Friday, February 29, 2008

Road Across America - Bedford, Pa (268.2 Miles)

Despite how it looks, I'm still pretty far away from Pittsburgh. I know that Latrobe is somewhere halfway (remember? the Latrobe brewing company?) to there, but we're still talking 100 miles away. Shanksville, the site of the United Flight 93 crash is only 27 miles away, and I'm headed straight for it.

So I'm in Historic Bedford, PA. What does "Wikipedia" say?

Originally called Raystown, Bedford was settled about 1751 and laid out in 1766. Bedford was incorporated on March 13, 1795.[2] For many years it was an important frontier military post. The Espy House in Bedford is notable for having been the headquarters of George Washington and his force of 13,000 while putting down the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794.

In 1758 the British Army came to Raystown to set up a fort. The fort was named Fort Bedford, for the politically powerful Duke of Bedford in England. Some believe this is how the town later got its name. Fort Bedford was built as one of the many British Army stepping stones through the state leading to the forks of the Ohio River; the other side of the forks was dominated by Indians. The British used the fort to drive out the French to ensure the new continent would be English-speaking. The fort was later a safe house for settlers escaping Indian raids. Fort Bedford was “liberated” ten years before the Revolution by American rebels, James Smith's Black
, and was the first fort taken from the British. The fort later collapsed and was reconstructed in 1958.

George Washington marched his army to Bedford in 1794 to subdue the Whiskey Rebellion. There was much more at stake than quieting the uprising of rebels angered by a tax on whiskey; Washington felt the constitution itself was at risk. The
rebellion mainly consisted of farmers who learned they could earn more selling
whiskey instead of grain. The Rebellion spread fast and when it reached Pittsburgh they almost burnt the city to the ground. Anarchy was on its way; the British and French watched every move hoping they could come back and take over. Washington knew he had to act and make a statement; the laws of America would be obeyed. 12,950 militiamen were called to Bedford leaving the rebels without many choices. One historian later stated, “It was at Bedford that the new federal government was finally to establish itself as sovereign in its own time and place.

Bedford, at one time, was famous for its medicinal springs. There is a mineral spring, a chalybeate spring, a limestone spring, a sulfur spring and two sweet springs. In the year 1804, a mechanic from Bedford, Jacob Fletcher, drank some of the water. The rheumatic pains and ulcers he had been suffering from troubled him less that night. From then on he often drank from the spring and soaked his limbs in the water. In a few weeks he was entirely cured. News spread and the “healing springs” quickly became popular.

The finding of the curative springs led Dr. John Anderson to purchase the nearby land and build a spa in 1804. Due to the lack of medicines in that time, people from great distances flocked to the hotel in search of a cure for their illness. The Bedford Springs Hotel was the first place in America to have an Olympic sized pool. President James Buchanan also made it his “summer White House”. While Buchanan was there the first trans-Atlantic cable message was sent to his room from Queen Victoria on August 17, 1858. The hotel, in 1855, also housed the only Supreme Court hearing ever to be held outside of the capital.

Chalybeate Springs Hotel, along with the nearby Bedford Springs Hotel, were popular resorts during the 19th century among the wealthy. President James Buchanan used
Bedford Springs as his summer White House. Other notable visitors to Bedford
Springs included William Henry Harrison, James Polk, Zachary Taylor, and Thaddeus Stevens. Rutherford B. Hayes, and Benjamin Harrison visited Chalybeate Springs Hotel, as did many other notable people.[3]

U.S. Route 30, also known as the Lincoln Highway, passes through Bedford. Up until the opening of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in 1940, U.S. Route 30 was key east-west route connecting Philadelphia to the west. In 1927, David Koontz built a coffee pot-shaped building, which was originally a diner. This building, a landmark in Bedford, was moved in 2003 to the Bedford County Fairgrounds.[4]

The Pot was built in the 1920s as a luncheonette and then fell into disrepair, but now it's a civic symbol restored to its Jazz Age glory.

Well that's all for me tonight. I need to get my long rest for my race on Sunday. I'm really tired too. If I don't go to bed soon, I may just blog out.......

Oh and by the way, I've had it with staying silent.....ROGER CLEMENS IS THE BIGGEST LIAR ON EARTH. All they have to do is force him to do a testicle test. If his testicles are the same size as his brain (slightly bigger than a pea, slightly smaller than a marble) then he's guilty!
Throw the book at him I say, the way he threw the bat at Piazza! I NEVER FORGET!!!!!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A New Blogging Record

But first.....a map for this Sunday's Irish "Almost" Spring Spectacular!

I have posted more blogs this month than any other. Guess I had a lot of shit on my mind. 28 posts in 28 days. Nice.

I ran another 5 miles at the gym tonight, but what I was most impressed with myself was how well my post-run stretches went. Slowly, and surely, I feel the ability to reach down and stretch my hammys further than ever before. And, keep this in mind, I am heavy. 162 pounds to be exact.

But, what exactly is heavy anyway? Earlier tonight I posted a question on the bulletin board of my online running group, RunningAhead.Com. In there, I had asked about when the best time was to eat the majority of protein. The answer I got wasn't even as valuable as the person who answered it. Nice fella by the name of Marcus had about an inch height and 10 pounds on me.

But check this out....His training runs were anywhere from 8 minutes down to 6 minutes or so per mile. Awesome. Health and Conditioning. Perhaps those values may prove to be victorious over that of weight in the end result of a race. We shall see this Sunday.

And we SHALL see this Sunday...
...For I've compiled a list of all of my races, and just popped up a history of all of my 5k runs.
part two:

Last year's JFK run was twisted wasn't it? 20:43. A 6:41 pace. I was insane. And yet, I would have been nearly a full minute off what I did when I was 19 years old when I came in 3rd place in the Stroh's 5k Liberty Run. Ahh, how youth is wasted on the young...With all the fun that I am having now, just breaking 8 minutes a mile, can you imagine doing a race where I am averaging 6 minutes flat per mile?

My times for the Shamrocks is 23:51, 24:10 and 24:22 for a pace of 7:29, 7:42 and 7:52 respectively. I want to attack this course with a vengeance. So I plan to rest heavily beginning tomorrow night and Saturday. I want to be fully rested for this.

I also hear that it will be snowing early Saturday morning, but that it will warm up Sunday to about 38 by race time. I only hope the course is not icy or slippery. Fort Washington Avenue is heavily trafficked however ( no, not with drugs ) so the slushy stuff should be long gone. Hey, I just noticed something....Fort Washington Avenue.....Port Washington Boulevard.....Hmmmm....

Another thought running through my Speedy Gonzalez mind is "To Red Bull or Not To Red Bull" that is the question. Red Bull does give me some awesome energy, but I have also read somewhere that caffeine before a run is not good. Caffeine constricts the blood vessels, particularly capillaries. Blood is what carries oxygen to all parts of the body. Oh, and yes, New York bagels are what carries calories to all parts of my gut. Jabba The Pig, anyone?

Recently, my dad accused me of posting a "fake" check on the Internet. He, like Roger Clemens, is insisting that I never won any money from him. I never won any money from Roger Clemens either, so I guess I am then comparing to him LYING like Roger Clemens. Truth is, those were the last 5 dollars that my old man had. And as proof of that, when they came to New York recently, they were so strapped that they didn't even have clothes to wear!

That's my old man and his wife jogging through the snow in their birthday outfits. They couldn't afford to pay me for betting against the Giants, so I repo'd their clothing.

Actually, my father looked nothing like that at all. The man is so skinny, he could probably pick bank vaults with his waist. He makes that student-exchange kid who made the headlines after being starved in Egypt, look like my first ex-wife after her second plate of bacon, while cooking a third casserole of home fries. Okay, I better chill and show some respect for my Dad....Even if he does like Michael Jordan over Wilt Chamberlain. Oh...You were thinking I was going to forgive myself for my comments about the first ex.....Yeah, RIGHT!!! Bitter dregs we are tonight, aren't we?

I failed to comment about this year's Oscars. Disappointing. Ellen Page for Juno LOST. Marco Beltrami, composer for 3:10 to Yuma LOST. No Country For Old Men WON for best picture, again disappointing. Thank God, Daniel-Day Lewis won for "Blood", or else I would have boycotted next year's event.

Also, you'll notice some new countdown clocks on the right. Hope you like 'em.

Lastly, you have all been seeing this picture on my blog for quite awhile now:

Hey! I've been a busy boy! Lotsa of work at the office, and mucho training, makes 'Jack' a very NOT so dull boy, after all, y'know.


It's actually a very good book too. All about modern sports icons in NY through the eyes of a NY reporter.

I will try and read it this weekend whilst I relax, and catch up on other stuff.

Does anyone have a Cliff or Monarch notes for this book that they could sell me? LOL.

Well the night is beckoning me. I will concede to that wonderful Dormia mattress in about 5 minutes. Good night, everyone!! And keep running. It's good for you!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rambling thoughts as I close in on my 100th hour of racing...

I keep thinking about my upcoming race, and while I may be at my heaviest from all of my previous "Coogan" runs, I am really looking forward to this Sunday. There’s something…I, I just can’t place my finger on it, that makes me go all out when I run Coogan’s. Is it the once- Armory now Track & Field Hall of Fame museum by the starting line, where I had broken my first “tape” ever in a 4 x 440 relay race in High School? Brother Kent, looked at me after I finished and was very worried. “You look very pale, son. Are you alright”, he cautiously asked. I broke out with a smile. Of course, I was alright. I just won the race for St. Francis Prep! It was one of my most shining moments in an otherwise, regularly-scheduled programmatical life.

But now my life is regular. The Superman cape has come off a long, long time ago. Now, it’s all about the fun of running and doing so at a pace that won’t win any races, but will win my enthusiasm of being alive and grateful for doing the things that I should never have quit on for such a long while. I no longer am ashamed of being “regular”, otherwise this site wouldn’t even exist right? Yes. I relish in my mediocrity. Fanfare for The Common Man, just as it was penned by Aaron Copland some 60 odd years ago, to be further improved later on by Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Perhaps “Lucky Man” might even be more updated and fitting of my current status.

Ileana will be joining me this Sunday. She'll either be watching at the finish line, or actually waiting in the car, ensuring I don't get a ticket. LOL. The cops in NY are not only hungry for donuts, but for giving tickets to anything that doesn't even look right!

Next Thursday is the New York Road Runner's Club Awards Dinner. It's at the New York Hilton next Thursday. Black tie is optional, so I'll be dressing to the nines for it. There will be awards, dinner and dancing. Well...."Two out of Three Ain't Bad"....LOL....

Every so often I take the opportunity to welcome all of you that visit my site, be it for several or even just once. I really appreciate the comments I get from all of you, and if anything I say is useful in your lives, then great! In a way, I guess I do this for everyone’s edu-tainment (educational entertainment), starting with my own. It’s fun to write about my triumphs and transgressions, my jubilations and my sorrows. One day, when and if I ever give THIS all up, I will have fond memories of it. That’s when I’ll start reading what I wrote, and re-live all of it as if it were a new spring.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Seventh Time A Charm?

So today was my big day by accepting the invitation to the New York City Marathon. I have already run 6 marathons in my life. As always, I hope to break 4 hours. Will I or Won't I? I'm no longer that foolish to predict the future. It will all come down to being in the best shape of my life, which I can control to an extent, and being lucky, for which I have no control at all. Perhaps the seventh running of my NYC Marathon will be a charm....

When I ran my race two weeks ago, I had listed myself as a member of the Forest Park Road Runner's Club. I must remind myself to send a check to really be a part of the club. Amongst all FPRR members, I finished the best. Ironically, I'm still not a member.

New York Road Runner's are going to be instituting a corral start for their races. Well, it's about time. The sport's popularity seems to be on the rise again, like it was in the mid-80's, and the times for the first mile for most people is horrible thanks to the congestion.

I did a 10k at the gym tonight. I felt like crap. However, I did pull off a 10.1 mph on the treadmill for a quarter-mile. I don't dare do any longer, for fear of hurting my bones.

The weather for this weekend's Coogan's race is shaping up to be good. 40 degrees and bright sunshine. Couldn't ask for any better, only that I hope the wind is calm. Last year, they claimed the breeze to be 16mph. Really now? It seemed much breezier to me.

My best time at this race was 23 minutes and 51 seconds, which I did a couple of years ago. This will be the 4th running of this race. If there's anything I must do for sure, is to make sure I am lined up when I need to be. The street is narrow, and congestion after crossing the starting line will be a bitch for sure. In fact, I remember doing a lot of zig-zagging because of the slow crowd ahead of me. It definitely cost me a few sceonds. Interestingly, the times and temperatures to all three previous Coogan's Runs have been fairly close to one another:

3/6/2005 - 24:22 36F 50H 5mph 7:52 pace
3/5/2005 - 23:51 35F 44H 14mph 7:42 pace
3/4/2007 - 24:10 34F 54H 16mph 7:48 pace

All 3 races were within 31 seconds of one another.
The big challenge will be my weight. I never weighed more than 159 for any of the Coogan runs.
Right now, I'm tipping the scales at 162.4. I'll probably lose about a pound between now and the morning, but I really need to cut back to get to 159 at least. Losing weight. My curse.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

OSCAR Night has arrived.

The 80th OSCARS are here!

These were the movies I have seen that were released in 2007.

As can imagine, I love movies almost as much as I love running.....Hey, I have to do
something when I'm not running, so why not watch a movie?

(2007) Movies I Still Want To See:
Charlie Wilson's War
The Great Debators
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Natural Treasure: Book of Secrets
4 Luni, 3 Saptanoni Si 2 Zile
The Man From Earth
The Air I Breathe
Hot Fuzz
In The Shadow of the Moon
Death Sentence
The King Of Kong
The Mist
No End In Sight
The Savages
La Vie En Rose

And now for the movies I thought to be the best in '08
(of course these are not valid categories at the Academy Awards, but so what?):

Best Comedy:

Best Documentary:
Sicko (haven't seen)

Best Horror:
Hannibal Rising

Best Crime Movie:
The Brave One

Best Drama:
Into The Wild

Best Love Movie:
Love In The Time Of Cholera

Best Musical:

Best Animated Movie:

Best Kids Movie:

Best Science Fiction:
I Am Legend

Best Foreign Film:
The Lives of Others

Best War Movie:
Rescue Dawn

Best Action Movie:
The Bourne Ultimatum

Best Supporting Actress:

That little girl in Atonement. (shit I forgot her name!)

Best Supporting Actor:

Hal Holbrook

Best Actor:
Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood"

Best Actress:
Ellen Page in Juno
(Jodie Foster in "The Brave One" a very, very close second!)

Best Direction:
3:10 To Yuma

Best Special Effects:
Spiderman 3

As this event draws to it's eventual commencement, it's somewhat similar to the Super Bowl. Lotsa hype, and a great amount of entertainment ahead. I personally, love it when they have the tribute movies to all who have passed on. And I know this sounds morbid, but they should really take the montages from every year and make a really, really, long tribute DVD!

One last note. I like Johnny Depp, but if he wins Best Actor over Day-Lewis, I will puke...