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Showing posts from October, 2005

That Navbar Is Annoying, I Know

I've spent the last hour trying to figure out why my Blogger Navbar is suddenly bunched in the upper lefthand corner. Anyone familiar with Blogger have some ideas? I've tried manipulating the template to no avail. Anyone????

Should Be Ringing in My Ears

So I'm on the elliptical trainer at the gym this afternoon. I work out at the Miramar Air Station and thus am typically surrounded by active duty Marines and veterans. I'm sometimes self-conscious of my roundness because everyone there has a hard body. They're fit...semper fit. But today, I'm feelin' alright. I'm coming off a productive weekend. A 7-miler on Saturday morning, followed by an hour of Pilates. On Sunday, infused with an extra hour of sleep, I managed two hours of steady running around the Ranch with no problem (and no Gatorade...but that's for another entry). So there I am with my MP3 player blasting Public Enemy through tiny ear plugs and me pumping my arms faster than my legs when I start to notice the other guys in the gym notice me. I play it cool and look away like I'm working hard, just totally into my workout. I may have even closed my eyes for effect. Occasionally one of them looks at me as I turn over my legs to the beat, trying t

Homecoming Weekend '05

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This was the high school's homecoming weekend. Here are a couple of pictures of Alex's evening. This one's in our backyard before we headed off for pictures at another classmate's house. 
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  Alex and her date, Mike, before everyone left in the limo for dinner and the dance. 

Radio for Runners: Now Hear This

Been getting my New England running fix by listening to Steve Runner's Phedippidations podcasts. Also been meaning to recommend the audiocasts on EnduranceRadio.com . The weekly broadcasts feature accomplished runners, triathletes, cyclists and those who coach endurance athletes. Great tips from those who walk the walk, not just talk. I'm partial to the Oct. 17 edition under the Archives section. It features a conversation with our very own coach, Paul Greer.

Now This Could Be a Real Dust Up

Time for a little fear and paranoia from the security world. I'm a fan of Princeton University computer science professor Ed Felten's blog, Freedom to Tinker. His latest entry on current and future use of RFID tags is pretty simple to understand and scarey to contemplate. Marketed primarily as a way to track inventory, these microscopic tags also can keep tabs on where you go and what you do. Think of the current IBM television commercial where a woman at a desk in the middle of a lone highway stops a Fresno-bound 18-wheeler heading to New Mexico instead. She says she knows the driver's lost because the boxes told her. Every conference session on this technology I've attended in the past two years has been packed, mostly with admins freaked about the security and privacy implications. Felten's discussion will not allay those fears. Not only are RFID tags readying for primetime, but a future incarnation may be dust motes. That's right. You'll have no idea yo

A Run Seared Into My Memory

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Ever see a natural disaster of, say, a raging wildfire unfolding on TV and people are trying to outrun the flames and you’re thinking, “Why on earth did they wait until now to flee?!” I’m going to tell you why. It’s possible that you might have woken to the smell of smoke and heavy Santa Ana winds at 5 on an especially warm Sunday morning almost exactly two years ago. And when you went outdoors to shut a banging fence door, you saw the huge thunderheads of smoke. But, when the local news media finally hit the airwaves an hour later, the reporters and talking heads and 911 dispatchers told you the fire, though big, is also 14 miles away and burning in the opposite direction. You call your training partner and weigh the air quality. You’re planning a 14-miler and, after consulting husbands, decide to do it. So you head out, commenting numerous times on how acrid the air, and how incredibly beautiful a backdrop the giant plumes of steel gray create against sunwashed hillside homes on

My New York State of Mind

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I wasn’t going to run at all this week, but just in case I made an exception I brought my running gear. And, boy, am I glad I did because the run I had was definitely exceptional. My company does beautifully at picking the perfect locations to host their semi-annual security conferences. This one was at the New York Hilton in midtown Manhattan, just down the block from Radio City Music Hall and a host of other major tourist attractions. I also could see the edge of Central Park and just knew I had to run there. But finding enough time to change out of my conference clothes and get there and back without notice would not be easy. These conferences are draining, and the days and evenings run long. We start well before 8 and go non-stop until around 6, when everyone goes back to their rooms to get ready for dinner with speakers, vendors or delegates. But this time, because I also was covering it as a reporter, I was let go at 3:30 to file my stories before we all met for dinner at 7. S

A Note of Appreciation

While enroute to New York City today, I spent a lot of time on the plane thinking about the comments you all have left or sent through backchannels since my rotten race. I considered the underwhelming Thank you or an over-the-top You brought me back from the brink . Then there was You’re all wonderful and the more dramatic Because of your encouragement, I am whole again . Just know that when I read those inspirational words -- and, to be honest, I read them more than once -- you each restored another part of the marathoner in me. As it happens, I had a doctor’s appointment scheduled for the following day and he confirmed I have a stomach virus. I think I surprised him by grinning ear to ear when he gave me the news. I also went to the Long Beach Marathon results page and found this really cool tool that graphically outlines your performance. As you can see (if it’s working properly), my mid-packer status remains in tact and I even managed to finish ahead of half the field of women,

Long Beach Marathon: Some Unfinished Business

This will end sooner, rather than later. And still, it’s a long story. Mom & Dad’s Blessings We ate our pasta dish at my mom and dad’s as expected Saturday afternoon. The noodles and marinara were great, as was the conversation. My parents are deeply religious and promised to pray for me. They even got their friend Vicky, whom I’ve never met, to put in a good word on my behalf. My mom was not well enough to drive up to Long Beach the next day. But they gave me a great send-off (and six ice-cold bottles of Arrowhead water for the trip). We reached the Long Beach Convention Center mid-afternoon and the number, chip and T-shirt pickup went off without a hitch. I bought new socks that I hope keep my feet blister-free in the months ahead. Then we walked around downtown Long Beach before checking in at our motel in time to watch the final quarter of the USC-Notre Dame game, which will go down in history as one of college football’s greatest games (even if the results didn’t go as I’d

Preparations for My Grand Experiment

I didn't get the good night's rest usually required two days before a marathon, but that's ok. This is a "grand experiment" race and I might as well add sleep deprivation to the variables. To recap: For a true change of pace, I opted this time to train for two months, rather than my usual four, and to run only three days a week, rather than my usual four or five. The idea was to spare myself injury, since one of next year's big goals is an ultramarathon and I must run marathons for a full year without injury before starting the training. Of course, the net result tomorrow won't be a PR, either. That goal's for the next marathon, where I'll train under a more traditional schedule. The Family is Whole for a Few Days As I type this in my darkened computer nook, The College Kid is asleep in a nearby bedroom. I'd forgotten to mention that Elise is visiting after a lovelorn SSU freshman from Oceanside invited her to join him on his trip home. We

How to Be a Great Marathon Spectator

I've got to say I've thus far been impressed with the organization of the Long Beach Marathon. Today I received yet another e-mail reminding me of important runner information. It included the most thorough spectator sheet I've ever seen. Check out the spectator hints, such as "Why is my marathoner acting funny?" and guidelines for cheering. My personal favorite is HINT #8 after the race: Most likely your marathoner will want to recap the ENTIRE race for you. Listen patiently and help them celebrate this enormous accomplishment. Don't be surprised if you hear the same stories a few times. Your marathoner will be tired and may not remember in all of his/her excitement that you have already heard all of the details.... Thanks to Suzanne C. up in Lake Forest, Calif., for pointing me to a wonderful and inspirational story in yesterday's New York Times about Hurricane Katrina victims training for the NYC marathon. Definitely worth reading . And good luck to

The Cost of all Those Gadgets

Wired News has launched a new curmudgeon’s column by their chief copy editor, Tony Long, about the dark side of technology. Read it and see if you don’t agree with what he sees as some of the downsides to our growing dependency on devices and virtual drivers that are now thoroughly soaked into our social fabric. I must admit that some of the modern advances he cites have made it possible for me to work for years now from the comfort of home and from the harsh climate and hard commuter life of New England. It’s allowed me to keep in closer touch with far-flung family and friends, too. But in reading Long’s inaugural rant, I also realize that one of the main attractions of running, for me at least, is complete release from those digital accoutrements. Granted, I run with a multipurpose Timex watch, heart rate monitor and, on Sunday mornings, an MP3 player occasionally tuned to a podcast. The blogosphere, and those of us obsessed with reading other people’s personal journals, is another

Gatorade Got Me Going On This

While sitting uncomfortably today in the hands of an angry dental hygienist, I overheard my dentist telling another patient to lay off the Gatorade. He was adamant that his patients -- be they pro athletes, weekend warriors or day laborers -- not substitute cavities for occasional carb boosts. While interesting, I was more intrigued by the fact that I could eavesdrop so easily. Congress says I shouldn’t. Several years ago, politicians took a bill aimed at streamlining health insurance reporting systems and turned it into a much more ambitious law guaranteeing patients’ rights and privacy. It’s called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, and by now every hospital, physician, dentist, chiropractor and even company HR department is supposed to follow it. Its mandates take reams of paper to fully explain, but it boils down to patients having a stronger say in who can look at their medical records. For most of us, this is achieved by the receptionist or nurs

How to Beat the System -- By Those in the System

I'm finally catching up on my work reading and found this interesting article on the CNN Web site about marquee musicians like members of the Dave Matthews Band and Foo Fighters filling us in on how to get around copyright protections on their digital music files . The in-fighting among artists and studios is at the heart of the article, but for those of us that use an MP3 player other than an iPod, when running or otherwise, the piece also suggests ways to download protected music files -- with blessings from some in the record industry. And here's another, similar take from Tim Lee on why copyright protections should be eliminated.

Resurrection Sunday

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Here's how I saved myself after last weekend's distress call. With some sweetened tea and half a banana in my belly, I fired up my MP3 player just as the host of "Resurrection Sunday" introduced my request. For all you earlybirds listening at 6 a.m. -- that was me asking Steve West to play "Working Girl" by 80s punk rock band The Members. Swear to God, I'm not a groupie. Just an avid listener. I rushed outside to discover it really was 50 degrees as my WeatherUnderground button proclaimed and rolled through a hilly first half just as the sun christened a cloudless sky and air 20 degrees cooler than my last long run. I never lost my pace or my composure or, most importantly, last night's dinner. I charged up every incline. I stopped at a hilltop park in "new Scripps" (pictured above). I waved or said hello to every single person I passed. As I hit the dirt path leading to Miramar Lake, and looking on the horizon for Tijuana as a park sig

Fantasy Football This Weekend

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Saturday mornings usually are reserved for Pilates and then Starbucks with training partner Tara, where we get a real workout running our mouths for about an hour. You never know who you'll see in the coffee shop. Sometimes it's your neighbor or a parent you worked with on Grad Nite or a kid you haven't seen in awhile heading off or home from college. Occasionally, it's a local dignatary, like a city councilman or former city attorney or someone featured on Court TV. Lots of local TV types live here too. This morning, it was a Charger. I'm about 95% sure it was this guy , with a weave. Seeing a pro football player in our presence prompted Tara to recall when she once ran around a track with quarterback Drew Brees a few years ago. She used to work near their training camp and ran during lunch breaks. So, lots of thoughts of football and players this morning. The Hokies just smoked Marshall to retain their No. 3 spot. Scripps Ranch High School, never known as a footb

Some Additions to the '52 Projects' List

Based on this week's productivity rate, might I add to The Not-to-Do List that you: 53. Do not drive to the health food store for junk food (watermelon licorice sticks and butter-toffee peanuts, to be precise). 54. Do not make a Costco run at precisely the time your track club is lining up for intervals on the other side of town. 55. Do not become deeply engrossed in an instant-message exchange over subtle clues in the TV show "Lost" at the same time your boss is pinging you about your project. 56. Do not update the music on your MP3 player for Sunday's 10-miler, the last real run before the marathon. 57. Do not put together a care package for the college kid, minus watermelon licorice sticks and butter-toffee peanuts. 58. Do not read every single running, IT security and economics blog ever published. Twice a day. 59. Do not stop to predict how many seconds it takes for Katie Couric to use an interview with NFL stars Ronde and Tiki Barber to tell everyo

If It's Wednesday, I Must Be Sick

According to this CNET News.com article , today's most likely the day to call in sick at work. Must be all of us having great difficulty getting over the midweek hump. If symptoms include obsessing about your car's next oil change, an upcoming road race or finally cleaning out your sock drawer, here's a list to get you back on track.

Highway Hot Dog

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Couldn't resist capturing our hot pursuit of a Weinermobile on the 10 freeway just east of LA yesterday. It wasn't easy lining up the photo, what with the weiner clocking 80 mph and me encouraging road rage by going the same speed in a faster lane. Furthermore, I needed to have a lane between us to get the entire vehicle in view and antsy drivers kept going around me to the right, continually spoiling our chance of a full frontal shot. This one has an artistic ring. Look in the sideview mirror and you see Alex capturing the moment.

Kid, I Know How You Feel

So Saturday morning, Louise and I dragged ourselves back to Balboa Park to work as course marshals at the Balboa Boogie 5K. My job was to keep runners along a sidewalk on 6th Avenue and I had spectators helping me cheer. Second-to-last was a 15-year-old who’d gone out too fast and was walking by the time he got to my post about 2.5 miles into it. A nearby track club member encouraged the kid to start running again. “Pick it up! Pick it up!” she implored, and he obliged. Then she explained to me that walking confuses the body into believing it’s cool-down time, making it even harder to resume running without feeling side effects. Later that very busy day, I realized I wouldn’t have time for my long run on Sunday because of a road trip to San Dimas, near Los Angeles. So at about 4 p.m., I prepped for a 2.5- to 3-hour trek around the lake and immediate neighborhoods. I grabbed a couple of hard candies, some Endurolytes capsules and my mp3 player. Believing I could drink adequately from t