August 30, 2007


No bicycling to work this morning for me. Had multiple charley horses last night between midnight and 2 a.m. I can barely walk this morning.

August 29, 2007

I am back on Wednesday runs

What I need is structure; a steady, continual pace of work; predictable and plannable. Of course, that's the GRIND, but it does wonders for getting me out for some exercise.

I changed into running clothes at work at 7:30 p.m. and ran towards home. I have no hope of running 9.5 miles home, not yet, but I thought I'd see how I do. I found the running difficult at first because the muscles I've been straining when bicycling were really not happy. But I didn't have to walk too much and the whole 3.3 miles (I ran to West 4th subway entrance) really felt pretty good. Three apples. A couple of very short walk breaks, but didn't have to walk for every coughing fit, just to catch my breath. The run was a lot better than the one weekend before last, a 2.7 miler that felt like twice that.

I did have opportunity to scream at some smug jerk in a small jeep. He came down the little sidestreet along Chelsea Piers and blasted his horn at a trio of pedestrians crossing from the studios towards the West Side Highway. And they were IN A CROSSWALK. He started blasting from 100 feet back and continued right on through the crosswalk without tapping his brakes. I got a good look at him as I screamed from five feet away, "What's your PROBLEM, Asshole???" and he had what can only be described as a smug "fuck you" smirk on his face.

I was enraged. I ran after him, knowing he had a stoplight up ahead about 300 feet, but he didn't STOP AT THE RED. He went right through it, turning right and went down the WSH. Had I caught up to him, I may have tried to drag him from his hermetically-sealed little rolling coffin and beat him. Yeah, I'd be risking get the shit beaten out of me, but it'd be worth it. And the headlines would be phenomenal - a real motorists v pedestrians kind of thing.

We really need stricter control on licenses, more traffic cops on the street and in general more cops patrolling on foot. We need the police to actually enforce the laws and the most effective way to do that is going to be to start on the front end - by connecting with the community. And you can't do that from inside a patrol car. You hear me, Commissioner Kelly?

More to the point, we need better traffic control in general. That man was the sole occupant in his vehicle and wasn't hauling commercial goods or supplies. That, in my book, is the kind of driver that should be banned in Manhattan, and would be under 24/7/365 HOV laws. I am sure the upcoming traffic study (a precursor to our experiment in congestion pricing) will be revealing, but we could be DOING something about the congestion problem TOMORROW. Literally tomorrow! Are you listening, Mayor Bloomberg?

Oh, and no, you don't have a right to drive in Manhattan, or anywhere else. Driving is a privilege, one that must be earned and one a person has to remain qualified for. Clearly, something in that system has gone awry - because I tell ya, that asshole earlier tonight is by no means a rarity.

August 28, 2007

I am addicted to work

and it is probably because I'm addicted to things like, oh, food. And shelter. So I work and work and work. I can hardly turn down a paying job if it doesn't conflict (badly) with my other paying gigs.

Unfortunately, it leads to where I am now: probably getting sick. I haven't been running like I should. I worked this whole weekend, and so didn't get run in. To be honest, I prefer to get a full eight hours of sleep rather than cut it to six in order to go run.

So I'm bicycling in to work these days. And I'm loving it, actually. The weather is good, I'm riding pretty well, and my commute time keeps dropping. But it is hell on my legs. I got to work Monday and my legs were jelly. My friend and colleague, Nico, suggested I do what he does: bike in one day, bike home the next. Nine and a half miles is quite a workout (an hour for me) and to do it twice every day is asking for joint trouble, he says.

Well, after working an eleven hour day, I left the building at exactly 8 p.m. and headed home. During the first part of the ride, down to Chambers street along the West Side Highway, I was coughing quite a bit. I brought up a lot of gunk, but at least it was coming freely. And my lungs were feeling better and better. I know I slimed myself at least once, maybe twice.

Now, keep in mind it is dark already and I've got sunglasses on because I forgot my clear riding glasses, but I won't go without eye protection. I can see just fine...mostly. I probably endanger a couple of pedestrians who, like idiots, were wandering in the bike lane as I'm going over the Brooklyn Bridge...

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I know I slimed myself because as the big clock across the river read 8:15, I passed Canal street, coughed, spit, and thought "that didn't quite hit the ground." I saw a dark blob on my sleeve and I smeared it a bit - yep. Slime. Good thing it's dark and no-one will notice.

I got home about 5 minutes 'til 9 - so 55 minutes on the bike at a "working for it" pace. Once I got home, I changed clothes...and found that the expected green smear was not green. It was red. Meaning this was more than minor spotting, this was a pretty good bleed, though not full-on hemoptysis, I don't think.

And this has all happened before: the long slow slide into illness, requiring IVs for several weeks. First the easy running gets difficult, then the coughing increases, then the sputum gets bloody. I still feel good and I'm not having to pause just walking to the subway... but I've got to increase my therapy and running and try to stave this off. I can't afford to get sick until late November, after the dance concert is over.

I also got some good news: Thunder Press will be running my Alaska trip article as a two-parter, even in its shorter, edited version. (My editor cut the epic tale from 14,000 words to 6,800; still about 5,000 words too many for Thunder Press usually.) So this is quite an honor, actually; NOBODY gets two-part articles. It also makes sense, as my article concentrates first on more mundane topics, like how the group got together and how we prepared to go to Alaska; and the second half concentrates more on the adventure itself. At some point, I'll post the expanded version of the article (and I left out a lot, too) and everyone can read it; but that may be awhile since I'm so fuckin' busy.

August 21, 2007

I am pissed off

So many things have been disappointing lately; chief among them - ME.

The running is not going well. Work sucks up ALL of my time. I am pedaling like hell and it feels like I'm barely making headway, though apparently I am able to make rent. Not much more than that, but at least I can be pissed off with a roof over my head.

Which is a good thing, because it's been fucking RAINING all damn day. It was like the middle of October around here; we even set a record for the coldest August 21st ever. Global warming my ass.

I don't have time even to go shopping enough to get a decent amount of groceries, buy some envelopes, go the post office, etc. Nothing is getting DONE. Just work, sleep, eat, repeat. And I'm in a pissy mood because work is not going well right now at one particular place.

I did run a little last weekend, around my aunt's neighborhood. Again, not a lot of time for running, but at least the jog felt good.

Here's the fact: I'm not going to run the New York City marthon this year. I WILL continue to try to find enough time to run and perhaps can train up enough to run the Staten Island half a month from now. This will be my third year in a row and I've always enjoyed it. I'm not even going to cancel my entry to the NYM, I'll just not show up. I'll easily have enough NYRR races to qualify for next year. Perhaps, when work slows down and I am, essentially, unemployed for most of November through February (perhaps even longer after that, given how work went today), I will be able to train up for a spring marathon. Make no mistake: I will eventually, someday, run the NY marathon. I HAVE to. But it will take a better summer of running than I had this year, which may mean - really - that that summer will be spent mostly unemployed and hurting for money. But time will be available - and with time comes better attention to my running, my therapies, my eating, my health. What a balancing act. I can either own a home, have no life, and work myself sick; or I can be a fabulously healthy homeless dude.

Well, at least dinner will taste good tonight, and since that is ready; adieu.

August 15, 2007

back to bicycling

Dinner tonight cost me a grand total of $1.39. The liver was .99 and I guesstimate the cost of rice at .40. I am ecstatic. I wish I could eat this cheaply always.

I've pedaled to work the last two days. 9.5 miles there, 9.5 back. My legs definitely got a cross-training workout or two, as well as my lungs getting some deep breathing too. It isn't running, but it's better than nothing.

And nothing is what's happening elsewise. Having been out of town for five weeks, things got a little behind at work. I really expected more progress to have been made in my absence, but only a little bit got done on the most important client's stuff. So... I've been pedaling like hell ever since I got back, figuratively. Ten hour days and the like. Tack on the time it takes to commute, cook, eat, and do therapy and there's only six hours for sleep and nothing left for running.

It's a puzzle.

Hopefully, the latest round of proposal sketches will meet with some approval and things can go forth and I can come to work an hour later or leave an hour early all next week - this would let me get my runs in. In the meantime, the bicycle commute - an hour each way - seems like a great way to keep the legs working, keep the lungs working, etc. Still, I had to ice above my knees when I got home today. Too much, too soon? Probably. :)

I had a good long run last weekend and will shoot for a seven-mile run this weekend, though I will be travelling again and have NO idea when I'll get this done.

Now, if y'all are interested in the pics from my trip to Alaska, they are here.

August 12, 2007

Six miles in Sag Harbor! Or was it?

I had an invitation to go out to the Hamptons Saturday for a party, so I got on the bus and went. It was great hanging out there and I brought running clothes, too. I brought my watch with the shoepod so I could gauge distance. According to my watch, I did six miles, running from my hosts house on Sag Harbor into the town itself and back.

Unfortunately, gmaps pedometer is telling me it was over a mile less than that. I'm really not sure which is right. I ran for an hour and twelve minutes, for an 12 minute pace, which with the amount of walking and coughing I did, sounds about right. 4.8 miles would mean it was a 15-minute-per-mile pace, even.... But I've done that pace before and it was ALL walking (that gotdam Manhattan Half from 2006, remember?). And though my watch has been off before, it's never been off by 20%, only 5 or 6 percent, max. So...this is the first time I'm trusting my watch over gmaps, which disturbs me a little bit.

Muscles were sore today, particularly my calves. The bus ride home, they were threatening to cramp up the whole time and I have been stretching them as I could today. Hopefully I get in 3.4 tomorrow morning before work.

Oh, and though I didn't have a camera with me, it was a beautiful place to run, believe me. I'd do it again in a moment.

August 8, 2007

so what's your excuse today, slacker? A tornado? Yeah, right.

Last night, coming home from work (which is already in the 11-hour days range due to seasonal deadlines), I thought I might cover my bike. A tingle in the back of my mind, though, said don't do it, man. Don't cover that bike up. Just for tonight. Odd, but I listened to it.

That turned out to be a stroke of good fortune in a morning otherwise filled with shit. I did manage to lever my ass out of bed at 5 a.m. and after my morning pre-run routine, opened my front door at 5:30 a.m.

And was greeted by a bright flash of lightning and a peal of thunder.

Stepping out onto my stoop, I was nearly blown off by a mighty gust of wind. A few seconds later, fat raindrops began coming down, quickly increasing in intensity. My bike was rocking back and forth on its kickstand. Had the cover been on, it would have acted like a sail and my bike would have gone right on over.

This was the start of what will no doubt be remembered as the Storm Of Ought-Seven. You may have heard a little on your own news that New York got a little wet between the hours of 5:30 and 7 a.m. You might also have heard that exceedingly high winds mistook the finer neighborhoods of Brooklyn (i.e. Bay Ridge and Sunset Park - MY neighborhood!) for a trailer park and channeled themselves into something the National Weather Service is declaring "the strongest tornado ever to hit New York".

It managed to rip off some roofs, turn cars around, uproot cords and cords of previously-growing firewood (read: trees), and dump a hell of a lot of water on all of New York in a very, very short time. The result: chaos.

Fortunately, I was smart enough to be convinced not to go running in this storm. It was already hot and humid, even at 5:30 a.m. - 77 degrees and 88% humidity - and the storm rolling in just seemed like a bad omen. So I went back to bed and skipped this opportunity to continue training for the NY Marathon. I am thinking that this training thing is not going well. Everything is getting in the way, EXCEPT my health. My motivation is lacking, I will admit...

When I finally got out of bed for the second time and got going, it took some time just to find a subway entrance that wasn't closed. The bike was not an option - I could barely breathe just walking, much less trying to exercise my way to work. I hooked up my upstairs tenant and we went to a different subway entrance together. This local station would extend my commute on the best of days, but today, my commute turned into a two-hour odyssey, including sitting for a half-hour at Delancey while they fixed our broken-down train. Sitting there with the doors closed. In a crowded, hot subway car. Standing, actually.

And the lines are still fucked up. Commute home took 80 minutes. The MTA sucks. I will attempt the bike tomorrow, because I can't afford a 90-minute commute if I can do it in 50 minutes by bike - I have work to get done!

I hope to post more positive things Friday, including a positive report of a good solid run.

August 6, 2007

we now return you to your regularly scheduled program

Woof. Talk about the dog days of August... 5:45 a.m. this morning, 75 degrees, 78% humidity. I finally put in my air conditioner last night just to take some humidity out of the air in my apartment and walking out this morning was like walking into a hot, sweaty, fat person. And then trying to BREATHE them.

My body, too, was not happy with running, after so many days and miles on the road - I got off the bike yesterday for that last time, having arrived home at 11:30 a.m. after doing almost 300 miles in the morning... I was stiff, sore, tired, exhausted, and just generally run down. I had a lot to do in starting to unpack, get some groceries, sort the junk mail out (I've STILL got a 13 inch high pile of mail to work through!), etc etc etc.

So it may not surprise you to hear that my plans for a 3.4 mile run this morning rapidly turned into 2 miles of coughing and walking. I'll try again tomorrow.

My thoughts on the run turned to the upcoming Marathon. In a normal training cycle, I'd be in shape enough to run a half-marathon, like last year at this point. I'm nowhere near that right now and have less than three months to train. I have decided that IF training goes well - smooth and steady - and IF I can get in at least one 18 mile long run, then I'll do the marathon, even if I have to walk parts of it. But I can also see me turning to some other runner who put in less than three months of training and asking them, "are you stupid?" So if training goes badly or gets interrupted too long (think gallbladder surgery), then I won't risk injury by pushing an untrained unready body for 26.2 miles. Yes, it would be the third marathon I've ducked out of; but can I tell you how badly fucking scheduled NY Marathon really is? If were a January marathon, I'd be much happier.

Still, Team Boomer compels me...

August 1, 2007

Vermont Run

Middlebury. Ottawa was great, but Vermont is GREAT. Really very pretty up here.

I met Scott this morning for a run at 6:30. This morning's run was short - about two and a half miles - but took Scott and I over much of the streets of Middlebury, including a few good hills. Not too much coughing and walking - minimal even. Felt pretty good right from the outset, and running the hills was a good workout. Scott continued on at 7 a.m., while I went back to the hotel to start therapy, as we wanted to be on the road by nine and therapy, shower, breakfast, and packing the bike takes right at two hours. The houses and buildings are pretty nice, here. It's not Greenwich, CT, or anything, but they tend to renovate older buildings well and build new ones with an eye toward blending in, instead of sticking out and being an eyesore. Of course, I've really only seen the town center, so it's probably the best part of town anyway. Scott and I are planning on getting out earlier tomorrow morning or Friday morning so we can get a full five miles in.