Friday, October 31, 2014

Super-Quick Primer: Air Force at Army

This is a very quick primer for tomorrow’s game, Air Force at Army.  I’m writing it because nobody read my extended preview, which was so evil and mean-spirited that I couldn’t bring myself to post the link anywhere.  Really, I should have kept that fucker in my diary.

Okay.  Here is what you need to know:

5 Things on a Friday: Looking Forward to 1992

There was lots of interesting news this week.  I could easily have put together ten things for this particular edition of “5 Things”, but my goal isn’t to make this a weekly treatise on the crap that I personally find fascinating.
Fair warning: with next week’s elections, this week’s column has a lot of politics.  I tried to keep it non-partisan, but my own views are slightly left-of-center, and that my well come through.  You’re more than welcome to drop competing viewpoints in the comments.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Army Football Preview: vs. Air Force

It’s Air Force Week, and I’m trying to be fired up, but I’m struggling with it.  As of this writing, Air Force is favored by 3.5 points on the road, and after Army’s debacle against Kent State, I’d personally take Air Force to cover.  On top of that, it’s supposed to rain all day on Saturday with high temperatures in the low- to mid-40s.  We’ve got tickets, but if I’m being honest, this is shaping up to be a miserable game-day experience.  
Go Army!  Beat Air Force!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Race Report: Fit For All 5k 2014

Sally and I ran the "Fit For All" 5k in Riverside Park, Manhattan, on Saturday.  The race was organized by Manhattan's West Side YMCA, but we ran as part of my company's corporate team.  Sally works for the YMCA in Milford, CT, so this particular race offered us a chance to both support an organization we believe in and make use of our various corporate connections for a day in New York.  After the race, we grabbed showers at the West Side YMCA and then took the kids to the American Museum of Natural History, where my company is a corporate sponsor.  All told, it was a pretty great day.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Family Pics: The American Museum of Natural History

After the race yesterday, Sally and I took the kids to the American Museum of Natural History.

I'm not sure exactly what role Theodore Roosevelt had in the museum's creation, but he has his own rotunda inside, as well as Theodore Roosevelt Park immediately outside, and what has to be the nation's single greatest equestrian statue at the museum's front.

An equestrian statue with two Native Americans accompanying.  Wow.

If the measure of a man is that they don't just put up a statue for him, they put up an equestrian statue, then TR went to the next level.  It fits the man, I suppose.

Friday, October 24, 2014

5 Things on a Friday: Age of Ultron & Other Stories

This week's reading is
The Dark Defiles.
I feel like I’ve been a little distracted this week.  I’m reading Richard K. Morgan’s new book, The Dark Defiles, third and final volume of “A Land Fit for Heroes”.  It has sucked up all the time I usually spend writing.  The whole trilogy is an elaborate deconstruction of epic fantasy, and I've enjoyed it thoroughly.  This third volume in particular has been reminiscent of Alan Moore’s Watchmen, save that it’s not nearly as pretentious, thank God.  It's compelling, though, which is why I’ve sort of let the book take over my life this week.
I’ll review the whole series when I get a chance.  In the meantime, there was a lot of movie/comic/TV-type news this week.  Since that news beats the Hell out of news of a more serious variety, let’s talk about it a bit, shall we?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Race Goal Revisited

I have my first race in over a year this weekend, and if you read yesterday’s post, then you will already know that my initial goal time for the race was 24:00. 

The race is a 5k; 24:00 is hardly a blistering finishing time.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Offseason Training Update: 10/13 – 10/19 (Week 2)

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks.  I was in Albany last week, which threw my training schedule a little off but also gave me a chance to shift the emphasis of my training a little.  That was a welcome change. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tomorrow, One Last Time

Hannah reprised her role as Annie this weekend at her studio's fall show, probably for the last time.  I'm sad because I loved her as Annie--and also because her turn as Annie represents her first real triumph.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Reflecting on the Mind of a Champion

Track Star Grinds Out a Bumpy Transition (NY Times)
Alan Webb holds the American
record for the mile.  He is currently
working with USA Triathlon to
transition to Olympic distance
"'Peo­ple gross­ly un­der­es­ti­mate the psy­cho­log­i­cal com­po­nent of what he did and what he had to live up to in the run­ning world...  That just wears on you. If he didn’t go out and give an in­cred­i­ble per­for­mance and set a record or win by an ex­or­bi­tant mar­gin, it was deemed a fail­ure.'

"Part of the prob­lem was that Webb did enough to make the ex­tra­or­di­nary look al­to­geth­er at­tain­able. In Ju­ly 2007, at an oth­er­wise sub­dued meet in Bel­gium, a se­ries of pace­set­ters guid­ed Webb through the open­ing laps of the mile be­fore he was left on his own, his stride some­how length­en­ing as his closed on the fin­ish line. His time, 3:46.91, broke Steve Scott’s 25-year-old Amer­i­can record by al­most eight-tenths of a sec­ond.

"In an in­ter­view af­ter­ward, Webb sound­ed eu­phor­ic — not nec­es­sar­i­ly be­cause of what he had ac­com­plished, but be­cause of what he be­lieved was still pos­si­ble. He was con­vinced that he could run even faster."

I remember those days.  I was never as fast as Webb, of course, but I remember hitting my first AAAA time in swimming as a high school freshman, placing fifth in  the San Diego CIF swimming championships, and then coming back the next day to face two guys who had just come off runs in the Olympics--and beating them!  Granted, the Jorgensen brothers were not butterfliers, and they probably also weren't at the peak of their season, but it was still quite a heady (if private) accomplishment.  At fourteen, I was already 5'10" and at the top of my sport.  The Olympics seemed like a real possibility.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday News and Notes

Happy Saturday!

Scarlett followed me on Twitter this morning.  I'm now up to 175 followers, which means that soon I will be able to take over the world!  Mwhahahahaha!

Friday, October 17, 2014

5 Things on a Friday: with the Cool Kids

It's been an interesting week in Albany, but I'm more than ready to go home.  I know some folks don't mind traveling for work, but I personally hate it.  Seriously, I don't know how some of you guys do it.

The mainstream news is mostly filled with the #EbolaApocalypse, so I'm gonna spend some time this week talking about comic book stuff.  I'm betting we'll still be alive in the next few years to see the stuff that got announced this week at the New York Comic Con.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Offseason Swim Workouts: Week #6

We set our Cruise Interval (CI) last week, and my plan was to use it this week to transition to a more aggressive, speed-based series of workouts.  However, I started writing this series of workouts for my friend Alisha, and in talking to her, I learned that her back's been hurting and that doing speed work risks aggravating it.  We started doing this series because her back was sore--she was looking for an alternative to running as a form of offseason base training--so making her back worse was not an option.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Army Football Preview: at Kent State

Last week was a tough week for Army football fans.  The Army team has played a number of close games this season, but last week's game against visiting Rice was not one of them.  Army got beat badly, especially on the defensive side of the ball, and if you watched the game, you could easily see why.  Rice's O-Line must've outweighed Army's D-Line by an average of fifty pounds or more per man.  It was tough sledding.  This is a new week, however, and Army has a chance to rebound at Kent State.

This is a game that Army ought to win.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

There's good news, and there's bad news...

The good news is that the New York City Comic Con was held over the weekend, and Marvel used the event to release some footage of its new Guardians of the Galaxy cartoon.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Offseason Training Log: 10/6 to 10/12 (Week 1)

I was in the hospital with a leg infection the third week of August.  I was on some heavy-duty antibiotics, and at the end of it the doc told me it was gonna take some time before I started feeling like myself again.  He said that the ordeal had cost me some aerobic endurance, and that I would have to build that back slowly.

This proved to be correct.  I started riding my regular commute the first week of September, tried to step straight back into training the next week, and wound up exhausted.  Since then, it's been a slow, deliberate slog back to regular training.  But last week I finally got back to something like my normal offseason training volume.  I'm still not crushing it out there, but I was finally up over a hundred points, and I am slowly but surely starting to feel like myself again.  All things considered, that seems like something of an accomplishment.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Reflecting on Yesterday's Game vs. Rice

It's one thing to say that Army's defensive line is overmatched against most FBS schools' offensive lines.  It's something else entirely to see it live.  This was the first game we've been to this season, so maybe (hopefully) this Rice team was a little larger on the O-Line than Army's other opponents will be this year, but the size differential was striking.  Army's interior D-Line must have given up fifty pounds per man.  Even Rice's wide receivers looked like NFL tight ends against Army's secondary.  Army defenders were frequently in the right position to make plays on ball carriers, but they missed a bunch of tackles because the guys they were trying to bring down looked like ogres.

Friday, October 10, 2014

5 Things on a Friday: The Curious Case of Kim Jong-Un

I feel like I’ve been waiting all week for the coming weekend, and it’s made the week drag badly.  We have a lot going on this weekend.  Sally and the kids and I are going up to West Point for the game against Rice, and after that, it’s a three-day weekend.
But we still have to get through Friday.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Friday Speed Work

If you read Monday's post, then you will know that I came into the week with a plan for my workouts.  Well, I wound up switching it around a little.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Army Football Preview: vs. Rice

Last Saturday’s game against Ball State was a terrific win for Army.  It was everything we’ve seen so far out of this year’s Army team—a fast start, an early fumble, the team hanging tough and taking an early lead, and a lot of downhill running.  For a change, they also managed to hang on to the ball late in the game, and when Ball State mounted their comeback, Army intercepted a pass and put the game away.  All told, it was a beautiful game in a driving rain storm.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Swim Practice Tonight

This is the first time I'll have been able to hit the water mid-week in quite some time. Here's the plan:

Hannah & Gabe "Shake It Off"

As promised, here's the video from the weekend's performance.  Our daughter Emma is the one who keeps photobombing the shot.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Weekend Update: Army Wins & Hannah Sings!

I don’t know about you, but my weekend was great.  It started Friday when I survived two near misses on my bike.  Both times trucks tried to put me into a line of parked cars along the side of the street, and both times I was able to dodge out of the way.  In the words of the immortal Hines Ward, “I always keep my head on a swivel.”
Friday night was pretty relaxed.  We ordered pizza, and eventually Sally, Hannah, and Emma went over to a friend’s house to do whatever it is that girls do when they go out.  I stayed home and watched TV, and then when Emma got home, the two of us caught up on the premier of Star Wars: Rebels.  We all still made it to bed by about ten.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Offseason Swim Workouts: Week #5

For the past four weeks, we've been doing swim workouts that build aerobic endurance with spots of uptempo work to build speed.  As we've said before, triathlon training is endurance training.  This makes it difficult to train fast during the season.
However, we've now reached the offseason.  Without any major races looming, we have a lower total training volume, and this allows us time to train harder, rest more, and hopefully get faster.  This in turn sets us up for the resumption of base training when the new year arrives.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Triathlon Training Plans

As I wrote yesterday, I spent part of this week trying to figure out how to design a training plan for the coming triathlon season to meet my body's obvious need for longer, slower training.  The results are below.

The basis for this plan comes from Team Oregon and their article "SLOW DOWN! and Run Your Best 10k Ever!"

Friday, October 3, 2014

Five Things on a Friday: Taking a Bite out of Apple

It’s been an interesting news week.  The world is changing, hopefully for the better, though I suppose we won’t have enough perspective on it to make any meaningful judgements for a while.  
I tell people all the time that the past is past, we are where we are now, and we can either deal with it realisticaly and move forward or else stay stuck in a fantasy of our own imaginings and regrets.  One of these options is clearly better than the other, but I suppose your mileage may vary as to which is which.
“For distance runs, we rarely need more than occasional water stops and, if the run will last longer than a couple hours, a gel or two. For harder workouts, however, we’ll need a recovery plan.”

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Army Football Preview: vs. Ball State

This past Saturday saw Army drop another heartbreaker in the final moments.  This was the second tough loss in a row, and it torpedoed a season that started with unexpected promise.  Yale had a lot of emotion coming into Saturday’s game, and as we said last week, they are not a team that gives up.  They did exactly what we expected they would do: they made adjustments at halftime and came roaring back from the brink of defeat.  They honored the one hundred year legacy of Yale football in fine fashion, though it was unfortunate that their triumph came at Army’s expense.  Now the Army team needs to rally.  After three weeks on the road, the team comes home to Michie Stadium to face the Ball State Cardinals, out of the MAC West.