Saturday, September 6, 2008


Many thanks to those of y'all who have encouraged me to resume writing: I have decided to split the blogs into separate entities based on subject matter.

Current events can now be found at News from the Island, which has gone live and will have content up shortly.

Fitness, running, and nutrition topics will soon have their own home--the working title is "Fast Twitch".

Stay tuned, and thanks for your encouragement.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

We're all in Jail

I don't what, if anything, to make of it, but...

More Americans are in jail than anytime in history. We also appear to be the world leader in locking people up, with more people per capita behind bars than anyplace else on the planet.

I don't have any problem with locking away lawbreakers. However, if we're going to do so we'd best be prepared to pony up the cash for it.


The Day After.

No exaggeration.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Mardi Gras Marathon

UPDATE 2: How bad did it hurt? This much.



5:19---an hour slower than I had hoped for. First half in 2:18, second half in 3:01.

Arrived Friday morning and spent the day doing touristy stuff (my first trip there).Did you know that New Orleans has drive-thru daiquiri bars? For a person who enjoys drinking, this city is damn near heaven. Friday evening took a cab into town and sampled some of the abundant nightlife. Partied hard, but finished early--in bed at 11:30.

Saturday full rest. Did nothing except the expo and registration--which was well-organized, staffed, and smooth. Expo was nice. T-shirt was the best ever: Long-sleeve technical fabric by Under Armor. (5K runners got the same in short sleeves).Pasta dinner at my hosts' home Sat night---in bed and asleep at 10:30.

Up at 5, light breakfast (I was just too nervous to eat much), NO COFFEE this time, couple a bottles of water, and into the Superdome for the 7am start.Start line was a bit crowded: Total of almost 6000 runners. 5K runners started only 10 minutes after us so they were all in the area as well. Of course, there were not enough porta-jons (are there ever enough? I mean, has anybody ever run in a race and come home saying "Boy, that would have been a terrific event if only they didn't so many porta-jons"? For a time we had access to the lower level Dome restrooms but security got worried and asked us to leave...but I had already done the deed at that point.

There were no corrals or seeding as far as I could tell. Since I planned on being slow I just hung out at the back. Start temp was in the 50s and a bit foggy, with the promise of plenty of sun and weather in the 70s by noon.

Start was smooth, but before long we're running into the Quarter and up Bourbon St. Neat, but damn narrow. The resulting bottleneck might have frustrated somebody who wanted a quick pace out of the gate. (Not me, as I had planned on going slow). Up Bourbon St (yes, there were drunk people out--either still up from the night before or up early drinking already--I saw several Bloody Mary drinkers), over a block, then back down to Lee Circle, where after only 3 miles I had to take a porta-jon break. But, I decided that if I felt the urge, then I was going to stop whenever needed. Goal was to finish. First 3 miles were all at a 10 minute pace, which was just where I wanted to be. I felt great.

Off the circle and down St Charles, all the way out to Audubon Park. Nice run...beautiful street, plenty of super crowd support. Still running an easy 10-minute pace, having a good time. At mile 8 in Audubon Park felt a twing in my right leg and thought "ruh-oh". Concerned, I dialed it back a bit...maybe a 10:30 pace. Slow, but I wanted to finish.

The Audubon Park entrance (and exit) featured a Dixieland band. (One of three on the course---or maybe one band moved from the front to the back---couldn't tell). Also had a themed aid station where everybody wore Western costumes and they offered more than just water and gatorade---these people had pb&j sandwich bites, crackers, cookies, pretzels, etc. ...and plenty of encouragement. We were also offered beer, cocquetails, cigarattes, and condoms. These people were READY

Aid stations note: They were plentiful, well-staffed, and lavishly stocked. The second half they offered all the GU you could want, orange slices, etc. Neat thing--some volunteers would appear in random places on the course to offer pretzels and a word of encouragement. One aid station had the entire staff dressed in drag (red dresses, of course).Back down St Charles and to the Dome where the half people peeled off to their finish. The half was in 2:18, which was ok---I knew was running mid-10s and had taken 3 porta-jon breaks in the first half. I found myslef jealous of the halfers as they turned.

I also knew I was in trouble. I was getting increasing levels of discomfort in both legs, specially the right one. I tried running on the grass to soften the impact but that actually made the pain MUCH WORSE. At mile 15 I had to pull up and walk. Maybe 60 secs, then ran slowly to the 16-mile aid station---walked through that one, then another half mile before I had to stop and walk again.

And that was the pattern for the rest of the race. Through City Park, and finally turned for home. Run a bit...I use the term "run" loosely as that really is not a good description of what I was doing...and walk a bit. I tried to grit my teeth and drive through it, but my legs just-would-not-comply.

I was struggling badly---but...I was not alone. In every race I've ever been in I have always found myself running with a group of folks of similar ability. Now I found myself with others who were fighting to make to the finish line, looking for each mile marker, and trying to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

These people are the most wonderful folks I've ever met. Thorough their pain, they offered each other (and me) support and strength. We cheered each other on, and it MADE the difference for me. I was hurting pretty bad at this point---pain shooting up both legs with each stride.

I finally staggered into the finish area, and here's the weird thing: I managed to suck it up and RUN the last 75 yards at my usual 5K-pace, and it didn't hurt a bit. Of course, as soon as I finished, I could barely walk, but...I had my medal.

Finish line victuals were red beans and rice with plenty of beer. Nice.

Dine in NOLA at Port of Call or Cooter Browns

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I'm voting for Hillary, not really.

But anybody who can spend $1300 a month at Dunkin Donuts can't be all bad.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

10 in a row

Obama wins Wisconsiin and Hawaii.

The margin was not close. I guess that "going negative" tactic didn't work out so well for Hillary, eh? Even so, look for more of the same 'tween now and March 4th.

In the meantime, I expect an Edwards endorsement any day now: Obama's vicotry speech was filled with rhetoric was signalled an impending announcement.

If Clinton is unable to break through with solid wins March 4th in TX and OH, that will just about do it. VT and RI vote the same day and she really needs to pick up one of them as well.

Birthday blogging 2008

I am officially the parent of two teenaged girls. Yesterday, my oldest turned 16 and today her sister is 13.

I am not emotionally prepared for this.

But...I take some solace in the fact that in spite of all they have endured (plenty), my girls are as well-adjusted and intelligent as any kids out there. Heck, I've met other kids their age, and there's just no comparison: My girls are razors.

That sentiment can be dismissed as parental pride, but then again, if you'd met them you'd know what I mean. And yeah...I am so very proud of them.

They deserve so much more than I can ever possibily give, and their presence in my life is a blessing beyond words.

Happy birthday, girls.