4/29/10

Prelude to Fdip232: The 114th Boston Marathon

On Sunday, at midnight EDT the 232nd episode of Phedippidations will be available for download (from the servers at Liberated Syndication and Wizzard Media).  Since there have been well over fifty one thousand downloads of the first three episodes of my Boston Marathon series, I’m guessing this fourth installment is going to be heard by a “whole buncha runners” (that’s a technical term meaning “more than the ten I ever expected to listen).

That being the case, I felt I should jot down some thoughts on the episode that you’ll hear, as I suspect you’ll find it to be (in a word) “different” and I’m not exactly sure what your reaction will be.

If it helps, having spent at least thirty hours on putting the show together (please thank my wife) I’ve uploaded the thing not quite sure, myself, of what to think of…well….of myself.

First: understand please that this is NOT the episode I intended to produce. 

I have a very particular process and style when I’m putting together an episode of Phedippidations: it usually starts with research, segues into long hours of writing (my favorite thing to do in the process, but also the most time consuming) and then when I have a working script I record it in two parts. 

The first part you hear when I’m running…this is a very loose script because I have to memorize everything I’m going to say and my written notes usually reflect that, for example if I’m going to talk about Johnny Kelley the elder, I’ll write in the script “discuss JKe on GLSB describe bot hill” which will be my cue, when memorizing the “script” to talk about Johnny on the goofy little speed bump (I never call it heartbreak, because that doesn’t apply to me) with special care to describe the bottom of the hill (so that runners can visualize what it looks like when they get there).

See what I mean?  The script for the “running segment” of my show is more of a set of guide notes that I can easily memorize and when I get to the start of the run (outside of my squeaky door, or at the starting line of a race) I already have, in my head, a list of items that I have to record myself talking about.  Sometimes I forget one or two items, which is fine because I always have a much longer list of guide notes than I’ll ever use.

For my running on the 114th Boston Marathon, I had a VERY long list of “guide notes” memorized, because I intended to describe to you what if felt, looked, and smelled like to run this race.  I wasn’t going to talk about myself at all, I was going to be a good reporter and give you a much clearer sense of what it’s like to run the Boston Marathon than I’ve done in the past five years.

The second part of my script is the narration you hear in the show.  It’s written in a verbose fashion (similar to what you’re reading now) and is intended to be read conversationally, with facts, figures and details gathered from research interspersed throughout.  If you’re hearing my voice in your head as you read this, then you know exactly what I mean by “conversational tone”.  (The name Phedippidations, came about because I wanted to have a “Conversation” while out on a long run).

So, I had written a script for this show that I was really proud of.  I’m not often proud of my writing style or abilities, but this one was special…and because of the nature of this script it was unique to the 114th Boston Marathon and can’t really be used again.

See, this wasn’t the race I was planning on running, and my frustration was that by the time I got to mile four: I already knew I was in trouble.

You’ll note, as you listen to Fdip232 that when I’m in the early miles: I make little reference to my weakness and dehydration…this is a classic example of being in denial (I have a habit of doing that a lot).  I didn’t want to admit to myself (or to you) what I knew to be true: I was going to be a complete mess by the time I started that climb out of Newton Lower Falls at mile sixteen.

By the time I got to Framingham, I met fellow runner Amee from Winchendon, MA. (you’ll hear her say hi to me on the show).  Listening back to the audio, I felt really badly that I wasn’t more friendly to her at the time…so Amee, if you’re reading this: when you asked me how I was doing, the REAL answer was “not good at all”, but I didn’t want to admit that to anyone (or myself) at the time.  I was running for five minutes, walking at a brisk pace for two (as per my plan) but I was in constant pain throughout; hence my inability to carry on a conversation. (Congratulations on your run by the way! You were flying into Natick!)

Since I knew this was going to be a race of survival, I didn’t bother to record any of my speaking points: and just went on to describe my agony.  That’s not fun to listen to, I understand: but hopefully you’ll learn something from my mistakes.

As for my original narrative script for this show, some of it can be reused next year (not much of it, but some) and I’d post it here on Intervals, except that it wouldn’t make any sense to you.

Do I consider this my best podcast episode?  Most definitely not.  This episode is different because it documents the complete breakdown of a human being, struggling to finish a task that is important only to himself.  I’m not heroic, and this didn’t require courage: true heroism and courage are found with those who risk their lives so that runners like you and I can sleep comfortably at night, and wake up to run marathons without fear of repression and violence. 

Also worth mentioning is that as I ran this race, I used Android technology (mobile smartphone system) to keep everyone up to date as to how I was doing.  The technology worked well, but I had expected to be on the course for around five hours…and the constant GPS tracking, 3G transmitting, video, audio and tweet messaging gobbled up the juice in my Droid, forcing the OS to shut down the GPS tracking function in the final miles.  For those of you who were wondering what happened to me as you tracked me on this website: my Droid wanted to ensure I had enough power to phone home at the end (Thank you R2D2).

So, there you have it: Fdip232 will be plugged into your head in just a few days.  I hope you enjoy it, and would appreciate any and all feedback (I always do).  You can email me directly: steve@steverunner.com or follow me on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/phedippidations ) Twitter (http://twitter.com/steverunner ) or you can email me an MP3 file which I’ll post and respond to here on Intervals.

Thanks for all of your kind words and support; and I hope you like the episode.

Just make sure you’re well hydrated before you listen to it!

- Steve

4/21/10

Announcing the First Annual Phedippidations Fish Gut to Support the SRMD Foundation!

Ahhh, it’s almost summertime, and in New England that means cold beer, the Boston Red Sox and plenty of fresh fish to gut! 

We’re talking all kinds of fish here: Atlantic Salmon, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Carp, Northern Pike, White Perch, Yellow Perch, Pickerel, Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout, Walleye, Whitefish, Atlantic Codfish, Atlantic Mackerel, Blue Fish, Striped Bass, and Winter Flounder just to name a few!

This is the land where the fish eating Pilgrims landed, where the mighty fish eating American Indian Tribes of the Mashantucket Pequots, Mohegans, Aroostook Micmacs, Maliseets, Passamaquoddy’s, Penobscots, Wampanoags and Narragansetts fished, fed, lived and taught their children to gut a fish.

In the spirit of these brave people, and the hearty New England fisherman who catch the greatest source of fresh protein on the good planet Earth: Phedippidations in cooperation with the SRMD Foundation present the first of it’s kind epic social event that brings to focus the power of new media and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook into a single good and neighborly cause:

THE FIRST ANNUAL PHEDIPPIDATIONS FISH GUT

Just imagine it!  You and a barge-full of freshly caught fish! Black Crappies and Bluegill Sunfish!  Barrel after barrel of Haddock, Pollock, and Rainbow Smelt…all laid out before you on a gutting table where you can hack and slice and clean the guts away!

Stephen the Dog (famous canine blogger from http://www.stephenthedog.com website ) said of this event:Steve recently was talking…about having an event for all the people who listen to his podcast and want to meet him….Steve asked me to sponsor his event as well.  This sponsorship thing is kind of cool it is nice to see people get behind a cause.

So, go to http://www.stephenthedog.com today and subscribe to the blog today and help Stephen and Steve support the SRMD Foundation to help make the world a better place to gut fish!

And remember: "Give someone a fish and you feed him for a day;  
Teach someone to GUT a fish and you'll have to teach them to wash their hands afterwards." 


*** This announcement paid for by the SRMD Foundation, Stephen the Dog and Phedippiations: the podcast for runners at SteveRunner.com ***

4/20/10

I don’t care what the BAA says, I finished.


Yesterday I ran (walked, stumbled and crawled) the 114th Boston Marathon; and for the record (although possibly not the official record) I finished.

I knew I was in trouble by the time I passed the mile 4 marker.  My stomach began to lurch in a way not unlike its state four years before when I vomited my way to Boston in 5 hours 33 minutes and 42 seconds.  The difference is that in 2006 my stomach became the source of all my woe at mile 10, not 4.

“This going to be bad” I thought to myself as I climbed that short hill crossing over into Framingham at mile 5.

When I’m asked, in future years, about why I suffered so badly in the 114th Boston Marathon, I’ll give my biographers two major, possibly related reasons: dehydration and stomach cramps.
It didn’t help that I was suffering from adductor muscle pain, or that my right ankle became inflamed in the late miles of the race.  It didn’t help that muscle cramps in my legs and especially the area of my talofibular ligament (the bend where my feet connect to my legs) were cramping and throbbing…I could run through all that; but the dehydration and stomach cramps are really what did me in.
I have some theories as to why I suffered thusly, which I’ll reveal on my next podcast episode (Fdip232: The 114th Boston Marathon).  I’m not holding back on the WHY at this point, I just need to sit down and reconstruct the events leading up to, as well as during the race.
See, this was a very bad day for me.  I crossed the finish line moments before they pulled up the timing mats, so I may never have an official finishing time. I was one step ahead of the official BAA “spotter car” which marked the end of the official timing.  It was a horrible, sinking feeling to know that I had suffered so much to finish this thing, and now I would not be given an official finishing time.
But I know what my time was, and it’s worth noting that the BAA ends the race at exactly 6 hours and 30 minutes after the starting gun of the second wave of runners.
And that was my time. 
I was out there, running (crawling) the 114th Boston Marathon for exactly 6 hours and 30 minutes (and, let’s call it 20 seconds…because they were just pulling up the timing mats when I arrived).
But, there were some shining moments for the day.  John Ellis, friend, marathon advisor and run-net-community star (well deserved) met me at about 21.75 miles, running towards me in the opposite direction and did me the honor of running with me to the finish line.
On a day where I was starting to feel very alone out there and about to give up, having a friend run me to the finish line was a special thing indeed.  I may not have an official time in this race; but I experienced a victorious finish as I somehow found the energy to run with a friend with all the power I had left in me, to the finish line.
Thank you to everyone who sent Tweets (on Twitter); posted messages on my Facebook page; visited my Intervals blogpage, viewed the QIK videos and listened to the iPadio audio phlogs that I recorded.  It means a lot to me that you took the time to follow me yesterday, and that you wrote such kind and caring things.
When I’m asked about “my audience” for Phedippidations, I always make the point to correct the questioner.  I don’t have an audience; I have a group of fellow runners who inspire me to run with passion, perseverance and an indomitable spirit.
With that said, I couldn’t have finished Boston yesterday without your support; and for that I will always be grateful.
Run long and taper.
- Steve

4/19/10

Race Day

As you read this; I’m out there, somewhere between East Main Street in Hopkinton and Boylston Street in the city of Boston.

From this website, you can follow me.

Now, let’s not get all melodramatic about this seemingly herculean task that I’m engaged in: there are, after all, 24,999 other runners going through the same thing that I’m going through today (although I hope they’ve not all suffering from the same injuries that I seem to find myself afflicted with).

This is Patriots Day in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and I am running the 114th Boston Marathon.  That means that I will, starting at around 10:45 AM EDT or so, begin running from a small town to a fairly large city.  That’s exactly 26.2 miles (or 42.195 kilometers) in case you were wondering, an annoyingly long distance to drive and an impressively long distance to run.

Throughout the day, you can check in on this website to hear, see, read and track the experience of my 26.2 miles long journey. 

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

You’ve undoubtedly noticed a large and annoying map displayed at the very top of this page.  As fascinating as this may sound, THAT map will show my exact and precise position (within about 600 feet) as I run this years Boston Marathon. 

That’s right: I have, strapped within a very lightweight, discrete and unassuming holder, a Droid smart-phone (because I’m wicked-shmaht) that will upload my GPS coordinates to this website every 2 to 3 minutes as I run! 

If you want to know where I am along the course, you need only refresh this page to get my latest location and speed.

WHY would you want to follow my progress in the 114th Boston Marathon?  What kind of question is that?  I HAVE NO IDEA …except, I suspect that you know me pretty well, and that means that you have a friend running the Boston Marathon today.

Go ahead and tell someone: “My friend Steve is running Boston and if they ask you how I’m doing…check on this website throughout the day.

If you should see that my position is at Newton Wellesley hospital you can tell them “Uh, not so well”, or if it’s 11:00 at night and I’m still in Newton, you can say “He’s making progress”.   If, however, you check at 3:30 PM EDT and find that I’m on Boylston Street: then Rejoice, We Conquer!  

I’ll upload a video and look for all your Tweets and Facebook posts: know that I’ll be lifting an ice cold Sam in thanks to you!

I’ll also be wearing a “timing and scoring chip” on my shoe, which computer sensors will detect at the 10K, Half Marathon, 30K and Finish line; uploading my projected finishing time throughout the day.  There are a couple of ways you can read those updates:

Follow me on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/steverunner or

Be my friend at Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/phedippidations

I’m going into this race with some obvious trepidation (and pain) but I’ll be careful and expect to have a lot o’ fun (I’m kinda twisted that way).

I’m hoping to finish in under five hours AND finish strong enough to enjoy a frosty Sam Adams at the finish line!

I’ll have episode Fdip232: The 114th Boston Marathon available for download in a week or so after the race, check my Twitter and Facebook pages for updates, and subscribe to Phedippidations on iTunes (there’s a link on this website, in the upper left column).  If you're already subscribed, could you leave a review on iTunes today?  (Thank you!)

To everyone running Boston today, have an AMAZING race and remember: that last hill is just a goofy little speed bump, and once you see the spires of BC it’s all downhill from there!
 Run long and taper.

Steve “Runner” Walker
114th Boston Marathon Runner #24624

4/16/10

Wine Review: 2008 Cotes du Roussillon.

I’m just three days away from running my twenty first marathon (and ninth Boston!) so I figured I’d relax, sit back and enjoy a glass of wine. 

Or two. 

At least. 

I’ve got a fire blazing here in the fireplace, my puppy at my side, the Red Sox playing at Fenway on the HDTV and a glass of Cote du Roussillon waiting for a taste.

There are two regions of the wine world that I’m still trying to understand: France and Italy.  Now, as I visit many wine stores in my area of New England, and as I ask many questions about wine regions, varietals and vintages; I have found the following to be true:

Anyone who tells me that they understand to a great extent all that there is to know about French and Italian wine are either LIARS or BAD LIARS.  Consequently, I find myself purchasing wine only from those store owners and wine purchasers who admit that they too are still working to understand such French wine as Cotes du Roussillon.

Here’s what I can tell you about this stuff:  Cotes du Roussillon is a controlled designation of origin in France, referring to wine from Roussillon: a county of the Eastern Pyrenees located on the south most tip of France

Cote du Roussillon mostly produces red wine, with Grenache being the major varietal.  Appellation d’Origine Controlee (AOC) rules call for the wines to be made with at least three different varietals.  The traditional grapes used are Grenache Noir, Grenache Blanc, Carignan, Lladoner Pelut, Cinsault, Macabeau (same as Viura, or the Spanish Macabeo), and Malvoisie.  Newer varietals include Syrah, Mourvedre, Roussanne, and Marsanne (these last four from Cote du Rhone) and also Vermentino (from Italy).

So, tonight I’m pouring a 2008 Syrah, Grenache blend Cotes du Roussillon which I’ve allowed to decant for thirty minutes.  I don’t know much about the 2008 vintage (I understand the 2005 and 2007 vintages are just as spectacular as those in Bordeaux) so I figured a thirty minute decanting period was fair.

Color

So, first let’s give it a look.  It’s a light bodied color, almost like a slightly darker Pinot but it’s got a ruby glow to it under the incandescent light I’ve got here.  I’m not sure what to expect from this region of France, so I’m going to call it good and give it a nine score.  “Why not a ten?” you ask?  Because a ten in color is reserved to something that sparkles, shines and glows under any light.  This one just glows, which is good and worthy of a nine.

Nose

I gave this thirty (that’s a three followed by a zero with nary a decimal point or comma) minutes to decant.  You’d think that with that kind of oxidation something might happen where it would open up and reveal itself a little. 

I mean, if it’s corked it’s either going to smell of cardboard or wet dog: and Indiana (my puppy) doesn’t seem to be making a fuss (and he has super-powers when it comes to smell), so I think it’s safe to approach.  But *sniff* I get barely anything on the nose. 

I do smell some cherry notes, but I have to inhale deeply to get that, even after repeated swirls. I do get some sugary scents, nothing major just a hint of goodness.  What I can pull into my olfactory sensory neurons is good, it’s just very subtle.  It’s pleasant, but not a bomb, which is good, just not great.  So, I’m scoring this a twenty-two.  I thought hard about this score, and you’re going to just have to trust me on this one: of a possible thirty points, this isn’t a twenty-five and it’s not a twenty.  It’s a solid twenty-two.  (Either that, or my sense of smell is starting to fade).

Palate

Ahhhhh, nice.  Now a couple of things here; when I taste wine I always make a point to really slurp it up good: it drives my wife INSANE as I gurgle, slurp, snort and re-slurp (that’s a word, really; I just don’t have the dictionary from which it is included available at the moment, and don’t go looking for it now when we’re in the middle of a wine review, that would be rude!).  So, I did plenty of that just now: slurp, inhale from my mouth, swish, gargle, slurp (I am so much fun to spend time with!). 

Here’s what I’m getting:

Bacon.  Mole Sauce. Buffalo Chicken Wings, leather, sour balls, and on the finish: chalky raisins.

I like this wine.  I went into this bottle without expectations and was kinda setting myself up for disappointment with the weak (but nice) nose: but now I get it. Now I understand what the winemaker was trying to do here.  This is a Syrah/Grenache blend, and there’s something else in there that I can’t quite figure out…but it’s good. 

The marketing notes on the bottle says “325 days of sunshine a year, some of the lowest yields in France, and growers who are fully committed to quality have given this wine all the complexity of a great Cotes du Roussillon.  It is an ideal accompaniment to red meat, game and cheese.”

In other words, they tell me NOTHING about the wine.  Thanks Vignerons Catalans en Roussillon

As for mouth feel, I like it.  It’s not gummy or too watery, I’d say it’s just right.  The finish was short, with a puckery little sour note at the very end, but not unpleasant.

I’m scoring this one a thirty-five out of forty. I really liked this wine and could see myself having this with a juicy burger with onions, or out on the deck (slightly chilled) on a hot summers day.  It’s not a Pinot, but it’s a very nice flavorful expression of a Syrah/Grenache blend, with something else in there to make it light.

Overall

So, simply put I’m going to give this Cotes du Roussillon a seventeen for it’s overall score.  I think the light nose is pleasant, but not “nose grabbing”, the color and palate are good to great and now that I figured out what the wine maker was trying to say with this I can honestly say that I’ll look for wines from this region again.

That means that the total score for this 2008 Cotes du Roussillon is (drum roll please? Can’t anyone provide me with a drum roll when I need it?)

9+22+35+17= 83

Eighty-three points!  Not too shabby!

To everyone who is running the 114th Boston Marathon with me, here’s wishing you a great run.

To everyone who is stuck waiting for flights from Europe; I’m praying for clear skies and hoping you can run with us.  It won’t be nearly as much fun without you.

Salute!

- Steve

Just a Little Bit More

In April of 2007 I produced episode 92 of Phedippidations, titled “A Duel in the Sun”, and concluded the show with an essay that seems just as fitting today, three years later:

We’ve been through a lot together, fellow runners, and now the talk is over.  You’ve been with me, every week, since I started training for the 111th Boston Marathon back around Christmas, with episode 76: The Moderate Consistent marathon plan, designed and promoted by the Hanson Brothers.

We’ve run together on good days and bad…warm days and bitterly cold, sunny days and blizzards…but we did it together, you and I.

I know how that sounds.  I’m over here behind a microphone, and you’re out there with your earbuds jammed in your head…we’ve never met in person, we’ve only run together in spirit…right?  This declaration that we’ve somehow “run together” isn’t meant to be taken literally, right?  I mean…I’m just some guy on the radio.

But I’m not some guy on the radio.  I’m a guy, on a podcast…a real person…better yet; I bet I’m a lot like you: a fellow runner.  I’m not a Podcaster, come on….so many of you say such kind things about this show, but think about it seriously for a minute: would a commercial radio station ever really let me on the air?  Of course not…they’d be crazy to….because I’m not a Podcaster….I’m just like you, a runner…but I’m not lucky enough to be able to run with you in person…believe me, I wish I could…you have no idea how much I’d benefit as a runner to be able to run with you each week…but, in a very real sense…in a very literal sense, I have run with you each week…I really have.

It’s not an imaginative expression for me to say that you’ve been with me…every time you’d given this podcast a listen, because part of running with someone in reality is knowing that they are there for you, be it in person or in spirit.  There’s a true value to both of those things…but were we to run together and never say a word to each other…the inspiration and camaraderie would be the same…I know you were there for me, and you’d know I was here: for you.

So, we really have trained together…we really have run together….this isn’t some cheap trick of semantics.  It means a lot to me that you’re there, and I want you to know how sincere I am when I say that.

I’m not smart enough, or talented enough to be on the radio, or to consider myself a great Podcaster…but I am a runner, and I appreciate your friendship and support…and for being with me on the good days, the bad days, the warm, cold, sunny and snow days.

We’ve run a lot of miles together, you and I....but I need to ask you to run with me just a little bit more.

I am Steve Runner, reminding you to run long, and taper.

April 16th, 2007

4/14/10

Dread and Excitement from the Back of the Pack

Dread.

Yeah, that’s the word I chose to begin this pre-Boston Marathon blog post: DREAD.  It rhymes with DEAD, BLED, SHRED and LEAD (the element, not the action).  It’s the whole idea that you have this ridiculously difficult thing to do next Monday morning and you can’t just back down, ignore it or hope that 26.2 miles in the current universe will suddenly shorten by a factor of 10. 

I mean, it COULD happen, except for that whole universal expansion thing, thus I’ll not hold my breath.

And yes I COULD wake up at five in the morning on Patriots Day, sigh perceptively and then roll over, cover my head with a convenient pillow and pretend it’s just another manic Monday.

But, see…the problem is I have a number.  Bib number 24624 to be precise; a number that is a numerical pneumonic. 

Everyone whom I’ve told that I’m running Boston KNOWS that number, it’s like that old Farm League baseball cheer shouted after the few times my team won a game: TWO-FOUR-SIX-eight WHO DO WE APPRECIATE?  Except, you can skip the eight, add the first two digits to come up with the third and ahhhuuhhhh…I can’t believe I have to run this thing on Monday!

But then again, this is an amazing race for so many different reasons.  And, let’s be clear: it’s not JUST the race that makes this event so groovy; it’s the town, the history and the fact that for this entire weekend Beantown becomes a bit of a “Running Mecca”.  The greatest runners in the history of the sport have run this race, and many of them will be in Boston starting on Friday night!

The race, which starts for me at 10:30 AM on Monday morning, will be the apex of a weekend of all things running related! 

The Health and Fitness Expo at the Hynes Auditorium is amazing!  There were will be seminars on the topic of running as well as a sports medicine symposium held on Saturday and Sunday!  There’s the B.A.A. Youth Relay Challenge at 11:00 AM on Saturday on Boylston Street and a 5K road race and invitational mile held on Sunday morning at 8:00!  Then there’s the pre-race dinner at 4:30 PM at City Hall Plaza, and while you’re there you can meet THE John Ellis at the Bill Rogers Running Center at Faneuil Hall Marketplace!

This is the most amazing weekend long party for runners in the world!  Even after the race, the party continues, with the awards ceremony at 5:00 PM at the Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel on Saint James Street, and there’s a post race party at the 3rd floor ballroom of the Hynes Convention Center starting at 7:30 PM on Sunday night!  This is an incredible event for anyone interested in the sport of running!

EXCITEMENT! 

Yeah, that’s the word I chose to end this pre-Boston Marathon blog post: EXCITEMENT! 


Because I’m runner number 24624 in the 114th Boston Marathon. 

And I can’t wait!

- Steve


4/13/10

Indiana Jones: Our Lemon Beagle Puppy Turns One Year Old

I have never owned a dog before, and to be honest: I’m not so sure that I really “own” Indy…he’s a part of the family; he’s not our property he’s one of the kids…in fact, much to my son John’s chagrin, we often call for “JOHN” when we mean to call for Indy, and visa versa. 

Indiana has no idea that he’s another species.  When we sit down to the table for dinner, he tilts his head to the right, looks at us with wide questioning eyes as if to say “How come everyone else gets to sit at the table, to eat: and I have to eat on the floor from a bowl?”  Insert canine version of a pouty look here.

We all look down at him, and helplessly: one of us will pick him up and feed him some chicken, beef, hamburger or fish.  And we won’t feed him that fatty left-over stuff either, he gets his fair share.  Indiana doesn’t understand that he’s not a member of the human species, and quite frankly: neither do we.

You, see: I’ve become one of THOSE people…a so called “Dog Person”.  I never thought I’d be in this state; I never for a moment imaged that I’d look forward to the time I get to spend with MY puppy. 

My nights are spent with my 16 (going on 17) year old son on one side of the couch, Indy in the middle, and myself on the far side sitting in front of the HD TV broadcast of our beloved Boston Red Sox.  When Big Papi get’s up to the plate, we all rise INCLUDING Indy, who is always first to shout (bark) for Papi to get a hit.

I’m convinced that he’s not a dog, you see.  I understand that his genetic origins are canine in nature; but there’s something about this puppy…I’m telling you.  Others who have come into my house have sensed this as well.

You want to talk about sweet?   My puppy is dripping with sweetness: IT’S HIS SUPER POWER.  At a party we recently had at the house, he came into the room and everyone turned with awe at his calculated entrance.  He walked over to the two human infants in the room, rocking in their baby-carriers, gave each a snuggle in response to their coos and then turned in regal display as if to say “Greetings guests, the party may now truly begin for Indiana Jones is in the house” and then, trotted away to the kitchen.

This creature is in charge.  If someone walks near the vicinity of our house, at some “known only to Indy” distance, he will commence angry barking: but, should that person come to the door and pass through the door: the sweetness factor is turned to ELEVEN.

Indiana Jones is the alpha dog in our house, and the rest of us are powerless to his control. I warn you NOT to stare too long at the photo’s that I’ve included with this post: you will be hypnotized into providing him with perfectly cooked ocean caught salmon, filet mignon and some kind of chicken dish.  Don’t laugh, THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU!

We recently celebrated his one year anniversary of impenetrable cuteness, according to our pet age calculator that makes him roughly 11 human years old.  That means he’s just as conniving, calculating, and pesky as my 16 (going on 17) year old son is.

I am both doomed and in love.

Happy Birthday Puppy.

- Steve

Another Easy Five with a 5:2 Run Walk

I’ll start off by saying that I ran about a minute faster today than yesterday, but that today’s run seemed twice as easy as yesterday’s run.  I’ve given up trying to understand the way my body and mind work.  I felt very comfortable out there, and just “ran how I felt”, comfortably without pushing too hard.  Yes, I was dealing with some pain (I’ve received no less than a dozen emails since this morning pleading with me NOT to run Boston because of this pain) but I’m used to that by now.

Life has it’s moments of struggle, some of them can be avoided, and others SHOULD be avoided.  I’ve neither the intelligence or common sense to sit this one out, and feel that I have to at least TRY to run this race.  If I wake up on April 19th, groaning in pain, I promise that I’ll crawl back into bed…but if I’m feeling okay, I’m going to take it mile by mile, stride by stride, and I’ll give it my best shot.

On race day you’ll be able to follow me via a GPS tracking system I’ll have with me (I tested it today, and it worked very well).  My INTERVALS website will have all kinds of Boston Marathon related updates on it as I run this race (especially before and after the race…I’m not so sure I’ll be doing anything more than concentrating on my running as I make my way to Boylston Street).

So, anyway: today’s run was a good one. I felt good doing it, I feel good after it.  All the gritty details are available on my BuckeyeOutdoors page:

Wednesday Night 4/13 Team Sweat at Boston College!

On Wednesday night (tomorrow) at 7:00 PM, John Ellis and I will attend a two hour interactive multi-media presentation by “Team Sweat” in the Vanderslice Cabaret Room at Boston College.  The presentation is titled "Behind the Swoosh: Sweatshops and Social Justice", includes slide shows, role-playing, powerful video footage, and a Question-Answer period. The presentation details the month EFJ Directors, Leslie Kretzu and Jim Keady spent in an Indonesian factory workers' slum living on $1.25 a day, a typical wage paid to Nike's subcontracted workers.

Along with personal accounts of lived solidarity, the presentation includes the latest information on Nike's labor and environmental practices that EFJ-sponsored teams researched in Indonesia from 2000 to the present. With "Behind the Swoosh", Kretzu and Keady attempt to de-commodify "labor" and as such, challenge their audience to deal in human terms with the women, men and sometimes children, who are the foundation of global manufacturing.

If you’re in and around the Boston area on Wednesday night, I highly recommend that you check out this thought provoking and informational presentation; and be sure to visit http://www.teamsweat.org/ to see when Jim is going to be in your town!

4/12/10

Fives mile 5:2 ratio run/walk goodness!

I had a nice easy run today, 5.22 miles in 59:29 (11:23/mi pace overall).  I ran for 5 minutes, walked for 2 minutes eight times and then ran the final 3 and a half minutes home at a 9:37 pace.  I went out a little hot (8:56/mi pace) but things evened out half way through the run.  I felt really comfortable out there; this 5:2 run/walk ratio seems to work well.


I'm decided that I'm going to try to run Boston next Monday.  We shall see how it goes; but lately I've felt good enough to try.

Details: http://buckeyeoutdoors.com/training/stream?id=15674

My BuckeyeOutdoors Page

Phedippidations 114th Boston Marathon Special Announcement

4/11/10

Today's Tempo Run Results!

Here’s my audio report as well as data regarding today’s Tempo training run, as I prepare for the 114th Boston Marathon:

Click on an image below to see it in larger detail:



4/9/10

Wine Review: 2005 Chateau Belrose Grand vin de Bordeaux


So, I opened up this bottle of Bordeaux that I paid a fair $12 US for, and didn’t have a lot of expectations.  Yes, it was an 05…which gives it some merit; but let’s be honest: we’ve all had our share of mediocre 2005 Bordeaux from time to time.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the vintage: I’ve read Parker; I know…I know 05 was a fantastic year, sure, great, fine.

This is the first wine article I’ve written for Intervals; so I want to get it right and I DON’T want to bore you with the typical “aged French oak barrel notes of malolactic fermentation, blah-dee-blah”.  I just want to tell you what I think of the wine, finish my glass and go back to the Red Sox game.

So let’s cut to the chase: I go by the classic Robert E. Parker Jr. method of evaluation.  I know that other wine nuts have their own methods of grading wine; and I’m sure they work well…but the 100 point system set up by Parker is fairly universal: like it or not.

So, I’ll judge a wine by it’s color, with a score of 1 through 10.  I’ll judge it’s nose (or smell) with a score of 1 through 30.  The taste and feel in the mouth (texture) is graded between 1 and 40 and finally the overall impression of the wine is scored between 1 and 20.

Got that?  Let’s begin.

Now, when I first opened up the 05 Chateau Belrose I was a little worried at the rusty blood red color it had to it.  I always check the color in a brightly lit room with a piece white printer paper held behind the glass (a Riedel by the way, a jelly jar is fine but I’m not an expert at this wine tasting thing, so I need all the help I can get).  For a Bordeaux, rust isn’t want you want for it’s color, so I was going to give it a grade of 4 until I noticed that there was sediment on the side of the bottle.  This had accumulated as the bottle had been stored on it’s side…so I let the glass of wine sit a bit…and sure enough, some sediment started to settle in the glass, and the color changed to a deep, dark claret! I checked it against the printer paper, held it to the light and gave it a grade of 8.

Next, the all important nose.  I’m really bad when it comes to this, so I always have to do two things to get the full scent of a wine: (1) I give the glass a good swirl and (2) I take two or three good snorts of the wine, smelling deeply thricely in order to fill my cranium with as much wine gas as possible. I got the smell of granite at first, a very light breeze of rocks in the Quincy quarries near where I grew up.  This was not a fruit bomb, which means it was light on the Cab Franc and Malbec. I knew right away that this was going to have to open up a bit before it could be enjoyed.  I knew it had potential, but was kinda bummed out that it didn’t do the jumping cherry dance in the nostrils!  Burned blueberries, I got that on the first wiff as well…and something like grapefruit: which really makes no sense, but that’s what I got.  I scored it 19 out of 30.

Next up: the mouth, and that’s when I realized I was dealing with Merlot (unconfirmed, but the tannis were dry on the finish).  That’s okay, I like Merlot and I understand it’s a major component in Bordeaux, but you’d think they’d add some Cab Franc to put some balance to it.  I’m not saying that Chateau Belrose isn’t balanced, I’m just saying that I wasn’t excited at this point, as I usually am with Bordeaux.

Have I mentioned that I’m a Bordeaux freak?  No?  I’ll have to explain that to you in some future blog post.  For now, let’s return to my review.

So, the mouth: it was very smooth and what the snoots call “velvety” on the tongue, which means that it didn’t’ burn my mouth and had a lot of good flavor…I like to do this slurping thing, to get some of the evaporated wine in my mouth back up to my nose (from within my mouth).  This helps me taste the wine better.  THIS was outstanding! Ahhhh, now this is what I was hoping for.  Sweet cherry notes and hints of dark roast coffee (not espresso mind you, but that dark Columbian coffee you sometimes have at Starbucks) and just a little bit of chocolate, like someone dropped a Hershey bar in the barrel, but then fished it out moments later.  I liked what I was tasting, and the finish was great: tannic dry but not too strong and notes of spicy pepper at the end…reminding me of mole sauce.  I scored it a 34 on the palate.

Finally the overall impression.  I gave it a 16 because this wine seemed like it had potential and I probably should have held onto it.  SO, the total came to 8+19+34+16=77.

And that would be the end of my story, except that I decided to decant the bottle to let it open up a bit…and open up it did!  YEE-IKES, that paltry nose score of 19 got a major boost once I retasted it when it opened up, suddenly I’m getting watermelon, cherry “Yubba Bubba Bubble Bum” and this smoky, leather aroma that just wasn’t there when I uncorked the bottle!  I rescored this sucker a solid 26 on the nose, jacked up the palate score to 37 and gave the overall score an 18 for a new updated total of 89.

The 2005 Chateau Belrose Bordeaux, a complex wine that needs to open up (give it about 40 minutes).  I highly recommend this one!

Salute!

- Steve 

Running, Running, in da Rain.


Walking in the Rain

Flash in the Pan

Walking down the street

Kicking cans

Looking at the billboard

Also ran
Summing up the people
Checking out the race
Doing what I'm doing
Feeling out of place

Walking, walking in the rain

Feeling like a woman
Looking like a man
Sounding like a no-no
Make it when I can
Whistling in the darkness
Shining in the light
Coming to conclusion
Right is might is tight 

Walking, walking in the rain

Come in all you jesters
Enter all you fools
Sit down no-no
Ogre, ghouls
Trip the light fantastic
Dance the swivel hips
Coming to conclusion
Button up your lips

Walking, walking in the rain
Walking, walking in the rain 


What a GREAT run today!  I was a little confused by John’s instructions (because my brain is this tiny, baby little thing) where he asked me to run “5 miles. 1 mile warmup. 10x 3 minutes, run progressively at 10:20/mile pace/9:50 mile pace, and 9:20/mile pace. Walk 2 minutes between reps comfortably. 1 mile warmdown.”

So, like the good little automaton that I am, I programmed that dutifully into my GPS watch.  But as I was running (sans MP3 player by the way) that same teenie little brain of mine got to thinking: 3 minutes + 2 minutes time 3 sets = 15 minutes times 10 reps = 150 minutes…plus a warm up and cool down mile means I’d be running for well over 2 hours!
Now, that’s not a problem: I had the day off today (from work) and it was a nice cool spring rain (nice to run in) so, I was up for a long run…except I don’t think John wanted me to go for a long run (and I didn’t bring my Droid with me, so I couldn’t call him while I was out there).  So, instead I just resigned myself to running 10:20 for 3, taking a 2 minute walk break, running 9:50 for 3, taking another walk break, then 9:20 for 3 and yes, another 2 minute walk break.

In total then, I ran 5.17 miles in 1:01:52 (11:57/mi avg pace, including the walk breaks).  This was a very easy run; I felt very comfortable out there, in fact I had to struggle NOT to run too fast (I always seemed to start out in the 7:30/mi pace at first and had to slow myself down for the rest of the 3 minutes).

MESSAGE TO JOHN ELLIS: Sorry if I messed this up today, I think you wanted to see what my HR was for the 3 minute pickups at progressively faster intervals, and I did get through 3 reps of what I thought you wanted me to run.  Data is available at Buckeye!

Looking for signs of Spring!

4/8/10

Five miles running blind.

Okay, so here’s what happened with today’s run. John Ellis had asked me to do the following:

5 miles. 1 mile warmup. 10x 3 minutes, run progressively at 10:20/mile pace/9:50 mile pace, and 9:20/mile pace. Walk 2 minutes between reps comfortably. 1 mile warmdown.

So, with that in mind I went ahead and created a workout item within my Super Duper often faulty but good enough to train by GPS watch Training Center software. All was right with the world, until I went looking for my watch to synchronize the workout data.

I left the watch at home. In my haste to get to my office; an hour away from where I live; I had forgotten to pack my watch.

SO, I was forced to bring with me my MSN Direct watch, which has a chronometer stopwatch function, and went out for a five mile run with every intention of trying to follow John’s instructions.

Alas, I had no clue what my real pace was; so I resigned myself to running “just as comfortably as I felt I could”. The result? 53 minutes exactly for 5.3 miles. That’s a 10:00 pace and the fastest I’ve run this course since December 10th.

So, while I’ll have to apologize to John for messing up with the whole “progressive run thing” I do feel pretty good for having had a nice run today.

As for my pain, it wasn’t too bad today. I’m not sure how things will be by the time I meet up with John at mile 22 (if I decide to go ahead and run this thing), but days like today are encouraging.

4/7/10

Phedippidations Schedule for Boston

You can find Phedippidations in the podcasts section of iTunes or at SteveRunner.com

So, as I do every year; I have a series of four episodes coming out this month to celebrate the 114th running of THE Boston Marathon.

Last week I published Fdip229: Running Legend: Tarzan Brown all about the Narragansett American Indian who twice won the Boston Marathon.

On April 11th Fdip230: Boston and the 2010 State of the Course will come out. I recorded this as I ran the first 18 miles of the course during a training run, and aside from telling you how the course looks; I’ll give you some ideas for some of the places you might want to check out while you’re in Beantown.

On April 18th Fdip231: The Qualifying Standards of Boston will be made available for download. This is an episode dedicated to the history of the BQ, one of the reasons why this race is so special. I’ll also discuss the present day standards as well as some of the reasons behind the changes the BAA has made in it’s rules over the years.

Finally, on April 25th I’ll publish episode Fdip232: The 114th Boston Marathon. This will either be my running of the course (with a bit of a historical twist this time) or my spectator coverage of the course (since, as I write this I’m not really planning on running the race).

So, there you have it: as promised, four episodes in April dedicated to THE Boston Marathon. It’s no accident that I have capitalized the definite article in that phrase, because this isn’t just any race; this isn’t just your typical marathon, this is THE Boston Marathon: a race by which all other races are compared and judged. While other great cities have some amazing events that you can run, THE Boston Marathon is the only race that which can be referred to without the supporting noun.

We’re talking about running “Boston” here. ‘Nuff said.

- Steve

4/6/10

Why on Earth (or any other planet) would I want an iPad?

Okay, I have to ask: am I the ONLY person on the planet who isn’t impressed with the iPad? Exactly why would I spend $500 US for a device that can’t match the capabilities of my laptop and Android smart phone? I’m not Apple bashing here…but I just don’t get the hype. Cost aside, I’m trying to imagine (and I have a good imagination) how or why I’d ever use this thing. Every time I think about it, I see it laying on my coffee table, gathering dust….meanwhile I’m using my Droid to surf the web, get my email, take photos, podcast, etc….and then using my laptop to work/video conference/make phone calls, etc. Now, exactly why would I want to spend $500 on an iPad? (and please don’t tell me: “because it’s revolutionary and cool”…because that doesn’t make it useful).

What is the big deal? I'm just not impressed at all.

4/4/10

A Good Day for a Re-Launch

Happy Easter everyone!

It’s a beautiful day for a run and a relaunch of Phedippidations.

I’ve made some subtle changes in the show that were based on listener comments, positive criticism (I ignored all the hate mail, as usual) and some personal reflection that made me realize that I could do better with the show. Thus, Phedippidations is no longer about “thoughts, opinions, observations and rambling diatribes” (although, to be fair, there will be some of that included from time to time) but is mostly “Inspirations, motivations, contemplations and conversations for and about runners”.

See, THAT was my original intent with this show. I wanted to spread the good word about living our lives to the top through something as simple and pure as running. Admittedly, I’m not much of a spokesperson for teaching the world HOW to run, as I remain your humble “middle aged, middle of the pack, slightly asthmatic runner”, but I do have some talent with the written (and therefore) spoken word: so I think you’ll appreciate the new sound to Phedippidations (although, again: it’s pretty much the same format as before).

I’m going to talk less about me (although, there will be segments and essays which are, indeed about me…as I think I have some personal reflections that will help to inspire and motivate); but for those of you who want to know what’s going on in my life (I’m guessing there might be at most, ten of you who care) I’m going to be producing/recording and uploading audio/video/photos/tweets and little blog posts like this one to my new “Intervals” blog.

Intervals? What’s that? I think the great Zen Runner himself: Adam Tinkoff ( http://tinkoff.com ) said it best when he called this my “Digital Scrap Book”. It’s just random…well, thoughts, opinions, observations and diatribes (sound familiar?) that I’ll post with some intermittent frequency.

I have a lot of people to thank for helping me relaunch Phedippidations; and I’ll be doing so over the next few weeks in the videos and ipadio (audio) posts I’ll upload to the Intervals blog…but I do want to take a moment here to give special thanks to my good friend Adam Tinkoff.

I went to Adam asking for his help in redesigning the entire online Phedippidations “experience” ; that is: my website and how it was organized. He took his own, personal time to help me plan out a logically easy to navigate (and populate) presence using Blogger and other tools to make SteveRunner.com easier to follow, and the link to my Intervals content easier to get to and consume.

Thank you Adam. Your creativity, passion for communication through this media, sound advice in both podcasting and life…and most importantly your friendship: is something I’ll always cherish.

Have a great day fellow runners!! Life = Good.

- Steve

4/2/10

Welcome to Intervals

Welcome to my Intervals “Digital Scrap-book” blog. This is where I’ll be posting video/audio/photo’s/GPS coordinates (yeah, I know: geeky), tweets and essays that come to my mind from time to time. This is not always going to be about running (hence, the name “Intervals”, i.e. the rest between runs) and I’ll probably post something here every other day or so (the content will be fresh, but not consistent). So, check in from time to time to see what I’m up to: or, I guess you could just follow me at http://facebook.com/phedippidations or http://twitter.com/steverunner if you interested. I’m not saying that what you’ll find here on Intervals will be worth your time…but if you listen to my podcast Phedippidations and want to know what’s going on “behind the scenes” then, I guess this is the place to visit.

Run long and taper! - Steve