Monday, November 30, 2009

Alice's Restaurant Massacree Virtual 25K - Results

"I’m looking at 48 hours and change, if I go out first thing Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings.

“I have a couple of five-mile routes I can use, plus a six-miler/10K and a pair of fours as well, just to keep it fun and not too repetitive. [All distances are appropriately approximate <wink>]”

That was The Plan, anyway.

D’Wife got her schedule changed so she would start early on Thanksgiving [7:30AM] to get out at 3:00, so getting out and back on Thursday morning was off, right from the get-go.

I took D’Kid out for a 45-minute bike ride around 2PM instead then finished making “a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat.”

Friday, D’Wife had her regular shift, so getting some miles in before she and D’Kid got up wasn’t going to be a problem. The sun was on its way up when I left the house at 6:45; it was odd not needing to wear a reflecto-vest or blinkie light on a morning run. I figured I had just enough time to do 5 miles before D'Girls started stirring. As usual, I didn’t decide which route I’d take when I left the house; I’d make that call further down the road – literally. After taking the climb past the cemetery, I trotted out to the end of the road. I was on the right-hand side already, so I turned right [yeah, that’s the kind of decision making I’m known for; I’ve also flipped a coin or done “evens-odds: even we go right / odd we go left.”

I’ve been running this particular route on Saturday afternoons lately, so I was kinda surprised by how many people had chickens in their yards, judging by the morning crowing of the roosters in that section of town.

I made an adjustment to my route on the section between the 3½- and 4-mile mark; there is a rise here as the road climbs past a swamp. There are guardrails on either side, but the left-hand is oddly cambered and has been giving me trouble, so I ran on the right. Unfortunately, this is the side with more road-kill [2 possums, a raccoon and a deer, to be exact]

I reached the top in time to see my friend pull into his driveway. I stopped for a minute or two to chat with Bingo Bob, who had just returned from WalMart. He didn’t say what deals he got, if any. I suspected he went just to point and laugh, that’s the kind of guy he is.

I finished my first five miles and got back in the house just before D’Wife came down for breakfast.

D’Wife went out with her friends Friday night, so in order to let her sleep in, I planned to do my next run in the afternoon, while she and D’Kid went shoe-shopping. I guessed they’d be out for about an hour and a half, giving me time to do 7 or 8 miles and still be have time to get us all ready for 4:30 Mass; leaving only 3½ or so to do Sunday, before she had to leave for work.

Very doable.

However …

When D’Kid’s friend from across the street invited her over for the afternoon, that left D’Wife without a shopping-buddy. Women can NOT shop alone, especially for shoes, for some reason.

I was conscripted to assist.

Actually, I didn’t mind all that much; it’s been a while since I’d been invited along, and it was kinda fun. The girl has Mad Coupon Skillz, too!!! It was amazing!!! They had to make up NEW codes just to accommodate her!!! Two pairs of Clarks for $127.

Unfortunately, that trip put me in a serious time pinch to get the 25K finished.My options were:

1] Get up super-early on Sunday – like 4:30AM – and do 10½ miles before D’Wife had to get up for work = not freaking likely

2a] Get up at reasonable hour – 5:30 – do 5 miles or so and hope to find / make time in the afternoon to do the other five

2b] Get up at reasonable hour, do 5 miles, ignore the deadline and do the other 5 before work on Monday. I’d be dead last and probably DQ’d but I wouldn’t DNF.

"How do you DNF a Virtual Comp?"
"You DON'T Finish it!!! DUH!!!"
"It's Virtual, Dumbass!!! Make something up!!! You're a pretty good writer; I'm sure you could make it sound convincing."
"YOU ... have NO sense of Honor. PLUS ... I've got this friend - Voo - checking my moves from The Other Side. I can't let him down in such a way."

Like Bruce Lee said: "To experience oneself honestly, not lying to oneself, and to express myself honestly, now that is very hard to do."

Either of the “5:30” options would be fine, and neither would put undue stress on either of D’Girls. Just me.

I woke up in normal fashion [without an alarm, even], long before dawn. The stars were bright and clear in the 31° air. Frost was all around, and my breath left a trail of tiny clouds behind me as I ran out to the lakes and farm country. In the interest of time, I did only 5½, turning around at the 2¾ mark, with the blessing of an owl “Whooo Who-Who-ing” somewhere in the woods. As cold as it was, there wasn’t any ice on the lakes yet, perhaps because the water was still pretty warm. The beauty of running in the pre-dawn cold, is that feeling of accomplishment you get when you’re finished and you notice that there’s steam coming off of you, as you cool down beneath the streetlights.

I now had only 5 more miles to do sometime after D’Kid’s Choir performance at 11:30 Mass, lunch, grocery shopping and starting dinner around 5:00 [yes, we went as a family at 5:30 Saturday, but Mariel still had Choir at 11:30; one can never spend too much time in church].

The afternoon had warmed up nicely by the time we were finished at ShopRite. Mariel was fully on board with the plan for the rest of the afternoon, as I had outlined on the ride home. If any of her neighborhood friends were around to play with, she’d hang out with them for about an hour while I went out on my own; if not, she would ride her bike beside me as I ran either pretty much the same out and back I had done in the morning, or – if she was too fussy about riding 5 miles – to her school track a mile from home, where I would do laps for 3 miles then jog back.

At about 3:15, she rolled out, and I followed. I didn’t have to prompt her to slow down or to speed up, even though this was truly only the second time she’d bike-paced me. I neglected to start my watch, as this was for fun and not time, but I suspect we got to my first checkpoint, in about my usual time.

I directed her to turn left when we got to the street her school was on, as I wanted to show her part of my morning routine.

“Dad, this feels like I’m riding to school” she said, which led us to chat about why I had joined PTA [to get some bike racks at Assumption] and what a shame it was that I wasn’t able to pull it off.

When we got to the Church I told her to follow me to the statue of the Blessed Mother that stands in front of the entrance.

“Every morning that I run this route,” I explained, “I stop and say at least one Hail Mary; more if needed.”

I stopped, crossed myself and before I could begin …

“I’m done, let’s go” my partner said.
“You pray fast!!!”
“Well, I started early” she admitted.

I gave her the choice of which path to take [down the street past her school, or the bike path which also functions as her school track, which was her choice] and we made our way past the public school, the township ball field and across the railroad tracks. It’s a gentle slope for the next ¾ mile down to the lakes, rising back up to the farms around the bend. Mariel stopped to look at the sheep and cows as I continued on for another 200 yards or so.

I had just reached my turnaround spot when a little voice called from behind …

“Dad!!! Stop!!! I have a flat tire!!!”

She had gotten a flat just two weeks ago, and was sensitive about getting another. She showed me were she thought the hole was, but I assured her that was exactly where I’d pulled the sliver of glass out.

“It’s time for us to head back anyway. I’ll keep an eye on it”

It wasn’t long before I noticed that her rear tire was, in fact, going soft. I had the foresight to replace her inner-tube with a self-sealing one, so it wouldn’t go completely flat; still, it was a little sketchy, and difficult to pedal up a steepish rise.

She had just managed to get to the stoplight when it changed to red.

Really???!!! Now you change???!!!” she admonished the signal. “I hate you, stoplight.”

We laughed and teased the signal for it's rudeness, selfishness and general bad behavior.

The rest of the run home was uneventful. The leak stabilized with the tire about half-inflated. She reiterated how she’d like to be able to ride her bike to school someday, and speculated where they might put bike racks if they are ever allowed to. With a quarter mile or so to go, Mariel informed me that she wouldn’t be racing me home, but I was free to sprint if I felt like it, once we were back in our development.

We got back to our house just as the sun dropped behind the treetops of the woods behind our house.

We stopped to talk with a neighbor then went in.

“You go get yourself a shower, right now, Mister!!!”
“Yes, ma’am. ... And thank you.”
“That was fun, Daddy. We should do that again next Sunday.”
“We’ll see, Punkin. We’ll see."

Total elapsed time: 57 hours or so
Total running time: 2 hours, maybe?

Monday, November 23, 2009

2nd Annual Thanksgiving Weekend Holiday Fat Ass

Posted in Kick:

Thanksgiving Virtual, Anyone?

OK who's up for the 2nd Annual KICKrunners Thanksgiving Weekend Holiday Virtual?

Last year's event featured the option of running a 25 (Holiday Half Ass) or 50K (The Full Fattie) event of your own design or choosing. Your run can be done any time over the long (Thurs - Sun) holiday weekend. Timing instructions to be posted at a later date.

Any & Everyone is welcome to participate ... it need not be a trail run or an extreme event and it doesn’t even have to be Thanksgiving in your country!!! Also note, you can take all weekend to complete your distance if you like - your run does not have to be done all at once.

Results will be posted by finish time. Last year we had interesting and fun competitions for Best Race Report and Best Photos. Winners were determined by forum voting. We can do that again if y'all want to!!!

More details if there is enough interest. Reply here if you would like to play or have any questions!


Have I mentioned how much I love Virtual Comps?
Once or twice? Well, let me reiterate and pardon the plagiarism [sponsored by Sleepy’s, by the way ;-)]

I like virtual comps for a bunch of reasons:

You can engage with people across the country, without travelling.
You don’t have to deal with pre- or post-race logistics.
You can run, ride or whatever, when it suits YOU.
They’re free!!!

I think I can find a way to get 15 miles done in 4 days. Knowing me, I’ll plan to run 10K-10K-5K but I’ll do something like 7 on the first day, then 4 the next, then 6 and fuck it all up!!! LOL

The rules are a little whacky, though; much different from the TurkeyMan Duathlon I did in ’06, in that transition times in this one ARE included <WAH!!!>


Run or walk 25 or 50k any time during the Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend - Thursday through Sunday. That means you have 96 Hours to complete your race!!!

However ...

For result reporting, your start time is the time you 1st start running and your finish time is when you have run the full 25 or 50k. You can have breaks if you want but your Official Time will be the time between Start and Finish and includes the breaks if you have taken any. See examples below -

Example 1 - You start at 5.00 AM and you run till 9.00 AM and complete 35k. You are cold and hungry so you go home, take a shower, eat and watch the parade for couple hours. At 1.00 PM you continue your run. You run the remaining 15k and finish at 3.00 PM. Start Time = 5am / Finish Time = 3 PM. You have taken a total of 10 hours to run 50k, that is your result.

Example 2 - Your mother-in-law is coming to visit. You decide you want to spend as much time as possible with her so You start running immediately after breakfast (4:00 am) and run as fast as you can for 50K. You finish running at 8:00 AM. Your total time is 4 hours, that is your result. MIL is just getting up. It will be a loooong time ‘til the pies are served so you get some pancakes, bacon ‘n’ eggs and homefries fired up. Yum.

Example 3 - Gun went off at 9:00 AM Thursday for the Turkey Trot in yer hometown. It was a 5 miler and you aced it in 31:15 for a First in yer AG award ! You were so happy that, after a few beers and a 6 pack of tofu pups to celebrate, you ran all the way home which was 3 miles from the Finish Line! You spent the rest of the day waiting on your In-laws and their whiny kids and were exhausted so you took Friday off from running (wimp). Saturday you hit the trails at the crack of dawn. 12.5 miles of torturous single track in the snow took you 3.5 hours ! On Sunday you realize you signed up for the 50K not the 25 so now you've got to get your Fat Ass back out there for 10.5 more miles before midnight ! You go to your favorite park at noon and run around the golf course 6 times doing 7 minit miles and finish in 1:13:30 (man, you faaaast for a fat asss today). At 1:13:30 PM on Sunday you have finally completed all 50K. Your time issssssssssss .... 76:13:30 (3days, 4hrs and 13.5 minits), that is your result. Yer not the last ass in the barn but pretty darn close. Have another drumstick to celebrate then get busy writing up your RR for us.

Report the following details about your event:

1. The name of your event (if its not an official event then make one up) and the distance (50K or 25K)
2. Your time in [HH:MM] format..... DONT MAKE ME HAVE TO FIGURE IT OUT!!!
3. A "Race Report" including a description of the course, weather conditions, company, outfit, playlist or anything else you want to share about your run.
4. Include pictures for the photo contes!!!


That all being said … I’m looking at 48 hours and change, if I go out first thing Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings.

I have a couple of five-mile routes I can use, plus a six-miler/10K and a pair of fours as well, just to keep it fun and not too repetitive. [All distances are appropriately approximate <wink>]

Friday, November 20, 2009

License to Ride

Nurse Kelly asked me: “What do you think about having to register your bike in Philly? I can't imagine having to have a license to ride.”

When I was a kid, both in Connecticut and in Haddonfield, it was always “suggested” during Safety Week that we register our bicycles with our local PD. It was free, and the idea was that with our bikes registered, if one was stolen and recovered [somehow] we could prove that it was ours and it would be returned. It was actually kinda cute; we received little metal license plate that we hung from our banana seats, give use an ever more biker-gangish appearance … put some baseball cards in the spokes and vroom-vroom!!! Hide your daughters!!!

Naturally, the first reaction is “Oh, The City wants to make money from the cyclists” Since cyclists don’t use parking facilities or pay gasoline tax, there isn’t much of a revenue stream directly from the riders [paying outrageous taxes on a 6-pack of take-out PBR to the LCB, notwithstanding]

Philly is trying SO HARD to become a major
bike-friendly city. They just opened East-West bike lanes in Center City. This could be ½ a step backwards as [quoted from here]

1) [Licensing] creates yet another barrier to cycling in a system which has been historically built to exclude cyclists, and
2) It is completely unnecessary, due to the fact that cyclists can (and are) routinely pulled over and cited by the police for vehicle code violations already. You don’t need a license to get a ticket for running a stoplight. And you still have to pay the fine regardless of whether you’re on four wheels or two.

Thirdly … do they really expect messengers and messenger poseurs [who are part-time anarchists, anyway] to get in line for their little metal plates?

As for the rules and regulations/fines proposed?

Kenney, meantime, will propose increasing the fines for riding bicycles on the sidewalks. The current fine is $10. Kenney wants it to be $300. He also wants the current $3 fine for wearing headphones while on a bicycle to also increase to $300.

I’m fine with that [pun not intended]. Bikes DON’T belong on sidewalks, unless you’re a 6 year-old and you have training wheels, or you are walking it [into a building or to lock-it up someplace.] Wearing headphones while riding ANYWHERE is stupid, unless you’re out in the Pines all alone on a Saturday morning and you don’t have traffic to be concerned with. When I lived in Philly and rode everywhere I couldn’t walk to, I was always in the street and 100% aware. Much like in my blog post “
Riding with Sharks” cabs, delivery trucks, SEPTA buses, tourists, all pose different threats out there and you have to have your head on a swivel at all times; eyes and ears open. That’s not to say I didn’t grab the back of a SEPTA bus on occasion, to get up Market Street quickly, but … I kinda knew what I was doing. Even at MM, I rode my bike in the street to meet up with The Glo-Pokes, then hopped on the bike path to ride along to the finish line. AND I had my helmet and proper lighting [next year, I’ll have my Team Tania blinkies, too!!!]

If they DO put these fines in place, I’d suggest one for “salmoning” too … that is, riding AGAINST traffic. You asked me about this once or twice [why we run facing traffic, but ride with traffic]; and the bottom line is that bicycles are “vehicles” and are subject to the same rules of the road as cars. The physics involved, though, from the difference between getting rear-ended by a car vs. a head-on collision, don’t really matter. It’s STILL gonna hurt like a b!tch.

Especially, if you've taken you front brake off, just to be all cool and hipster-ish.

These things are cyclical [again, pun not intended]. Every now and then the same thing percolates in NYC, Chicago, DC and so on. It usually goes away on its own. In the meantime, follow the Philly story as it unfolds, here:

Philadelphia Bicycle Insurrection

Thursday, November 19, 2009

That Hat!!!

In February, 1999, D'Wife and I travelled to St. Thomas, USVI, with singularity of purpose: to have a great Caribbean vacation and - God willing - to come back with an extra special souvenir.

Aside from packing the charts, vitamins, herbals and thermometers, I packed something very special.

'If this expedition works,' I said to myself, 'Whatever I bring will be my talisman in the Delivery Room.'

You know how superstitious I am; it had to be just right. It had to be something I could keep by me or on me at almost all times ["one never knows the hour" so to speak]

I was in the habit of wearing a baseball cap in my off hours; that would work - being a fair-skinned individual as it is, I'd need one anyway.

Many options were weighted , but I/we settled on this one:


Well designed, Buffett-ish in the seaplane look, plus local to Jersey.

So ... Who wears it better?

st thomas 1999

Happy 10th Birthday, our little souvenir.

- yeah, same shirt, too!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Disclosure Statements

A friend of mine and I were discussing our plans for a Half Marathon in April, and some other racing shenanigans when she asked me:

“I'm confused....I thought one of the beefs you had with all the obsessive ones was about training vs. just running for the sake of running? Why the sudden interest in racing? I thought you just liked to run for running's sake and didn't worry about times and such? It seems sort of contradictory that as soon as you cut yourself loose from hanging with them, all your talk has been of races and stuff like that, yet while you were there, your big point was ‘I just go out and run 5 miles cuz I wanna.’ ???”

I hadn’t realized that … I guess I’m more goal-focused than I admit, even to myself? I’ll need to examine that.

I think the thing I had with them was that, even though I would pick a race and set up a schedule and all; I often deviated from it, because I was having a good day and couldn’t just stop at 5 or 6 or whatever it said; I was really bad at taking days off too. It wasn’t RACING I had a beef with … Remember, in January I had a schedule of 7 races I planned to do this year, PLUS the MS150; I did two – Broad Street and Midnight Madness [and I didn’t even count MM as a race, just something Beaker and I did last year, and will do again and again, as long as they have it, I’m sure]. It was the people who said “I had a horrible day, and want to forget it ever happened,” because they missed their goal time by 5 or 10 minutes” People who let a clock determine whether they had a good day or not.

As far as LVHM, we’re talking long, long ahead; just to give me a star to sail by, as it were. When it’s all said and done, I probably won’t do any of them anyway; but I see your point. Instead of being content to try to get a Speed Limit sign to say “Your Speed is: 10 MPH” and silly little things like that …

ARGH!!! Introspection gives me a headache!!!

“So maybe you really don't WANT to race and you really DO just want to run however many miles you want to that day, and not take off or take off at will? To me, that sounds like someone who just loves to run. Nothing wrong with that at all. Did you do races before you found a running site to hang on?

“You don't seem to need a race to motivate you to run like some of them do. Again, proof positive is your poor track record adhering to training programs. Even the posts I've read speak more to your joy of running and the things you see, smell, experience than the whole ‘I did this in this amount of time today, boo-yah me’ crap.”

Oh good … I thought I’d uncovered myself as a fraud LOL

I ran for nearly four years [I started June 1, 1982], before I entered my first race. When I lived in Haddonfield I would do 5- and 10Ks at Cooper River Park and couldn’t understand how I was racing at 6-6:30 minute pace, when I was training at only 8 or so … Turned out that my 6-mile loop I was running in about 48 minutes was actually 8 miles LOL

See! I was screwed from the get-go!!!

D’Wife claims I raced every weekend when we met in 1988 … My scrapbook proves otherwise [yeah, I have a scrapbook; two in fact – 4” binders filled with bibs and programs and results booklets (With my name highlighted <wink>)]. Even then though, my training was formless. I never read a book, bought “Runner’s World” and “Triathlete” JUST for the pictures. I had friends at work at Campbell’s that ran, and some people in Philly/The Gayborhood, but I never trained with anyone.

I joined CR back in 2002, when I started working at Lockheed and had reliable Internet access. By that time though, I had quit running [not completely but, jogging 3 miles once or twice a month shouldn’t count as “maintaining a running career”] for about 2 years after one of those “I had a horrible day, and want to forget it ever happened” events at PDR in 2000. Slowly I started to ramp back up; the “Beer” threads on CR are an important archive I think, you can see me coming back to it. I started this blog in 2005, with the intent to burn off the “400 Beers” I had put on. My first coach, Annabelle, got me out on the road, to run with her at Broad Street in 2006. Being slow, [her CR/KR name is LaTortuga] she INSISTED that I train NO FASTER than 9:00/mile.

We finished in 1:38 – 8 10-minute miles and 2 9’s. That was my v2.0 reboot. 2007 PDR was 2:33.

I didn’t race in 2007, but pledged my full support to help D’Wife do City to Shore that year [she did the 50-mile tour, from Hammonton to Ocean City]

Last year, Doe announced he was going to do the 2009 Disney Marathon; I suggested we do the Distance Run [I couldn’t do Broad Street last year, because that was Mariel’s First Communion weekend]. Somehow I found myself on Kick, then 30s, then meeting Beaker& Co at Midnight Madness. I finished the year with a 2:08 PDR [1:36 at 10-miles]

That’s my story … Now go have a beer. You earned it.

“Ahhh....I see. Hmm. An anomaly you are, young Jedi.”

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Shut Up and Train!!!

I had a dream last night I was running a 5K with Lance. I stayed with him for the first mile, in 6:59.52

Those were the days.

Of course, like every other race dream, I got lost and … well, thing kinda went downhill from there. At least in THIS one, I actually started on time!!!

It got me thinking …

Which would be a bigger challenge? Which has a greater chance of success?

a] Getting my average training pace below 8:00 per mile [currently ~8:30]
2] Getting my "Posts per Day" on Kickrunners below 18.00 [currently 18.12]

Getting my training pace down, would involve hills and speed work. Getting my PpD down, would involve staying off Kick [or at least being quieter] for a while.

My friend QuixoticNotions [don’t ask – I don’t know what that means, either] or QN, wondered if there even was a correlation? She’s a speedy little chatterbox, with a 1:40:50 Half marathon PR [and dropping] and a 3:28 BQ in her sights [Boston Marathon Qualifying Time]. Being a Stay-At-Home-Mom, she’s on Kick quite often, except for feeding breaks and training runs; currently maintaining at a rate of 2-dozen posts per day.

The key to success will be for me to “Shut Up and Train!” [as Disco Bob says, so eloquently]

Don’t chat about what you’re going to do, but to “Just …” well … everyone knows the rest. If I have a particularly notable workout, I’ll ping whoever would be most interested via email or FB. I’ll stay out of those non-Karmically-positive places full of mean spirited gossip and idle chit-chat; the ones that are Cesspools of Flame Warfare. Nope, I’ll visit just happy places on Kick, and sparingly at that.

That covers “Shut Up”

The “Train” part should come pretty easily.

“Hills are speedwork in disguise.” Frank Shorter (American Olympic champion)

I’ve got plenty of THOSE handy; there’s
a nice one right behind my house.

I’ll take it easy on myself, and not give myself a deadline … consider it an open-ended commitment.

Wish me luck. I’ll keep you posted, so to speak.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Dia de Los Muertos

October 31, 2009
Festival 8
Indio, California

Set 1: Sample In A Jar, The Divided Sky, Lawn Boy, Kill Devil Falls, Bathtub Gin, The Squirming Coil, Runaway Jim, Possum, Run Like An Antelope

Set 2: Rocks Off, Rip This Joint, Shake Your Hips, Casino Boogie, Tumbling Dice, Sweet Virginia, Torn & Frayed, Sweet Black Angel, Loving Cup, Happy, Turd On The Run, Ventilator Blues, I Just Want To See His Face, Let It Loose, All Down The Line, Stop Breaking Down, Shine A Light, Soul Survivor

Set 3: Backwards Down The Number Line, Fluffhead, Story of the Ghost, When The Circus Comes, You Enjoy Myself

Encore: Suzie Greenberg

Notes: Phish played "Exile On Main Street" in its entirety for the second set featuring Sharon Jones, David Guy, Tony Jarvis, David Smith & Saundra Williams. Those musicians also joined the band for the encore


I’ve always wanted to celebrate my birthday in Mexico. They know how to do it right, with just the right mix of Catholic reverence and outrageous spookiness. Where else are kids treated to Sugar Skulls and papier-mâché skeleton dolls?

I’ve actually been to Indio. My brother-in-law, Max, used to live in Bermuda Dunes, near Palm Springs. He took us to the most authentico taqueria I’d ever been to; north of the border, that is.

El Mexicali Café, is literally across the tracks from Max’s condo, maybe four miles away. It was here that I my first REAL Mexican beer – Corona doesn’t count. Max was a Bohemia fan, especially with any kind of Mexican food. We sat at a linoleum table, with a handful of locals. It was hard to tell who were family, who were friends, and who were staff; as someone who was sitting at a table digging into a plate of chile rellenos just a moment ago, could just as easily be in the kitchen the next.

As one testimonial says on guestbook: “If you are looking for authentic Mexican food here in the desert, whether you’re a local or in from out of town this is the place.”