Sunday, April 30, 2006

Weh, weh, weh

Call me a baby - or a lazy ass, either one will suffice - but I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired, so instead of putting even more pressure on my already imploding brain, I'm gonna head home and get some much-needed rest while putting off writing something quasi-intelligent until sometime tomorrow, if I make it there that is. Take it easy all.

Quote of the day:

Any player not on our team is not on our team.
- Patriots coach Bill Belichick, the NFL's most quotable smartass

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Training Log (4/23-4/29)

SUN - AM: Solo 44-minute jaunt at Northwest Park in Portland while Oscar and Carrie took a hike, literally. Calling it 6 miles. Finished up with four strides of 20 sec. on/40 sec. off, which will be called Driscoll strides from here on out. If I do nothing else in life, I'm gonna make the kid a legend.

MON - AM: 6 miles, 43 minutes. Looped around Westmoreland Park in Portland a few times before catching a plane back East. Managed to avoid stepping in the goose poo.

TUES - AM: 4 miles from home in 27:55. Out the door only 40 minutes after waking up - now that's making progress. PM: 55 minutes at Bentley, starting off with Ryan & Co. on their warmup and finishing up solo, including a mile of strides on the track in 5:36.

WEDS - AM: 70 minutes at West Hill all by my lonesome. Easy does it.

THURS - AM: Out-n-back Rail Trail 10-spot from the Stone Church. Out nice & easy in 35:08, back in a relatively swift 29:22. Hit the last few miles on the way back in 5:48, 5:33, 5:21. Solid effort, comfortably hard I'd say.

FRI - AM: 57:45 from home. Legs don't like the roads, but otherwise they dealt just fine. PM: 29:20 on the dirt at Lake Park with 6 Driscoll strides mid-run. Legs seemingly in a much better mood. Nice, soft dirt will do that, I guess.

SAT - AM: 68 and change with Old Man Willy at the Rail Trail. Out in 7:10 and hitting 6:30's by Mile 3. The old bastard can still crank it.

WEEK TOTALS: 66 miles, 9 runs. Good week. Fitness is on its way back, albeit slowly. No rush though.

Quote of the day:

Everyone thinks he can be Brian Sell.
Mary Wittenberg, race director of the New York City Marathon

Friday, April 28, 2006

Relay this message

It's time for Penn!

The fun started last night with the distance races and continues through the weekend with all sorts of wacky relays, invitational races, et. al. My personal favorite are the "U.S vs. The World" relays - I always get a kick out of those. For some reason it reminds me of American Gladiator, don't ask me why. Like the rest of the world even stands a chance.

Anyways, back to last night and a few performances of note. Good pal Katie G. narrowly missed nabbing a Penn Relays watch in the Collegiate Women's 5000-meter Championship, finishing second in a new personal best of 16:12. I can say with confidence that she would surely kick my ass right now.

Also riding the personal best train was occasional training partner and all-around good guy Nate Jenkins, finishing 6th in the OD 5K with a nifty 9-second PR of 14:22. Rumor also has it that he just signed a little deal with Saucony, a well deserved deal, I might add.

And that's gonna do it. My self-allotted online time is up for the day. Take it easy all.

Quote of the day:

It'd be nice to see a goofy white guy win it.
- Brian Sell on the Boston Marathon

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Better off dead

Headline in this morning's T&G, the publication that helps fund my existence: "Study shows death is painful"

Well no shit, you don't say. If the experience was all rainbows and butterflies, I suppose people would be lining up by the dozens to put an end to their corporeal misery, which would do wonders for tackling the problem of overcrowding in the city of Worcester now that I think about it. Apparently, for 80% of Worcester's dying population, "DNR (do not resuscitate) orders make a huge difference in ensuring that you will die a comfortable death, and they will also ensure you have more autonomy, more information is shared, and your wishes are more likely to be expressed and followed," says Dr. David A. Kaufman. Also, "We still have things that need to be done better...the goal of the partnership is to try and provide support in those areas that can lead to a better dying experience for the people of Worcester."

Call me an insensitive asshole, but reading this article provided me a good laugh this morning. While the main objective was to highlight the fact that 1 out of every 5 people who die in Worcester don't do so comfortably - which it accomplished, to some extent - the headlines were a tad misleading and the quotes just utterly ridiculous. Remember, we're talking about death - the end of all ends - not crazy orgasmic sex. Naturally, it's supposed to hurt, but then again who knows for sure. When it's all said and done (both literally and figuratively) the person is D-E-A-D. They're not in any kind of shape to tell you if it hurt or not anyway.

Moral of the story: When it's time for you to go, come to Worcester. There's only a 20% chance that it's gonna hurt.

Quote of the day:

You know when I need to die? When I'm done living. When I can't walk, can't eat, can't see, when I'm a crotchety old bastard, mad at the world. Then I can die.
- Lance Armstong

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Get real

Perhaps the biggest realization I came to while in Oregon last week, aside from the fact that it should be made federal law that all women shave their legs and armpits, is that I spend way too much time in front of the computer. Granted, I usually don't have much of a choice because of my job, etc., but I calculated that I tend to spend upwards of 4+ hours in front of this silly screen sometimes, with no good reason at all. It's time that could be much better spent for sure. With that being said, I'm limiting myself to no more than 90 minutes of non-work related Web time a day from now on, so don't be surprised if the quality of these entries takes an abrupt nose dive, if they haven't already. Time to head home from my first night back on the desk. Take it easy all.

Quote of the day:

I wonder who would win in a pissing or a Saudi-Arabian camel?
- An apparently amazed co-worker who asked to remain nameless

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Gimme some cheese with my whine

Please forgive my sleep deprived, internet-lacking, still quasi-gimpy ass for bombarding ya’ll with this smorgasbord of entries all at once. I sincerely apologize for sucking so bad. Actually, I take that back. Lack of free wireless internet in the state of Oregon sucks. Damn free-loading hippie bastards. I’ll let them apologize. It’s all their fault.

Anywho, now that I’ve got my whining out of the way, lemme try to fill ya in with some commentary few days spent in The Beaver State. And what you'll find below this entry is just the tip of the iceberg. I've got some more stuff in my notebook about the meet, etc. that I've yet to transcribe electronically. I do apologize for the very unchronological order of these entries - everything is ass backwards right now. Perhaps later I'll have the time to fix it, but for now, you'll have to deal. Enjoy!

Super signage

A couple quality signs I saw on my trip...

This one courtesy of The Mudhouse Tavern in Portland:

If Paul Allen [owner of the Portland Trailblazers] didn’t know Bill Gates, he’d be here cleaning toilets.

And my personal favorite (go ahead, call me an asshole):

Young bum on the corner of Willamette and 29th in Eugene...Poor, hungry, homeless. Just run me over.

Training Log (4/16-4/22)

SUN – AM: Pakachoag 5 solo, 34:50; last mile in 6:05. NOTE: Last mile is equivalent to falling off a cliff. PM: 40:30 out-n-back on the Rail Trail to cap off an 11-mile day. Man, that sounds pathetic.

MON – Rockland 7 solo in 47:50. 35:07 through 5 and I thought I was flying. Guess I better think harder next time.

TUES – PM: 36:45 solo at WEST HILL. 5:56 for the 4th mile, dead-on nuts 8 flat for the last one. PM: 54:45 with Hodge in Clinton. Felt pretty good, as 7:30 pace should.

WEDS – AM: Fallon 6 solo from home, 42:45. 7:29/6:47 on the way out, 6:37/6:06 coming back. I remember when this used to be easy.

THURS – AM: 45 min easy with Oscar through suburban Portland, 6 miles tops. Emphasis on easy.

FRI – AM: 70 min solo on the wacky woodchips of Eugene, Oregon. Man, I forgot how much I hated running on that shit. Started out running 7:20s on the Rexius, finished up with a couple 6:45s on the Amazon. First double-digit run in a long while.

SAT – AM: 67:30 with Oscar and his CU buddies in Eugene, none of whom he was actually teammates with, but Ponce is something of a legend in their eyes. Annnnnnyways, the plan was for an easy 30-40 minutes, but as you might have guessed by now, neither of those things happened, Hey, it’s not every day I get a chance to go running with the Buffaloes. Good run, devoid of those damn woodchips.

WEEK TOTALS: 63 miles. Good week of training. Yes, training. I think I’ve finally got this Achilles thing licked. Knock on wood, anyways.

Quote of the day:

I might not know karate [slicks hair back], but I know karazy.
- Mark Wetmore (or more accurately, Oscar Ponce impersonating Mark Wetmore)

Top-10 reminders that I'm in Eugene, Oregon

1. As I wait for my ride here downtown, I’m sitting in a Starbucks and sipping on a latte amongst an army of mostly unemployed modern-day hippies. If this isn’t a stereotypical representation of life in Eugene, then I don’t know what is.

2. Quote from an article in today’s Eugene Daily Emerald entitled, "Hippie culture’s still here, man": “Hippies want to safeguard our planet and make sure the world is a safe place for future generations.”

3. The Oregon Invitational preview is the centerpiece article on the sports page of The Register Guard, and the meet isn't even until tomorrow. Now that’s cool. I saved a copy for my boss, maybe I can sell him on the idea.

4. I just saw my fifth VW conversion van. I haven’t even been in town for an hour yet.

5. On the subject of transportation, I’ve seen just as many bikes on the road as automobiles, or so it seems.

6. Make that six and seven VW vans. I've been here exactly 49 minutes.

7. 83% of the girls here might be hippies, and who knows what percentage of them actually shave their body hair, but man, the girls here are beautiful.

8. Judging by the number of long-haired, bearded Vietnam veterans that roam the streets in Eugene, it wouldn’t surprise me if Forrest Gump retired here after his next run across the country.

9. In two trips to this city, I still haven’t met anyone native to Eugene. One way or another, they all just seem to have ended up here. Weird.

10. What is with the drive-thru coffee shacks on every street corner? Seriously.

Bus Blogging (4/20/06)

Random observations from the back of a Greyhound bus as I made my way down I-5 from Portland to Eugene. My computer battery isn't all that great, so I wrote all this down in my notebook and transcribed it all afterwards. Some of this stuff sounds pretty ridiculous, but believe me, I couldn't make any of this up if I tried.

12:58 p.m. – Scraggly guy with a ponytail, dark sunglasses and a tattoo of a marijuana leaf on his forearm just boarded the bus. Picture the Unabomber as a hippy. Trust me, it’s as frightening as it sounds.

1:06 p.m. – Sitting here I feel kinda like Forrest Gump when he joined the Army, only I’m not on my way to bootcamp and eventually Vietnam. The prospects here are much more frightening.

1:08 p.m. – Oregon may have the coolest license plate of any state. Seriously. Maybe except for the Red Sox vanity plates back home, that is.

1:20 p.m. – Big sign off the highway: “Jiggles Dancers”. Something tells me it's not a ballet studio.

1:51 p.m. – Taking in the natural scenery as we make our way down I-5, I’m reminded of Oscar’s earlier revelation. It sure is green out there. And I’m colorblind.

2 p.m. – We just made a 5-minute rest stop in the small shit town of Salem. I think I’m the only one who didn’t get off the bus to light up a cigarette. And apparently forearm tattoos are a status symbol round these parts.

2:04 p.m. – An overweight kid with long hair, two lip rings and an Army knapsack just boarded the bus. Something tells me he didn’t just get back from Iraq. Or maybe he did, who am I to judge.

2:09 p.m. – Big yellow lettering on a building in downtown Salem: ADULT SHOP. A for clarity, F for originality.

2:23 p.m. – With each passing minute, I’m realizing more and more that this truly must be the grass capital of the world. And I’m not just talking about the kind that makes up your front lawn.

3:11 p.m. – Just woke up from a lil catnap and saw a sign that says we’re only seven miles from Eugene. Sweet. Also just saw my 5th Denny’s between Portland and here. Who knows how many I missed while I dozed off.

3:19 p.m. – Spectacles, testicles, wallet, watch. Made it to Eugene with everything still intact, I think.

Thursday, April 20th - 12:09 p.m.

Greetings from the Rose City. This update is brought to you from the discomfort of the Greyhound station in downtown Portland. My bus departs for Eugene at 1, so I’ve got a little time to kill before boarding. I’ll take this opportunity to provide a lil synopsis of my trip thus far.

Yesterday’s travel went off without a hitch. We arrived in Portland at 8 p.m. local time, where Oscar, Carrie and I were greeted by Carrie’s mom. Mrs. Zografos shuttled us back to their humble home to drop off our bags before heading out for some fine Mexican cuisine of tortas and cinnamon rice milk. Good stuff. By 10 p.m. we were all pretty wiped, so after catching the late edition of SportsCenter, the three of us retreated to our respective rooms and slept like wintering bears.

Rolled out of bed around 8 this morning, and soon afterwards went out with Oscar for an easy 45-minute jaunt around suburban Portland. T’was a rather pleasant experience I must say, full of fresh air and breathtaking scenery. As Oscar remarked about 127 times during the course of our lil stroll, “It’s green out here rookie. Real green.”

This brings me to where I am now, in this unsanitary shithole. After scouring the terminal for an outlet to plug my laptop into, I managed to find one in this little cafĂ© set off to the side of the station. Good thing, too, because I was growing a little uneasy amongst the gathering of scraggly folks making their temporary (or permanent, I’m still not sure) homes on the benches of the main terminal. I went to the bathroom to relieve myself – both literally and figuratively – and happened across a large, shirtless man shaving in the adjacent sink. Suffice to say, I was more than mildly disturbed. After having my fill of fuckedupedness for the day, I’m glad to have found some temporary refuge in my haven here off to the side. From my few experiences in these types of transportation venues, it seems to me that they’re all more or less the same – unsanitary bungalows teeming with smelly, toothless folk who are as adept at asking for a buck as they are anything else.

Anywho, they just made the first call for boarding so I’m gonna get my ass in gear. With any luck I’ll get my own seat and avoid any more potentially scary situations with the local folks. Adios for now.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Back from The Beaver State...

...and plenty of new material for ya'll to read, but you'll have to wait till tomorrow, so keep your eyes open. Take it easy all.

Quote of the day:

Jorge would take two, three, maybe four miles to get going. With Dathan it was usually two, three, maybe 400 meters tops.
- Bret Schoolmeester

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Go West, young man

And tomorrow I will, for 5 days in fact. I'll be heading to Oregon with my good buddy Oscar and his fantastic fiancee, Carrie, for some good 'ol R & R (running and relaxation). After arriving in Portland tomorrow evening, I'll board a bus on Thursday morning and retreat to Eugene for a few days. Ultimately, I'll end up back in Portland late Saturday, partake in Greek Easter with the Zografos clan on Sunday, and drift back to the right coast on Monday afternoon.

The original motive for this little adventure involved a 25-lap tour of Hayward Field on Friday night with my pal Ponce, but an untimely and slow healing Achilles strain inconveniently nixed those plans. Luckily, I have some family and a few friends in Eugene, and since the plane tickets were bought way back in February and time-off from work was graciously granted, I decided to go ahead with my plans. The meet itself will be fun to watch with some great races on tap. Along with Oscar in the 10K, one of my Reebok Boston teammates, Erin Dromgoole, will be racing in the 5K. I'm pretty bummed that I won't be lacing up the spikes myself, but I'll be glad to cheer those two on. And besides, a little sojourn away from here might be just what I need right about now.

Anywho, I'm not sure yet of my internet availability on the left coast, but I'll make every effort to sneak a post in here and there. If access is limited or nonexistent, I plan on keeping an offline blog which I'll post when the opportunity presents itself. That's gonna do it for tonight. Take it easy all.

Training in a group works. Training by oneself works. The common tie is: TRAINING works. Training has nothing to do with what you see on this message board day-in and day-out, which is "how do I train for the marathon on 50 miles a week." There are no shortcuts.

Monday, April 17, 2006

A few outwardly shouts

Some noteworthy performances by a few close pals and loyal blog readers who I tracked during today's race. Except Campbell that is. The FBI couldn't track him. Anyways, without further adue:

Former Stonehill teammates Kim Nolan (3:09:03), Rob Sparkes (3:10:17) and James "the Bandit" Campbell (3:15 or so). I didn't manage to catch any of them afterwards, but trying to find someone after Boston is the human equivalent of trying to find a needle in a haystack. Solid efforts by all three of these former Chieftains. Yes, Chieftains.

Chris Voce (2:40:05). My current Reebok Boston teammate, who I did manage to flag down just past the finish line. Don't ask me how I did it, we'll just say that Voce stands out high above the crowd. If it weren't for those hideously red racing flats, he might have got the six seconds he was looking for. A damn good race nonetheless.

Flash (2:44:20). I've never actually met Josh, but frequently check out his blog and knew he was looking for a sub-2:40. Didn't look like that was in the cards, but I think this is a PR for him at Boston, if I'm not mistaken. Nice work.

Quote of the day:

One hell of an experience though. I started so far in the back that it was tough to get going, but it was a lot of fun (and a lot of pain).
- Rob Sparkes, my former C'pn

Tha Baaahstan Marathon Media Room Blog

10:10 a.m. - Just set up shop here in the Copley media room. Definitely the youngan amongst this group, but I'm cool with that. Off to grab some free eats before I start "working".

11:23 a.m. - The wheelchairs are about to go off in a few minutes. We've got a live, commercial-free feed in here, complete with OLN commentary. I swear if I hear Larry Rawson refers to the chase pack as the peloton even once, I'm gonna throw something at the big screen.

12:14 p.m. - Lead men pass through 2 miles in a relatively pedestrian 10:07. 5 Americans in the lead pack right now, including Meb, Culpepper, Sell, Verran and Gilmore. Looking at the screen right now, it appears that business has picked up as the pack has begun to string out some. Still no mention of a peloton. Thank God.

12:18 p.m. - The fatass seated next to me just proclaimed that Dante Culpepper doesn't stand a chance of winning the race. He must be an expert.

12:44 p.m. - At 15K in 44:51 the lead pack looks to be breaking up a bit. These guys are haulin' up front. Meb is right up there but Culpepper has dropped off a bit. No Hansons in sight, and with their obnoxious uninforms, they're pretty easy to spot.

12:50 p.m. - WBZ announcer: What kind of training do these guys do? Do they do anything besides run? Tony Reavis: Well, they run quite a bit, usually twice a day. Maybe 12 miles in the morning and 5 to 10 more in the evenings. They can't waste too much time doing anything else.

12:52 p.m - 48:06 through 10 miles. Damn.

1:02 p.m. - 14:41 for the leaders over the last 5K, 59 and change through 20K. We're down to three, including Meb. The pace over the last 10 has been absolutely suicidal. With the hills coming up, this is gonna get interesting. Tosa is still leading the women's race through 16, but she's been up there for a while. She's my pick, hopefully she can hold on.

1:05 p.m. - 62:44 through the 1/2 marathon. I think I just soiled myself.

1:14 p.m. - Larry Rawson: This race is not over. No shit sherlock.

1:20 p.m. - Off to the interview room for a few words from Ernst Van Dyk. Dude just won his sixth-straight wheelchair crown.

2:00 p.m. - Just got back from the press conference. Not much excitement, but some classic Bob Lobel-isms from Channel 4's broadcast: Cheruiyot's of fire. ...and... Lobel: Meb's nowhere to be seen. Tony Revis: Well Bob, that's the camera's fault. He's only about 10 seconds back.

2:05 p.m. - New course record is about a minute away. Cheruiyot's gonna run 2:07 and some change. Incredible!

2:08 p.m. - Perhaps even more incredible, potentially 4 Americans in the top 10 with 3 on the top 5. U.S.A., U.S.A!

2:25p.m. - 5 Americans in the top 10! 5! My early addition has the U.S. taking the team title hands down.

2:34 p.m. - In the press conference, women's winner Rita Jeptoo of Kenya gives all credit to the "greatest coach in the world, Renato Canova." It gets better. The next uninformed shmuck who asked her a question inquired whether or not Jeptoo was happy to beat "such a stellar field with world-record holder Paula Radcliffe and other strong Europeans." Are you kidding me?

2:39 p.m. - Last update for a while, gotta head outside and attempt to hunt down some locals. Wish me luck.

5:14 p.m. - Just filed my story and am about to pack up shop so I can head home and get a run in before dark. Hope ya'll enjoyed this running commentary. If you're scoring at home, yes, that pun was indeed intended.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Running Log (4/9-4/15)

SUN - AM: 53 minutes w/Hodge at my beloved Rail Trail. Nice and slow, last two in 7:36/7:28. Achilles started bitchin' at me a bit on the way back down the trail.

MON - PM: 36 minutes solo around Lake Park. 7:14 opening mile on the track, closed the last one in a brisk 6:28. Watch out.

TUES - AM: Holy shit, I got out before 11! 29:20 solo from mi casa, a smidge over 4 miles I'd say. PM: Swore to myself that I wouldn't go back to Lake Park again this week, but guess where I ended up? Yep. I'm a miserable failure. 28:30, 4 miles.

WEDS - AM: Same loop as last Saturday with Hodge, but 5 minutes faster. I was flying. 40 minutes, 6 miles.

THURS - AM: Pakachoag 5 solo from home, 35:20. Lungs and legs still catching up to one another. Lungs are slightly ahead right now. PM: Back to Lake Park, AGAIN! 23-minute, 3-mile shakeout on the dirt after a long afternoon working in the office. "Shakeout" sounds pretty ridiculous considering my longer run was all of 5 miles, but as KcoachB would say: "Mario, it is what it is."

FRI - PM: 9 miles in 62 minutes around Brighton with my favorite Mexican, Oscar Ponce. Ran a few laps around the BC Reservoir but with a lack of fine tail making its way around the Res on this breezy spring evening, we decided to head up and over Heartbreak Hill before finishing up with a couple more laps of the Res, where tail was still lacking. Solid run, but disappointed scenery. Can't win 'em all.

SAT - AM: Typical 6-mile Saturday loop in 43:30 with my typical Saturday running buddy, followed by a typical brunch at our typical hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Just a typical day, I guess.

WEEK TOTALS: 49 miles, 9 runs. Hopefully by next week I can call this a "training log".

Quote of the day:

Make sure every run has a purpose behind it. Remind yourself why you're doing what you're doing before you head out the door.
- Good advice from Brad Hurst

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Kid in a candy store

That pretty much describes the four or so hours I spent this afternoon at the Crossroads Pub in Boston. Hodgie took me along for his annual pre-marathon gathering to meet some of his friends, in no particular order: Dan and Patti Dillon, Nobby Hashizume, Bill Squires, Brad Hurst, Brett Hawkins, Tommy Leonard, Tony Reavis and a fine bloke by the name of Steve Jones. He was pretty good back in his day from what I was told. In the four hours I spent in this little Beacon St. watering hole, I may have learned more about running from this crew over a couple pints of Magners than I could if the sport were taught as a major concentration in a classroom at Harvard. Maybe I'm just that much of a dork, but I had a blast.

Anyways, its kinda late and I don't have too much time for details right now, but I promise a more complete recap of this afternoon of delightful debauchery before the weekend lets out. Also, I think I'm gonna keep a running blog from the Marathon Media Room on Monday for anyone looking to see what goes on behind the scenes. If Amby Burfoot picks his nose, you'll know about it.

That's it for now. Take it easy.

Quote of the day:

Hodgie: I think I'll take a day off next week.
Me: From running?
Hodgie: No, from work. Are you kidding me? Frannie and Lilly are in Indiana for the week. I'm gonna run myself into the ground.

Friday, April 14, 2006

You heard it here first

Well, maybe not, but whatever. With all the talk about the strength of the American field at this year's Boston Marathon (which is completely justified, I might add) and possibility of the first domestic winner since Greg Meyer in 1983, the "experts" - including the Bodhisattva of everything that is running, - are quick to pin all their hopes and dreams on the Big Two (Meb and Alan) along with honorable mention, Brian Sell.

Now don't get me wrong. The aforementioned triumverate deserves all the attention they're getting and it's possible that any of the three could have a breakout day, heck, perhaps even win the whole damn thing. In fact, I hope one of them does. But let's not forget about some other notables who I think are going to open some eyes and turn a couple heads on Patriots Day. The runningman's All-Underdog team, in no particular order:

- Clint Verran. With all the hype surrounding his teammate Sell, 'ol Clint has sort of slipped under the radar. And he's probably OK with that. Personally, I think he's the guy to watch.
- Luke Humphrey. Still kinda new to the whole marathon thing, but I just got a feeling he's gonna bust out on Monday.
- Peter Gilmore. 10th in the race last year, member of the World Champs team in Helsinki and STILL doesn't get the credit he deserves. Unbelievable.
- Casey Moulton. The sentimental New England favorite, this pick is somewhat of a wildcard but one I'm willing to place my bet on. I'm not even sure if he's still planning on running, but at last check it was a go. And if it still is, go he will. Believe me.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Any more come to mind and I'll try to post an updated list later on. Take it easy all.

I remember when Bill Rodgers would be training with foreign runners on the course here and guys would come up out of manhole covers and say, 'Kick their ass, Billy!' That's what Boston wants to see. People want to cheer for the home team.
- Greg Meyer

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Passing the buck

I still don't have much to say, but Meb sure does.

Check out my interview with Boston's Great American Hope, and if nothing else, at least you get to see the fruits of some of the labor I've been incessantly bitching about for the last week or so.


Quote of the day:

Lastly, I’d like to give something back to the sport. It’s given a lot to me, so hopefully through running I can do something positive and have a positive influence on somebody’s life. As long as I do the right things and surround myself with good people, you never know what blessings the future holds.
- Meb Keflezighi

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Anyone got a shovel?

As of 11:44 p.m., I'm still up to my ears in work-related Marathon projects, not to mention my regular work hours, which leaves me little time for anything else that requires even the smallest effort of the cognitive variety.

With that being said, I'm going to make this short.

It's the equivalent of Super Bowl week for me right now, complete with media day on Friday, the expo all weekend and commencing with the main event on Monday. In my own dorky way, it's an exciting time. Maybe I'll even get invited to some off-the-hook post-marathon after parties. Then again, probably not.

Anyways, I don't have time for much else, except for another wacky one-liner that I saw on a Church sign on my way out to Sterling today.

Ridiculous Church sign of the week: While He was on the cross, you were on his mind.

That's it, take it easy all.

Quote of the day:

We will see. I think statistically Cruz would have it over little Downin, but you never know. All I care is that he can beat your son at Wiffle ball.
- Matt Downin in an
interview with Chris Graff

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Feeling sappy

As I was making my blogging rounds earlier today, I came across a post by this free writin' fella which happened to catch my eye. I suggest giving it a read. It's surely better than any of the mindless malachi I come up with on a daily basis.

Now call me a sap, softee or something synonymous with the two, but the passion strewn about in the words of the aforementioned post was one of the most beautiful things I've come across of late. Admittedly, it left me both appreciative and envious at the same time. Appreciative, because I could identify with - and respect - the genuine sincerity of the author's words for the one special person in his life, but envious because it's been so long that I've had similar, passionate sentiments for another human being. In a selfishly twisted way, reading those beautiful words earlier today was as depressing an act as it was uplifting. But I'm OK with that, for now. An occasional emotional gut check is never a bad thing. Like any blow, it's painful at first, but over time eventually makes you stronger. Such is the reality of the human condition.

To both Kemibe and Khaulein: I don't know either of you outside of this fantasy blogland, but you've got a beautiful thing going. A sincere kudos.

It's about the passion.
- Pat McGee Band

Monday, April 10, 2006

What's Bruin?

Since the T & G's own Bud Barth won't be covering the hockey game for the newspaper tonight, and I'll be in attendance at the TD Banknorth Garden with a few other fine folks from work, I felt obliged to use one of the standard sportheads commonly found at the bottom of the T&G's Bruins notebook for the title of this entry. So Bud, this one's for you.

In terms of what's actually brewin', well, it ain't much. I've been slowly but steadily digging myself out of the Boston Marathon-filled hole I managed to jump head first into. I just finished a pre-race interview for this website with a silver medalist named Meb and hopefully by Wednesday of this week I'll have completed my Faces in the Crowd section for this local publication.

Other than that, not much to else to report. After the festivities on Patriots' Day, it'll be off to Oregon for roughly a week of hippie watching and wood chip trail running. Looking forward to it.

Until I have something better to say, take it easy all.

Quote of the day:

Always remember you're unique. Just like everyone else.
- My favorite pearl of wisdom from good friend Jay Papile

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Make believe

While walking out of the Corner Cafe after brunch with Hodgie this afternoon, the masses were making there way out of the Church adjacent to our favorite breakfast nook, causing me to question the sudden swell in the town center's Sunday population.

Amid my speculation, Hodgie noted that it was Palm Sunday, which apparently carries with it a previously unforeseen obligation to attend the otherwise weekly Sunday service. I was baffled by this phenomenon. Why, I wondered, do certain days of the Church's calendar year seem to bring people out from under the rocks they otherwise hide under?

Now, these crowds of people are supposedly faithful followers of their God - true BELIEVERS in the Catholic faith, which in all manners of my convoluted (yet completely logical) thought process leads me to surmise that if these same people were absolutely and truly devoted to their belief in God as they seemingly appeared to be this morning, they would attend every Sunday, without fail.

But this doesn't seem to be the case.

To the deeply religious who read this blog regularly, please don't take my words the wrong way. I'm not criticizing, merely speculating. Although I no longer consider myself a practicing Catholic - at best you could label me a recovering one - I have nothing against the Church or the practice of religion in general. I do, however, as a practicing human being, take issue with what I like to call the wanna-be or obligatory believers, those who attend services and partake in religious rituals out of fearful obligation to a God or system of beliefs that, when it comes down to it, they know nothing about. They're not true believers, though they'll go to great lengths to try and show you that they are. This has always irked me.

I'll be the first to admit that it's the hardest thing in the world to believe in something. Anything. Be it a god, a government, Santa Claus, another person, a just cause, law, or even yourself for that matter. If you can, it's a small miracle. (And yes, I'm aware I borrowed this whole miracle idea from Without Limits, so sue me.) But believe me, these miracles don't happen often.

In conclusion, I'm not saying that I believe in, or know, God any more, or better, than the wanna-be "faithful" who make their thrice-yearly visits to Church when they feel obligated to do so. I don't. But I do know that I'm sure as hell not gonna find myself getting closer to God, or believing in him more, within the walls of a supposedly sacred building that I sporadically visit out of faithful obligation only three or four Sunday mornings over the course of a given year. Heck, as far as I'm concerned, I'm as close to God running along the banks of the Quinapoxet River on my weekly Sunday morning jaunt as I'm ever going to get.

At least I'm not kidding myself.

Quote of the day:

What matters is not the idea a man holds, but the depth at which he holds it.
-Ezra Pound

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Running Log (4/2-4/8)

SUN - PM: 400 total yards swimming in 4-2-4-2-4 lap intervals. Pool pass expires today, hopefully won't have a need to renew it. PM: 3-mile Gallowalk fartlek from home, no watch. Wasn't planning on running at all today, so went for a walk instead. Well, "walk" turned into a walk/jog, with about a 1:1 ratio of walking to jogging. I'm pathetic, I know.

- PM: 3 miles in 25 minutes on the dirt at Lake Park. Ran a few laps with Brendan and the rest on my own. Calves are still rocked but achilles didn't bother me - I'd say that's a pretty fair tradeoff for now. PM: 4 miles in 27:30 solo on my beloved Rail Trail to complete the Busch League double. Drove to the end of the trail and ran back and forth over the marked last mile [7:01, 6:49, 6:39, 7:01]. No problemos.

TUES - PM: 4 miles solo in 28 minutes on the other Rail Trail in Sterling. Same old story. PM: Drove in to Roxbury tonight for a killer track workout at Reggie. Just kidding. I did go to Reggie, but my workout consisted of warming up outside with Brad and Andrea and finishing with a few laps around the outside of thr track for a grand total of 4 miles in 30 minutes. Achilles tightened up on me a little bit. I can't say that I'm totally surprised by this.

WEDS - PM: Back to my safe haven, a.k.a. the Sterling Rail Trail. Same old out-n-back in 28 minutes. Achilles wasn't too bad, but made sure to back off today, which sounds pathetic considering the amount of running that I'm actually doing.

THURS - PM: Made my triumphant return to West Hill today. Hit up the main loop and added on the short extension for 36 minutes of running which I'm guessing is about 5 miles. Achilles didn't seem to give me any trouble, calves are finally loosening up but my hammys are strung like a guitar right now. First run in a long time on a course that's not totally flat. Let's hope everything is still functional tomorrow.

FRI - AM: Holy shit, I made it out the door before noon! Barely. Drove out to C-Town to give Ryan's old trails some lovin' since he bailed on them like a dead-beat dad when he moved out to Hudson a few weeks ago. Anywho, just did an out-n-back on the dike from CHS and finished up the last mile on the track in 6:42. 35:30 for 5 miles. Feelin' good in Ryan's old neighborhood!

SAT - AM: 45 minutes w/Hodge at the Sterling Rail Trail. Enjoyable run, best one in a while. Started off at Hodgie pace and pretty much kept it there. Everything seems to be in tact and functioning properly.

WEEK TOTALS: 38 miles, 8-1/2 runs. I don't think I've ever been so excited about a 38-mile week in my life. I'm not even kidding.

Quote of the day:
I forced myself to run normally. For about two minutes, I saw God, but then the pain went away.
- HRE, a.k.a. Rich Englehart, on running through injury

Friday, April 07, 2006

Another bogey

Another sub-par entry. I sincerely apologize to the three loyal readers of this blog who check in on a near-daily basis. Been real busy with work this week - both in the office and in the Boston Marathon-related hole of side projects that I've managed to bury myself in. Things should ease up by the end of the weekend, so hopefully I'll have more to say by then. To hold you over until then, however, here's a mildly funny conversation that took place in the office this evening.

Frank: What do you want from Subway?
Nordy: Get me a foot-long BLT on hearty Italian.
Frank: Do you want anything on it, like lettuce or tomato or anything?
Nordy: Yeah, why don't you have them put some bacon on it too.

You could say I'm easily amused. Take it easy all.

Quote of the day:

He really screwed the pooch on that one.
- My new favorite saying, courtesy of Nate

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Wishful thinking

Busy day on my end, so another weak entry in terms of actual substance, but here's a little update on an issue that's near and dear to me which I think is worth reading. Check it out:

Ain't got no time for nuthin' else. Take it easy all.

Quote of the day:

We think the trials are going to Boston, but have had no inside info besides what you are reading.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

BS in bullshit

In a fit of Socratic rhetoric I've come to the conclusion that all I have to contribute to this entry is, in fact, nothing at all. By recognizing that I have nothing to say, I've said everything that needs to be said.

Quote of the day:

I'm going there to concentrate on the racing and if all goes well, the (fast) time will come...I don't want to be obsessed about pace and splits. I want to battle the other athletes out there.
- Deena Kastor on her upcoming race at the London Marathon

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Simplicity is the best policy

The one's for all my fellow running dorks out there in search of the big "secret" to racing faster, courtesy of a February 1984 Runner's World article given to me a few weeks ago by Hodgie-San. Nothing fancy about it - so simple, it's beautiful. Enjoy.

From the Training Log of....Geoff Smith.

1983 New York City Marathon buildup. Each cycle starts over every 10 days. Smith repeated this 10-day cycle four times before New York and raced frequently on weekends without tapering.

Sunday - Hilly 22 miles pretty hard in 2:02
Monday - AM: 5 miles easy, PM: 10 miles easy (On my easy days I concentrate on running relaxed, being sure not to overwork my body. I even go to bed early. My average pace on these days is 6:00-6:15)
Tuesday - AM: 5 miles easy, PM: 10 miles easy
Wednesday - AM: 5 miles easy, PM: 3 mile warmup, 6 x 200m flat out with a 600-yard recovery between each run, 6 mile warmdown
Thursday - AM: 5 miles easy, PM: 10 miles easy
Friday - AM 5 miles easy, PM 10 miles in 1:17 (5:06 pace)
Saturday - 5 miles easy, PM 10 miles easy
Weekly Total: Approximately 120 miles

Sunday - AM 5 miles easy, PM 10 miles easy
Monday - AM 5 miles easy, PM 10 miles in 53 minutes (5:18 pace) w/5 hard fartlek efforts on hills varying from 400-600 yards in length
Tuesday - AM 5 miles easy, PM 10 miles easy

Quote of the day:

Being scientific and more structured might be the new way to train, but I'm willing to bet that when guys like Todd Williams or Steve Jones we're setting the roads on fire, they probably thought lactate threshold had something to do with drinking too much milk.
-Pete Julian

Monday, April 03, 2006

Piling up

Another list - partly out of convenience, mostly due to laziness. Here goes.

1. The new-look Sox won on Opening Day for the first time in 5 years this afternoon. As a whole, the boys looked good, even if they're still introducing themselves to one another. Heck, they're on pace to go 162-0 right now, so who cares. Until Josh Beckett proves me wrong, Schilling is the early leader in the AL Cy Young voting, Big Papi is on his way to becoming the first DH to win an MVP award, Coco Crisp has already proven he's a better center fielder than Johnny Damon and there's even a small chance the Rocket could return to Beantown this season. This, of course, is all wishful thinking. One down, only 161 to go.

2. Agents suck. No, not secret agents, real estate agents, Agent Orange or even the movie Agent Red for that matter. I'm talking about agents in the form of professional athlete representation. Think Jerry Maguire. You'd assume that someone whose job revolves around dealing with people so his athlete doesn't have to would actually be good at it. Well, as my dad always says, "Never assume, it just makes an ass out of you and me." To cover my own ass then, I'm not going to drop any names but felt the need to get that off my chest. End rant.

3. Let's Go Florida. Or more specifcally, Billy Donovan. That's right, I'm cheering for the coach in hopes that his team can win him a national championship. With 15:30 left, the Gators are up 16, so it's looking good right now. To be honest, I don't give a shit what team wins the game - my bracket was busted by that green and gold bastard child named George Mason - but the basketball purest in me would like to see a young disciple of the Jim Valvano/Rick Pitino/Ralph Willard school of coaching lead his team to a crown.

4. Whoever came up with that whole "April showers bring may flowers" bit wasn't kidding. It's f*ckin' pouring outside.

5. Keeping consistent with the whole "penta" theme of this and yesterday's entry, I'm going to list the five best songs in the world right now, according to the daily runaround - the authority on nothing that really matters anyway.
- Crazy Bitch, Buck Cherry
- Boston, Augustana
- The Denial Twist, The White Stripes
- Wings of a Butterfly, H.I.M.
- E-Pro, Beck

Quote of the day:

"My heart is racing. I feel like Buckner walking back into Shea."
- Brendan, quoting Rounders, before stepping on the track to run this afternoon

Sunday, April 02, 2006

A world of difference

Before the weekend comes to a close, I feel it's necessary to at least give some mention to the IAAF World Cross Country Championships that took place in Fukuoka, Japan. So without further adue, my top 5 performers/performances of the weekend.

1. Adam Goucher. Whether he's just a badass, pulled it out of his ass, or took some sort of illegal shot in the ass, 6th overall in the short course is no joke. Good to see him back at the top of his game.

2. Bekele. With no disrespect to Paul Tergat and his XC exploits, this evasive Ethiopian is the real deal over hill and dale, even though there was hardly a hill or a dale on the track-like course in Japan. In the last year of the dual races and ten-straight World XC crowns to his credit, I'll go out on a limb and say Mr. Bekele is the best ever.

3. Dibaba and the Ethiopian women. Dibaba DNF'd in the short course today, but her win over Lornah Kiplagat in the long race yesterday was nothing short of remarkable. The individual win might only be topped by the 16 team points that she and her teammates racked up. Simply dominating.

4. Kenyan junior women's 6K sweep. I'll admit, I watched this race with giddy excitement late Friday night with some of my fellow dorky running friends while at Ed Baker's birthday bash in the South End. A special thank-you to John Friedman for dropping 20 beans on the webcast, by the way. Back to the race - these chicks were HAULING. I doubt the authenticity of their age, but tip my hat to them nonetheless.

5. Goucher, again. For me, his performance might only be topped by Ed Baker karaoking to Japanese rap on Friday night. Words won't do it justice, you just had to be there. Take my word for it.

Quote of the day:

I cannot achieve anything new. I am leaning towards not competing at the World Cross Country any more.
- Kenenisa Bekele

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Running Log (3/26-4/1)

Taking a page out of Ryan Carrara's book, or blog, I should say, I'm going to post my weekly running totals in one condensed entry at the end of said week. Unlike my Reebok Boston teammate, however, I'm going to only include my daily recaps of runs or workouts in this weekly update in an attempt to spruce up my regular daily entries a bit. Will it work? Probably not, but it's worth a shot. Here goes...

SUN - AM: 3 miles, 21 minutes solo through the Industrial Park. PM: 15 min pool run + 5 x 4 laps swimming. Got called out again for racing the old folks across the pool.
MON - PM: 35 minutes solo on the Sterling Rail Trail. Achilles holding up well; legs feel like they're coming off a 120-mile week.
TUES - AM: 30-minute pool run to stretch the legs. No real running to speak of.
WEDS - PM: 5 miles, 42 minutes on the dirt at Lake Park. 5 miles might be generous. Ran a mile with Brendan somewhere around 10 minutes or so. PM: 500 yards worth of swimming at the Y. Watch out Michael Phelps.
THURS - 36:45 solo back at Lake Park. First mile in 7:26, last one in 6:19. Felt like the last mile of a 10K. Lungs and legs have some major catching up to do.
FRI - AM: 30 minutes pool running. Lifeguard: "You don't look like you're enjoying yourself." Me: "Believe me, I'm not." PM: 43 minutes with Oscar in Brighton around the BC Res. Fine run, not to mention some fine tail making it's way around the Res.
SAT - AM: 36 min with Hodge on the Sterling Rail Trail. Right leg still wound up tighter than the inside of a clock. Planned day off tomorrow; gonna use my pool pass for (hopefully) the last time. My one month membership is up.
WEEK TOTALS: 29 miles, 6 runs. I've elevated myself back to "jogger" status. Nice.

By George!

I don't think they've got it. The George Mason men's basketball team, that is. The Cinderella team of this year's tourney has finally been ousted, losing 73-58 to Florida tonight in the Final Four. All I can say is, it's about time. (n.b. I love the underdog as much as the next guy, that is unless they cost me 500 bucks)

Quote(s) of the day:

This reminds me of the day I ran in Central Park a few months ago the day after watching Millrose. No one wanted to run with me. I drank about 800 beers and smelled like a brewery.
- Hodge

I was like, "oh man, so this is what it feels like to hurt."
- A-Ten on his first workout in two months