Sunday, November 25, 2012

2012 Turkey Bowl

Every year, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving for the better part of the last decade, I've been going to the alumni Turkey Bowl football game at my old camp.  It's a day when counselors of generations past can get together for some football, followed by wings and beer afterwards at a bar down the road.  That last part might be why I look forward to this day.

2012 Turkey Bowl

Football is hardly a strength of mine, but I like the camaraderie and male bonding it allows.  I'm usually happy just to score a touchdown and make an interception here and there, and I'm always happy for the exercise.

Missing the ball

This year the camp director showed up and not only made us sign waivers, but made us wear flags and play flag football instead of tackle.  Most of the guys were not happy about this.

We still enjoyed ourselves for a few hours before daylight gave out on us and we headed to the bar.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

2012 Haddon Twp. Turkey Trot

Today was the 6th annual Haddon Twp Turkey Trot.  Normally I'm out in Medford running the Gobbler Run 5k at camp, but I decided I wanted to race against my students today instead and went for the more local race.

Unfortunately it was a bit of a debacle.  I rode my bike to the race so parking was not an issue, but Stevie drove a little later and between road closures for our town's parade and the 5k, and the massive turnout for both, she couldn't get anywhere near the place.  I had never done this race before, so I wasn't expecting such a large crowd.  Apparently the race organizers weren't either.  I got to the race at 8:35am and got in line to register, but after 10 minutes of not moving we were informed they had run out of race bibs.  I found out later they were only expecting 650 people but ended up with close to 900. Those of us in line were told we could just run without bibs, thus making this my first ever race as a fully sanctioned bandit.

The enormous crowd didn't help the bathroom situation either.  With the starting time quickly approaching, the line was too long and I decided I would just have to, shall we say, clench and bear it.  My bowels were not happy.

The race itself was nice.  It was about 40 degrees this morning with a bitter wind, and the first half mile felt like running in a wind tunnel.  The race started outside of the firehouse, passed mostly through suburban NJ residential streets, and finished right outside of the Pour House, a local bar that was one of the sponsors.

There were no water stops throughout the course, but there was a great post-race spread inside the bar complete with eggs, bacon, sausages and bagels.  One of the benefits of finishing early is that I didn't have to wait in line for the food.  Thirty minutes later, however, the line was out the door and around the corner.

I finished in 20:22, which I was disappointed with.  Conditions weren't great, but I know I can do better.  My dad also ran and finished in roughly 35 minutes, and my stepmother Debbie completed the mile walk in roughly 15 minutes.  I also saw a lot of my students, and I'm happy to say I beat all of them.

With my dad after the race.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Not much has changed from this post last year.  I still have all of the same things to be thankful for, including, as always, the health that running affords me.  Though I should note that I only went running for 25 minutes this morning, which won't quite cover the amount of calories consumed this afternoon.

Stevie, my dad, stepmother, grandmother and I all went to my stepsister's place in West Chester for Thanksgiving dinner.  Just like every year, the spread was amazing, and it was the only meal of the day.

From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

2012 Philadelphia Marathon

In case you stumbled upon this blog entry from Google, I'll first admit that I didn't run the marathon this year. So if you're looking for a race report, unfortunately I can't help you.

Finish line

I can, however, tell you a little about it, as I headed in this morning to cheer on my friend Amy who was running the half.

Stevie and I headed over to the finish line near the art museum where I climbed a tree to get the above shot. The people below me were none too happy.

We then had to zigzag around the streets and barricades to make it to a spot about a half mile from the finish where we planned to run with her for a bit.  This is where we saw these wonderfully off-color posters:

Amy ended up straining her groin and had to walk most of the last four miles, but when she turned up we jumped right in with her and took some pictures:

Stevie and Amy in the final half mile of the half marathon

Amy in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Amy finished the race in 3:12:04, which she seemed upset about, but I reminded her that because it's her first half, it's automatically a PR, and now she has something to strive for next year.

After the race I gave Amy her Turkish rug
Congratulations on your first half, Amy, and I hope to join you out on the course next year.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Have you ever had Papa John's BBQ chicken pizza?  In high school and college it was probably my favorite food in the world.

Since then a loss of metabolism and a gain of nutritional sense have broadened and refined my culinary tastes, and I have consequently cut back on the papa habit.

But sometimes I still crave it.

Which brings us to tonight's creation:

Homemade pizza at its finest

Rather than ordering out and helping to stuff the pockets of a rich, crybaby pizza mogul, I decided to have a go at making my own tonight.

I made the crust myself, using half wheat flour and half white.  I used three different kinds of cheese: gouda, cheddar and mozzarella.  I caramelized the onions.  I marinated the chicken in spices and barbecue sauce before cooking.  I cooked hickory smoked bacon and diced it up.  I spread the sauce on the dough, laid down a base of cheese, then the toppings, then more cheese.  It was truly a labor of  love tonight.

I'm glad to say it lived up to the hype.

It was easily one of the best things I've ever made.

In the end, we were still eating pizza for dinner.  Mounds of cheese and dough sprinkled with bacon and a bit of protein isn't strictly the healthiest option, but making a damn fine homecooked version of an old junkfood standby was all worth it.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

WHYY's Y12k: Race Report

The 4th annual WHYY Y12k was held this morning, starting at the south side of the Philadelphia Art museum and heading out and back along the Martin Luther King Drive along the Schuylkill River.  I rode my bike to PATCO, took it into the city, then rode my bike out to the art museum in time for the 9:00am start.

The race is now in its fourth year, and serves as a fundraiser for WHYY, the Philadelphia area's premiere public media organization.

Nearly 400 people started out in the race, and I started near the front.  I hit my first mile in 7:20, but as the race continued I started to loosen up and hit my stride.  By the end of the race I was hitting sub sevens, and finished with an average race pace of 7:02.  This is, incidentally, almost the exact race pace I would need to keep up in a marathon if I ever want to qualify for Boston.  But I was definitely hurting at the end from pushing myself so hard, and it's easy to see how far I have to go if I want to keep up that pace for an entire marathon.

Around the 6.5 mile mark, I passed the second woman, and she turned to me and said, "turning it on?"  "Trying to!" I gasped back.  In the final tenth of a mile, I gave it one last push in an effort to pass one last runner before the finish line.  The guy just ahead had headphones in, and I thought I could sneak up on him, but he sensed me coming, turned and smiled, and took off at a sprint as well.  He beat me across the finish line and we both high fived.

I finished in 52:22.  Because I've never run a 12k race before, I have no idea if that's a good time or not. Overall I came in 16th place and 4th in my age group.  The post race amenities were great, and I also got my picture taken with Elmo:

The best part, though, was when a fellow runner came up just as I was getting ready to leave:

Fellow runner: Excuse me, are you the guy from that documentary on YouTube?
Me: Uh, which documentary?
Fellow runner: The one about the Philly Marathon.

Turns out he was referring to this documentary, and he is attempting his own BQ next week at the marathon.

I've been recognized from this blog before, and I now I can finally say I've been recognized from YouTube.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Movie Monday XXXX

On Marathon Sunday, thousands of runners helped volunteer on Staten Island, while thousands of others headed to Central Park to run in spite of the cancellation.

Here's a Runner's World video that shows the scene yesterday in Central Park:

Friday, November 2, 2012

NYC Marathon canceled


One of my colleagues was set to run the NYC Marathon this Sunday, which sparked a long conversation in the teachers' room today that echoed the sentiments in social media and dozens of news outlets over the past few days.

I live in New Jersey, and while Hurricane Sandy leveled parts of my home state, we were not the only ones to be hit hard.  New York City also experienced loss of power, flooding, fires, and loss of life, causing many to question the decision to continue with the marathon so quickly after such a devastating event.  On the one hand, people criticized Mayor Bloomberg and the NYC Road Runners for diverting needed resources and being insensitive to those suffering from Sandy's wrath.  Two diesel generators the size of tractor trailers sitting in Central Park for the marathon's use only added fuel to the fire.  On the other hand, people argued that such a large event would be a large economic boon to the city while giving it a much-needed morale boost.

I caught up with my colleague at the end of the day and wished her luck.  She admitted that she felt like a "total asshole" for going through with the marathon, but having registered and made travel and lodging arrangements months ago, and trained for months, she just couldn't bring herself to not go through with it.

Just a few hours later, though, the whole debate became moot anyway:


If I were in my colleague's shoes, I probably would have done the same, but let's face it: that's an easy stance to take when I haven't been immediately affected by the damage, nor witnessed any of it firsthand.  If I were to tour Staten Island tonight, I might change my mind.  What do you think?  Would staging the marathon, and participating in it, have been disrespectful?  Or would it have been a welcome and positive distraction after so much negativity preceding it?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...