Sunday, January 1, 2006

I put a link on the home-page of Westchester Trails so I’ll have to be more attentive to this Blog. I hope to actually have more descriptions of actual runs this year that I was able to muster in 2005. But for today, it is chilly with a bit of snow on the ground from yesterday. Went for about a 1-hour walk with no knee issues. Watched the Giants game until almost midnight. We’ve never been big New Year’s Eve folks. Once I ran the Midnight Run, back in the 80s, but generally we do what we did last night, just hang out.

Monday, January 2, 2006: 600 meters: result happiness

In David Copperfield, Wilkins Micawber famously says, “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.” I decided to go down to the Bronxville track to see how far I could get. The knee did not cause any initial difficulty, but I started feeling it at about 600 meters, so I stopped. After a slight walk, I did another 200 meters or so but decided not to press it. It really is very little, but it gives me hope that I am not incurably defective.

One other running-related item that I’ve been meaning to note. My coach, Devon Martin, has been inducted into the inaugural class of the Columbia University Athletic Hall of Fame. I ran into her on the street a couple of weeks back and told her that I just wanted to make it through the winter with a base and that I hoped to run the USAT&F X-C Championships at VCP in February. Don’t know if I’ll be able to do that.

There’s a front-page article in today’s NY Times on a house at 150 Edgars Lane in Hastings-on-Hudson (thanks to Marjorie L. for the link(. Turns out that this house backs onto the OCA Central. The article itself speaks of how people are putting more and more into their houses in Westchester; this little house is valued at $1.2 million but according to the story this is less than what the buyers paid plus what they put into it. (He runs a hedge fund, which may not be as lucrative as people think.) Check out the Slide Show.

Sunday, January 9, 2006

Knee still hurting so no running.

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

I was premature in my run of Monday; my knee now sometimes feels that a pick-axe is being used on it. Before doing anything, I’ll give it some rest.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Since it looks like I won’t have a lot of running material, I’ll have to put some other stuff up. Some months ago I was called for grand-jury duty. In the old days, lawyers were exempt from jury service and while I had been called many years before, I did not serve. Today, virtually all exemptions have been eliminated. But I figured that as a sole practioner, I could be excused from grand-jury duty because it extends over a period of weeks or months.</P.

When I arrived at the courthouse, expecting to be able to provide my excuse, I was never asked for it. There were no excuses. If you were a student, you could defer to the summer, and that was it. This is, I think, a good idea, because it does create panels with a cross-section of the population. I was on a panel that ended up meeting 8 times over 4 weeks. Unlike regular juries, we heard numerous different types of cases, although nothing that goes on in the grand-jury room may be disclosed. But there was no waiting around while the lawyers conferred with the judge. It turned out to be a rather interesting experience and one that I expect is preferable to the stories I have heard about regular jury duty. Plus you get an extra-long exception from having to serve on any jury again.

What brings this to mind is that I just took my dog out for a walk and a County bus went by. The busstop is at the end of my block, and it goes straight to White Plains, the County seat, and a couple of blocks from the courthouse. Rather than driving, I’d just walk down the block and catch the bus, which did not take appreciably longer than driving would. But in Westchester the buses had been on strike the month before. So for May, the buses were “free,” which I didn’t know until I tried to pay. I mention the buses for another reason. I am only familiar with buses in Westchester and in Manhattan. On the latter, much like the subways, there is a broad spectrum of riders. Not so with buses in Westchester. It is a decidedly minority, working-class ridership, and I got a view of the County that I, and I assume many others, don’t often get. So the bus strike that I barely knew about had dramatically affected thousands of people in the County, as last month’s transit strike made it incredibly difficult for people to get to work and to other places to which they had to get.

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Eric Turkewitz is a New Rochelle runner who has been working towards what is to be called the Colonial Greenway, which joins a number of trails near the Hutchinson River Parkway. The project has been undertaken with Westchester County, the City of New Rochelle, and the Towns of Mamaroneck and Scarsdale. Eric couldn’t make a meeting today, so I attended. The basic idea is that there are a series of trails — Nature Study/Twin Lakes, Leatherstocking (a wonderful trail that Eric clued me into), and Saxon Woods — that are near one another and with a little work could be physically and conceptually joined.

These things don’t happen as quickly as we might like notwithstanding the efforts and cooperation of people in these various government. But they are happening. In fact, there is only one major bit of work needed to connect the larger 12 plus mile loop (which is mapped here); a link between Leatherstocking and Saxon Woods in Mamaroneck. Now it appears that that link will be made in the next several months. After that, an informal event will be held to mark the opening of the trail. It is not just for running, but also for walking and exploring. As to bikes, however, they are only permitted on the non-County property, which limits them to Leatherstocking.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Still not much to report on the running front. The knee is very sore at times, but once I move a bit it feels OK. I’m still not ready to give it a try, but I’m trying to keep up with my exercises. Lot of rain today, and we went to Match Point, Woody Allen’s latest. It was OK, but I liked the London scenes, where we had a great time last September, even though I hobbled to a stop about 100 yards into my only run, in Hyde Park.

Monday, January 16, 2006; Martin Luther King Day

If you were to make a list of the greatest American leaders, Martin Luther King, Jr. would have to be on it.

Ended up watching “24” for the first time last night. Read a review that said it had elements of the Bourne movies, which I loved, so I gave it a shot. It really does suck you in, for a wild ride.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Just finished “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow. I started it some time ago, but put it down after the American Revolution. But I picked it up again and got through the rest pretty quickly. A fascinating read on a fascinating man. I noted the other day that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great American. I&8217;d put him with Hamilton, Franklin, and Marshall as the great non-Presidents on the political side.

I stumbled upon a cool site. It is a Flick group called Guess where NYC. People post photos from anywhere in New York City to see if any one can figure where it is. And how quickly. I posted one from my office, but no one has guessed it yet. As to others that have been posted, I recognize a few, but not many.

Tomorrow I hope to go down to the track to give it a shot. I was able to ride my trail bike (in which I clip my shoes in, which is important because it tests my ability to pull as well as push with my knee) and had no problems. Today I went over to the fields across from Mt Veron High School. The winds from earlier this week blew down the construction fence blocking access to the new track, so I went to it. It is black and has a very nice feel. There are still no lines and it is not accessible, but I assume the lines will go in for Spring Track. I added this and the Mamaroneck Track to my Track GoogleMap, with a brief description. The former track was a throw-back. It was cinder, and I did some nice workouts there. Assuming it was a quarter-mile as opposed to a 400 meter track, I remember a 3 X 1 mile workout a couple of years back at 5:40 and I don&#8217t think I’ll be able to run a work-out that fast again. The track had been getting vegetation growing.

Drove up to Washington, Connecticut, which is surprisingly easy, and quick, for a drive. We ate, as we usually do, at the Washington Tavern, a small popular place.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Decided not to test the knee by running. Instead, went out on my mountain bike up the paved Bronx River Parkway path. Pushed it pretty hard on the long stretches, and had no knee issues. Beautiful day, although a bit chillier than yesterday.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Drove down to Bronxville Track and did 4 laps in lane 3. Relaxed and no problems, although a bit of a pain in the knee afterwards, and put ice on it. Got very tired very quickly and don’t know if I could have gone farther. The timed laps were at 6:40, so there was a reason for being tired. I also took some pictures of the track. You can see on the shot of the backstretch the little bubble created by a tree root at the side of lane 4.

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Sunday, January 29, 2006: One Lap or Two

Decided to chance it with a lap of Twin Lakes. The trail was in pretty good shape, except for some (expected) spots of muddiness. I had my foot sink only once. But I was pretty tired pretty quickly. Held on though. Lap, including the northern spur, in 11:53. Did not see a soul during the run. Also took some pictures afterwards. I put a couple up on the Twin Lakes page and on the home page. At this time of year, there’s not a lot of variation in what you see, although I finally got a decent one of a runner. Here, I’ll just put up this left picture of a sign. When I was a kid, the Lake was one of the places where I tried to skate. I never got the hang of it. But if it gets cold for an extended period, there should be people skating here. Of course if that happens, the trail itself may be too hard to run on.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Feeling frisky after yesterday, brought a pair of shorts to work and had my shoes and other stuff in the car. Beautiful day, up to 60, and everyone and his cousin was in Bryant Park. No issues, so changed into my shorts at work and then drove to the Bronxville Track, where I completed the change. A little colder than I expected, so I was a bit chilly in just the shorts.

To the track. Felt very relaxed for 4 laps, but then felt as though a piece of furniture had been dropped on me. Completed another 2+ laps, but stopped because felt, just a twinge, my knee. I have to keep things under control so as not to hurt it again. So I was happy.

During the day, found a cool site, LocalHikes.com. Volunteers describe in detail hikes all over the country. They bring a camera and somehow get the trails marked precisely with topographical maps. You search by putting in your zip code, but when I did that, the closest trails to home were across the Hudson. I emailed the site about the lack of any trails in Westchester, and promptly got a response. I felt bad when a few minutes later I received a response from Jim Zucker, who runs the site, who noted that it was staffed by volunteers and that by the Spring it hopes to have many more sites. I felt like a schmuck, but I put it up on my links page. While hiking trails are not necessarily good running trails, they bear examination, and sites such as LocalHikes can give you information about whether to venture to them.

Guillermo G. also emailed me about conditions on the Leatherstocking and Saxon Woods trails. Although they were passable, the impression I got was that they suffered much more tree loss than did Twin Lakes, where I ran yesterday, from the winds we had a week ago.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Shortly after I discovered Flickr, Marjorie Lipan started a group for photos from Westchester County, so I joined that and posted some of my photos. In response, Marjorie clued me in on a couple of tracks in Mt Vernon of which I was unaware. Both have been posted on my Tracks page. The more interesting is at Memorial Field, which is one of the few remaining cinder tracks in the area. This will become of interest as cross-country season approaches, since one can get a nice workout that simulates the flats at Van Cortlandt.

Went out tonight. There was actually a hint of snow as I started, but it eased up. Felt good enough to hook to Gramatan and around back, and managed a 17:23, 2.5 miles (6:57). Unlike last night, I was relaxed throughout. There was a slight tenderness in the knee towards the very end, but no enough to stop.

Saturday, February 4, 2006

Got in a nice run at the track last night. 10 laps, but was tired at the end so stopped then, getting close to 6:00 pace towards the end (17:07 (in lane 3 so a bit over 2.5 miles). The focus was on relaxed upper body and form. The trouble is when I get the form going on a track, I tend to pick up the pace, which leads to me getting tired and stopping before I hope to. I thought of doing 12 laps, but not in shape for that. When I am in shape, I sometimes run the mile or so to the track do 10 or 12 laps and then do the mile or so back. I find that running on the track helps with my form and you can, within limits, get lost in the metronomic nature of track running, particularly when there are not a lot of other people on the track.

Went out on Thursday morning (had a doctor’s appointment so did’t go into the City) but knee started hurting after about 10 minutes so stopped. I’m trying to be conservative about putting pressure on the knee. Hence I did not go out this morning, because the knee was a little stiff. So no trail report today.

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Ventured down to the OCA South, but only to McLean Avenue. Tired coming back, but pretty relaxed. 20:26, the goal being 20. Saw a pack of guys heading south as I headed home; they were kind of rude, not acknowledging my wave. Then got the camera and took a bunch of pictures, and Columbia folks, presumably having headed up the Putnam Trail, were headed south, and I got a number of pictures of them, here, here, here, here, here, and here (Flickr). Later, I tried to find the top of the Old Croton Aqueduct, the source of the Nile as it were. We got a little lost, but ended up on the New Croton Dam where I got a shot (right) of the park at which the OCA finishes. I also put a picture of the reservoir itself on Flickr. After I posted the picture on Flickr, I got a response from a real photographer wondering whether I took it today, which, of course, I had. I actually had taken a him. He said that there were 2 bald eagles about a half-mile norrth of the dam. That I would have liked to have seen.

Watched Stupeur et tremblements (Fear and Trembling) last night. It’s in French and Japanese and is the story of a Belgian born in Japan who left when 5 and returned for a year at a large Tokyo corporation. A real contrast of eastern and western cultures. I enjoyed it.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Haven&38217;t run since Saturday with the blizzard and a slightly sore lower back. Went out tonight, and while I was tired, I felt fine. And there is always that adrenaline you get when you go out after missing days. It’s nice to feel a bit of speed. Did 23 minutes.

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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Haven’t posted in a bit. Went to Van Cortlandt for the USAT&F Cross-Country Championships. Did about 15 up and 15 back on the Putnam Trail first. Notwithstanding last Sunday’s snow, it was virtually all gone from the X-C course, which was an unusual one. The race started near the finish line, and the runners went straight across to the cowpath, across the field. It is, per IAAF rules, a 2K course, which means it went up Freshman Hill and then down but instead of running entirely on the finishing straight, there was a C-shaped detour to the left across the fields, which got very muddy.

The first race I saw was the Men’s Masters 8K, in which Charles Miers was running, as well as a number of other CPTCers. I had hoped to run this, but injuries prevented it. I caught the pack at about 700 meters. It is always interesting to see the effort on the faces of all of the racers in X-C from the start, and you appreciate that as much as you are hurting, so is everyone else. I caught the rest of the race from the top of Freshman Hill. Charles finished in about 22nd, 4th in the 45-49 age group. He said he hasn’t run for quite a while and that the third lap was the tough one. We all have issues of slowing with age. I think it is harder for someone with Charles’s background — he was among the City’s best — to get used to the inevitability of slowing-with-age. But for his competitiveness, he is also very big on easy days being easy. But I recall a track workout in which I was struck by how heavily he was breathing; he always looks so smooth, but he has to work at it.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Once in a blue moon, I get enough energy to go out in the morning on a week-day. Today was such a day. Nice and easy down and around the Lake in Bronxville, without a watch. It is too cold to run the trail, because there are too many frozen spots, and I didn’t have time to drive. But going early means I do not run hard, which is a good thing.

Someone posted a link to a running video on LetsRun that I find quite funny. It makes fun of dorky runners, but much as we may view these guys as geeky (and they are actually pretty good runners), we have all jogged in place waiting for a light to change and civilians look at us as being as bizarre as we look at these guys.

I have been able to run without a lot of problems in the last week or so. Did the Twin Lakes/Nature Study trails twice over the week-end. Then on Monday I did one of those strange work-outs. 20 laps of the B–ville track (in lane 3) without a watch. Work on the form but made sure not to push too hard, as I am wont to do on a track. Boy was that boring. There were four other people on the track (walking), and I kept passing them. Charles had pointed out the problem he had with the third of four laps at the USAT&F X-C, which was 8K, the same as this. So I concentrated on keeping my form through that third-quarter, and then was fine. Even jogged a couple of warm-down laps. It was chilly, but I enjoyed it, especially the last straight. But when you figure you’ve gone 1% through the run, as I did, it sure seems to take awhile.

One more thing about the X-C championships. At the end of each race, the top finishers were given American flags to drape over their shoulders. I know it is done all the time, and not just by Americans (you saw it after every event in the Olympics). I still found it disconcerting and disrespectful. I e-mailed a message to that effect to Craig Masback, the pres. of the USAT&F. I have not heard back from him.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Took a DNA Personality Test on-line. Turns out I’m a “Respectful Analyst.”

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Went to the SSRMC Saturday run, but not that large a turn-out. But Guillermo was there, and we gradually opened up a gap. We ended up going at a pretty quick pace, with me rather tired towards the end, as we approached 6:30. Guillermo was tired as well, with his long run in preparation for Boston for Sunday. It’s beautiful around Larchmont Manor, and pretty flat. A nice rune, finishing in 39:22.

Monday, March 13, 2006

I’ve gotten lazy about posting. Yesterday was a wonderful run on the OCA Central, heading north from Hastings-on-Hudson. There’s a yellow marker on the trail that I usually get to right around 20 minutes, and I got to it yesterday just at 20 minutes, coming back in 19:32. It was raining very lightly when I started, and the trail was a bit wet, although slippery in only one spot. But as I turned for home it started to rain heavily. Perfect running weather, and the trail held itself together. Not many people to be seen. It was about 50 and I was wearing shorts and my WSSAC shirt (which is great in the rain), and my thighs were rather pink. The right knee started to hurt at about 10 minutes, at Dobbs Ferry, but kept going and although it was a bother, it did not prevent me from continuing. I was only a little tired towards the end, but the knee hurt quite badly after I finished. And I had a fair share of mud on me at the end. But it was a great run.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Took yesterday off, and had to go to Bankruptcy Court this morning. Not enough time to walk from Grand Central, so took the subway to 14th Street and walked down, and made it in time. The Courthouse is within the Customs House at the foot of Broadway. After a stop at a client, walked back to the office with a stop for lunch at a small thin-crust pizza place on 18th and 1st. I walk to or from court often; I find it relaxing and a chance to do some exploring. This time I headed up through the heavily Chinese area on East Broadway and then up Orchard Street. So I was a little tired at day’s end. But went out for an easy 30 minutes (which did in 31). It is colder today than it was the past few days, and very windy. A nice run through Bronxville.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Thought of going out this morning, but the knee was a little sore and it was cold and I was lazy. So went out when got home, even though I was a little later than usual. With a watch, nice and relaxed, in 32:30. No problems with the knee.

Someone pointed out that the USAT&F has a page for people to post runs using GMap technology. I looked at a bunch in Westchester. Many were just crazy, spending much too much time on major roads. This is particularly true of some of the northern County spots (I looked particularly at Purchase courses, with which I am familiar from my bike riding, on roads completely unsuitable for running). The irony is that in the more open parts of the County, it seems harder to find places to run. That’s because down in the southern parts of the County (south of White Plains), there are many small roads that hook up together and run parallel to major roads. My run tonight included a couple of brief stretches of Route 22 (on sidewalks) but was otherwise on a slew of small, quiet roads with little traffic. When I ride my road bike to White Plains, an hour ride, I use a route where I generally am passed by under 10 cars. (The record is 3.) That’s about 20 miles of riding in dense Westchester on long stretches of road (such as Fox Meadow Road in Scarsdale). The point, I guess, is that at least around here one should be able to find relatively safe areas to run.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Took the day off and drove up through Copake to Great Barrington and then back south. Nice drive, including some backroads. But no run. Yesterday, back at the track, doing 16 laps again, with no problems. Pace was pretty good. Did laps of 2:03 (more than a lap), 99, 96, 95, 95, 95, 95, 95, 94, 93, 92, 92, 3:03 (2 laps), 91, 90, for 25:28. Did virtually the same on Wednesday, but without the watch. On Monday, was running on streets, when left ankle started to hurt at abou 23 minutes, so stopped. Hence the track runs, for the surface and for an exit-strategy if had a problem.

Last Saturday, did SSRMC run with Guillermo in 39:26 and did the Leatherstocking on Sunday, but that proved harder than I expected. Turned at Old WP Road at 19:12, but was dead, and stopped 3 times on way back (first at 23). Finished just under 40 minutes, which was not bad considering the stops. But the course, with its ups-and-downs and sometimes rocky surface can be deceptive. And more work than I expected. But went out on road bike for 45 minutes in the afternoon, which was nice.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The standard SSRMC Saturday loop, in 38:38.36. A bit chilly (40), but was fine in shorts and T-shirt. On the way home, saw a few different runners running on a busy street with traffic. What are they teaching these kids?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

After pondering the issue for a while, I decided to switch clubs. I had been a member of Warren Street for over 20 years when I switched in late 2004 to Central Park TC, under the tutelage of Devon Martin. But I’ve been running on many week-ends with Sound Shore and have gone to some of their social ocassions. Nice folks, and I think we can make some noise. We’ll see.

Went out on my road bike yesterday afternoon, for 45 minutes, which was nice. Had gone out last Sunday for 40 minutes. I am not in biking shape, that’s for sure, but I am thinking of doing a duathlon this year. Today, went with some SSRMC guys for a trail run, starting at Leatherstocking and through Saxon Woods and down Hutch trails, finishing with Tom O. on Pinebrook. This was the longest run I’ve done in a very long time, and I was hurting towards the end. But a decent pace for the most part, finishing in 1:17. Ankle hurt a tiny bit towards the end of the Pinebrook stretch.

The trails are in good shape. It was chilly and overcast, but it warmed up a bit, and was very nice; I was overdressed in tights and long-sleeve shirt. I got in front point, which I did not want to do because of my tendency to push it too hard. So then I let Guillermo control the pace. But he was going farther than I was; he’s training for Boston, but was cutting it short today, but was still doing the whole loop.

I love this little Evian ad.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Beautiful day. Got into 50s. Ran down to track and did laps until I passed 20 minutes and then ran home. Concern was for the left tendon, but it was OK, although I had to ice it when I got home. Tried to take it easy, but times laps were in the 6:20 range.

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