Not dead

I'm still here. It's just with the constant run around associated with visiting my family in Miami I've haven't had a moment to sit down and blogicate. Heck, I've barely been able to get a run in these past two weeks (Saturday I did three miles, and before that I think I went for a three mile run the week prior). Can I really call myself a runner still?

One thing is for sure: when we get back to New York I'm diving headfirst into training.


Pop bits 1

Part of my work is to stay on top of consumer trends and be abreast of all things pop culture. While normally this involves broad ideas like knowing the percent of homes using DVRs and how to use Twitter as a marketing tool, there is are a thousand smaller bits of popular that I'm exposed to in the process. I'll come across a cool blog or interesting Google anomaly or funny picture and have a great laugh to myself--and then that's where it usually ends.

But that stops today.

I figure I have a lot of interesting stuff to share and this blog (while mostly running focused) does needs a little diversion. Well. It needs that much more than it needs another five part race report. So every now and then, probably weekly, I'll be sharing Pop bits that I think are interesting.

That's the whole plan I've got for now. Let's see where it goes.


  • Cake Wrecks - this is hands down one of my favorite sites on the interwebs. It's basically a site about baking gone wrong: horribly, horribly wrong. Admitedly the concept doesn't sound that funny, but there are some bad cakes out there and the commentary is f*ing unbelievable. I can no longer look at this blog at work because I get so many stares from the laughter. For example, scroll down to the 12/17 post on Santa cakes and look at the second cake. Hilarity will ensue.

  • Google confirms: one is the lonliest number. Here's a neat trick: go to Google and search for "the lonliest number." Look at the results. Specifically look at the very first result from Google Calculator.

  • More Google Fun--this time in French! Here's another Google trick: go to Google and search for "french military victories" and then hit "I'm Feeling Lucky." The result is brilliant.

  • No man could measure up. A church in New Zealand is causing a stir with this billboard.
  • Octopuses just got cooler. In addition to their color-changing abilities, shape-shifting bodies, suction cup covered legs, and all-around bad ass demeanor, octopuses have now learned how to defend themselves with coconut shells. The article is here, but you know you just want to see the video. For some reason, I feel like this is one of the bosses from Super Mario Galaxy:


Gym carnies: Yo Adrian!

Gym carnies is an irregular series about the curious characters and intriguing individuals that people my gym. After a summer away from the gym, I'm heading back, but this time to a gym by my new office with a whole new set of gym carnies to rant about.

I showed up at the new gym knowing that I'd have to put up with some kind of membership representative first. You know these people: they look jacked on the juice, are super-excited about everything, and have the cunning ability to back you into a corner to sign up for a two membership because they "like you so much, I'll give you my friends and family discount." I don't like these people. I know exactly what I want in a gym and I don't need you to force your gym down my throat thankyouverymuch.

When I presented my one-day pass at the front desk they immediately call up a membership representative. The guy who shows up could not have fit the profile any better. He wore a skin tight t-shirt and had pecs like balloons. He shook my hand right, flashed a coverboy smile, and instantly started dropping words like "bro" and "dude." For some reason Rocky Balboa saying "Yo Adrian!" flashed into my head, and it stuck. I was calling him "Yo Adrian!" in my head for the rest of the day.

He took me on a tour of the facility, which I have to admit was pretty nice. Although I always find the locker room portion so friggin awkward. Here we are, two fully dressed guys (me still in my jacket from outside), walking into a room full of bucknakedness. And me, charged with the role of attentive potential member, have to look around examining the place's details like the ample rows of lockers and the old men who walk around without a towel. Ew.

At the end of the tour we sat down at Yo Adrian!'s desk and he gave me the run down of what membership costs. I immediately thought: all you did was walk me around the place and you're already talking money. Jeez. Fortunately, a while back I discovered the trump card to get you essentially out of any uncomfortable situation, just say the words "I have to talk to my wife about this." Bam. It's over. No one can come back to that.

After that I quickly changed into my running clothes and hopped on a treadmill. During the whole run I felt like I was cheating. It felt so artificial and cheap, as if I was used to eating Kobe steaks and then suddenly someone slipped me a hamburger. I didn't like it, but I knew that it was pretty much my only option for winter running.

Afterwards I took a shower and headed back to work. The whole ordeal lasted 90 minutes (including Yo Adrian!'s spiel), which I could probably get down to 60 minutes and fit conveniently within my lunch time. Ha, after all these years of thinking it was impossible, here I am seriously figuring out how to get my runs in during lunch.

That evening I go home and actually do talk about it with my wife. Turns out her office has a killer deal with another gym--one that has locations close to my office AND her office AND our apartment. So we opted for that one instead, which meant I had to let down Yo Adrian!--not easy.

Yo Adrian! started calling me the next day. First he called during a lunch with clients, then he called a second time while I was in a meeting--how he managed to call me twice when I wasn't available is beyond statistical probability. I tried calling him back, but he had left for the day and this gym didn't have a voicemail system. So I wrote him a Dear John (Dear Yo Adrian!?) email telling him that another gym worked out better for me and Wifey; it wasn't his fault, it was our's. He was great and the time we had together was really special. It's just that we like this other place better, and yes it's cheaper, but we hoped someday he would be able to forgive us for our weakness and price conscientious.


A whole lot of nothing

Basically, I have been sitting on my ass for the past three weeks.

I was doing pretty well after the NYCM: I took one week off and then started running again and noticed some marked improvement (I always see the most improvement after a race). I was going out for runs twice during the week and then a long run on Sundays. But then the week of Thanksgiving I took off because of all the traveling. And then last week it finally got too cold to go out in the mornings (hello pre-dawn freezing temps!).

The decision last summer to cancel my gym membership has come back to haunt me. It made sense when it was 70 degrees and sunny when I woke up for a run, but now it's dark and below 30 degrees at 6am--and homey don't play that. Now I have to join a gym, but I can't go back to my old gym. I told them I "moved" so that I could cancel my membership without a penalty--and it would be mighty suspicious to unmove.

I could always find a gym near my office (there are a few), but Wifey and I are thinking of moving come January--and there is a 50/50 chance we'll end up moving into a building with a gym in it. I really don't want to enroll in a gym to only have to cancel in a couple of months.

And so I perpetuate this cycle of gym or no gym, all the while I just end up running less and less (and lose the fitness I gained from training). At least I still manage to get out on the weekends and muster up a very respectable 8:00 pace on 6-8 mile runs without too much huffing and puffing.

Meanwhile I'm still trying to figure out the 2010 race calendar. I really want to round out New England in 2010 and finally get Maine off my list, so I'm forgoing big races like Chicago and Marine Corp in order to do one of the Maine Marathons in October. Also, the Delaware Marathon is pretty well timed right at the start of spring in mid-May. The good news is that both of these races are within driving distance, so they'll be affordable AND easy to schedule into work. Besides those races I'm eyeing the National Half-Marathon in March and the Virginia Beach Rock 'n' Roll Half-Marathon in September.

If all goes according to plan I'll get three states and one District of Columbia off my list. The bad news is that after that I'll basically have to fly to get any other state off my list. Anyone have extra airlines miles they can throw my way?


Paparazzi, evacuate; the empire state is on fire!

After being out of town and on the road for just over a week, I'm finally settled back into the swing of things.

The weekend before Thanksgiving Wifey and I visited some friends in Boston. I didn't realize it had been over three years since I had been to Boston. Gosh do I miss Boston. It is still my favorite city--and if it wasn't for the crazy winters I would probably be living there now.

I also forgot how many runners there are in Boston. I don't think there was a single moment that we were outside that there wasn't a runner somewhere within view. I forget how strong an impact this city had on creating my love of this sport.

On Saturday morning we had a culinary revelation at Zaftigs. Apparently I lived within two miles of this restaurant for three years and never knew it existed. How I managed to do that despite the mob outside forming a 45 minute wait we will never know. But this place was unbelievable. I had the banana French toast and it changed my world. I tried Wifey's eggs Benedict--which were served on a cheddar biscuit instead of an English muffin--and my mouth just about exploded. If you are in the Boston area--or anywhere else on the Eastern Seaboard--go to this restaurant, your stomach will thank me.

I was pretty much in a food coma for the rest of the Boston visit. When I came to I had the distinct taste of Wagamama's in my mouth and a box of Mike's cannolis in my hand.

Then we drove the 14+ hours (over two days) south to western North Carolina to see Wifey's family and spent a rather long Thanksgiving Week with them, helping out at their bakery, and making way too much food for Thanksgiving dinner--which I didn't think was possible with the appetite her brothers have.

Finally, last Saturday we headed back to New York in one marathon 15 hour driving session (including fuel stops and one scenic detour). We spent our last day with the car buying way too much at Target, doing tons of groceries at Super Stop & Shop, and picking up a Christmas tree from The Home Depot.

I guess my body had enough from all that driving because Sunday night I came down with a nasty stomach bug. I spent all of Monday parked on the couch...dying...slowly...until 8pm when I magically started to feel better. And after one day back at the office where I found my computer sans mouse (who steals a mouse?) here I am.

(Oh, and the post title? It's a mash up of the four songs that were played about 40 times each during the 30+ hours of driving I spent last week.)