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.”

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Tip of the Day

As a service to my loyal readers, and anyone who else who has the misfortune of stumbling across this blog, I will share with you some of my “tech” tips, because that’s the kind of guy that I am.

Tech Tip: So you took some video on that fancy camera phone thingy of yours. Somehow, you have managed to get the video off of the phone, either by mailing it to yourself or downloading it from the phone with a data cable. You have once again proved that the village you came from DOES NOT miss you. If you don’t get that joke, than your village more then likely does miss you and you should see how they are getting along without you. Write them a post card with a crayon or something.

Moving on….

So you’re all proud of yourself, and now you go to open your video, and low and behold, it plays, but there is no sound. What gives????

It turns out that most camera phones use a semi-proprietary audio codec (thats tech speak for “format”) that Windows Media Player doesn’t recognize. The CODEC is called SAMR. I dont know what it means, and frankly I dont care. I am not an “audiofile.” The bottom line is that you got video with no sound. Not good.

There’s a variety of ways to fix the sound problem. You can visit You upload your video to the site and the site will do the conversion for you. However, I think you are limited to five free conversions before you are required to upgrade to the premium version.

The second alternative is to use a free piece of software called Mobile Media Convertor. It works on the same premise as the website I listed above. You load your video, you pick the output format, and BAM, you got yourself a video with sound. Nice. You can also use this site to upload videos of various formats and convert them to a format called 3GP. 3GP is the format that iPod’s use to play video. AKA you downloaded a copy of your favorite TV show, Rock of Love, and now you desperately need to watch on your iPod. BAM! I have solved your problem. Anytime I can share my love of Brett Michaels, I feel I have done the world a favor.

So now you can enjoy your precious videos of you at the bar with your idiot friends stumbling around on the street in a drunken stupor, or share that cute video snippet you took of your cat, Mr. Peepers, trying to mount your cute little terrier. Let’s be honest – videos of drunken tomfoolery really dont tell the whole story unless there is sound, because I for one hate to miss out on all of the witty banter that only a group of d-bag white boys sh*t-faced on Coors Light can produce at 2:30 am standing outside of the local watering hole.

Tech Tip: If you use a laptop, go spend $20 and buy a laptop cooler. A laptop cooler is a small laptop base with fans that are powered by one of your PC’s USB laptop ports. Laptops generate alot of heat. You got alot of circuitry crammed into a very small space. Just like your car, too much heat is bad. You’ll over heat the PC. Overheat the PC and you could possibly ruin your processor or motherboard. So keep that sucker cool with a laptop cooler. And there is a special added bonus using a laptop cooler: If you have ever worked on your laptop while it’s actually on your lap, you’ll probably wind up with a case of scorched b*lls. Plop that laptop on the cooler, and watch all of your internet porn with cooking the fellas down below. Enjoy!

You can get them just about anywhere now – Target, Walmart, etc.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I am on a plane heading to Pitt to see a potential customer. This plane is one of those small jobbies. These are my favorite because any turbulence is magnified ten-fold, and I love turbulence. Seriously. For what airlines charge for airfare, I need some excitement. I think the airlines should start offering some special flights for clowns like me. I would pay an extra service fee to have the pilot throw in some barrel rolls and what not. They could call it “The Daredevil Service.” The stewardess would welcome passengers aboard with something like:

“Good morning ladies and gentleman, welcome aboard US Airways Daredevil Service flight 2334 to Pittsburgh International Airport. Once we reach our cruising altitude, we’ll begin a series of barrel rolls and hard-G turns. Afterwards, please enjoy our complimentary beverage service.”

And boarding would not be done by this sissy “Zone” system they use now. I would make the passengers fight for first seating. Like a battle-royal. We’d have a random seeding for the passengers that would form two lines aka “The Gauntlet.” I would have the airline employees who man the kiosk at the terminal handout rubber hoses to the passengers manning the Gauntlet. The rest of the passengers would have to run through the Gauntlet to get through the jet-way. At the end of the jet-way, the flight crew would be armed with paintball guns. I have to work out the details but get the drift of where this is going.

Then they could maybe let some of the passengers go up and take the wheel for a spell. You could buy stick time in five minute increments. I’d pay for that. And I want to be able to make announcements too. I would put on my best cool pilot-like voice.

“Ladies and gentleman, this is your captain speaking. I am going to ask the stewardess to come up to the flight deck and pull my finger.”

It would also be nice to have a fake crosshair superimposed on the window. This way I could pretend I am flying a P-51 shooting down the japs. I would even make cool machine noises with my mouth. Oh, and while I am in the pilot’s seat, I would insist that the rest of the flight crew call me “Maverick” until my turn at the wheel is over.

We are now in the air. A couple of quick updates. We sat at the terminal for 30 minutes with no power. Apparently the cart that starts the engines didnt work. While all this is happening, I happened to look at my window and I see a firetruck parked about 20’ off our wing. That’s not a good sign. I really got nervous when I saw the co-pilot or first mate or whatever he’s called out there hand cranking one of the engines. I think I even saw him mouth the word “CONTACT!” Its hard to tell because I obviously couldnt hear anything through the thick glass of the window. One passenger apparently decided that enough was enough, and she bailed. Finally, they jump started the plane or something and got this thing fired up. Maybe thats why they brought the firetruck in, although I cant say that I saw any jumper cables going from the firetruck to the plane.

I am not sure what this delay is going to do to the rest of our schedule. These pilots always manage to “Make time up in the air.”

I just realized that the PRD is two weeks away. I have to time two races back to back this weekend, Saturday and Sunday. Squeezing a long run in will be tricky, only because I am usually pooped when I done timing. Its a good amount of time on your feet. If it werent for the fact that the damn race is so expensive, I would defer to the Philly Half Marathon in November. Sh*t, maybe I will bandit that one as well.

Update: I am on the way home. Dont ask me how, but I got into First Class. Granted, the flight is only an hour, but First Class is First Class. I didnt book thisflight – my cohort did- and I guess First Class was all that was left. When they called “First Class rows one, two and three” I was taken aback. Anyway, the trip is over and hopefully they can get this plane off the ground without too much trouble.

I am still not feeling great, and breathing recycled airplane air certainly isnt helping.

There’s a guy sitting in front of me and I dont like him. I can already tell he looks like a d-bag. He’s got the lack power suit and the cell phone is glued to his ear. He’s like a corporate d*ck- the kind of guy that always flies First Class on the company t*t. He probably works for an insurance company.

Update #2: We are now on the ground in Philly. I have been sitting in the plane now about 30 minutes. We touched down around 6:30. We immediately got stuck in a line of airplanes waiting to either take off or find a terminal. I had a good vantage point from where we were sitting. We about perpendicular to the causeways, so I could see the line of airplanes just sitting there idling. Wonderful. This is the first time my plane has been on time or better but still late. Weird. Our scheduled arrival was 6:59. Its now 7:10. I betcha we do not get to the terminal until 7:30. The capn just came on and said that there are three planes ahead of us. We are 100 yards from our gate. The captain asked the Ramp Controller to scoot those three planes out of our way. I quote the captain:

“We have asked the Ramp Controller to move the airplanes out of the way. They havent returned our calls.”


‘havent returned our calls???’

Did you leave a voicemail?

“Hi Ramp Controller. This is US Airways flight 2322 from Pittsburgh. We’re sitting on the causeway to Terminal A. When you get this could drop us a line? That would be great. Its 7:10 right now. Talk to you soon”

Did the message sound something like this?

“Hi. You have reached Philadelphia International Airport’s Ramp Control for Terminal A. We are either out of the tower or away from our console. Please leave your airline, flight number, and the time you called, and we’ll be sure to get back to you.”

I was able to recognize several landmarks on our descent. So we flew over Chester County into Delaware. We approached Wilmington from the Southwest, hooked around the huge Brandywine Shopping Center on 202, and then flew parallel to Nammans Road. We made a left hand turn and paralleled the Delaware River, and landed on the west approach to Philly.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Odds and Ends

Its a little later on Sunday. I am sitting here in front of the TV. Tomorrow, I get to fly to Pittsburgh for a day trip to see a potential customer. When they need to bring out the WOW factor, they bring out the big guns. Hehe.

So I did manage to get a nap in, and I feel 1000x better since I woke up. Once I was up, I did some work on the bike. I got a new (used) fork last week, and its in great shape, but it doesnt seem like its getting the full length of its travel.

noname(4) So I downloaded the service manual, and checked the oil level, which is easy, except I got shock oil all over the patio. That stuff never comes off the cement. After that was done, I made a campfire in the back yard for the girls. noname(3)

It must be something with men and fires because my girls were no where near as enamored by the fire as I am. Technically, Brookhaven has an ordinance against open fires, but to me, that’s un-American. I have a right to fire in my own backyard. Besides, I kept this fire small and under control, unlike the pyrotechnic monstrosities that we usually build on our camping trips. The last time we went camping, Mike built a fire that was so big, we had call the State Park and have them put one of those fire helicopters that dump water of forest fires on stand-bye.

If you read Mike’s blog, he did a nice recap of today’s ride – the one that I skipped. It turns out that he and Dom rode with a bunch of guys that are expert level riders. From the sounds of it, it was a super fast ride. I am glad that I didnt go. Even at 100%, I probably would have been suffering.

Small World

I ride over at Middle Run with Dom and Mike on Saturday. Middle Run is part of the White Clay State Park down in DE. It has, without a doubt, the best singletrack in the area. We try to get down there a few times a year; yesterday was the first time we’ve gotten a chance to visit its beautiful trails this summer. The Delaware Trail Spinners keep the place nice and tidy, and they do a remarkable job.

The weather couldnt have been better. I didnt feel 100% though. I cant put my finger on it. I didnt have any “oomph” in the engine. Sunday was no different, and I slept for nearly ten hours Saturday going into Sunday. With all that sleep, I still felt like poop. Last night, I woke up at 4 am with the p**ps and the chills, so obviously, some sort of bug has been brewing for a couple of days. Kind of explains part of the reason why I rode so miserably on Saturday. Granted, Saturday’s ride was the first time I have been on a bike in about three weeks. Dont get me wrong, Dom and Mike were moving at a nice clip, but I should still have been able to keep up on most of the flat stuff. I couldnt hang on the flat stuff, and the hills – forget it.

Anyway, while I was down there, I run across a group of bikers that I know from up here. In a weird it goes to show that the world is a small place. Seems like that anytime I go running or riding, I always run into someone I know.  Its magnified ten-fold now that I time races, and the Pickle Run certainly has spread my reputation far and wide. I cant go anywhere where there is a group of runners without someone recognizing me.

So, for obvious reasons, I bagged the planned MTB ride at Valley Forge that was scheduled for this morning with Mike. Instead, the wife and I took the kids over to Ridley Creek State Park. I had to measure the Autism Speaks 5k course, which is this Sunday upcoming. Now, I am sitting on my arse watching Mary Poppins.

Last week was a quiet week for running, partly because I didnt do a long run this week in lieu of the mountain bike Sunday, and the “sick day” yesterday. I think I logged something like 13 miles. I guess you could call it a taper week.

I started talking to an old friend that I used to work with wayyyy back at Zeneca (now AstraZeneca) when I was a coop. Joe was a year ahead of me. He wound up working for AZ once he graduated from DU. Anyway, he sent me this picture. My coop name tag is still hanging up. That’s kind of freaky, but awesome at the same time. No matter how hard you try and get rid of me, some part of me is always going to be there. Again, the Small World factor strikes again. Here it is, nearly 12 years since I worked down at AZ, and my name is still plastered on a board – and at the top of the list I may add.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Now I know why they call it “Labor Day”

It’s been another crazy week. Stuff at work has been blowing up. Lots of different things going on; I have been in the office and leaving late, working on two high-level projects. I tried so hard to get up this morning to go in early but I couldnt do it. I felt like poop last night, and I had this great plan of going to bed early and getting up early to get into the office for 5:30. I wound up going to bed late, so I am now sitting on my “normal” train. I would love to get out of the office a little early this afternoon, but working on these two projects has put me severely behind schedule on the rest of my work. I spent the  better part of yesterday afternoon on the phone catching up with all the voicemails I had collected over the course of the week.

Besides all of the crazy work that’s been going on, I have put in two good days of running, and lots of yard work. The combination of all three (work, running and yard work) is killing me. Wah. I am burning the candle at both ends and last night it caught up with me. I am taking the day off from running, because a) I am tired and b) I have to finish cutting the lawn. That’s what I get for waiting a month between cuttings. My lawn was so high that it takes me two cuttings – one cut for the back and one cut for the front – to get the job done. In a couple of weeks I have to start thinking about overseeding and aerating the lawn in prep for the winter.

Random Thought: I filled the car up at Wawa this morning. As I was sitting there, I started thinking about my Uncle, and how he used to write down in a small notebook how much he spent everytime he filled his car up, and how many miles were on the odometer at every fill-up. I am not sure why he did this. And I am not sure why it popped into my head this morning.

Three day weekend ahead. Hopefully, I’ll get some time to install the new fork on my bike. Traditionally, we do a holiday ride on Labor day, Memorial Day and the 4th. It sounds like me, Mike and Dom are all free for the weekend, for the most part. I have to touch base with Lou to see what his story is. No kids this weekend. My parents are taking them to the shore into Sunday. That’s gonna be really weird – not having my girls around for three days. I think they are actually leaving today. I might use some of the free time to get some work done. I have a fairly nice setup at home – I grabbed a monitor and a docking station from the office, so that when I do work from home, I can look at a normal screen instead of the tiny laptop screen. I also have my personal laptop with Microsoft Outlook thats setup with my work Exchange email. I usually have that machine set up to check emails while I simultaneously work on other stuff with my work laptop. Works out well.

I’ll do a full customary workout report later.

12 The Hard Way

I have decided that I am not going to run the Philly Distance Run. Well, not legally. I am going to bandit run it. I am not paying the $75 or whatever the astronomically high entry feel will be on race day. I have never bandit run a race before. However, economic times are tough.

I hammered out 12 on Saturday morning, and it went a little something like this:

Date: 8-29-2009
Scheduled Workout: 
Rest/ Cross Training

Actual Workout:
Long Run; 12 miles. Pace was somewhere around 8:40-8:50

I did the first run while measuring a course with Tim for the DCCC 5k in September. I did the 2nd run on the same course, We ran the course to double check our measurements. I did the third run immediately after the 2nd run at Ridley Creek State Park. The course is a lot of up and down, but for the most part, the run home is flat/ downhill.

Workout Nutrition:
I gulped down about six ounces of Gatorade between the first and second runs.

Post workout Eats:
Not quite sure, but later than night I went to Tim’s and ate my own weight in ribs and beer.

Not sure.

It was humid and raining when I left the house. I had originally planned to run up to Media and catch the 8:00 crew who normally run a 6.5 mile course around the town, and then home. Somehow, I got my times all mixed up and arrived at the meeting spot at 9:00 am, not 8:00 am. I probably should have gone to Ridley Creek.

Sunday, I was scheduled to do an easy run of 5 miles. As I had mentioned in a previous post, the week past was a taper week – no long running scheduled, but I switched Sunday’s workout with Saturday and ran long instead of the scheduled five miler. I didnt get a chance to do a recovery run on Sunday. My community had a massive flea market thing and I registered a table. I was out there all day from about 9 to 3. I sold a good amount of my crap, and the rest I packed up and took right over to Goodwill and donated it. I’ll take the write-off. Anyway, I had to start getting ready for this flea market early, and I didnt have time to get a run in. But I will say this: I didnt feel all that sore on Sunday. That’s a good sign. The body is adjusting to the stress.

Today is an easy day, but I cant do two rest-days in a row, so I am going to try and FORCE myself to get out at lunch. I have thing afterwork which will preclude me from getting in a run. I have been really lax as of late with the lunch time running. I get so busy at work and I get so into a groove that it’s hard for me to break out of it sometimes. I dont take lunch most of the time, not in the formal sense.

I have been thinking alot about “time” lately. There’s a lot of things that spring to mind, and when I think about them, I am always shocked by the amount of time that has passed between a certain memory or event, to present day. They say that Time heals all wounds, but in my opinion, it also creates huge rifts. I think about all of the people that I do not get a chance to talk to much anymore – people that I was very close to. Granted, people move, people have kids'; there are events in other people’s lives that preclude us from having a certain amount of control. Social Networking sites like Facebook help exacerbate the situation by keeping us marginally connected to people in the past (or present) and I guess having some small connection, digital or otherwise, is better than having the alternative – no connection. I sometimes quietly wonder if I have taken everything I possibly can out of an event, or a period of time. Did I let time slip by without fully immersing myself in the moment?  Have I done a good job of immersing myself up to this point in my life? I would say yes. But how well am grasping the present, and shaking it for all its worth, to squeeze every last drop out it? This part of this entry has been highly philosophically, and I would imagine that if someone were to read this, who has a background or knowledge of various philosophies, he/ she could probably give me better insight to this “mind state.”

Fast Forward: I am now on the way home. I never made it running at lunch. I was too swamped. I cannot run when I get home either- I am watching the kids while Heather runs out. So, I’ll cut the lawn, which hasnt been cut for about a month. Its in dire need. If I wait any longer, the township is going to come after me.