Saturday, December 31, 2005

The year 2005 in review

I went for a run today, 7.1 easy miles. It was a calm, cool, overcast day...perfect for running and reflection. 2005 has been quite a year. The biggest "question" of the year has been defining who I have become. You see, if you hadn't picked up on it in previous posts, I'm turning 40 next year and I figured it's time to move out of the gray and into the black and white (for the most part). (Note: the topics covered below are only a subset. They represent those I wish to discuss in a public forum, and are therefore by no means all inclusive.)

- I'm a pretty good triathlete and journeyman runner. I'm not a bike racer anymore. Not to say I couldn't be, I just don't "want it" anymore. I enjoy races and helping friends, but the feeling of accomplishment just isn't there. Sure if I was still a great climber (I barely upgraded to adequate this year), didn't mind losing a little skin every now and then, and did nothing but train on my bike (not in the pool and not running), then I'm very sure I could still do it. The truth of the matter is that I like my skin, I enjoy my swimming and running, and I just don't love devoting all of my training hours with a bunch of type "A"s, and because of that, I can't get strong enough to finish really well. Which brings me to my next point:
- I still have ego needs in terms of beating people. I enjoy placing at races. It makes me feel special, if only for a moment, and if only in my own mind. I've found that's important, however, because the loss of that "I'm special" feeling isn't a pretty sight. As I've said before there has never been more intense moments in my life than those moments when I would realize that I was going to win a race.
- I can still run, even when not chased. I have to be much more methodical about my training, taking discipline (including the discipline to rest when needed) to a new level, because I do take longer to heal when injured. I've got the bum ankle to prove it (18 mos). And I'm now better over the longer distances than the shorter ones.
- I can swim if I put the hours in. Given that this is the one discipline where I still have a steep improvement curve ahead of me, it's time to get serious. Santa brought me the requisite training implements to help (and fill my need for toys).
- I really have become an endurance beast. I used to race A LOT on will power. I never did long runs, even when prepping for a marathon. In fact my longest run before my best marathon was 13.1 miles, at the New Bedford 1/2 Marathon. I knocked out my 7.1 miles today with relative ease despite not really running since the end of October (I have run ~6 times since the Cape Cod Marathon). This year I routinely put in 18 milers, even after 40 or so miles on my bike.
- I can only take the "it's just a job" thing so far. At some point it becomes so intrusive you can't turn it off when you get home. I don't think I need to love what I do, but I can't hate it. 2006 will bring a change.

And finally,
- I'm a Dad. This is the best. Alexandra has changed so dramatically in the last 12 months. She's not a baby anymore. She's a little girl...Daddy's little girl. Yeah, she does have me wrapped around her finger, but as I've said before, that still isn't enough to get me to do something I know I shouldn't.

I'm eagerly anticipating 2006. From a racing standpoint I have a feeling lots of things should start coming together. It looks like I'll be concentrating on 1/2 Ironman distances. I'll also be new to the 40-44 age group, so maybe I can get back to earning podium spots. I don't really have a huge goal, like Worlds, but we'll see. I think 2007 will be the year I drive for Kona. 2006 I plan to make a concerted effort to finally crack the elusive 3 hour barrier in the marathon. It would be gravy to do it at Boston, but more likely it will be a fall marathon if it is to happen.

I'm also looking forward to getting Leanna and Alexandra out to a few more races. This is more about logistics than anything, but with Alexandra only taking one nap a day now, and that in the afternoon, it is once again feasible. To this end I'm looking for races which are more spectator friendly (loop courses), have reasonable start times, and have a hotel near the course if the race itself isn't too close to home. This might be a tall order for some on the schedule, but I think I can manage it. Montreal in September anyone?

And yes, 2006 will be the year of the terrible twos for Alexandra. She's actually already given us a little foreshadowing of things to come, so I think we'll be all right. I do know it will get ugly at times, but this too will pass...

So there it is, the teenager must now be gone. It's time to become the man I'm destined to be.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Dear Santa,

I'm writing this letter for next year in the hopes that you fill requests on a first come, first served basis. First, thank you for really hook'n up Alexandra. She especially likes the MEGA BLOKS. However, her haul has left me with some needs. It is these for which I am asking.

1) A bigger house. The toys were great, but we are now flat out of space.
2) Lower real estate costs so we can afford the bigger house mentioned above.
3) A new job, so I can pay for said house.

Thanks again. I know it's a lot to ask, so that's why I'm trying to get my request in early.

Sincerely,

Joel

Playing the odds

Six kids
4 parents
1 trainset at Barnes and Noble

...and the smell of a poopy diaper in the air. Do I check Alexandra in public or just assume it's one of the other kids and move on?

Friday, December 23, 2005

One of my favorite movie characters

Paul Dooley as the Dad Raymond Stoller, a used car salesman, in "Breaking Away" (1979).

"I don't want no ITY food. I want some American food, like french fries."

"What's the matter?"--Evelyn
"He's shaving!"--Dad
"Well, so what!"--Evelyn
"He's shaving his legs!"--Dad

Rent it sometime, I recommend it.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

No doubt you've noticed my infrequent, but readily apparent departures from the standard themes of family and introspection. Well these meltodowns occur outside of the internet as well. Leanna has to deal with this in real-life! Hey, that tag line below the title is there for a reason.

Hopefully the current crisis has passed. I upped my B vitamins, reduced the caffeine (a little), and went a night without my glass of wine (okay only because there was none in the house, BUT I didn't go out!) With my restored frame of mind came a calm and, shall we say, forgetful state. I went out to get firewood last night, and as the door clicked shut I realized...shit...I left my keys inside and the door is now locked. I circled the house twice and it appeared all doors and windows were locked. You see, Leanna and Alexandra are down at grandma and grandpa's house now, and Otis and Bentley, having been fed, had no real motivation to help. Yes Dadda was f---ed.

I had my cell phone with me, so with the remaining charge I did what any self-respecting man would do in a similar situation...I called my wife and yelled at her for not putting a key under the deck! Then I hung up on her! Dammit woman, I need ideas, not sympathy! No, no...I wasn't calling a locksmith or going over to the neighbors. That's like asking directions. No, I pride myself on crisis management and problem solving skills, so I was finding a way in without breaking anything. I mean seriously, we're talking about the same person who, in his youth engineered the perfect break-in of the prison, I mean, school store. In that "Escape from Alcatraz" spirit we worked night after night with only the blade of a hacksaw, only cutting a single piece of rebar when the schoolhouse bells were ringing (which covered the sound of the saw), planning to enter through the suspended ceiling, and exit again undetected (The stupid football players were kind enough to unknowingly cover our tracks when they simply broke the door down and ransacked the place). But I digress, back to last night.

Having tried my trusty Stop 'n Shop card (which might well have worked had I kept trying, so note to self, get a deadbolt for that door), I circled the house one last time, and there it was: one window in the family room with the latch lever pointing the opposite direction of all the others. It was OPEN! And even better, it was a very new window so it would slide up without a fight! Now I just had to get past the screen. Employing a 2mm allen wrench (found in my truck which was unlocked), I was able to flick the latches securing the screen, and remove it. I shimmied through and belly flopped into the family room. Success! MANLY SUCCESS!! I did my touchdown dance for a moment, grabbed my keys, and went out and got the firewood.

(And yes, I called Leanna and apologized.)

(PS: I can't take full credit for the logistics of the store break-in. My partner RGGM was instrumental. RGGM, if you're out there, I still think of our adventures with amazement and pride.)

How's my cat you ask?

He's hangin' in there. Isn't really gaining weight back, but has stopped losing it. His fur has also grown back in which in fact makes him look bigger than he really is (this is a cat's "superpower", you know). Yes and with the return of his superpowers has come the return of his attitude. Poor Otis...Bentley's back wearin' steel toe boots and look'n for some asses to kick!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Does the end EVER justify the means?

I have a lots of thoughts on this topic, but frankly get so worked up I can't get them out in a coherent manner in a blog.

I support the following sentiments, however: Bush Spying - Asking my Congressmen to Act Now!

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"
Who will guard the guards?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Saturday is Daddy Day.

Alexandra and I are hangin' out today while Leanna finishes up her Christmas shopping. She's becoming quite the little girl. She knows what she wants and is very determined to get it. The first volleys in our life long battle of wills have been fired! Daddy has the upper hand right now, but it's almost as if she knows someday that will change.

Alexandra is growing up quickly. It's relieved me to see that she's pretty resilient. Gets hit in the head by a falling hair-dryer, gets upset for just a moment and then moves on. She's also becoming quite accomplished at getting her hands out when she falls. Good thing too, because she's really pushing her limits to develop her running capacity. Yeah, you're right, Daddy's already imagining runs with his daughter, cheering her at track meets or cross-country meets, etc... She seems to have attributes which would be good for gymnastics as well (I guess most little kids do), but after seeing the elite gymnasts and hearing the stories of broken bones, stress fractures, etc... I'm not sure if I want to see her go that route.

She loves her books as well. Recently she's graduated from her board books to a beginning astronomy book we have on the coffee table. She likes the pictures fo stars, constellations, and nebulas.

Well, gotta run. We're off to do some shopping of our own. Happy weekend!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Interviewing babysitters

We're going through this right now. Actually we're trying to go through this right now. We're newbies to be sure. This morning Leanna and I discussed what questions we'd ask the candidate who was coming over. Why do you want to baby sit ("I like, duh, need money for school n'stuff.")? Have you had previous experience? Have you been convicted of violent crimes? You know the usual stuff. It got me to thinking, what are the primary attributes we're looking for? Well after the girl stiffed us by not showing for her interview and not calling, I'm thinking reliability's probably right up there. Sorry, no second chances here. In the babysitting realm, I'm thinking no show/no call's probably a one and done.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Heard on Barney

"And while you are all bllowing bubbles, I'll be blowing this!"

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I blame my brother's kids.

We recently returned home from Thanksgiving with my family. Alexandra spent lots of quality time with her cousins Corey, Justin, and Michael a.k.a. Huey, Dewey and Louie. Well lo and behold, she has started being a little more mischievous since we have returned home. Just this evening she decided she enjoyed a new game where she ran into her room, grabbed something, ran back to the gate at the top of the stairs, and threw the item down the stairs. My little girl never did that sort of thing before she started hanging out with those boys!

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Passing of the Baton

There's a new "Coach Kehm." This vacation that title passed to Corey N. Kehm, my nephew. He's authoring my swim workouts, and kick'n my ass. It's pretty cool. In true Coach Kehm fashion, he's not asking me to do anything he won't do himself.

Oh yeah, Corey's 10 years old.

I'll post some of the workouts when I get home.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Life is Beautiful! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Fast Aging

Contrary to popular myth, the aging process is not just some slow slide. In fact there are times when if comes at you quite quickly. Being a first time parent, all parental experiences, even minor ones, are new and can be traumatic. Monday was such an experience. It was Alexandra's first E.R. trip and overnight in the hospital (for observation). She has croup. Apparently most of Newport/Middletown has croup. Everyone is fine now, but when it was happening I had no idea what was going on. You always fear the worst, and of course I spent a good day or more blaming myself (we were VERY active outside the previous day). The image of your daughter in an oxygen tent is not pleasant. I looked like hell by Tues. and still don't look so hot. The crabby guy at the liquor store didn't even card me. This is serious. I'm hoping some vacation time can reverse the aging process, but as it is with family, I doubt it.

United Mileage Plus sucks.

Take a moment to review the e-mail thread (start at bottom). Amazing that the company is willing to sacrifice customers rather than part with 10K flyer miles. No wonder they can't make money.

(maybe I'm overreacting but...)

----------------------------------------------------------
##########
##########

Hello Mr. ,

Thanks for your reply.

I am sorry that you are disappointed with the Mileage Plus flight credit
policy.

I have closed your and 's Mileage Plus accounts per your request.

I appreciate your taking the time to contact us.

Karen



----- Original Message -----
From: <####@###.net>
To:
Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2005 5:04 AM
Subject: Re: Re: from (####@###.net) (Thread:178020)


You still have not explained why my wife's account did not get credited
automatically following the October flights. Feel free to close both
accounts. I have no desire to continue any sort of relationship with
Mileage Plus or United.



>
> From: "Mileage Plus Service Center"
> Date: 2005/11/16 Wed PM 11:04:12 EST
> To: ####@###.net
> Subject: Re: from (####@###.net) (Thread:178020)
>
> ##########
> ##########
>
> Hello Mr. ,
>
> Thank you for your reply.
>
> Your account was credited automatically with your October flights (they
> credited just a few days after each flight). No documentation was needed
or
> received for your October flights either. Again checking our records for
> your account, I see we received the documentation for September flights -
> but nothing for October.
>
> Because the September flights credited automatically as well, but we still
> received documentation for them, I can only assume that you meant to send
> documentation for your October flights but sent documentation for the
> September flights instead.
>
> I appreciate the time you've taken to contact us.
>
> Chris
>
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "The s" <####@###.net>
> To:
> Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 5:39 PM
> Subject: Re: from (####@###.net) (Thread:178020)
>
>
> From :
>
> How did you not have documentation for those flights if my account
> (##########) was properly credited? We flew to Russia in Sept. and Oct.
to
> adopt our daughter. My account has the proper mileage credit, my wife's
does
> not.
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Mileage Plus Service Center"
> To: <####@###.net>
> Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 7:10 PM
> Subject: Re: from (####@###.net) (Thread:178020)
>
>
> > ##########
> >
> > Hello Mrs. ,
> >
> > Thank you for your reply.
> >
> > No, we never received any documentation for October 2004 flights. I
> > researched our records, and see that we received (in January 2005)
> > documents
> > for flights September 7th - 20th (New York to Frankfurt to St.
Petersburg
> > back to Frankfurt then to Florence, then Florence to Frankfurt to New
> > York).
> > Those were all credited to your account.
> >
> > We did not receive any documentation for October 2004 flights. Without
> > documentation, we could not credit your account.
> >
> > I understand you have a choice in airlines, but it appears we are at an
> > impasse. We did not receive the documents needed, and we can no longer
> > credit flights for October 2004. Still, I hope that United can serve
your
> > future travel needs.
> >
> > Please contact us again if you have any other questions.
> >
> > Chris
> >
> >
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "The s" <####@###.net>
> > To:
> > Cc:
> > Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 4:46 PM
> > Subject: Re: from (####@###.net) (Thread:178020)
> >
> >
> > Actually you are wrong. As stated in the original message we've
> > resubmitted
> > the itineraries twice. You failed to properly credit the account which
is
> > why I will not be flying United again. This is the worst mileage
program
> > I've seen. With business practices like this, it's no wonder you can't
> > turn
> > a profit.
> >
> > and
> > Former Customers
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Mileage Plus Service Center"
> > To: <####@###.net>
> > Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 3:23 PM
> > Subject: Re: from (####@###.net) (Thread:178020)
> >
> >
> >> ##########
> >>
> >> Hello Mrs. ,
> >>
> >> Thank you for your email.
> >>
> >> All mileage accrual in our program is limited to activity within the
last
> >> 12
> >> months, we cannot credit flights from September or October 2004 any
> >> longer.
> >>
> >> When Lufthansa flights are missing, we require a copy of your passenger
> >> receipt. We did not receive a copy of your receipt within the 12 month
> >> limit.
> >>
> >> I appreciate the time you've taken to contact us.
> >>
> >> Chris
> >>
> >> * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
> >> Have you met Ted? Log on to www.flyted.com
> >> * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
> >>
> >>
> >> ----- Original Message -----
> >> From: "The s" <####@###.net>
> >> To:
> >> Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 4:17 AM
> >> Subject: Re: from (####@###.net) (Thread:178020)
> >>
> >>
> >> The October trip is missing.
> >>
> >> - Sept. 2004
> >> New York(JFK) to Frankfurt, Germany
> >> Frankfurt to St. Petersburg, Russia
> >>
> >> St. Petersburg to Frankfurt
> >> Frankfurt to Florence, Italy
> >>
> >> Florence to Frankfurt
> >> Frankfurt to JFK
> >>
> >> - Oct. 2004
> >> Boston to Frankfurt, Germany
> >> Frankfurt to St. Petersburg, Russia
> >>
> >> Moscow, Russia to Frankfurt
> >> Frankfurt to Boston
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> ----- Original Message -----
> >> From: "Mileage Plus Service Center"
> >> To: <####@###.net>
> >> Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 1:58 PM
> >> Subject: Re: from (####@###.net) (Thread:178020)
> >>
> >>
> >>> ##########
> >>>
> >>> Hello Ms. ,
> >>>
> >>> Thanks for contacting us.
> >>>
> >>> I will be glad to check into this matter but I will need more details.
> >>> When did you fly the other trip? Only flights flown after you
enrolled
> >>> can
> >>> be posted to your account.
> >>>
> >>> You joined Mileage Plus on September 3, 2004. Your September 7
through
> >>> September 20, 2004 trip is credited to your account. You have 10,786
> >>> miles
> >>> in your account at this time.
> >>>
> >>> I will await your reply.
> >>>
> >>> Karen
> >>>
> >>> * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
> >>> Watch your mileage balance grow. Register to securely access your
> >>> Mileage
> >>> Plus account online at www.united.com/register
> >>> * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
> >>>
> >>> ----- Original Message -----
> >>> From: <####@###.net>
> >>> To: ; <####@###.net>
> >>> Sent: Monday, November 14, 2005 8:10 PM
> >>> Subject: from (####@###.net) (Thread:178020)
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>> from (####@###.net) : MP########### - It's been more
than
> >>>> a
> >>> year and you have not properly credited my mileage. My husband and I
> >>> took
> >>> the same flights, back and forth to St. Petersburg TWICE, and somehow
> >>> you
> >>> gave him the proper mileage and me only 1/2 the miles. Your customer
> >>> service has been no help. We've resubmitted the itineraries twice. I
> >>> promise to use this experience as a reason to never again fly United.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Not exactly a glowing endorsement...

A local car dealer has been displaying the new Chevrolet HHR on one of those pedestals in front of the dealership. Written on the glass in that "window soap" lettering are the words "Be the First." Ironically, the car's been there for like two months.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Just uncurl those fingers, and slowly back away...

Don't even think of stealing my latte off the beverage counter. Put it down now or I'm going medieval on your ass.

To the kid trying to figure out how to dial his cell phone while driving through the Shaw's parking lot...Hit my kneecaps and I'll smash your windshield.

Finally, to that punk-ass biatch tailgating me in his Daddy's Lexus. That's right, that's MY Infiniti, not my Dad's. Just back off before it gets ugly.

The holiday season must almost be upon us: "Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?"

Ironman: Can USA Triathlon really keep missing the point?

It confounds me that there is still a question as to why WTC's Ironman races sell out in hours and other races like the Duke Blue Devil fold. It's marketing 101. Ironman is branded. It's in our faces 24/7. Tell me off the top of your head, what time of year is Ironman Hawaii? Okay, now tell me when the Duke Blue Devil is held? Ironman's got large corporate sponsorship, television contracts, and the big name athletes. They've got Hawaii. Consider the newbie who wants to do something outrageously bold: a triathlon. And not just any triathlon, but the one we ALL grew up with: Ironman. Epic battles on the big island by people named Dave Scott and Scott Molina. They're the reason many of us entered the sport. Even non-triathletes know about Hawaii. Hell, Keith Jackson's hocking Gatorade with a pitch about Ironman.

On the other hand you get USA Triathlon's fractured message. What is their goal? They squabble with WTC. They squabble with the USOC. What is their product? What is their value proposition? Why USA Triathlon?

From a marketer's standpoint, to get any sense of credibility back and become a serious force again, USA Triathlon needs to begin behaving like a professional business. What can they offer that WTC can't? The Olympic dream, that's what. It's just about the only ideal that strikes as deep a chord in the amateur triathlete as Ironman. Forget the sprints. Forget the 1/2 Irons. Forget the Iron distance. Sell the rings. Olympic distance, period. Maybe set up ability categorizations like USA Cycling, so you can offer draft legal races to the more accomplished athletes. Sell the rings. The rings bring in corporate sponsors. The rings bring in TV time. Get the national championships in LA or NYC or Boston or Chicago. Big TV markets. Shreveport? Kansas City? Are you kidding me?

Sell the rings. Establish a brand, and then USA Triathlon may once again have the clout to push other races. It's just not a mystery. To be taken seriously USA Triathlon needs to get professional: A consistent message, a great product, and an identifiable brand. It's not rocket science. It's just business.
I've had a wood stove since we bought the house. We've burned it every year, but it was always boom or bust. Ice cold or cranking 40K btu. A bit of maintenance, a chimney redesign, and some research, and I've finally figured it out. I knew this thing rocked, but I didn't realize it really, really rocked! I'm feeling much better about moving and stacking that chord of firewood last weekend.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Correcting Newton

Newton's Universal Law of Gravitation must be repealed. Poop can flow upwards.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Bentley update

My cat of 17 years, Bentley, used to be 22 lbs. In fact we nicknamed him "Fat Bastard." He's now 11 lbs. and has gotten the new nickname of "Starvin' Marvin." It turns out Bentley's hyperthyroid. That's right, hyperthyroid's not just for people anymore. So he's now on thyroid medication. This should help him to put weight back on by Christmas. Otherwise he's in good health, and that's a good thing. Funny how our "pets" really become our "friends."

Bentley and Otis. Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 04, 2005

Reality T.V.: The Next Generation

New reality show with gorillas

At first I thought this was ridiculous , but then I changed my mind. It's for a good cause, and the contestants have to be more interesting and intelligent than those on "Big Brother 6."

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!


Oh D-d-d-ear! Posted by Picasa



The things we do as parents! Posted by Picasa



Boo. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 30, 2005

A tubby time first

"Leanna, does Alexandra have any tubby toys which look like raw chocolate chip cookie dough?"

"No, why?"

"Houston, we have a floater."

It's over

I'd call it a good day. I didn't feel great. I'm pretty sure my peak was a couple of weeks ago. Every mile seemed like work today. When you're on a peak, you hit points where you just "roll" along.

Anyway, it was my best time on this course, ~3:06, making it my second fastest marathon ever, and my fastest since 1998.

The weather was deceptively tough. Not a cloud in the sky, 45 degrees at the start. By the finish the temperature was in the 60s. It was also breezy at the start, and the relative humidity was a measly 41% (that's incredibly low for the Cape).

The bottom line is I got a bit dehydrated, and the sparse aid stations at this race (every 2.5 miles instead of the usual 1 mile typically seen at marathons) which served Cytomax (nasty) instead of my typical Gatorade Endurance Formula, didn't quite cut it. I'm a VERY salty sweater and I got sodium low today. This led to my fighting a left hamstring cramp from mile 15 on.

This marathon is the only race where I've hallucinated due to dehydration and exhaustion. It didn't happen today, but it was in my mind. It happened on a day with very similar conditions to today (a little warmer).

Funny story: I'm going to change into my street clothes and head home. I see there is NO line at the massage tables (this is a rarity). I decide to go get a quick leg massage for my sore left leg. As I'm climbing on the table I get a nasty calf cramp. The masseuse refuses to work on me until I go to the aid station. "Are you cold? Are you shaking?" "I'm fine. I know what I'm doing. It was a one time twinge, no big deal." No dice. So I get stuck in the medical room for 1/2 hour with warmed wash clothes on my calves drinking apple cider. Finally they let me leave (even they were joking that I wasn't in bad shape, but they had a protocol to follow) and I get my massage. (Trust me it was funny at the time.)

I've raced this three times and ended up in medical twice. Maybe next year I'll run the NYC marathon instead. This one seems to have some bad Jujube.

Splits will be posted later. Pretty consistent to mile 20. Not so good for the last 10K.

**Update**
Official Finish: 69th overall out of 976 finishers, 36th out of 275 in open men.
Official Time: 3:06:01
10 Mile Split: ~1:10:25
20 Mile Split: ~2:20:50

Incredibly consistent through 20 miles (without wearing a watch or getting time updates). I think I'm close to a break through marathon run (the elusive 3:00 maybe).

And I verified that I pissed away a 3:05 marathon during the last mile. I surrendered 45 seconds during the final run into town and the finish.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Big day tomorrow

Okay, there have been plenty bigger, but I think I'm in good shape and mentally ready. The weather will be cool. I don't know what to expect. I'm not sure if I should wear a watch or just go by feel. The biggest fear in leaving the watch behind is that I might come close to a special time and just miss it. We'll see.

Okay, as is my practice, here are the goals in order:
1) Finish (always)
2) Finish under 3:10
3) Finish under 3:05

The plan is to play it cool until the 1/2 way, let myself go a little through the 20 mile point in Woods Hole, and then if I'm feeling good, go for it on the last 10K. No more fear of racing. No more being passive. Time to assert myself a little. Even splits would be a plus (a couple of 1:32s?).



New Dad's first race: 2004 Cape Cod MarathonPosted by Picasa

Sunday, October 23, 2005

A little family time at the pumpkin farm.

Reunited

Do you own a washer and dryer? Have you ever pulled them out since they were installed? We did so today after 7 1/2 years of neglect. Mountains of lint and dog hair...and one sock. Many have vanished into the abyss never to return, but alas one has survived and returned. Amazingly it's mate still waited in my drawer. Yes this is how "Cast Away" should have ended: Tom Hanks returning to find Helen Hunt still waiting faithfully, and after a shower, reunited for good!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Training summary: week of Oct. 22

Sunday: Travel day. Cold now at it's worst.
Monday: Feeling a little better, but congested. The sun finally appeared.
Tues: Still recovering, but improving. Went for a 3.5 mile walk at lunch. Energy levels still low.
Weds: Went for a 5.5 mile run (very easy) at lunch. Not too bad. Like a dummy I forgot the heel cups for my running shoes, and ended up tweaking my ankle again. Much of the improvement in my ankle down the drain.
Thurs: Rest day. Energy levels a little off still, and ankle aching.
Fri: Missed day. Wanted to run but couldn't get it in. Crappy work week.
Sat: 10.5 mile run (7.5 on trails, mostly steady) . Legs felt stiff, and ankle was tender, but it went okay. I'm hoping to recover well enough to do some light drills tomorrow.

The last week and a half are why you always celebrate a P.R. It takes a lot of good luck to get one. Training was flawless to last Weds, and it showed in my times. Now I'm still shaking the last remnants of this cold, and my ankle is not great. I had high hopes for Cape Cod. There's a week to go, so I still expect to be in decent form, but not flawless.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Ahhh...Football Sunday! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Training summary: week of Oct. 15

Sunday: Rest Day. Final time trial tomorrow.
Monday: Final 18 mile Time Trial. Weather was cool and damp.
Tues: Rest day. I felt surprisingly good despite yesterday's effort.
Weds: 5.25 miles on the URI indoor track. It's still cool and raining.
Thurs: Rest day.
Fri: Rest day. Couldn't deal with the rain or another day on the indoot track..
Sat: Rest Day. Traveling. Starting to get a cold.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Alexandra Update

I don't want readers to get the impression that she is no longer the number one interest in my life, so I felt it was time to post a formal update.

We took Alexandra to the pediatrician a week ago. We waited a long time. We waited through Alexandra's lunchtime. She began to have a fit (wouldn't you?). The doctor finally arrived, noticed the fit, and commented how she must be nearing her terrible twos because she's having a meltdown. Well actually she was starving and so was I. I damn near had my own meltdown. He then went through a list of skills like waving, walking, skipping rope, speaking in tongues, you know the usual kid stuff, and when we replied she wasn't doing everything fulltime yet, he seemed to look concerned. Okay by this point I'm also feeling like a bad daddy for not making sure she had all these skills. In the next breath he tells us we can't get hung up on her doing certain things at certain times. Okay make up your mind...

So as we're leaving (and after two shots!) he says that by her two year check-up he'd like to see her able to communicate her desires (in farsi I think). Hey, isn't that learning to communicate thing what the terrible twos are about?

So long story short, in the week since she is walking, waving, dancing, etc... I also think I saw her a few chapters into my differential calculus workbook. However, while it might not be considered proper parenting, I have thought about teaching her one additional skill for her two year check-up. Next time we wait an hour and a half and miss lunch, I think I'll have Alexandra flip the doctor the bird! "How's that for communicating!"

Runner's Hell

Maybe not everyone thinks so, but I cannot think of a worse fate than being forced to routinely run, not on a treadmill, but on an indoor track. At 200m in length, it requires 8 trips around to complete one mile. That's 40 laps for a 5 mile run. At least on a treadmill you get to see lights flashing, a clock ticking, a mileage counter moving, and if you've got decent bodily control you can watch T.V. The local 'Y' typically feeds in SportCenter, CNN, or Dr. Phil. Okay I might opt for the indoor track over Dr. Phil.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Rain out

No, not game 4 of the Yankees/Angels series, but the 1/2 marathon. Technically it's still on I believe, but I drove the course this morning to confirm what I suspected. The roads near the beach are susceptible to flooding, and the downpours of the last two days, and especially last night, have left a 100 yard stretch of the course under water. Big deal, right? Well the course is an out and back and you run this stretch twice, at mile 4 and mile 10 (it's not a perfect out and back so try not to get hung up on the numbers). This stretch is dangerous even in dry weather because the pavement contains numerous potholes from all the flooding. With it under water, you ccan't see the potholes coming.

Running the race with soaked shoes isn't the type of tune-up I'm looking for. In place of the race I'm going to do a final time trial on the Ocean drive loop either today or more likely tomorrow morning. I'm not going to set out looking for a PR (yeah right!), but I do think a 2:07:00 is in the cards. Maybe a 2:05?

A note to the Knights of the Round Bottoms: Beware the lure of things long foresaken. No good will come of it. Last night I had a dinner of Filet Mignon for the first time in years I believe, and I spent the rest of the night with terrible indigestion. Apparently large quantities of bloody red meat have become inimical to my digestive system.

** Update ** Monday morning I ran my 18 mile time trial. I tried to imitate race day prep (poor sleep, constipation, fight with spouse), and I then run a good time. Weather was overcast/drizzly and the temperature was in the lower 50s. These are nearly ideal conditions for me. My time: 2:04:03. (A new P.R. by a bit...)

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Neuticles

www.neuticles.com

Isn't your pet's self-esteem worth it?

Friday, October 07, 2005

Okay, this blog's gotten a bit boring.

There is an explanation: I'm too lazy to keep a second blog for my training log (I've tried this before). I fully understand that almost nobody, perhaps nobody, who reads this blog really cares about my weekly mileage totals or if I've chafed. Oddly, I think some would find interest in bloody nipple talk, unfortunately I haven't had any in a while (remember the "NipGuards").

Between reminiscing about Russia, and running, I really haven't had too much going on in my life. (FYI, today is THE DAY last year we took Alexandra into our care and began that multiday voyage back to the western world.)

I'll wax a little philosophical for a moment. "Why do I run?" "Why do I race?" "Why do you fart?" Well, because you have to. Racing for me is a metaphor for my life, at least what I'd like life to be:
- Striving to be better today than you were yesterday.
- Striving to be better tomorrow than you were today.
- Not accepting perceived limitations.
There is a pretty strong correlation between how hard and intelligently you prepare, and how well you do. It also teaches you to not just cope, but to grow from the experience of disappointment and defeat (a skill definitely lacking in many people in my opinion).

Thinking back on my long history of athletic pursuits, the most intense emotional moments came, not when I won a race, but when I first realized I would win. I didn't matter if it was running or cycling or rowing, the sensation was the same: All at once it hits you, "Holy Shit, I'm really going to WIN?!!" There's nothing like it. It's the strongest affirmation and addiction I've ever found.

Training summary: week of Oct. 8

Sunday: 13.5 Miles
Monday: Off, Travel day.
Tues: 6 miles mixed asphalt and dirt. Easy pace. High tempo drills. Knee pain about an hour after run. Ran in racing shoes (Brooks Burn) instead of usual trainers (Mizuno Wave Rider).
Weds: Rest day, a little knee discomfort lingering, but not too bad. Took an Aleve.
Thurs: 6.5 miles, 1.25 fast
Fri: 7.5 miles very easy (okay, somewhat easy. Avg. 7:20 per mile with a 7:10 and a 6:40 thrown in) on bike path, no drills.
Sat: Rest Day. Race tomorrow.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Excuses, excuses

I went to the URI track today to run repeat 400s. The plan was to do 8 (one lap fast, one jog...repeat). It's a 2 mile warm-up jog over, and 2 miles back. That would make an 8 mile run with 2 miles done a high speed (if I've lost you here, just trust me that it's right). After repeat number 5 I called it a day and jogged home. I felt a slight twinge in my right hamstring. I figured it was the hard turns to the left which were to blame.

On the jog home I questioned whether I was bagging because I was truly worried about lingering injury, or just because if hurt. Make no mistake, even at only 1:20 per 400, 400s hurt. Was I being cautious or a puss?

This is a common theme in life, and the best one can do is to allow the behavioral trend to be the arbiter of the situation. If the trend is for not cutting corners, then perhaps it's just caution, but once a puss, always a puss...


**Update** Here's the deal: It's really easy to begin a gradual slide by rationalizing a break here, a day off there. If you've noticed I've been using this blog in part as a training log. In reviewing my mileage I've noticed a decline over the last few weeks. I haven't hit 40 miles in a while. Stress and fatigue from training frequently feel the same, and the only way to tell the difference is by getting out for an easy run. If it's stress I'll start to feel better as the run goes on and I loosen up. If it's overtraining, I never start to feel better. I'm going out for a run today: 7.5 miles flat, very easy, and steady (no drills). I decided this morning that I'm going to run the Newport YMCA 1/2 Marathon on Sunday because it will get the intensity back and get me concentrating on racing again. Hopefully then, the last three weeks before Cape Cod should be pretty focused. My biggest challenge right now is picking goals for Sunday. I'm thinking 1:27:00 total (P.R. is about 1:24:00), reasonably fast final 5K (6:30ish per mile), with a 4 mile warm-down after the race (will give me my total mileage goal of 18 miles for the day including warm-up). 100% of the race is held on my training roads, making it extremely easy to go fast if I'm feeling good. I know every step of the course cold. It'll be hard to hold back if I'm on a good day, so stay tuned. I just don't want to be stupid and overcook myself.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

October 4, 2004


Reunited! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Serendipity?

If you've been following along you might recall that I'm reading a book called "The Perfect Mile." It follows the progression of three amateur athletes in the early 1950's who all came up a little short of expectations at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, and thus sought to make amends by being the first person to break the 4 minute mile barrier. If you know the history, you'll know that Roger Bannister, an English medical student, was the first to accomplish the feat.

I had a little trouble getting into the book at first, mostly because I read just before going to bed. Given the detail, I typically only make it a few pages before retiring for the day. Well, that's changing. I'm now getting into it, and as I do not only am I really starting to appreciate all three runners, but I'm sympathizing with Bannister. We have a lot in common. He believed in the gentleman amateur athlete; the principal that one could do great things and have a life. He's very analytical. He was determined to train himself, using his extraordinary analytical ability to hone his training and progression towards the 4 minute mile. In the end he realized that he needed help to do it. Implied is the fact that the scientist can train himself physically, but the final push to go beyond himself is mental, and it required the support of a couple of close training partners and his coach.

I have two major goals left in my athletic career. They are the 3 hour marathon and qualifying for the Hawaiian Ironman. I'm a very analytical person and have long trained myself, without partners or a coach, and worked on a steady progression towards being a more complete athlete. I'm close enough to both goals that they seem perfectly reasonable from a physical standpoint, and yet I'm starting to think I need assistance to get over the final mental hurdle.

Yes, Roger Bannister is the type of individual that I can undestand and strive to emulate. Based on the description of him in the book, we seem eerily similar. Oh, and by the way, he was born on March 23...just like me.

Training summary: week of Oct.1

Sunday: ~8.5 miles
Monday: Pool (250 yd warm-up, 5 x 100 yds on 1:40., 250 yd warm-down), Was in a pissy mood today, but the swim was okay.
Tues: 7.5 mile run, fartlek (random accelerations, whenever I felt like it). Probably 5 total between 30 sec and 2 minutes, feeling a bit better
Weds: 6 miles on groomed trails, pretty easy with one 3 minute interval at the end.
Thurs: Rest day, Feeling much better than Monday.
Fri: 3.6 miles easy on trails, high turnover drills (baby stepping).
Sat: Undecided if I'm running today. I'm not in R.I. so I'd run by time, about 1 hour 45 min. If not today I'll do that run tomorrow.

I'd call my prep for the Cape Cod Marathon pretty good so far. My final time trial will be Oct. 16, two weeks before the race (on the 18 mile Ocean Drive loop). After that, not planned to be a P.R. effort (too taxing), I'll be better able to set my race day goal. I've run the course twice and been in the 3:09-3:10 area both times. However, to date this is the best run-up I've had, so if things stay on track (so far my ankle is behaving), I think a 3:05 may be a in the cards.

**Update** I passed on the run Saturday in favor of a run Sunday. Instead I "broke training" and absolutely stuffed my face with salad, garlic bread, great pizza and red wine. Sunday morning I hit the road for a 13.5 - 14 mile hilly run. I powered through in 1:32 (this is usually a 1:40+, and is only run when preparing for a marathon). I really don't want to jinx myself, but I think I'm getting fast (for me).

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Interesting Reading

2006 WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) prohibition list

Yeah, we all know about steroids and hormones...I was more interested in the more common items. e.g. Would aspirin in certain dosages be on the list? So far the most interesting (intriguing) limitation is for Alcohol. The three most lenient "sports" are:

Billiards (naturally, actually maybe the level is a minimum, not a maximum)
Aeronautics
and
Powerboating

My god, you can be too drunk to play Boules (the french version of bocce or lawn bowling), but you're fine to fly or drive an Unlimited Hydroplane.

(oh yes, and only men are prohibited from taking Gonadotrophins; "A hormone that stimulates the growth and activity of the gonads, especially any of several pituitary hormones that stimulate the function of the ovaries and testes." This is known as the East German Compromise.)

May I mombo-dogface to the banana patch?

Multitask
v. to start many things and finish none.

And which math major calculated the cost "savings" from partially staffing projects in Asia? .25 times the salary, 10 times the time. Hmmm, not a real bargain is it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

And now back to our regular programming...

I have bad days running. Yes, my bad days are as bad as your bad days. I might be a little faster than you most times, but I ache and struggle and sometimes consider stopping. The biggest edge my experience gives me is knowing how to adjust my goals for the workout, and the workout itself, in order to still find something of value. Sunday was just such a day. I started out fine, but within a couple of miles "the wheels started falling off." I had planned to run 11 miles at 1/2 marathon pace (currently about 6:45 per mile), but that wasn't happening. At mile 3 I started walking.

I wasn't throwing in the towel, however, but rather than try again to run long and somewhat quickly, I changed to a shorter run, focusing on leg turnover instead of speed, and attempted to find a rhythm. I did so because my experience has taught me that if it isn't there by three miles, it's not showing up today. I threw in two more walk breaks during the run and covered 8.5 miles. By the end I had found my rhythm, and was feeling better than I had a when I started.

What's the lesson here?

When things aren't going as planned, just re-evaluate your situation. Instead of continuing to try and do something that isn't working (beating a dead horse, the definition of insanity, etc...), even if it has worked in the past, adjust your goals and try to make something out of your situation, even if it isn't the something you had originally planned.

Making something out of nothing can be very rewarding, possibly more rewarding than achieving your original goal.

Points system?

Here's one for the Political Science majors out there.

The U.S. seems to spend so much time trying to show other people the "right" way of democracy, also known as our way, that we miss the flaws in our own system. I think there is enough of a body of evidence concerning our electoral process to determine that public office is more often than not won by the biggest suck-up douche bag. This is not a Republican bash, actually far from it. Both parties are guilty. Think back to our last election: Bush or Kerry. Now how in the hell did we get stuck with that choice? The Sh-t Sandwich or the Turd Burger.

I think the problem lies in the basic premise that the founding fathers really had a clue what they were doing. When was the last time you belonged to any club or organization, which when tasked with defining it's own leadership structure, didn't bung the whole thing up?

Thus I propose a system similar to professional cycling, tennis, golf or NASCAR, any number of sports really; a points system. You earn so many points for actions towards the greater good, and lose points for, well being a douche bag. Every four years the leader in the points ranking becomes President. Okay, so many details need to be worked out, but hey it's a start. It puts the emphasis on deeds and spreads the selection process out over an extended period eliminating the "impulse purchase" of a President.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Is man evolving?

We've made unthinkable strides in technology since my birth almost 40 years ago. Billions of dollars can now be made or lost in milliseconds. Instead of nightly or weekly updates on the war in Vietnam ("in the News"), I can get real-time streaming video from the battle fields. Can the "bomber" cam be far behind?

Evolution takes a lot of time apparently, because in my lifetime I haven't seen any. Repeating a behavior over and over allows one to become more proficient. Learning new things takes time and may take longer. All the emphasis is put on the speed one completes a task, not in how the task is completed. We are not evolving, we are just getting better at our flawed behavior. Evolution is about moving towards a "higher" existence. Think back on your last twenty years. As a species, have we improved our state or merely made lateral moves; circumstances are different but not really better.

Man's current behavior seems pointed towards extinction. With the emphasis on speed, are we not encouraging the imminence of our end? Perhaps we need to encourage creativity and free thought, even if in the short term things take a little longer or cost a little more or result in a little less profit. Let's focus on moving up, even slowly, instead of moving down quickly.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Training summary: week of Sept. 24

Sunday: ~18 miles (max. effort for that distance), 2:07:59
Monday: Rest day (quads feeling sore, a result of form breakdown at end of Sunday run)
Tues: 5.5 mile run, short intervals (5 x 45 sec at 5K pace/15 sec light jog x 2), focus on turnover
Weds: Pool (250 yd warm-up, 15 x 50 yds on 50 sec., 250 yd warm-down), first pool workout in a while so this was tough
Thurs: Rest day (still a little sore and tired, I knew I'd pay for Sunday)
Fri: 7.5 mile steady/easy, focus on form (One big climb).
Sat: Walking (Apple picking) with Alexandra in backpack. Left hamstring a little sore, but quads finally recovering

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Flabberwalky...

(a pearl of Wisdom by Tim)

Beware the Flabberwalk, my son!
The jaws that bite,
the claws that snack!
Beware the supersize chicken nugget,
and shun The frumious babyback!

El Nino

Another Nantucket story that lives on today. At the children's park was a little spanish boy and his nanny. He liked Alexandra. His nanny told him that she is a girl, "la nina." Thus we referred to him as "El Nino." Well I noticed el nino had lots of little scabs on his body. Unfortunately, I noticed after he and Alexandra had been playing ball.

Well Alexandra now has the chicken pox. She was immunized so they are pretty mild, but we've had to cancel some plans to visit her baby home friend Peter because she's in quarantine.

Maybe I should call the little boy "Paco".

Sunday, September 18, 2005

I hate crappy Customer Service

My friend Austin (White Noise) had a bad experience with Discover. I've had enough poor experiences with other companies (just ask Ocean Coffee Roasters!), that I like to see the word spread. We can't sit still and be the patsies for bad businesses.

Power to the people!

Cross training in Nantucket! Posted by Picasa

"Sometimes you gotta say 'What the f---, make your move.'"

"Joel, every now and then, saying 'What the F---', brings freedom."

That's was the theme of today's workout, and I know I'm going to pay for it. The schedule called for my long steady run, 18 miles or so around Ocean Drive. I hadn't slept too well because Leanna had been up sick, and despite the reasonable air temperature there was not a cloud in the sky which can make the drive, and it's limited cover, quite a death march. For whatever reason, though, I started off at a pretty good clip covering the first 5 miles about a minute faster than my previous fastest time. I forced myself to relax and at the next timecheck found I was still accelerating. I was on a good day with a P.R. a distinct possibility, so despite the schedule's call for moderation, I thought "What the f---." I can count on one hand the number of really good days training I've had this year, and I'd still have a couple of fingers leftover.

I rounded the 1/2 way 1:45 ahead of my P.R. The second 1/2 started to hurt though, and with 5 miles to go I was stuggling to keep my fast turnover. However, though the wheels wobbled, they didn't fall off and I came in at 2:07:59, a P.R. by 1:30. Sure I dropped 15 seconds on the second 1/2, but I knew I would and I'll take the P.R. anyday.

Tomorrow I'm going to be sore. Looks like a day for the Pool.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


Alexandra's first bike ride. It didn't start so well, but by the end she loved it (just like Daddy does)! Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 16, 2005


My Family Posted by Picasa

There are some who call me... 'Tim'?

"You seek the Holy Grail! You wish to free yourselves from 'Assus Rotundus.'"

"That is our quest. You know much that is hidden, O Tim."

"Quite."

I have decided I must do something for my fellow man that is more meaningful than marshalling electrons. Therefore in the spirit of volunteerism I have dedicated my services to aiding the quest of the Knights of the Round Bottom (and anyone else who has similar questions pertaining to health, fitness, how to make an exercise schedule, when to change running shoes, what kind to buy, etc...) . I will likely start a second blog to handle this topic, but for now you may contact me by commenting on this posting or send an e-mail.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Jump little monkeys!

As promised, another Nantucket story:

Everyday following breakfast Leanna, Alexandra and I went to Children's beach playground for a little fun time with all the kiddies, nannies, and parents. At playground there is a little stage where a daily class for children was held by a woman. At 9:40 everyday, just before class ended, all the fathers could be seen moving towards the stage, ostensibly to gather their children when class ended. Now normally this would not be noteworthy except for the fact that this woman seemed to like wearing tight tank tops and going "au naturel" underneath and at exactly 9:40 AM everyday, she closed out class with "5 Little Monkeys Jump'n on the bed." Well I don't know about 5, but there were definitely two little monkey's jumping.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Joel's Book Club

As per usual, when I go on vacation I rediscover reading (actually I started a few weeks before vacation this year). This year the select was "Lance Armstrong's War" by Daniel Coyle. If you follow professional cycling at all, even just the Tour de France, read this book. It's a fascinating study of the culture and the cyclists involved. He profiles Armstrong's major rivals as well as one of his more colorful (now ex-) teammates, Floyd Landis. The theme of doping plays throughout, though it is not a book about doping. In the end I found something very interesting. Given the inside look we get a Armstrong, it's actually far easier for me to separate Armstrong the activist from Armstrong the cyclist (who really seems to be kind of an a-hole). If at some future date he was proven to have used EPO or steroids for performance gain, it would not affect my opinion of him as the activist. I'd continue to donate to his foundation.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Just returned from an alternate Universe

Orange Izods, collars upturned.
Pink Pants.
A shade of green named...Kelly.
A shade of red which is anything but...
Biffs, Tads, Buffys and Hillarys.
...and lots and lots of Nannys.

Yes folks, I've returned from Nantucket. Leanna, Alexandra and I spent 6 days and nights on the little island off Cape Cod. It was the first vacation with just the three of us. No family allowed. We left the car on the mainland. We celebrated the one year anniversary of our first trip to St. Petersburg, Russia. We went to the beach. We walked, and walked and walked. The food is pretty average and pretty expensive, but we still ate a lot and often. It was a good week.

I actually have a lot of stories from the trip and will write more later. However I want to tell one now. It's the story of the "Jittery Lady." (aka "Tweek" from "South Park")

I was in line at a coffee shop called "The Bean." I noticed a woman in line ahead of me. At first she just seemed impatient, but it was more than that. She couldn't hold still. She went to pick up a paper from a pile, and knocked 1/2 the pile over. She was shaking like a crack head looking for a hit. She ordered a large ice coffee, and a large hot coffee with a shot of espresso added.

They were both for her.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Just too funny!

I bought some "travel wipes" (which turned out to be "training wipes") for our trip to Nantucket.

Check out the promotional website. It's a hoot!

And now a word about coffee.

If you find yourself traveling the globe or traveling Rhode Island, here are a couple of pointers I've picked up along the way.

When overseas I found that the Russians made some darn good coffee, but be warned, it's STRONG! The German's don't know what good coffee is. Stick to the beer. The italians are excellent with espresso based drinks. Avoid "American coffee." (The Lite Beer of coffee)

In Rhode Island it's gotten much harder to find a consistently good coffee or espresso based drink. I've had to resort to learning the work schedules of different skilled baristas around the state. Hands down the finest is Maureen at Dave's in Charlestown. Consistently the best latte I've had since Florence. Two notes: Maureen does not work weekends, and she's not super speedy. It's really worth the wait. You don't rush excellence. Dave's uses beans from Majik Coffee in N. Kingstown, which gets great reviews but honestly I've never been there.

Last night I had a very good double Cappuccino in Newport. I got it at a new place, Robe Dolce, which in general has been very disappointing. I just go there because of the atmosphere. Anyway, the girl who prepared my Cappuccino did an excellent job. It was a treat. By the way she had an eastern European accent, Russian maybe?!


Finding art in Florence. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 03, 2005

A Good Day

Okay, I don't right too much about my specific workouts in this blog (I know, "Yeah right!"), but I am going to add a few lines about today. I did my loop around the Ocean Drive in Newport. All in all it's about 18 miles, give our take a little. The last time I ran it was early July, and the last time I ran it without riding 35 - 50 miles on a bike first was sometime in May. My target time was 2 hours and 15 minutes. My July run was 2:18 (following a ~50 mile bike). My best time was about 2:12 .

It's been six weeks since Ironman, and I was curious if I was past the residual fatigue. I figured I was in the clear based on last week's race, but this run would tell me for sure. Something about hitting the hard concrete at mile 11 (Bellevue Ave. in Newport) that keeps things honest. If you've weakened at all, the wheels can just fall right off, so to speak, because the surface is noticeably harder than even asphalt.

To make a long story short: The wheels stayed on. I finished in 2:09:30, my new fastest time, and I proceeded to fulfill my role as Daddy for the rest of the day (no naps).

This was a good day.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Happy Anniversary!!

Okay, so technically the anniversary of our first trip to Russia isn't for a couple of days, but I'm writing tonight because the family's taking a little vacation next week. It's hard to believe a year has passed. It's gone by so quickly. Daddihood has been nothing short of the most fulfilling experience of my life. Alexandra is the greatest.

I'll stop short of rehashing all the Russia stories, but I will close this entry with one factoid. From where I'm sitting in our family room I can see the lion rattle we presented to Alexandra on the first day we saw her. Fearing it would become "community property" in the baby home between our visits, I kept it with me in the breast pocket of my jacket the entire time between visits, including during our stay in Florence, Italy.


Our very first introduction to Alexandra. Sept. 7, 2004. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Dunkin Donuts

I see they are advertising the new "Turtle nut" iced latte's. I've heard of frog legs being a delicacy, but never turtle nuts!

Gotta stay positive.

I raced today, first time since Ironman. As usual I set three goals:
Top 20 overall
Top 3 age group
Match my 2002 run split.

If you've been following along, I've been having running issues for a while now. I've "reinvented" my running stride and mechanics in an effort to get some speed back, and do so in a way the protects my ankles better. To this end I've been running more than riding lately, with an occasional swim thrown in (both my pools are closed so I only can swim when I get to the ocean).

I'll skip the war story and get to the stats:
21st overall (out of 500)
4th age group (out of 61)
Beat my 2002 run split by a few seconds (this is also 2 minutes faster than last year).

Okay, I'm ALWAYS guilty of finding the dark lining in the silver cloud. The overall and age group results have been bugging me. The reason I missed my goals has to do with a really, really slow swim. The funny thing is, though, I didn't feel like a swam that poorly. I didn't wear a wetsuit and I did wear my new, ill-fitting team uniform top on the swim. Everyone else was in full wetsuits. It was a calculated risk on my part, and apparently it didn't pan out. My swim rank was 143rd, and though I'm slow, I'm not that slow.

So here I am dwelling on the stupid swim, and missing the most important element of the race: I can run again. It's been a long time since I've sniffed 40 minutes for 10K. My last 10K after a 40K bike, was on July 2nd and that was a 42:01 (and I ranked 43rd on the swim, which is closer to my norm ;-) ). So I crushed that. Time to lighten up.

I'd like to think if I was racing more, like 2002 when I raced A LOT, I wouldn't get so bummed about the results, but that's crap. It's just the way I am. Races for me are about confronting my own mania. My challenge has always been, and will continue to be going a little easier on myself. So in that spirit, I think I'll have me a Mojito!

**Footnote** The significance of the 2002 season is that it is the year I acheived USA Triathlon All-American honors.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Life's little leftovers

I found myself pondering the lumpy and colorful spot in one of my water bottles, one which had overstayed its welcome in my truck. I wondered, "Hmm, what could that be?"

Friends it doesn't matter what it is. In a properly maintained water bottle the instances of lumpy and colorful spots are exactly zero. No exceptions.

Friday, August 19, 2005


Beans, beans, they're good for your heart... Posted by Picasa

Otis has some new friends. Posted by Picasa

I've got the POWA!!! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Apparently Wednesday is blogging day

Following my previous post, I purused the blogs of friends. Two, both listed in my links, had also posted within 15 minutes of me. Either cosmic forces are at work, or we all had mexican at lunch!!!

Somehow this just seems wrong...

I mean, running is one of those things you just started doing when you were a toddler. It's something I've done competitively most of my life. So why is it that I have to re-learn how to run?

Chalk it up to age, not in the "I'm fart'n dust" manner, but in the "these tires got 75,000 miles on them" way. The old running stride has finally come to an end. After repeated right ankle sprains, and finally some in-depth analysis informing me that my right leg is shorter than my left (did I really look like I was leaning sideways?) it has become time to alter how I run. I experience much less impact and wear and tear when I shorten up my stride about 6 inches and run with a lift placed in my right shoe. Yes, I'm heightening. "Okay, no big deal right?" Wrong. Try changing a habit formed over 39 years. I feel like I'm taking baby steps, and god am I slow. The thing is, to run fast with a shorter stride, you have to take A LOT more steps. Well, after said 39 years (yes that means I'm going to be 40 next year, you happy?!) I'm so used to my running rhythm (known as turnover), that I'm really slowing down. I have to work at running with a greater turnover just to be as fast as I was. Hey, enough with comments, it's a lot harder than you think.

Truly it's like that which Tiger Woods has experienced the last few years "reinventing his swing." Okay, I know, except for the money, the clothing line, the fact that he makes more declining to play a tournament than I make in a year, and the fame, the major championships, yada yada yada, except for those little things, it's exactly the same thing. In short it's going to get worse before it gets better.

Actually I think I'm beginning to climb out of the bottom right now, so there is hope. And there is a positive side: I haven't aggravated my right ankle in 5 runs. That's the best I've done since last June!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

"I sing of arms and the man"

Once upon a time I read the Aeneid, in Latin. I bet you never knew that. There's a lot most people don't know about me. Actually there's a lot I've forgotten about myself; whole pieces of my being that have been, not really lost, more like misplaced. Once in a while I get to reconnect with childhood friends. Everytime I do, I remember a little bit of who I was. That's pretty cool.

I can also ride and jump horses.

More Photoshop Posted by Picasa

Fun with Photoshop Posted by Picasa

Oh my...

Poop everywhere. Poop, POOP, PPPPOOOOOOOOP!!!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I love the Adirondacks

Especially the High Peaks Region. I mean, come on, where else can you find this: http://www.northcountrytaxidermy.com !

What's not to love!

Seriously, I do LOVE it up there. You're right, it's a world away from Rhode Island, but let's face it, Rhode Island is an odd little place in it's own right.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Ironman Lake Placid 2005 Finish


Lake Placid Finish Posted by Picasa

Ironman Lake Placid 2005 Photos


I'm the one in the white swim cap! Posted by Picasa



Feeding Frenzy!Posted by Picasa



Whoops...I was the one in the white swim cap. Posted by Picasa



My Butt Hurts!Posted by Picasa



Hot Enough for You?!Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 07, 2005


Snuppy the wonder dog...now with a third less fat! Posted by Picasa