Big News/Run/Lost/Prayers

Big News

My lovely wife of (great God, has it really been that long? I may have to cut back on her meds) years, after three years of steady progress – 30 minutes of fitness a day, every day, and eating good, all day, every day – has pulled the lever, sent a registration to the Hartford Marathon, and is going to go 26.2 this October.

The only question I have is by how much she’s going to beat my marathon PR.

I’m trying to get her to blog about her experience, which is as likely to be as different from mine as night is from day. What I have in passion, she has in sheer will and dedication, so I have no doubt that each and every run in her training plan will get executed.

The upside for me? No more feeling guilty about sleeping in on Saturdays, as she’s using Saturday morning for her long run. Hot dog.


Johnny Klink and I hit the road at lunch again today. The plan was a quick three-ish to the top of the Bulkey Bridge at NAVSTA Newport, but we hit the top of the bridge feeling good, feeling spring, and decided to make a quick loop instead of an out’n’back. Finished up with 4 miles at 8:20, fastest I’ve gone in a long while.

Feet didn’t freeze up on the ride home, which is huge. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been heeding my dad’s advice (I can remember it from the time I was about 8 and started running with him on) “Run on your toes!” I’m also trying to “chi”, based on what little I know from thumbing through the book at Barnes and Noble, and run circles with my feet. It seems to be working – I’ve been sore in my calves, but haven’t had the terrible morning foot pain in a couple of weeks.


AND, today was so nice that I had little option but to play two.

On the way home from work, I stopped at Burlingame State Park, just down the road from Susie’s and David’s Shelter Harbor, and did the Yellow Trail on the mountain bike.

It would have been a perfect ride, except for:

  1. Freakin’ Flat tires – luckily I had (a) spare tube and a pump; and
  2. About two miles of wrong turn

I suppose that’s not much to complain about. Weather was gorgeous. The loop around the lake’s great, at least running it counter-clockwise. The Northeast section of the trail is somewhat technical – lots of babies’ heads, roots, and more slickrock than Rhode Island, land of sod farms, is supposed to have. All sketchy stuff to do with a front tire that’s rapidly losing air.

Once you get about top-dead-center (North being top), the ride gets sweet for an XC loving guy like me – long stretches of smooth-ish singletrack, swoopy turns, and finally shifting into the big ring and flying, flying, flying! This is why I love the bike.


Sorry to end on a downer, but there’s a couple of things to keep in your thoughts. First, Fat Cyclist’s wife is having a terrible battle with breast cancer. I cannot do anything but hope that he and his wife find strength to deal with this, and peace to accept whatever the world has to offer. I’ll quote Elden (I think that’s his name) here, on stress management:

When you’re riding hard, that’s all you can do.When you’re in the red zone, all you can think about is turning the cranks. When you’re riding down technical, exposed, twisty singletrack, that’s all you can pay attention to. Essentially, riding a bicycle can be fully absorbing – a vacation from everything.

Lastly, I am passing thoughts of find hope and peace for some friends to whom I wish I were closer.

Why I Love Trail Running

Why I Love Trail Running

Originally uploaded by billjank.

So, I’m not doing too terrible with running in April. It’s still not great – I’ll probably only hit about 30 miles for the month, but I haven’t had any foot issues, which is absolutely excellent. AND, I’ve bee riding the bike a bunch.

I snuck in a trail run at Arcadia ahead of the rain this evening. I’ve always loved the trail run, and am starting to get spoiled now that I’ve realized I don’t have to go out of my way to get in some good stumps, rocks, and mud.

My “usual” trail is just off of IH-95. You can, indeed, hear the freeway from the trail. If ever there’s been a case for the iPod during running, this is it. Start up the music, listen to the woman say “Beginning Workout”, and I may as well be miles into a wilderness area.

Nike+, by the way, works like a champ on the trail. One of the drawbacks of trail running has always been that mileage is a guess at best, especially during the summer when the foliage plays havoc with GPS. I’ve ran through puddles, run through mud, run through snow – whatever. Even though I’m using a velcro pocket on non-Nike+ shoes, I haven’t had any problems with weather and the foot-mounted transmitter.

Anyway, the grody picture above – on the way back, I was feeling my oats, and started trying to hurdle the fallen trees. It was exhilarating. I’d done a loop, cut across from the I-95 trail to the North-South trail to head back to the car. North-South is way more rocky than the I-95 trail, so I spent a decent amount of time hiking instead of running. But, when I could run, I RAN – flat out, flying. About a half-mile from the car, I headed up, up and – crap. Caught my left toe, smacked my left shin, and face-planted into the decaying leaves.

Hopped up, shook it out, and headed back to the car with a smile on my face. Nothing quite like feeling alive.

links for 2007-04-24

Freakin’ Floyd cannot catch a break.

Tests on the samples at a laboratory in Paris concluded on Sunday with French paper L’Equipe reporting they showed traces of synthetic testosterone.

BBC SPORT | Other Sport… | Cycling | Landis anger at ‘malicious’ tests

I wish I could think about this logically, but I just cannot. If he’s a doper, it’s another hit against him. But the timing is questionable, as is the motives of L’Equipe and the lab after legitimate questions on their impartiality.

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Blogged with Flock

So, I’m breaking out the Scotch again

A couple of years back, I decided I was going to see what all the fuss was about and buy a decent bottle of single malt scotch. Nothing crazy expensive, just something that was recommended by a friend.

I didn’t like it, at all. Like trying to drink rubbing alcohol filtered through half-burnt wood. Blech.

But the Great State of Connecticut has driven me back to the bottle.

See, we made the unforgivable sin of using our mailing address in Connecticut when we filed our 2003 tax return, ’cause in April 2004, when we filed, we were living in Connecticut.

Somehow, that triggered the computers in the Department of Revenue Services a week or so ago, and we got a notice requesting that we pay a couple grand in tax, penalty, and interest, or provide documentation that we were not, in fact, idiots who couldn’t figure out how to file a state tax return. The fact that we filed a Partial Year Resident Connecticut tax return for Tax Year 2004 listing details of the move didn’t seem to have any bearing on the case.

So, I spent this evening digging through the final half-packed boxes of paperwork from the move (which coincided with not only a job change but also a birth), looking for evidence to substantiate our position that we aren’t idiots or criminals. I copied, typed up a nice letter explaining that “No, we aren’t idiots or criminals”, copied everything again, and have the package ready, labeled, and stamped to take down to the post office to get sent certified mail within the 30 day deadline given to us by the state.

Based on prior experience with the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services, I estimate that I have at least three more rounds of correspondence with them before they agree that we are neither idiots or criminals. Unfortunately, this time I do not have Navy Legal Services on my side, nor a set of official Active Duty Military orders sending me to Connecticut. No, we came here on our own volition, which likely is a check box on the “Is the filer an Idiot?” worksheet that the fine folks at the Department of Revenue Services are completing with respect to our case.

It’s not that I’ve got any objection to paying taxes. In fact, I’m actually happy to have moved to a state that charges an extortionate income tax (Connecticut) instead of a state that charges an extortionate sales tax (Texas). In Connecticut, I’ve at least got an annual reminder of what I pay for the privilege of living here, whereas with Texas I kind of had to guess. But the schools are good, the roads are decent, and the state parks are phenomenal here, so honestly, I don’t mind paying what’s due the state.

I do mind being retroactively billed under the assumption that I am a criminal or an idiot, though.

Stupid Taxes.

Oh, and I did run today – two whole miles! Yippie! The boy and I did 4+ on River Road on Saturday.

It was the blurst of times

The summary:

Your tax dollars at work. Well, if you’re British.

The long story:

There’s an old saw about probability that “Given enough time, a monkey and a typewriter will produce the works of Shakespeare.”

It’s a little bit of a fallacy on two counts: First, if you work the math, the likelyhood of even one of the works occurring randomly is such that it likely wouldn’t happen in the life of the universe. Second, a monkey already did it, just using quill and parchment, as typewriters weren’t invented in the 16th century.

However, public arts councils being somewhat unschooled in either probability or art, a group in the UK funded a University team for six months to see what, exactly, would happen if you did lock six macaque monkeys in a room with a typerwriter.

Predictably, they didn’t come up with the works of Shakespeare, or even Dan Brown. The results were (from the article)

“The alpha male bashed hell out of the computer with a stone and the other monkeys did little else but urinate and defecate on the keyboard. Nevertheless, the monkeys did produce the equivalent of five pages of type with a predilection for the letter S. One researcher said that proved the monkeys were not hitting the keyboard at random, so were part of the way towards literacy. Defending the expenditure, a lecturer said the filmed experiment made very stimulating and fascinating viewing and was cheaper to produce than reality TV, but there was no sign of Shakespeare.”

I’d watch it.

However, gentlemen, we do need to take a firm lesson from this. Work like this needs to get public support in the United States. It’s a matter of national security. This article, my friends, is the finest example of how America is losing its lead in screwball humor. Sure, we’ve got “Country Fried Videos” on CMT, and we do still hold presidential debates once four years, but cutting edge research like this is needed to ensure we keep our technical superiority.

Props to my buddy Christian for sending it over.

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links for 2007-04-13

3 outta 7 ain’t bad

In my own minor way, I’ve managed to score well on the 7 deadly sins in the last 24 hours.

Lust – Women in the midwest are extremely underrated. None of the attitude from the coasts, and somehow avoiding much of the gluttony that’s beginning to ruin many southern women. Luckily for my lovely wife, I spent the better part of my time up here in conference rooms with engineers.

Gluttony – How do I eat thee? Let me count the ways – delicious hot wings, tasty pizza, too many cookies from the tray at lunch, and a root-beer float at the airport A&W.

Greed – Luckily, not so much lately. But I am finishing up my taxes – does trying to maximize my return count?

Sloth – Alarm went off this morning in the hotel. Looked out on nasty grey skies and the remnants of a wonderful midwestern thunderstorm, and reset the alarm for another hour of sleep.

Wrath – I’m in the midwest, surrounded by wonderful people. No wrath here at all.

Envy – One of the engineers in the meeting today was a beekeeper. 100 lbs of honey a year per hive. Hey, that one might be a double dipper!

Pride – spent the day in a room surrounded by people smarter than me. Definately no pride here..

So, no running today. Truth be told, I’m still a little sore after the strong beginning to the week I’ve had, so a day of rest probably isn’t a bad thing. But, the Wikipedia article is pretty interesting. GO read it.