Tuesday, July 30, 2013

On arm wrestling

A few weeks ago my friend Fran texted me wanting to know if I wanted to learn how to arm wrestle.  One thing led to another, as they do, and that's how I found myself in a basement in North Jersey this afternoon arm wrestling a nationally ranked arm wrestling champ:

Turns out Fran's coworker Brian has been training and competing for years and now wants to field a team to bring to tournaments in the tristate area.

We spent an hour taking turns on his professional table and were all pretty damn sore after an hour and a half.  There is no way Brian went 100% against me, but he tells me I'm strong and have a good grip.  Can't help but notice that there were four of us, and I still didn't win a single match, left or right handed.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Maybe this book will help with the heat and humidity.  Picked this up at a gift shop in Alaska and am about halfway through it now.  It's all about the science, geography, and history of cold.  Not exactly light summer reading but interesting nonetheless.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A new way

Will you help teach me... about this... what is it?  A new way?

I'm home from the honeymoon.  Back from the sweet, sweet caresses of the Alaskan wilderness where temperatures never go above 60 degrees, and back into the foul, smelly breath of Jersey summer humidity.

I'm throwing myself headlong into a training regimen for the Philly Marathon this fall, and because it's so hot, it means getting up as early as I can to go running.  Here's me at 8 o'clock this morning after a very sweaty five miler:

This new regimen will definitely take some getting used to.  Going to bed early, getting up early... hard to believe I'm still on vacation.  Good thing I have nothing else to do over the next six weeks.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Vertical Runner of Breckenridge

Stevie and I have a two day layover in Denver to visit some of her friends.  For something to do today, we drove out to Breckenridge where I came upon America's highest running store.

I love running stores and whether I need something or not I usually find myself wandering in to check it out. The two women there told me they had just opened a few weeks ago and that their sign is very popular as a photo op for runners.  I told them I would mention their store on my blog, but I forgot to warn them of the stampede that would ensue from the free publicity on such a noteworthy running blog.

Nice town, nice store, nice ladies running it.  Go check it out.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Honeymoon comes to an end

As much fun as it has been traipsing around Alaska and the Yukon Territory, sampling local beers and learning a lot about the history of this region, it'll be nice to get back to New Jersey and resume a regular routine.  I've been on the road for almost a month now, so I'm looking forward to finally relaxing.

Herein a few additional pictures from our honeymoon:

Stevie at the Hoodoo Brewery in Fairbanks, one of the many breweries/brewpubs we visited.

Whitewater rafting in Denali National Park

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Sourtoe Cocktail


I debated writing about the ensuing topic, as it neither pertains to running nor particularly enhances any professional credibility I have gained through my years of teaching.

Why share this tidbit of my own sordid personal history, then?  Well, let's just call it one more example of the strange things I will pay money to do, for the story if nothing else.  Sometimes I like being thought of as strange, and capable of just about anything.

It seems that in 1973, a Captain Dick Stevenson had just purchased himself a cabin deep in the wilderness outside of Dawson City.  While cleaning out the cabin, he found none other than a real human toe, amputated by the cabin's previous owner during a bout of frostbite some years ago.  That night at the pub with his friends, Ol' Captain Dick came up with the challenge of drinking a beer glass filled with champagne with the petrified toe lurking at the bottom.  The challenge has since morphed into a shot of liquor, gained a name (the Sourtoe Cocktail), and over 50,000 challengers later, I stepped up to the plate.

The toe is not the original 1973 version, but rather the sixth or seventh incarnation.  While the drink and toe have changed with the years, the rule remains the same: "you can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but your lips have got to touch the toe."

Afterwards I received a certificate stating that I am a "person capable of almost anything," and am "therefore fully entitled to bear this certificate with such rights and privileges that may at any drunken moment be decided upon."

Yet another reason why I love to travel.  You just never know what you'll find out there.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Running in the Yukon Territory

Stevie and I are now off the boat and on to the overland portion of the trip that takes us through Canada's Yukon Territory and more of Alaska.

We're currently in Dawson City, a former boom town where people settled during the Klondike gold rush of 1896 - 1899.  What was once a town of around 100,000 now supports a mere 1,500 year round residents, roughly double that in the summer.  The town is small, with a single paved road, no chain restaurants, no traffic lights, and wilderness everywhere.  It's amazing here.

Set out on one of the trails this morning and had one of the best runs of my life this morning.  35 minute run starting out on the 9th Avenue Trail, then back along the Yukon River and a brief stint through town.

And a few more pictures from our time in Dawson City:

Panning for Gold on Bonanza Creek

Stevie and I befriended some locals and closed the bar with them.

Love this quote

Midnight in Dawson City

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Running in the last frontier (while on a boat)

Less than 36 hours after coming home from Germany, Stevie and I headed to the airport to fly in the opposite direction.  We're now on the first part of our honeymoon, an Alaskan cruise from Vancouver to Skagway.

As always, trying my best to stay in the running habit while traveling.  Our ship has a fitness center where I've logged some miles on the treadmill.  Between four and five miles each run, then some abs and arm work with some of the machinery and dumbbells.

My view would have been better if it wasn't for the tv screen in my way.

And here are a few more pictures of the trip so far:

The view from the stern as we head through Stephen's Passage

Stevie during our whale watching excursion in Juneau.

I do love a good beer tasting.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Dispatches from München

We're in Munich with the trip soon to finish.  So far we've taken in the X-Games, BMW World, the Marienplatz, a beer garden, the English Garden, the Munich City Museum, and plenty of great Bavarian cooking.

I organized this trip on my own, and keeping to my method of travel, all eight of us have been living in one room in hostels in Berlin and Munich.  Spending so much time with teenagers has been... interesting.  I was a little nervous about giving them free time, but my kids are super responsible and have conducted themselves very well, so I've in fact given them a lot of time on their own, which they've mostly used to go shopping and buy a lot of random crap.  Their food choices are also quite dubious.  Though it reminds me of when I was in high school, and when I came home from track practice my snack was almost always a Swiss Yodel and a can of Sprite.

As always, running while traveling has been challenging.  Some of my kids snore, and the hostels can be noisy, so I haven't been sleeping very well the past week, making it near impossible to run in the morning.  I didn't run at all in Berlin, but I did manage a run yesterday and this morning.

Our hostel is right down the street from the large field where the Oktoberfest is held every year, so I ran down there this morning to see what the place looks like before the big party this fall (barren and empty). The run was nothing special, just a short jaunt through one of my favorite cities as I try to stave off any travel weight gain and keep up something resembling fitness.
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