Monday, May 31, 2010

The true meaning of Memorial Day

A while ago, one of my co-workers who was born in Europe asked me what the meaning of Memorial Day was and why was there both Memorial Day and Veteran's Day as they seem to be redundant holidays. I told him the short answer was that Memorial Day was for the troops that didn't make it and Veteran's Day is for the troops that did.

This Memorial Day morning I got to thinking about it a little more. I was up early to get my bike workout in. Afterwards I ran into road closures as they were setting up for the local parades when I was heading home. I'm sure that some people view this day as just a good day for a parade. Others may view this holiday as to have a barbecue to celebrate the "unofficial" start of summer. Some may simply celebrate it as a day that you don't need to go to work.

Thinking about the holiday this morning got my head around the fact that Memorial Day is about honor. It is about honoring the troops that "didn't make it" and it is about honoring the families and friends that they left behind. You may or may not agree with the reasons that they were put in harms way but today is about honoring those individuals and remembering what they did for our country and it's citizens.

I didn't serve in the military and I might have a different perspective of this holiday if I did. I am an American citizen though and figured I can start honoring these folks by saying thank you while I work on better ways to remember the men and women that this holiday attempts to recognize. It will never be enough but it is a start.

Thank you.

Image from

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ironmen, Ironmen to be, and me.

So what did I do today with the family at Michigan State? I got this email earlier in the week:


Next Saturday we have a special day planned for our Ironman group. It is 100% open to the entire LITC group --- past, present and future. It will also be offered to the members of Team Runner's Edge. The portion of the day that will be exclusive for LITC is the post workout massage. YES, we will have 2 massage therapists available for a quick rub down at the completion of the workout. Again, this is for LITC members only.

The day will start at Eisenhower Park for the swim....6 to 7am (straight swim) then head back to my home for a quick transition and a 5 hour bike ride with a special needs station out on the course (you provide what you would like half way through the ride and we will have it cold waiting for you!). Then another quick transition and a 2 hour run with aid stations at mile 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12 and 13. After the workout there will be food, drink and rub downs available as previously mentioned.

Who do you think shows up for a workout like this? Fat, old, gimpy guys? Not so much. Hard core triathletes in the middle of a training cycle? Bingo. Athletes that are training for IMLP (our "local" Ironman)? Yup. First timers that have been training for months for said IMLP? Give that man a cigar. The skill level ranged from the bottom of the barrel (aka me) to the cream of the crop (professional athletes). There were multiple multiple Ironman finishers, multiple multiple Kona qualifiers and others of that ilk. I showed up too after all I am one of the LITC folks and a member of Team Runner's Edge. I might be the black sheep of the crew but I thought I'd see what happens.

The first problem started the night before since I joined training buddies for dinner at a Brazilian Steak House (the kind with all you can eat skewers of seared flesh served to the table until one said uncle). We said uncle probably a little too late since this dinner was still a lump in my gut when I woke up bright and early to swim.

I got there a few minutes late and there were six lanes of swimmers going at it. I was placed into lane 1 (guppies) but lapped everyone within 100m. I then jumped into lane 3 and finished my warm up. Then a continuous swim for about 35 minutes that I considered jumping up into lane 4 since I was one of the quicker swimmers in the lane. I lost count on the laps but felt like this was a good swim for me. After a short cool down, it was time to get changed and start the bike.

LITC has a standard route that is relatively hilly and we were going to hit it a couple of times. The routes are used for IMLP training and I've done them before. I'm guessing we had about 30 people doing the ride and when the groups went out, they sorted themselves rather quickly. I didn't want to go too hard but found myself going a bit harder than I wanted even though I found some good folks to ride with. After the first rest stop at 43 miles (with my ice cold bottles waiting for me), I stepped down the intensity a bit. Some of the folks I was riding with then (the groups were loosely defined and people moved from group to group) wanted to get to the run quicker so we cut the second lap a bit. Power was a little lower than I hoped but that was mainly because I chose to dial it down. Before I dialed it down, I was right were I needed to be for 43 miles. All in, 66 miles done and I was happy.

Since I wasn't running (I am still a gimp), I went home and showered up. Everyone seemed to be doing different paces and different distances for the run. I got back after cleaning up to have some burgers off the grill but skipped the massage figuring the people that did all three events should get priority.

I think I held my own. Sure, I could have done a little better but the lessons of today's swim/bike brick are money in the bank to be withdrawn on Eagleday in a few weeks. Even so, not a bad day training wise. Organization wise, though, this was a phenomenal day. Jose and the rest of the LITC coaches deserve kudos since they all went above and beyond.

Thanks for a great day! Looking forward to the next Ironmadness "Special Day".

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bachelorhood revisited.

My family has gone away for the weekend to attend and participate in the World Finals of Odyssey of the Mind at Michigan State University so I'm temporarily living the life of a bachelor. I haven't been able to find a honey-do list but I'm not looking all that diligently. I'm sure I can find some activities to fill my days until they come home. That dreaded work thing will get in the way (and is the reason why I'm not in East Lansing too) but the weekend, ahh, the weekend, could be interesting without having to schedule in any activities except my own.

Good Luck in Michigan, Mattlin Middle School Team!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Specificity is the principle of training that states that sports training should be relevant and appropriate to the sport/event for which the individual is training in order to produce a training effect.

Eagleman may be the flattest half iron in the world. I had a choice of riding the hills of Long Island's north shore on Saturday with a group or riding the flats most likely solo. My sage coach responded to my query regarding this choice by reminding me of "specificity." I had 3 hours on the plan so went to Heckscher State Park. Hecksher has a 3.5 or so mile loop that is flat as a pancake with very little vehicle traffic. It can get windy but Hecksher is almost the perfect place to train for Eagleman due to, you guessed it, specificity. I heard somewhere, I forget where, that they best way to train for Eagleman is to go on the trainer, put a french fry lamp over your head to simulate the heat, and put a fan in your face to simulate the wind. I wanted to ride outside so Hecksher was the best option with race day fast approaching.

I put the race wheels on the tri bike to get a feel for them on the road as well. I filled the bottles with some new Infinit nutrition brew that I hadn't tried yet but hope to use in the race. My plan was to ride one lap at a recovery/warm up pace, 3 laps at race pace and do that a total of 3 times. Finish up the 3 hours at a recovery pace.

Last year I rode Eagleman's 56 miles in 3:05. This was at an average power of 192 watts and a speed of 18.1. Even though I haven't trained as much as I would have hoped (this might be the lament of almost any athlete though), I still want to do better this year. BikeMike recommended to attempt the race pace sections at a power of 205-215 watts. Speed is always variable based on wind conditions so I dumbed down the bike computer to only show power, cadence, and heart rate figuring I could download the data afterwards to see what the speed actually was.

I nailed this workout. It has been a long time since I felt this good about a training day. I was high on the power targets, often riding in the 230s. Each loop felt strong and I felt strong until the end. But then, and there always is a then, when I hit the lap button after the last interval, my new Edge500 hung. Dayum.

I pulled over. I hit every button and the computer came back alive so I thought I was good. I had about 30 minutes left so rambled around a bit and finished up with just over 50 miles done in 3:00. This translated into 16.7 mph but included a lot recovery pace time so I figured the race pace sections would be nice.

When I got home, though, the "then" struck again. The data wouldn't download so I couldn't analyze it. The summary data was in the computer but I couldn't get any detail. I tried for a few hours to get the data with no success. I may have hit a known bug with the Garmin software that others seem to have complained about but the data for that ride seems gone forever. Arggggghhhhh.

I followed up the real work day with a recovery ride of 35 miles on Sunday morning, in the hills but at an easy effort. 85 miles for the weekend and a big chunk of that directly relevant for my upcoming race. I hopped in the pool tonight and added some swimming to the mix. My body is now recognizing the tiredness from some real training.

Lots of specificity this weekend. I sure hope trying to fix the bike computer issues isn't part of this training specificity but the rest of the weekend's training absolutely was "relevant and appropriate."
Rock on!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Updates and Updates.

  1. After his bike crash last weekend, Cary is OK physically with the biggest impact from some road rash and dings. Specialized has requested that the bike shop send the bike back to them so they can make sure there is no microfracture in the frame or fork. I think checking the bike out a good idea as you don't want to find out there is an issue at >30 mph. He is still on track for rocking IMLP - now it is heavy training load time for him.
  2. I bought the picture from this post. Think I'm going to set up a "wall of shame" for my purchased event pictures.
  3. I went to the bike shop and got new cleats on my road bike shoes to cure my clipping in problem from last week. My wife was happy since I didn't come home with anything more expensive that the $30 cleats but that Tarmac SL3 S-Works is looking sweeter every day. It is hard to rationalize spending the money though (especially since I already have two other road bikes).
  4. Physical therapy has started yet again. Why is it that doing the simple things that they ask you to do make you feel like you've been hit with a hammer?
  5. I got an email saying the Runner's Edge TOBAY triathlon was close to closing out. This race is at the end of August and I hope to be able to run some by then. Ever the optimist, I sent in the registration fee.
  6. I broke the 50 follower threshold. When I started this rambling I never thought it would turn into what it has turned into. Thanks to all for checking in from time to time and for your support. (think that sounds a little like Bartles and James? Ed thinks so.)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Yet another medical opinion

The first doctor I saw about my knee pain made the diagnosis that it was ITBS. He prescribed to stop running (my long run was up to a half marathon distance at this point) and to do physical therapy to cure the ITB issue. That didn't work since the PT did nothing except make my hip hurt. A. Lot.

The second doctor I saw said the knee pain was not as serious as the hip pain (he was really a hip guy). Lots of test later my hip pain was under control due to a steroid type injection done while getting setup for am MRI of my hip. The MRI showed that I had FAI, and torn labrum, and degenerative disk disease in my back. The doctor said that I also had a lot of arthritis and a hip replacement was sometime in future. Running would be the worst thing for me.

But there were still many questions. I most likely have had these "issues" for some time but what made it start hurting now? Is there a scenario where I could run again (note I was never a strong runner post high school)? Is surgery the only option - note the surgery would put me on the bench at least a year? Is my athletic career, as loosely defined as possible, entering it's twilight?

So, I found "the" expert with my hip injury and tried to see him at the Hospital for Special Surgry. He pawned me off on a physiatrist to rule out a muscular cause or a lower back (see previously mentioned disk disease). I saw the physiatrist at the Hospital for Special Surgery today.

After having his assistant check me out, the real doctor came in. They bent me like Gumby in a variety of poses to find out what hurt and where. His diagnosis: I do not have ITB. All of my knee pain is from my back. I do have a hip issue but it really doesn't look that bad at this time. I should still see the hip guy about that though since he also said that there is a hip replacement in my future (he estimates 5-10 years). He recommended that the hip discussion should be about how to push the hip replacement off as long as possible to allow technology to advance. He believes that targeted PT on my back will make my knee better. If not, some other sort of shot/MRI would be next up. I can cycle and swim as much as I'd like and whatever intensity I'd like as long as I use common sense. Yoga won't help (won't hurt either). ART won't help (won't hurt either). While running won't hurt my back per se, every bit I run probably makes the hip replacement necessary earlier.

Overall I thought this was the best news I could expect but the main question going through my mind is "Is he right?" The other doctors thought they were right too but then again, I'm not getting better. If I do the back PT and it doesn't work, I'll be in the same condition I am now. If it works, there is the miracle cure I've been looking for.

I'm going to make the appointment with the PT as quickly as possible and the follow up with the hip guru doctor too. Yet another chapter on the road to recovery is starting.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Weird neighbors

Is your weird neighbor the one who cuts his grass every day?
Is your weird neighbor the one who knows everything about everything?
Is your weird neighbor the one who still has his Christmas lights up in May?
Is your weird neighbor the one who never cuts his grass?
Is your weird neighbor the one who runs outside in his underwear to get the newspaper every morning?
Is your weird neighbor the one who vacuums his driveway?
Is your weird neighbor the one who works on his car or washes it every day?
Is your weird neighbor the one who old person who complains about everything?
Is your weird neighbor the one who walks his dog and walks his dog and walks his dog...?
Is your weird neighbor the one who is a crazy triathlete who meets their friends for bike rides at 530AM on the weekend? Wait a minute, what is weird about that?

If you don't know which of your neighbors is the weird one, it probably is you. Every block has at least one.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

That was enough.

This weekend I was planning on riding the Montauk Century. I've done this ride before (it was the first century that I ever did), it is flat, and with the prevailing winds from west to east, often fast as the route is generally west to east too . The ride offers 4 distances: 140 miles, 100 miles and 65 miles. I'm partial to the 100 route.

This ride has historically been a Team in Training event but this year the team decided to do another ride instead. I wanted to get some miles under my belt to better prepare me for Eagleman next month so a bunch of us decided to do it along with a lot of athletes training for IMLP. Yes, 100 miles might be a little long given my physical state but I decided that if could on focusing on nutrition and riding it easy (aka under control - L1/L2). My coach "advised" me to ride this event "intelligently."

But first there was Saturday. I did a medium effort bike ride with the LITC group for 30 miles. We started early and ended early for a perfect ride. Later that day my daughter had her confirmation with a celebratory dinner with our family. A lot of good food was had by all, Amanda was very happy but the few extra glasses of wine made 5AM come waaaayyyy too early.

The ride started out OK but the wind wasn't cooperating. Instead of at our back, it was in our face. This was going to lead to a long, slow day. Additionally, there were a lot of riders on this ride that really didn't seem to know how to ride. Rider etiquette seemed left out of the training manual for many of these riders and there a tremendous amount of people riding with ipods making for dangerous situations. This reached its crescendo when, at about the 16 mile mark, some solo rider moron came flying by on the outside without communicating with any one with the simple courtesy of "on your left" and somehow took himself and Cary out (in the middle of a pack of riders). I don't know if he had an ipod or not but I still don't know how a whole pack of 20 or so didn't go down. I was blocking traffic and saw this moron guy got up , got back on his bike, didn't seem to have any remorse and quickly left. Cary was shaken up and dizzy so we called the EMTs and convinced him to get in the ambulance to get checked out. The early reports are that overall he is OK but has a lot of dings on him. His bike will be visiting the bike shop later this week.

This crash made me take it even easier so I moseyed a bit. After the second rest stop (at 50 miles), I couldn't get my shoes clipped in. I took my shoe apart and it looks like a spring in the cleat is broken. I rode about 10 miles with only one shoe in and started feeling the imbalance in my knees. My wife was heading out to pick me up at the finish for the ride home and I was able to call her to pick me up earlier. All in all, 65 miles done - easy peasy.

I'm sure I could have limped it in but what would that have proven? I got my work in and that was enough for today. I was smart enough to call it a day before I got injured. This wasn't an "A" race for me and finishing a century, even though I haven't done one in a while, isn't a novel experience any more.

Even though I cut it short, it was a good day.

PS: My biggest fail of the day was that although I remembered to bring sun tan lotion but left it in my car without putting it on me. My nose is the only part of me that I will have to pay the price for this "forgetfulness."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Race Photographs

I've purchased only two race photographs in my running career. The first picture was when I was racing El Tour de Tucson a few years back and the photographer positioned himself on a hill so that he got a picture of me climbing with a nice saguro cactus in the background. Luckily I saw him halfway up and it gave me enough time to sprint it up that hill so I dropped the guy who was duking it out with me (he had a hand cycle) just before the shutter snapped. The second picture was when I raced in my first race that had a swim component (a swim/run biathlon). I bought the picture of me coming out of the water mainly because that picture had in the background some poor souls that I actually beat out of the water. Imagine that.

All other race pictures of me always had something wanting. I can't imagine how difficult it is to get a good picture and it really takes some luck. Ok, maybe a lot more than some luck. This picture was taken last weekend in Central Park near the end of my race and I'm thinking about purchasing it. There are some issues though: 1) I look a little like Gigantor running with the smurf harem; 2) I still am fat; 3) You can see that there are some muscles hiding but seeing calves from the front is a bit of an issue in itself. In the plus side, I'm running and that's a big deal these days.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Unwritten rules

I recently finished reading "The Baseball Codes" by Jason Turbow regarding the unwritten rules of baseball. These unwritten rules include when and how it is appropriate for a pitcher to throw at a batter, what a batter would do to warrant having a pitcher throw appropriately at him, or when members of a team need to do stuff in support of the team (like joining a bench clearing brawl) rather than doing something for the benefit of themselves. I recommend this book only for those who are baseball aficionados as it is sometimes a little long winded.

But the idea behind this book got me thinking. Are there unwritten rules of triathlon and running? Of course there are! Here are a few, understanding that this list is no where near comprehensive, that immediately appeared in my mind:

  • Is it not OK to fart in the corral but it is OK to fart during the race.
  • Don't sprint it in to beat a kid.
  • Don't sprint it in to beat a geezer.
  • Written rules should be followed since they apply to all (including the people who thing they don't apply to them): If the rules say no ipods, no dogs, and no strollers, you shouldn't use an ipod, bring your dog, nor use the stroller.
  • Be aware of local customs when selecting race attire. The only thing worse to wear in a Central Park race than a Red Sox cap is a Tom Brady jersey.
  • Mankinis are wrong to wear everywhere.
  • Don't line up at the start on the line unless you have a realistic chance of winning the race overall. (The realisticness of this chance should be confirmed by a voice that doesn't live inside your head).
  • Be predictable. No sudden stops nor starts, zigs nor zags.
  • Take a deep breath before you go into a portapotty prerace since you can never know how pungent it will be.
  • Don't wear the tee shirt that the race organizers hand out as part of your swag during the race itself (you have to earn it before wearing it). The only exception to this rule is if it is so cold that you are considering stuffing leaves and/or newspapers in your clothes to keep warm.
  • Never believe someone who, at the race start, complains about all their ailments and lack of training.
  • Never blame a poor race performance on anyone but yourself.
  • Public nudity is discouraged, even for an instant.
  • When running on a track, go the same way as everyone else. If no one else is there, counterclockwise.
  • When training on a track, let the faster people run on the inside.
  • Beware of someone wearing a race shirt from a race more than 10 years ago, especially if it is too big. They most likely have figured some things out.
  • At the finish of a race with refreshments, don't take enough food to feed a small army.
  • Run the tangents.
  • Don't cut the course even if you see others do that.
  • When you (and you will) barf, the fewer chunks on the course, the better.
  • If you inadvertently do something stupid, say you are sorry (this is a life rule, not just limited to racing).
  • Thank a volunteer.
  • Don't sing out loud while racing if you wear an ipod.
  • It is even creepier if you sing out loud while racing if you don't wear an ipod.
  • There is no dishonor in not being able to run fast.
  • Don't talk on a cell phone during the race.
  • Realize that after you finish there may still be people out on the course racing. Don't get in their way.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Remembering how to race, sort of.

Sunday morning I continued my folly quest to qualify for a future NYC marathon (I'm already in for this year assuming the miracle cure is found in time). I signed up earlier this week for the NYRR RBaby Mother's Day 4m race in Central Park. The ART I've having on my leg is making me feel a little less pain (afterwards, during it I almost cry) so I decided to run this one a bit and see what would happen.

I found I've forgotten how to race. Not the basics like starting line and finish line but more of the things that you don't really even think about that you do naturally. The following are examples:
  • The rain yesterday led to wind today (weather advisory said sustained 20-30 mph with gusts over 45 mph) and it was cold in the morning (44 degrees). I thought I brought enough variations of clothing and ultimately decided shorts, long sleeve technical tee and waffled about the hat (others were having their hats blow off). I was cold in the corral but perfect during the race itself.
  • I got to Central Park early but the only tee shirts left were size small, medium and kids. There were kids races after the 4m. While I have shrunk a bit over time, medium is still a stretch (ba dum dum).
  • I couldn't get my hear rate monitor to work so I decided to scan for it. When the message came up "MULTIPLE HR MONITORS DETECTED," I realized this wasn't the wisest thing to do with thousands of runners around.
  • When the race started I thought I hit start on both my Garmin and my timex (the backup) thinking I was smart.
  • About a quarter mile into the race I felt I was going to fast up "Cat Hill," looked at the Garmin and found the pace was 10:03 (a little fast for me) and the elapsed time was 0:00. I didn't hit the right start button. Duh.
  • I walked a lot and thought about doing an official run/walk schedule. A 5/1 kept going through my mind but somehow it never went beyond the thinking stage

The net was I finished the 4 miles in 46:10 for an 11:32 pace per mile. I was running well (for me) when I was actually running but two things stand out: 1) my knee didn't hurt more than usual except for a couple of twangs: 2) I got number 5 of the 9 races required to get into a future NYC marathon.

But wait, to paraphrase Ron Popiel, there's more. My training day wasn't over. Since there will be no running at Eagleman for me, I needed to get some more time in the saddle. I hopped on the bike and rode an additional hour on the computrainer in the evening at a recovery L1/L2 effort. Every little bit helps.

PS: Shout out of healing vibes to EagleTim who went down on his ride Saturday separating his shoulder. His season now, at best, is in a state of ambiguity before it even started.

PPS: While watching the Mets v. Giants this afternoon, my daughter walked by and said why one guy using a pink bat and others had pink armbands. Then she remembered that today was Mother's Day. Luckily I remembered earlier. Happy Mother's day to all!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I hate getting dropped.

I know most of my posts have not had anything to do with any sort of athletic endeavours and have focused more on sociological rants. I hope to change that but actually have to do some athletic endeavors to make that happen. I've officially changed my entry to Eagleman from the 70.3 to the AquaVelo (more commonly known as the swim, bike, and cheer flavor of triathlon) so need to start ramping up training duration and intensity.

This morning's ride had all the makings of a disaster. The weather report was craptastic with thunderstorms predicted. I was going to go with the slower LITC group that had 46 miles on the menu. They were planning on leaving at 6AM and were vowing to go unless there was a downpour. I woke up at 5am and there was only drizzle in the air. The ground was wet but the rain wasn't hard. I decided to chance it but was expecting the ride would actually be more of a have breakfast at the diner event. I realized that when you are driving in the car to meet people for a ride and the windshield wipers are on, it normally is not a good sign.

The drizzle stopped along the way but I now had to decide to wear rain gear or not. I figured that if I didn't wear the rain gear, it would definitely pour. If I did, it probably wouldn't. I wore the rain gear.

The summary of the ride is that I got tired. 46 miles at a decent pace was a little much for me at this state of fitness (given that my training has been mostly pain experiments with a very little intensity thrown in). Yes, the route was not flat (poison to fat guys) but I'm still disappointed. My power was overall OK but it tailed off. There was probably a bit of nutrition fail going on too as I felt a little crampy at the end. I got dropped near the end.

On the good side of things, it is clear that I have some work to do and what I need to focus on. The best part was that, since I wore the rain gear (and sweated like a pig), it didn't rain until the moment that I put my bike back in the car. Thunder, lightening, wrath of god, flash flood, nasty rain. Most of us were laughing because our ride was done and we didn't get rained on! Everything has a silver lining and that is the silver lining for this morning.

Lesson learned: Get to work. Race day is approaching fast.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The newspaper sports section

There were a few stories in the sports section today that made me think a little, chuckle a little, and frown a bit too. In case you didn't see them:

  1. Cameron Diaz was "caught" by paparazzi leaving Alex Rodriquez' apartment with some trendy luggage. It was assumed that she stayed the night. Rumour has it that she is Alex Rodriguez's latest slumpbuster following the standard set by Madonna and Kate Hudson. Perhaps he needs to reread the definition of slumpbuster but then again he is batting .253 with only 2 home runs.
  2. The Phoenix Suns decided to wear jerseys in their playoff game with "Los Suns" on them. I wonder if someone will be asked to prove citizenship. Politics and sports together, wow.
  3. At a Phillies game the other day a "fan" ran onto the field. To apprehend him quickly, the police tasered him. Some people immediately said the police acted inappropriately. The fan in question, a 17 year old, supposedly called his father to tell him what he was going to do beforehand and the parent recommended against it. The kid did it anyway since he felt this would be a once in a lifetime experience. Little did he know that being tasered would be that experience. His mother, rather than bashing the police, issued an apology on her son's behalf to the Phillies saying that he was a "wonderful" kid and was accepted to go to college at Penn State. The question is will Penn State rescind their acceptance of him on the basis of stupidity?
  4. The Mets are no longer 0 for May.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Intelligence on public transportation

I ride the Long Island Rail Road to and from work. I've been doing this since 1991 so I consider myself somewhat of a veteran but something happened tonight that amazed even me. I was taking the 7:11 train home, went down to the track at Penn Station at 7:10, and found the train doors closed and the train pulling away. I was dumbfounded. The train left early. I looked around and while the train was pulling away I took this picture of the train and the clock.Since I now had time to kill while I waited for the next train that was scheduled to leave at 7:44, I found the customer service office to complain that the train left early. I expected no satisfaction beyond venting a bit but the conversation went like this between me and two of the crack LIRR customer service staff:

Me: I wanted to take the 7:11 but the train doors were closed and the train left at 7:10
LIRR: Maybe your watch was wrong.
Me: No, this was based on the clock on the platform.
LIRR: Are you sure?
Me: Yes, I have a picture of the train leaving and the clock showing 7:11.
LIRR: Well, you know the clock might be wrong.
Me: If the clock is wrong, shouldn't someone fix it?
LIRR: The train leaves when the dispatcher tells it to leave. It really doesn't matter what the clock says.
Me: Huh?
LIRR: Dispatching trains is very complicated. They have a large console room and the time in their command center may be different than the time on the platform.
Me: Again, why would there be a different time? Should your clocks tell the same time?
LIRR: They are allowed to tell the train to leave before the time it is scheduled to leave by up to three minutes. We are sorry you missed the train but you should get there earlier.
Me (realizing that I was dealing with morons): Is there an email address that I can complain to?
LIRR: No. There is a phone number that you can call tomorrow. Why would you want to email anyone?
Me: To send them a copy of the picture of the clock and the train leaving.
LIRR: Well you could call them and ask if they have an email address. They might.

Who says customer service is a lost art?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Yet another reason to hate peas.

Last Friday I tried ART on my ITB. My logic regarding this is that I've had a bad back for a long time and that never stopped me from doing these crazy athletic stuff. The issue with my hip has probably been there for a long time too but the root source of everything was the ITB issues that I had while training for the Disney 26.2. I "think" that this triggered my hip pain since I adjusted my gait to compensate for ITBS. If I can get my ITB under control, I may be able to return to some sort of equilibrium where all of my physical ailments align in a no pain zone. Yes, it is a reach but why not give it a try?

ART has worked for me in the past. I bounced this idea off DrLarry and he said it was worth a shot. He placed his magic fingers on my ITB and very painful things started happening. He loosened up a lot of the tightness and said I would be sore for a while. What. An. Understatement. He said to ice my leg. We keep a frozen bag of peas in the freezer just to be our "ice pack." I bailed on my ride scheduled for Saturday morning and swam instead with the expectation of riding Sunday instead after Amanda's soccer game.

My girls had a good start to an athletic weekend. Courtney's soccer team won their first game of the year. Amanda's distance melody relay scored a 3rd place medal at an invitational with her doing the 800m leg, her soccer team tied on Saturday and Sundays game was well in hand with Amanda even scoring a goal until it went very bad. She went down hard on a tackle and didn't get up. Her coach carried her off the field. I went over and she couldn't put any weight on her ankle so I carried her the half mile or so to the car and instead of riding I spent the next few hours in the ER. No break seen on the xray but her track season and soccer seasons are over.

Now we have a family pea dilemma. We need to buy more peas since I'm using them for icing and she is using them for icing. The worst part about it is that peas are viewed as close to poison in our house as a food choice. No one here likes to eat them. No one likes to need them for icing either. I hope to not have the opportunity to find another reason to hate them.