Saturday, December 25, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Season's Greetings.

I just had sex.

2 Akon posts in one week.  But he's so damn enthusiastic, how can you not love it.

Friday, December 17, 2010


As someone who shakes hands all week long, I find this wholeheartedly true:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Angels, Angel, and Akon

In case you (shamefully) missed the CBS prime time Victoria's Secret fashion show a few weeks back, you missed a golden opportunity to blatantly ogle supermodels while telling your woman you were 'doing some research for Christmas gifts'. Chances are she'd have parked herself on the couch next to you, and even replayed a few parts in slow-mo.

Step up fellas - I can't do all the creative thinking for you.

I gotta say, I liked this new Akon song, 'Angel'. Also, keep a close eye out for my new lover, Candice Swanepoel, who makes her appearance at 3:34 in a white bikini. Completely sick body.  (I recommend blowing this video up full screen - as long as your feminist boss isn't looking over your shoulder.)

It's cold out there - stay warm.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Don't Think The Heavy Stuff's Gonna Come Down For Awhile. I'd Keep Playing.

Pretty gnarly video of the Metrodome roof collapsing last night; after they received 2 feet of snow in my homeland. In a similar story - here on the east coast I sat on my porch and smoked a cigar while I looked at the grass.

More photos here:

Sunday, December 5, 2010


To quote Vince Vaughn in Swingers, 'you're growns up, and you're growns up, and you're growns up.' In 2008 I took the leap into HD with my first flat screen, but I held off on the living room - figuring prices were due to drop...sometime.

My current living room setup includes a 27" tube tv, which I purchased in my sophomore year of college - 1999. To call that tv a workhorse would be an understatement. It's been with me through 3 moves, across the country, plus in and out of my car countless times; en route to the Halo Parties we used to have in various basements.

The tube (read: square) tv never bothered me until earlier this spring, when my cable provider started broadcasting all channels in HD. This meant that all programming was now letterboxed, and the picture was squeezed even smaller on a traditional tube tv. Football games were tough to watch.

My setup includes all the components for the living room, as well as those for my bedroom next door, xbox, receiver, blu ray. Perhaps the most cringe-worthy part of the setup was the microwave cart (shame) that it all sat on. Back in 1999, a free microwave cart from my parents was pretty baller. It even had a stylish faux wood grain. I was also displaying my dvd's on these S-shaped racks, which, again, were really sweet in 2004.

Time to get upgraded.

As a way of justifying the expense, we'll call this an early Christmas Present to myself. No wife and kids means all the money for their diamond rings and teddy bears can be funneled directly into my electronics budget.

I opted for a 50" Samsung Plasma with 3D and Internet. The price was right, and they threw in a few pairs of 3D glasses, a 3D blu ray player, and a couple movies. The tv selection was the easiest part of the process. More complicated was what I would purchase to replace that old microwave stand...with room to house the growing list of components and dvd's.

As any man knows (or those with borderline OCD like me), wiring and running cables for your video/audio setup can be a near religious experience. You need to be alone with your thoughts, plan out the arrangement,...on and on.

All told, I'm pretty happy with how it all came out. Double upgrade all the way across the sky.

(click for larger view)

I'll have more on the 3D as I watch it a bit more. There's fairly limited amounts of 3D movies at this point. The tv also has the ability to convert 2D into 3D - which is a fairly neat effect. I delighted in watching Manning throw 4 interceptions in 3D this evening.

There's nothing wrong with letting the girls know that you're money and that you want to party.
- Trent

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

TurBaconEpic Thanksgiving - east coast mark style

This is like 'The Passion of the Christ' for Vegans.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

4 Complete

Forgot to mention this last month - but I completed my 4th marathon in October. Set a PR of 4:54:00. Granted, it was only a PR by 36 seconds - but a PR nonetheless, and I now have a 4th piece of hardware hanging on my wall.

JP and I ran the first 13 miles together, nonstop, in a PR (for me) of 2:17:11. I then stopped for a little walk while Josh went ahead, and then we proceeded to pass and catch each other numerous times over the last half of the race. Eventually we settled in, carried each other at times, and agreed to finish together.

For 2011, I've registered for a Half Ironman on the same weekend as the 2011 version of the Twin Cities Marathon - meaning my streak of 4 consecutive TCM's will come to an end. Though, with a Half Ironman in October, and (hopefully) the NYC Marathon in November - I'll be sufficiently worked. FYI: Half Ironman is a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run.

If I'm feeling particularly saucy, I'm kicking around the idea of Grandma's Marathon in June.

This fall, I've been working with a swimming coach, and keeping up 25-50 weekly miles on the bike. The mild Mid-Atlantic weather means outdoor biking and running are in play until late December.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Keep the phone in your pocket and engage in human interaction once and awhile.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Michael Caine Impressions Are Awesome

I was entertaining myself this weekend by doing Brad Childress impressions. It's my favorite thing to do at the moment - just speak in a low monotone voice, mumble occasionally, and add in lots of ummmmmmm's.

That said, Michael Caine impressions are equally entertaining.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Shaddap You Face

Apropos of nothing, I heard this song recently - and it was stuck in my head all day. Now it's your turn. I also find myself humming this tune anytime I come across the many Italian-Americans who make their home here on the east coast.

When was the last time you heard, 'Big Accordion Solo!'

Sunday, October 10, 2010

New Tunes

Thought I'd drop some tunes on you - a few CD's I've purchased lately and have been listening to.

Gayngs - Relayted

Definitely my favorite CD of the moment. These guys are an Indie rock group out of Minneapolis; a collection of 23 different artists from various bands that came together to put out this one album. Really cool sound - everything is a smooth 69 bpm's.

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

This album is the work of just one guy, Justin Vernon. After his old band broke up, he took all his musical gear to his family's cabin in remote northern Wisconsin - and worked through his issues by recording all the parts of this album...and then mixing it all together. 3 winter months isolated in the woods is good for the creative spirit I guess.

Mumford and Sons - Sigh No More

These guys are out of Great Britain, and have a unique folk-rock sound. Considerably more upbeat than the previous two selections I've listed here. I'd wager this is the first CD I've ever purchased that prominantely features a banjo.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Glorious Week 1 Victory

I think society has passed the point of explaining the heartaches that rise and fall with each week in the modern world of Fantasy Football. That being said; this video says all that could ever be said to one certain individual:

I can't stop watching it and twisting my mustache.

No seriously. I can't stop watching it and laughing manicaclly.

Monday, September 6, 2010

End of Season Triathlon

This weekend was my last triathlon of the season. Probably. I'd run this same triathlon last year, but this year I came in better trained and more prepared than any I've previously done (for the record this was my 4th Tri).

The extra training and experience paid off, as I shaved time off every discipline vs. the same event in 2009. 1:30 faster on the swim, a full 10 minutes faster on the bike, and 30 seconds faster on the run. All in all, my best effort in a triathlon yet.

Don't let anyone fool you - triathon is an expensive and time consuming endeavour to pursue; but once you get all your equipment and training dialed-in (and purchased), it's very rewarding to see the minutes fall off your time.

Up next, the 2010 Twin Cities Marathon - 30 days from today.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

New Cee-Lo Single: "F*** You"

No subtext here - just catchy.

"This is the happiest song in the world!" - Guy who isn't paying attention to the lyrics

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mad Men 4

Last night's season premiere of Mad Men once again reminded me of the joys of drinking on Sunday night. At this point, the opening credits are nearly Pavlovian in their ability to make me walk to my bar and pour a glass of scotch.

Great episode to kick off the new season, and an excellent continuation of the drama at the end of Season 3. And who doesn't love a Thanksgiving Hooker?

Don is now coming to grips with the fact that he can no longer be the mystery man in the shadows - who steps into the light only to drop his divine campaigns onto a thankful world. I'm also looking forward to Don figuring out the new love interest, Bethany; she of the butter-squirting and gymnastic ilk.

A thrilling end, and we have Don re-inventing himself again as the face of SCDP. He no longer wants boring traditional clients, and plans to only take on clients who want the most forward-thinking representation 1964 has to offer.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Phrase Overkill

I talk for a living, and given such - there's a few phrases that I've noticed are getting way overused these days. I'm going to call them out for you - and then you can enjoy being shocked for the next week when you realize how often you hear them:

"At the end of the day...."
"Moving Forward...."
"It is what it is."

The last one is my most despised. It's a total cop-out phrase, and has no relevance to anything. A three second 'sighhhhh' would declare the same turn of phrase. Clearly IT is what IT is.

It has dawned on me that perhaps the usage of these phrases could be a regional phenomenon - or perhaps unique to my particular line of work.

But, it is what it is.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New Wetsuit

My new triathlon wetsuit arrived this afternoon; having been shipped from California from the 'Xterra' company. This is my first wetsuit, and I'm sure it'll help quite a bit with the swim leg of my triathlons - not so much making me faster, but helping with buoyancy...which in turn, I guess, will make me faster.

That said, I tried the suit on for the first time tonight - and if I'd had the forethought - I'd have video taped it for your comedic enjoyment. On second thought, it might have been frightening. It's not brain surgery to get into it - but it's also harder than you would think to squeeze yourself into a full body condom.

Instead, I'm going to let this hot blond show you a bit more about how to properly put on a wetsuit.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I don't know where Algeria is - I think it's a hybrid terrorist combination of Africa and Asia. Either way, definitely scintillating watching the USA pull out that soccer win today. Backs against the wall, it looked like were facing elimination and 4 years of 'bad calls by the refs...'. Not to be.

As an encore, we had a brilliant (still going) ultra marathon tennis match involving American John Isner. 59-59 in the 5th? Ridonkulous.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Oh Sookie

True Blood is a guilty pleasure on Sunday nights. After tonight's episode, they blew my mind with this Snoop Dogg crossover ode to Sookie. Gotta hand it to those marketing people at HBO, because this will be everywhere today....though it will probably only make sense to loyal fans.

Speaking of HBO: Treme, after a slow start, has become my favorite show of the season. Should be plenty of Emmy nods for the actors in this one.

Lastly, Mad Men Season 4 starts up later this summer. Everyone get your home bars stocked up with plenty of Scotch and Whiskey, and have your suits pressed. If you're not caught up yet - you have about a month to go crazy on DVD with seasons 1-3.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Open Wine In A Pinch

When I was a Sophomore in College, I helped my girlfriend at the time move in to a new apartment. It was a cramped little hole of an apartment, but move-in day was made brighter by the fact that the new landlord left a bottle of red wine for her sitting on the counter. Total score.

Being 19, free alcohol was the pinnacle of all things holy. However, also being 19, neither of us had ever really had wine...or knew how to serve/store/open it. But hey, free booze - we were going to make the most of it. We also weren't going to question why this landlord was leaving alcoholic beverages for clearly underage college kids - when in Rome...

First things first: let's get this baby chilling. We popped the bottle of red wine into the fridge to get it cold. Patience not being our virtue; this was taking too long. "Put it in the freezer for a bit to get it really cold," she said. Excellent idea.

Once the bottle was nice and frosty, we found 2 plastic cups and were ready to enjoy our bounty. Removing the foil top, we were suddenly faced with a new paradox: cork. I remember searching the side of the bottle, thinking maybe there was some sort of special opener attached to the bottle that I'd missed. Nope.

Now, before you go mocking me and my 19 year old ignorance - remember back to when you first started enjoying adult beverages....were you the alcoholic connoisseur (lush) that you are now? No, you were equally clueless as me. Back to the frosty Merlot....

Like a rabid dogs, we clawed at this cork with a knife - eventually excavating enough cork that the remainder could be pushed into the bottle. At last, our ice cold Merlot (complete with cork floaters) was flowing into two Twins plastic cups. The 45 minutes of ice time combined with the 15 minutes of knife hacking had built up expectations that, 'this better be good.'

It wasn't.

Cold red wine tastes like licking a metal spoon. "Maybe it was just the first sip," we thought. Like when you first tried beer...that wasn't good right away either. Another sip. Gag. "Why are all those rich people SO into wine? Nasty," we said.

It wasn't until a few weeks later that we learned that 1.) Red wine should be served room temperature and 2.) The proper way to wield a corkscrew...which is far superior to a kitchen steak knife.

That story was just a lead up to showing you this great video I found on how to open a bottle of wine - should you too find yourself without a proper corkscrew. Enjoy, and thank me someday. Also, it's in French, which I think classes up this seedy blog.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Triathlon #1 of 2010

My first triathlon of the year was this past weekend; an early 4:30am wake up call for east coast mark. As I rolled out my garage, it was a steady downpour - and I wasn't sure we'd get this thing in. However, these triathlons are way too complicated to reschedule, so they always make a big show out of 'race will be held rain or shine.' So off I went.

By race time at 7:45am, the rains had parted - and 300 or so of us were off in the swim. Of the 50 or so guys in my age group, I estimated that I was one of two guys that didn't have a wetsuit on. The water was plenty warm, but I've been learning that the wetsuit gives you considerable added buoyancy - allowing the swimmer to focus on their stroke, and not so much about staying afloat. Puts me at a disadvantage, but I'm also not a particularly strong swimmer. Yet.

For me, this was my first swim of the year - and I was predictably slow and toward the back of the pack. The one upside of being toward the back of the swim pack is that I get kicked in the face less. Though, I have aspirations of soon being up front, and delivering regular jaw blows to the slowpokes behind me.

(I'm somewhere out there in that pack of yellow swim caps.)
For the bike leg, I was considerably more optimisitc. This year, I upgraded to a new Trek Road Bike, and added a set of aero bars to put me in that aerodynamic time trial position (aerodynamic position not pictured). It all worked pretty much as planned. I averaged just over 17mph for the 12 mile bike leg, and at times was up over 25mph. The only people passing me on the bike were the hard core riders who, jerkishly, were flying.

The run, normally my strong suit, was not my best - as I'd put so much energy into the bike. However, it's early in the season and my running legs are still only at about 70% - so plenty of room for improvement there as well. Also, I plan to do more 'brick' workouts - which is doing a hard bike ride, and then going immediately into a run.

All in all, pretty pleased for this early in the year, and I'll probably do my next Tri in about 3 weeks. I've also decided I'm going to invest in a wetsuit. I'll save my readers the pictures, but instead - you can get a feel for the suit I'm buying from this guy from the catalog:

Go ahead. I'll give you a minute to let your imaginations run wild.

And for a walk down triathlon memory lane, my first ever Triathlon back in 2009.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Problem Solved

This week, I've been putting some thought into creative solutions for how to stop that oil leak at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. After a few glasses of wine, I think I've got it:

This is a job for Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, and Owen Wilson (?!).

And if they're not busy, Steve Buscemi and that big black guy with the overly-deep voice can come along for comic relief. A good oil spill needs a few jokes to keep things light and bubbly. Bubbly is probably a bad choice of words.

Also, this video below is one of my favorite things Mtv has done in the last decade:

With the long holiday weekend coming up, I can almost guarantee you'll be able to find Armageddon playing on TBS or TNT at some point during the weekend. If not, dust it off from your DVD collection and take part in nuking asteroids as they hurtle towards earth. Totally plausible.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Simpsons 'Tik Tok' Opening

Pretty well done, even if it's been a decade since we've talked about The Simpsons with any real significance.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Spring Training

Running season has officially kicked off, which I signify by 2 factors: 1.) When I can run outside in shorts and without a jacket, and 2.) When I get registered for my fall marathon.

This year, we thought we'd mix it up a bit and run the New York City Marathon. However, they get about 90,000 applications for 30,000 spots - so it's up to the lottery to get you in. This year, the bouncing balls were not in our favor - and neither Josh nor I got in. 2011, here we come...

Instead, I'll be running the Twin Cities Marathon for the fourth time in October, and the 5 to 6 months of training will be kicking off soon. Satisfying to be talking about 'my fourth marathon'.

Here's my tentative calendar for summer events:

  • Long Branch Half Marathon - May 2nd (next weekend)

  • Two Summer 'Sprint' Triathlons - June and August

  • One Summer 'Full' Triathlon - July

  • Twin Cities Marathon - October

  • Twice weekly Boxing Class

  • Once weekly Jump Rope Class

  • And probably a few other 5k's and 10k's mixed in with the 4x weekly training runs
I always get the season kicked off with a new pair of running shoes, and tonight I picked up the Nike Vomero 5+. I've stuck with this model shoe for a good 3+ years now; having gone through the Vomero 2, 3, and 4....and now onto the 5. Some people hate on Nike running shoes, but they work for me - and I'm a big fan of the Nike+ iPod running tracker...which you'll notice in the right hand column of this blog.

I typically drop about 15 to 20 pounds over the summer, but adding in the boxing and increased weight lifting this year might mean I'll put on more muscle - and drop less overall pounds. It would have been nice to get into the NYC Marathon...but if you're rejected 2 years in a row, you automatically get in the 3rd year.

The last item on my wish list for this summer is a nice Trek Road Bike to go along with the Mountain Bike I picked up last summer. My Mountain Bike is great for the trails and short triathlons, but won't cut it in more serious affairs.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A New Pony For The Stable

The sun has been shining here in the Mid-Atlantic, so it was time to add a new pony to the stable. Or, rather, 327 ponies (horses) under the hood. The G-37 Infiniti Hard Top Convertible is now dropping panties its top all up and down my neighborhood.

It's my first convertible, and to quote Ferris Bueller, "It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up."

On any given day, I'm typically in my car for an hour or two on average, driving to appointments and meetings. However, now that I have this car - I keep coming up with errands that need to be handled while the sun is shining. "Milk. Definitely need to get milk right now - while the sun is out and the top can be down."

An unexpected side effect of having a convertible is that I now have to be conscious of what music is playing anytime I pull up to a stoplight. I have to be careful not to accidentally wander onto XM 23 (The 'Love' Channel). The whole image of a cool convertible could be completely undermined by Whitney Houston's Didn't We Almost Have it All, blaring out for everyone to hear.

I'd had my eye on this car since it was released late last year, and when I took it for a test drive I was pretty much sold in about 2 minutes. Nonetheless, I put it through the paces, and the last test was to try out the roof open/close mechanism. As the top was going up, the dealer hit me with this gem of a conversation:

Dealer: "Are you single, man?"
Me: "For now."
Dealer: "Ha. I hear ya. With this car, you're gonna get so much p***y, it'll be sick."

I laughed at the Guido charm of it all, but in truth - that's still the best way to sell a convertible to a red blooded American.

And for fun, A look at my cars of yester-year

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rise of the Retrosexual

David Beckham and the whole Metrosexual thing has always made me a bit uncomfortable. I appreciate hitting the gym, eating well, a nice haircut, and custom made suits - but never to the flaming extent that society has labeled the pampered 'Metrosexual'. I'm conservative in my politics, and have a penchant for a Brooks Brothers suit. Some women have called me 'old fashioned' - though I believe 'classic' is a more fitting term.

This evening I stumbled upon a term that may more aptly describe east coast mark - 'Retrosexual'. Rather than having me explain it, take a look at this Ignite talk by Brett McKay. If you're not familiar with an Ignite talk - the presenter is allowed 5 minutes and 20 slides to talk on a topic of their choosing. As an added twist, the slides automatically advance themselves every 15 seconds.

"A masculine engery that inspired confidence in others."

Let's hold ourselves to a higher standard, Gents.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sinatra's Rules

east coast mark and the fellas are headed to Vegas in a few weeks for a 30th birthday bash. To get us in the spirit, here are a few fashion rules by Vegas mainstay- The Chairman of the Board himself.

“For me, a tuxedo is a way of life. When an invitation says black tie optional, it is always safer to wear black tie. My basic rules are to have shirt cuffs extended half an inch from the jacket sleeve. Trousers should break just above the shoe. Try not to sit down because it wrinkles the pants. If you have to sit, don’t cross your legs. Pocket handkerchiefs are optional, but I always wear one, usually orange, since orange is my favorite color. Shine your Mary Janes on the underside of a couch cushion.”


1. It takes two hands to put on a hat the right way: Back brim curled up, front tugged down to a couple of inches above the right brow.

2. Never wear brown at night. Never.

3. There’s no excuse for brown shoes past sundown.... Or white shoes. Or anything gray, unless it’s deep charcoal. Or blue, unless it’s midnight blue. In fact, let’s keep it simple: after dark, men should wear black.

4. Ties should be silk. And conservative.

5. Cuff links always. But leave the fancy jewelry to Sammy.

6. When dressing formally, a vest is better than a cummerbund.

7. Don’t wear a tuxedo on Sunday.

8. Having messy closets is like putting on clean clothes over dirty underwear.

9. The shower is a great place to steam out the wrinkles in your dinner jacket.

10. Orange is the happiest color.

11. Don’t hide your scars. They make you who you are.

12. When it comes to pockets, everything should have its own place.

13. A pocket handkerchief is essential, but it needs to be perfectly folded.

14. Shine your shoes.

15. Trim. Buff. Clean.

16. Take your hand off the suit, creep.

Adapted by Sinatra from The Way You Wear Your Hat, by Bill Zehme

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

'Saved By The Bell' + Pointer Sisters

If there's one guarantee in this life, it's that if you produce an awesome video mashup of Saved By The Bell clips - east coast mark will post it. I still maintain that Zach Attack, or Zach and Kelly's prom were more poignant episodes - but most will agree that Jessie getting addicted to caffeine pills was the apex of the series.

And now, some brilliant Internet nerd has put together today's musical interlude:

Not the best I've seen, but definitely above average. Man, the 90's. Good stuff.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Donald Trump on Morning Joe

The Celebrity Apprentice is starting back up again this Sunday (set your DVR's now, because you'll be too hungover on Sunday morning to remember). With the return of his show, Donald Trump has been making the rounds on all the talk shows this week. He was on Letterman last night, and watching those two yuck it up is about as good as it gets on TV.

This morning, Trump was on Morning Joe - and I loved everything the man had to say. It might surprise some of you, but Trump is actually very intelligent, a savvy businessman, and well educated on a wide range of issues. As you'll see in the clip below, his views on politics, trade with China, and price fixing from OPEC - are all spot on. Imagine how efficient and prosperous this country would be if we had true businessmen running the country, and not just wordy politicians chasing their tails on healthcare. [editor's note: this is why east coast mark supports businessman Mitt Romney to be our next president]

It's worth watching all the way to the end (particularly after the 9:15 mark). I especially enjoyed his dig at Al Gore (I couldn't agree more).

Monday, March 8, 2010

Handsome Men's Club

As a man who suffers with the curse of being handsome, I sympathize with my fellow club members:

My appologies to my fans that I was unable to make the meeting that night - Clooney and I were meeting Justin Timberlake to pick up whores on the Vegas strip.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Bit Nipply - Marathon #3 Recap

Last Sunday [ed. note: I started this in October, but it's now 4 months ago] was the running of my third marathon; the 2009 edition of the Twin Cities Marathon. Year one (2007) was ungodly hot (88 degrees in October), year two (2008) was soaking rain for half the race. For 2009, it seemed like the weather was finally going to be more indicative of October in Minnesota - low 50's.

However, as we made our way to the starting line - I was wearing a sweatshirt, sweatpants, a hat, and gloves. 45 degrees when I woke up, overcast skies, but no rain (or snow) in sight.

Let's roll.

5:30 am - Breakfast. Croissant with peanut butter, half banana (only half, because it was way too green to stomach more than half), OJ, LaraBar (organic granola bar), 20 oz diet coke, bottle of water, one GU packet (Espresso Love flavor), and 3 Advil.

6:15 am - B and Josh show up at my place, and we carpool down to the Metrodome. We are all dressed like we're heading out to build a snow fort, not run a marathon.

7:00 am - We've made it to the Dome, and take our turn waiting in line for the port-o-potty. This is slightly more challenging when you have to remove gloves and 3 layers before getting down to business. Temperature is now a balmy 46 degrees with a slight wind.

7:25 am - We find an enclosed tent by the Vikings ticket office that allows us to get out of the wind and cold while we stretch and lube up with Vaseline. Not a bad find; it was like a VIP tent for 20 minutes. Josh, doing his best 'Intervention' impression, has a baggie of 13 Ibuprofen that he stuffs in his pocket. B and I are alarmed. "13?"

7:55 am - Line up for the start. With such a big crowd (11,000), we find ourselves back with the 6 hour time group. This necessitates hopping a fence, and moving up toward the 4:30 pack. Fence hopping wasn't really the way we expected to start the day - but when in Rome.

8:00 am - Race starts. We're clad in long sleeves, gloves, and I'm sporting an earwarmer. I expect to ditch most of these at some point early on in the race, but it was cold enough to at least start with a few layers. We cross the start line, and our watches click on.

8:03 am - This year, we actually spent some time discussing race strategy - and all 3 of us plan to at least start running together, and then...."we'll see what happens." My long-shot goal is 4:30, but realistically we're shooting for 4:45. My Marathon PR (Personal Record) is 4:57, so anything under that would be a victory.

8:25 am - We're getting into the flow of the race. My legs feel a little dead, but I attribute this to the cold and just taking time for the muscles to warm up. We run the first two miles at about a 10:20 pace.

8:45 am 'The Incident' - Around mile 6, Josh, unexpectedly, announces that he has to take a piss. No nice way of saying that. Unsure of how to handle this request, we kind of shrug it off for a quarter mile.
Josh pipes up again, "all right - I'm gonna pull off into the woods. You guys go ahead, I'll catch up." There was no real discussion, he just disappears off to the right - up into the woods. Nature calls.
B and I continue, not really knowing what to do. We agree that we won't sprint ahead, but we're also not exactly going to stop and wait for this bladder-challenged woman. Not 2 minutes later, we come across a water stop, and we decide that we'll take it slow - walking a bit, and figuring Josh should be pulling up in no time. Any minute now. Where is he. Seriously, where is he?

9:00am - 9:30am - Still no Josh. We suspect he's running about the same pace as us, and just can't seem to catch up. Whatever. We keep going.

9:45am - We come across B's girlfriend, and mention to her as we run by that Josh should be behind us by a few minutes. "No." she says. "He's about 10 minutes ahead of you."

"WTF!!" Our minds are racing. How is that possible. No way. She's mistaken. She must have started drinking early this morning, because Josh is way behind us after having stopped for a piss.

9:48am - We come across my parents a bit further up the road. "Have you seen Josh?" "Yes" says my dad. "He's maybe 2 or 3 minutes ahead." (My dad, having run multiple marathons, is a bit more of a reliable source on race timing than B's girlfriend - so we trust him.) Somehow in the confusion of that water stop - Josh had gotten ahead of us. This completely shocks our system.

10:00am - Still somewhat confused at how Josh got ahead of us, we re-assess our strategy. The plan was for everyone to stay together. Should we kick it into overdrive and catch him? Stick to our pace? We start swearing at him. "That little sh*t. How did he get ahead of us..."

10:30am - B and I are running well, and I calculate that we've just run the fastest half marathon I've ever done. We're on pace for a Personal Record.

Mile 21- B starts having some mild leg cramps. Slightly concerning, as I know he hasn't gotten in any long runs over 18 miles during his training. He's in slightly uncharted territory. I'm feeling good, but not perfect. My legs have never quite hit their perfect stride all day - and they've felt slightly 'dead' all day. Tough to put a finger on the reason - but my personal feeling is that the cold has prevented my legs from having their optimal performance, and strange as it might seem - I feel as though I've packed on 3 or 4 pounds during the 'taper' period leading up to the race, and I can feel myself hauling that extra weight.

Mile 23 - We turn onto Summit avenue, and B is hitting a major hurdle with his legs. Cramps all around. I'm pushing for a PR here, so I don't really want to slow down. B has to stop completely and walk and stretch. I keep ahead of him by about 20 feet....then 40 feet....then 50 feet up the road. I'm partially trying to be his rabbit so he'll start up again and catch me...but I also want to just keep going.

Mile 23.2 - I'm about 10 seconds from turning my back on B, and just pushing ahead and finishing by myself. I'm a team player, but at this point I want that PR. Just as I'm about to turn and go, he perks up and starts to run. I congratulate him for pushing through it, but we still have 3 miles to go.

Mile 24 - I'm back in the mode of intently monitoring my watch. I know that we'll finish under 5 hours for sure. I'm fairly sure that we can beat our PR - but we need to keep pushing. Any setback could put that PR in jeopardy. We're running about 4 minutes at a time, followed by 20 seconds or so of walking.

Mile 24.2 - I hit a wall. Not a full-on shutdown, but I feel pretty gassed - and this has never happened to me in my previous marathons. Not cramps or injury, just feeling like I'm out of energy. I can barely run a minute without needing a few steps of walking. Surprisingly, B and I have now flip flopped roles. He's feeling strong again, and I'm struggling. B barks something at me, and we both pick it up.

Mile 25 - We can sense the finish, and both are moving at a decent pace. Nothing will stop us now, and the struggles of the last few miles seem to have been overtaken by the will to finish with a PR.

Mile 26 - Finish in sight, we're almost assured a PR - so we kick it up into a dead sprint for the final 400 meters. Sadly, we've never caught Josh - so we know he's most likely finished in front of us. Still, running that last mile knowing you'll hit a PR is a good feeling. As spiteful as B and I are, we have an unspoken agreement to cross the finish line together. And we do.

Finishing time: 4:54.36. A new Personal Record for the Marathon.

2007: 5:52.50
2008: 4:57.20
2009: 4:54.36

Some final thoughts: (I write these so that I can look back on them before future marathons)

- The cool/cold weather seemed to zap the 'zip' in my legs. I should have done more warming up, even a slight jog around the parking lot might have helped.
- Tough to coordinate a running group, and despite how much you plan - you can't plan for everything...such as unscheduled bathroom breaks.
- My marathon training was the most extensive yet, but to cut more time off for future marathons - I'm going to need to take it up one more notch. More speed work is a must. And dropping 5 more pounds (and not putting it back on during the taper) will help.
- Between March and October, I dropped 17 lbs, getting down to a low of 175 after one long run.
- I didn't feel particularly cashed or gassed at the end of the race. I'm not sure if that's because my training was well done, because I 'left' some effort out on the course, or maybe the cold saved some energy...
- I've got a faster marathon in me, no question. With the right training and diet, 4:30 is easily possible.
- I was almost completely recovered from the race within 2 days.

The plan for 2010 is to change it up a bit, and we're planning to run the New York City marathon in November. It's a lottery system, so if we don't get in - it might be back to the Twin Cities for a 4th year.

You may have also seen these video posts here on east coast mark - recapping some of the incidents of race day. Perhaps now they'll make more sense after having read the race day blog.

Episode 1

Episode 2

Stay tuned for Episode 3...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It's Richard, Rodney.

All the east coast is in total bedlam because of Snowmageddon, and now Snowmageddon II - which is coming tonight and tomorrow. The Squeakquel. What is going on here? I was at the grocery store tonight, and people were stocking up like they're crossing the Rocky Mountains on foot.

Really, I was just looking for a reason to post an awesome Saved By The Bell compliation.

If you're snowed in too, and looking to kill a little time - click here for a few more of my thoughts on SBTB.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Bow Tie - I've Done It At Last

If your teenage years are for making foolish decisions, your 20's are for making smarter and more daring ones. Or, at least that sounds good - as I just made it up.

Regular readers of this blog know that early in 2009 I purchased my first bow tie. I had no particular event or occasion in mind, just a general thought that perhaps I should own a bow tie. Kind of like owning a vegetable steamer - you're not going to use it much, but maybe you should have one.

I figure I've had this bow tie about 7 months; patiently waiting for the right combination of the perfect occasion + the requisite amount of confidence to pull it off. Christmas Eve - I pulled the trigger, and finally donned a bow tie for the first time.

A bit about the tie: it's a nice quality Brooks Brothers tie - Churchill style (tiny polka dots) similar to the one seen below. Pink dots on a navy background. I paired it with a maroon v-neck sweater and white dress shirt.

One of the things about a bow tie vs. a regular tie is that it leaves a lot of real-estate open across the center of a man's chest. Hence, bow ties are typically best paired with 3-button suits, vests, or v-neck sweaters that sit higher on the breast bone and leave less 'blank' space.

The reaction from the paparazzi was overwhelmingly positive. Part of this was due to the fact that I premiered this look at my home church, and many of those in attendance hadn't seen me in months. Additionally, my Father's signature look is the bow tie - so there were many 'like father, like son' comments. My mother just shook her head with a wry smile, and proceeded to tell me I looked like a clown. I accept feedback in all forms.

Personally - I liked the look. It's smart, festive, and appropriate for the holiday season. It also shows you take pride in your appearance, and that you took a few minutes to tie the bow with care. I can't say it's something I would don everyday (unless you're a Harvard Professor) - but it is a nice change to mix things up. Also, pairing the bow tie with a sweater or vest makes it somewhat less formal than a full suit. If you wear a tie everyday like I do, adding in a bow tie to the rotation once or twice a month is definitely appropriate.

Interestingly, later in the week I stopped into a men's store - and inquired about their selection of bow ties. The gentleman told me that bow ties are THE hot seller this season, and he's been selling them primarily to men ages 20 - 40. Don't be surprised to see this look popping up in 2010, and maybe you too will be bold enough to try one on.

Lastly - as I've said before, never under any circumstances should you wear a pre-tied bow tie. It's really as simple as tying your shoes, and a bow tie should never look too perfect. A little imperfection in the knot gives it (and you) some character.