Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays

Now stop crying, and go fight your father.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mind Blown

I had my mind blown today, and now it's your turn.

You know that "Pumped Up Kicks" song?  The one you probably whistle along with while you're at The Gap shopping for Khakis?  Toe-tapping-pop-sugary-goodness, right?  It's got such a catchy little hook, how can we not sing along....

How's about no.

Did you have any clue it's actually about some kid ready to gun down his classmates?

Let's take a look at the actual lyrics:
Yeah he found a six-shooter gun
In his dad's closet, in the box of fun things
I don't even know what
But he's coming for you, yeah he's coming for you
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You better run, better run, outrun my gun
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You better run, better run, faster than my bullet.
So, as long as you've got your Reeboks pumped up and are ready to sprint out of 3rd period French, you should be all good dawg.  Just gotta outrun a few bullets.

We're all just a bunch of iTunes sheep.

Here we spent all summer just mindlessly whistling along, mumbling the rest of the lyrics...thinking we were bathing in a feel-good song about Unicorns and Lollipops.  Nope, Columbine.

Have a nice day with your newly shattered brain.

Tebow Reeeeemix

Monday, December 12, 2011

Joe Mauer Engaged - Mocking Ensues

Baby Jesus (aka Joe Mauer) apparently proposed to his mysterious girlfriend over the weekend - on some island off the coast of Florida, where he lives in the offseason.

The highlight (for me) however were the sarcastic comments that followed - which are particularly poignant for disgruntled Twins fans.
  • Strange, I thought he was married to grounding out to the right side of the infield and the trainer's room.
  • Great news...just hope he didn't hurt himself getting down on bended knee.
  • Joe realized it was his only chance for a ring in Minnesota.
  • Glad it's not to a Kardashian.
  • Guess we'll soon have a new bilateral weakness problem.
  • It's going to be tough coming up with a wedding date...can he stand through a ceremony the day after a night game?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

True Story Bro

Why Men and Women can't be just friends.

If you're bored for conversation this holiday season, bring this topic up at any cocktail party - and you'll enjoy yourself uncovering a few delusional females.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christie rips Obama: 'What the hell are we paying you for?'

I love our New Jersey Governor - always a straight shooter.  I have no doubt he'll be President someday if he wants it. We might actually see some change.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Point of Process

Our friend Stephen Colbert takes on the Occupy Wall Street hippies.

Ladies, I think you have your Halloween costume for next year all picked out:
Ketchup Hitler.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Year In New York

east coast mark is pleased to show off our new layout, giving us a wider body to post larger pictures, HD Video, and more vivid content. Hope you enjoy this look at a year in New York to show off the possibilities.

FYI, the song in the video is “We Don’t Eat” by James Vincent McMorrow.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

70.3 Ironman Pocono Mountains

The culmination of my triathlon season was this past Sunday, the 70.3 "Half" Ironman in the Pocono Mountains in Northeastern Pennsylvania. If you've followed my previous triathlons, you'll remember that none of the others had the word 'Mountains' in their title. More on this as we continue...

This was the inaugural year for this event, so everyone was seeing the course for the first time - the Race Directors included. There was no history of what to expect, because no one had done it before - we'd all learn together, for better or worse.

Two days before the event we got an e-mail that said they were cancelling the swim leg, which was set to take place in the Delaware River. Some aggressive rain in the previous week had the river at flood stage, and there were big trees and and a raging current barreling down the river. Everyone was pretty bummed, but when you physically looked at the river - it was better suited for whitewater rafting than a leisurely 1.2 mile swim.

So instead, they modified the event to be just a bike/run sort of duathlon. For myself, I'd done another Half Ironman three weeks prior - so I wasn't devastated by the modification. But for some people, they'd had this event circled on their calendar all year - and once you remove one of the legs - I don't think you can legitimately say you finished a Half Ironman. Still an accomplishment, but you can't get most of the way up Mt. Everest and say, 'eh, good enough - we'll say we got there.'

Race morning, the temperature was about 47 degrees as we got setup in the pre-dawn gloom. Those lamenting the swim being cancelled got over it quickly as the thought of jumping in frigid waters seemed less and less enticing. 2,000 of us in this fenced off parking lot in the middle of a State Park - all contemplating the new reality of starting a race on the bike, rather than jumping in the water. The cool temps (and misting rain) made selection of bike gear more than just a trivial matter. If you overheat, a 56 mile bike race on narrow roads is not an ideal time to stop and simply remove a few layers. Too few clothes, and your fingers will frost off as you bomb down a hill at 30 mph.

At the start, they did a time-trial type start - letting us off one at a time every 5 seconds or so. The roads were wet, narrow, scattered with leaves, and plenty of uneven and potholed surfaces. Oh, and the hills. This was easily the steepest and hilliest course I've ever done. Three hills in particular were so steep that I bet a quarter of the field had to get off their bike and push their bike to the top of the hill.

Wet roads on a highly technical course - combined with high speeds, is a recipe for disaster. I saw one guy 50 feet in front of me crash, and go flipping into the nearby rocky brush. Saw probably saw at least 15 flat tires, and another 20 or so people drop their chains from ill-advised shifting under load while hill climbing. I managed to stay free of any problems, fortunately. I'm an above average descender, and probably went a bit fast and took too many risks on the downhill sections - but a necessary evil to make up time for my slow climbing ability.

For all the perils and challenges of this course, it was a really fun ride - and took a lot of focus and concentration. Simply riding on flat roads on a dry day through suburbia can get monotonous. This course was like climbing through what I picture Ireland to be like. Low lying fog, unrelenting hills, not a hint of sunshine, and civil unrest.

Around mile 40 I noticed my toes were pretty cold. In fact, they were mostly numb...but numb toes locked into cycling shoes isn't all that bad really. But when I switched to my running shoes, I felt as though there were a couple of metal spoons lodged in each shoe. Big sections of my feet and toes had no feeling until around mile 2 - a very odd sensation.

I mentally decided I was going to do the half marathon non-stop, a decision that would prove incredibly tough as the steep hills continued on the run leg. I settled into a routine of drinking a half cup of coke and a bite of banana at each aid station. It helped that it was only about 50 degrees, so the sweating and overheating was kept to a minimum.

Finished the half marathon in 2:20, pretty decent given the hills and the 3 hours of biking that had preceded it. Great crowd support coming into the finishing chute, crossed the finish line, and immediately was wrapped in those big foil warming blankets.

All in all, fun to add some variety.  Slightly dangerous I suppose, but definitely a challenge.  Also, all the hills made for a good training run for my marathon coming up in 2 weeks.

To give you a taste of what the bike was like, here's a video some guy shot from a camera mounted on his bike.  If you don't have a full 20 minutes to spare, jump forward to 2:37 or minute 16 - and you can get a feel for some of the hills (though I don't know that the video does it complete justice).

Monday, September 19, 2011

Half Ironman or "How To Eat Continuously While Doing Exercise"

Two weekends ago I finished my longest triathlon to date; a Half Ironman (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run).  Finished in 6 hours 25 minutes - a tad slower than what I expected, but overall pretty solid.

There were about 250 athletes competing, and for this event it was a considerably more fit crowd.  I didn't see any of the portly 40-something moms, or the gray-haired grandpas on mountain bikes that you might see at the shorter Sprint events.  The event started at 7am, which meant the sun was barely up at 5:45 when I started setting up my gear in transition.  I setup quickly, took my pre-race bathroom stop, slipped on the wetsuit, put down an Espresso Love 2x Caffeine Gu Energy Gel and we were off.

The swim was fairly unremarkable - or as unremarkable as 39 minutes of continuous swimming can be.  The swim course was an out and back course, and on my way back to shore some woman veered wildly off course - and came barreling into a couple of us.  I mostly just laughed at how off course this lady was.  I finished the swim in the top 1/3rd. 
Once into T1 I move pretty quickly, and I actually had the 19th fastest transition of all finishers.  I've never been in the teens in anything, so I'll take the small victories where I can.  I had my bike loaded with 4 Gu's, 2 Waterbottles, my Aero Drink with a Nuun Energy Tablet, and I stuffed my Tri Jersey with 2 Honey Stinger Waffles, and a pack of Honey Stinger Caffeinated Lime-Aid Chews.

After 39 minutes of swimming, you're fairly hungry - so I got right down to eating within the first couple miles on the bike.  I started off with a Waffle and a couple good swigs of Electrolyte drink.  Then for the next 3 hours I basically just peddled while having my on-bike buffet.  Not only are you eating to fuel this 56 miles of biking, but you're also trying to replace some carbs and sugars so that you have energy for the impending half marathon.

What's remarkable is that the bike leg turns into a constant eating bonanza.  I felt like I was constantly shoving food in my mouth or drinking something.  The upside is that all this feasting really passes the time.  Also, about half way through the bike the sun started to come out - and temperatures climbed.  I drank all 3 of my waterbottles, and picked up 2 more from the aid stations along the course.  In total I bet I took in about 800 food calories, and maybe 150 ounces of water/electrolyte drink.

This was actually the longest ride I've ever done, and my hamstrings started to tighten just a bit around mile 40.  I upped the fluid intake, and avoided any cramping - however I think I slowed my speed a bit while I worked through the tightness.

In T2 I picked up my race belt with an additional 3 Gu's, and took a can of Campbell's Sippable Chicken & Stars Soup - and off on the half marathon I went.  The high sodium content of that soup tastes incredibly good and rejuvenating, with the additional benefit that the salt replacement will fend off cramping and replace what you've lost in sweat.

The Sun.

The sun came blazing as soon as the run started.  Things had been relatively overcast and cool on the swim and bike, but the mercury was rising with every step of the run.  I did my first 5 miles pretty much on pace, but then started to slow considerably with the heat. I think it got as high as 83, which is pretty warm for mid-September.  I wasn't so much out of energy or fuel, just felt the effects of the heat considerably (I always suck running in the heat).  After mile 8, I kind of pulled up a bit - and decided it wasn't worth killing myself to save 10 minutes in my final time - so I just enjoyed the run at an easy pace, got sprayed by about 5 different Boy Scouts with hoses, and dumped 10+ glasses of water over my head.

All in all, it was a good tune up for the Official Half-Ironman Poconos race coming up on October 2nd.  It also was a good piece of mind toward tackling the full Ironman next August.  I was pretty well trained and prepared for this race, and I was fully recovered within a day or so.


Half Ironman October 2nd
Atlantic City Marathon on October 16th

As a personal pat on the back, every race I've done this year has been a PR.  PR in the Half Marathon earlier this spring, PR in all my Tri events, PR (first time) in the Half Ironman, and will be shooting for a PR in the marathon in about a month.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Day After Tomorrow (According to The Weather Channel)

An earthquake and a hurricane - all in one week; surely the Apocalypse is upon us.  And judging by what I'm seeing on The Weather Channel, here is my best guess as to what will happen over the weekend with Hurricane Irene stalking us:

Sorry, I forgot where I was going with that.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

365 Days. Count 'em Down.

One year, 365 days from today I will be competing in the inaugural Ironman US Championships in New York City. 

Give me a moment to let that sink into my own brain as well.

Most people have heard of the Ironman World Championships that take place in Kona, Hawaii.  However, the Ironman Series also includes 8 other Ironman races scattered throughout the United States.  In 2012, Ironman is adding a 9th race in the US - this one in and around the NYC area.

Given that there are only a few of these races, and that the sport of Triathlon is growing by huge leaps and bounds in the US - these races tend to be very hard to get into.  And, unless you happen to be fortunate enough to live nearby one of the races - usually some sort of travel and overnight stays are required.

For me, my plan initially was to make the trek 6 hours North, and compete in the Ironman Lake Placid (upstate New York).  That race is so hard to get into, the only way to make it in is to volunteer for a 5 hour stint in the previous years event.  I was all set to do my volunteer work, until at the last minute they announced this new race - right in my back yard of NYC.

Given that 2012 will be the inaugural year for the NYC Ironman - no volunteering was needed to sign up; just a quick trigger finger on your mouse to get signed up quickly.  3,000 slots, at $950 each, sold out in 12 minutes.  Yours truly is one of them.

For the uninitiated, let's review what an Ironman Triathlon involves:
  • 2.4 Mile Swim
  • 112 Mile Bike
  • 26.2 Mile Run (Marathon)
The Swim leg will be in the Hudson River:
2.4 miles downstream.  Let's hope the current is cooperating that day.  The Hudson is typically much cleaner than the infamous 'East River', but let's not expect pristine Lake Superior by any means.  You exit the water just north of the George Washington Bridge.  I expect to be in the water somewhere between 75 and 90 minutes.

The Bike Leg will actually be on the New Jersey side, and shoot up the Palisades Parkway:
If you got in your car right now, and drove somewhere 112 miles away - you'd be in your car a little over 2 hours most likely.  You might stop somewhere for a soda, and to take a bathroom break.
As fast as I am on my bike, I'm not nearly as fast as your Ford Taurus.  I expect to be on the bike about 6 hours.

The Marathon Finishes in Manhattan:

I expect it will be a watershed moment when I finally cross over the George Washington Bridge, and enter the boro of Manhattan.  I've completed 4 marathons, but never one after having done all the stuff you just read through...  I expect the marathon should take me around 5 to 6 hours.

So, for those of you math majors doing a running total in your head - I'm looking at something around 14 hours to complete the Ironman, burning maybe 8,000 calories.

If you're looking for me in the next year, there's a good chance I'll be training.  And if you see me eating McDonalds, you have my permission to slap the chicken nuggets right out of my mouth.

The wildcard?  The weather.  Mid-August anywhere can be a crap shoot.  Today in NYC the high is expected to be 84 - which would be brilliant.  But 95 degree days are clearly a possibility in the dog days of summer.

I expect to be really well prepared for this event.  You don't take on an Ironman lightly, and truthfully I've been building toward this for 4 years.

365 days.  Count 'em Down.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Nerds on Patrol

So we took a Segway tour of the Washington D.C. monuments last week.  It looks nerdy, sure, but when you're zipping past tourists schlepping it on foot - you feel like part Superhero, part Paul Blart Mall Cop.  Either way - everyone gave it rave reviews, and I highly suggest you try a Segway if you ever get a chance.

Monday, August 8, 2011


I heard a great little analogy from Rick Santelli today (CNBC Host of Tea-Party fame), in regards to Obama's Administration:

"If my wife started spending 30% more this year than last year, and her answer was that I'm supposed to get 2 more jobs...that's the same analogy. We have a spending problem in this country." 

"You know what leadership means? It means that it doesn't really matter what S&P says. We all know deep inside that no country is the same as it was 5 years ago. And the market seems to be okay with it. And as for stocks going down we were already Ralph Cramden (of Honeymooners) on thin ice. Now an infant jumped on our shoulders. It’s just even more weight.

"In the end, in the end we need to address problems we know exist. A Treasury Secretary or a President should be out here not fighting S&P, not grabbing the other coach and slapping him around, taking the umpire behind the barn. He should be getting the team psyched to overcome.

"See I remember I had a professor in college. I wrote a great paper. Could never please this guy. But it made me better. Okay? We’re better than this. Don’t get caught up in the minutia. All this BS. We’re better than this. We need to prove it. We’re off the track. Whether we're better than some other country or not, the real issue is we're on the wrong path.

"Blame the Tea Party? Geez, no wonder Kerry did so well in an election. If it wasn't for the Tea Party, they would have passed the debt ceiling thumbs up, we would have been rated BBB."

Oh, and Congress is on Vacation until September 7th.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

east coast mark recommends:

A few items worth taking note of:

Derek Jeter 3K:
As a Twins fan, I have a painful history of watching my Twins go down in flames at the hands of the Yankees.  I've been to 4 different Twins games at Yankee Stadium (most all of them playoff games) - and I've not yet seen a victory.  Nonetheless, HBO's new documentary following Derek Jeter's quest for 3,000 hits is pretty solid.  By all accounts he's a standup guy, keeps a tight group of loyal friends, won't get behind the wheel after having even 1 beer, and has a smokin' hot girlfriend.  Not to play spoiler, but he hit a homerun for his 3,000th hit - and went 5 for 5 on the day.  Derek Jeter 3K

The appetizing Minka Kelly

CEP Compression Socks:
Compression socks have been a hot topic for a couple years now, and I must say I'm a fan.  Compression socks are nothing new - doctors have been prescribing them to the elderly and obese for 25 help alleviate leg pain.  However, in the last couple years, the endurance athletic community have embraced these socks - and made them the hottest topic amongst any group of runners or cyclists.  The basic premise is that after exercise, you put on these very tight socks - and they help improve blood flow, and reduce lactic acid buildup and soreness.   I use them after runs of 6+ miles - wear them for 3 or 4 hours, and I wake up the next morning feeling completely fresh.  $59.95 from CEP

Johnston & Murphy Slip-Ons:
You ever see frat boys stumbling around town wearing flip flops?  I know, I hate it too.  I have flip-flops, but only for the purposes of going to the beach or walking the 50 paces out to the pool.  My go-to shoe for the summer are slip-ons from Johnston & Murphy.  They're far more practical for walking around in, protect the foot, and you avoid the 'slapping' and stumbling from a normal pair of flip flops.  I probably burn through 1 pair a summer.  Always worn sockless.  $99.00 from Johnston & Murphy

Vesper Martini:
I don't always drink martinis, but when I do - I prefer the Vesper.  I've been making this drink as a bartender for probably 5 years, but only started to drink them regularly about 2 years ago.  A straight vodka or straight gin martini tend to be a bit much for me.  This drink combines them both, and throws in a dash of lillet and lemon.  Extremely agreeable for a hot summer evening.  They won't know how to make this at your local Applebee's (nor have the right ingredients) - but if you go to a half decent bar, one proficient in the art of cocktails, they should be able to help you out.  I drink 6 at a time.

Also, if you've seen either of the most recent 007 movies - Bond drinks them ever so smoothly:

"A dry martini," [Bond] said. "One. In a deep champagne goblet."
"Oui, monsieur."
"Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?"
"Certainly, monsieur." The barman seemed pleased with the idea.
"Gosh, that's certainly a drink," said Leiter.
Bond laughed. "When I'," he explained, "I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I can think of a good name."
—Ian Fleming, Casino Royale

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Vincentown 2011 - Tri #3

My third triathlon of the season was this past Saturday. Even though these events require a 5am wake-up call, I'm always glad they have them on Saturday mornings vs. Sunday. Having them first thing Saturday morning means that by 10am the race is over, and you have the rest of the weekend to eat cheeseburgers; guilt free.

Perfect weather - about 81 at race time. Back to a Sprint distance for this race (400m swim, 15 mile bike, 3.1 mile run). Wasn't my best swim ever, but still finished in the top 1/3rd. Bike I pushed pretty hard, even though there somehow managed to be a head-wind no matter which direction we were going. Averaged about 21mph on the bike. Run was decent, averaged just over 9min/mile. Not Kenyan speed, but looking better for me.

One area I'm really rocking this season is the transitions. "T1" (between the swim and bike legs) I had the 29th fastest time out of 180 people. What that really means is that I'm fast at getting out of my wetsuit, and getting onto my bike (and it's associated helmet, shoes, glasses) pretty quickly.

I always like to learn something new about my technique at each event, and what did I learn this time? I'm not a fan of the Cherry/Lime flavor of GU Rocktane. Opt for Pineapple or Chocolate instead.

2 weeks from now is the New Jersey State Championships, and it'll be the longest triathlon of my career - the 'Olympic Distance' (1 mile swim, 25 mile bike, 6.2 mile run).

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Field of Dreams 2 - NFL Edition

Antonio Cromartie, with his penchant for the ladies, might give a more believeable performance than the Harry Potter kid.

Update: Apparently he's a werewolf, not a wizard.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

GWOS III (Golf Weekend Of Spite)

I've just returned from our 3rd Annual Golf Weekend of Spite - a guys golf weekend at my cabin in Northern Minnesota.  My guy friends and I are hyper-competitive, and in addition to the competition on the golf course, the machismo carries over into everything from yard games down to who can build a better fire.  Hence, why we've termed it the Golf Weekend of Spite. 

72 holes of golf later (and as many beers) - and I'm not sure anything is decided, but a good time was had by all.

At one point during the weekend, all 6 of us sat down and took an IQ/Trivia test...just to establish who's smarter.  That's the kind of overboard competitiveness and spitefulness you just can't get while sitting on the couch with your girlfriend watching '27 Dresses'.

How's about a photo montage?

Turns out driving ranges aren't packed at 9am on a Thursday

Team Gameface

Team Whiskey (who played out of their skulls and won the day)

"Bags", being played by D-Bags

Beer, Steak, and Comfortable Slacks

Team Rickie Fowler won day 3.  Me and my orange cap sunk a 10 footer on 18 to win at -1 under par.

B, signifying that his team finished in 2nd place


Our technically inclined friend, MD, setup a projector to watch Wedding Crashers on the front of the cabin.  This is the view from the fire pit.

Another tidbit from the weekend was my creation of a new fireside treat - the S'more made with a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, rather than the usual chocolate square.  Perhaps gilding the lily a bit - but I highly suggest you try it at your next fire.  It's possible someone else in the world has already thought this up - but since it was an original idea to me, I'm claiming it as my own.