Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 - The Finale

Woke up a shade later than I had wanted to, but since I'd be working from home today and didn't have to log until ~8:00, I had some time to play around with; a fact I hadn't thought of right away.

My original plan was 5 or so this morning, then cap the year off tomorrow. When I reached the Goat Farm, though, I said to myself "Self. Look, you REALLY don't have to home for about an hour. Suppose something comes up tomorrow and you can't reach your goal; you're gonna kick yourself, aren't you??? Let's finish this NOW!!!"

Onward I went, Reflecto-Vest dim in the unlit woods, Team Tania blinkie flashing away with no one around to see it. I left home in the dark but things were lightening up nicely by the time I reached my turnaround. In fact, the sun was up above the trees when I rolled back into the Development; the Vest & Blinkie said to onlookers: "Yeah, I've been out a while. Sorry if I look like a dork"

‎... And THAT, Ladies and Gentlemen, is 621 Miles = 1,000Km for 2011

Goal = REACHED!!!

ETA: Y'know, when it's really cold, but clear & dry, I kinda like wearing shorter sox with long pants ... feeling the breeze whipping around my ankles gives me this little extra Hardcore Vibe

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Splashing Towards the Finish Line

If it's Tuesday night, it MUST be raining!!!

No CCD for D'Kid today, but I took my run at night-time just the same. Of the past few Tuesdays, tonight was CERTAINLY the rainiest. Steady showers, 12 knot winds gusting to 30; I was pretty damp by the stoplight.

Coming up on 1-Mile marker, I had done a fairly good job of hop-skip-jumping the small streams, rivers and lakes that had collected at the roadside. Then, I mis-read a dark spot in the headlight glare and hit one in the deep end. If I had a little more foot-speed, I MAY have avoided the back-splash, but no ... I was now taking on water. I said to myself "Self. You can't un-soak a sock" and I purposely nailed another one, and another after that. Then a couple for the Port side, just to even things out. If my ears hadn't already been filled with water, I'm sure the SQUISH-SQUISH-SQUISH would have been quite profound.

I was treated to a couple of pretty good downpours along that may or may not have brought whitecaps upon the street; I couldn't tell out there in the dark.

Finishing up the Final Mile, I had lost all desire or need to stay on the high ground, and totally expected to get splashed by the passing cars. In fact, I even INVITED the FedEx truck to have a go at me, pausing in the Sweet Spot of a puddle for a perfect drenching. He flashed his beams and let me go ... what a Dude!!!

ETA: 12K to go for 1,000 Km on the Year; a little more UMPH!!! in the Spring and I'd have made it by now

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Festival of Lights - Part Two

A couple of days ago, I went out for my [now regular] Tuesday Night CCD Run.

THIS WEEK I remembered to make the RIGHT coming out of the Development to get the Holiday Light Tour of the adjacent neighborhoods. I'm glad I wore the Reflecto-Vest, as I kinda forgot that there's about 600 yards of deep dark bridging the gap between our streets and my destination. Even in the black, though, I could tell that there was some Baking going on; I picked up a definite whiff of peanut butter & slightly burnt brown sugar.

The first part of the first loop is all townhouses, so people are pretty conservative-slash-considerate with their displays; except for one pair who pooled resources and went for the Full "Price is Right" with synchronized strings surrounding doors, windows, garages and so on.

However, I still hadn't seen anything like the "WalMart took a Dump on their Yard" extravaganza D'Wife had observed last week. There was one house that flanked itself with inflatable Santa's [12' to Starboard and 16' to Port]; another that looped ONE 50-foot string of multi-colored rainbow lights down the middle of their ONE tree .... from 200 yards away, it looked like Gay Lightning [NTTAWWT].

Midway thru Mile Two, however, I saw it ... Actually, EVERYONE could see it ... FROM SPACE!!! Words ... just can't ... pix, to come. After that [and once my retinas re-set] ... it was just another jog in the dark.

Tonight, I brought D'Kid along with me so she could get pix of the "I Can See My House From Space" extravaganza ... as well as we could do with our SONY Cyber-Shot, we couldn't quite capture the retina-wrenching glory of this display .... Oh, did I mention that there's music too??? The whole way home, my foot-strikes were to "Oh Come All Ye Faithful." I guess there are FAR WORSE Earworms to get, if need be.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Festival of Lights - Part One

First night time run of the 2011-12 Xmas Light Season.

I've done a morning run or two since Thanksgiving, which is when folks traditionally fire up the Yuletide decorations, but ITTET not many people are leaving them on all night long. So, I figured that hitting the road at 7PM would be PRIME viewing time!

For whatever reason [the seven concussions maybe] I don't remember taking this route last year ... frankly, I was disappointed.

I expected that the houses "back there" would have been lit up a lot more severely; being set further off the road, a lot more wattage would seem necessary to say "HEY!!! LOOK AT ME!!!" but no ... they were - for the most part - rather tame, conservative and quite nice.

Only ONE house went for Full "Game Show" but just missed, since the dozens of strings of multicolored lights, which highlighted every edge, bend or random architectural detail of the home, failed the "Price Is Right" Test my not blinking in sequence ... they didn't even blink AT ALL!!! Why Bother, people???

The only other house of note had so many illuminated deer, angels, snowmen and polar bears on the lawn that it looked like a Harry Potter Patronus Convention.

Anticipating some more rainy weather, I wore a L/S poly shirt which finally paid off when the wind kicked up and the drizzle ramped up in my final mile; until that point, I was pretty overdressed [with the addition of the Reflecto-Vest] and kinda toasty. I got damped enough to feel kinda badass coming back into the Development.

Y’know what, though? I really gotta get a headlamp

I thought I knew my way around back there between developments pretty well, even in the dark. A car was approaching, so I drifted myself a little closer to the edge of the road. There are no curbs or sidewalks out that way; the street gives way to an uneven boundary of gravel before the folk's lawns start. It was a rainy night, as I said, so I had to hop over a sandbar that had shoaled up in the stream along the shoulder. I kinda shorted it and stepped about a foot from the end of the "island."

There was a surprising CRACK! and I skidded a little bit [didn't fall, though]

It was a deer carcass ... I'd landed on her rear leg.

I really, REALLY gotta get a headlamp.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Well, THAT Didn't Last Long

December 1, 2011

Dear Member:

Bally Total Fitness® has made the decision to focus our portfolio of fitness centers in certain key markets. As a result, we will be transitioning ownership of a number of our clubs, including your home club, to Fitness International, LLC, an affiliate of LA Fitness International, LLC ("LA Fitness").

LA Fitness will take over the clubs it is acquiring and assume your membership agreement effective December 1, 2011. As a result your payments will be collected by LA Fitness going forward using the same account as did BallySM. You can find more details on our website and at

It has been our pleasure to serve you, and we thank you for your loyalty to Bally Total Fitness through the years. We wish you continued success in pursuing and achieving your fitness goals.

Yours in Health,

Bally Total Fitness


Granted, all of my running and cycling is done en plien air, until just a month ago when I renewed my long-lapsed Bally membership at the low-low price of $99 a year.

When a friend of mine told me about the buyout of Bally locations by LA Fitness, I got on the phone to my "home" club and was reassured that my Bally membership would be grandfathered in to a LA membership and only the signs on the club would change

Unfortnately THIS is my "home" club:

Now, I'll get my $99 back from my company's Fitness Reimbursement and I'll be out nothing, but if I have to upgrade to an LA Fitness ... I have to wait one calendar year to re-submit

All I wanted was access to the pool, so D'Kid & I could swim on Sundays

Oh well ... outside is very nice, can be quite challenging, AND it's free

It's a shame, because I had some really great times at Bally's ... Lots of good stories


"Not in the Plan"

"How to Count from A to Z"

"Spring Training"

"Jump Little Bunny"

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Return of the Gym Rat?

D’Wife and I agreed that it was time to renew my Bally’s membership. Training alone outside is all good from a Zen standpoint, but sometimes you need to get out [in?] where the people are, for a change of scenery [or lack thereof]. Plus, there’s always that chance you might get into a little friendly competition out of the blue, just for fun..

And to be honest; I sorta missed chasing the Ponytails.

Since I’d get comp’d back for it from work, it was just a matter of having some extra cash on hand to put on the table. With a sudden surplus thanks to some Birthday Money from The Moms, I just happened to have an extra Hundred I didn’t know what to do with.

The plan was for me to hang out at home to meet up with one of D’Wife’s friends from the Bank, who we hadn’t seen in ages, then skip on over to Voorhees to re-up.

I had my gear all packed up for a run, a ride, a swim, whatever might present itself, but I was REALLY looking forward to getting into the pool. Sometimes, a dude just needs some chlorinated weightlessness to recharge the surfy-ness; know what I mean? Probably not, sorry.

The pool was already hopping when I completed my renewal. Two people to a lane, all dudes, too. Not the way I’d planned on making my “comeback” To tell the truth, I was a little bit uncomfortable about this. I can swim fine when I’m out in the waves and only have to stroke-stroke-stroke while kicking to catch a wave, then glide in. The idea of continuing for 25 yards at a time always brought a bit of anxiety with it.

To kill some time, to give the fish some time to thin out, I started out like I usually did: on the track.

“We all lost one helluva guy in Joe two years ago. I had the idea of doing a 40 mile bike ride on what would’ve been his 40th birthday on Nov 4th. While we all knew him from running, I wasn’t gonna run 40 miles lol. So however you see fit to honor our friend so be it. You wanna run 4.0 miles, a 40k, ride 40 miles or swim 40 laps, I think he would be proud in whatever we choose individually. It also doesn’t have to be on that Friday if it’s not convenient for you, it could be over that weekend. Whatever works for you. VTFU!”

Oh No … I HAD forgotten. I would do 40 laps on the 12 lap/mile Track at Bally's in honor of Joe "Voodoo" Truini's 40th Birthday.

Kept my pace nice and even at 42 seconds per lap [8:24 pace] until some kid came by - understand this, the place was practically empty so having company was both welcome and sort of an annoyance. I mean, he certainly could have run on his own, once I was on the other side of the track. But, no. He ran with me for a lap & a half or so, then he gave me this look ... not once, but twice ... and took off. I countered and followed him, right on his shoulder. I couldn't believe it, but the little punk pulled me through 3 laps at 37sec per [7:24] before he blew himself up. I eased back, stopped checking my splits and completed my 40 circuits for Voo'sDay.

Mostly out of habit, once my run was done I hopped on the Bike. The Bally's LifeCycle bikes limit you to 30 minutes at a time. And, no matter how fast or slow you pedal, after ½ and hour, it's always the same distance. The calories and wattage change depending on your cadence and resistance, but the mileage never does. Odd.

UFO Expert: I've been coming to this circle for about five years, and measuring it. The diameter and the circumference are constantly changing, but the radius stays the same. Which brings me to the number 5. There are five letters in the word Blaine. Now, if you mix up the letters in the word Blaine, mix 'em around, eventually, you'll come up with Nebali. Nebali. The name of a planet in a galaxy way, way, way... way far away. And another thing. Once you go into that circle, the weather never changes. It is always 67 degrees with a 40% chance of rain.

I turned my iPod on and cruised for 10 miles [there's some weird km/minute x some factor math going on in there, if I remember correctly].

The whole point of GOING to Bally's and renewing the Membership was to get in the Pool, right??? Well, it was kinda crowded when I got there so I killed some time on the Track and doing the Bike. But I REALLY wanted to get in [and come home with that chlorine smell in my hair] so after a quick change I flip-flopped over. Timidly, asked the only dude who had a lane to himself, if I could share. He was very welcoming and once he had pushed off from the wall, I dropped in. I made some adjustments to the goggles that have been sitting in the bottom of my back pack since forever, hoping to get a good seal. As it so happened, the foamy gaskets around the lenses were pretty beat and there was no way to get a good watertight seal on them. Things being what they were, though, I tried my best. Let me just say, I STILL swim like a brick. I did 8 trips down and back JUST in time for the Pool Attendant to say “9:30 sir, pool is closing now”

Thank goodness. 400 yards in 18 minutes; just about the same time as my first EVER triathlon!!! If I'm gonna keep this up, gotta get new goggles. And practice. A lot. I even thought “Swim Coach” for a minute there, but there’s no way I’d find one that would let me get away with the crap I’d pull on my running coaches.

Add it all up, and I did a Reverse Indoor Sprint Triathlon, in about an hour and a half.
Darn that Fatty for putting the idea in my head!!!

With a 10K on Sunday, that may or may NOT have been the best judgment. But we’ll see.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Third Quarter YTD 2011 Results

Running: 454 Miles – A little bit behind pace for 620M = 1000Km. As it stands right now, I need to Average 56 miles or so for October, November and December to make it; figuring that as 4 miles every other day, I can see success within reach. I just missed 50 miles per month in each month of Q3 – one more run on that last day would have gotten it. I just need to stay focused and not get too gappy.

My "easy" training pace continues to drop. I’ve been living in the 8:30 neighborhood, and occasionally go sub-8:20 without much effort [must just be a matter of catching the stoplights at the right time]

Cycling: 269 Miles – 191 of that in Q3; with nearly 72 in July alone. Of course, we dropped 46½ on one day with Bike MS

Monday, September 26, 2011

2011 Bike MS City to Shore

We left Hammonton at 10:15 with a goal time to arrive in Ocean City by 3:30 and total cycling time [discounting rest-stop time] of 4 hours. We crossed the second bridge at 3:24PM and stopped the clock at 3:58 of pedaling

Through no fault of anyone’s, just total busy-ness and odd schedules, we didn’t get out Team Evesham jerseys in time for the ride. D’Wife didn’t want to wear her Lockheed one, but felt kind of funny wearing a Team Tania one, since that team is no more. I was OK with my Dogfish one, but it was decided we’d honor the Red & Black together.

The highlight of the day came as we were pedaling down Leipzig Ave in Egg Harbor towards the AC Expressway Bridge. We’d been trading places back & forth with an older dude from Stacey’s new team, Team Force Majeure. While we were chatting about Team Tania and not paying too much attention, I suddenly realized that D’Wife had a 50-75 yard gap on me. The dude tapped my shoulder and said: “Every now and then, she just lights it up, doesn’t she?”

Yes. Yes, she does.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Runners and "Secret" Spots

[not THOSE “secret spots” ya perv!!!]

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Maybe it's just a surfy thing, and I apologize for that.

YouTube Killed the Secret Spot

Now that we appear to be in the middle of another Running Boom, we can see more people enjoying this sport than ever before; or at least since the 70s or so.

People we'd never seen before are running around our neighborhoods, parks, bike paths, etc. Granted, these public places belong to everyone, and certainly should be shared. That's what they're for. Plus, it's good sportsmanship and camaraderie, to trot along and perhaps strike up a conversation with a stranger with whom you know you have at least one thing in common.

More and more, though, D'Kid or I will see someone running and say "Hey! They're running on MY Road!!!" Which brings me [as a surfer] back around to the concept of "The Secret Spot" ... do you have a place which is - as far as you know - JUST YOURS???

Is there a hill that you claim as just your own? A climb that you do battle with, one on one, on a regular basis? Maybe, to your knowledge, you were the first to runner conquer it?

Perhaps there's a stretch of road that passes by a secluded pond, far away from the busy-ness of the developments, which offers a tiny place of Zen, where you can escape the troubles of the day?

I mean, all surfers know the story of Jeff Clark, who surfed Maverick's alone for 15 years ... not because he was the only one who knew it was there, but because no one else thought it could be done.

I read an article in Runner's World or something years ago, about some dude who had a mountain in his backyard in VT or NH or ME or someplace, and he'd run up & back down every morning, for years.

But, I guess that's different from the "Secret Spot" thing I'm thinking about.

“I think it's silly to think that you have a space that somehow only you are entitled to. I will absolutely share any run or hike that I think others might appreciate. I roll my eyes a little bit whenever anyone mentions keeping a place a secret so that other people can't enjoy it, whether it concerns running, surfing or anything else.” – Cool Foot Luke

Yes, Localism blows in any form; that's what keeps me off some pretty decent trails down here in Wharton State Forest, because I never know when some drunk and/or high dirt-bikers or quads are gonna flex their Piney muscles and run me down.

The expression "Dad! Someone's running on your road!!!" is more a reaction to seeing another runner outside of the developments. The race results said there's maybe a half a dozen runners in my town who did Broad Street this year, but I'm always surprised to see anyone else training down here in Farm Country. Doing anything outdoors that doesn't involve alcohol, gasoline or gunpowder [or any combination thereof] is not well regarded. Self-propelled recreation [running or cycling], for its own sake or for the betterment of one's self ... Well, that's certainly suspect.

I've done my best to recruit those joggers I've met [their term, not mine] through school, church or on my cool-down walks through the neighborhood. I've always invited them along and shared my routes, "Go over 30, past the cemetery, make a right to go around and back; that's about three miles"

Never seen anyone else out there ...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

See You In September

And THAT, Ladies and Gentlemen, should be the LAST Sunset Run of this Summer's Vacation Running Experiment ... Unless, of course, I see a sea of lighters on the Spectrum floor inviting me out for an encore; I’m NOT above that. I’m still a little behind pace for my 1000Km on the year, but only by a run or two.

So … How did it go???

Firstly, I learned a LOT about flexibility: Just when you think you have a plan for the day, something changes things out of the blue; someone wants to go play elsewhere for the day [miles plus up!] or a friend goes over [run/ride drops out] or a severe weather event mixes things up [miles go down, but not necessarily out].

Secondly, I stretched a LOT less; I guess I would be pretty awake, warm & loose at training time, so I wouldn't need as much pre-run prep work. This evidenced itself in less hammy issues than I've had in a while ... we'll see how this approach maintains itself when we're back back on the Pre-Dawn Patrol.

Thirdly, I focused a LOT on fueling; both the timing thereof AND what I ate. Lunch was usually a turkey sandwich with provolone and a TON of lettuce, with a schmeer of Ken's Lite Ranch dressing to help laminate everything together. A couple of days I added our own home grown tomatoes; delicious, certainly, but upon reflection THAT was a touch too much acid in the ol' tummy.

All in all, I ran less than I would have had I been able to keep my Pre-Dawn schedule for the Summer, but more than nothing at all, or just 4s & 5s on the weekend. I also got some bike rides in with D’Kid, including a tremendously sucky but totally awesome thunderstorm ride that was highlighted by pedaling the last ½ mile in a hailstorm.

… we saved about $2,400 by skipping Summer Camp for this year, and God Knows we needed to.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I Propose a New Acronym

We all know that DFL [Dead Fuckin Last] is better than DNF [Did Not Finish] which is better than DNS [Did Not Start]

Those are all well and good, and the logic follows well, mathematically ... I mean they always list number of Finishers, number of Starters and number Registered; which follow in increasing numbers so ...

However ...

I propose a new acronym ... DEF = Donated Entry Fee

Sometimes you sign up for a race and [through no fault of anyone's; maybe an over-riding priority pops up] you just can't get to The Line. You’ve paid your way in, thus making a donation to whichever fund or charity the race was for.

Of course, if you TOTALLY wuss out and/or roll over because it's raining or something, DNS still works.

GRANTED: if you register for a race that gets capped and you DON'T run, you're kinda kicking someone else out; but if you CAN transfer your bib ... like I did at Broad Street in '10 … thus keeping Karma intact

Maybe that's another acronym ... SMB&KMOA = Sold My Bib and Kicked my Own Ass

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

2011 Mid-Apocalyptic 4-Horsemen 20K Solo Relay - AWARDS

David Serious-Runner Dye: 1st Place Overall [Total Time - 1:36:38], Fastest Individual Split [Leg Three - 23:15]

Randy Marthins: 2nd Place Overall [1:45:06]

Andrew Murdock: 3rd Place [1:47:40]; "Stop & Smell the Roses" Award for his wonderful Pix

Mike Mcaleese: 4th Place [1:57:00]; "Tick Tock" Award for Most Consistent Splits [30, 30, 27, 30]

Matthew F. Hammond: 5th Place [2:10:06]; "Mr Flexible" Award for for adjusting his schedule to make time for the event

Rebecca Burdin Lasky: Ist Woman [2:12:19]; "Early Bird" Award for starting on Friday

Jarn Leah [aka Jenn]: 2nd Woman [2:13:06]; "Lantern Rouge" REMEMBER: Last one in gets the Coldest Beer!!!

Jennifer Gilmore Fields: "Overachiever" Award for running MORE than 20K and doing them all at once


By Virtue of her TOTALLY kicking ass on her first attempt at Badwater Ultramarathon, Meredith Murphy is hereby awarded Number 65 for this and ALL Screaming Tortise events, in Perpetuum [or whatever endurance sports drink she prefers]

Sunday, July 17, 2011

2011 Mid-Apocalyptic 4-Horsemen 20K Solo Relay - FINAL LEG!!!

FINAL LEG!!! – 3:45PM

We had to make one final adjustment before the Last Frame: D’Kid’s best friend wanted to come up for the afternoon. So, 11AM Mass was shelved and she was dropped off by her Mom around 11:30. They hung out upstairs while I got D’Wife ready for work. After she was out the door, I gathered up my list and coupons for the weekly grocery shopping trip. Runners are, if nothing else, creatures of habit and like to stay tied to their schedules.

As I suspected, and upon review in the booth, my Third Leg that I ran this morning was a shade long [3/10ths, actually] so I adjusted my turn-around accordingly. Did I say “Shade?” Yeah, thankfully, most of this route is woodsy, because the temperature was very close to 90° when I left the house. There was a time when I had a rule about such things; even if I STILL did, today was a day to break it.

I totally surprised myself by making the first mile in 8:20 and to the bottom of The Pit in just under 13:00. I suppose the rush of having this almost behind me, helped to pick up the pace. Climbing back up that rise again, I could feel the quads starting to go. I had to quote Jens Voigt: "Shut up, legs" The humidity was down from this morning and even though I’d been hydrating all day, my throat was still feeling dry. Naturally, with it being the middle of the afternoon, and the hottest part of the day, no one had a sprinkler or hose running for me.

I was shooting for 28:00 on this final leg, for no other reason than to stay under 10:00 per mile. When I made my way back to the light at The Pike in 22-something, with only 6/10ths to go: "We got this" Except, I was running straight into the sun, with not a tree to duck under now, and the full blazing heat coming off the street which had been slowly cooking all day. Pretty miserable, but I took courage from Meredith’s journey through Badwater, and told myself, “As bad as this might feel; she suffered through much worse and for far further than just a mile.”

I clicked the final Split in 27:20 to bring my total to 1:45:06; 8:28 pace for the 12.4 miles.

Done. Twice in a row now that I’ve done ALL FOUR Legs of La Tortuga’s challenge.

It was time to relax in the Clubhouse with a Brooklyn Summer Ale; and a pair of 11 year-old girls trashing the upstairs.

Brooklyn Summer Ale is a modern rendition of the "Light Dinner Ales" brewed in England throughout the 1800's right up until the 1940's. They were also called "luncheon ales" or even "family ales", because they were refreshing and flavorful without being too heavy. We brew our Brooklyn Summer Ale from premium English barley malt, which gives this light-bodied golden beer a fresh bready flavor. German and American hops lend a light, crisp bitterness and a citrus/floral aroma resulting in a beer with a very sunny disposition.

It’s a little more golden than a hefeweizen, and not as cloudy,because it’s actually a Blonde Ale; not what I usually go for when the temps are in the high 80s, but you know what??? It works!!! There’s a thin white head to it, which is a plus, because who wants sticky lips on a hot Summer day??? There’s not a lot of buzz here, which is good for an afternoon sipper. I picked up a refreshing citrus flavor, with lemongrass and a suggestion of melon … Imagine a cool fruity summer salad in a glass; like what you might have at Tea at a Cape May Bed & Breakfast.

Definitely a LawnMower Beer candidate.

I’ll keep you posted.

Final Results and AWARDS >>>

2011 Mid-Apocalyptic 4-Horsemen 20K Solo Relay - Third Leg

Third Leg – 6:00AM

Okay, 6:30 is CLOSE ENOUGH to 6AM for me in this application.

Another brilliant morning and another moonset!!! I wanted to do something different than yesterday, so I took a route out the where some roosters I know might be up, just to say “Hi!” to them. I wasn’t 100% sure if their little barnyard was before or after the point where the 1½ mile turnaround would be, but I figured that I could calculate it later and adjust accordingly.

I ran another good First Mile then made the right that took me past Bingo Bob’s and into “The Pit.” I often thought that every Runner needs to have ONE route [or part of a route] called “The Pit,” a little drop-off, where you can pick up some speed, but that you’ll have to climb your way out of later. Steeper and more dramatic would be better, but Waterford, as lumpy as it is, doesn’t have quite that topography, so I kinda made the best of what I have to work with.

I made my rendezvous with my feathered buddies in about 13 minutes; still running sub-9:00 minutes per mile but drifting upwards. Hopefully I won’t be into the 10s later today. Adding it all up so far I’m at 1:21 for 9.3 miles ... Extrapolating from there, I'd be under 1:30 for 10, so THAT'S something to be happy with!!!

One more then we're done!!!

On to the FINAL LEG!!! >>>

Saturday, July 16, 2011

2011 Mid-Apocalyptic 4-Horsemen 20K Solo Relay - Intermission

Harry Potter Versus Star Wars: The Final Judgment

The final Harry Potter movie opens up this week, and all week long people have been saying "goodbye" to the franchise. Lots of crying in your butterbeer and all that.

A lot of the fans lamenting the end of Harry Potter are people much younger than I am, people who grew up with the both the books and the films and, for whom, Harry Potter is pretty much the dominant fictional story of their lifetime. You can goof all you want on dipshits at Middlebury forming their own Quidditch team and running around with brooms tucked between their thighs and negating all future use of their genitals, but they love Harry Potter and they probably know that they won't come across another set of books or films in their lifetime that will affect them or stir their imaginations in quite the same way.

I know this to be true, because I'm fucking old now. And when you're old, that sense of wonder and awe isn't easy to get back. I'm a child of the Star Wars generation, which means the first three movies in the series (Yes, I know they're chronologically the LAST three, and fuck you very much to George Lucas for not only raping my wallet and my childhood but also for forcing me into a semantic corner) are the dominant fictional story of MY lifetime. I could live another two hundred years and the sad truth of it is that I will NEVER ever again have a moviegoing experience like I had when I saw those movies (the first Indiana Jones movie also gets roped in there, because it was just as good and came along at pretty much the same time). I'm too old and jaded to recapture that kind of awe anymore. I'm not young enough to BELIEVE what I see on screen is real. I'm not young enough to have another story like that feel brand new to me, like nothing I've ever seen before.

That's how I felt watching Star Wars, and that's how people a decade or two younger than me likely feel about Harry Potter. I envy them, really. I read all seven Potter books and they were AWESOME. You read those books and you spend days and weeks and months at a time picturing yourself as a wizard and doing all kinds of crazy wizard shit and having all kinds of wild bareback wizard sex. (Wizards can make diseased sperm DISAPPEAR). That's all you can really ask from a story: that it gets deep into your brain and creates a whole new place for you to reside in. I loved most everything about those books. And if I were younger, I bet I'd have loved them even more.

The movies are something of a different animal. I've seen the first seven movies (my favorite was the fifth, which is weird for me because that was my least favorite book in the series), and the movies, for me, were really just two-hour reminders of the shit I read in the books. Oh, right! Luna Lovegood's dad totally sells out Harry, Ron and Hermione! I had completely forgotten that shit. Thanks, movie-length visual recap!

But that's because, again, I'm old. Because I'm old, I brought all my prejudices into those movies (They won't be as good as the books, Chris Columbus was the shitheel hack who made Stepmom and Bicentennial Man, etc.). If you were twelve or thirteen when the first Potter movie came out, you probably didn't care about any of that. You didn't care that Stepmom was among the more aggressively shitty movies of all time. All you cared about was HOLY SHIT! IT'S THE HARRY POTTER MOVIE! That pure youthful joy was still there. It hadn't been ruined for you yet by reading horrible baseball columns about pure youthful joy. So the movies were gonna be better for you. And as you get older, very little else will manage to stack up, if anything.

If you're my age, you know this is true because you saw the Star Wars prequels, which were fucking terrible and God I wish someone would take a shit in George Lucas's beard. But even if those movies had been any good (and there are people out there who, God help them, do think that), they probably wouldn't have lived up to their billing anyway because I was expecting that wondrous feeling to return without realizing I had already outgrown my ability to feel it. Nothing will be able to rival those original three Star Wars movies for me, but that's more due to circumstances of my age than the quality of the movie itself. It's why I worship all the old John Landis movies, and why anyone who tells me American Pie is better than The Blues Brothers will get a fucking shiv in their mouth.

So that's why I like the original Star Wars trilogy more than any of the Harry Potter movies. But maybe you feel different. Maybe you're 20 years old and The Empire Strikes Back looks dated to you. Maybe we need to have a completely pointless and unsolvable argument as to which series is superior overall. It's July and there ain't shit else going on, so FUCK IT WE'LL DO IT LIVE. I'mma try and strip away my generational prejudices best I can and hash this out objectively, like a proper nerdy nerd snarky blogger-type. Spoilers ahead if you were a deprived child.

BOOKS: The two series differ in that one is spawned originally from books and the other from film. Obviously, the Potter books are in a class of their own. I haven't read any of the Star Wars books. There are a shitload of them. They even wrote one about the band from Jedi, which seems aggressively pointless. Also, it's annoying when someone who has read all the Star Wars books corrects you on shit. "Actually, Boba Fett didn't die when he fell into the pit…" Yeah well, as far as I'm concerned, he did. And it was shitty. ADVANTAGE: POTTER.

MOVIES: The original three Star Wars are great. The prequels blow. Whereas the Potter movies are reliably entertaining, but are a constant reminder that the books were better. The Potter movies are also really well acted, whereas the Star Wars movies went out of their way to make even talented actors sound like idiots. So it really depends on if you prize consistency over inconsistency but with better moments. ADVANTAGE: STAR WARS

VILLAINS: My favorite Potter villain was Snape, except that he ultimately WASN'T a villain. You could say the same about Darth Vader, except that Darth Vader didn't have some grand, lifelong mission that explains away all the horrible shit he did. (He killed younglings. YOUNGLINGS, DAMMIT.) I also hated the shit out of Draco Malfoy. If I saw Tom Felton on the street, I'd want to punch him in the fucking face. Voldemort himself wasn't as menacing or as cool as Darth Vader. The fact that he had no nose kept me thinking that he'd been a victim of some plastic surgery gone horribly awry. And the Star Wars lineup of villains in the original films is pretty fucking awesome: Vader, the Emperor, Jabba, Grand Moff Tarkin, Greedo, the sand people (THASS RAYCESS!) and on and on. The villains get lamer in the prequels (Look out! It's the flying alien Jew!), but I still say ADVANTAGE: STAR WARS.

MENTORS: Fucking Obi Wan. Pussies out against Vader and then lies to Luke's face about his Dad. From a certain point of view, you're a dipshit. Yoda also fits into this category, but Yoda also has faults, mostly the backwards talk. "Around the survivors, a perimeter create." Yeah no, that's horrible. Dumbledore wins. ADVANTAGE: POTTER.

MAIN PROTAGONIST: Star Wars has two in Anakin and Luke. Both, in their respective trilogies, are huge gashes. Luke gets a little better as we get to Jedi, but he still needs Vader's help to keep help the Emperor from shocking his ass to death at the end. "FATHER! PLEEEEEASE!" Can't you do anything for yourself, kid? Maybe you deserve to have your insides boiled and bled out of your main orifices. Harry ain't afraid to kill Voldemort on his own, and he's powerful enough to do it. ADVANTAGE: POTTER.

BOY SIDEKICK: Weasley vs. Solo. Solo wins, even if I do spend hours at a time wishing I had been taken in by the Weasley family. I don't think adopting a fully-grown 34-year-old American man would be all that awkward. Oh, the hijinks those Weasley twins and I would get into. WHO PUT THIS PORTABLE SWAMP IN THE GIRLS' TOILET?! ADVANTAGE: STAR WARS.

GIRL SIDEKICK: Hermione vs. Leia. I didn't approve of Leia being so ungrateful the second Han and Luke came to rescue her. "Some rescue." Hey missy, you're lucky you even got that. Five minutes ago, you were getting a needle probe up your vagina. Now you're in a giant garbage chute with the walls closing in. Quit yer crying. ADVANTAGE: POTTER.

MASTURBATORY MATERIAL: There's a little bit of naked Emma Watson in the seventh Potter movie, but the series is otherwise fairly chaste. There's the typical teenage horniness, but nothing on the level of Slave Leia (even if Star Wars never gave you much beyond that). Potter, however, is indirectly responsible for young Lindsay Lohan as sexy Hermione, and my penis is eternally grateful. ADVANTAGE: STAR WARS.

ENDING: The Elder Wand shit at the end of Deathly Hallows still confuses me. And the fact that the search for the Deathly Hallows was piled onto the ongoing search for the Horcruxes gave me a headache. One treasure hunt per ending, please. But at least you get that cathartic coda at the end with Harry and Ron and Hermione all grown up with kids and what not. It was a much better denouement than the fucking Yub Nub song the Ewoks sang at the end of Jedi, and the worst part is that Lucas went back and fucked with that ending and made it like a universal 4th of July parade instead of just ending with the shot of Vader's body burning in the pyre. WATCH IT BURN! EVIL MAKES GOOD KINDLING! ADVANTAGE: NO IDEA.

WEAPONRY: Even actors in Potter movies have gone on the record as saying you look pretty fucking stupid with a wand in your hand. I don't know why wands became the go-to object for casting spells. Why not a magic sword, or a magic set of brass knuckles with little spikes on the ridge of each knuckle? Light sabers win. An elegant weapon. Not as clumsy as a blaster. Those goddamn blasters. So clumsy. ADVANTAGE: STAR WARS.

NAMES: Both have all sorts of cool names for their characters, but look at the full list of Potter names. You can't compete with that shit. Joscelind Wadcock? I'm naming my dog Joscelind Wadcock. ADVANTAGE: POTTER.

FANBOYS: There used to be a time when Star Wars fanboys could escape scrutiny solely because Star Trek fanboys were even weirder. But that protection ended right about here.

The fact that Harry Potter hasn't been around as long also means that its fanboys haven't had as much time to grow up and to mutate into even stranger creatures, people somehow even more disconnected from reality. That's gonna come someday. Should be fun. ADVANTAGE: POTTER.

OVERALL: This might be a more difficult argument if the prequels didn't exist, but the fact of the matter is that JK Rowling told her story in seven parts and never really fucked it up, whereas George Lucas told his story in six parts and galactically fucked up half of it, then went back and CGI'd the GOOD half and kind of ruined that as well. Star Wars was a milestone of my youth, but yeah, I can't go against Potter. WINNER: POTTER.

Have fun at the last Potter movie this weekend, gang. Enjoy it. You won't come across the likes of it again in your lifetime. I'm pretty sure Twilight is proof of that.

2011 Mid-Apocalyptic 4-Horsemen 20K Solo Relay - Second Leg

Second Leg – NOON

Once my Heart Rate came down after finishing the First Leg, once I was rehydrated and no longer thirsty, once I was able to THINK about eating something I poured myself a nice bowl of Rice Krispies, dropped half a dozen slice of fresh peach, and splashed it with some cool milk. I was gonna start re-fueling for the Second Leg as soon as I could. I didn’t want it to be 10 o’clock without eating anything and then say to myself “CRAP!!! What can I eat NOW that will settle enough in two hours to NOT bother my tummy”

Yeah, was thinking like a Real Runner.

Go figure.


D’Girls were late out of bed. Once up though, the morning was a flurry of phone tags to get the day’s schedule planned, coordinated, approved, revised, re-approved, etc. It was decided that we would see “Harry Potter” in 3D at 4:30 in Voorhees, meeting Warren & Samantha at Warren’s sister’s house here in Atco. Afterwards, we’d go back there for dinner. D’Wife had ONE errand to do sometime between now and then, but that wouldn’t take long. I kept out of her way, all the time watching the clock.

At 11:55AM, I quickly threw on my running gear and before she had a moment to counter-argue I stated “I’m going for another three miles, I’ll be back in half an hour or so”

I was taking the Second Leg by force. Now I was committed to not blowing up.

I kinda zoned out for a second and ran the same route I did this morning and in the same direction [I kinda wanted to mix it up a bit]. Brighter and 15° warmer than it was for the first leg. Surprisingly little activity for Noon on a Saturday; there was a softball game getting started over by D'Kid's school, but not much else going on.

[sorry that I couldn’t bring more detail, but that’s the way it goes sometimes]

I lost about a minute and a half on this Leg, which wasn’t really that bad considering I’d already dropped 5K. Adding the two together gave me a 52:40 10K on the day, as well, a whole MINUTE inside my time at
Cooper-Norcross Ben Franklin Bridge Challenge 10K back in ‘09.

PLUS, D’Wife wasn’t even close to leaving on her errands yet.



On to the Third Leg >>>

2011 Mid-Apocalyptic 4-Horsemen 20K Solo Relay - First Leg

First Leg – 6:00AM

This thing started out like a Caucus Race from the starting gun. Firstly, Becca decided that 6AM on Saturday Morning was just not early enough and put in her first leg after dinner on Friday. At about the same time, but before I opened my Uinta Crooked Line Tilted Smile Imperial Pilsner, D’Wife informed me that we MIGHT be going Downnashore to meet up with our friend Warren and his daughter. I was filled with options:

  1. Do all four 5Ks on Sunday, using the same formula. Of course, that would mean a Sunday Midnight 5K, then going straight to bed for work the next day

  2. Do the First Leg Saturday Midnight, then 6-12-6 on Sunday, giving myself the night off

  3. Start at 6AM Saturday just the same, and get the runs in whenever possible during the next two days

I said to myself: “Hey!!! Self!!! We’re the Race Director and Commissioner, we can change the rules for ourself or anyone who needs them changed, right??? Do it!!”

While she was checking on the plan for the Beach, “Harry Potter” was thrown into the mix … a Mid-afternoon show, followed by dinner at her friend / Warren’s sister, Holly’s house. That pretty much reduced my Options to #3 alone, since there’d be no way to get myself out the door after any kind of Summertime Family Feast.

Bottom Line: Four 5Ks in Two days ... where and when was TBD [the 6 hour part, for ME anyway, was out the window]


I woke up at my usual time of 5:25. I brushed & dressed, but naaa’d the bib idea, for now anyway.

“Let’s do this”

I had a bunch of 5K routes/courses to choose from, but went with the one I’ve been running most often lately, the one I’d run to set my highly non-official v2.0 5K PR of 23:36. I didn’t necessarily plan of going for a PR at anytime during the event, but if I was going to, it would surely be on this first leg

The moon was still up, hanging just above the trees in the back yard. She was taking on a pinkish cast as she settled into bed on this cool and clear morning. The cicadas weren’t buzzing yet; it was only a matter of time, though. Oddly, there were a lot of crows up and cackling. I hoped my little adventure wouldn’t lead me to becoming their morning snack by the side of the road at any point in the next 36 hours or so.

I left house behind and shuffled away towards the beautifully rosy and golden sunrise.

After crossing the Pike and reaching the First Mile mark in a few ticks short of 8 minutes, it took some work to hold back at the first turn, to force myself to adhere to the plan and not to wander off. The temptation to go longer to explore some routes that I haven't done at this time of day in many weeks was strong in this one. Seeing I was moving at a good pace, that made the decision easier, and I found a good pace to groove on as I passed Chocolate Pretzel Heaven, hugging the overgrowth by the side of the NJ Transit tracks chasing my own shadow up the street with the sun behind my right shoulder.

I had to sort of stutter-step around a fairly big puddle at the Halfway turnaround. Sure, I’d usually splash through here, but I’d need my shoes completely dried out in a few hours for the Second Leg, and I couldn’t necessarily count on that.

Cruising back towards Mariel’s school, there were a couple of sprinklers on; I took advantage, getting a nice schpritzing to the singlet. As is my tradition / superstition, I stopped at the Blessed Mother for a quick Hail Mary, then on my way for the Final Mile of the First Leg.

I was doubly fortunate to have the sprinklers running at Domino’s as well. I treated myself to a quick head-dip, before having to wait for the light [AND the obligatory “look pissed”]

The six-tenths of a mile from the light to home, is always so desolate and depressing, due to the trash and assorted roadkill that litter my running way. This morning though, I spied a flattened out snake in the shoulder. I have mixed feelings about snakes; I don’t mind them when I KNOW they’re there, like if someone offers me one to handle in a very rock n’ roll way, but when they appear out of nowhere … I’m not fond of that kind of surprise. Just the same, I had to feel sad to see any of God’s creatures plowed over like that.

I tucked into the development and chugged up over the final rise as the 24th minute came to an end; stopping the clock at 25-and-a-half [“stopping the clock” being a misnomer: I don’t actually use the buttons anymore, but just take mental note of the approximate time when I leave the driveway]
Not a bad pace for first thing in the morning and something I could probably match pretty closely for the remaining Three Legs, earning myself the coveted “Tick Tock” Award for Most Consistent Splits [or Most Accurate Pace-Setting … I’m not sure how I wanna phrase that]

On to the Second Leg >>>

Friday, July 15, 2011

2011 Mid-Apocalyptic 4-Horsemen 20K Solo Relay - Prologue

So, being bored one evening a few months back; perhaps suffering from a twinge of post-race letdown, I reached out to my Black Friday 20K Solo Relay co-conspirator and suggested a date for another “Run Like an Idiot” 20K. As luck would have it, the date we chose coincided with this year’s Midnight Madness, which was just a tad out of financial reach, slush-fund-wise, at $65 for 8.4 miles … no longer the value it was when we started in 2008.

Jenn’s boyfriend suggested something along the lines of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, because of the four legs.

1st Leg, 6AM = Famine: Breakfast time and we're hungry
2nd Leg, Noon = War: We're kicking ass and there is blood in the water
3rd Leg, 6PM = Pestilence: Sundown and the Summertime Evening bugs are coming out
Final Leg, Midnight = Death: No explanation needed

That made sense, but when I think of The Four Horsemen, I think only of
Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Ole Anderson, and Tully Blanchard, with James J. Dillon as their manager. I took the liberty of adding “Mid-“ to “Apocalyptic” for the event name since it was gonna go down between the “Judgment Day” that knucklehead had predicted and the Final Apocalypse on October 21st.

With the name settled upon rather quickly as “2011 Mid-Apocalyptic 4-Horsemen 20K Solo Relay,” it was time to begin recruiting. Between Kick, Slowtwitch, random Facebook and IRL friends, and fans of “
Postcards From The Curb” I sent out about 100 invites, of which 9 responded with a firm “Yes”

Custom bibs were made up and distributed. With all of my Race Director duties completed and fulfilled, I settled down with a new find: Uinta Crooked Line Tilted Smile Imperial Pilsner

[I’ve dated so many girls who looked like her]

Tilted Smile breaks away from the crowd. Big in alcohol, yet approachable and versatile. Confidently balanced with Saaz hops and 100% Pilsen malt. Crisp and delightfully carbonated. Explore pairing with grilled meats and seafood.

Nine percent ABV is a bit much on a race night, but I ate well and figured that I pre-hydrated myself well enough to handle the whole 22 oz. bottle. It was a nice pale golden color with a couple of fingers worth of snowy white head. It had a light malty, citrusy, lemongrass flavor that would be PERFECT to clear the dust & sweat from a noggin after giving the lawn a good cutting … at the $9.99 price and being only available in bomber bottles [nicely cork-finished however], it’s ineligible for consideration as a
LawnMower Beer Championship contender.

Then, of course, the Pre-Race Jitters started; then were quickly squelched by this lovely pint [or two] ... but hey, that's cool

On to the First Leg >>>

Monday, July 04, 2011

4 on the 4th-Independence Day Coffee Run

Facebook friend and “Postcards from the Curb” fan Thomas Constantine invited me to a little event he put together up in his town of Amsterdam, NY.

4 on the 4th-Independence Day Coffee Run
Time: Monday, July 4 · 8:00am - 10:00am
Location: Burger King, Rt 30, Amsterdam, NY

4-6-8 mile loops from Burger King
Slow pace
All welcome
Walkers and joggers
Holiday coffee after
Run with us or on ur own
Post ur freedom run here

I got up a little bit before 8 o’clock. I did my best to move out without waking D’Wife. D’Kid’s door was shut [to keep a marauding boy-cat out overnight] so she wasn’t awakened by my movements on this holiday morning. I did a little bit of Punk Yoga to warm up, and loosen the port-side hammy that’s always been a worry of mine [but not an actual PROBLEM, lately]

The sun was TRYING to break through the haze, but that was just warming the wet ground and streets to create MORE haze; haze that was just a couple of dew points away from becoming full-blown fog!!! Not much of breeze of any kind was to be found, and there was the slightest scent of pine smoke from the small forest fires that have been popping up this past week [all quickly dealt thing, thank God, suggesting that they’ve been controlled burns]

Without a real plan of where to go when I left the house, I selected a route for this comp that only CROSSED Atco Ave., not run down it, because I wasn't sure exactly when the Boro's parade would be, and I'd hate to cruise through the festivities, especially without anything Patriotic on. In fact, I was wearing shoes from a Japanese company, whose
name is an acronym of the Latin phrase anima sana in corpore sano, which translates to "Healthy Soul in a Healthy Body.” My running shorts were from a company who originally made boots for the Germans in WWII, and eventually bought their way into Olympic prominence with shady back-room cash deals as the era of amateurism came to an end. Even my Old Navy [or as we say at home “Old Shanyblay”] singlet with “Honolulu” across it COULD BE a reference to a sovereign Pacific kingdom that’s been illegally occupied [allegedly] for a hundred years or so.

I made the first mile mark in 8:15; quite quick for me, even more so considering D'Wife & I rode very nearly 20 miles on Saturday. I was fortunate that traffic was sparse and I was able to jump the light without losing much time crossing The Pike. Believe it or not, I was still debating on which path I would take this morning; I have a LOT of options and many decision points along the way. I guess all these little variables keep my runs from being boring, as I can change them up on the fly. Since this WAS semi-official, and kind of on the clock, I picked a familiar course that I’ve measured as being 4 miles exactly … well not TOO far over anyway; maybe a tenth or two???

I crossed a very empty Atco Avenue. It occurred to me at this point that in my WHOLE life, I’d marched in a Fourth of July Parade maybe twice, three time tops. This was would have been when I was in the Boy Scouts, in Haddonfield. I DO remember decorating my bike with red/white/and blue streams in Connecticut, but we just rode them around the neighborhood for the day. I didn’t even join my Little League team [Bliss Market] as I remember. I can certainly recall walking down King’s Highway to music and clapping while in the Scouts, however vaguely … I’m sure I enjoyed the applause.

Mile Two was uneventful: saw a couple of cyclists who agreed the morning was disgusting, but congratulated themselves and me on or determination / dedication by saying "Hey, we're out here, right?" I enjoyed the cool shade of The Green Room, where trees that were toppled by the tornado almost a year ago still lean, broken and splintered, without the landowner’s apparent care to what will become of them. I’m sure the woodland creatures who have made new homes beneath the exposed roots and hanging boughs aren’t complaining. There were a couple kids fishing in the pond, wearing baggy shorts, over-sized skate shoes and flat-brimmed trucker hats cocked just slightly off-center.

Sixteen and a half, AT the Half. I guess I missed that “Slow pace” part in the invitation???

Turning around, I ground up the rise back to the little light at Jackson Road. D’Wife always comments when we’re on our bike rides and have to wait here, “How many Tattoo Shops does Atco need?” … I don’t really think it’s reflection on the town as much as it is a reflection of the folks who pass THROUGH our town. Jackson Road is the only way to or from Atco Raceway. Sometimes, maybe, someone just decides “I need a little more ink; I have a spot that needs filling” I could be wrong

Crossing the NJ Transit tracks again, I passed a couple of families loading up their vans for the day. Proudly sporting their Phillies gear, wondered what they had planned for the day as Phillies-Marlins wasn’t until 6PM. I guess it’s never too early to tail gate??? Perhaps they were on their way down the Shore, perhaps [God willing] to torment some Mets fans while away for the day.

I reached the Assumption School track at the end of Mile Three. Half a dozen walkers were there, doing the SMART thing on this muggfest: Going round and round and taking it easy while getting at least some miles in. One of them [an aging guidette or perhaps a cougar-in-training, I couldn’t tell through my fogged and sweat-glazed specs] had to do things her own way and be the ONLY person doing her laps clockwise]

I must've picked up some time on the drop from our Church to Domino's, [admiring the crop of grapes growing on the chainlink fence adjacent to the Police Station] because I sure didn't FEEL like I strung FOUR 8:something-teens together. That last half mile is always such a drag too. Running on the traffic-facing side, it always seems desolate; there’s always so much gravel, cars-trash and roadkill to step around, and not the slightest bit of shade on the approach home, not matter WHAT time of day. Then there are the JYDs who always come out to say “Good FUCKING Morning!!! ASSHOLE!!!” Yeah, it’s a pretty soul-sucking way to end even the best run.

I got it done in a damn satisfactory 32:50. And no ... not ONE, single, sprinkler was on!!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Open Letter to my Morning Run

Dear Dawn;

Starting tomorrow, we won’t be running together for a while. My schedule’s gonna take a bit of a shift for the Summer and although I’ll still be getting up at the same time as always, the unfortunate truth is that I won’t have enough time in the morning for even a short meet-up with you.

It turns out that if I’m going to do any training at all, I’ll have to return to my after-work roots; firing up the Sunset Gun and hitting the track for a couple dozen laps [instead of trucking all over the Gayborhood and UPenn]. You know how I’ve always missed those jogs under the sky-blue pink skies around 6 or 7 o’clock back in the evening when I lived in Philly … well now I get to do them all over again, and share them with D’Kid this time around. How awesome will that be??? Sure, I’ll just be running in circles, while she does her Summer Reading on the bleachers, but she’s a great coach and trainer; she ALWAYS makes sure I’m properly fueled and hydrated and has been known to miscount my laps accidently on purpose to ensure a good session.

I wish there was another solution. Getting up even earlier than I already do on workdays was out of the question; 9PM is NOT a reasonable bedtime for a Husband or Dad, just to get a few miles in at like 4:30AM. I DO have my priorities.

Granted, things were not the easiest when we first started hanging out back in the Winter of 2000. Maybe that had something to do with The Big Quit, I dunno??? But after returning to running, the past few years have been great and the whole family appreciates the Endorphin Therapy we’ve been cultivating.

This is NOT a permanent change; only until September, when D’Kid goes back to school. In the meantime, I’ll try to get some Sunrise-ish miles in on the weekends [not promising, though. We’ve got some bike training to do , as well]. Who knows … without the “I gotta stop and get home” derailments that can mess up a good groove, I have the flexibility to go longer or faster training after work than I could before. When we reconvene, I might even be a better runner for it???

To be totally cliché … See you in September


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

National Running Day 2011

On National Running Day, it bears repeating ... Please consider those who are less fortunate, less mobile ... for those of us who run, walk or ride for Causes such as MS, MDA, ACS, and so on, we see "but for the Grace of God, go I"

Take a moment to offer a prayer to those who really WANTED to Run today ... maybe later today, or tomorrow, or on the weekend; do One More Mile, for one of them

Runnerversary 2011

As is Customary on my Runnerversary, I have scrubbed the Databases and Running Logs. I have reconciled the results to my OWN satisfaction and am NOW Closing the Book on the 2010-2011 Running Year [June 1, 2010 - May 31, 2011]

Mileage-wise, it was a disappointing year [only 500-something miles run] but factoring about 6 weeks of injury lay-off from the Big POING!!! I guess I did Okay.

The obvious highlight to the year was [without a doubt] the Inaugural Black Friday 20K Solo Relay. Not ONLY did I finally COMPLETE La Tortuga's 4x5x6, but I got some of my new online friends to join in the fun.

My only other bib-wearing event was Broad Street. I didn't do as well as I planned originally, but then again ... let's be honest ... I didn't exactly train my best for it either. I did barely 60% of the mileage I had sketched out in February, and only ONE run longer than 6 miles in the whole training cycle. As Theia put it [quite facetiously, I might add]: "Always a good idea to race on raw ability alone. :)"

We WON’T make that mistake again!!!

I got an email today from a friend of mine addressing my “attitude” towards training and competition and such:

Just wanted to drop you a line and let you know you're my running hero. You've got about the best relationship with the sport of anyone I know.

Pete’s an accomplished marathoner, and he’s calling ME his hero??? Pretty high praise for this Landlocked Old Surfer Dude.

Well, Pete … I’m planning to continue on kinda the same way as always, so enjoy

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Just What DO We Have Here, Anyway???

One of the joys of the Pre-Dawn Patrol [now simply “Dawn” as the sun is cresting the trees shortly after I set out, so I'm dropping the "Pre-" until Fall] is picking up the scents of the morning, before the gentle environment is too corrupted by cars exhausts and diesel fumes. There is a certain satisfaction in being able to inhale and decipher the subtleties of morning dew, grass clippings from lawns that had been cut yesterday, recently overturned dirt in the neighborhood gardens.

And of course, the flowers coming to life now that Spring is finally settled and we move toward Summer [Spring in New Jersey can last six weeks of six minutes, depending on when the Rain stops and the first Heat Wave arrives]

"Gotta gotta GOTTA get up and run tomorrow morning ... the wisteria bloomed all of a sudden last week, and I STILL haven't gotten in my Pre-Dawn run with it"

Once you put something like that out, you're committed!!!

Last Friday, I woke up a little later than I had wanted to [but still, MUCH earlier than I have been in the week post-Broad Street] therefore I had to short myself to only 3 miles; but I selected a route that had maximum purple-ness. Not a cloud to be seen, a brilliant sunrise, a nice dampness in the air, even some dewy-ness on the lawns around town. I even saw a sprinkler running down the block off-course; I'll make a note of this for later in the summer, when warmy & muggy morning sprinkler dashes will be necessary.

Between the fading of the wisteria and the blooming of the honeysuckle, there are trees that produce a most lovely and fragrant cluster of white flowers. I’ve seen these trees bloom every Spring since I started running; and they often take me back to my v1.0 running “career” in

However, not ONCE have I ever stopped to find out what kind of tree they were.

As I was on my way out my development this morning, that very thought occurred to me. I said to myself “Self. I think we should REALLY try to find out what those trees are”

I VERY consciously hit the brakes as I approached a stand of them, and did my best Darwin impersonation:

Flowers: Long white bunches, like a lei
Leaves: Oval and offset on opposite sides on a middle stem; sort of like a fern does
Too early in the season to tell if it produces a fruit or a nut, oh, wait … there’s these long bean-y looking things on the ground; probably from last Fall

'Okay, I think I got enough to go on here.'

However, while the Left Side of my Brain was trying to distill these elements into simple, discrete terms for a proper Google search, the Right Side of my Brain took another approach.

Right Brain: Streets in Philadelphia … Spruce? Pine? Cypress? Nope, not an evergreen. Walnut? Chestnut? Nope, not a nut. Cherry? No way. It’s either Poplar or Locust. I’m picking Locust; I don’t think Poplars have flowers.
Left Brain: Good. Glad we got THAT settled ~sigh~


Robinia is a
genus of flowering plants in the family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae, native to North America and northern Mexico. Commonly known as "locusts", they are deciduous trees and shrubs growing 4-25 m tall. The leaves are pinnate with 7-21 oval leaflets. The flowers are white or pink, in usually pendulous racemes. Many species have thorny shoots, and several have sticky hairs on the shoots.

The genus is named after the royal French gardeners Jean Robin and his son Vespasian Robin, who introduced the plant to Europe in 1601.

The number of species is disputed between different authorities, with as few as four recognized by some authors, while others recognize up to ten species. There are also several natural hybrids.
Some species of Robinia are used as food by
larvae of Lepidoptera, including Brown-tail, Buff-tip, The Engrailed and Giant Leopard Moth

Yep, that’s them. I’m not sure which exact species they might be [the top contenders are “Honey Locust” and “Black Locust”] but at least one mystery is solved


"You can drag a horticulture, but you can't make her think.” Dorothy Parker

Sunday, May 01, 2011

1989 Called ...

Post-race pick from my FIRST attempt at Broad Street, 1989, taken on the grass inside JFK Stadium

Items of note:

USA Today trucker hat
Fake Porsche sunglasses
Crazy long hair [a mullet actually, but you can't really tell with the hat]
St. Pauli Girl beer [a premium beverage for me at that time]
Freestyle Shark running watch
Acid "washed" cotton sweats
NIKE hi-tops w/Scott Tinley Lace Locks ["Miami Vice" aqua]

Time: 1:19 and change [this was NOT, however, my FIRST 10-miler]

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Pebble Into the Pond - Follow-Up

Not exactly a "Follow-Up" ... Since "Follow-ing Up" is something I TOTALLY forgot to do.

Backstory: I was trying to get a friend of mine a certain number for his HM this weekend.



I don’t assign numbers until a couple of days before the race, usually alphabetically, but I can certainly force my system to do something else.

Could you kindly send me a reminder early the week of 4/27? I’ll file your email and will make every effort to remember this, but a nudge would certainly be helpful.


I [almost] totally forgot about this, until I happend to use the phrase "pebble in the pond" in a conversation with D'Wife. A lightbulb went off and [at first thinking the race was at THE END of May] I emailed Sue as soon I got a chance. Unfortunately ...

Oh, crap, I see your email said “Early” this week
If I blew, it I apologize


Hi Randy,

I assigned the numbers and gave the database to the timer last night at 5 pm. I could make Kevin #643, but it would be completely obvious as there’s a gap between 603 and 643.

Right now Kevin’s registered as #11. Let me know what you’d like to do.


I couldn't see the Karmic value in making her jump through hoops for a silly thing like this, so I let it go.


11 Kevin Yetman 41 189/201 M 37/41 M4049 WILMINGTON MA 2:27:29 11:16

Turns out EQ had been training with some ankle difficulties.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

First Quarter 2011 Results

Running: 155.7 Miles - on pace for 620M = 1000Km

My "casual" training pace has dropped all of a sudden to the 8:40-8:30 neighborhood.

"The elements, dear Watson, are coming together"

Cycling: 6.6 on the day after New Years, then another 12½ Bike-Date on Friday afternoon in March ... That's it, sorry

Weight: Down 3½ to 153
BP: Down 15pts [!!!] to 138/78

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Does this Make Me a Doper???

As I stated a few months ago, my Blood Pressure's been up.

I've tried to manage it through exercise alone [which has worked in the past] but have made no headway; only taking it down to 150/80 in December before it rose back to 160/80 at a screening we had at Assumption a couple of weeks ago.

I made an appointment to see the Doc again this morning [without having to be told to by D'Wife to do so (!!!)].

At the office, my BP was down from 160/80 to 150/75; not bad since Mariel woke up throwing up and I got pulled over for speeding in Cherry Hill on the way over [talked my way out of it by saying I was taking her to the Pediatrian’s :-)]

Doc is putting me on this to get me to <140/80:
Amlodipine is called a calcium channel blocker. It works by relaxing blood vessels so blood can flow more easily … It may help to increase your ability to exercise …”

Uh-oh, I’d better check with the Olympic committee on this one [or Lance Armstrong]

"PRECAUTIONS: ... Limit alcoholic beverages"

Um ... Define "limit"