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January 31, 2007

Just finished reading Empire


The American Empire has grown too fast, and the fault lines at home are stressed to the breaking point. The war of words between Right and Left has collapsed into a shooting war, though most people just want to be left alone.

I first heard about Empire while listening to an InstaPodcast interview with Orson Scott Card.  Not to be confused with the tin foil hat crowd, the idea of another American civil war is something I have considered as a possibility, and I have mentioned this scenario in conversations with Pete in the past.  Based on the current polarization of the country, the whole red state – blue state metaphor, I could imagine either an individual or a group convincing either side that the only way to prevail is through violence.  This instigator could either be a homegrown American, or someone supported by a country (or countries) that would like to see the US self-destruct.

In the interview, Card’s comment that people don’t willing become involved in civil wars until they find themselves in the middle and having to take sides was sobering.

I have read some folks characterize the book as FoxNews science fiction, because many of the central characters are members of the military and possess conservative values.  While this generalization may be true, someone in the book had to be the bad guy.  Perhaps this creates an opportunity for someone to write the CNN version where the good guys are sympathetic to a more liberal ideology.

Reviewing Card’s political ideology on Wikipedia, it is also easy to understand why he is so frustrated with the sharp polarization currently found in the US.  The current climate makes it difficult for a person who agrees with 90% of a party’s platform.  His views on several “passion issues” place him all over the political map.  He is a Democrat, but supported Bush in 2004. 

The book is a fast read. Because it is science fiction it contains some elements that might seem implausible based on the technology we are currently familiar with.  This is probably a good thing, as it prevents the reader from becoming too paranoid that civil war is inevitable.

January 30, 2007

Latest Every Street 2007 update

Here is the latest view of my Every Street 2007 project. Next step is to add the streets bordered by McDuff, College, I-95 and the St. Johns River, while tying up some loose ends in Avondale.

Upcoming local endurance happenings

From Susan Wallis, President of the Hammerhead Triathlon Club:

American Bikes will feature a Triathlon Night 2007 on February 8, 6:30 pm, with special featured guest Hunter Kemper. Come to their beaches store at 240 South Third Street in Jax Beach to join in the fun! (their new Trek Bicycle Store of Jacksonville will have its grand opening on April 12-14, with Bob Roll already on the roster of people who will be there; Jeff Kopp has promised another big name triathlete for this occasion, too)

The USCF National Racing Calendar (NRC) is visiting Jacksonville on the weekend of 14-15 April for one of only 18 stops.
The Jacksonville Cycling Classic is in charge of this event and is seeking enough volunteers to make this race happen. For those interested, the volunteer coordinator is Scott Reeves (

Or, if you don’t want to volunteer,  you are asked to come out to watch the races.  The organizers are putting together a festive atmosphere (food, drinks, bands) for racing under the lights on the 14th.  The more people, the merrier.

The El Guapo running club

I just recently learned of El Guapo and his running club. Apparently, these folks run through Riverside, Avondale and Ortega, and do weekly speed sessions at the Lee Track on Tuesday mornings. Might need to run with them one of these days.  Sounds like a fun group.

January 29, 2007

No speed in the 5k, nice ride home

MMB -- Matanzas 5000 1-27-2007, Heart rate - DistanceRan the Matanzas 5000 on Saturday.  I was a bit cynical going into the race because I have been more focused on long, slow, endurance-building running workouts.  The race didn’t disappoint.  I ran the first mile in 6:40, and then promptly laid down consecutive 7:00 splits.  Final kick was OK, but man was I gassed.  Looking at the HR data, i jumped straight to the low Matanzas 5000 1-27-2007170s and stayed there for the entire race.  Also painfully apparent is my inability to start slow and run negative splits.  The race was fairly large with around 1400 runners.  I ended up finishing in the top 150.  James beat Josh by 45 seconds (but finished behind Mills, yikes!) and Mike McLamb ran 20 minutes flat.

After the race, we took the kids to the carousel and park to play for a while before heading home.  Karen and Molly took the girls home and Josh, James, Erin and I hopped on our bikes for the 50–mile ride home.  Riding along US 1 can be hairy, but for the most part cars gave us plenty of room.  The 1st Place Sports van and trailer heading back from the race actually gave us the closest drive-by.  Not a very nice way to treat customers!  From US 1 we went to Racetrack Road in St. Johns county, and then to Bishop Estates where we encountered another cyclist-hating rube. 

Bike ride from StA 1-27-2007No traffic at all on the road.  This guy pulls up behind us, honks his horn at us, and then guns his engine and flies past us.  Just so he could pull into his driveway a quarter mile down the road.  Josh pulled up to the gate of his house and yelled for himto come out of his garage.  Wasn’t happening.  So we continued on.  Then 5 minutes later, he comes up behind us again and pulls the same stunt.  You really shouldn’t pull that garbage when you have a vanity tag and you let people know where you live.  Harry Madden, who lives at 3345 Bishop Estates Road Jacksonville, FL 32259 is a creep and needs someone to tell him about the recently passed Florida law

The rest of the ride was uneventful.  My back tire went flat with a mile to go.  I rode it in. 

Fun day of racing and training.

January 26, 2007

Matanzas 5000 tomorrow morning

Matanzas07The Matanzas 5000 is the fastest 5k in the area.  The weather should be perfect. . .nice and cold.  I am anxious to see how I do.  My hip is still bugging me, and my long runs aren’t as fast as they used to be.  This is mainly because I am following a training plan by Joe Friel that forces me to keep my heart rate low on long runs to build aerobic endurance.  I am still doing speed work once a week, but with the really slow long runs, I’m a bit cynical.  After the race James and I (and possibly Josh and Erin) are going to ride our bikes home.  Should be about a 50–mile ride. 

Long bike ride last Saturday

Mike McLamb, Peter King, and I had a good 48 mile ride last Saturday on and off the Baldwin Trail.  Dang cold!

Training - Baldwin Trail 1-20-2007

January 22, 2007

Brickfest completed

Wrapped up Brickfest 2007 yesterday. Here is a recap of the rest of the week:

Picked up Mike M. and met Jay and John for our weekly track session. One mile warm-up followed by 2x(3x400). Then did a little over a mile cooldown. When I returned to the car, I promptly realized that instead of taking my car key off of my key ring and putting it in my shorts, I had taken my house key. My car key was locked in the car. Hello AAA! After watching someone break into my car in less than 60 seconds, I went home and rode the trainer for 30 minutes.

1800 yards in the pool and then some weights. Did a 30 minute run later that evening.

Fifty mile ride through North Jacksonville and Nassau county. Finished on the rail trail. Luckily, no one smashed our car windows at the Imeson trailhead, although evidence covered the ground that many crimes have been committed by the crackheads recently. While it doesn't officially count in the brickfest, I spent 2.5 hours with 15 5 and 6 year-olds at Emily's Adventure Landing birthday party. But since that doesn't count, I had to drag myself onto the treadmill when I got home to do a quick 30-minutes.

Last day, woo-hoo! Went ona 30-minute ride through Riverside, adding some streets to my Every Street 2007 project. See latest progress here. Then a 40-minute run, again adding streets to the map.

Totals for the week:
Swim: 5150 yards
Run: 28.7 miles
Bike: 92.3 miles

When you add in 2 weightlifting sessions, it adds up to a little over 12 hours for the week.

Time to start a new week. . . .

January 17, 2007

Brickfest Day 3

I started Brickfest 2007 this past Monday. Annually, to help folks kick start the training year, the Hammerhead Triathlon Club sponsors a brickfest. The rules are:

1. You must do seven days of seven bricks.
2. They must be running (could be done on treadmill), swimming and/or biking (can be a spin class or done on a trainer).
3. You must do a minimum of 30 minutes each event, for a minimum of one hour per day.
4. Events do NOT need to be done right after the other.
5. Events must be two different types (you can't run on the treadmill for 30 mins then run on the road for 30 mins).
6. If you miss a workout, you must start over.

Here is the summary of my Brickfest so far:
Swim 1700 at the Yates YMCA
Run 4 miles at lunch

Run 9.5 miles
Spin for 45 minutes on the trainer doing Isolated Leg Training

Ride bike to the Yates YMCA
Swim 1650
Ride bike home (total distance on the bike was about 10 miles)

Tomorrow is a track work-out and a bike ride later on in the day. It might end up being a spin on the trainer in front of the TV if the weather doesn't cooperate. Friday will be a swim work-out and strides at the track. Saturday is a 50 mile bike ride and a run sometime later in the day. Sunday is a run and a bike ride, not sure when or where.

All of this for a t-shirt. . .although it is a very special t-shirt.

James is also campaigning for an Epic Weekend the first weekend of February. He got the idea from Gordo's Epic Camps . The idea here is you get 4 points for each running mile, 1 point for each biking mile, and 1 point for every 100 meters in the pool. We set an arbitrary goal to accumulate 100 points per day for a weekend. Of course, we would start the weekend on Friday.

Epic Weekend is shorter than Brickfest, but definitely more intense. And no t-shirt!

January 15, 2007

Running on the road in 2006

Was looking at my training log for 2006 and noticed I did a fair amount of running while traveling this year. All told, it adds up to 8 different states and quite a few different places around the state of Florida.

Disney World -- blog entry
Kansas City, MO -- blog entry
St. Petersburg, FL -- blog entry

Pembroke Pines, FL -- blog entry
Orlando, FL
St. Augustine Beach, FL

Boston, MA -- blog entry
Boston, MA (Charles River) -- blog entry
Hingham, MA (Bare Cove Park)

Birmingham, AL -- blog entry

Chicago, IL -- blog entry
Milwaukee, WI -- blog entry

Myrtle Beach, SC -- blog entry
Chapel Hill, NC -- blog entry

Captiva/Sanibel, FL -- blog entry
Madison, WI -- blog entry

Durham, NC -- blog entry

January 11, 2007

Training update

Eleven days into 2007 and training is going well. I am following a half ironman triathlon training plan developed by Joe Friel. So far so good.

To make 2007 training interesting, I have decided that I am going to try to run or bike down every street in my neighborhood using my new Forerunner 305. Because a lot of my runs in this training plan call for me to keep my heartrate in a certain zone for a certain duration, distance is inconsequential, so I don't need to worry about courses that I have measured and know the splits. I have done 2 runs so far with this specifically in mind. Here is an aerial view of my progress so far.

Today Mike, Jay and I did 2x(3x400) with a 400 recovery run between sets. I hit all of my splits but it wasn't easy. A weekly speed session is my only deviation from the Friel plan. With his plan, I was supposed to do some strides and hop on each leg 30 times between intervals. I don't think I'm sabotaging the plan too much with this modification.

January 9, 2007

C H A M P I O N S !

C H A M P I O N S !

C H A M P I O N S !

C H A M P I O N S !