Monthly Archives: January 2008

Shoulda brought skis

Capped off a good week of training by running the Boston Prep 16 miler in Derry, NH.  (for the exceptionally bored, a link to my training log is to the right). This is a ridiculously hilly course, more suited to bikes than running.  This was my first time running this race, and I’m trying to make up for some lost training time from being in India.  It’s only about 50 miles away, so what he heck.  Long story short, it snowed, a lot.  In fact, driving up I was thinking I should have brought my skate skis and gone out on a course someplace.  Footing was lousy, my clothes and shoes weighed a ton by the end because of all the water and snow, and I wanted to go home.  I ended up running 1:48, which works out to around 6:42/mile.  Not too bad.  I didn’t want to overdo it and injury myself, which is a very real possibility on a course like this with so much up and down and bad footing.  I seem to be in one piece, though.

I’m now looking to start ramping up my mileage.  I hit 38 miles running this week on 4 days.  Next Sunday the plan is for 18 miles, and to add one more day of running to bump up against 50 miles a week.  Oh, and I also need to start swimming.  Oh, and I want to go skiing.  Oh, and then there is that bike thing.  Oh, and don’t forget the yoga!  Oh, and I am married with two kids. Oh, and work.  I need a nap.

Cross season is officially over now that the World Championships have taken place. But, wait!!! We can watch the Tour of Qatar for the next week!!! (yawn).

Such is life right now.  I am so boring that I am enjoying the very basic routine of my life.  But, I suppose that’s a good thing.   Right????

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First buy a car, then learn how to drive

This is a headline from a newspaper while I was in India.  Pretty much sums everything up. Get a car because you can; learn how to drive because you must. It raises an interesting question regarding how do you know if someone in India has not “learned” how to drive. Here it would be observable because there are laws that need to be observed, and when they are violated we can see them. There, while I am sure there are laws, they are not observed nor enforced in total. So, learning how to drive has less to do with taking a course and more to do with keying into how it is  done. So, I guess you really couldn’t learn how to drive without a car. Now it all makes sense.

Good to be home.  It’s been about a week and today is the last day for my malaria drugs. This completely severs the ties with my trip. No GI bug, no Dengue Fever, no bird flu, no malaria.  Free and clear.  The downside is that I didn’t experience the weight loss associated with massive expulsion of everything from your body. So, I guess I’ll have to watch what I eat instead.

It’s been a drag trying to get the training going again. Did 16 miles today.  Ended up running around 6:00/mile pace in the middle.  I think we did 6:50/mile for the whole thing.  Maybe faster.  Three weeks to Boston and I’m behind the eight ball a little.  Time to put things together. February and March will be key. The endless optimism of having time to spare has given way to feeling pressured to make the best use of the time that is left.  Sounds crazy, but Boston does not leave a lot of room to cobble things together. Anybody can run Boston; not anybody can train for Boston.  It does make demands on your time when the dark outweighs the light, and the cold is the norm.  Easier to stay inside, cut your run short, etc. Thankfully misery loves company.

India 2008 – Day Whatever

Halfway home through my trip, and I still haven’t gotten sick.  Quite an accomplishment considering that every bite you take you have to wonder whether some nefarious microbe is planning your intestinal demise. Currently I sit next to the Taj Krishna hotel swimming pool, wondering how many microbes could live in it. It’s likely clean, and safe, and refreshing, and I am not going anywhere near it.  Sitting here on my laptop is pleasant enough.

Speaking of the pool, it is an interesting scene. Of course you have the usual disparity between the working staff and the leisure class lounging in the sun. This is augmented by the whiteness of us and the darkness of them. Reminiscent of the days of colonialism (which leads us to the term “neo-colonialism”). But, I too feel like an outsider in the midst of the palm trees and pool drinks. I am surrounded by more Germans than Lee Marvin in “The Dirty Dozen”. Given the tropical nature of the surroundings, I am expecting Rommel to come waltzing through the door with a division of Panzers. There are many sites and sounds that I will remember from my trip. I will be trying to vigorously scrub the images of German pensioners in their bikinis whiling the day away. That’s just behind the ubiquitous “guy pissing against wall in the view of everyone” scene.

Today was spent doing research and having lunch. Tonight, I have to go on a boat cruise around some man-made lake in the middle of Hyderabad with other distinguished faculty from the institution hosting the conference. The lake has been described by a local to me as “Sufficiently clean, and sufficiently dirty.” Alrighty then.  Let’s hope we don’t need to go for a swim later.  That would be unfortunately.  The night sounds like loads of fun, except for when you consider that I am accustomed to going to bed at 10:30pm, and I probably won’t be getting back till 12:00am. Staying up late is easy if you are watching some lousy movie while drinking a beer on the couch. Not so easy if you are making small talk with an accounting professor from wherever. I asked a person who knows about the boat trip if there would be alcohol. Answer: not sure. Could be a long night.

Tomorrow I am off to another research site to consider my data collection. Then a day at the conference learning about foreign direct investment, exchange rates, maturation of bonds, and mergers and acquisitions (huzza!). 

Call to prayer is going out right now across the city sky. It is always amazing to listen to above the beeps of the cars and the traffic. It is especially beautiful when it is quiet, hearing the muezzin echoing the same call across the city so that it reverberates against the sky. Good stuff.

Based on my initial observations of life in India, it would appear that one of the favorite pastimes among Indian males can be called “adjusting one’s junk.” It is true that junk adjustment is a necessary part of male life. Sometimes things are just not in the right place, and need to be moved about such that one’s attention can be properly directed. Junk adjustment typically is done in a subtle manner in order to be as inconspicuous as possible. Not here. You can just give’er a jingle while in the middle of a conversation. Or, better yet, before you shake someone’s hand! What better time to move the boys about than when you are going to give someone a firm “How do you do?” And, just for the record, I consider a crotch grab different than a junk adjustment.  Opinions may differ.

Looking forward to getting back to the grind of training. Hotel treadmills are my version of hell.  Condemned to an eternity of running in a stuffy room that is too hot, where the tv is at a 90 degree angle to your eye sight, and the equipment is from a Jack LaLane video. Plus, since my almost “close encounter” at a hotel gym in Dubai with an “overfriendly” fitness staff, I’m always a bit leery.  He was very interested in helping me with my workout, especially stretching afterward. No thanks. 

Last night I had the chance to go to a young couple’s house for dinner. They have a 3 year old daughter, and it was amazing how similar she was to Amelia. She sang “Two Little Monkeys”, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, and generally showed off for the company.  Made me intensely homesick. Traveling sounds fun until you have to do it.

India 2008 – Day 1

17 hours of traveling and around 8 time zones later, I am in India.  The wonders of the modern age.  Here I sit in my hotel room, watching one of the six channels that shows non-stop cricket action (the sport of of course).  A bit of a controversy here as the India – Australia test match witnessed some poor officiating and possible racists comments toward one of the Australian players. I am sure this will be all over ESPN back home. Troubling times.

 We Commonwealth Games 2010ventured out a little today despite the jet lag, etc.  I guess the Commonwealth Games are going to be in New Delhi in 2010.  Today marks the kick-off of the “1000 Days” till the games start. Everyone is very excited.  That should be a hoot.  At least the airport is  starting to shape up a bit.

While we were standing around, my friend and colleague Don got interviewed by some news person.  Don grew up in New Delhi, and has this Omar Sharif thing going on about him.  Looks very distinguished.  He did not disappoint with his comments, first not knowing what they were talking about, and then asking themDon interview questions before he could actually figure out what the person was talking about.  They finally got things squared away and proceeded to talk about how great the games would be, hearkening back to his days as a lad when he watched the 1956 Commonwealth Games in India, and wishing everyone luck in the venture.

 Of course, there  will be all kinds of sports, including everyone’s favorite: cycling:

 India Bike

 You see quite a few of these beaters around the place. You can also see people pulling all kinds of crazy stuff, using the bikes as haulers. I’ll try to get some more pictures of that.

There are a lot of “booms” happening outside right now. Either the Pakistanis have finally gotten fed-up about Kashmir, or they are fireworks for the Comm. Games.  Probably the latter.

I was finally able to get some exercise on the treadmill today.  30 slow-ass minutes, plus some core work.  I’ll try to get a proper workout in tomorrow before the day of meetings and schmoozing.

As a parting shot, let’s take a look at a final image showing the lasting impact of the British Raj.

 Scotties

Ahhh, the good old days.  Good to see some things don’t change.

 

 

Victory is Mine!!!

f3_1_b.jpgWanted to start the year off right with a race, so went down to Wrentham to do the Tom’s Tavern Hangover Classic 5k. I’ve done, and won, this race before race before. It’s a very low key affair, has a great spread, and is pretty flat. The race is located right by where our cyclocross series and race was, making it pretty easy to get to. Nice parking, nice crowd, and the proceeds go to the Lion’s Club, so it is a good cause. A bonus is the great breakfast buffet afterward and the opportunity to drink some more (the buffet I had, the drinking I didn’t. A new year; a new me).

Given my 17 miler on Sunday, and 1+ hour XC ski season on Monday, coupled with the drinking last night (although I was asleep by 10:30), I wasn’t too optimistic. But, I was looking for a good three mile workout before I travel abroad, and this would get the job done. My running partner Bernie (of O’Reilly’s Auto Body in Watertown) met me there so I wouldn’t be a complete loser and not know anyone.

It is usually a pretty small crew there, just over 100 runners (maybe 150). Bernie and I did a 2 mile easy warm up, stretched, hit the head, and lined up for the start. You never know who is going to show up at a race like this. You might get some guy who is a 16:00 5k or something faster. Or, there might be no one. There was the usual contingent of high school kids at the front. They’re usually good for a 1/2 mile sprint at the start, and then quick fade.

The “gun” went off (actually someone yelled “Happy New Year”, which was the start) and off we went. The usual HS kids go quick, but no one else is with them. I’m on their backs into a head wind. There can be a stiff wind on this course. We would get it at the start and down the first turn. After that it should be with us. I’m in total draft mode as we are going around 5:10/mile pace. I’m hoping like crazy it gets reasonable soon, but don’t want to lose ground and end up in no-man’s land in this head wind. It’s me and two other guys as we separate from the main field. We go through the first mile in 5:34. I’m working, but settling in.

Into the second mile, the third guy drops and leaves me and the high school kid. School is in session, and I am “The Professor.” He’s running straight into the wind, and I’m very happy to sit. He doesn’t know enough to tell me to take a turn. I had a moment of charitable feeling, but that left rather quickly. I’ll let him work until he indicates otherwise. During my warm-up, I noticed the wind would be at our backs at the right turn onto Emerald. So, the plan through mile 2 was to sit in and let me work, checking over my shoulder to make sure another person didn’t catch up.  Right turn onto Emerald, and we are still well away.  He goes for water, and I look at the hill ahead, checking my watch.  We hit mile two with a 5:54 mile.

Onto the hill, I put in a surge on his inside. It is a short hill, but he is going to have to respond in-kind to keep up.  A quick check and the elastic is stretching.  Another check and the elastic has snapped.  I’m away.  Heart rate is hitting cyclocross levels, and I’m hurting a bit. I’m approaching the right hand turn into the finish, and a spectator lets me know that I have 25 yards on him.  Things are looking good as we hit the wind again.  Now it is going to be hard to make up ground into the headwind with 1/4 mile to go.  No worries as I cruise into the finish with a 5:45 finishing mile and a 17:21 final pace.  Works out to something like 5:47 per mile average.

Bernie comes in fourth, just edged out by the third guy in our group.  He was first master, however.  I’m happy with the win and the workout.  I talk to the HS kid afterward, telling him not to let another guy do what I did.  Make the guy behind you work too.  He seems like a good kid, and I am sure he is going to be ripping people apart soon. Hopefully today’s lesson helps.