Friday, September 29, 2006

And the winner is...

The votes are in. The hanging chads have been scrutinized, counted and then counted again.

Much like his professional acting career, Actor Josh saw some modest success but not the big time. In his concession speech Actor Josh was quoted as saying, "I'll be back" in a poor attempt at an Austrian accent.

Goofy Josh ran a strong campaign and had a respectable showing, appealing to many moderates and those with a soft spot for dorks.

Calvin's worldwide name recognition and universal likeability failed to deliver due in large part to the copyright infringement scandal uncovered by Deep Throat, er, I mean Mark.

Incumbent Josh never stood a chance...

At the victory party Runner Josh graciously praised his competition, reiterated several of his campaign promises and took off in running shorts and his campaign signature Hellgate running singlet muttering "what the hell, we're all the same person anyway..."

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Women of Hellgate

The women of Hellgate - or at least Suzanne and Janine - have made it known that they are displeased with my profile picture... Obviously, I'd like to keep my most loyal readers pleased!

I have decided to let you, my dear reader, choose the image that will represent me in the virtual world of blogging. I have posted 4 images for you to vote on. The image with the most votes will become my new profile photo.

The first image is "Runner Josh" which was taken at a recent race. The second image is a headshot from my days as an actor, why don't we call that "Actor Josh." The third image is well, just "Goofy Josh." Finally, the fourth image is "Calvin" from my favorite comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes by cartoonist Bill Watterson.

Without further explanation, let the voting begin...

Runner Josh

Actor Josh

Goofy Josh


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Marathon for the Masses?

I recently came across this article on in which the author, Gabriel Sherman, decries the exploding popularity of the marathon as sport for the masses. In particular, the article focuses on “how sluggish newbies ruined the marathon."

I hope to run a 3 hour and 30 minute marathon this November at the ING New York City Marathon. Having fewer runners ahead of me, clogging the streets, would likely help me attain that goal and thus, I initially agreed with Mr. Sherman.

After my biased and self-serving initial reaction I applied some thought to the matter and frankly I couldn’t disagree more. The growth in popularity of the marathon is good for almost everybody – from the first time marathoner whose aim is to finish, to the middle of the pack runner right on up the starting chute to the sub-elite and world class athletes like Deena Kastor and Meb Keflezighi.

In general terms, the popularity surge of the marathon has inspired more people to get fit, something that America desperately needs. Six of out ten American adults are overweight. Nearly 20% of children in America are obese and many have, or are at risk of developing, Type 2 Diabetes. Methinks repetitive use injuries like stress fractures, tendonitis and shin splints are laughable as compared to diabetes, elevated blood pressure and heart attack.

Increased marathon popularity also means more races and more well managed races – obviously a good thing as this translates into greater opportunity for success for competitive runners. If it’s a small marathon you want you’re not forced to run with 40,000 others plodding down the streets of Chicago. Thanks to the growing popularity of the sport there are plenty of well managed, USATF certified marathons with a smaller numbers of participants to choose from.

This trend also translates into a growth in the Prize Purses for the elite athletes of our sport (the NYC marathon purse is $500,000 this year). And while we’re talking about money I just fail to see how the $660 Million that many “newbies” have raised for Team In Training to fight Leukemia and Lymphoma is a bad thing.

Even if the growing popularity of marathons means I will have to work harder on Marathon Sunday to reach my personal goals, I am glad to run with 37,000 “newbies,” veterans, world class and Olympic athletes. Afterall, it was the the sight of so many running the New York Marathon after 9/11 that inspired me to train for and run my first marathon.

"All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why."
-James Thurber

Monday, September 25, 2006

Weekend Mileage

In terms of running mileage, this past weekend was pretty good – I logged about 25 miles in two days.

On Saturday morning I headed up to Rockefeller State Park for a 20 miler with a bunch of runners from the Hellgate Road Runners Club. We were also joined by Chelle - a remarkable runner who gave several of the Hellgate guys a very serious workout

I opted to run with Alan and Janine at a more conservative pace of about 8 minute per mile pace - give or take. We’d never been to Rockefeller State Park and we promptly got lost in the 1,233 acre preserve. Heading this way, then that way, then back again we ended up somewhere off the marked trails and our sweat soaked map was fairly useless. After frequent stops to attempt to orient ourselves we finally found a knowledgeable runner who pointed us in the right direction and with his help we soon found our way back to the named trails on our map. At about this point it also started raining
... Fortunately the rain only lasted 15-20 minutes and we didn't get too soaked because the forest canopy is still pretty thick with foliage.

The trails themselves are great. They provide gorgeous scenery and the packed-dirt trails offer softer footing than New York City streets. The more forgiving running surface is very friendly on the knees but it also absorbs much of the energy return that would normally help propel your stride. As a result, more effort is needed to maintain the same pace on a trail than on the street. And let us not forget the hills!

Personally, I was ready to call it a day at about mile 16. Janine had something else in mind. To quote her: “I feel like shit, but, I came up here to run 20 and I am going to run 20!” Well, that was all the inspiration I needed. I took off and ran the last 3 miles all out (7-min pace). Thank you Janine!

I was a touch stiff on Sunday but still felt ok despite not stretching out much after the 20. Salena and I had some personal obligations and errands to take care of during the day so my “recovery run” had to wait until afternoon. When I did get out for an easy 5 miler it turned faster and faster with each mile. Whoops…there goes my easy workout! Instead I ran a series of negative splits.
  • Mile 1 – 8:23
  • Mile 2 – 8:03
  • Mile 3 – 7:50
  • Mile 4 – 7:33
  • Mile 5 – 7:18
Regardless, it felt great to get out and push the pace. Maybe I’ll take it easy today. Maybe...
"You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement."
-Steve Prefontaine

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Standard Taxi

Taxi! TAXI! TAXI!!!

We all know how annoying it can be to hail a cab in New York City. This is particularly true at rush hour, in the rain or near heavily trafficked tourist areas. God forbid you ever find yourself in Times Square, in the rain, as the Broadway shows finish their curtain calls and the gussied up tourists meander to the corners in search of a ride back to a hotel or some restaurant featured in their edition of Fodor's travel guide.

Now imagine for a moment that you use a wheelchair. The annoyance of finding a cab becomes a huge and potentially disabling problem.

My father, brother and their colleagues recently designed, built and unveiled a brand new taxi cab which addresses this and several other issues. They call their vehicle the Standard Taxi. It is less expensive to purchase and is far larger and more comfortable for passengers than the typical Crown Victoria taxi cab.

Of all the well thought out features of the Standard Taxi perhaps none is more impressive than the fact that the Standard Taxi is also fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Gawker recently bashed it for being ugly but I can tell you that function, not form, is the primary goal of this vehicle. It is cheaper to purchase and operate than the Crown Victoria, almost twice as fuel efficient, roomier (4 adult passengers can sit in the back), has a duty-cycle that will significantly outlast any taxi on the road today and is fully wheelchair accessible.

Here is a link to their website, a press release and an article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Finally, here are some pictures... What do you think?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Shout Out

A friend of mine recently launched his very first blog!

He's not much of a runner... But as nutty as I am about distance running he is about music. He's suggested many great songs for my iPod running playlist.

Please stop by and say hi to WeCastMusic.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Civic Duty...?

I am furious!

One of the great attributes of my modest apartment is its proximity to Astoria Park – a 65 acre public park complete with an Olympic swimming pool, tennis courts, basketball hoops, children’s playground, Bocce ball court, a nice track and lots of paths for runners and walkers. Unfortunately some of the people that frequent the park are slobs.

This morning while running (circa 7:00am) I noticed a man littering. This was not your typical New York homeless person either - just your average, run of the mill jerk tearing pages out of a calendar book and callously tossing them on the ground as he meandered past the many garbage cans that line the pathways.

I don’t know if it was civic duty, moral arrogance or if I was just tired and grumpy but I couldn’t resist. As I passed this litterbug I looked him straight in the eye and said four little words:

“Use A Garbage Can.”

This set him off in a huge way and he launched into a verbal tirade that would even make Andrew Dice Clay blush. He shouted just about every curse and profanity in the book at me. I am sure he offended all the nearby dog walkers and the good folks doing Tai Chi halfway across the park with his high decibel verbal refuse. Had he been able to keep up with me he probably would have tried to take a swing at me too.

Personal safety aside, was I wrong to address this man’s behavior?

"I have found little that is good about human beings. In my experience most of them are trash."
-Sigmund Freud

Friday, September 15, 2006

Post-Run High

I just got in from a 6.5 mile at an 8 minute per mile pace through Astoria Park. I ran start to finish in the rain. I am sweaty, muddy and completely soaked.

In other words I feel great! Don’t you just love that post-run high?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Run To Remember: Update #1

I'm now heading into the 11th week of my marathon training. My weekly mileage is up to 45-50 miles a week. I've managed to stick fairly close to my schedule, missing only a few days of running due to inclement weather or extenuating circumstances at the office.

My weekly running schedule includes speed intervals consisting of 4 x mile repeats, hill work (basically running up and down hills for 3-4 miles), tempo runs of 5-8 miles at a brisk pace, long runs of 13-20 miles plus "easy" or "junk" miles on days where my training isn't specific.

At this point I still feel confident that I can achieve my goal (fingers crossed) of a sub-3 hour and 30 minute marathon, which, if I achieve will be a personal best by 20 minutes and put me a little nearer to qualifying for The Grand Poobah of marathons: The Boston Marathon. I realize that this is a pretty aggressive goal, but hey, people who jump out of airplanes aren't normally known for being the most cautious folks.

As you may know I am running the marathon this year as a fundraiser in honor of my grandmother. I committed to raising $2,620.00 for the Alzheimer's Association - that's $100 for every mile of the marathon.

I am very pleased to report that my efforts are coming along well. I am about half way to reaching my fundraising goal but I still have a ways to go. In runner jargon I am about to "hit the wall" and I'll need your help to get over the hump and to the finish line. Please do consider making a donation to this very worthy cause here.

I extend my most sincere gratitude to those who have offered words of praise and encouragement and to those who have already given so generously - thank you!
"In charity there is no excess."
-Sir Francis Bacon