Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Veggie delight

Hurricane dinner:

I got this recipe from my sister who has been a vegetarian since college, and I like it because it provides about a week's dose of vegetables in one sitting.

Butternut squash, cauliflower, chickpeas, golden raisins, onions, simmered in vegetable broth, lemon juice, and about a pound of curry powder.  Served over cous cous and washed down with skim milk, natch.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Movie Monday XXIV

Here's a video by Team World Vision, a "Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty."

It asks the simple question, "What do you run for?"

Here are some answers:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

All is well

Last night was the scariest night of my life.  I lay awake all night waiting for the electricity to cut off, the basement to flood, and the tornado to touch down and kill me.  Maybe I'd get lucky and wake up in the morning, but there would of course be widespread looting and martial law to contend with.  At least I could build a pretty solid fort out of the hundreds of bottles of water, packs of batteries and loaves of bread I bought at the store in preparation for this misery and madness.

The truth is I made dinner with a friend, and we watched movies, played chess and told ghost stories all night while barely giving the hurricane a second thought.  It was nice.  So well done as always, media, and thanks for the great time, Irene.

Listen.  Minor flooding, falling trees and the damage they cause are no fun, but I find it important to acknowledge the difference between life threatening danger and mere inconveniences.  If your house floods to the attic and you have small children with you, that might be life threatening danger.  If floods damage your car's engine and upholstery, that is an inconvenience.  If your entire town or city descends into chaos, and you lack basic human necessities such as clean water, as we saw with Hurricane Katrina, that might be life threatening danger.  Losing power for a day or two, on the other hand, is an inconvenience.

I know this post is heavy on the Monday morning quarterbacking, but this was a category one hurricane, which was later downgraded to a tropical storm.  I can't speak for all areas up and down the eastern seaboard, but to believe that I was in any danger where I live is to buy into the maelstrom of panic induced by the media and compounded by citizen journalists on Twitter and Facebook.

At least someone at The Atlantic recognized the absurdity of it all.  Here's an article that touches on some of the same things.

A determined biker makes his way along a flooded bank of the Cooper River this morning.

Did I get my run in today?  Absolutely.  I went for a walk around the Cooper River this morning to observe the flooding and take pictures, and while some people decompressed from the intense stress of the past 48 hours, I returned in the evening to run at sunset.  The water had mostly receded, the wind had all but stopped, and all that remained were the four miles on the day's agenda.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene

In the typical, brash rhetoric of our beloved NJ Governor, Chris Christie urges people to seek safety as Hurricane Irene bears down on the area:

It's started raining here on the other side of the state, but nothing too serious just yet.  In other words, nothing that will stop me from getting in four miles this afternoon:

I have no idea how bad it'll get tomorrow, but most of the shore towns in NJ have been under mandatory evacuation over the past few days.  Governor Christie tells us it'll be the worst storm NJ has seen in 60 years.  We'll see if I get my run in tomorrow...

I went to the grocery store this afternoon to buy food for dinner tonight and noticed the water was all sold out.  I'm not too worried; if it comes down to it, I'll just survive off of the copious amounts of beer in my fridge.

Monday, August 22, 2011

It begins...

Auditions for Jesus Christ Superstar were yesterday and today, with callbacks this Wednesday.  I'm assistant directing this show with the goal of directing my own full length show sometime in the next year or so.

We've had a nice turnout of people, but I've already had to write a few of them telling them we can't use them in the show, which is never fun.  It's a little like breaking up without ever having given each other a chance.

He said, a touch melodramatically.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Super G

The Collingswood Crafts and Fine Arts Festival is going on right outside my apartment.

Finishing the final half mile of my run today meant I had to weave my way through hundreds of passersby along the main street, which made it feel not unlike slalom skiing.

Me Gusta

I suppose I could have just run a different route, or walked through the crowd, but where's the fun in that?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Racing vs. Running

An old high school acquaintance of mine and fellow runner just had an article published in the New York Times today.

I like the article because it parallels some of my own experiences in running.  She writes about minor running successes she experienced, such as placing in her age group at local 5K's, and of her desire to improve on these successes.  She trained for her first marathon with the goal of qualifying for Boston.

So far, I'm right there with her.  I've won my age group a few times, and I've even won a few races. In my 6th marathon, I actually did qualify for Boston.

Before she was able to run that marathon, though, she injured herself and had to drop out.  She didn't want to give up running, though, so she continued to register for races, and went from racing them to just running them.  She drank beer during some races, talked with fellow runners, and didn't worry about the numbers displayed on her Garmin.

This is where we part ways.  I get the notion of not stressing about times and slowing down to enjoy the whole race atmosphere.  I do get it.  I'm just not at that point myself.  As long as I'm still injury free, I'll worry about savoring the race atmosphere until after the race is over and I'm passed out on the ground.  During the race, however, I still want to push my body to its limits.  I want to see how fast I can really go.  I want to see what I'm made of.  

Don't we all?

My only issue with the article is that it was clearly her injury that inspired her to slow down and appreciate running for the sake of running, not a speedy heifer on the side of a race course.  The title of the article, then, is just a shrewd attempt to lure wayward internet surfers into the article, which is fair enough, but strikes me as poor writing when it has nothing to do with the rest of the article. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

School's out

My summer class is finally over.

Can you tell I'm happy?

Last day of class was today, and we all had to give a twenty minute lesson in our respective languages, which is how I ended up talking in German for twenty minutes to people who don't speak it.

I do own more ties than just this blue one that keeps creeping up in pictures, but this one happens to be my favorite.  It was a gift from my 3rd grade class at the end of the schoolyear, and the room mom who presented it to me had written a short note along with all of their names on the back.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New office

When my roommate moved out, it meant I could finally use this tiny room as more than just messy storage space.

After 4 miles.  Can you tell it's humid out?

No longer is it bursting with boxes, papers, paint supplies, three printers (seriously) and God knows what else.  Now it's a neat, organized space in which to get work done.  It's my favorite place in the apartment right now, if only because it's the only room that's fully furnished and decorated.

As for decorations, I figured this would be a good place to hang the medals and other running paraphernalia.  I typically don't hang onto all of my race bibs, but will start doing so in order to wallpaper the entire room someday with them.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I run D.C.

I'm in D.C. again (I was here last April for a wedding), and got to go running on the mall today. I'm staying with Julia, a friend from college, so I ran from her house to the Washington Monument (touched its base for good measure), then ran by the White House to give my regards to President Obama.


I then looped back onto Constitution Avenue and headed back to the Capitol Building.


All told it was about six miles of running through the muggy Washington summer.

Julia and I also went to the Newseum for several hours today, a museum opened in 1997 and transferred to its new location in 2008, that is dedicated to the history of journalism.  The museum houses a nice exhibit on the Berlin Wall, including the largest section of the wall located outside of Germany, and an original watchtower that allows visitors a look inside.  It was a fitting day to look at this exhibit, given that today is the 50th anniversary of its construction.

I also got to pretend I was a news reporter giving a live report from the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court. The video cost $20, so I opted not to buy it, but I think this was the highlight of my day.

Not a reenactment

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rock 'n' Roll Philly Half Marathon

E-mail from Suze regarding the Rock 'n' Roll Philly Half Marathon: "Did you sign up yet?  Stop slacking!"  Good news, Suze: I'm officially in.  I couldn't in my right mind miss Brett Michaels headlining the post race concert.  Duh, winning!

Suze had given me extra incentive by taking the reigns on organizing a meet up with other Philly/South Jersey bloggers.  There's talk of a pre-race Olive Garden invasion and/or tailgating somewhere after the race.  Always nice to connect with other runners/bloggers.

As for the race, I've run it several years now.  It was founded over thirty years ago as the Philadelphia Distance Run, and just last year it was taken over by the Rock 'n' Roll series, consequently earning it the scorn of more serious runners.  An old high school acquaintance recently wrote on Facebook,  "I think they ruined a great race.  It's more about the razzle dazzle of a race, and not about actual running... it replaced the PDR with something the PDR was not. That's my beef."

I believe I fit into the category of "serious runner" myself, but I'm not terribly bothered by the changes.  The Philadelphia Distance Run had bands and cheerleaders just like the current Rock 'n' Roll incarnation.  All that's changed is perhaps more bands, more runners, and of course a steeper entry fee (*sigh*... entry fees are going to keep climbing for a long time, it seems).  As far as the perceived loss of competitive racing with the change in stewardship, I believe you can be competitive in anything.  I can race my heart out regardless of an increased party atmosphere or not.  Afterall, I ran my current half marathon PR last year at this very race.  All you have to do is start far enough ahead in the corrals.

In a little over a month, we'll see if I can race my heart out again.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A reminder

A reminder to myself, mostly:
  1. Speed is relative.  There is always someone slower or faster than you are.
  2. Any speed is better than no speed at all.

Monday, August 8, 2011

See you in the funny pages

Sometimes I need to procrastinate from all of the schoolwork I have.  When that happens, instead of going for an actual run, I just make a comic about running:

Priorities?  We don't need no stinkin' priorities!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

7 miles on the Cooper

Seven miles around the Cooper River this morning with Suze.  Warm and humid at 7:30am, but nothing unbearable.

All doped up on endorphins post run

Between the awful heat and all the classes I'm taking this summer, I haven't been running much lately.  God bless her, I'd barely be running at all if she didn't text me every weekend to schedule a Sunday morning run.  Who is the guru now?
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