Loop Race LBRR

For the uninitiated, an LBRR is a Long Boring Race Report. It’s an occasional things runners do, to describe/discuss their experiences while racing. I have yet to see one done in realtime, but I imagine we will at some point.

This report is about the Schuylkill River Loop Race, the oldest continuously held race in Philadelphia. This is the fourth time I’ve done this race, and the second time that it has been really windy. I’m talking about stand you upright, not thinking you’re moving anywhere headwind. Of course, with the schizophrenic wind conditions around the Loop, any headwind could suddenly change to a tailwind.

The race started out interesting, as we had to dodge whatever walk was going on in front of the Art Museum. I almost knocked over someone who was taking a picture, but too stupid to look after taking the picture and before moving. Shortly after that, we headed out onto the path along MLK Drive. I fell into pace with two other people (one guy and the first woman) and we were running together, but not running together. It’s a difficult concept to explain if you aren’t a runner, but basically we were running at the same pace, but not talking to each other. I think the guy kept trying to lose me. But since he cut me off badly within the first half mile, I was kinda pissed.

There were supposed to be mile markers for us on the course, but I didn’t see them. I only saw the people setting up the water stops for the walk. Anyway, the three of us kept together through at least mile 2.5 and were covering (at my attempt to do math while I run – a dangerous thing) at about a 6:35-6:40 pace. I hadn’t been racing that fast for this distance (8.4 miles) for quite some time. So I was a bit worried about the speed, but felt really good. This just goes to show how much better you can run when you run with other people.

It was somewhere around this point in the race (near Montgomery Drive) that we finally started gaining back on some of the people in front of us. There were two guys ahead of us, with a small distance between them. We swept up the first guy and he came along, we then swept up the second guy. I thought he held on for a little while, but we eventually dropped him. The good thing about this group was that we were all sort of taking turns in the lead, in an unspoken agreement to try to handle the wind better.

I started fading a little bit when we hit Falls Bridge. I could feel them pulling away from me, and I got hit with a nasty headwind blast just as we were heading up the last little rise to the bridge. I thought I would be stuck in no man’s land behind this group. I managed to catch up to hat guy for a little while, and then went by him as we approached mile 6 (which was the only marked mile on the course). He then caught me back around the John Kelly statue and stayed just out of reach for the rest of the race. I couldn’t catch him, but he didn’t get that much farther ahead of me.

Some other guy came from out of nowhere to pass me just after we cross the far end of Boathouse Row, within the last quarter mile. I had nothing to try to surge to keep up with him. And didn’t really care about the place – I was very happy with the time. About a 56:45 (I had a slight finger malfunction on the watch buttons). Not a PR for this race, but one of the better races that I’ve run by staying with a group for that long.

Why I’m glad I don’t use Blogger anymore

That would be because Blogger is currently (10:40 pm ET) experiencing some kind of server problems. Some of my regular reads all turned up “500 – Internal Server Error”. (You geeky inquisitive types can check the RFC. Of course, if you’re that geeky, you’d already know the code.) That’s the one thing that I absolutely hated about Blogger – occasional outages when I had a creative urge. Which, as you can probably tell by looking at the number of days that pass between posts, can cause some consternation.

Now powered by WordPress!

Free at last!

I have finally gotten off of my ass, and ported this blog away from Blogger and onto WordPress. Now totally hosted on my server. No more lousy Blogger hang-ups, etc.

Of course, it will take some time to categorize all this stuff. (Plus, it would help if I could type correctly, since I know how to spell.) And I do need to find a new template. Or find the skills to create/modify one on my own. I know, good luck with that!

Why Does Duke Football Suck?

Or, if Rutgers can find the wins, why can’t we?
(Apologies to CaseyBoy.)

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a big Duke fan, as well as a Duke grad and an Iron Dukes member. But what I really can’t figure out is how the football program has gotten to be so bad – currently riding a 14 game losing streak, dating back to last season. And a steady fixture in ESPN.com’s Bottom 10 (see this week’s edition). It’s maddening because there doesn’t seem to be only one problem that can be fixed. So where to begin?

I have no solutions, but can identify a few potential problem areas. Any solution suggestions are welcome. I don’t know if they’ll do any good, but it can’t hurt.

Coaching. Been a revolving door. Lack of stability means too many changes that the existing players have to implement. But how long of a leash do you provide?

Play calling. Even good coaches call bad plays. But how do you differentiate between bad coaching and bad play calling? Other than the obvious – that a bad coach will consistently call bad plays.

Recruiting. Is the talent just not there? Not really sure about this one. High school talent is not the same as college-level talent. Of course, injuries don’t help.

Facilities. This is something that the school admits has been lacking in the past, and has been throwing dollars at the problem to correct it. So this is about neutral.

This has got to end sooner or later – hopefully sooner. In the mid-1990′s it was Northwestern. This year, it’s Rutgers. So it’s not impossible for a bottom-feeding program to crawl from the wreckage. But it’s a rare occurrence.

Butley – Kinda boring

I went to see the preview edition of Nathan Lane’s revival of Butley this past weekend. Being a fan of Nathan Lane (having seen him on stage six times), I had high expectations. Apparently, I should’ve looked into the story a little deeper – I was bored at times. I even dozed off a little, as did my wife and my father. The moments of comedy were dry at best and few and far between. A character study of a man whose life goes into the toilet from the get-go, this is almost a one-man show. I just couldn’t really get into it, mainly because I was expecting a bit more comedy in the mix.

Got soaked heading home today

I have absolutely the worst sense of timing when it comes to leaving work during bad weather. A few weeks ago, I had a late afternoon dentist appointment. It was pouring rain. I went two blocks and got soaked.

Today, I had to leave when I did to be able to make the two buses to get home. I had to run for the first one, after crossing the recently-repaved-but-poorly-draining 17th Street (i.e., a frickin’ lake at the crosswalk). Running for the bus wouldn’t have been so bad by itself, except for the fact that I was wearing a suit and loafers – not exactly running gear. And the umbrella didn’t help while running. I got initially wet.

Then I had to wait for the second bus, the always-late 57 South. At least I got to wait somewhere dry and even dried out a little bit on the ride down to my stop. I got off the bus when it was pouring. Within about 15 seconds, I was soaked again. I knew there was no way to stay even slightly dry for the three block walk home, so I just kept the umbrella low and walked as quickly as I could. I could feel my shoes filling with water, which sucks if you’ve ever experienced it.

I got into the house and called for help: I wanted a change of pants and some towels to dry off. My pants soaked through to the point my underwear was wet. That’s a new low for me. I just hope the suit isn’t ruined – I like the suit.

On T.O.

Now that the general media blitz has subsided (and I have some free time), I offer my two cents on the whole “T.O. Thing”. First, it’s good that he had an awful game (see the NFL News article via ESPN).

As for the whole suicide attempt thing, I don’t buy it. Suicide is generally quiet and private. Unless, of course, you happen to dive off of a building onto a busy street or something like that. And T.O. isn’t a quiet person. No, he loves the spotlight. Suicide by O.D. would be too tame for him.

A few days ago at work, we were tossing around a few ideas before the start of a breakfast meeting. I suggested a shotgun between his legs while he did crunches in his driveway and then pulling the trigger at around 20 crunches. Then someone mentioned, “That would make one heck of a touchdown dance. T.O. scores, pulls a gun out of his sock, and blows his brains out.” Either one of those options would be more suited to his personality.

But, alas, such messy and permanent events did not come to pass. Maybe next time. Remember T.O., if you want help killing yourself, I’m sure that there are plenty of folks here in Philly who’d be more than happy to help out.

CBS cancels Smith

When trying to set the DVR for tonight, I noticed that Smith wasn’t on – a CSI rerun was on instead. Thanks to the magic of Internet searching, I found out that Smith was canceled. But there weren’t many articles; this article from the Baltimore Sun has only a few facts, namely, that the viewership was really low (about 8.4 million). But Karen and I liked it, not that it matters now. Oh well. I get 48 minutes a week back (DVR’ed minus the commercials).