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June 5, 2009

Tweet up run for National Donut Day

The folks at the Carolina Godiva Track Club created a terrific race format called the "Donut Run" for their Winter Race Series. Kind of last minute, but would anyone be interested in doing a tweet up version of this tonight to celebrate National Doughnut Day?

Donut Run
5-lap event, describe rules by lap;

LAP 1 Team of 3 must stay together. All run as fast as your slow runner.
LAP 2 Same as lap 1.
LAP 3 Shed 1 runner. The shed runner will run lap 5 alone. The remaining 2 runners must stay together.
LAP 4 Shed 1 runner. He/she is done, has completed 3 circuits. The remaining runner pops off his/her best alone. After this lap, 4 completed for that specific individual, done.
LAP 5 The runner shed after lap 2 now has a crack at lap 5 alone, after hand touch.

Team time is then divided by cumulative age, called Donut Index, and rankings are made for event placing.

Lap 1
Runners 1/2/3
Lap 2
Runners 1/2/3
Lap 3
Runners 1/2
Lap 4
Runner 1
Lap 5
Runner 3

If interested, sent me a tweet @metamarshall or leave a comment on this post. If we can't pull it off tonight, maybe tomorrow evening? Donut Run followed by the Run for the Pies the following weekend. SWEET!

March 16, 2009

Life imitating art

Who knew Edvard Munch had the Hart Bridge in mind when he painted The Scream?

Hat tip to David Carr for sharing the photo on the left. I hope "Karen" has a sense of humor.

March 13, 2009

Gate River Run 15k National Championship

I'm excited about the race tomorrow. I am about pasta dinner'ed out, eating pasta every night for the last 3 days.

The goal is to run the first mile in 7:30 and then turn the screws. Last year I had the same plan and ran the first mile in 7:30, and then subsequent miles right around 7 minute pace until 8 and 9. Those were 7:25 and 7:48. I ended up finishing in 1:08:22, which I wouldn't mind doing tomorrow. I would like to crack 1:08. Although not a PR, with the sporadic nature of my speed training lately, it would be an accomplishment.

This race is huge for Jacksonville, and has been a part of my life for a long time.

Good luck to everyone running tomorrow!

February 19, 2009

Jacksonville Running Company announces group run schedule

Jacksonville Running Company has announced their group running schedule.

Group Run: Easy 3-7 mile Kenyan shuffle.

Track workout at UNF: Bring Your Light Weight Training Shoe! All levels welcome, meet at UNF Trail Head for warmup jog to the track.

Group Run: Easy 3-7 mile Kenyan shuffle.

Trivia Night Group Run: Meet for easy 3-7 miles, then head over to Hooters for Trivia at 8pm

Prediction Run: Bring $5 and leave your watch at home. It's a 5 mile loop, guess your time. Closest time win half the pot. The other half is for pizza and drinks at Hotel Indigo. Anyone can win!

It really is exciting to see alternatives in Jacksonville. I think the entire running community is going to benefit!

UPDATE: It is my understanding that the runs will leave from the store at 9823 Tapestry Park Circle, Suite 4, Jacksonville, Fl 32246. The development is so new, it's not on Google Maps yet, but it is over by Seven Bridges and Merrill Lynch. Give them a call (904.379.7170) if you need directions.

UPDATE 2: They will leave the store at 6:30 pm.

February 18, 2009

Jax MS Mud Run

It really is too bad this race is the same day as the Ortega River Run.

I participated in a tour of the Cecil Commerce Center today and saw the 6-mile course under construction. It really is impressive. A really cool section of the course is up and down over the old weapons bunkers, which rumor has it once held nuclear weapons.

Of course, I couldn't do it this year with the recovering elbow. One bad slip or fall and the recovery process would start all over.

February 17, 2009

jax REcycle Spring Bike Work Nite

A few months ago I mentioned the jax REcycle project, where old bikes are fixed up for folks staying atthe local homeless shelter to provide them with a means of transportation.

If you would like to help, they have scheduled a spring work night for Wednesday, March 18 from 6 pm to 9 pm at City Cycle. They have an event page on Facebook where you can RSVP. If you would like more information, call
(904) 707-8796 or e-mail them at

February 13, 2009

Twittering for a cure

This Sunday a group of runners are going to provide live Twitter updates throughout the National Marathon to Fight Breast Cancer. Personally, I am doing this in an effort to raise money for the cause. My mother is a breast cancer survivor and the disease has affected too many people that I care about. This seemed like a great opportunity to have fun with Twitter and raise money for a great cause.

Steve Vandergriff and I will be pacing a group of marathoners who are aiming to break 4:30 in the race. The goal is to provide the race updates while making sure our group achieves it's goal. On top of all of this, since my broken elbow has not completely healed from my accident, I'll be twittering and running and trying not to fall.

Here is the map for the race:

That's it for now. Don't forget to track us on Sunday!

February 12, 2009

Bike to Work Day 2009

City preparing for cycling season - Jacksonville's Financial News & Daily Record

"Bike to Work Day 2009" will be held May 15 and Redman said cyclists from all parts of Jacksonville are invited to leave their motor vehicles at home that day.

Mark your calendar. I'll be in LA and I don't think I'll see too many bikes on I-5.

January 12, 2009

The dawn of a new day for Jacksonville runners

Next Monday, January 19th will be an exciting day for the Jacksonville running community. That's the day Owen and Jo Shott, along with Ted Devos, open the Jacksonville Running Company. Jacksonville is already fortunate to have a great running store with 1st Place Sports. I think the addition of JRC will strengthen the running community, much like the multiple bike stores we have in town.

Good luck guys!

UPDATE: Looks like the opening has been pushed back to January 31.

Directions to JRC...
From I-95 South exit 344/ Butler Blvd. and go east. Travel 2 miles to Southside Blvd./ FL115 North exit. At first traffic light, Gate Parkway, turn right. Turn right at first traffic light, Deer Lake Drive. Second left on Deer Lake Dr. is the entrance to Tapestry Park. Jacksonville Running Co. is located 2nd door from end on right off the main road.

December 31, 2008

41-mile ride with the McLambs

Left from the neighborhood and did the Mandarin loop.  Tough headwind.  Thanks to the abundance of shrapnel on Jacksonville's roads, I had a flat courtesy of a nasty gash in my rear tire.  Overall enjoyable ride.  Now off to the bike shop for a new tire.

UPDATE:  Course map.

December 11, 2008

Jogger attacked on Northbank Riverwalk

Transient charged in knife attack of jogger on Jacksonville's Northbank Riverwalk
This does not surprise me at all. I have seen some shady folks hanging out under the Acosta and Fuller Warren bridges on my early morning long runs. Always be aware of your surroundings! I am glad this lady was able to get away with minor injuries.

December 9, 2008

Unconventional running events

Love this concept: Tweet Up & Run. Reminds me of this one. And of course the series of races I would like to bring to Jacksonville.

Of course, we do have the 8th Annual Christmas Hash Run coming up. Any interest on organizing some others?

November 17, 2008

I hope Wayne Ezell reads this

Murdoch to media: You dug yourself a huge hole

To make his point, Murdoch criticized the media reaction after bloggers debunked a "60 Minutes" report by former CBS anchor, Dan Rather, that President Bush had evaded service during his days in the National Guard.

"Far from celebrating this citizen journalism, the establishment media reacted defensively. During an appearance on Fox News, a CBS executive attacked the bloggers in a statement that will go down in the annals of arrogance. '60 Minutes,' he said, was a professional organization with 'multiple layers of checks and balances.' By contrast, he dismissed the blogger as 'a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing.' But eventually it was the guys sitting in their pajamas who forced Mr. Rather and his producer to resign.

"Mr. Rather and his defenders are not alone," he continued. "A recent American study reported that many editors and reporters simply do not trust their readers to make good decisions. Let's be clear about what this means. This is a polite way of saying that these editors and reporters think their readers are too stupid to think for themselves."

At a recent luncheon, I heard the Florida Times Union's former ombudsman Wayne Ezell speak about the way news reporting is changing. I also remember hearing him denigrate blogs as inferior sources of information. The real kicker was when talking to him one on one, he asked me what I thought about the recent changes. When I indicated I wasn't impressed, he essentially told me that I should get used to them. So much for reader feedback.

October 31, 2008

Download the Urban Jacksonville Halloween mixtape

Halloween Mixtape complete with double Thriller goodness!

September 24, 2008

Great program

Local Mom's Idea Gets Those in Need "Rolling" Again

"It gets overwhelming at times," April Patterson admits.

But when this stay-at-home mom thinks of all the people relying on her, she grabs a wrench and gets right back to work.

She never knew her idea of recycling old bicycles would take on wheels of its own.

Kudos to the Pattersons, Scott Giles, and Drew Johnson from City Cycle. All really good people.

August 1, 2008

Southside-based running club

Next Level Running Club

June 2, 2007

When it rains, it pours

Heading to Minneapolis

Looking forward to seeing (and enjoying) first hand the outdoor activites available in Minneapolis.

Here are the recent headlines in Jacksonville regarding parks:
Inaction on city parks is typical of mayor's style
Parks director falls victim to cost-cutting

Here is the Wikipedia entry regarding the Minneapolis parks system.
Key points:

  • The Minneapolis park system has been called the best-designed, best-financed and best-maintained in America. Foresight, donations and effort by community leaders enabled Horace Cleveland to create some of his best landscape architecture, preserving geographical landmarks and linking them with boulevards and parkways. The city's Chain of Lakes is connected by bike, running, and walking paths and used for swimming, fishing, picnics, boating, and ice skating. A parkway for cars, a bikeway for riders, and a walkway for pedestrians run parallel paths along the 52 mile (83 km) route of the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway.

  • Runner's World ranks Minneapolis America's 6th best city for runners.

  • Ten thousand cyclists use the bike lanes in the city each day, and many ride in the winter. The Public Works Department expanded the bicycle trail system from the Grand Rounds to 56 miles (90 km) of off-street commuter trails including the Midtown Greenway, the Light Rail Trail, Kenilworth Trail, Cedar Lake Trail and the West River Parkway Trail along the Mississippi. Minneapolis also has 34 miles (54 km) of dedicated bike lanes on city streets. (That cop in Baldwin on Monday would wet his pants if he saw 10,000 cyclists on the road)

I don't like being down on my hometown, and I know with the property tax furor going on in Tallahassee there are more important things to be concerned about, primarily public safety. At the same time, would it be too much to ask for drivers to demonstrate greater awareness for folks that are running, walking or cycling on the roads?

March 11, 2007

2007 River Run: It was ugly

Greetings from the hurt cellar. Actually, I am no longer in the hurt cellar, but I spent 70 minutes there yesterday. Seventy freakin' minutes. Two minutes and 54 seconds longer than last year. It was bad. It was ugly. It was no fun.

The morning was uneventful. Mike and Lori picked up Pete and me around 7:15. Once at the race Pete and I headed over to the Team Gate hospitality area, got ready, checked our bags and used the potty. It was around 8:15 at that point and I wanted to get to the start area before they dropped the rope to let everyone move up. Slight problem at this point. . . I didn't do any kind of warm-up. Not sure if that matters. Met up with Erin and Josh in the starting area. The gun sounded and off we go.




Erin and I passed the first mile marker with a 7:12 split. Pretty good. The goal was 7:10, right on target. However, I didn't feel good, but attributed that to the lack of warm-up. The second split was 7:13. Still felt like there was no need to panic, but I still didn't feel comfortable. Maybe it was just the exertion from the Main Street Bridge. Unfortunately, Mile 3 wasn't any better, clocking in at 7:19. At this point, we were back in the neighborhoods of San Marco and I was hoping the shade would help speedup the pace. Last year it was warm and humid, but we had cloud cover to prevent the sun from beating down on us. No cloud cover this year, and even the tree cover of San Marco could help. The split for mile 4 was 7:30. This race was going downhill in a big way. Somewhere in the fifth mile, I started to feel a little better. Maybe it was a short-lived adrenaline rush. Then Bill Rodgers passed me before we turned off of Belote onto Atlantic. He didn't pass me last year until the downslope of the Hart Bridge. Icontemplated taking a gel at mile 5, but held off until mile 6. It didn't help much. The slowdown continued through the neighborhoods of St. Nicholas. Erin and I stayed together until mile 7. Not sure if she picked up the pace or maintained her pace and I slowed down even more. Running up the bridge was as tough as always. The weird thing is usually the wind is really blowing on top of the bridge. This year, it seemed very still. A stiff breeze would have been welcomed to help cool things off. Running down thebridge allowed me to clock my fastest split since mile 3. The last three tenths took 12 seconds longer this year. Doesn't seem like much, but from a pace perspective that amounts to 40 seconds over a mile. Sheesh! I was crawling to the finish.








Trying to look back and analyze the difference between 2006 and 2007 is difficult. It was hot, but I took water at every station. Unbelievably, my hip really didn't bother me. It just seemed like I didn't have it in the tank. Looking back at the training log, I'm only 29 miles behind last year. Not sure if I did more long runs last year, but endurance shouldn't be a factor based on the additional cycling mileage I've logged this year. The chart to the left shows the aggregate loss of time during the course ofthe race. A little over a minute for the first 5k, a little under a minute for the second 5k, and then another minute for the last 5k. Maybe I just chalk it up to a bad race day.

Hats off to Erin (Liger!) for smoking me in the last 2 miles. However, I think we can both agree that our performances were well below our expectations. Jay missed his goal of 60 minutes by 77 seconds. Mike McLamb was two minutes off of his goal and Pete was several minutes off of his goal. James was actually 9 seconds below his goal, but he's a sick puppy and actually likes the weather we had yesterday. Josh was about 4 minutes behind his expectations and John Womack was 81 secondsslower than his goal.

Meb won his 6th River Run title, but couldn't catch Deena Kastor for the equalizer bonus. The elite women started 5 minutes ahead of the rest of the pack and she finished 80 seconds ahead of Meb. She missed breaking her American record by 4 seconds.

As for me, it is now time to back off running for a couple of weeks to see if I can get the hip to heal. I will ramp up the cycling volume and ease back into the running after a couple of weeks. I might even go see a doctor or a therapist.

UPDATE: Google Earth file

UPDATE 2: HR data.
Race - River Run 3-10-2007, Heart rate - Distance

March 8, 2007

River Run Pasta Dinner

MMB and Meb KeflezighiKaren and I went to the Team Gate pre-race pasta dinner tonight at the River Club. We sat down at one of the tables and the guy next to me asked if I was one of the invited runners. Heh! I guess I should be happy that I could be mistaken for an elite.

John Gaughan from Channel 4 said that there are 3 weather patterns they are looking at. One is dry, one has a few sprinkles, and the third has 2 inches of rain. Thankfully, John and George Winterling are leaning towards the drier model. He said it should be around 58 degrees at race start and be in the mid-60s by 10 am. Another incentive to finish quickly.

Meb Keflezighi was the keynote speaker. He talked about the River Run and how important it has been in his career. He mentioned that his success in the River Run figured in to his decision to run the Olympic marathon. He finished second in that race, and then finished second in the New York City Marathon 70 days later. Talk about showing the world that American running is on the rise! After dinner, for good luck in the race on Saturday, he let me touch the silver medal. That was the first Olympic medal I think I've ever seen in person and it was gorgeous. I wished him a good race and he told me good luck in my race as well. And then he said "I really mean it, I hope you have a great race." Look out Liger!

March 4, 2007

River Run week!

Race - Retro River Run 3-3-2007River Run week got off to a fun start last night with the Retro Ruver Run 5k. Tube socks and afros everywhere. The race started on Coastline Drive and meandered through dowtown, then over the Main Street Bridge, back over the Acosta Bridge and finishing on Hogan Street. I didn’t start my watch until we turned left on Market. The track on the map is very wobbly because James and I started near the back of over 2,000 runners and had to zig-zag considerably. He was pushing Maddy in the jogging stroller, so ft was easier for me to weave through traffic.

I decided to pick up the pace on Hogan just before Monroe. I had a blast looking at all of the great costumes and catching up with friends. On the bridges, I would run as hard as I could until I reached a wall of runners. I would slow down until there was a break and pick up the pace again. I ran pretty hard down the Acosta.

Other things to look forward to include a fun run with Bill Rogers and Todd Williams on Monday evening at Epping Forest. The Pasta Dinner at the River Club is on Thursday night. Meb Keflezighi, Bill Rodgers, Hal Higdon, Todd Williams, and other running luminaries will be there. The Expo and packet pick-up are on Thursday and Friday and the big race in on Saturday.

This will be my 7th River Run, and 5th consecutive. I also ran the race in 1986 and 1987. I remember the finish of the 1987 race being less than spectacular. Along the race course, a group had set up an unofficial water station. But instead of water, they served that super sweet citrus concoction known as Sunny Delight. It was a warm day, I was running hard and undertrained. As I crossed the finish line, I puked Sunny Delight all over the street. Nice memory, eh? Maybe that's why I went on a 16-year hiatus from the race.

February 23, 2007

Ortega River Run tomorrow

ORR07One of my favorite races of the year is tomorrow.  I consider my home course since I run the route on average at least once a week.  Since our house is located just past the 1 mile mark, we host a post-race party every year.  Last year I set a 5–mile PR of 34:39 that lasted a little over 3 months before I broke it in Boston running the Harpoon 5–Miler in 34:09.

The goal for tomorrow is to go sub-35 again.  A large part of meeting that goal will be contingent on my hip cooperating.  The weather is going to be perfect.  In the low to mid-50’s and sunny at the start of the race.

Looking forward to a great race tomorrow.

Michael Corrigan for City Council

Michael Corrigan for City CouncilWith the Ortega River Run cutting through our neighborhood tomorrow, it is my goal to have as many Michael Corrigan signs in front of homes along the race course as possible.  I have 25 signs to distribute, and in about 30 minutes this morning I received commitments for most of them.  I had to leave some messages, but I’m confident they will all be in place this evening.

Councilman Corrigan has done quite a bit for our neighborhood during his first term in office.  Our creek was dredged, we finally got the Herschel Park project in motion, and he was very objective during the St. Johns Village PUD process.  He has also ensured that Fire Station Number 14 won’t go away any time soon. 

I bet I could guarantee him a nearly unanimous vote from our neighborhood if he could get our utilities placed underground.

February 22, 2007

River Run numbers

Looked up the race numbers for the River Run.  I’ll be number 507.  Emily is excited to be getting her first race number ever.  She will be number 15191 and representing John Stockton Elementary in the Junior River Run. 

Rock and Roll Emily!

February 16, 2007

Something to add to the list of things to do in Jacksonville

From the Florida Times-Union:

This is the best time of the year to walk in the North Florida woods. But most of us need paths. Two of the best trails around, and right in town, are at the University of North Florida and Fort Caroline National Monument.

  • The UNF trails start right behind the information booth on your right as you enter from St. Johns Bluff Road. You have several options back there, with Goldenrod Trail the longest with a 2.5-mile loop. A few exercise stations have been added recently, in case you're in the mood for crunches or pull-ups.
  • There are about 7 miles of trails at the Fort Caroline monument and the adjacent Theodore Roosevelt Area. The personal favorite is the Spanish Pond Trail, which starts across Fort Caroline Road from the monument. It's about a mile in (and another mile out, of course), but connects to another trail to take you along the banks of the river, past the shell piles left by the Timucuans and their ancestors. They date back to 1500 B.C., so walk carefully.

I’ve never visited the UNF trails and I bet it’s been 25 years since I visited Fort Caroline.  We need to take the girls to visit these trails.

February 14, 2007

Every Street 2007 update

It’s been 2 weeks since my last Every Street update.  I have now started to add old Ortega to the grid.  I still have some clean-up to do in Avondale, and I need to add the area bordered by Post, King, Park and McDuff.  That is the neighborhood I lived in the first 10 years of my life.  I grew up on the corner of Cherry and Forbes.  Here is the latest Every Street 2007 map.

It’s funny how sterile and clean the streets and neighborhoods look on the map.  I immediately look at the grid-pattern of streets on the map I haven’t been to and think about adding them.  Then I think about the neighborhoods represented by those streets and think again.  Maybe during daylight hours.  With a bunch of people.  And a police escort.

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.

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.

July 13, 2006

Cars aren't the only danger on the roads

On this morning's ride I rode through an unbelievable amount of broken glass. It is a miracle that I didn't flat. Brown glass, green glass and clear glass. It really is sickening to observe the litter problem we have in this city.

And it's not just the citizens making a mess.

As I did bridge loops across the Acosta Bridge, it became obvious that our city is convinced that the cardboard shells from the fireworks display on July 4th are going to magically disappear. Brown shells and streamers covered the emergency lanes of the bridge.

What a disgrace.

June 23, 2006

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.

June 22, 2006

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.

April 6, 2006

Asics photo shoot

Jacksonville's Financial News and Daily Record

Znequet McGee wasn't running up and down Forsyth Street over and over and over Tuesday as part of some odd, new training regimen. She was taking part in a commercial photo shoot for Asics Footwear and Apparel's spring catalog.

Good thing she stayed on the sidewalk.

March 13, 2006

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

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

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."

March 7, 2006

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 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.