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June 30, 2006

Back in the pool

I was unable to get in the pool the last 2 days because of a very busy schedule. I did do my speedwork on Wednesday and a 19-mile active recovery ride with Mike McLamb yesterday morning.

This morning I wanted to sleep in, but went down to the Y for Del's 6 am spin class. After that I jumped in the pool for 2000 yards. I can't believe I actually missed not being in the pool. Spending a lot of time in the pool has made me much more comfortable swimming. Maybe oneday it will make me fast. . .

June 29, 2006

2006 J.J. McCranie Award Winner

2006 J.J. McCranie Award Winner

I received the J.J. McCranie Award for 2006 from the Rotary Club of West Jacksonville last night. This is a very big honor and I am humbled to receive it. The list of previous recipients is very impressive. Besides a really nice plaque, a donation of $1,000 was made to the Rotary Foundation in my name, making me a Paul Harris Fellow. I will continue my service to the Club by joining the Board of Directors next year as Director of Youth Services. I am very proud to be part of such a great organization.

June 28, 2006

9th wedding anniversary

Big round of applause for Karen. She has put up with me for 3,287 days. Actually, it has been 4,152 days since our first date.

A better metric would be the fact that she has put up with me being an OCD runner/triathlete for approximately 1,374 of those days.

Track workout

Steamy session this morning. The parking lot at Butler Cleaners was full!

Bill, Doug, Leah, John and I did a one mile warm-up and then met James at the track. Today's session was:

1 x 1600 at 8k pace
1 x 1200 at 5k pace
4 x 400 at 1 mile pace

Those 400s were tough! I nailed all of my splits, so I might need to consider dropping my targets.

Or maybe not, until I actually hit those targets in a race.

June 27, 2006

Weekly mini-tri

DId the weekly mini-tri this morning. In the pool shortly after 5, swam 1400 yards. Then up to the spin studio for Jane's class. After class jump on the treadmill for a quick mile. Then back down to the pool for a 600 yard cool down. Good workout today.

June 26, 2006

10-mile sufferfest

10-mile sufferfest

Zoinks! It was humid out there this morning. Ran with Mike McLamb down to St. Vincent's. Met up with James and we headed back towards the neighborhood. Back at the neighborhood Mike dropped off and James and I did the Ortega River Run course. The shoes were squishy towards the end. We stopped for water at the house on McGirts that Nunu is going to rent. Will be a good spot for a water bottle drop. These summer long runs aren't much fun, but I know they are necessary for endurance, physically and mentally.

June 23, 2006

Friday night dinner at Moon River Pizza

Moon River Pizza

Met up with the Cardozo's and Schueth's at Moon River Friday night. Very tasty pizza. Very good place to take a bunch of squirmy little girls for dinner. Afterwards, we headed to the Dreamette for dessert. They were closed, of course. Instead, we ended up heading to the Florida Creamery for ice cream. The girls had a terrific sugar rush going and then crashed hard. Very fun evening.

TC's Bar-B-Que

TC's Bar-B-Que

Mmmmm. Had a pork sandwich from TC's on Wednesday night. First time I've eaten there in months. The ladies that own TC's are the same ones that used to run Fred Cotton's, a Jacksonville institution. It's a heck of a drive for take-out, but well worth it.

Heaven and Hell collide on my iPod Shuffle

I have a bunch of music on my hard drive. To say it is an eclectic mix would be an understatement. To avoid the monotony of commercial radio I autofill my iPod Shuffle once a week and put it in the car to listen to while doing errands. Yesterday I was driving down Riverside Avenue when I had the most extreme mix ever. We're talking as far as the east is from the west stuff here.

AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" was immediately followed by America's Romantic Piano Sensation Jim Brickman and "Starbright (The Lullaby Medley)".

My ears haven't recovered yet.

Maybe I should stop ripping Karen's CDs on to my hard drive.

Maggie's 3rd Birthday Party


Last Saturday we had a Dora the Explorer sprinkler party for Maggie's third birthday. I can't believe she is 3! We had wader pools and sprinklers set up for the kids to cool off. We rented a sno cone machine and consumed lots of shaved ice and cherry syrup. Even the parents were chowing on the sno cones to cool off.

Midway through the party, we went on an adventure to find Maggie's birthday surprise. The wader pools were the Three Seas, Karen and I painted the driveway to look like Crocodile Lake. Karen decorated the gate to look like Singing Gate and I set up the front yard to have a Balloon Trail. At the end of the trail around the corner of the house was Maggie's surprise, a "big girl" Dora bicycle. She was pretty excited.

More pictures are available online. Because Karen and I were so busy with the party, Molly Cardozo took quite a few photos for us. We will upload the rest soon.

June 22, 2006

Losing teeth is profitable


Emily waves the proceeds from her tooth. The Tooth Fairy is a very generous individual. Inflation is everywhere. Gas is $3 a gallon, a coffee will put you back $4 and a tooth will get you $5. The times we are living in.

Bike ride with Mike McLamb

Bike ride with Mike McLamb

Early bike ride this morning with Mike McLamb. Nothing out of the ordinary. Steady pace of 20 mph. No drivers displaying road rage. I'm still having some problems with the chain bouncing around. I'll probably stop by the bike shop later today to see if they can adjust it.

It's not like we DON'T have a murder problem in Jacksonville

Fine day for skateboarding

An unofficial holiday for skaters turned into a field day for Jacksonville police Wednesday afternoon once attendees left their initial gathering place at Friendship Fountain. "Go Skate Day," a loosely organized event advertised on local skating Web sites, began at the Southbank park but crossed the St. Johns River once police began to arrive, witnesses said.

Sgt. Mark Bozeman of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said there were more than 100 skateboarders moving down Bay Street, weaving in and out of traffic. Officers began warning the skaters by loud speaker that they were violating traffic laws and had to disperse.

In the end, he said, more than 20 skaters received traffic citations and will have to pay a fine.

Yeah, I know skateboarders in public places can be really annoying. And a safety issue. But come on. We have a soaring homicide rate in Jacksonville so unless these kids are beating people to death with their skateboards we having bigger issues to worry about.

June 21, 2006

The responsibilities of being a Dad

060621_emily_tooth 002

Just added a new one today. Pulling a loose tooth. This one was no cake walk. The tooth was REALLY loose, but still hanging on. There was some gnashing of teeth (pun intended), but Emily was a big girl and let Daddy pull the tooth. She really didn't have an option, other than going to see the dentist. Her gums were getting red and swollen because the tooth underneath is ready to emerge and apparently ran out of patience with this baby tooth. The good news is Emily had a badge of courage to show her buddies at the pool today and will get a lucrative visit from the Tooth Fairy tonight.

It's dang hot out there

Track workout today. Big crowd at the Lee track. Jay, John, Bill, Teresa, Leah, Jane, Jen and Julie. When we got to the track Owen Shott and Paul McRae were also there doing intervals.

The guys started by doing a one mile warm-up around Willowbranch Park. Half of the ladies ran from the Y as their warm-up, the other half had gotten there a little earlier and had already warmed up. We then started the intervals. Today it was:

2 x 1000 at 8k pace
2 x 800 at 5k pace
2 x 400 at mile pace

After that, we did a one mile cool down around Willowbranch Park. This was Bill's first workout since his accident and surgery on his thumb. He has been out of action for a couple of weeks and the layoff plus the humidity wore him out. However, I was very impressed he was able to do all of the intervals except for a 400. He is doing the first race inthe Jax Tri series this Sunday. He isn't optimistic on his chances, but I think if he approaches it as a training race, he'll do fine. The swim might be interesting. . .

Overall, a good session of hard running. Looking at my splits for a similar workout last summer, I am much faster this year. Woo-hoo!

June 20, 2006

Reflecting on my nightmare tech support call earlier today

I have Hotsync'ed several times since I was told by an incompetent Sprint PCS support technician I couldn't run iTunes and the Hotsync software.

Karen and I are not quite done watching the current season of 24. Thank goodness for Tivo.

In the show the main character, Jack Bauer, uses a Treo. I can just imagine him fending off the terrorists and telling Chloe to send him the schematic of the building he is trying to infiltrate. Chloe then responds "Jack, you can't simultaneously view schematics on your Treo while we reposition the satellites to establish a perimeter. The protocols were initially developed for a different phone! I will have to uninstall the subnet, open a socket, and upload a new machine-coded matrix before you shoot the person who has a key piece of information. Jeez Jack!"

In the middle of one of my least favorite activities. . .

Trying to get support for a product and justify to the technician why they should help me and why it isn't someone elses issue to remedy. At least I'm not talking to someone halfway around the world.

The issue: My Treo has stopped Hot Syncing. My laptop now says it is an unrecognized device. Tried reinstalling Hot Sync and the Palm Desktop.

The guy from Sprint says you can't have multiple synchronization programs on a single PC. In my case, that would be iTunes and Hot Sync. This is a Microsoft issue. Whoa! Blame it on the big target. Nice try. I pointed out that the new 700p natively synchs the smartphone and iTunes using Pocket Tunes. Says so on the PalmOne website. He's flustered. "Where do you see that?!?"

I asked the Sprint PCS technician to provide me with documentation from the Microsoft Knowledgebase acknowledging that Windows XP can only handle one conduit or synchronization software per machine. I was on hold for over 20 minutes. He couldn't find anything.

His excuse?
"Well, iTunes was not originally developed for Windows, so it obviously shouldn't be run on Windows. And there is no way Microsoft would acknowledge that Windows XP would support iTunes. You know, they don't get along."
Huh? I guess the Windows version of iTunes was some skunkworks project at Apple.

He also went on to explain how the new 700p (see above) is able to work with iTunes using Pocket Tunes.
"iTunes is only used to convert the music files to mp3 before being synched."
I see, so the user must have to uninstall iTunes before synching. I told him good luck finding a statement like that in a user document.

While on hold waiting for the Sprint PCS support technician to find me something saying iTunes and Hotsync wouldn't work together, I posted to a thread on TreoCentral. We'll see if I get any responses.

Finally, he didn't know what to say other than to call Palm directly. I called and they had me perform a hard reset, uninstall the Palm Desktop software, and then reinstall. It worked.

Sprint PCS support technicians are big dummies. I wonder how many times I need to repeat that to make sure it shows up at the top of a Google search?

No surprises here

From Jacksonville's Financial News and Daily Record:

It won't come as a surprise to Downtown walkers that 1 in 5 drivers don't know that pedestrians are supposed to have the right of way in a crosswalk. That's one of the findings of a nationwide survey conducted by GMAC Insurance. The same survey reported that 1 in 3 drivers usually don't yield to pedestrians, even at a crosswalk or yellow light.

They should ask how many people know that you are supposed to stop at a stop sign or a red light before making a right turn. In Jacksonville, that number might be 1 in 100.

June 19, 2006

Run for the Pies after a BUSY Saturday

The Run for the Pies was Saturday night. It's described as a 5k block party. The race starts in front of the Jacksonville Landing, goes down to Alltel Stadium and then back to the Landing. Guys finishing under 20:00 and girls finishing under 24:00 get a pie in the finish chutes. No pie for MB. Breaking 20:00 in a 5k will be a stupendous achievement for me. It's just a little ways off. I ended up finishing in 21:11. About 18 seconds off of my PR for a 5k, but still my fastest time ever for this race course. Some folks that I should have beaten finished ahead of me in the race. However, based on everything I did Saturday it was a good effort.

First was doing the Open Road group ride that morning. After 45 miles of high intensity bike riding, I came home to get ready for Maggie's 3rd birthday party. Running errands, setting up tables, painting crocodiles and creating Dora the Explorer maps. The party was a big hit, but very hot. I manned the sno cone machine and was very busy. After the party it was time to clean up and get ready for the race. By race time, I was feeling whipped and the legs were heavy.

The first mile of the race was tough because we were running along the river into a headwind. I reached mile 1 in 6:35. Mile 2 included the turnaround, but it didn't seem like the tailwind was helping much. Instead, things started to heat up because of the lack of a breeze. Mile 2 was a disappointing 6:58. Mile 3 was more of the same, with a short dogleg that featured some headwind. Again, another 6:58 lap. The last 1/10 was :40, or a 6:40 pace. Not much of a kick. I ended up in 14th out of 73 in my age group. Overall, I was 178th out of 877 folks. That includes the folks that ran in the elite race that preceded the open race I ran in.

In the elite race, we got to watch 21 women who had run a sub-20 5k and 43 guys who had run sub-17 in the past year participate in a special race. It was a 5 lap race, with the women starting 2 minutes ahead of the men. The first person across the line received $100. The first man and woman also received $200 each, and there were several lap bonuses of $50. The first person across the line was a guy who finished in 14:42. Smoking!

After the races, there was a big party with lots of giveaways. Unfortunately, the Butler and Cardozo families were wiped out and headed home. Fun day. Busy day!

June 14, 2006

Track workout this morning

Good workout this morning at the Lee track. Met Jay Millson and John Womack in the Butler Cleaners parking lot at 6 am. We did a one mile warm up run around Willowbranch Park and then headed to the track for a tough workout. We did:

2 x 1200 at 8k pace
2 x 800 at 5k pace
400 at mile pace

It was very humid, but fortunately not raining or too windy. Afterwards, we did a one mile cool down. Total for the session is around 4.75 miles.

There is nothing quite like speedwork to help you race faster. Good workout!

June 13, 2006

Rainy, gusty Tuesday

Got up as normal for a Tuesday morning at 4:30 am. Lots of rain was coming down. Thought I saw some light across the bedroom from lightning. As I got ready to leave, Karen confirmed that she had heard some lightning. Man, would I be mad if I arrived at the Y at 5 am and the pool was closed because of the weather, Rain is one thing, but no swimming when there is a hint of lightning. I decided to crawl back in bed and get an extra 30 minutes of sleep and then head up to the Y for Jane's 6 o'clock spin class. Smart move.

When I arrived, the pool was closed. Not because of weather, but because the lifeguards had overslept. I was very satisfied in my decision to catch some extra shuteye.

Jane's spin class wasn't packed as usual. I'm sure the sound of rain outside caused more than one person to hit the snooze button a couple of times. It was really coming down this morning. James popped in midway through spin. Since he couldn't swim, he decided he would spin until the pool opened. After spin, I went down to get in the pool, and now it was closed because of weather. I asked Darrell at the front desk when it would open and he said 7. Excellent.

When the pool finally opened, everyone had their own lane. I did my 2000 and headed home.

Good workout today and extra sleep. Bonus!

June 12, 2006

A race entry without a PR

The streak was bound to end. After the breakthrough I have been experiencing the last several months, eventually there would be a race without a new best.

This past Saturday was the second race in the BFAST series. On May 6, I had set a PR by almost 10 minutes in the first BFAST. Since I had been on the road for much of the previous week, and with the hotter temperatures, I wasn't sure what to expect. Ironically, my race number for this week was the same number I had the previous week at the Harpoon 5-miler, I was number 213 again. Weird.

I picked up James and Josh at 5:50 am for the drive out to Mickler's. I checked in, got marked, and set up in transition. Time to make a quick stop at the potty and head for the beach. Maybe not. The line at the port-o-lets was pretty long, and the line at the permanent facilities (2 bathrooms) was also long. At the permanent facilities, the ones I usually frequent, folks had created a line for the guys and a line for the girls. All of the guys in front of me had yellow caps, meaning their waves would start 5 minutes after mine, and it was getting close to my wave start. There was even a guy in front of me that was only doing the bike leg of the race. To make matters worse, the relays are the last wave to start, but he must've had to go that very instant. Arrgh. This is always a frustrating game of chicken. Do I really need to go, or is it a mental thing? Well, let's put it this way, I started the race a little heavier than I wanted to. But, if I hadn't left when I did, I would've missed my wave start.

The ocean was a little rougher for this race, but not terrible. Just some little swells to get through. I didn't have a good swim, coming into T1 around 11:03. That's 2:07 slower than the last race, then again, I wore a wetsuit in the last race. Still, not the end of the world. I decided I would focus on picking up time in other parts of the race. The first place to pick up time was in T1. Last race it took me 2 minutes to get through T1. This race it took 1:19. Woo-hoo! Like the last race, I saw my friend Sheri as I ran through transition.

For the bike, I knew there was time to be saved. I was racing on my friend Mike McLamb's fancy HED aero-wheels. Always good for speed. Immediately after crossing A1A after coming out of transition, I couldn't believe my eyes. A guy was driving down the middle of our lane in a pick-up towing a giant trailer. It held up a couple of the other bikers, but I was a bit more brazen in riding down the middle of the double yellow strips with a car coming in the opposite direction. Where are the cops that are supposed to be controlling traffic? How did this guy get past the 3-4 cops at the A1A intersection? Once past him, I launched into the big ring and starting spinning at about 95 rpm. I was passed by a couple of guys, the second one wearing an aero helmet. Whatever. I then proceeded to watch the guy with the aero helmet ride the other guys wheel the ENTIRE course. When we popped back onto A1A, an official came up on a motorcycle. I though for sure the cheater was going to get nailed. He didn't. I ended up finishing the bike in 28:42, an improvement of :18 over my assumed finishing time of 29:00 at the last race. I took my feet out of my shoes as I approached transition. This week, no problems finding my rack. I made it through T2 in :42, an improvement of :50 over the last race (again, I'm assuming since my bike and T2 times were messed up in the last race).

I now head into the run, 17 seconds behind last year. As I head out of the parking lot, I hear Guy Cuddihee yell "Marshall Butler you run boy!" Then as I run onto Ponte Vedra Boulevard, I hear someone yell "Go Marshall!" I didn't recognize the person in the crowd. My friend Kevin Wallquist was directing the cyclists into T2 and gives me a high 5. Time to push. @#$%! This hurts. And man is it hot. I pushed as hard as I could, but was running alone for much of the run. I kept the drafter cheater in my sights, but he was running at a wicked pace. Of course, he had fresh legs. Josh passed me a little before the 1 mile mark and told me to make it hurt. He was in 3rd place for the first wave. At the 1 mile mark there was a nasty dead racoon on the side of the road. Stinky! A little while later, I saw James running hard heading home. I made the turnaround and started giving it everything. Not much in the tank. Maybe I should have taken a gel. By this time, there were lots of people on the run course heading for the turnaround. As I approached the curve to the finish line, I gave it everything, but I ended up with 1:04:44. The run took 23:00, :50 slower than the last race.

I grabbed a cup of Gatorade, and the mystery cheerleader appeared. It was Bill Bishop, in a sling. He had messed up his thumb last week, and had to have surgery last Friday. He tried to convince the surgeon to let him race first, but the surgeon didn't go for it. Nice try Bill. I found James and Josh. James had finished 8th overall and Josh had snagged 14th. Good race guys!

While disappointed that I didn't get a PR, I am satisfied that I broke my 2005 goal of going under 1:05:00 in the sprint for a second time. Of course, going into the race, my mindset was to break 1:02:00. I also heard rumbling from folks that the swim might have been a little longer this time. You often hear that, but the swim times were slower for most folks. Overall, I am pretty happy with the race.

Boston Highlights

June 3rd:

  1. PR'ed in the Harpoon Brewery 5-Miler.

June 4th:

  1. Had a terrific recovery run through the Bare Cove State Park in Hingham, MA.

  2. Hung out with Charlie Rodgers at his running store. Charlie had lots of stories to tell about road racing, Steve Prefontaine and the history of the Boston Marathon. Charlie's brother, Bill, has won the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon four times each.

June 5th:

  1. Attended a breakfast where the keyonte speaker was Rudy Giuliani. He spoke about leadership. I think he's qualified.

  2. Ran one of my favorite running routes along the Charles River in Boston.

  3. Ate dinner at one of my favorite restaurants anywhere, Mary Chung's Restaurant near the MIT campus. Yummy!

June 6th:

  1. Attended a breakfast where the speaker was Frank Abagnale. Very sobering. Might want to keep tabs on your credit report and be careful who you share personal information with.

  2. Attended a Sugarland concert. Very fun.

June 7th:
Came home to see my girls.

Running along the Charles River

060605_charles_riverThis is one of my absolute favorite runs. Running along the Charles River in Boston. When I first started in running in late 2002, I traveled to Boston every couple of months for business. Running along the Charles River is probably one of the reasons why I stayed with the program. There are 17 miles of sidewalks along the river, starting at the Science Museum and going up the river to Watertown. At one point or another, I have run the entire stretch, except for the 3.1 mile loop between the North Beacon bridge and the Mt. Auburn bridge. Last Monday I was able to run from the Central Y in downtown Boston across the Harvard Bridge and up to the Harvard campus and back across the Anderson Footbridge. What a treat!

Distance map of the Charles River running route.

June 9, 2006

Harpoon 5-Miler

Beginning blog entries with personal best finishing times is becoming so cliche' on this website. Oh well. . .


I ran the Harpoon Brewery 5-Miler on June 3. It was rainy. It was cold. It was nasty. And I still dropped my 5-mile PR by 30 seconds. The race organizers tried to delay the start several times, but the rain wouldn't let up, and everyone was soaked hanging out by the starting line anyway.

I registered for the race in early May when I found out it was capped at 1,500 entries. Good thing since the race was full by the end of the month. And how many of the original 1,500 were crazy enough to run in the rain? Over 1,200.

Fun race in BostonIt was a neat race, starting at the brewery near the harbor and just south of the airport. From there, we made our way down to Castle Island, a local recreation area that featured a neat causeway that looped around a bay and is home to a civil war fort, Fort Independence. Then it was back to the brewery. Some parts of the sidewalk near the fort were underwater. Like 2 or 3 inches. The first time I encountered this, I ran through the grass. The water was just as deep there. The next couple of times, I just ran right throught the water. Almost felt like a steeplechase.

Pacing was pretty consistent, the slowest mile being the one where we ran along the harbor. There was no protection from the wind, and that is also where the steeplechase part of the course was located. I felt pretty strong the last mile and picked a couple of people off in the last 1/4 mile.

My goal was to place in the top 50 men. I did that, coming in 44th. Overall, I came in 51st out of 1,217 runners. Complete results are online.

My friend Trevor was at the finish line. We headed over to the post-race party tent. Apparently, this race is the beginning of a huge party weekend called Harpoonfest. However, the only thing I wanted was to get warm and dry. It's also important to note that the Harpoon Brewery makes some dang tasty root beer!

I'm glad I did the race. I met lots of nice people and had a very good time.

Back in the office, catching up

Lack of blogging lately due to a business trip to Boston. While there, I thought I would have several chances to update the blog. Nope. For some reason, my laptop decided to not cooperate and show the BSOD more times than I would like to see it. It's weird, because it showed itself whenever I would boot it up at the Hynes Convention Center. I don't think the wireless connection there would cause something like that, but it didn't happen anywhere else. I spent most of my time at the convention center, so when I was able to get the laptop to boot properly, all of my time was focused on work. Now I will have to post entries for events that happened from memory. Oh well, better than nothing.