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March 31, 2006

Spin class, 2 miles on treadmill, 1200 in pool

I pretty much did the equivalent of a sprint triathlon this morning, not necessarily in the correct order.

Arrived at spin class at 5:55, just in time to get the last bike. Usually, there are plenty of bikes, but the MS 150 is in a couple of weeks and I think more folks are coming to spin class to get ready. ET was on my bike, so I took the Kelly Brown bike. My usual bike in the corner definitely has more resistance to it and the bike I was on this morning had an annoying wobbly seat. Del put together a good class, albeit tough. Once he told everyone to cool down, I jumped off the bike, put on my shoes and hopped on a treadmill.

I did 2 miles, starting at a 7:30/mile pace and ratcheting it down once I hit the first mile mark. I ended doing the last quarter at a mile at a 6:30/mile pace. While running, I was overlooking the pool, and there was no one in it. I was afraid something had happened and they had closed it. Finally, at the end of the run, I saw someone get in one of the far lanes.

Down to the locker room, grab the goggles and pull buoy and off to the pool. While in the locker room, I heard Del reminiscing about Donyell Marshall and his team losing to Florida in 1994. Apparently, Del is a UConn fan. He thought the Gators beat UConn to go to the Final Four. I corrected him and told him that was an Elite Eight game, and the Gators beat Boston College to go to the Final Four. Jay and Doug thought it was hilarious that I was busting Del's chops on sports trivia.

Once in the pool, I could feel myself running out of gas. This was going to be a tough workout. ET was in the pool, and I complimented him on his stroke and speed. He told me that I do way too much work with my stroke, and I should be zipping through the water. He told me that I need to keep my midsection still and not sway from side to side. This will result in additional torque and therefore power. Especially if I rotate my body more. He also told me that mud isn't much thicker than water, so instead of thinking about pushing water with my hands, think about grabbing a handful of it and pulling my body through it. I tried to work on this, but frankly was just pooped. I ended up only doing 1200 yards.

Overall, it was a good work-out. I wish I hadn't been so rushed before spin class and had a chance to eat a Clif Bar.

Renewed the tags today

Had to go downtown to run some errands. Time to renew the tags and I wanted to replace my generic Florida tag with a Share the Road tag. Easy enough, the Tax Collector has a drive thru. Unfortunately, I was stuck behind someone that apparently had a pretty complex transaction. It was 15 minutes before I got to the window. Once there, it appeared the problem might be a new person in training. She might need a little more training in the interpersonal skills department. Her greeting was as friendly as a rattlesnake's.

I explained that I was renewing one tag, and I wanted a specialty tag for the one that needed replacing. Based on the expression on her face, you would've thought I was speaking Swahili. Enter the trainer. "Sorry sir, no specialty tags here. We have nowhere to store them in this little area (motion to the small size of the drive thru teller area)." I made it known I wasn't happy and pulled out to go find a parking space. I was going to have to go inside after all.

Once inside, a teller opened up fairly quickly. I explained what I needed. She processed everything and then had to go to another room to get the tag. Guess they don't have enough room in this area either. There must be a special room with tags stacked everywhere. She was gone for 5-7 minutes and returned with the tag. My question is, why can't the folks in the drive thru leave the window for 5 minutes and go to the "Special Tag Room" and get the tag. Are the folks that work the drive thru locked in that little room and unable to leave? The space limitations excuse at the window wasn't valid. The issue isn't space, because my trip inside proved that.

By the way, there was no signage in the drive thru, nor information on the renewal form to indicate that specialty tags are only handled inside.


Think Geek's annual April Fool's products


Too funny. Get your iZilla today:

Tromping through the streets of downtown Tokyo... crunching tiny white audio players underfoot comes the iZilla. If you've been looking to step-up to a hungry man sized portable media player with incredible tech powers... this is it. First start with a whopping two terabytes of storage delivered by four 500 gig internal hard drives. Up the ante with a sweet 7" TFT-LCD touch screen... then crush your opponents with high-speed ripping capability for CD, DVD, and vinyl. A handy iPod dock allows you to transfer songs to and from the iZilla.

Every year on April Fools Day, the folks at Think Geek have some fun with their home page. I guess with AFD being on a Saturday, they decided get a one day head start on the fun.

Honestly, where else can you get a USB Desktop Tanning Center?

March 30, 2006

Emily picks the right colors

Emily picks the right colors

When picking popsicles tonight, Emily made a highly intelligent choice of colors. After receiving praise from her father, she said that "Bulldogs and Seminoles are yucky." For this, she received praise and a dollar bill. Yet additional affirmation that Emily is a gifted child.

GRIPE: Too much content

There are just too many cool ways to get content nowdays. Between RSS feeds, audiobooks, podcasts, Netflix, Tivo, and RadioTime (think Tivo for radio), there is so much cool stuff to absorb. Plus of course traditional books, magazines, newspapers, etc.

Cost isn't a major factor, but time is. I wish there was a Johnny Mnemonic way to load all of this content into my brain daily (and enjoy it, no potential for death, unlike the movie). Listening while working isn't really an option, because I'm on the phone quite a bit. I have no commute. Of the 5 hours I have exercised this week, I have trained by myself for only 2 hours. Of those 2 hours, 1.5 were in the pool and I don't have a waterproof case for the Nano yet.

I guess it comes down to priortization and being picky with content until I can get that brain implant.

UPDATE: I forgot about Pandora and XM Radio.

Tivo up 10% on the day!

Appears like things are going well for Tivo in their court case against Echostar for patent infringement. Yeah! I was tired of the red numbers in my portfolio. With the run-up over the last week and cost-based averaging, I'm now up a little over 20%. Woo-hoo!

10 mile run this morning

Training - StV, ORR 3-30-2006

Ran the Ortega River Run course and to St. Vincent's and back with James this morning.

We did what James calls "Kenyan Training" for my 7th mile (9th mile for James, since he starts by StV and meets up with me in my neighborhood). I was able to do the mile in 6:50. I can definitely tell I've missed speed training the last 2 weeks. Legs didn't feel as quick as normal. Then again, it is a challenging stretch of road with some inclines, and jumping on and off the sidewalk. Plus the sidewalks in that stretch aren't in the best shape.

I was going to do a 30-mile bike ride at lunch, but will probably skip that. I'll try to jump in the pool later today for 2000.

Since St. Anthony's is 4 weeks from Sunday, James recommends I ratchet it up the next 3 weeks. Increase swimming from 6000 to 8000 to 10000. Increase biking from 80 miles to 100 miles to 120 miles. Keep running around 20-25 miles a week. Then take it easy the week before the race.

Gulp! Sounds like. . .fun?!?

March 29, 2006

Recovery run, swim 2100

Wednesday morning's are speed workouts for the Y Tri Club. Only Bill was at the Y at 6 am. Everyone else went for a run over to San Marco (I later found out that Leah was going to meet us at Memorial Park at 6. Oops.). Bill did the Red Hills Triathlon this past Saturday, so instead of speed, we did a bridge loop. After one loop, Bill said he just didn't have it in him today, so we ran back to the Y. I wanted to go a little longer, so I ran up to the top of the Acosta bridge one more time. On the way up, I passed Del, Doug, Teresa, Jenny, Jane and Marla coming back from San Marco. At the top I turned around and went back to the Y. Ended up being right on target, 35 minutes at 153 bpm.

Chatted with the gang in the parking lot for a little while, then went inside. Saw Teresa Rogers, Senior VP for the First Coast Y and she said she heard I might be joining the Board of Directors for the Yates Y. I told her that's what I had heard as well. Todd Rosenbaum, Executive Director at Yates told me last week someone would be calling me. Teresa introduced me to Penny Zuber, CFO for the First Coast Y. They were heading out for a run.

No more procrastinating, time to get in the pool.

Wasn't sure what to do in terms of a work-out, so I tried the one someone posted on the whiteboard:

200 swim
200 pull

6 x (75 swim, 25 kick -- no board), :10 rest

4 x (150 pull, 50 swim), :30 rest

8x25 (sprint every other lap)

Cool down:
100 swim

The hardest part was the kick laps without a board. Trying to catch a breath by just tilting my head was a challenge. Breathing is certainly something I need to work on.

Pretty good work-out today. I have 4100 yards in the pool so far this week. Very happy with that. Now I need to get on the bike!

March 28, 2006

Swim 2000, spin

Woke up this morning at o-dark-thirty. Turned off the alarm, closed my eyes, and promptly jumped out of bed 15 minutes later when my Treo alarm went off. That's the project manager in me coming out, you have to have a contingency plan.

Jumped into a chilly pool at 5:10. After reading Bill Bishop's race recap, I felt like a wuss for griping about the water temperature. I did 1200, then jumped out and went up to Jane's spin class. Today was race day, so we had a lot of high energy stuff to keep the cadence up. The Riverdance stuff made me laugh, because I was imagining racing my bike along a road lined with folks from Lord of the Dance. Quite a mental image of all of these folks interlocking arms, wearing tights, and jumping around watching a triathlon.

After spin, it was back down to the pool for a quick 800. Not many folks in the pool at that point.

Two days into my toughest week of training this year. In retrospect, I should have done more than 800 when I hopped back into the pool. I'm back-end loading a bunch of training into the latter part of this week. The plan is a speed workout tomorrow morning followed by another 2000 swim. I might add a little more to the swim.

March 27, 2006

5 mile run this morning

Ran the Ortega River Run course this morning. It was chilly outside. I was able to maintain a fast tempo for the entire run while keeping the heart rate under 160.

I was also supposed to swim 2000 sometime today, but I don't think that's going to happen. The plan for tomorrow is to swim 1000, do Jane's spin class, and then swim another 1000.

The goals for the week are:








This is going to be a loooong week.

What do they know anyway? - COLUMNIST/FORDE - Forde: Green Gators now team to beat

"If we worried about the things you guys [the media] worried about, our heads would really explode," said Joakim Noah, the best pony-tailed baller since Bill Walton (who didn't grow his hair out until he went pro). "I think we realized that we can't worry about what people are saying and we just have to stick together and play basketball the way we are capable of playing."

I'm glad they aren't paying attention to sportswriters. These are the guys that picked the Gators to finish 5th in the SEC, and 75th in the country. I guess it's safe to say sportswriters don't have a future as NBA scouts. Then again, the Vegas sportsbooks had the Gators at 75-1 to start the season.

Nonetheless, sportswriters should always be ignored. Specifically, the always pessimistic, don't ever want to be confused as a homer, glass is always half empty, permanent sufferer from a Napoleon complex Times Union beat writer Mike Dirocco. I learned to discount anything I read in his columns a long time ago. Now, whenever the Gators have any kind of good news, the challenge is to guess how Dirocco is going to add his negative spin.

March 26, 2006

Make room for another banner

Make room for another banner

Florida is going to the Final Four!

Florida 75,
Villanova 62

What a great run. These kids are something else. I can't wait for next Saturday.

March 25, 2006

Elite Eight reflections

I have very distinct memories of the last two times the Gators advanced to the Elite Eight. OK, make that the only previous Gator teams to make the Elite Eight considering this is only the third time.

I went down to Gainesville that Friday night to watch the biggest game in UF's history with my friend Britt Scott. It looked like we were going to lose, but UConn's Donyell Marshall inexplicably missed two free throws at the end of the game. Either one of them would have won it for UConn. The Gators went on to win in OT. The town was nuts. We headed to the Purple Porpoise for an insane post-game party. Saturday afternoon, I convinced Britt and my friend Jennifer Crockett that we were waking up at 5 am the next morning to drive down to Miami to see the Regional Final. There was much griping and moaning. Needless to say, after watching the Gators take care of Boston College to advance to their first Final Four, everyone agreed it was a good idea. Watching guys like Dan Cross, Craig Brown, Andrew DeClerq, and Dametri "Da Meat Hook" Hill cut down the nets was an amazing experience.

UF lost to Duke in the Final Four semifinals. Grrrrr, that @#$! Christian Laettner.

We beat #1 seed Duke to make the Elite Eight. It was Saturday morning and I was at the dining room table, drinking coffee, reading the newspaper and extremely happy. Then the cell phone rings. I assumed it was my friend AC calling to chat about the game. Instead, it was the CIO of one of our clients.

A project wasn't going well, and he was calling to tell me that we had better do something about it because in his words "(The project sponsor) isn't going to fall on the sword for this project." Man, talk about a mood swing. The project was failing because the client had a set of requirements that were in constant flux. However, because of the importance of the client to our company and too many cooks in the kitchen, we were never able to make them sign off on a set of requirements and hold their feet to the fire. That project gives me a headache every time I think about it. There was even a second version of the project where the client assumed they knew what they wanted, we were able to get them to sign off on requirements, and they still weren't happy. Not sure who hated that application more, our company or the people who had to use the application.

Back to the tournament.

Being the incessant homer, I had picked the Gators to win the tournament. I was in prime position to win the pool. Vicki and Michael Kilmer-Rinker hosted a party to watch the championship. Vicki would win if Michigan State won. Of course, UF ran out of gas and MSU won, but what a run!

Anybody see a pattern here? In 1994 we make it to the Final Four. Six years later in 2000 we make it one game farther to the championship game.

Six years later in 2006 we ...

Elite Eight baby!

Elite Eight baby!

Florida 57

Georgetown 53


Not sure I can handle another game with Jim Nantz and Billy Packer. I'm definitely going to have to simulcast Sunday's game with Mick Hubert on the radio. JimBilly will drive you nuts.

March 24, 2006

Afternoon at the TPC

My sister Betsy and I went to the TPC this afternoon. At the entrances, they had a looped recorded message that made it perfectly clear that you couldn't bring in cell phones, cameras, TVs, or radios. I thought it would be fun to wear my Garmin GPS watch and track where we walked around the course. The security guard and his assistant with the metal detector wand smelled blood when they saw me walking up to the entrance.

Guard: What is that?!? (pointing at the watch)
Me: A watch.
Guard: Is it a phone?
Me: No.
Assistant: Does it beep?
Me: No. (a little white lie)

This is what I wished I could have said:
Guard: What is that?!?
Me: A bomb! Praise Allah! Praise Allah!

Somehow, I think I would have missed the tournament. They also freaked out when they saw my circuit board business card case. I was expecting another game of 20 questions. Opening it up to show them real business cards sufficiently satisfied their curiosity. I bet the apes who danced around the obelisk at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey were relatives of theirs.

We made our way to the course and walked around a bit. People watching at the 17th hole was very entertaining. Mini skirts, 2-inch heels and designer sunglasses are available in every golf course pro shop. We followed Jim Furyk and Davis Love III around some. Apparently, we left that group right before Davis carded a 9 on the 9th hole. When we saw him, on 4 and 5, the wheels were already coming off. At that point he was already 6 or 7 over for the round (he started off on the back nine for the day).

We ultimately ended up again at 17 and watched Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and some others come through. No one plopped one in the water for us. We did have some lovely commentary at the 17th from what I'm sure are some recent transplants from the fine state of New Jersey. They really knew EVERYTHING.

All in all, a fun day at the TPC. I would like to see Jim Furyk hang on and win. We'll see.

Training update

So far this year, training is going very well. I have been able to remain healthy and be very consistent. The results prove this. In 2006, I have PR'ed the 5k, the 5 mile, and the 15k. The only race I didn't PR was the Winter Beaches Run. That would've been quite a feat to PR in that race. Here is a comparison of 2005 v. 2006 training:


2006 YTD














I will be over last years bike total after tomorrow morning's ride. Based on this, it is safe to say that I am 2-3 weeks ahead of my training last year. I do need to put in some more time on the bike.

March 23, 2006

Back in town

I was in Madison, WI the first part of the week on business. Flew into Chicago on Monday hoping to meet with a client, but his schedule was wrecked and we couldn't get together. Mike Sinelli spoke at the IASA Wisconsin Chapter Meeting on Tuesday morning. Later that evening, we headed downtown for dinner at Johnny Delmonico's. Very cool steakhouse with a definite old school feeling. Didn't get much training accomplished on the road. Went out Tuesday morning and it was 22 degrees with 17 mph wind, and snow flurries. Went inside and did 4 miles on the treadmill. Wednesday morning I was going to run on the treadmill again, but I remembered how miserable it was the day before (really bad treadmill). I rolled over and went back to sleep. Glad to be back home again!

Just renewed my Gator football season tickets

The deadline is Friday. I shouldn't be cutting it this close. The consequences of missing the deadline are unimaginable. Seven home games on the schedule this year, including one the weekend before we go to Smellahassee. I think we might go on the road to the Auburn game as well, although my last trip to the state of Alabama for a Gator football game was not much fun.

March 18, 2006

What are the Gators eating for breakfast?

What are the Gators eating for breakfast?

Gators make the Sweet Sixteen!

Gators make the Sweet Sixteen!

I can't believe my good fortune. Went down to the arena to see if I could score a ticket. Wasn't looking good, lots of fingers in the air. Went to the ATM by the park to get some money. I figured if I did find a ticket, it was going to cost me. While in line for the ATM I was still holding up a finger. A lady saw me and said she had an extra. Sold it to me at face value! Found Russell and ended up sitting with him. You would've thought I had found one of Willy Wonka's golden tickets. I was referred to as the guy who found a ticket. Go Gators! Great game.

Here's the rest of the story (would have taken forever to type all this in the Treo).

I went straight to the arena from the zoo. My neighbor Russell was going to be on the lookout for tickets, as was my other neighbor Robert. As I was walking to the arena, Karen called and said when she got home, there was a message from Jimmy Kelly to call him regarding tickets. I tried Jimmy's cell a couple of times but couldn't get him. Then I called his house and talked to his wife. She said he was going to the Amsterdam for lunch and to try him there. Headed that way and found him. He had sold the ticket 30 minutes earlier. Arrrrgh! That's when I headed to the ATM. On the way there, I saw Robert and his Dad on their way to the game. While talking to them, Michael Corrigan walked by and I told him he needed to get me into the City Council skybox. He said he would get right on it. Haha. I went from there to the ATM.

After getting the ticket, Russell called me on my cell and told me what I already knew. There weren't many tickets. He didn't know I was already at the arena. I told him I was on my way to the arena with a ticket bought at face value. After a moment of silence, he told me to meet him at the Amsterdam. I met up with him and his sister there. We headed to the game and that's when I saw Jimmy Kelly again. He too was amazed I had found a ticket. What a great afternoon! Go Gators!

Beautiful day at the Jacksonville Zoo

Beautiful day at the Jacksonville Zoo

Visiting the zoo with the girls, Grandpa, Aunt Margie, Uncle Joe, Sonya, Grayson, Bob, Kris, Elizabeth, Jesse, Hope and Kayla.

More pictures at Flickr.

March 16, 2006

LSU v Iona

LSU v Iona

Betsy and I are watching some NCAA basketball tournament action at the Arena.

Predicting race pace

When we do intervals, we often base the pace for the interval on the pace you would use in various races. For example, yesterday morning we did 1200-800-400, where the 1200 was at 10k pace, the 800 was at 5k pace and the 400 was at mile pace.

During the run work-out, there was a question about knowing what pace to use for various races. If you haven't raced a lot, this could be confusing. There are formulas that you can use based on one distance that estimates a finishing time for another distance. The one I often use is:

T2 = T1 x (D2/D1)^1.06

Based on my Ortega River Run time on 2/25, it came within 16 seconds of correctly estimating my River Run time on 3/11.

Of course, it isn't all pure science. There are other factors that the formula doesn't take into account like 90% humidity.

There is a really cool web application on the Running for Fitness website that uses the above formula, and some others to generate the estimated pace for a variety of distances.

Now can someone help me figure out my NCAA Tournament bracket?

Marketing ploy I

In the shower this morning saw the following on my shampoo bottle: NEW! Same great scent!


March 13, 2006

Emily runs

Based on her running performance Saturday, I took Emily to get a new pair of running shoes today. We bought her a pair of pink New Balance 991s. She was very eager to get home and try them out. After I finished up some work, I took her for a jog around the block. The block is about a half mile. She did pretty well, only stopping a couple of times to walk. Of course, the minute she felt like she caught her breath, she tore off running again. Towards the end, I think she started to learn a little more about pacing. I might need to remind her the story of the hare and the tortoise.

More photos:

Looking for good cheesecake?

Last December, I stumbled across an article in the Financial News and Daily Record about a lady in town that was the former caterer for the Atlanta Falcons and is famous for her cheesecakes. My curiosity was piqued, despite the fact the article said Deion Sanders is her biggest cheesecake customer. I mean, what does he know about taste? You've seen the suits he wears.

Yesterday was my parent's 41st wedding anniversary. So on Friday, I decided I had a special occasion to order one of these cheesecakes. I gave Cherryllean Rogers a call. She is a very nice lady and went through all of the flavors available. Wow! My parents really like strawberry cheesecake (apparently so does Deion, maybe he has better taste than I thought), so I placed the order for one. To make sure the cake was fresh, Cherry delivered it Sunday morning. No kidding! And man, what a cheesecake. It was fluffy and light, not a cheese paperweight like a lot of other cheesecakes I've had in the past. It was a huge hit at lunch. Any fitness gains made by running the River Run were eliminated by this dessert. I would highly recommend Cherry's Cheesecakes and Delights to anyone looking for a special dessert.

March 12, 2006

Emily runs her first race!

Emily participated in the Adidas Junior River Run. As the start of the race neared, Emily was still in line to have her face painted. She wasn't leaving that line she had stood in for 30-40 minutes until she had a butterfly on her cheek. It wasn't helping, as Pete noted, that the kids in front of her wanted the Last Supper painted on their face. Finally, the butterfly was on the cheek and it was time to line up for the race.

Emily had never done anything close to running a mile. I had her run some laps in the backyard in the past, but she was always tired after 2 or 3. Of course, the motivation to run the race was the fact her buddy Maddy was running it with her Dad. The gun went off and Emily started running. I told her to slow done and pace herself. I held her hand for a little while, and then she got into a rhythmn. Maddy had to stop and walk for a bit, but Emily kept motoring on. Near the halfway point, Emily decided to walk a little. Then she held my hand for a while, and for a couple of stretches, was really hanging onto my arm. But she kept moving along, slowing down every now and then to walk. I told Emily to pump her arms and shake her booty. She thought this was really funny and resulted in a burst of speed. Near the finish line she saw her Mommy and Uncle Pete. This really turned on the jets and then then finish line was in sight and she wasn't going to slow down until she crossed the finish line. Finish time was 11:42, a time that her Mommy would be hard pressed to beat.

Emily's spoils for running the race included a t-shirt, a coupon for a Wendy's Frosty, a Publix backpack, and an adidas lunch bag. Very fancy.

Congratulations Emily on your first race! I am very proud of you.

River Run 2006

Woo-hoo! New PR for the 15k in the River Run! I finished in 1:07:10, shaving a minute and 31 seconds off of my PR.

Towards the latter part of the week, all the talk was about the weather forecast. Come racetime, the thermometer wasn't the killer, it was the humidity. The sky was overcast at the start, and not just a little. It was filled with heavy cloud cover. I guess that was a good thing to keep the sun from bearing down on us, but at the same time, the air was thick. I think I heard 90% relative humidity. I can believe it, my singlet and shorts were soaked by mile 3.

I never felt comfortable during the race. I hit the 1 mile mark around 6:45, about 15 seconds faster than I wanted to. Mile 2 was 6:53, still faster than the 7:00 to 7:10 pace I was aiming for. Finally, miles 3, 4, and 5 were in that range, ranging from 7:02 to 7:13. The heart rate was pegged at 171, not bad. Mile 5 down Atlantic Blvd. seemed a bit slow, there was a light wind in my face. Miles 6 and 7 with all of their turns were not fast, coming in at 7:21 and 7:25. Grrrr, I was giving some of my banked time away! No matter, whatever banked time I had left, it was all gone going up the bridge. The snowman, not just a familiar sight to my golf game, appeared on my watch. Mile 8 took 8:05. Coming down the bridge, I opened my stride a bit, but never really felt like I was doing as much as I could. The nagging reminder that there is still 3/10 of a mile of work to do once you hit the bottom still held me back. Mile 9 was clocked at 7:00, and I did the finally 3/10 in 2:15 (7:30/pace). Finishing time was 1:07:10. I really wanted to come in under 1:07:00 so I could use the time for a seeding in next year's race. Oh well, that will come in a race later this year. I did get a Top 10% cap. Turns out, I finished somewhere around 425 out of over 9,000 participants (can't call them all runners).

I did have a funny moment coming down the bridge. Thursday night at dinner, Gil Weise, one of the River Run streakers, told the story of the time he was coming down the Hart Bridge at the end of the race and heard footsteps behind him. He looked back, and it was Bill Rodgers. Gil was amazed that he was leading the original River Run champ and 4-time Boston Marathon winner 8 miles into the race. He looked over and told Bill that he couldn't believe he was ahead of him. Bill fired back, "This is my second lap!" Well, coming down the bridge yesterday, I look over my shoulder, and there is Bill Rodgers! I asked him if this was his second lap and he said "Nope, it's my third!" I continued to run with him as long as I could, and Bill commented that they certainly don't have bridges like this in Boston. He was still running smoothly, and I has doing my best to keep up. I wanted to cross the finish line next to Bill. Unfortunately, Bill had a stronger kick and finished 6 seconds ahead of me. It was funny shadowing him that last part of the race and looking at the spectator's faces as he came by. There were the "Hey Bill!" shouts and others murmuring to each other as he went by. Many knew he was someone famous, but not completely sure.

Overall, I can't complain about a PR. I think I could've done a little better, and I'm certain I could've done a lot better of the weather was cooler. I also scored well for the River Club in the Gate Governor's Cup competition. I was the first finisher from the River Club. Does that mean I'm club champion? I finished ahead of some folks from the other clubs that our club had tried to recruit runners that could beat them, but never succeeded.

Race - River Run 3-11-2006.jpg
Associated files:
Race results
Google Earth file: 060311_riverrun.kml

March 9, 2006

River Run Pasta Dinner at the River Club

Karen and I joined the River Club last year. One of the benefits of being a member is you get to participate in the Gate Governor's Challenge in the Gate River Run. Teams from Epping Forest, the Lodge, Ponte Vedra Inn and Club amd the River Club all compete to have the lowest aggregate time for the first 5 finishers from their clubs. Another perk is a nice carbo-loading pasta dinner before the race. Karen and I had a great time. I got to talk to Bill Rodgers (American running legend and winner of the first River Run 28 years ago) again. I met Bill the first time in 2003 when I stopped by his store in Boston to buy some shoes. Really nice guy who loves to talk about running. Also met Hal Higdon, who's training schedules I used when I started running again 3 years ago. Todd Williams was also there but I didn't get a chance to meet him. Todd has won the River Run 5 times and holds the River Run course and American record in the 15k. He ran the River Run in 42:22, that's all. Wowzers!

"If you want to win a race you have to go a little berserk." -- Bill Rodgers

Giddy up cowboy

BMFCFound the envelope on the right in my mail today.  Unfortunately, my application was rejected.  Said I wasn’t Brokeback material.  Boo-hoo.  And I really wanted the commemorative rope and chaps!

Actually, it’s just another funny letter from my buddy Pete.  He had to mail me his registration card so I could pick up his race packet for the River Run.  Usually, the return address has something to do with STD Testing Results or some other sophomoric joke.  Not sure what the mailman thinks about our house.  At least we don’t get magazines and packages in the anonymous brown wrapping paper.

March 8, 2006

Critical Mass ride this weekend!

From UrbanJacksonville:

This Saturday bikers from all over the city will meet for a critical mass bike ride through the urban core. If you want to ride, meet at Noon in the parking lot across from the Cummer Art Gallery in 5-points. The ride will take us through Riverside, into San Marco with a pit stop at Take me to the River. The ride will end at Memorial Park.

Sweet! I'm going to point this out today at the Mayor's Council on Fitness and Well Being. Bike Jacksonville was terrific 4 (or 5?) years ago, but the organizers have been unable to pull it together again since. So what happens? People want things like this so they organize themselves through grassroots efforts.

While I don't agree with some of the defiant undertones of the event as they relate to traffic laws, I have to admit it's not like drivers of motor vehicles do a great job obeying traffic laws. Turning right on red comes screaming into my head. I can't count the number of times I have come close to being wiped out by someone who whipped around a corner without stopping at a right light or stop sign first is really disturbing (that's a rant for another post). The February 7th front page of the FTU really brought to light how dangerous it is to be a cyclist or pedestrian in Jacksonville. The number of fatal crashes involving bikes has gone from 1 in 2003, to 6 in 2004 and 3 in 2005. But wait, there's more. The number of pedestrians killed has gone from 18 in 2003, to 32 in 2004 and 38 in 2005. The one that really punched me in the stomach was Jana Werson. Running down the sidewalk alongside Sunbeam Road, she was killed by a driver who swerved to avoid another car. Our city talks a mean game about wanting healthy, fit citizens, but until they can protect the ones that are actually exercising, then it's nothing but talk.

"We aren't blocking traffic; we are traffic."

Installed Media Manager

Well, I have Media Manager installed, sort of. Tried to get it to work this past weekend. Finally, Sunday afternoon, I decided to try using IE to see if it made a difference (instead of Firefox). It did. Everything works in IE, except for the layout and edit image buttons in the MM toolbar. For some reason, when you click those, nothing happens. I cleared the cache in Firefox to see if the problems I was encountering were a cache issue. I could then add a review to an item and the toolbar works great. My only problem with Firefox is if I click 'Add an item to queue', I get the weird path error again. Nonetheless, it works well enough to add the "What I'm listening to" and "What I'm reading" to my blog. I just have to use IE and Firefox to pull it together.

Now, what I really want to do is export a weekly XML file of the songs on my iPod Shuffle, and build a page with links to Amazon using MT Amazon. I replace all of the songs on my Shuffle every week using the Autofill feature. With over 20,000 MP3s available, it really produces some eclectic mixes. I do delete the Christmas songs manually. I need to figure out a way to do this. . .

Speed workout this morning

Small group today for the last speed workout before the River Run. After a 1-mile warm-up, we did 3 x 800 at projected race pace. I was running the intervals a little too quick, so I need to go run one more time before the race to dial in the race pace. Finished up with a 1-mile cool down back to the Y. Good work-out with Bill, Doug and Leah. Looking forward to the race!

March 7, 2006

Work around the house

I’m very proud of my industrious little girls.  Emily came home from ballet and decided she need to go outside and pull some weeds from the future flower beds.  She put on some jeans, an old t-shirt and headed out the back door.  About 10 minutes later she was finished.  She was “sweaty” and couldn’t do anymore.  The little bit she did do was priceless to watch.  For her efforts, Karen gave her $2.  Ah, that’s $12/hour.  Not bad for a 5–year-old.

While her big sister was gardening, Maggie was in the kitchen whipping up some macaroni and cheese.  Not sure if she was paid for her efforts.  Might have something to do with child labor laws.  I hope the girls don’t organize and form a union.

NOTE:  The title for this post was originally “Working girls.”  After I thought about it, that wasn’t the best choice of words.  Then the post was going to be “Chores.”  Hmmm, what rhymes with “chores”?  No good.  I think “Work around the house” is innocent enough.

Emily pulls weeds
Maggie cooks

Meeting with St. Johns Village developer

Mike Balanky, developer of the St. Johns Village project, met with a group of Fairfax Manor neighbors last night to discuss the latest on his project. The Planning Commission voted against the project last Thursday 5-4 and the Land Use Zoning Committee was to vote on it tonight. Balanky requested a two-week deferral, so the vote will now be on March 21st, with the full City Council voting on it March 28th.

Based on the feedback he has received, Mike has lowered the building from 21 stories at it's tallest point down to 17 (including the parking garage underneath). He has reduced the number of units from 150 to 125. I think he has made a good faith effort to please those impacted by the project. The folks who live on Dupont, Arden, and Greenwood have made the most noise about it. However, other than the folks on Dupont, the people who live in my neighborhood on Woodmere will be the most impacted. Why? Because they are going to be looking at it across the creek from their backyards. Everyone in attendance last night who lives on Woodmere were satisfied with the revised plans. I think everyone agrees the existing Commander Apartments are ugly. The new building will be all of 5 feet taller than the existing, and it will sit 40 feet off of the property line, versus the current 20 feet.

But there are those who are oppsed to it and will never will be happy. For some reason, I think they think someone is going to come in and tear down the Commander and build 4 story townhomes. Not going to happen. The economics just won't allow for it. My position is that Balanky has listened to the neighborhood, and has made good faith efforts to please everyone. If his deal gets shot down, the next developer might not be so willing to compromise. The parcel is zoned high density residential, and that's not going to change. True there is now a moratorium on high rise construction, but this project is grandfathered in, and the owners of the land have other developers that will be happy to take over if Balanky fails.

Of course, everyone agrees the increased density will have an impact on local traffic. But then again, I don't think they were up in arms with Villa Riva or the condos going in at the end of Herschel. Just another case of NIMBY (not in my backyard).

I hope Balanky succeeds. I think the new development will be good for property values and will aesthetically enhance the area. But most of all, I know that something is going to happen to that parcel, and I appreciate that he has worked with the community to make it something we will all be proud of.

March 6, 2006

Long run this morning

060306_Oleander_downtownRan a little over 11 this morning, going from my house to downtown and back.  Wanted to do the Acosta and Main Street bridges in the middle to simulate the fatigue I will be feeling Saturday morning in the River Run when I get to the Hart Bridge.  Did the bridges with some intensity.  Overall, the run felt sluggish.  I think the Chinese dinner feast I had last night was not the best fuel for a long run.  General Tso must not have fed his men chicken the night before a long march.  The good news is the heart rate was down (156 bpm average) and the pace wasn’t terrible (~7:44/mile).  The legs did feel dead.  I might need to do low intensity stuff the rest of the week and take Friday off.

Google Earth kml file (39 KB)

March 5, 2006

Sunday afternoon at Stinson Park

Sunday afternoon at Stinson Park

Sunday afternoon at Stinson Park,
originally uploaded by mmbutler.

We walked up to Stinson Park for a little while this afternoon. Emily and Maggie played on the playground, built a sandcastle, plus we saw this guy catch a giant sheephead.

March 4, 2006

Cleaned out the garage today

Beautiful day today, so I cleaned out the garage. What a mess! The floor was covered with dirt, sawdust and leaves and the place was in complete disarray.

Plastic wheeled vehicles belonging to my daughters were strewn everywhere. Honestly, there is a Barbie bike, a Barbie battery-powered jeep, a Barbie scooter, a wagon, two kiddie cars, and a tricycle in there.

I also tossed the last of the stuff damaged by Hurricane Jeanne in 2004. For some reason I was in denial thinking water damage is a temporary condition. Seriously, there were some sentimental personal effects that were trashed. Journals from college, art from when I was a kid, programs from the circus from the 1970s, my little black book (which in complete Alex P. Keating fashion, was a Rolodex).

Finally, there was all the extra screws, parts, and pieces from various projects and items assembled over the last 8 years. Memo to self, in the future, just toss it. If you think you might be able to use it in the future, you will never remember you have it, so just get rid of it!

Just added MT Blogroll

Just installed MtBlogroll. Very cool way to keep up with the blogroll. I created a Blogroll module for Sidebar Manager, so now all I have to do is add the Blogroll to the sidebar for any given page. I feel like a broken record here, now I need to clean up the formatting. As soon as I use all of these new plug-ins and decide that I like them, I need to make a bunch of donations to MajorDojo and Movalog.

Breakfast at the Fox

Breakfast at the Fox
Breakfast at the Fox

Breakfast at the Fox,
originally uploaded by mmbutler.

I missed out on my bike ride this morning. Got to James' house and he was gone. Was going to try to hump it over to Open Road anyway, but then Riverside Ave. was closed for paving. Turned around and went home to get the girls and go to breakfast instead. Not a bad alternative.

Catchin up with Moshpit

Got an e-mail from Joey Marchy with pictures of his son, Coleson. Good looking little fellow. I told Joey to keep him away from my daughters. Hadn't talked to Joey in a while, and found out he just left Catalyst Studios to join nGen Works. Man, it seems like Ramworks was forever ago.

March 3, 2006

What's he doing now?

I just installed Sidebar Manager. A cool application that let's you control the content of your blog's sidebar with a drag and drop interface. You can install cool widgets into the manager. Now I need to work on the formatting. I have been tossing stuff into the CSS. I dread going in there and cleaning it up.

Spin class, 30 minute swim

Jay substituted for Del this morning. Great spin class with good music and lots of high intensity stuff. Climbs and sprints in and out of the saddle. As a bonus, looks like they fixed the flywheel on my bike. Now I can actually warm up and not have to start class on the freakin' Alpe D'Huez. After class I headed down to the pool for a quick swim. Jay decided to join me for his first swim in forever. I can keep up with Jay on the bike and the run (at least in the past, he is wicked fast right now getting ready for River Run). But the problem is he beats me out of the water by 10 minutes after 1500 meters. He gave me a couple of pointers, the most important one being to stick my head in the water. He said my head is sticking out of the water too much and creating too much drag. Along those lines, he also commented that I tend to windmill and not rotate and glide, which also creates more of a barge/plow effect, rather than skimming through the water. I really appreciate the feedback. He was hesitant to provide the coaching, likening it to the way people constantly feel compelled to provide tips when playing golf. The difference is I asked for it and really appreciate the extra sets of eyes looking at my stroke. Thanks Jay!

BTW, this is my first post using w.Bloggar. I have also been playing around with BlogJet. Not sure which one I like the best. Need to do some more testing.

March 2, 2006

Pet Peeves

Two quick pet peeves:

1. Pete called me earlier tonight and reminded me of one we both share. Making a verb out of a noun. His example was Campbell Brown on NBC (?) asking former FEMA Director Michael Brown "to bottom line this for me." Huh? Another goodie: "Let's dialogue." Using nouns as verbs does not make you look smart or sound intelligent. Trust me. Speaking simply is a dying art.

2. Calling a toll-free number and getting to speak to a "Customer Care Consultant" or some other inane fancy name for a person who answers toll-free phone numbers or works in customer service. I really like it when they promise me at the beginning of the call they are going to provide me with "excellent service." Sha-right. They can't do anything their script doesn't tell them without talking to a supervisor. Fortunately, it seems to be strictly an American call center ploy. Like giving themselves a more empowering title is going to make me feel better about navigating a menu tree that required 20 key punches, entering my account number (which you know they are going to ask you for again later), a reminder that the menu has changed, and 20 minutes on hold. It almost makes talking to my Indian call center friends halfway around the globe almost palatable. In those cases, the only thing Manish calls himself is "Bob" or "Larry."

Testing uBlog draft feature

Set the post to draft. What happens? Also testing file attachments.

UPDATE: Didn't work very well. No attachment and the entry was marked to publish. Guess I'll have to keep looking for a good mobile blogging engine.

Now testing uBlog

Pretty neat app. Lets you assign category, select whether comments or trackbacks are allowed and more.

Test uploading file with moBlog

Upgraded to Flickr Pro

I just upgraded my Flickr account to pro. That means I get 2GB of upload bandwidth a month and unlimited sets. Yeah! I was thinking about building a custom photo gallery, but I couldn't find one I really liked, and $24.95 a year is a pretty darn good deal.

Test post: hBllogger Testing out

Test post: hBllogger
Testing out mobile blogging tools.

[Posted with hblogger 2.0]

Test post: mo:blog

Testing out mobile blogging tools.

5 mile run

Ran the Ortega River Run course with James this morning. Staying out late last night definitely made me feel sluggish.

We have often talked about stopping at Chick-Fil-A for chicken minis. James usually runs 10 on Thursdays, so that is approximately the halfway point for him. For me, it's just 1.5 miles into the run. So today, we finally tried out chicken minis on the run. Not too bad on the stomach, and man were they tasty. The lady at Chick-Fil-A recognized us (though out of context and in different clothes than she is accustomed to). Instead of a 3-pack, she gave us the bonus 4-pack so we could each have 2. Next time we will get a water to wash them down. Good run!

March 1, 2006

UF basketball game

UF basketball game

UF basketball game,
originally uploaded by mmbutler.

Riding home from Gainesville after watching the Gators beat Georgia 77-66. Sloppy game, but still a win. Joakim Noah was an animal tonight. Had a really fun time with Jimmy Kelly, Tommy Platt and Greg Anderson (even if he is a Dawg).

MetaMarshall update

The PDA/mobile version of, MobileMetaMarshall is now built. A little formatting to do, but it looks pretty good on the Treo. I tried to strip images out for the mobile presentation, but ended up stripping links out as well. I figured out a hack I could do that would list the stripped links at the end of the entry, but didn't like that idea. Most entry images aren't that large, and the main benefits of this version are no header, top menu, or sidebar.

Now I'm having problems with my Atom feed. I can receive the posts in Omea, but when I click on one to open it in a browser, I get an error. Can't find any info on the error on the forums. I'll have to keep looking. My other RSS feed (RDF?) works fine.

I also found a plugin that allows users to add custom fields to entries. I'm going to install this so I can add GPS coordinates and create on-the-fly markers on my GPS map without having to handcode the HTML. Should be fancy!