Pop bits 3

A somewhat regular non sequitur where I take a break from running and share bits and pieces of pop culture.

North Shore Animal League. Ok, this is kinda out of the realm of pop bits. However, with the new apartment (we move on February 13!) we are finally going to get a puppy after five years of wanting one. In our hunt to rescue a dog we discovered the NSAL. It's only a few miles away from us on Long Island and it is one of the premier animal rescues in the world--and the largest no kill shelter in the world. For any one looking for a pet in the NJ/NYC/CT area, this is the place to go.

This is an interesting thing I found on the internets. As a person, I find this funny. As a blogger, I find it freaking hilarious. After the first paragraph or two scroll to the comments and it gets even better.

This is something eerily similar to the previous item. Oddly enough, after seeing that post I found this video doing essentially the same thing, but for TV news:

The bane of the semi-colon. Having read "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" I have become a (bigger) fan of grammar. I've also have a growing confidence in my semicolon usage. For those of you who are scared to hit that button on your keyword next to "L" without also hitting the shift key here is a cheat sheet. A cheat sheet that involves bears.

The best thing to ever be made by the cast of MAD TV. This is not safe for children, but piss your pants funny for adults. I almost died this morning from laughing. Please, watch:


An addendum to my 2010 goals

Facing a shrinking time window to be timely I kinda of just spat out my goals for 2010 a few weeks back. Now, with more time (and now that I'm back into training) I'd like to revisit those goals and add a few more.
  1. Continue filling up states on the map. In 2009 I passed the 1/5 mark on my goal to run a race (Half or Full Marathon) in every state plus DC. I'm up to 11 states and have four out of town races on the calendar for 2010. (Of course, there is still plenty of space to squeeze in a fifth race this year....)
  2. Keep bringing down my times. The Marathon and I are on good terms again, so I'm going to keep shooting for a PR and crawl closer to a BQ. 3:40 is the next time goal I have in mind, let's see if I can make it happen in Wilmington or Maine. As for the Half-Marathon, my next benchmark is 1:45 and given that my HM times are still on a long-term downward, I think I will definitely hit that this year.
  3. Get a dog. We are finally moving to an apartment that not only allows dogs, but has a gigantic terrace that we can use as a dog run. After 4.5 years of living in this city without a dog, we are going to get one. (BTW, does any one know a good terrier breeder?)
  4. Try shorter distance races. This one I add half-heartedly. For some reason I just don't really care about races shorter than 13.1 miles: I ran five HMs and a Marathon before my first 5K or 10K--and I've never run those distances again! But that nagging voice in the back of my head keeps saying that I should be better rounded and start playing around with the shorter distances.
  5. Run a relay. This one is really pie-in-the-sky because I only have one real life runner friend (oddly enough, who I met via this blog). However, I would love to run in one of those crazy 12-person, pack up everything in a van, run overnight for 200 miles relay runs.


Baby pics

No, not my baby. That's still a ways off. This is my nephew, Dominic. I promised pictures a few weeks back and here they are. And let's be honest, who doesn't like looking at pictures of babies?

Wifey and Dominic surprised by the flash:

Dominic learning how to feed himself (it's about time he started pulling his own weight around here):

Uncle and nephew:

Wifey holding Dominic at the beach. He has his adorable face on to attract the ladies:

Happy to be outside:

Christmas morning on his Great-Grandmother's lap with a ridiculously long hat on:

I swear my mom and Dominic were not posing when I took this, the cuteness was all there naturally:

Something had to give

...and unfortunately it was the blog.

It's been very busy in sRod land ever since coming back from Christmas break in sunny Miami. With so many balls in the air, one was bound to drop, and the metaphorical ball was this here blog.

First, there's been the running. I've been sticking to my training plan for Washington in March and Delaware in May, but I hate cold weather running. I would take a hot and humid run in the middle of August over any sub-freezing pre-dawn run in January. Unfortunately, I have only had the latter since January 4. It's hard enough getting back into the training groove after a two month break, but throwing in the cold weather just makes the experience awful. These runs are hard enough on their own, but then I start thinking about how nasty is is out there, and then when I do finally convince myself to go out and run there are a slew of factors fighting against me that I don't even realize: the cold makes me unconscionably breathe short breaths through my mouth and shorten my stride (in order to keep my legs close and warm).

Second, there's work. In the first two weeks of January I took cabs home nine times--and there were only ten work days during those two weeks. So there was only one day in the pass two weeks that I got out of work before 8p. That has left me with no time to catch up on blogs or really do any fun running related stuff during the work day. Boo.

Third, there is the apartment hunt. (This is the blight of every New Yorker, so forgive me as I indulge for a bit.) Our lease runs up on March 1 and despite saying every year that we are going to look for a new apartment, we actually meant it this year! So we've been apartment hunting every weekend. It's been pretty exhaustive scouting out the neighborhoods that have the right mix of accessibility, reasonable rents, and community (i.e., grocery stores, diverse restaurants, parks, etc.). We narrowed our choices down to Astoria (our current 'hood), Long Island City (due south of us and one stop outside of Manhattan), and--believe it or not--JERSEY (Jersey City and Hoboken).

LIC was ruled out after we realized that it pretty much isn't a neighborhood, but more of a collection of luxury condos for people priced out of Manhattan. We found real bargins in Jersey City, but realized that it on the fringe of no where. And Hoboken was priced as if it was Manhattan, which we found no advantage in. We just couldn't find one that nailed it for us.

While we love our current 'hood, we didn't decide to stay here until we found our near-dream apartment last weekend. The space is roughly the same as our current place, however the building is only two years old. There is laundry in the basement and an elevator to make doing laundry in said basement a breeze. Also in the basement is a storage closet included in our rent and bike storage (for Wifey, who has wanted a bike, but has lacked a place to put it, for years). While we will have a smaller kitchen and smaller bedroom, the apartment makes up for it in brand new appliances, a dishwasher (my hands jump with joy), and a really nice bathroom.

But the selling point for us was that this apartment was that it included the feature that most New Yorkers consider the holy grail of NYC apartments. It is so rare that it is often mentioned in the same breath as Nessie and Bigfoot. In fact, many have conjectured that it is fabrication of the Freemasons to promote their mystic. But if all goes well when we sign the lease tomorrow we will be the renters of an apartment with a private roof top terrace. I'm not talking about a 1'x3' concrete slab that a landlord uses to charge $400 more on the rent. I'm saying this is a legit 700+ square foot private terrace with space for a BBQ, a picnic table, a small garden, AND lawn chairs. (If you have ever looked for apartments in NYC, you understand the gravity of what I have just said.)

Yeah, we're a little excited about the new place.

So that's what's been going on for the past few weeks around here. And because of the next apartment I can't imagine myself getting any less busy. However, once we're up and running at the new--ahem, just in time for the summer terrace season--I definitely be blogging from the terrace.


The free money made me do it

I used to have word verification on this blog. Then I got rid of it because I hate filling it out on other people's sites and you can't criticize what you yourself do, right?

The drawback has been that every month or so I get a comment from some comment machine saying how I have a wonderful blog and that I might be interested his in money investing site. Or I might be interested in his HAWT AZIANS. Or I might be interested in his extensive collection of vaginal birth videos.

However, in recent weeks the comments have become much more frequent. It's actually to the point where every day I get a little notification that all of a sudden some one decided to comment on one of my posts from forever ago and just so happened to leave a link to a porn site.

Frankly, I'm tired of it. So I've turned on word verification to mostly save myself from having to play comment cop, but also to save your poor unsuspecting eyes from vaginal birth videos. You're welcome.


Pop bits 2

A somewhat regular non sequitur where I take a break from running and share bits and pieces of pop culture.

The Jesus shot. Before it was found out that Tiger Woods had hoes in different area codes he was actually a golfer (who knew!). He was such a good golfer that EA Sports created a whole video game series named after him: Tiger Woods PGA Tour. In the 2009 edition there was a "glitch" where Tiger could walk on water and hit a ball that landed in (or on, in this case) the water. This was called "the Jesus shot." What I found cool was that EA made a response video (below) that proved that this was not a glitch at all:

Egg House. Who would choose to live in this, I don't know. However, it would answer the age old question: which came first, the chicken or the egg? It's obviously the egg, since I don't see any giant chickens lurking about.

You too can be a blue alien! I haven't seen Avatar yet, but I hear it's pretty much a big deal--and essentially a reskinned version of Pocahontas or Ferngully. I came across this video and thought it was hilarious. Apparently there is a whole category of YouTube videos focusing on makeup application tutorials. This girl below, though, was inspired by Avatar to create this gem:

Is that the Washington Monument or are you just happy to see me? For all of you heading to DC this weekend, consider yourself warned.


There, I fixed it

I was in a bit of a conundrum with the running/gym/cold weather situation. I don't like running int he frigid cold and my running wardrobe reflects that (i.e., one pair of tights, one running jacket--not enough to sustain a full training schedule). I've always had a gym to retreat to during cold weather, but since I did away with my membership this past June I've been fearing the onset of winter. Now, here we are in the throes of an Arctic onslaught and I'm still gymless.

Since I was in job limbo for a couple months I completely ignored the situation until after Thanksgiving when someone turned the dial from crisp New England autumn to bleak Alaskan ice box.

With the cold temps I finally started trying out the gyms near my new office, but realized that while I can easily fit a three mile run during lunch, I would have a hell of a time fitting an eight mile tempo run during lunch. That meant that I would have to run before or after work. After work is unreliable because my hours can get erratic. And before work would be tricky because I'd have to pack up everything and come into the city at 5:00am--and Wifey is none to happy about the prospect of me leaving her home alone four days a week.

Of course, I could go back to my old gym, the one five minutes from our apartment. But even that's tricky. First, I told them that I moved to Florida (in order to cancel my membership without penalty). So going back would be suspicious. And even if I came up with a story for them they would force me to sign an annual contract. I don't want an annual contract because I don't intend on using the gym once it warms up in April/May, but also because we are looking to move this February and there's a good chance we'll move out of our neighborhood then.

Continuing on the moving bit: there is the possibility of us moving into a building with a gym in it. In this case there would be no need for a gym membership at all.

I was fine putting this off until New Year's, but now I have a training plan and I have races that I'm working toward--I need to get running. Moreover, I can feel all the effects of not running on my body: I don't sleep as well, my clothes are tighter, stress compounds easier, my metabolism doesn't know what to do.
Such is my situation.

Somewhere in the middle of this discussion with Wifey, it dawned upon us that the money I would spend on a gym I could just use to buy winter running clothes. I'm already used to running during dark mornings thanks to NYCM training. And even though I don't like running in the cold I know I can do it (remember this?). And this would completely solve all the problems and whatifs above.

So I'm off today to buy a pair of tights and a jacket. Sometimes the simplest solution is the hardest to think of.


2010 goals

No flourish here, just a straight up list of wonderful bullets.

Goals--keep doing from 2009
  • Write over 100 posts. Ideally I'll write more, hopefully closer to 150, but life tends to get in the way pretty often.
  • Train outside as much as possible. I just feel better when I run outside/not on a treadmill. For the next couple months of Winter I'll have to do most runs indoors, but the second it gets back into the 40s pre-dawn, I'll cancel my gym membership and will be out on the roads again.
  • Stay happy in my job. I'm very happy where I am now. Thanks to the recession I've been through enough employers that I now have a much better sense of what is a hiccup and what is a long-term problem.
Goals--new for 2010
  • Have a 50-mile training week. I'm just curious as to how that feels.
  • Integrate HR into my training. For Christmas I got the HR monitor for Fenny, so I can now join the chest-strapped elite. I've been curious about measuring my HR for a while and now have no excuse.
  • Run 1,500 miles. Once I added in the balance of my December runs the official grand total mileage for 2009 is 1,318. Another 200ish miles shouldn't be that hard, especially since I'll log about 650 per training cycle.
  • Keep up with Pop bits. I've only got one installment under my belt, but I'm hoping to make it a regular part of the blog.
Nothing too exciting, but I hope that's a sign that I've got lots of things going in the right direction.


First day of 2010 is all about 2009

Time for a little reflection before seeing what I want to tackle over the next 365 days.

Let's see how I did on the 2009 goals:
  1. Log 1,000 miles for the year. EPIC WIN! Not counting runs from the past two weeks--because they are still in Fenny and not in my log yet--I have run 1,286 miles. The distance from my apartment in NYC to my parent's house in Miami? 1,293.
  2. Get presents for family members' birthdays. EPIC FAIL! I actually did better on this one last year. Ugh. I will get there.
  3. I want to be happier in my job. UNEXPECTED WIN! If anything went completely opposite to what I planned it was my career. Worked my tail off only to lose my client. Ended up getting laid-off on my first day back from vacation. Took a freelance job at an agency that people would die to work at. Interviewed for a job 500 miles from New York. Finally took a job that was a promotion and raise (in this economy!). And now I am actually happy with my job--and I don't remember the last time I could honestly say that.
  4. Get more involved in the running community. DOUBLE FAIL! I didn't rejoin my running group: my excuse was always that the group started runs too late in the morning--wah wah wah. Although I have to say that my running didn't suffer because of this. I also didn't volunteer at a single race, which I have no legitimate excuse for.
  5. Move to a new place. NON-FAIL FAIL! We didn't move, but I can't call this a real fail. Our landlord raised our rent only $25, so I didn't actually lose that much by staying put.
  6. Become an uncle. FOREGONE WIN! This kid is absolutely adorable. Once we get back to NYC I'll post some pictures.
  7. Run at least five races. FAIL, BUT ALMOST A WIN! Due to the economy and shifting jobs travel and racing plans were put on hold. Actually, the only reason I did a fall Marathon was because the race was in my backyard. However, even with all that I ran four races this year, got two states off the list, and got a redundant state (NY) off my list.
What else went down in 2009?
  • After a year and a half of running with the Super Runner's Shop weekend running groups I finally got my free shoes.
  • After about 10 attempts, I finally had a successful 20 mile run.
  • PR'd in the HM distance by five minutes.
  • Did an entire training cycle outdoors and it felt really good. Getting off the treadmill felt like dropping junk food from my diet. I felt like I got more bang for my buck on every run and that everything just worked better.
  • Ran my first Marathon that I had to fly to--which proved to be a great experience
  • Had my first celebrity sighting while running.
  • Surpassed 100 posts in a calendar year, 106 to be exact
Looking at this 2009 doesn't sound all that bad. But were definitely plenty of things that can make 2010 better.