Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Quote of the week.

"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." -John Wooden

Monday, March 28, 2011

Be someone's Harvey Phillips.

Many of you are probably asking yourselves, "Who is Harvey Phillips?" The next question you are asking probably is why would someone need a Harvey Phillips?

Harvey Phillips was a tuba player who passed away last October but to many people Harvey Phillips was much more than a tuba player. The NY times obituary found here says that "in his time he was the instrument’s chief evangelist, the inspirer of a vast solo repertory, a mentor to generations of players and, more simply, Mr. Tuba." My friend Mikey, a tuba player, teacher and educator himself, studied with Harvey Phillips and Mikey has written that Harvey Phillips was one of the most important people in his life.

I, of course, took issue with this as I know for a fact that I am one of the most important people in Mikey's life but that is a topic in itself. To honor one of the other (than me) important people in his life, Mikey decided to conduct a lecture/recital titled "The Legacy of Harvey Phillips" at one of MY alma maters (Mikey now happens to be a professor of music there but that is a detail that will only get in the way). I met some friends and we took the families last Sunday night (yes, children should be encouraged to go to concerts).

Mikey did a good job with the lecture/recital. The impact of Harvey Phillips on Mikey went well beyond their bond as tuba players. He spoke about how Mr. Phillips taught him the priviledge and responsibilities of being a musician, a tuba player, and to be the kind of person that can be an evangelist for his art. He stated that many of the lessons that he learned from Harvey Phillips had nothing to do with music.

During Mikey's talk I realized that everyone needs a Harvey Phillips but very few people have one. No, I don't think we need people to try to turn the world into tuba players (or even euphonium players) but we do need to have people who help others become the best that they can be in whatever they choose. This can be viewed sort of like a mentorship but in this case it was more impactful.

As one of the other important people in Mikey's life I recommended that he not wait to pay homage to me and my influence on him. I can only wonder what he will come up with that lecture/recital. I've made some suggestions but I think Mikey has some work to do. I'll be sure let everyone know when he has that done and dusted. In the meantime, please try to be someone's Harvey Phillips. It won't be easy. It'll probably be hard. But it will make the world a better place for someone.

Maybe that someone might even be you.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Periodic Ponderings.

I've noticed recently that I get a lot of brain farts. Some of these turn into full fledged blog posts while others just dissipate into the wind. I've decided to collect them together and published them as "periodic ponderings." Perhaps this can grow into a regular "feature" here at

  • I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said, "Mean people breed little mean people."

  • I woke up early on Saturday planning to ride outside. It was 24 degrees and the wind was howling. I saw the front tire was flat. I went back to sleep. Later when I got up I did my 75 minutes on the trainer.

  • I knocked off the virtual Cupcake Half Marathon during my training last week. Thanks to Jason for setting this up.

  • When I originally found out about the Cupcake I was thinking about doing the full. I realized the mileage would be close since I had a 15k scheduled for Sunday (after they were breaking down the virtual finish line on Saturday). I chose wisely has I dinged my ankle/foot up a little last weekend running a 4x1m tempo run.

  • I switched the picture of the bike on the top of this blog to my Guru Veloci'Ti SL Road Bike. Other bikes will be making appearances. Yes, the were getting jealous.

  • There is something magical about watching spring training baseball games on television as you putter around the house getting things done. It is hard to be optimistic about the Mets.

  • In addition to my day-to-day car, I have a Mustang convertible (aka the mid life crisis) that has been mostly in the stable with the snow on the ground. I started it up and there was a rude smell that I couldn't identify. I finally found the rotten fruit that has been in there for a few months was the cause of this odor. Airing it out and hoping that I don't need to invent some kind of smell remover. Baking soda is on deck.

  • The aforementioned 15k had all the indications of a train wreck due to my foot/ankle hurting. It didn't disappoint but I finished anyway. This made me realize that staying relatively injury free is a key for me.

  • During the week I read something about how the funds donated for the recovery from the Japan crisis is well behind many of the other recent "disasters." Check out a similar story here. Of course, my mind started wandering to try to come up with a reason. It is still wandering.

  • The last time I filled up my car with gas made me angry. With the price of gas (this morning at 3.799/gallon for regular), the capacity of the gas tank (21 gallons), and the station pre-authorizing credit cards for a max of $75, I wasn't able to fill the tank before I hit the max. I was more angry that they didn't realize that they need to raise the pre=auth number than the price of gas. That made me even more angry that I should have been more upset at the price of the gas itself.

  • I didn't win the $312MM MegaMillions jackpot. If I did, gas prices would have been less of an issue.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Quote of the week.

"Getting older is no problem. You just have to live long enough." - Groucho Marx

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Who WON'T you ride with?

I invited a bunch of friends/athletes for a bike ride starting at my house last Saturday. The plan was to do a similar ride that we did the previous week which was about 35 mostly hilly miles. There was going to be four of us but when I was pumping up my tires I saw someone I knew (henceforth known as Steverino) but didn't invite unloading his bike in front of my house. I didn't mind since I've ridden with Steverino before and KK came up to me saying that she invited him. I know Steverino is a strong rider. His forte is what I consider relatively odd events - he has done the Mt Washington race in the past and is currently training for the Harpoon Brewery to Brewery ride. An aside, this one day event is on my bucket list. It is described on the website as "The Harpoon Brewery to Brewery Ride is one tough ride. By design, it is not for everyone. This ride is for cyclists who enjoy great beer, are physically and mentally tough, take pleasure in the fellowship of others, don’t whine, excel in the face of challenges, play by the rules, and can ride 148 miles to the finish safely and without their hands being held." This doesn't even mention the world class after race party at the brewery.

But back to the ride and the cast of characters. Even more of a reason why Steverino was welcomed was because of the type of person that he is not. He is not a person who I won't train with. In fact, he is someone that I like to train with and I've ridden with him while training for various charity types of events. That got us discussing on the ride (between climbs) what type of person would we not want to ride with. Given the choice we would not invite these people to an invited ride. Yes, sometimes you don't have a choice of the invitees when the ride is organized not by you. The only choice you really have in a "show and go" is to show or not to show and if you show to go or not to go. Given these limits and some literary freedom in my summarizing, we came up with the following initial rule set:
  • Annoying people in real life are annoying while riding. There are so many types of annoying that could fit in this category that I would never finish this opus so I'll leave it at a high level now. Let them be annoying to others elsewhere.
  • People who don't ride safely. This needs to be observed first hand.
  • People who whine. There are parts of a ride where whining is allowed but these parts normally correspond to when the effort turns talking into grunting. Or turns grunting into gasping for breath.
  • People who repeatedly aren't prepared.
  • People who ride too slow or too fast given goal of the race. When someone wants to hammer and others want a recovery ride, conflict arises. The key is setting the goal of the ride properly. When it is set properly and people don't follow the goals is when problems happen. I, unfortunately, am riding slow these days (especially on the hills) so I need to do some work to stay on the invite list to my own rides.
I'm sure there are more rules that I am missing. This list is not all encompassing and I expect additions over time. But what do you do with this rule set? You put people on the permanently invited or the permanently uninvited to ride list. Steverino is on the invite list. Others who will go nameless were designated on the uninvited list.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Follow up on the Marathon Dilemma

Last week in this post I posed a question regarding to register for the 2011 NYC Marathon even though I wasn't planning on racing it to get the option for 2012 or not to register. I did a little more research and found to register for the 2011 NYC marathon will cost me $165. The executive summary is that I decided not to waste spend that money.

I realized that I was miscounting the 9+1. I've already raced one NYRR race in 2011 - the Gridiron Classic. I've already registered for three others (Colon Cancer 15k on Mar27, Wall Street Run on May17, and Brooklyn Half on May21). As part of Ironman training I am planning on running Grete's Great Gallop (half Marathon) on Oct1 and the Staten Island Half Marathon on Oct9 as supported long training runs. I didn't want to commit to any races after my Ironman but then needed to see if I could find 3 more that fit in the schedule.

I found two without looking too hard. I've registered for the NYRR Scotland Run 10k on Apr10 and the NYRR Healthy Kidney 10k on May14. Each is costing me $18. I need to find one more to run and one to volunteer but that shouldn't be that hard.

Even if that doesn't happen, as many pointed out, there are many more marathons worthy of consideration. Another choice is not to do one at all.

In any event, that $165 stays in my pocket.


PS: Some of it didn't stay in my pocket that long since I registered for the Mini Mighty Man (400m pool swim, 6m bike, 2m run). I'm going to use it to practice transitions as it is the week before St Anthony's.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Quote of the week.

"Old is always fifteen years from now." - Bill Cosby

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dirty words.

One of the things that I'm minorly proud of is that I've been able to avoid most of George Carlin's "seven words that you cannot say on television" while crafting posts for my blog. My children often read my blog and I try to make it so that they can read with without overt embarrassment. Perhaps in some strange way this a quest of some sorts to be a role model but realize there are ample opportunities for me to cause the feeling of shame by my children in other manners (and I have) so this isn't that big a deal in the scope of things. Anyway I'm proud of it in some strange sort of way. No, not of the shame, but the avoidance of those words.

In real life, though, I've been known to utter many, if not all, of these words. Some almost at the same time given the right circumstances. Those readers who thought in some manner that I am on the road to sainthood would be gravely disappointed. Insert the word of your choice here. I'm not as bad as many but I can probably curse with the best of them. I avoid this though but I've found that there are appropriate times to use these words. Some of these times are during training for endurance sports and many of these words are targeted not at others but at myself or inanimate objects.

Today was a classic example. A small group was leaving my house on a bike ride led by my coach. The night before he mentioned to me that this was going to be a hard ride with lots of hills. I really haven't done "lots of" only "the occasional" in the hill department. This set me up perfectly for verbal eruptions.

After almost 2 hours of hill work of including roads with actual names of Mt. Misery Road, Cold Spring Hills Road, Snake Hill Road, and Harbor Hill Road, we turned up a road with yet another hill. This road was named Laurel Hill Road (not Lauryn Hill although there was to be miseducation involved) the following conversation happened:

KK: I hate when the street name has "hill" in it. Lauren Hill Road. Sigh.
Rockstar: This name one has a middle name too, I'm sure.
SS: Yup, and I bet you it begins with an "F".
All: Absolutely.

This got me thinking. Athletes look at and refer to paths, roads and road names differently that non-athletes. How many times while driving hilly roads in a car have you thought about where you would be downshifting? Have you, while driving along, thought that this road would be great for running hill repeats? If you say to a cyclists from these parts "I'm riding up Snake," the response may involve one of these dirty words (note in this case it completely acceptable to leave off the "hill" and "road"). When this happens, the use of this type of word IS socially (within the biker society) encouraged and the context has made the word transform from the dirty word list to the non dirty word list.

On the other hand, certain hill or road names, in and of themselves, become dirty words. On today's ride, I found a few new ones. Those not on this ride may think this innocent but those on the ride know what I mean. You may even have one of these near you.

Private Road. Although it doesn't need to, today's Private Road has a middle name too. Guess which letter its middle name starts with?

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Marathon Dilemma

Somewhere in here there is some logic. At least, a need for logic will become self evident.

I've never run a marathon. I figured that if I was ever going to run a marathon it would be NYC but there is always a challenge of actually getting in. Fortunately, NYRR has a program where if you complete 9 races (later they added on the additional requirement of volunteering at another) within a calendar year, you would have guaranteed entry into the following year's marathon. In 2008 I decided I was going to run in the 2009 NYC Marathon and started on my quest to meet the 9 race requirement. I met this quest.

In early 2009 I got the email that was the yellow brick road on how to register before the lottery people were identified and let in. I registered for the NYC26.2 and had a good year training until I failed at dodging a Honda CR-V while riding my bike in September. The bike shattered, my ribs fared not much better, the Honda left the scene on a flatbed, and I left the scene in the back of an ambulance. This was 7 weeks before the marathon. I decided to defer my 2009 entry into 2010.

Deferring an entry means getting the option to pay the entry fee again the following year. I started running again in November 2009 and hurt my knee. I figured this was a temporary deal so reregistered for the 2010 edition of the marathon. This wasn't so temporary but my 2010 season ended with yet another bike crash. This time the casualties included my broken left wrist and stitches in my right hand. I was bandaged up like a lobster and realized my season was over.

I was never going to run in the NYC marathon in 2011 since IMFL is the day before. I forgot but I did actually defer the entry to 2011. Today, I got the email giving me the instructions to enter the marathon for 2011 but it also said that if I wanted to, I could register for 2011 (and pay the registration fee) and defer yet again into 2012.

Hmmmmm. 2012 marathon. Wasn't thinking that far in advance. Now the need for logic becomes apparent.

Do I register and pay the fee (event though it isn't cheap I'm not really concerned so much about the cost)? My other option would be to do the 9 races this year (I have one already done, two more already registered, and more under consideration) to get into NYC2012 that way. Then I realized that paying the entry fee for the marathon would be about the same as the race fees for the other 6 races.

So, what to do? Pay and defer to 2012 (I'm effectively buying an option) or let it expire, do the 9 or if I don't get the 9 in, take a chance that I won't get in?

I have a month to decide. What say ye?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Quote of the week.

"Nobody expects to trust his body overmuch after the age of fifty." - Alexander Hamilton

Sunday, March 6, 2011

3 Rounds against Mother Nature.

First of all, thank you for all the good wishes for my birthday. I'm now at the age that I always thought as old. Please indulge me on the next few Quotes of the weeks. As you can imagine, there will be a theme and I haven't decided if "geezer" or "fossil" is most appropriate.

I had a lot of training on the schedule this weekend and I wanted to try to get it done outside. The weather report for this weekend wasn't the best (but it wasn't horrible) with Saturday being forecasted as better than Sunday. In fact, Sunday was potentially a wash out with the rain starting late Saturday. The roads here still aren't great with a lot of sand and stuff down from the snow. Not all the snow is melted but what is left is ugly crusty snow piles that will probably be here until the summer. Some of it is still melting but that makes for wet roads. Mother Nature was throwing her best at us. The Crew decided to ride early on Saturday and run on Sunday.

We decided to meet at 6:45am to get the 2.5 hour ride in before the rains came. I woke up and looked outside to see if the rain had started. All I saw was dark but it looked like dry dark. I found text messages from the overnight that most of my group was bailing. I decided to go anyway and was please with myself for winning the mental battle.

Six minutes into the ride it started drizzling. A few minutes later it was a soaking rain. This coupled with a 44 degree temperature made us miserable. I looked at DrFran with the rain dripping off my helmet, he back looked at me, and I offered to bail and for him to ride the IMLP Computrainer course at my house. He said, "sold!" Our outdoor ride was 2 hours and 10 minutes short of what we wanted. We got back to my house and I let him ride the CT for a while on the IMLP real course video (he is doing IMLP this year). Of course, the weather started to clear then. Round 1 to Mother Nature.

I couldn't ride outside right away since I had family errands to do (including a round trip to Connecticut). It didn't rain at all the rest of the day and the weather kept teasing me by being nicer and nicer. I got back on my bike at 3:30. It started getting very windy with the storm now approaching. I was able to knock off a little over 20 miles of hill work so I viewed that as a victory. Round 2 to the Rock Star.

The rubber match would be Sunday when I had a run scheduled. The forecast was updated in that, although it was supposed to rain heavy later, earlier there was a chance of clear. I had 75 minutes to get done. We decided to go early, meeting at 7AM. I woke up to 100% humidity but no rain. We did our run and only then it started to rain. The rest of the day was a washout. I took Round 3!

I'm sure Mother Nature will want a rematch. I don't know when the rematch will be but I'll be ready for it. Weekends like this are money in the bank that will be withdrawn when I need it come race day.

Rock on.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

ABCs of a Rock Star

I saw more than a few of these and thought I'd play along.

A~Age: 50

B~ Bed Size: King

C~Chore you hate: All

D~Dogs: Many growing up. None now.

E~Essential Start your Day Item: Peeing

F~Favorite Color: Blue

G~Gold or Silver: Gold

H~Height: 6'2"

I~Instruments you play: Piano and various other keyboards. There was a time where some considered me pretty good and I started playing professionally at 15 years old. I rarely play any more.

J~Job Title: Managing Director - Technology

K~Kids: 2 teenage girls

L~Live: Long Island, NY

M~Mom’s Name: Nana

N~Nicknames: Rock Star, Joey, Stosh, Daddy

O~Overnight Hospital Stays: Too many to recall. Longest was a week with back surgery.

P~Pet Peeve: Stupid people who need to try to convince you that they aren't stupid.

Q~Quote from a Movie: Elwood:It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark... and we're wearing sunglasses. Jake: Hit it.

R~Right or Left Handed: Right

S~Siblings: 2 younger sisters, one younger brother.

T~Time you wake up: 5AM or 6AM

U~Underwear: No commando. Will mix up boxers and briefs.

V~Vegetable you dislike: Peas are evilest.

W~What makes you late: I'm rarely late.

X~X-rays you’ve had done: Too many. In the last year alone: left hand/wrist, right knee, lower back, chest, teeth, and hip.

Y~Yummy food you make: Cheeseburgers. Simple and to the point.

Z~Zoo animal favorite: Penguins.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Quote of the week.

"How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?" - Leroy "Satchel" Paige

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fear not

Thanks for the motiviational comments and emails regarding my trip but unstructured training while on vacation does not mean no training. In my week away I was able to sneak in:
  • 2 one hour long spin classes while on the cruise ship
  • 1 tempo run with my daughter.
  • 1 snorkling session in 6-10ft seas in Mexico
  • 2 days at Disney covering 4 parks. My wife wore a pedometer as a test. One day day had a little more than 19000 steps and the other was 17000. This translates into 9.5 miles and 8.5 miles.

After I landed on Sunday I hopped on the bike trainer to shake out the legs a bit and followed it up with a bike threshold test on Monday night (2x20' hard!). Tuesday has a mile repeats running with a swim session at night (perhaps even a swim threshold test).

Two months until St Anthony's. A little over 3 until Rev3 Quassy and 248 days until IMFL. Most importantly, there is the possibility of riding my bike outside this weekend! Saturday might be 40 balmy degrees.

Game on.