1/31/10

Appreciation

It has been said that the love of the chase is an inherent delight in man-a relic of an instinctive passion.
Charles Darwin

Thank you…

This is a huge honor. To be distinguished amongst the few flyers who get Flyer of the Year, I am just truly honored to just be nominated amongst some of the greatest names in our club.

We are a running club that is defined by our numbers. Young and veterans…we are a group that accentuates different types of people. Choosing the Flyers was probably one of the best decisions that I have ever made. I had no clue what the club had to offer in its large vast connections of different people and personalities. Each of us share a unique quality, we all share the bond of running.

At first, I had never been so involved with the club and all I did was race. Three years ago at the awards party, I did not know anyone. Now, I not only know you, but other information goes on in your daily lives. We as runners share our daily lives with one another, we share our families, different stories and little tid-bits of who we actually are. Most of you are family to me, we pass the time while counting down miles training for any race or just going out on a run to be social. We are more than just friends (and maybe even closer than family members) because we meet up once a week on group runs, laugh, cry and just say hello to one another.

This year was like a rollercoaster ride for many of us. The economy had defined our jobs, which gave us more time to train and run. I was amongst this vast number, but with this club’s connections was lucky to have both running and helping others in as a “job”. Our club has so much to offer than just running: we share a devotion to volunteering, socializing and maturing in life. I have learned from many of you to help me become a better person. I will always have the memories in my life and appreciate every moment with you all.

As I thank you all for helping me every step of that way. There is also another small group of people I would like to REALLY thank: the Little Poland Crew, the “cool” kids and Glen, who without the nudges throughout the year, I would not be in the position I am in right now.

As Bart Yasso states, “Winning is a nice reward, but glory isn’t the payoff…the reward of running is living the lifestyle and embracing the journey. It is not only about finishing. It’s about moving forward.”

This award means so much to me. I appreciate it greatly, but believes that this club and all that it has to offer make us the team that we are and the people we have become.

I am truly honored and want to say thanks so much again…

Flyer of the Year - Appreciation

Consistency requires discipline. Force yourself out the door. Bob Glover and Shelly–Lynn Florence Glover, The Competitive Runner's Handbook

Thank you…

This is a huge honor. To be distinguished amongst the few flyers who get Flyer of the Year, I am just truly honored to just be nominated amongst some of the greatest names in our club.

We are a running club that is defined by our numbers. Young and veterans…we are a group that accentuates different types of people. Choosing the Flyers was probably one of the best decisions that I have ever made. I had no clue what the club had to offer in its large vast connections of different people and personalities. Each of us share a unique quality, we all share the bond of running.

At first, I had never been so involved with the club and all I did was race. Three years ago at the awards party, I did not know anyone. Now, I not only know you, but other information goes on in your daily lives. We as runners share our daily lives with one another, we share our families, different stories and little tid-bits of who we actually are. Most of you are family to me, we pass the time while counting down miles training for any race or just going out on a run to be social. We are more than just friends (and maybe even closer than family members) because we meet up once a week on group runs, laugh, cry and just say hello to one another.

This year was like a rollercoaster ride for many of us. The economy had defined our jobs, which gave us more time to train and run. I was amongst this vast number, but with this club’s connections was lucky to have both running and helping others in as a “job”. Our club has so much to offer than just running: we share a devotion to volunteering, socializing and maturing in life. I have learned from many of you to help me become a better person. I will always have the memories in my life and appreciate every moment with you all.

As I thank you all for helping me every step of that way. There is also another small group of people I would like to REALLY thank: the Little Poland Crew, the “cool” kids and Glen, who without the nudges throughout the year, I would not be in the position I am in right now.

As Bart Yasso states, “Winning is a nice reward, but glory isn’t the payoff…the reward of running is living the lifestyle and embracing the journey. It is not only about finishing. It’s about moving forward.”

This award means so much to me. I appreciate it greatly, but believes that this club and all that it has to offer make us the team that we are and the people we have become.

I am truly honored and want to say thanks so much again…


I join the many versitile Flyers out there...who give and give and give...

1/30/10

how to do a bow tie

yup! it's that time of the year again....

FLYER AWARDS PARTY!!!

1/24/10

Squash

Experienced runners learn to respect the changing needs of their bodies. That's the wisdom that comes with time, and - for good or bad - with age. Fred Lebow, founder of the New York City Marathon

Ok, after work...I was so tired. The week had finally caught up to me and my body was exhausted.

I literally just wanted to go home and sleep. Though, I figured that I needed some change and excitement. I found off of a website that there was a squash tournament going on in Grand Central Station...yes folks, you had heard me, SQUASH...

I had no clue how they played the game, although I am all about learning and seeing this sports showman ship. So I told JT, since she was a squash player back in the day and we decided to meet up over there...

The heat in my office was getting to me as the office is constantly HOT, then COLD, then hot again....back and forth throughout the whole entire day (they turn up the heat, then they turn on the AC...then the heat is on again....it I so stupid! Obviously I hate this because as I am working I am constantly hot and then cold and then hot again...I wear a t-shirt to work and I have a fan next to my desk because I work better under cooler temperatures...if it is hot, then I doze off to sleep.

Anyways, the squash tournament was very cool. The court, it was a glass cube and the players were amazing. You need serious talent to play this game...back and forth, legs and arms...and most importantly, hand and eye coordination.

Absolutely spectacular to watch.

So, as I waited for JT, there was a whole entire match she had missed...I watched 2 matches before she showed up. I practically learned the game by then...but yes, the funny part was that the ball went wailing into the people's faces and it's hard not to flinch...it was so cool!

Anyways, it was a very fast game, some faster shorter players others stronger, taller players...it seemed like a ritzy sport, where people with money played the game that went to boarding school and what not...uh! I donno, that's what it seemed like.

Anyways, JT and I went to Korea Town to have dinner and then homeward bound for a much needed sleep.
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1/23/10

Asians


If you ever get a second chance in life for something, you've got to go all the way. Lance Armstrong

Face-Detection Cameras: Users' Racism Charges Explained

Time.com

– Models show Nikon's digital camera Coolpix series, as they are un

veiled in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday …

By ADAM ROSE Fri Jan 22, 5:45 am ET


When Joz Wang and her brother bought their mom a Nikon Coolpix S630 digital camera for Mother's Day last year, they discovered what seemed to be a malfunction. Every time they took a portrait of each other smiling, a message flashed across the screen asking, "Did someone blink?" No one had. "I thought the camera was broken!" Wang, 33, recalls. But when her brother posed with his eyes open so wide that he looked "bug-eyed," the messages stopped.


Wang, a Taiwanese-American strategy consultant who goes by the Web handle "jozjozjoz," thought it was funny that the camera had difficulties figuring out when her family had their eyes open. So she posted a photo of the blink warning on her blog under the title, "Racist Camera! No, I did not blink... I'm just Asian!" The post was picked up by Gizmodo and Boing Boing, and prompted at least one commenter to note, "You would think that Nikon, being a Japanese company, would have designed this with Asian eyes in mind."

Nikon isn't the only big brand whose consumer cameras have displayed an occasional - though clearly unintentional - bias toward Caucasian faces. Face detection, which is one of the latest "intelligent" technologies to trickle down to consumer cameras, is supposed to make photography more convenient. Some cameras with face detection are designed to warn you when someone blinks; others are programmed to automatically take a picture when somebody smiles - a feature that, theoretically, makes the whole problem of timing your shot to catch the brief glimpse of a grin obsolete. Face detection has also found its way into computer webcams, where it can track a person's face during a video conference or enable face-recognition software to prevent unauthorized access.

The principle behind face detection is relatively simple, even if the math involved can be complex. Most people have two eyes, eyebrows, a nose and lips - and an algorithm can be trained to look for those common features, or more specifically, their shadows. (For instance, when you take a normal image and heighten the contrast, eye sockets can look like two dark circles.) But even if face detection seems pretty straightforward, the execution isn't always smooth.

Indeed, just last month, a white employee at an RV dealership in Texas posted a YouTube video showing a black co-worker trying to get the built-in webcam on an HP Pavilion laptop to detect his face and track his movements. The camera zoomed in on the white employee and panned to follow her, but whenever the black employee came into the frame, the webcam stopped dead in its tracks. "I think my blackness is interfering with the computer's ability to follow me," the black employee jokingly concludes in the video. "Hewlett-Packard computers are racist."


The "HP computers are racist" video went viral, with almost 2 million views, and HP, naturally, was quick to respond. "Everything we do is focused on ensuring that we provide a high-quality experience for all our customers, who are ethnically diverse and live and work around the world," HP's lead social-media strategist Tony Welch wrote on a company blog within a week of the video's posting. "We are working with our partners to learn more." The post linked to instructions on adjusting the camera settings, something both Consumer Reports and Laptop Magazine tested successfully in Web videos they put online.

Still, some engineers question how a webcam even made it onto the market with this seemingly glaring flaw. "It's surprising HP didn't get this right," says Bill Anderson, president of Oculis Labs in Hunt Valley, Md., a company that develops security software that uses face recognition to protect work computers from prying eyes. "These things are solvable." Case in point: Sensible Vision, which develops the face-recognition security software that comes with some Dell computers, said their software had no trouble picking up the black employee's face when they tested the YouTube video.

YouTube commenters expressed what was on a lot of people's minds. "Seems they rushed the product to market before testing thoroughly enough," wrote one. "I'm guessing it's because all the people who tested the software were white," wrote another. HP declined to comment on their methods for testing the webcam or how involved they were in designing the software, but they did say the software was based on "standard algorithms." Often, the manufacturers of the camera parts will also supply the software to well-known brands, which might explain why HP isn't the only company whose cameras have exhibited an accidental prejudice against minorities, since many brands could be using the same flawed code. TIME tested two of Sony's latestCyber-shot models with face detection (the DSC-TX1 and DSC-WX1) and found they, too, had a tendency to ignore camera subjects with dark complexions.

But why? It's not necessarily the programmers' fault. It comes down to the fact that the software is only as good as its algorithms, or the mathematical rules used to determine what a face is. There are two ways to create them: by hard-coding a list of rules for the computer to follow when looking for a face, or by showing it a sample set of hundreds, if not thousands, of images and letting it figure out what the ones with faces have in common. In this way, a computer can create its own list of rules, and then programmers will tweak them. You might think the more images - and the more diverse the images - that a computer is fed, the better the system will get, but sometimes the opposite is true. The images can begin to generate rules that contradict each other. "If you have a set of 95 images and it recognizes 90 of those, and you feed it five more, you might gain five, but lose three," says Vincent Hubert, a software engineer at Montreal-based Simbioz, a tech company that is developing futuristic hand-gesture technology like the kind seen in Minority Report. It's the same kind of problem speech-recognition software faces in handling unusual accents.

And just as the software is only as good as its code and the hardware it lives in, it's also only as good as the light it's got to work with. As HP noted in its blog post, the lighting in the YouTube video was dim, and, the company said, there wasn't enough contrast to pick up the facial shadows the computer needed for seeing. (An overlit person with a fair complexion might have had the same problem.) A better camera wouldn't necessarily have guaranteed a better result, because there's another bottleneck: computing power. The constant flow of images is usually too much for the software to handle, so it downsamples them, or reduces the level of detail, before analyzing them. That's one reason why a person watching the YouTube video can easily make out the black employee's face, while the computer can't. "A racially inclusive training set won't help if the larger platform is not capable of seeing those details," says Steve Russell, founder and chairman of 3VR, which creates face recognition for security cameras.

The blink problem Wang complained about has less to do with lighting than the plain fact that her Nikon was incapable of distinguishing her narrow eye from a half-closed one. An eye might only be a few pixels wide, and a camera that's downsampling the images can't see the necessary level of detail. So a trade-off has to be made: either the blink warning would have a tendency to miss half blinks or a tendency to trigger for narrow eyes. Nikon did not respond to questions from TIME as to how the blink detection was designed to work.


Why these glitches weren't ironed out before the cameras hit Best Buy is not something that HP, Nikon orSony, when contacted by TIME, were willing to answer. Perhaps in this market of rapidly developing technologies, consumers who fork over a few hundred dollars for the latest gadget are the test market. A few years ago, speech-recognition software was teeth-gnashingly unreliable. Today, it's up to 99% accurate. With the flurry of consumer complaints out there, most of the companies seem to be responding. HP has offered instructions on how to adjust its webcam's sensitivity to backlighting. Nikon says it's working to improve the accuracy of the blink-warning function on its Coolpix cameras. (Sony wouldn't comment on the performance of its Cyber-shot cameras and said only that it's "not possible to track the face accurately all the time.") Perhaps in a few years' time, the only faces cameras won't be able to pick up will be those of the blue-skinned humanoids from Avatar.

1/22/10

Back to my commute...

So...I was wrong yesterday and my miscellaneous change in commutes was unnecessary.

Why?

Well, the sign that I had seen said "No Downtown Trains at this station"

Above that it said, late nights & weekends...

OPPS!

Seriously though my daily dose of changing things up really changed things up...and that morning I was thinking to myself, why not change things up for a change...

I guess that's also why I really enjoyed running, because it was a change every day. A change where every day was a new route...

Change is good sometimes and routine...needs change.
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1/21/10

Changing commutes

So...no downtown subway train today on the E train...so change of venues to go from the E to the 6 train...51st street subway station...

I tried to get off at 42nd street to catch the 4 or 5 trains, although those were packed solid and was lucky to get back onto the 6 train local...switch to the L and then finally to work.

Ahh, so much easier if I just ran to work sometimes so I don't have to deal with these problems.

So I wonder sometimes when I am on the subway, what other people at thinking...different people's thoughts are interesting and other people's perspectives of things...it's interesting because you can't get into another person's head. Other's thoughts are only within their own minds...strange, but that's what makes us all unique...

Anyways, I get out of the subway station thinking my commute was useless because I am quizzicle about me doing that extra transfere....looked online and yup, it was down...

So...getting ready for stair climbing tonight as well as a good run afterwards with the Alzheimer's team...
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Architect, or Whatever

The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win. Sir Roger Bannister, first man to break the four minute mile

Architect, or Whatever

By KRISTINA SHEVORY
Published: January 20, 2010

BARGAIN BASEMENT John Morefield is one of thousands of unemployed designe

rs who are reinventing themselves. Last year, he put up a booth at a farmers' market in Seattle, advertising his skills for a nickel, and ended up earning more than $50,000 in commissions.


AT the Ballard Farmers’ Market in Seattle on a recent weekend, passers-by could be forgiven for thinking John Morefield was running for political office. Smiling, waving and calling out hellos to everyone who walked by his stand, he was the picture of friendliness. All he needed was campaign buttons and fliers.

In fact, Mr. Morefield, 29, is no politician, but an architectural designer looking for work. He was seated at a homemade wooden stand under a sign reading “Architecture 5¢,” with a tin can nearby awaiting spare change. For a nickel, he would answer any architectural question.

In 2008, Mr. Morefield lost his job — twice — and thought he could ride out the recession doing design work for friends and family, but when those jobs dried up, he set up his stand. As someone in his 20s without many contacts or an extensive portfolio, he thought he might have an easier time finding clients on his own.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Mr. Morefield said. “I had no other option. The recession was a real kick in the shorts, and I had to make this work.”

A troubled economy and the implosion of the real estate market have thrown thousands of architects and designers out of work in the last year or so, forcing them to find or create jobs. According to the latest data available from the Department of Labor, employment at American architecture firms, which peaked last July at 224,500, had dropped to 184,600 by November.

“It’s hard to find a place to hide when the economy goes down,” said Kermit Baker, the chief economist at the American Institute of Architects. “There aren’t any strong sectors now.”

And it’s not clear when the industry will recover. Architecture firms are still laying off employees, and Mr. Baker doesn’t expect them to rehire until billings recover, which he thinks won’t be until the second half of this year at the earliest.

In the meantime, many of those who have been laid off are discovering new talents often unrelated to architecture.

When Natasha Case, 26, lost her job as a designer at Walt Disney Imagineering about a year ago, she and her friend Freya Estreller, 27, a real estate developer, started a business selling Ms. Case’s homemade ice cream sandwiches in Los Angeles. Named for architects like Frank Gehry (the strawberry ice cream and sugar cookie Frank Behry) and Mies van der Rohe (the vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate chip cookie Mies Vanilla Rohe), they were an immediate hit.

“I feel this is a good time to try new things,” said Ms. Case, who did a project on the intersection of food and architecture while studying for her master’s in architecture at theUniversity of California, Los Angeles, in 2008. “You do things you always wanted to do, something you’ve always been passionate about.”

Since she and Ms. Estreller rolled out their truck, Coolhaus, at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival near Palm Springs last April, they’ve catered events for Mr. Gehry’s office, Walt Disney Imagineering and the Disney Channel.

Their initial investment was low: they bought a 20-year-old postal van on Craigslist and had it retrofitted and painted silver and bubblegum pink, all for $10,000. With seven full- and part-time employees, they now make enough to support themselves and have plans to expand (a Hamptons truck is in the works and they are trying to get their products intoWhole Foods stores).

Leigh Ann Black was working as an architectural designer in Seattle when she lost her job over a year ago. After a long struggle to find work, she finally moved back to her hometown of Water Valley, Miss., in June, to take care of her sick grandmother.

Ms. Black, 30, is now living above her parents’ garage, but she finally has time to indulge her love of pottery. She recently converted an old horse barn on her family’s farm into a studio, plans to apprentice with local potters and has applied to several post-baccalaureate ceramics programs, with the hope of selling her wares at farmers’ markets and someday teaching art.

“This is not where I imagined I’d be when I turned 30, but I feel really inspired being back,” she said. “There’s something about being with family and not feeling upset about meeting rent, car payment and groceries every month. Now I have some breathing room.”

When Debi van Zyl, 33, was laid off by a small residential design firm in Los Angeles in May, she decided to do freelance design work for as long as she could, and she picked up jobs doing exhibition design for the Getty and Huntington museums. In her spare time, to relax, she started knitting what she describes as “kooky” stuffed animals like octopuses and jellyfish. Then, at the urging of the readers of her blog, she began selling them on Etsy. Les Petites Bêtes Sauvages, as she calls them, have helped her pay the rent and other bills for the last few months.

“You think you’re in charge of your profession, and then the recession hits and you realize that your career is market driven,” Ms. van Zyl said. “It’s forced me to push myself and become more individual. My motto is don’t say no to anything.”

Richard Chuk, of Lombard, Ill., said that since he lost his position as a commercial designer a year ago, when two of his firm’s clients — both developers — lost financing for their projects, he has been looking for any job he can find to support his wife and children, ages 6 and 7.

Mr. Chuk, 38, began his job search in a good mood because of the wave of optimism surrounding the presidential election. During the first three months, he sent out nearly 150 résumés, applying for many jobs he was overqualified for. (Sears, Home Depot and Lowe’sall turned him down for jobs as a designer because he was overqualified, he said.) He had only one interview.

After that, he said, he applied for the rare job that popped up but spent most of his time taking care of his children, studying for his architectural licensing exam and renovating his basement.

This month, he began commercial truck driving school.

“You feel this year of your life is gone,” Mr. Chuk said. “It’s lost wages and lost experiences. But you have to keep positive and move forward. I look at this as an education. It opens up more doors and you never know when it’ll help you.”

As for Mr. Morefield, the architect in Seattle, he started his booth (and a Web site,architecture5cents.com) with the hope that it would bring in sufficient income to get by until he could find another job. As it turned out, he received so many commissions — to build a two-story addition, a deck, a master bedroom — that he realized he could make plenty of money working for himself.

Last year, he made more than $50,000 — the highest salary he ever made working for someone else — and he expects to do even better this year.

“It’s developed into what I was supposed to do,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, it’s scary, but I love every minute of it. If someone offered me $80,000 to sit behind a computer, I wouldn’t do it.”

1/20/10

Long days

Ok...so no running news except for slowing down the frames and taking screen shots frame by frame of my cart wheel finish tonight after work...but good news is, that I'm pretty much 100% back...well...not exactly 100%, but really who is 100% after a marathon?

Anyways, these last two days I have been working like a dog...seriously, it's the whole work hard, play hard mentality and well...I felt helpless when I went back to work on Tuesday, but now I am super swamped when I am back on SCA projects (School Construction Authority) which I was put on and has a deadline of 2 days...great!

Yeah, waking up extra early and staying late...that's what sucks...watching your project manager leave...yeah, good stuff right there...I hate that stuff!

Seriously, I feel helpless, but am trying to do the best that I can do, oh well...that's all you really can do now a days and I didn't get enough time to do things anyways...so, that's what really matters...Hey, I did my best!

Anyways, worked 12 hour days...it will soon be over...right?

Nope...the next project that I am on...again, working with the government systems and that has a deadline on Friday of next week...oh great! Super Special...
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1/19/10

Funny watch this!

Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it's all about. Patti Sue Plumer, U.S. Olympian

So...my friend JK, who beat me during the race because at Mile 22 he said to me "this is the final surge" or something along those lines of encouragement...

But it was too early in my mind...I mean I just got over the side stitch in my lung area...but I had to go...

Crash or burn...I had to catch up....

Ok...so I lied! I gave up at the end for this moment:

Type in runner 1121 (my number and get ready!)

It's quite hilarious, also I wanted to try this out a while ago because I wanted to do this in Boston...

Here:

http://arizona.competitor.com/features/finishreplay/


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1/18/10

Goodbye AZ

I can't imagine living and not running. Paula Radcliffe

I had an early flight back to New York this morning because it was the only thing that got me back at a reasonable time...so 7:30am flight, which meant 5:45am wake up, which I was up at 5:30 anyways.

CH was up already as she used the bathroom, I packed my things the night before and was just getting my stuff ready. Changed and lingered...JK was up and we left on the spot. Got to the airport and said our goodbye's...it was rather sad to leave, although I was eager to go home because I wasn't use to this time zone change.

Ok...got some breakfast as my head still hurt a little from yesterdays finish...stomach hurt (maybe due to the cytomax?) And my head hurt (maybe due to not eating after? Or dehydration?) Uh! I never felt so bad after a marathon before, but I was DONE!

Seriously....I tried to eat at lunch, but only was able to eat the tater tots...ordered chocolate milk, but that was just turning my stomach in and the headache was horrendous! Felt as though I was hungover! Dinner was better when I had soup and rice, but the rest really did it...and the shower!

Anyways, got onto the plane and was going to my seat...when I spotted who I was sitting next to...

Oh my gosh, seriously?

Next to me was the same folks that flew in with me...the blond...and the older man...later I talked to them (she was a sophomore from UPenn Hartford and he was her father...ok, at least I got that right)

Anyways, it was alright on the way back...

Got home at 3, did laundry and was so done by the time I got back that I cancelled all my plans that I had for the evening...

Oh and I got to meet my new roommate...this place seems like it's an international youth hostile sometimes...a combination of cultures (well, at least she is a runner!)
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1/16/10

Expo

Nothing's better than the wind to your back, the sun in front of you, and your friends beside you. Aaron Douglas Trimble, Runner

After getting up quite early (5am?) and not adjusting to the time really well...I had written in my blog, sent out e-mails and read my book to keep company.

We finally went to Dunkin Donuts and ordered up some grub, drove to the airport to pick up CH (another Alzheimer's teammate from the Run for the Memory Program) and went straight to the expo.

CH had been up for quite the day as she had flown in from Boston, catching a 6am flight...ouch!

So we went to the Expo and it was very large, full of vendors and free stuff!

Ok, well we went around visiting different places and looking at swag...the damage?

Asics shoes - for $68, which were the new Speedstar 4 and the very last pair in size 9...I had a conversation with the shoe company in Hawaii and they said they would be out in March. But having them out now? Ok, I had to buy it on the spot. Kramer actually saw them first as he runs in the shoes and I told him about the new model because he saw that I was wearing them.

Anyways, we saw Ryan Hall as well and I told them that I was good friends with him and his wife because they are huge advocates for education and school systems in NYC.

We drove around to Arizona State, where Kramer works and also the finish line area...had lunch there (tex-mex) got change in $2 bills and went home to chill out...

Went pool side for a little while to see the sun setting and talking to Kramer's neighbor...oh it was fun.

We then went to the brewery, which was really nice, interesting and a very educational sense of how they brew beer (casks?) as well as their pint glasses were shaped up.
Very nice day...
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1/15/10

High expectations

Remember, the feeling you get from a good run is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were running. Sarah Condor

When I arrived in Arizona, JK told me that he had pretty high expectations for this race. I was astonished as I didn't have any expectations. He told me that he felt he could run a 3 hour marathon and expected to run with the 3 hour pace group...

Whooaa there! ok...sounds very much like a challenge now as I am never competitive and never during a marathon. Wonderful, the cool, collective leisurely race just went out the window...and now I was getting all juiced up for this race...I think I can't even run with him! The mentor becomes the mentee...(I only say this in the nicest way because I paced him during the Boston Marathon, to a very close 3:12 - not the time that he wanted...)

But damn, a 3 hour? Really? I am going to be working hard for this one, but really love that challenge.

He told me his preparation for the race as it sounded like he was very well prepared...so, I'll be following him...or maybe pacing again (leisurely working towards a 3:00-3:05) which in the back of my mind, I think I can do as a do able goal.

3 hours? Well...everything has to go right, as it seems maybe I can use the pace group to my advantage and stay with them or keep them in my sights to tear this rift and finally break this horrible wall of 3 hours...

Who knows...

Today: picking up another Alzheimer's friend: CH (as she will be doing the half marathon) and going to the expo...

Looks like our time in Arizona is just for chilling out and pure enjoyment before (instead of venturing around the city) so, whenever I am in the city, I'll spend it wisely...

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Bags are packed...

The only secret is that it is consistent, often monotonous, boring, hard work. And it's tiring. Robert de Castella, World champion marathon runner

You know that feeling when you wake up on Christmas Morning when you were a kid? Feeling all giddy inside?

Well, I had that sort of feeling when I woke up this morning feeling very giddy to go on vacation (again...I know!)

Ok, fine...yes, I have been spoiled, but whatever! Sometimes you need this in your life to spoil yourself. I mean really, it's my luxury in life:

_I don't eat out much
_I don't eat anything that I really do not need (snacks, junk food, candy, etc)
_I don't buy new clothes much (except for running clothes)

I combine travel with my adventure and experience of different cultures to explore...I want to do the 50 states because it's a life learning lesson...it's exploration of oneself.

I know, it's an expensive hobby and luxury, but I tend to work hard and have multiple jobs that I absolutely love that fund my luxuries...and I am single...so that's another + in the equation...

Anyways, I went to work, finding myself going up the subway stairs seeing this guy just randomly take out his junk and pee right in front of me.

Uh, gotta love NYC!

I felt tired at work as I was willing to get anything done in the remaining time that I had to do for this project...I felt bad that I was leaving and not going until the deadline, but I worked hard this whole week (staying late and everything) and my body definitely feels the repercussions of this.

I left work finding a spring to my step as I got lunch/dinner at Subway. I think this can tie me over till tomorrow. Ok, I caught the first A train and then transferred half way to another A going to the airport. My father had told me to get to the airport early due to the recent airport security checks, so I listened.

I got to the airport two hours early...left work at 1:30pm and got to the airport at 2:30-3. So I just sat and waited...worked on some Alzheimer's stuff and soon enough right on the plane.

I get on the plane and grab my seat...over to my right I have an older guy (later on finding that he is a doctor) with a very younger attractive blond gal, to my left, I have these two children...one boy and one gal, flying by themselves (or what it seemed, where their parents were ahead, but seriously, they were very good and sophisticated). The gal was brilliant, she was a first grader that was reading these immense books...ok, sophisticated younger gal vs blond chick...

The plane was off and I was caught up in some flyers stuff and alzheimer's items and soon fell into some reading as well.

The blond chick, wakes up from her slumber, wants to watch a movie where she takes out her credit card and slides her card through the crack of where the tv screen can tilt..I was like, ok, I totally have to help her: I told her to tilt the screen and then slide her card through...finally it worked...

Then another problem was that her touch screened volume was up all the way (guess she saw that the volume bars were up and tried to click on the volume down button) ok, so she rang for help...I checked mine and tested it out (turns out that the volume bars are always up, but the volume should have worked) so I told her and went to her touch screen to turn down the volume...

Oh my...seriously? I hate to judge people, but what their conversation was scared the crap out of me. This gal wanted to be a doctor? Or a nurse of some kind...but she was pretty and could probably get by just by her looks and all...

Oh dear!

Anyways, though I lost a few brain cells on the plane as I got picked up by JK.

Felt like old times, (JK was the guy who allowed me to stay at his place when I went to do my first Boston test run - 20 miler, and I ran with him the whole way pacing him during the Boston marathon last year)

Oh my gosh! It was good to see him, his wife and later on his dog...such a nice house and all...

Uh! Exhausted!

Bed time folks!
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1/14/10

To Run or not to run?

Music is my life, but running allows me to appreciate the music of the outdoors. Gail Williams, Hornplayer

That is the question...

I got home pretty late (8pm left my work?) and got home at around 9pm...I still need to pack for my trip out to Arizona, gotta pack up my marathon gear and special equipment, but thinking packing pretty lightly, but with all the cold weather talk in many of the marathons out there around the nation, it's hard to pack pretty lightly.

I had worked pretty darn hard this week and I actually enjoyed the pressure and leniency of doing my own thing and being in charge of my own side project...it's weird work...but oh well, just roll with the flow!

Anyways, I packed up most of the important items and got a hold of all my marathon gear...traveling to different marathons is tough due to the fact that you have to think ahead all the time on what the weather is like and being all nervous about if you had forgotten other things...oh well!

I had various conversations with different people last night: with KC, who is this phenomenal female runner and athlete (highly known in NYC running community) that is an amazingly fast as she tries to again qualify for nationals at Houston...her best line of the night when I told her that I was set to go again for another marathon:

"_____"

Classic, then talked to peanut (as she likes to be called this and was surprised when I got her a signed poster of Ryan Hall - her loved one) a poster that read to her peanut name.

Anyways, we talked for quite a bit last night of all the ultra's...the extremes of hiking and the craziness going on in her life as well as her focus. It was nice to get the realities of something as well as the extremes of running.

The extremes of running and ultimate goals of mine:

Reachable extreme:
_Western States Ultra 100
_Pikes Peak double (half and full)
_Mt. Kilimanjaro Marathon

Extremities:
_Leadville

Ultimate death wish: (last thing I would want to do before I die, but if I don't then it's ok)
_badwater
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