraulic disc brakes are still out there, but they are really focused on the “all-mountain” or “free-ride” bike market. Cable actuated disc brakes are easier to maintain and they are cheaper than their hydraulic brothers. But, some will argue that the stopping power and “action” of cable disc brakes arent on the same level as the hydraulic brakes.

I’ll admit, as one who as owned both cable and hydraulic disc brakes, the hydraulic brakes are definitely smoother. Its night and day. I’d have to look it up, but there must be something with the hydraulic actuation that makes the stopping action more progressive.

As an example, the bike felt unbelievable yesterday. It was like a new bike. The biggest improvement: braking in the corners. With the new brakes installed, I felt like I could control the braking and speed in the corners much better, more fluid. With my pevious setup, braking wasnt so much linear as it was “slow” and “Stop” with nothing really in between. The result? Over braking into a corner, or under braking and popping out of a corner too fast and loosing my line. Yesterday, everything just flowed. I have some further work to do on the bike, and once that is done, the bike will be 100% dialed in.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

PRD Pics

I have a trick to saving pics from race photographer’s websites. Check out these winners from Sunday:



PRD Report

Two days later and I am sore. Really sore. Actually, the soreness is really concentrated in my quads. Everything else feels fine. Walking down stairs is murder.

So, I finished the race in 2:04:37. For those keeping score, that’s 16 minutes SLOWER then 2007, when I finished the race in 1:44:45. That’s what you get for not training.

But I shall return.

In all honestly, I did fairly well in the first half of the race. I looked at my splits from 2007 and compared them to this year. IN 2007, I ran the first 5k of the race in 25:00. This year, I ran it in 26 and some change. That’s not terrible. IN 2007, I ran the 10k in 51:00. This year, 53 and some change. Again, not bad. However, the train came off the tracks at mile 8 or 9. That’s when my body said “ok, that’s enough.”

Let’s rewind to the beginning of the day. I got up early and ran out the door around 6:30 am. My plan was to head to my office and park the car in my office lot (free) and then scoot down a couple of blocks to the Art Museum for the start. I leave the house and I get all the way to the 30th Street Exit off of 76 and realize that I dont have my bib. WTF #1. So, I am now faced with a decision: do I turn around, fly home, and get the bib, or do I just say “f*ck it” and run it bandit. I chose option 1. It what surely was a fine piece of driving, I flew home in 12 minutes, ran in, got the bib, and flew back. I arrived at the office around 7:15 am. I had 15 minutes to the start of the race.

I started to compile all of my race day belongings. Ipod – check. GU- check. GPS – check. Sneakers – sitting at home!!! WTF #2. There was good news, however – I keep a pair of shoes in the office for lunchtime running! I jet up to the office, grab my shoes (pee), eat a half of a leftover donut from Friday, and jet back down the stairs. So far, a couple of hiccups, but we’re still on track.

So begins my sprint to the art museum. It was a good warmup – blessing in disguise perhaps? Ok, so I am about half-way down the Parkway, heading towards the start, when I hear a big commotion, and then I hear the starting pistol fire, and within seconds, I see the elite runners streaking by. So, I start really hauling ass to my “corral.”

Quick runner’s jargon interruption. For these big races, everyone cant start the race at the same time. It would be chaos and pandemonium. People would be tripping over each other, running into each other, etc. So they “phase” the runners in corrals. Each corral represents a pace group. So, for example, the elite runners are obviously in corral #1. Right behind them, in corral #2, would be the 5 minutes per mile pace group, so far and so on. At registration, the runner has to indicate what pace they believe they will be running on race day. The guy who gave me my bib was in corral #7, which is way in the back start.

The corrals are more or less gated off from the spectators with construction fencing. By the time I found an opening, I was in corral #10. I tried weaseling my way up a bit, and managed to get as far as corral #8.

The race officials start the corrals in waves, with about a minute or so between starts, so, after all the rushing around, I had a good ten minute buffer before my actual start time.

So here is the coolest part of the day. They move our corral up to the start line and I managed to get a spot right on the start line. 3-2-1 GO! And I am off the races (no pun intended).

I am the first one out of the gate and I running ahead of the pack. I look behind and the next guy is about ten feet behind me. I have to be honest, it was really really cool running down the Parkway, alone, in the front of the pack, with hundreds of spectators watching. I’ll probably never get that moment again. I imagine the spectators were probably saying “who the eff is this clown?” as I was running down the Parkway.

After the start, thats where the fun more or less ended. Actually, the first loop of the race, which takes us down to City Hall down to 8th or 9th street (quite frankly, I really wasnt paying attention) wasnt that bad. My GPS was acting goofy – I couldnt get a signal and I imagine that was a result of all of the buildings and everything. Anyway, I surmise that I was running an 8:30 pace through most of the first 4 miles, and my 5k split confirms that.

As we make our way back down the Parkway towards West River Drive, I am still feeling good. Not great. Just Good. Remember, I hadnt run in nearly two weeks.

As I progressed down the WRD, my pace started falling off, intentionally, because I knew there was no way I could continue that pace. I was also starting to fatigue. By the time I got to mile 8, right before the Falls Ave Bridge, I had to stop and stretch. After a quick breather, I get back on the horse, over the bridge, and started the final 4 miles to the finish.

That’s where I hit the wall. The trip down Kelly Drive could be described as more of a “slog” then a run. I stopped at every water station and walked a bit to collect myself. By the time I got to mile 11, I was walking more and more frequently. It was about that time that I met two girls who looked to be in worse shape than me, so I saddled up to them and chit-chatted a bit. One was suffering from a bad knee, and the other girl (Christina) had a bad hip. So we decided to run as much as we could and then walk accordingly. At some point the girl with the bum knee took off ahead of us, and Christina and I limped through most of the 12th mile. She was in worse shape than me.

The last three-tenths of the course meanders back around the side of the Art Museum, up the Parkway a bit, and finishes in the small parking lot smack dab in front of the Museum. There’s a lot of spectators at the finish and there’s nothing like the sight of the crowd to stir up that last bit of energy to get you over the line.

After the race was over, I stumbled around the Museum area a bit to see if I knew anyone. I ran into four “Pickle Runners” in the course of the day. It’s come to a point now that I get recognized as “The Pickle” at just about every race that I go to, either as a runner or a timer. Once I was done milling around aimlessly, I made my way back to my office, where I had the luxury of getting changed, in lieu of driving home in my own stink and sweat.

Lessons learned: I suck. I mean I really do suck. But, there’s nothing like a sh*tty finish to deliver a good swift kick to the ass. I will be back and I will PR that course.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Its 5: 30 am. I am up. I am dressed. WCCC tri-top and lucky Nike shorts. Its 47 degrees outside.

So, yeah, its cold. So I got a throw-away long sleeve shirt that I am going to wear up until the race starts and then chuck. Anything that the race officials find on the ground gets donated to Goodwill or the Salvation Army, so I do not feel so bad throwing this shirt away. I am also made a pair of my famous “Ghetto Arm Warmers” last night.

I am going to leave here around 6, and head to my office. I’ll park in the office lot and hike over the venue from there. Its only about 1 mile or so. My stomach hurts. Later

Friday, September 18, 2009


I dragged my @ss out of bed this morning to run. It was spitting a little so I went to the gym rather the take the cahnce and run outside. I felt good, but I didnt feel great. I ate late last night, and I started feeling a bit queasy about two miles in. I ran a total of 3.5 miles, at about an 8:50 pace, with one small speed interval (which kicked in the queasiness). My back feels fine and I am still mystified as to what was going on there.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

No room for Seconds

This mysterious stomach issue turned out to be some sort of issue with my back and I am mystified as to what I did to cause the back pain. I have strained my back on occasion in the past, and in every instance, there is always a tender-spot of acute pain, and in this particular instance, I couldnt feel any one spot on my back that seemed to be the root of the problem. Its almost as if my entire back cramped up. I initially mistook it for a stomach problem, but as the issue persisted, I realized that my stomach was fine – the pain was centered around my upper abdomen and my lower back. I am feeling much better, and the discomfort is localized enough for me to realize that it is indeed an issue with my back. This is going to sound really strange, but I think it was caused by tension. There is nothing I have physically done that would have caused that amount of pain in the past few days. Additionally, the discomfort came on slow. It wasnt as if I turned a certain way and immediately felt a strain. The last two weeks have been rough, and I think it all came to a head when my car hgo

Last week, I took my oldest daughter to her first day of kindergarten. As I was standing outside of the school, with all of the other parents, I made a disturbing observation. The majority of the other parents were obese. This bothers me. America has a problem with obesity – that’s common knowledge, but, I have never consciously observed people in order to really grasp the problem. Speaking as a person who spent a good majority of his life overweight, I know how hard it is to control one’s weight, but I have to ask where the train derailed. How did we get so big? How do so many people let themselves get so big? At what point does someone look in the mirror and say to themselves “hey, something’s wrong here.” I can understand someone having a bit of a spare tire. I cannot proclaim that I have anything that resembles a washboard stomach, but I am especially fascinated by the hugely obese – the people who are so obese that they have difficulty walking. I see it everyday on my travels to and from work. I see loads of people in Suburban Station, and I see a disturbingly large amount of people – women especially- who are so big that walking looks painful. Obesity is such a strain on one’s quality of life. Then there’s the larger issue of the effect of rampant obesity has on our healthcare system, and childhood obesity. The list goes on and on…

I score a free entry to the Distance Run on Sunday. Hows that for a kick in the nuts? Here I am, three days away, and I haven’t run in nearly two weeks, and I get a friggen free bib.

How did I score it? Small world: the guy who took my bib for the Philly Marathon (when I tore my tendon) emailed me out of the blue and offered me his entry because he separated his shoulder, and he doesnt want a dime for it. He doesnt want it to go to waste. So now I have a dilemma. By this point, I am out of shape. I havent done anything close to a long run in more than two weeks. I am coming off of some mysterious back injury. Should be fun….

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The ills

Things are getting nutz.

I was here at 3:30 am this morning. Around dinnertime yesterday, I started getting a bit of a tummy ache. Nothing major, but just odd because I typically do not get indigestion. Fast forward to 2:45 am. The pain in my stomach was bad enough to wake me up. It was bad enough that I knew I wasnt going back to sleep anytime soon, so I figured I'd head to CVS and get some pepto. Then the more I thought about, I'd come home and just sit on the couch for a couple of hours until I had to go to work, so, I headed to the office after I left CVS.

The work hours have been crazy. I have had a couple of big deliverables in the last couple of days to get out the door. I dont think I have worked a normal day in over two weeks. As a matter of fact I have one due today that I am hoping to get done soon so I can go home. I shouldnt complain - with the way the economy is right now, having employment is a good thing; there are worse things to complain about than being busy.

I havent run or anything in more than a week. Its getting tough to do any riding after work now (not that I was doing a lot in the past - once a week, if that). Last night it was just about dark by 7:15. But. I'll continue to run outside throughout the winter. But, as the year draws to a close, I'll probably start taking alot of my endeavors inside to the treadmill. I cannot complain: I have barely been on a treadmill this summer, so, if I have to head indoors for a bit, so be it. Still, I'll to do as much as I can outside. Running in the cold never really bothered me.

By the way, my stomach still hurts. I forced myself to eat earlier because I have the weird sensation of being hungry and in pain at the same time.

Friday, September 11, 2009


With the combination of Monday’s Holiday, my trip to Pitt and my day off on Wednesday, I came back to work to a flurry of stuff to do. My biggest time suck is email. I once calculated how much email I get on a daily basis. At one point I was up to 75 emails, on average. Now granted, alot of those are not directly addressed to me; rather, I am cc’d. But I still have to open them up, read them, and in some cases, comment. Wednesday night going into Thursday, I logged in and tried to blow through as many of the easy ones as I possibly could, to alleviate the load on Thursday.

Yesterday was a long day. I didnt get out of the office until 8:00, and I am going to have to put some hours in over the weekend. Its going to be a tough weekend given the fact that I have two races to time in addition to whatever work I have to do for my real job. I have to get out of work on time today; I have to get home and write the software for tomorrow’s race in NJ, and than test all of my equipment. That shouldnt take very long, but, I have had issues with the software in the past, so I like to give myself alot of extra time to iron out any bugs. I also have to go through all of my race day stuff that I need to bring along, and pack the car with as much as I can so I dont have to do it tomorrow.

Tomorrow is going to be an early day. I gotta be at the race at 6:00 am. I have to paint the course with the RD (that’s race jargon for “Race Director” – the person in charge of all of the race logistics). 6:00 is a little early quite frankly, but the guy I work told the RD that I would be there at 6:00. Registration opens at 7:30 am and the race doesn't start until 9:00. That’s a large window of time. Normally, I would get there at 7:00, drop off all of my finish line stuff, get my helper setup with the laptop at registration, and paint the course while registration is in full swing. Tomorrow, however, I should be done painting the course before registration opens. In theory, that would leave me with an hour and a half to kill before the race starts. Thats a bit much. I am half tempted to call the RD today and tell him I will be there at 6:30.

I am not sure what to expect for tomorrow’s race. Its a first year race. Typically, first year races dont get a big turn-out unless the RD does a ton of promoting, or, the race is associated with a school or church, which drives out droves of kids and what not. As of Thursday, there were ten people registered on our site, and the RD told me he has about fifteen mail-in registrations, but he’s expecting 100-200 people. I would be surprised if they break 100 at the high end. I am thinking they will get closer to 50-70, depending on the weather, and right now, the forecast isn’t looking so good.

Sunday’s race is a bit more low-key. Its the Autism Speaks 5k. I timed this race last year and if my memory serves me correctly, we had about 100 runners. The race is held at Ridley Creek State Park – nice and local. The bad news: the race starts at 10. It would be great if it started earlier so I can get home earlier.

I am breaking in a couple of new helpers this weekend. I like to bring two helpers with me. It makes things flow a bit easier. We need to bring in a third timing crew – we’re turning down races because we’re overbooked. I got a guy who does alot of our races and he had expressed interest in timing, so he’s coming along to both races to see how things work. I also have two high school girls that I am going to platoon like Andy Reid platooning his offensive line. I’ll have one primary helper and a back-up, plus I have Tim’s son at my disposal as well. My back-up helper has a busy cross-country schedule, so her availability to help me is limited.

By the way I am on the train. Its raining. Rain+Septa = Slow. This happens every time it rains. The conductor just walked down the isle and said we are having “signal problems.”