Sunday, December 31, 2006

Finish Line Hindsight

2006, or any year for that matter, slightly resembles a long distance road race…

January starts with a bang as we vie for position and hustle to stay true to personal and professional resolutions. We find our pace and place as the months stride quickly by. The summer comes, fatigue mounts and the finish line seems impossibly far away. Summer slips by and turns to Autum. With determination we press on through the busiest months of the year. At last the year’s frenzied end approaches and we sprint into the holiday finish line.

The week between Christmas and New Years Eve brings to mind those moments after crossing the finish line where you catch your breath, check your time and reflect on the race.

My running highlights of 2006 include:

  • Ran a total of 1,260 logged miles (further in reality) in six different States
  • Ran 17 organized races for a total of 152.4 racing miles
  • Set personal records in the Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k, & 5k
  • Raised over $3,600 by running for The Alzheimer’s Association
All in all it was a pretty good year! As for my 2007 goals... I'm really not sure. I have given thought to trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I have pondered training for and running my first ultra-marathon. I have also considered giving the triathlon a whirl. They are all worthwhile aspirations and with the right combination of devotion, effort and chance they are feasible as well.

Whatever your goals may be I wish you a fast and injury-free 2007.

Happy New Year!

"A good resolution is like an old horse, which is often saddled but rarely ridden."
-Mexican Proverb

Monday, December 25, 2006

Haiku Challenge! Results

I know you've been eagerly awaiting the results of the Running Haiku Challenge! I can't think of a better time to share the results than Christmas Day!

Thank you to all who read this blog. My thanks also to those who comment and share their thoughts, advice and opinions.

I also want to commend those who sent in Haiku's. I was rather tickled by many of them.

Merry Christmas!

Honorable Mention
(in no particular order)

Pins poking blisters
Wrenching black nails from their beds
Runners torture toes

by FastChick

Out of cigarettes
Circle K is on the way
A worthwhile journey

by The Geek of Everything (with Yarsh)

I'm on the treadmill
Sweating but going nowhere
But Springer is on

by Greg Stadnik

I don't feel so good
It's Montezuma's Revenge
Dirty strip club loo

by Yarsh

I race through the park,

Feet barely touching the ground,
To a new PR

by Alan Wagman

Before a big race
Preparation is vital
Don't forget nip guards

by Just12Finish

Throw me the idol
Large boulder rolling towards me
Jock, start the engine

by The Geek of Everything (with Yarsh)

Stuck in traffic now
Just hit some punk ass jogger
Stupid marathon

by Greg Stadnik

I run to be free
To eat and drink in excess and
To run faster than you!

by UptownGirl

Gas is expensive
Fuel light glowing on dashboard
Wait bus driver! Wait!

by The Geek of Everything (with Yarsh)

Forty weeks pregnant
She is never coming out
Try another run

by Kate Sun

I run for myself
Effortlessly up the hills
Breathing crisp air

by Alan Wagman

Mama always said
Stupid is as stupid does
Now run Forrest, run

by The Geek of Everything (with Yarsh)

Taut female rear end
Saying catch me if you can
Keeps me running hard

by Alan Wagman

Mighty rivers flow
Red tide seeps through fabric run
Should'a worn nip guards

by Just12Finish

Threw eggs at a cop
Made sure he was really fat
Leisurely running

by Greg Stadnik

Have need for pizza
Out I go into the night
Mozzarella good

by The Geek of Everything (with Yarsh)

But she had grey hair!
She CAN'T be in my age group.
Bitch stole my trophy.

by FastChick

They say I'm crazy
My feet keep pounding far
Eat my dust I say

Third Runner Up

Friction grits twin peaks
Polyester can't rebuff
Don't forget nip guards

by Just12Finish

Second Runner Up

Twig snaps from behind
No one is camping with me
Large bear with sharp claws

by The Geek of Everything (with Yarsh)

First Runner Up

Red indicator
Means: Portajohn Occupied
I might lose my shit.

by FastChick

Running Haiku Grand Champion

Wearing two layers,
Out in the wintry weather,
I train for Boston

by Alan Wagman

"All good poetry is forged slowly and patiently, link by link, with sweat and blood and tears."
-Lord Alfred Douglas

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Holiday Tag

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Egg nog with Spiced Rum and Cinnamon.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa wraps presents. Sometimes Santa pays for fancy wrapping too.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? White lights.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No. Don't need some silly weed to get me some sweet kisses!

5. When do you put your decorations up? When there's time.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Honey baked ham.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? Getting Nintendo seems to stick out in my memory.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I don't like what this question implies... Is there something I'm not aware of?

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? "A gift" LOL that's an understatement!

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Define tree. Does an eight inch sapling count as a "tree?"

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Snow is good stuff.

12. Can you ice skate? Yes, but, not in years.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Favorite gift was one I gave... A Christmas Eve Engagement Ring to Salena. Fortunately for me she liked receiving it.

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Laughter with family and friends.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Spider cookies (family recipe).

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Christmas morning mimosa's.

17. What tops your tree? The tallest twig.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Receiving is nice but giving is much better.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Donde Esta Santa Claus or Old Fatso by Augie Rios.

20. Candy canes? No thanks.

21. Favorite Christmas movie? A Christmas Story.

22. What do you leave for Santa? A big pile of credit card debt, er, I mean milk and cookies...

"How many observe Christ's birthday! How few, his precepts! O! 'tis easier to keep the holidays than commandments."
-Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Haiku Challenge! Update 3 "Hang Tight"

The run up to the holidays have been a rather busy time. Work is hectic as we wrap up 2006 and plan for 2007. On the home front we moved to a new apartment and as a result are struggling with even the simple things like:

"Have you seen the _______."

Go ahead, fill in the blank with just about anything... We can't find it among the boxes.

All of this is just to say... The Haiku Challenge! results will be announced soon. Please hang tight. I promise it will be worth the wait - some of your entries are pure genius.

"None are so busy as the fool and knave."
-John Dryden

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Haiku Challenge! Update 2 "The Prize"

Today is the deadline to submit your Running Haiku Challenge! To help inspire your creativity and encourage you to apply your substantial intellect and wit I have decided to announce the prize for the winning Haiku.

As noted prior, the "Running Haiku Grand Champion" will receive glory, international super-fame, eternal bragging rights. The winner will also receive a $10 Gift Certificate to the iTunes Store!

Because of this new development. Becuase I am a nice guy. Because the cubic square footage of my living room is 80% corrugated cardboard boxes. Because I want to be witness to your literary genious I am extending the deadline. Please submit your Haiku by email to me at morefew {at} gmail dot com by end of day Sunday.

"We improve ourselves by victories over ourself. There must be contests, and you must win."
-Edward Gibbon

Monday, December 11, 2006

Joe Kleinerman 10K

Yesterday was the annual Joe Kleinerman 10K in New York’s Central Park. This race always draws a significant number of entrants as folks try to squeeze in their nine qualifying New York Road Runner races before years end (this is in order to be eligible for guaranteed entry into the marathon). This year was no exception – 4,903 runners crossed the finish line on this brisk December morning.

For me, this race was a PR as I shaved more than a minute from my previous best for the 10K. I’m pleased with the effort but a little disappointed as I was really going for a sub-40. My unofficial watch splits are:
  • Mile 1 - 6:44
  • Mile 2 - 6:38
  • Mile 3 - 6:29
  • Mile 4 - 6:32
  • Mile 5 - 6:30
  • Mile 6 - 6:46
  • Mile 0.2 - 1:15
Had the field been a little smaller allowing for a clean start I probably could have knocked 20-30 seconds off my time. But, what happened in mile 6?

I threw myself at Cat Hill repeating my breathless, snotty-nosed mantra of “Head up. Pump arms.”

It worked, I surged up the hill passing a bunch of people but I fell apart at the top. There wasn’t much left in the tank after that. However, I did get an energizing shout out from Uptown Girl… Thanks!

All told my time 40:59 ain’t too bad a way to end my 2006 racing season.

Now, it is time to focus on my move… And reading your brilliant Haiku’s! Don’t forget to submit your entries by Friday!

"When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them."
-Rodney Dangerfield

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Haiku Challenge! Update 1

I've laughed. I've cried. I'm inspired. I'm slightly concerned about one of you... The Haiku's are coming in and the competition is getting stiff!

There have been a few questions about the Haiku Challenge which I though I would address here.
  1. Yes, you may submit as many Haiku's as you'd like
  2. Yes, I will publish most (or all) of the submissions
  3. No, the grand prize has not yet been determined but it will be something "good"
  4. All entries must be in by December 15th
Don't delay! Email your entry to me at morefew {at} gmail dot com

"When you are in any contest you should work as if there were - to the very last minute - a chance to lose it."
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Location. Location. Location.

New York City real estate brokers have it made – particularly those dealing with apartment rentals. The basic principles of supply and demand are laid bare in New York City real estate. In simple terms, there is incredible demand and very limited supply. In the interest of full disclosure let me say that I am not a broker but rather a recent victim, er, client.

In other parts of the country this economic principle is completely reversed. For example: My first apartment was in a nice suburb of Detroit. To find the apartment I went to a friendly broker and told them what I could afford, what amenities I was keen to have and what neighborhood(s) I wanted to be in. They punched all of this into their computer and - whizbang - I had four appointments for that very same day. And it was all free! That’s right, there is excess supply and the broker fee is paid by the building owner.

If the gargantuan rents and miniscule square footage in New York aren’t bad enough, renters are gouged by a broker fee too. I recently handed over an obscene amount of cash (yes the broker demanded payment in cash!) to a broker. Let me share with you the services I received in exchange:
  • I received the inconvenience of going to the brokers office to fill out a credit check
  • I received the inconvenience of going to the brokers office a second time to sign lease
  • I got the apartment
That is it. The broker didn’t make any phone calls or appointments for me, didn’t drive me to the apartment and show it, didn’t extol the benefits of Southern exposure or proximity to restaraunts and such. Nothing. The guy didn’t even offer me a chair to sit in to fill out paper work. I had to stand awkwardly in a doorway reading legalese in fine print before signing away most of my rights as a tenant. I'm not even sure why I bothered to read the lease… I’d have probably taken the apartment regardless of what was on it.

All he did was post an ad in Craig’s List, watch clamoring fools like myself hustle and beg for the apartment, and then finally accept a fistful of Franklin’s. Ahh the powerful forces of free market economies… How I wish I were on the other side of this equation.

All of this is to say that we are movin’ on up to a deluxe apartment in the sky… More realistically we're movin' on up the block to a modest, though significantly larger two bedroom nearer my beloved Astoria Park. It also has a patio with a grand view of Midtown Manhattan, an underground parking garage and best of all is pet friendly... Yes, Harry has a new home.

Methinks I'll be rather busy and will have a sore back.

"Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed in them."
-Henry David Thoreau