Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Race Report: Marcum & Kliegman Workplace Challenge.

DATE: July 29, 2008
PLACE: Wantagh, Long Island
DISTANCE: 3.5 Miles
TEMP: 80 degrees - 51% humidity - low winds - overcast

7200 Runners. 190 companies.......

............................................................In a 3.5 mile long race?

That's pretty absurd. Too many people, right?

But that's why I crept up to the front section of the race, because had I not done so, I would have been zig zagging everywhere. As it was, my final distance was actually 3.56 (that's an extra .06 more)


The weather was definitely cooler than last year and the sun was not out completely. Which is funny, because in the shuffle mode, the first song my iPod played was "Reach Out for the Sunrise" by Duran Duran. I know, it's kind of a gay song, but it had nice hooks for running.


One nice thing about Jones Beach is that you are in the complete wide open, and as such, my Garmin never lost satellite reception. So, when I report what were my best spurts within my splits here, they are legitimate. Keep reading it's down there somewhere...

The guy who sang the national anthem, works at Runner's Edge. I actually spoke to him today at the store about him singing tonight. He's the lead singer in a local rock band (whose name escapes me). I bought a pair of sunglasses to replace the ones that I had lost, and another visor to replace the one that I had left at home. Nice going, Alex. Aces.

Before the start of the race, I knew there was going to be trouble ahead. Traffic-wise that is. 7200 people is a lot of people. Ocean Parkway was backed up for miles in both directions as the traffic snaked it's way around between eastbound and west, all in the search of entering the parking lot. I have no shame in telling you that I zoomed past a lot of cars waiting patiently in single file to go around this jam. I know, I know, people like me suck. But I didn't want to miss the team photo. Well, I missed the team photo.

By the time I got to the parking lot it was full. If you can believe this, we all had to go past the needle, and park in Field 4. I was in a pretty foul mood about this. I should have left the office earlier. Guess I like my work too much it seems. I tried to leave, but I never go by a watch, only by a task, and my last task I committed to do did not end until 5:15pm.

Anyway, this year, our tent was even further from the start than last year. Any further, and I think I'm going to recommend that the Marcum lawfirm make separate T-shirts for us bearing the name Long Beach State Park instead. Oh wait, Long Beach isn't even a state park. Whatever.

The usual suspects were there at the tent. All except for Jon Garber, who was stationed in Germany, and could not make it in, and Steve Stransky, whose not really had much time to run of late. I can totally relate to that life-getting-in-the-way type of thing too.

I was feeling loose tonight, with tremendous inspiration I had garnered all day long from my colleagues and from emails alike, and I felt like I was on a mission to kick major bootay.
Also, I was impressed by the fact that it didn't feel as hot as it normally did, thanks in part, to the hat and sunglasses I sported for the first time at this run.

Intelligently (Yes I know, a bit rare for me) , I made my way to the starting line about 25 minutes before the airhorn ( I would like to say gun, but race directors are wusses in this day and age....I say use a stick of dynamite the next time we do the race. Hey the freaking people 5 miles away waiting to start might actually get to hear this. Oh shit. This parenthesis-laden blurb is too long).

My first mile, was great. Except for some chunky guy who looked like Pugsley from the Addams family. He was annoyed that I was not giving way to his Jabba the Hutt like waddle ( I have to admit though, he was one fast mutha jabba.).

So the first mile I did in 7:00 flat (7:00.20 for those calculating maniacs out there). Whoa! A little fast. In fact, and not captured by the Garmin, was the fact that when passing the .5 mile marker, I looked, and my watch had said 3:27, which would have been a 6:54 pace, and with the exception of that exceptional race at the airport a couple of years ago, this might have been one of the fastest starts ever for me since I started this odyssey again in 2003.

So. Could I keep it up? (Okay. You people have sick minds, you know that? That's not what I meant to say!)

Halfway during the second mile is where we turn back around. Typically if we had any tailwind, then we'd be hit with headwind. Fortunately, there was very little wind to speak of, and not too many people had Mexican for lunch either. So again, I say, very little wind to speak of.

I remembered last year, how I was dying during the second mile, and that was because I had gone out too fast. This year I went even faster, however I am a better athlete this year, and the sun was cooperating (Good Sun, Good Sun).

As I passed the 1.5 mile marker, my watch said 10:57. I felt I had given up too much ground, because it had to have meant that I did the first half mile of the second mile in 4 minutes. Seeing nothing but straight away and a little bit of a downhill, I actually motored till I stormed past the 2nd mile marker. And now my watch said 14:08. At 3:11 for the back half of mile 2, that was by far, one of the best performances, I've ever put on in a short race. Having those 12 ounce mizuno Wave Riders really paid dividends tonight. I did pass a lot of people during this time, and I clocked my 2nd mile in 7:08.39.

Confusion can lead to let down. During mile two there is an area where you run a hairpin in and out of one of the field parking lots. I plum forget about this. All I saw were people ahead of me making a right turn, so I thought. "Yay. The finish is almost here." I also saw other peopple coming back out, but I also thought, "Wow. People are still running from the back of the race....Until it hit me.....Those people running out were pretty damn fast so they could not have been lined up at the back, rather it was a hairpin turn..... What a stoo-nad (Italian folks, can you help me out here with the spelling? Is it Stew-nads? No wait, that's when your "boys" are really cooking beneath your shorts....Oh, never mind...)

So, I was confused, and dejected knowing I was still further away than originally planned. Again, I drew upon my inspiration to pull me through and finished my 3rd mile in 7:08.65. Nearly identical to the 2nd.

Local races usually give out low numbers...Unless there's 7200 runners. I must admit, it stoked me when I saw someone line up next to me and their number was '6139'.

The last half mile I decided to walk and it took me 15 minutes. Just joking. I had to change it up. It was getting too predictable.

There is a little bridge leading to the Nikon Jones Beach Theatre. It is really the only formidable hill there (well formidable might be saying too much). I decided to hold back the rains a bit, look down (a tactic I used while in the Bronx during last year's New York City Marathon. Hey, if you don't see it, it ain't there, right?). I did look to my side, and counted lamposts backwards starting from 3. The third lampost, you see, is the apex of the bridge. From that point on, it's all downhill. 3 - - - 2 - - - -1 and blast off.

I honestly didn't think that anyone from my company had passed me, and at this point, I wasn't going to let that happen either. I had a shot at internal victory, and I just reached out, remembered of my inspiration, and grabbed the glory. I surged, out of control, and let it all hang out (just the legs, nothing else). Grunting, like a McEnroe from old, I soared past the awaiting crowds, the announcer, through the chutes and crossed the finish line, and did that half-mile in 3:54.30. However the most impressive thing of all is that my Garmin had me marked as doing .56 and not .50. A big difference, if you ask me.


Yes, I was drained when I finished. Yes I even felt like my bladder was going to go (but didn't, whew! ), and Yes, I fucking lost my hat AGAIN. Urrrrgghh!!!!! (When will I ever learn? I was disoriented. What the hell do I do with these hats when I finish a race, anyway?) However, in the grand scheme of it all:

(1) I came in FIRST PLACE in my company which sported nearly 100 runners.

(2)The final time of 25:11 was a PR for me for this distance.

(3) The 7:11 PACE was my second-fastest "2nd running life" result.

In fact, if I wanted to be nit-picky, which I am since I'm about to tell, then with the real distance of 3.56, I actually paced out at 7:04. But in the end it doesn't matter because even the 7:11 is the second best (after the JFK 5k of 6:40 pace), in my second-coming of a runner.

Also, and as I mentioned all the way back in the beginning of this diatribe are my bursts as reported by Garmin:
Mile 1.00 Best "burst": 5:49 per mile pace.
Mile 2.00 Best "burst": 6:19 per mile pace.
Mile 3.00 Best "burst": 6:31 per mile pace.
Mile 3.56 Best "burst": 5:47 per mile pace.
Now what exactly is a "burst"?
I have no fucking clue.
I looked through the manual just now, and Garmin doesn't even have a clue.

I figure it's some short measurement of time/distance within that lap. But what the time/distance is again.... I STILL HAVE NO FUCKING CLUE.

Perhaps, the guy who programmed the watch's source code, left the company to work for Polar and never gave away his trade secrets. Sort of like KFC's original recipe without the arterial-blocking additives? What the hell am I talking about? The brain is jelly now, sorry.

What will be great, is to see how I finished overall. Last year, M&K took nearly 2 weeks to post the results. I'll be eagerly awaiting this to send to Scott to update our team.

It's nice to know that I'm still not too old where I can't continue to improve. Although inevitably, biology will dictate otherwise, I hope I never hit that age-performance plateau and decline.

Okay. It's official. I have lost the 3 marbles I had left for brains. Time to clean up, shower up, and go to bed.




Sunday, July 27, 2008

Don't Let This Happen To You...

Of course this is easier said than done. There have been many times, like with the Quantum Feet race a few months back, where I've abandoned the "stop" switch on my vitals. Going all out when there's already nothing left. Not too smart. Although, then again it was for a trophy....DISCLAIMER: I AM NUTS. DO NOT LISTEN TO ME.

Okay. Now you may listen again...If it's hot, please try to stay cool. Stay hydrated. Take some salt packets and put them in plastic baggies. Salt's delays the release of important nutrients that quickly escape when you sweat or drink. Also, wear a visor. And for Peter, Paul and Mary's sake, listen to your heart, listen to your lungs, and listen to your head. If you feel dizzy, slow down or stop. And if you can't listen to any of this smart shit, then turn your iPod down and try again.

I felt really bad for this fellow runner because he was only 200 yards from the finish. I would love to know if NYRR gave him a medal or not, but in the meantime, here's wishing for a speedy recovery for him.

Massive Teff-eatin' Tadesse Tola breaks the tape to win the 2008 Nike NYC Half-Marathon at Battery Park today.

Today was a bit of a half-marathon for me as well. Looking for parking around Battery Park is no easy chore. First of all, you need to learn how to speed read. A plethora of signs written to confuse mixed with angry drivers behind you wanting to move around you but unable to because of narrow windy streets, does not make for a happy driving experience. 45 minutes later, I found a spot near the corner of Wall and William Streets. I made my way down to Battery Park, where the runners were finishing, and went halfway across the overpass on West Street where I snapped up these photos:






I was looking for Scott, Bonnie, Vince, whomever I could find wearing our FPRR shirt, and did not see anyone, hence, the abundance of arbitrary photos that I was taking. But in the end, however fuzzy it may have been, I hit the jackpot with Scott's final 200 yards... Hey! Is that him in the northeast quadrant of runners in white, wearing that "Let's Get Physical" Olivia Newton John headband? Hold on.....Let's take a closer look......

Yes. I would have to say that by his MP3 armband and what looks to also be his Garmin, that was indeed him. Nice job, Canon!

The finish area was a zoo. Though having taken that photo of Scott, I did not see him, nor did I see anyone else for that matter. After leaving a few voicemails (including one from Moisture Alou this morning, wishing Scott to not break a leg as Moisture all but has), I finally get a call back from him by the baggage area. Seeing him all tired and shit, made me feel great that I felt better than ever after a Half-Marathon. Of course, I didn't run anything at all today, but those are small details one has to overlook.

We made our way over to the goody bag area, and I shamelessly accepted one that was given to me. The apple sucked, but the water and the pretzels were greatly appreciated. It wasn't too hot outside, but the humidity blew chunks, if you get my not-so-subtle drift.

We also had some disgusting protein bar that they were giving out. I think it was called Heavenly. It should have been called Deadly instead. The only difference between this performance bar and dog poop, is that the owner at least had the decency of picking up after his dog as opposed to wrapping it up in Madison Avenue tinfoil and passing it for human consumption.

Tom Brogan actually saw me first in the grassy area near the Jamba Juice station. Then, Bonnie finally called and then we saw her too. Then Vince, who teaches Chi Running, came upon us too. Before long the whole team was around...

Team Photo of Finishers: Peggy and her son also finished strong. Congrats everyone!

So, yes. I did want to run this race fairly badly, but considering I have the Corporate Challenge in Jones Beach on Tuesday night, it was probably for the best.

After we left, and got to the car, we drove over the Brooklyn Bridge (best bridge in NY) and headed onto the BQE. Surprisingly, the BQE was moving and so was the LIE. After dropping off Vince, Scott and I decided to go to this place he recommended called New Park Pizza.



The rain had started coming down. Hard. And then it was really coming down. The best was while we were eating, and hail started coming down like mini ping-pong balls. Guess the idea of going to the beach was out after all.


Our next Forest Park Road Runner "event", after the Wednesday night run that is, will be the July 31st premiere of UltraMarathon Man at the Kew Gardens Cinemas. This will be preceeded by Dani's Pizza at my place. Having read half the book already, it should be a good movie too!



FINAL NOTE: Mets up 8-1 and Tatis just got a Triple. How I wish I had been at this game! LET'S GO METS!!! ....... Now it's 9-1. Woo Hoo!

The Blah Days of Summer.

Not having the time to do my long run, I'm not entirely sad. I have the LI Corp Race in 2 days, and I don't want to be burning myself out before it happens.

And still....

It's like the blah's. My competitiveness is in a funk. I am not feeling interested right now. Blogs, Runs, etc. All I want are rooms with plenty of AC. And pizza.

I'm about to leave this morning to go and collect my friends, who right now, as I write, are running the Nike NYC Half. I even placed them on my alert list, so as to see how fast they are running, and to give me a sense of about what time they might make it into Battery Park. It's going to be a zoo over there (west side), so I plan to head out in a few minutes and either BQE or FDR it down there.

My project over in Connecticut this weekend was a smash. Ileana's having a nice time at her cousin's house in North Carolina.

Somebody please. Put on the Rocky soundtrack, or tell me something inspiring, as I am utterly lacking of any motivation (totally not me). Perhaps, I need to watch the three fundamental R's of sports, "Rudy", "Rocky" and the "Rookie" all in a row.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wallingbored.

The long days of summer are here. And no, I don't mean the heat (although it's fairly soupy out there). It's the work. We've got all kinds of projects sprouting between now and September. Exciting stuff, albeit it eats up much of my potential spare time. Unfortunately, It's taken a toll on my running and my blogging.

I do have a big race next Tuesday evening. The corporate challenge race in Long Island. Let me tell you; these next 2 weeks are going to be insane.

To start with, I am writing to you from my hotel room in Wallingford, CT. We have a project up here, and I will be here until Monday. Ileana could not make it. Just as well. Things have not been going so well between us for quite awhile now.
Then and on the 31st, I am hosting a pizza party at my house. So far, there's 7 of us and building. It's all for another event that I am hosting, the theatrical premiere of Dean Karnazes' Ultramarathon Man: 50 Marathons, 50 States, 50 Days. It's playing at the Austin Theatre at Lefferts Blvd.

Then, and on August 2nd, I have an 18 mile run or 3 loops around Central Park for the NYRR's club. This is an important training run for the NYC Marathon, and also for the huge race I'm doing on September 21st, the Distance Run, in Philadelphia.

Later on during the same day, I am taking the kids to see the Brooklyn Cyclone (Mets) take on the Staten Island Yankees. I've been the overall coordinator of this project, and 20 members and their friends and families from our Forest Park Road Runners Club. I assumed organization of this event, and was suprised to see how quick all the tickets went. Group Sales had assured me that our name will be up on the scoreboard during the 4th inning, and today I confirmed that they may also have additional tickets in section 22 box (just behind our section), in case more members want to go.

Then, and on the 12th of August, I will be going to see Boston/REO Speedwagon. This is followed by Journey/Cheap Trick/Heart on Augu 14th.

I saw the Batman movie the other day. It was excellent. Not sure if it was the best movie EVER made, which is what the poll over at IMDB.COM is saying based on over 120000 voters, but it is EASILY, the best comic book movie ever made.

Let's see. Oh yea. Running. Hell this is a running blog is it not?

I was supposed to run tonight, and all I could do was 5 miles on the treadmill here at the hotel. Blecchhh. I hate treadmills. To play it safe, I've already brought with me my Mizuno Wave Riders, my New Balance 1123's and my Asica Gel Nimbus 10 sneaks, so I'm prepared for whatever run I may decide upon while I'm up here in boring Connecticut.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Fill In The Blanks.

It's hard to imagine with after all I saw on Wednesday night, there being much more to review.
Well, here it is. Clips from Billy Joel's show from last night.

With Garth Brooks:
"Shameless"


or a better version here - > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sueZYtTjDEA&feature=related

With Steven Tyler of Aerosmith
"Walk This Way"


With Roger Daltrey of The Who
"My Generation"


Or a better version here -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9mEHn7TGA4

With Sir Paul:
"I Saw Her Standing There"


"Let It Be" (Part 1)


"Let It Be" (Part 2)


"Let It Be" (Hi-Res) another angle


I'll attempt to find Garth Brooks and Roger Daltrey soon enough.

Friday, July 18, 2008

It Won't Be Long Yeah -or- Here Comes The Paul.

Work has been insane. Week 1 of my Smart Coach training is literally out the window. I was supposed to have done a Tempo Run of 4 miles (7, altogether) last night, but between a late night at the office, coupled with an 1 hour conference call at 11pm with Asia, that all but did me in. I would have run this morning, but I had to be at work at 8am, and will need to stay till at least till 10pm for a special project. Ahh, the life of an IT-er. This pushes everything running-related back a day. My tempo run will have to be squeezed in around dinner break, my scheduled 8 mile easy run today will have to be tomorrow morning and my long run of 12 miles on Sunday should hopefully not be sacrificed. Ugh. Oh well. At least my right foot blister is almost gone. Lol.

Now, I don't want to be starting rumors, but if you go to the Montreal Gazette (here -> http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/story.html?id=72c641a6-f967-4f8c-bcc3-ae97fa97d852 ) , they are confirming that Paul McCartney will be in Quebec City on Sunday, July 20th to perform for Quebec's 400th anniversary.

Gee. How far is Quebec City from Shea Stadium? Only 500 miles. 1 hour by private jet.


I was one of the first people to get tickets to see Billy Joel on Wednesday. I patiently waited by the computer to get, what was at the time, the ONLY and LAST concert at SHEA STADIUM. I did this with the hopes of seeing Billy Joel, of course. Do I really care if Paul McCartney shows up at tonight's ugly and unwanted stepchild of a last show?

Nah.

I've only been listening to the Beatles since I was in the attic of my Queens Village home listening to "I Want To Hold Your Hand" on my rocking horse. I was 3 years old. So why, in this God-loving, decent and fair planet, should I be irked by the fact that Paul McCartney WILL be coming to Shea Stadium to play and sing with Billy Joel tonight, on a show that was not even supposed to have existed? I should be somewhat happy that my buddy Scott will go and enjoy himself, but...

...to add sulfuric acid to my already potential gaping wound, is the fact that I just learned.....my EX-WIFE will be at the show tonight with her husband. Who else would like to join the cavalcade? Please! Leave me your comments!

I would have gone tonight if it wasn't for the fact that I have to be at work tonight. "IT'S BEEN A HARD DAYS NIGHT, AND I'VE BEEN WORKING LIKE A DOG". Never before have those words spoken such a true chord, right? And yet, while I do feel like i've been working "EIGHT DAYS A WEEK", such is the price of freedom I guess. I do love my job, and trust me, it is far better to be working in today's world to to be unemployed.

But back to my whiny bitching.

Folks going tonight will get a piece of HISTORY. And all I got to show for it is JOHN MAYER.

Sincerely,
Disgruntled, Discombobulated, and Disappointed.


PS. Of course, I will look a like a horse's ass, should Paul not appear tonight, now that I've puked it all out here for all of us to see.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Concert Review: Billy Joel and the Last Play At Shea


Why anyone living in the city would want to spend $30 dollars in parking, just to spend an hour or more sitting in traffic just to leave after a concert is beyond my rationale. So, and in honor of Shea Stadium, we decided to take the "7" train for its last (or *ahem* I should say "next to last") concert.

Both the "F" and "7" trains were remarkably quick, clean, and we had no problems finding seats. And when we arrived at Shea, you could already tell this was going to be one sausage stuffer. People teeming everywhere, and not the weak or for those who are not into crowds. And talking about sausage, thousands were tailgaiting at the Shea parking lot. Mmmm. Can you smell it now? Oh, wait...not that... that's Flushing Bay... turn your nose over there.....ahhh now you got it my friend....

We got in thru the turnstiles, where they inspected our bags. And debating whether or not to risk surrendering a $500 dollar digital camera to a 500-pound gorilla bouncer, I decided the latter. As one could expect, I was pretty peeved to see how many cameras digital and video seemed to have made it into the stadium. I do have crappy pictures from my Motorola Razr phone, and will post them on this blogpost, but I have no access to it now, so if you like, come on back later tonight. As for videos, unfortunately, I do not have any videos that I took of my own, however YouTube has lots. So, I will be flagrantly promoting everyone else here today (thanks, everybody). Oh, and yes, they were giving out tags to wear that had serial codes. The codes can be used for downloading for free, material from Billy Joel's remastered "The Stranger" album. I found two more that were left behind at the end of the concert.

Concession stands were selling all kinds of neat and very expensive stuff. For $150 dollars, for example, you could get a blue and orange baseball jersey with "Joel 08" printed on the back.

Our seats were very nice. I was in a Field Box seat in section 247 in the last row (row J). We were on the 1st base side, slightly to the left of the stage (to Billy's perspective). The weather was beautiful tonight, and the $9.50 24ounce Bud Lights were flowing freely at the concert. I'm glad I stockpiled on those the moment we got in as the line was several yards long afterwards.

The stage that Billy was performing on was incredibly massive. It was far larger than anything else I've ever seen before here at Shea, and I've seen the Rolling Stones - Steel Wheel tour back in the 90's too. There were video screens plastered all around on either side of the stage, and beautiful, towering silk screen collages of New York on both sides as well.


There was the mention that Miramax was filming this and the Friday concert to include in some form of documentary/concert performance. Perhaps that's why all the stops had been pulled out.

The tickets read an 8pm performance, but Billy did not go on until about 8:40 or so. Based on this, I thought he was only going to be onstage for about 90 minutes or so. Wow. Was I ever wrong. At the end of his last song, Souvenir, I had looked down at my watch and it read 11:50PM. Over 3 hours long.

1. The National Anthem


The show kicked off with Billy singing the National Anthem. As a model citizen, I removed my ballcap and held it over my chest as we all sang along. It's kind of funny in a way, because no one applauded when he came out. He just started singing the anthem after the PA announcer said about rising for the National Anthem. The sun was almost down.

Billy loves to joke with his crowd, and it was nice to see that throughout all these years, that he managed to maintain his Long Island accent as well as his humor.

He started the crowd off by stating that "This is where New York meets Long Island" as he looked all around Shea. "Yes, Queens is the city, but geographically it's Long Island."



2.Miami 2017
Ahhh.. Here we go! Nothing says New York best like hearing Billy Joel start off an outdoor concert at Shea with the lines "I've seen the lights go out on Broadway." Even better though was when he added a line about the Mets and Shea.

3.Angry Young Man

Everytime I hear this song, I always reflect upon my youth, especially during my high-school years, and of all of the boneheaded mistakes I've made as a result of my anger. Billy's machine-gun fingerwork on the keys were not off at all. He's still got the speedwork (hee hee, I said 'speedwork') if not his original pipes.

4. Yankee Doodle Dandy
Read my comments about this on the 'My Life' review below.

5. My Life

It's funny how those who think they know, sometimes know less. When Billy started playing the first few chords of this song, I instantly shouted, "My Life! Allrrrright, Billy boy!!!" Ileana, turned to me and said "What are you talking about, Alex? That's Yankee Doodle Dandy. Even I know what that song is." And you know something, she was right. Clever Billy. He started off with a song similar in chord structure before blending in to the song we all know and love. I can't wait for this to come out to DVD

5. Everybody Loves You Now

As soon as 'My Life' had ended, Billy stopped to address the audience...
“I want to apologize to those of you who bought tickets thinking this was going to be the very last show,” Joel said. As soon I heard this, I, like the majority of the 60 thousand plus actually booed his ass. Joel then said, “I know. I suck.”. Boos turned to laughter, and then he plays, 'Everybody Loves You Now'. Incredibly appropo, dontcha think? Joel went on to add that scalpers took away any chance of fans from getting to the first show, and that it was Shea's decision to add another show...after this one....Freddy Coupon has done it again, was all I could think of.

Second only to "Until The Night" from his 52nd Street Album. "Everybody Loves You Now" has got to be one of my favorite, not-so-little-known songs from his discography. As with all of his music, the melody filled Shea like a fine wine pouring into a goblet. And as this song played on, wonderful replays from the New York Mets, such as the amazing catch from Chavez during Game 7 of the 2006 series against the Cards, the 1986 World Series victory, and the dugout clearing for 1969's championship, all played on the mega screens. What a delight for Mets fans!

6. The Entertainer
Here's another crowd pleaser. Joel goes: “I remember when this place was built, I was about 13 or 14. Now they’re going to tear it down. And I’m still playing.”
We all tried to sing the lyrics (well at least I did), but could not keep up with Billy's ever increasing energy.

7. Zanzibar
Billy Joel kept his joculatity at a maximum with the crowd. Just before launching into this baseball-themed song, he asked how many in the audience were Mets fans, then asked the Yankee fans to say the same. The horn section was absolutely magnificent. Especially Carl Fischer, homegrown from Baldwin, LI. This song and Mulberry Street were excellent rock jazz tunes. I also knew that if Billy was reaching deep into this catalogue, that we would be in for an amazing show tonight.

8. Allentown
What's that break horn he plays at the beginning of this song? I absolutely love it, and wished they did this in my office at lunch. Either that or that stupid teradactyl from the Flintstones would do just nice. Everyone is singing. Audience participation at a Billy Joel concert never needs to be requested. We happily give it.


9. Billy the Kid
I was actually buying Carvel when this song came on. All I could think about was Billy Wagner, and how he'd better not blow any more saves. Pathetic.

10. New York State Of Mind featuring Tony Bennett

When the first few notes of New York State of Mind plays in New York, it draws everyone's attention, naturally. But after Billy Joel sang the first line, he suddenly stopped. Did he forget the words? No. But he did introduce Tony Bennett.
Everyone's pretty freakin' halfway floored at that statement, but when Tony Bennett came out the job was complete. Not only did he woo everyone, this guy can still belt them out. And he really got into this song. On top of that, Tony's infectious smile over the megascreens got to everyone. From this point onward, I don't think anyone in the nearly 63,000 seated stadium, sat anymore.
11. Big Man on Mulberry Street

It was great to see the videos that Billy had playing in the background for each of his songs. No detail left untouched either. For example, when "from Houston to Canal Street" was sung, they actually had a view of Canal street from uptown.

12. Root Beer Rag
At this point, Billy Joel mentioned that this would be a good time for people to get up and go to the bathroom, especially because, "I have a heck of a time trying to get all these notes right, I probably am going to screw up!". There was a woman behind me who was screaming and dancing wildly to this song. By the looks of her, she was definitely over her BAC. While this song played, Ileana was afraid she'd get lost, so I escorted her to the bathroom. On the way back, I asked if she could take a picture of me next to the Mets sign in the corridor. For nearly the entire song, she was having difficulties with the camera. Understandable, since it is a Motorola Razr. By the way, did I mention what a shitty camera the Razr has? Anyway, I got short with her, and she got angry at me. And as usual, she got quiet for the rest of the evening. So when Billy played the next song (below), I pretty much yelled out the lyrics....

13. Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)
Songs that are played on the radio, at just the right moment, but now instead in concert. Has this ever happened to you?

14. Goodnight Saigon
Not sure whether they were just singers in costume or the real deal, but during the chorus of this song, the spotlight illuminated on a dozen or more sailors and NY police officers singing. The choppers at the beggining and the end of this song were loud and convincing. Illegal aliens in Corona, just across the GCP from Shea, must have been running for cover when they heard this. La Migra! La Migra!! (INS, in Spanish).

15. Don't Ask Me Why
Another crowd pleaser.

16. This Is The Time featuring John Mayer

Billy turns to the crowd and says "I heard recently, that this song keeps getting more and more play at graduations....". For some spastic reason, I had guessed "Only the Good Die Young", lol. And then John Mayer is introduced, and he plays on the guitar. Frankly, I'm not all that impressed with John (all the ladies, will probably be throwing knives at me right about now). What's the deal with him anyway. I heard his music, and it is okay, but not something that I would rush out to see or buy. Anyway, the best part of this song was when Joel sang out "They’re tearin’ it down now, but it’s just as well. If it’s just as well, this was the way to say goodbye!", referring of course to the imminent demise at Shea.

17.Keeping the Faith
This was never a song that I particularly liked, but that's what makes Joel so strong and diverse a musician. His music is varied, as are his fans. Many of them were dancing and singing along to this tune as well. I guess they were "Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Keeping the faith!!!"

18.Downeaster Alexa

This is a local favorite amongst Long Islanders, but it seems that now, some 20 years after it's release, that it's a bit out of tune with what's happening with the rest of the world. I was impressed by the reach of his notes on this song though. Not bad for what, a fifty-eight year old?

19.Stand By Me

Billy stands up and pulls away from his "Long Island" Grand Piano. He takes the mike and .....Here we go again. What sounds like is going to be 'An Innocent Man', winds up becoming that famous Ben E. King song....and then....

20.An Innocent Man
I loved that he did this song. Everytime I hear it, I can't help but to think about that time that my first wife, Lorraine, and I, were in Niagara Falls. I can't remember the actual place, but it had a recording studio called "Sing Like A Star". In short it was a karaoke place that recorded you singing. I still have the tape of me singing this song. I sounded wretched of course. And of course I will never play it here (unless you want to be punished). Am I innocent? Hardly. But this song always brings me back to that time.

21.Boys of Summer featuring Don Henley

Never having seen the Eagles, or any of its members separately in a live performance, this was indeed a treat. The vocals could have been a bit louder, and Henley was still off, but this is a classic tune from him, and Billy Joel does it yet again, to get an appropriate "baseball-themed" tune played for the masses at Shea.

22.She's Always a Woman
"And she'll take what you give her, as long as it's free"
-Nuff said.

23.Captain Jack
This person got some great seats for sure!

Another favorite of mine, and as expected the weed-to-nostril factor was greatly elevated during this tune. Not enough to get a contact high, but enough to remind me of a past long forgotten.

24.Lullabye
The sadness of this beautiful ballad that he wrote for his daughter packed the same wallop to me this time as when it was first played on my then Technics CD player back in '93. Silent whispers of a relationship he once had had with then wife Christine Brinkley, were definitely prevalent during the playing of this haunting tune....

25.River of Dreams
At the start of this song, Billy announces, "I want to thank the Beatles for letting us use their room,”. And somewhere near the end, the crowd erupts when Joel turns Dreams into Night. A Hard Day's Night, that is...

26.A Hard Day's Night

This was about as tight a cover of this song as I've seen, perhaps even tighter then when Liverpool played it at Mark Lapidos' Beatlefest in Secaucus several years ago.
At one point, he began to sound so much like Paul McCartney, that I lost control and actually yelled out "Oh My God!". With all of the performers coming out on stage, I was really beginning to believe that contrary to the reports about the remaining fab four being unavailable, that Paul did come to Flushing. It was a definite downer when he did not show up. As the song ended, Joel spun back to finishing up with River of Dreams.

27.Pink Houses featuring John Mellencamp
(or Melonhead as my friend Scott has recently mentioned)


Of all the guest performances, John's may have been the most powerful if not as emotional as that of Bennett's briging-the-house-down State of Mind

28.We Didn't Start the Fire
The first time I had heard about this song, it was actually on the news. The advance word of it was that this was like Joel's response to rap music, in a educational, historical sort-of-way.
Every word uttered by Billy on this song, was met with an effective visual response on the giant screens. If he said Nixon, voila! There was a picture of Nixon in the background. What a great song. Without a doubt one of my top 5 songs from him.


29.It's Still Rock and Roll To Me

The video in the background showed Joel back then too when he had a huge head of dark, wiry hair. Great song. Every word pungently sung!

30.You May Be Right
"I just may be that loooooooooonatic you're lookin' for"
His concert was so great, that I am reliving the singing right now as I write this review. Electrifying.

31.Please Please Me

Right after 'Please Please Me' the show ended. Yeah. Right. Joel is no different than any other accomplished rocker. And so encores are an expected must. What was surprising was that he did FIVE encores starting off with.....

32.Scenes from an Itallian Restaurant
Everybody singing. Cigarette Lighters turning on. "Things Are Okay With Me These Days"....I felt like saying, 'I got a new life, I got new sneakers and the family's fine.'
One of these days though, I will get the red and white bottles in the right order. Ugh.

33.Only the Good Die Young
"Come out Virginia, don't let me wait
You Catholic girls start much too late
aw But sooner or later it comes down to fate
I might as well be the one"

Always loved this tune, and it always reminds me of my Aunt Virginia too. Her and my Uncle Antonio were big into Billy back in the seventies. They married in '77 which was a huge year for Joel, and rock in general.

34.She Loves You
"The Beatles were the first, and they will be the last, They are the best and will always BE the best!!!!" and right after that proclamation by Joel, he unleased into She Loves You, having everyone gyrating and going nuts..... "Wooooooooooooh!"

35.Take Me Out To The Ballgame
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NTzpC_eeyI <- Video Link To Song... This was by far the best stadium participation of this song ever! In continuance of his never-ending exhuberance of his performance tonight, Joel went straight from this tune to this one.... 36.Piano Man
What would any Joel show be without this song? Watch the video below, and you'll hear what I mean. He didn't even have to sing it. The audience did that for him. About the only downer was that I now had finally given up hope that Paul McCartney a/o Ringo were going to show. I guess I now know what teens and adults alike must have felt when the Fab Four had finally broken up in 1970.

36.Souvenir

For as strong as the audience sang to Piano Man, 'Souvenir' started and ended with nothing more than a mere wimper. Idyllically, a perfect quiet ending to his show, and a perfect parallel to this stadium which has had so many fond personal memories for me.

In the end, this was an explosive summer concert. Just as I never forgot Joel's hammertime performance at Yankee Stadium in 1990, where he was practically on his death-bed with the flu, the show at Shea last night was nothing less than spectacular. He might not have the high notes to do songs like "Uptown Girl", which he admitted to in a report a few days earlier, and he might not have done all of his numerous hits, like "Honesty" (but when you have several dozens, how could anyone, right?), but this show is a memory that will last for a lifetime.

If you're reading this before his last show at 8pm Fri. July 18th, live in the area, and have a little extra $$$, then you owe it to yourself to see this performance. It was outstanding.

One suggestion. Take the "7" train, and just anticipate the bottlenecking a little bit. The MTA added service for this worthwhile event.



Wednesday, July 16, 2008

9 Miles and Billy Joel

I finally got my run in this morning to make up for yesterday's debacle. "Smart Coach" had called for 9 miles yesterday at a 9:33 pace. It was actually very difficult to run at the pace they suggested, as I wound up doing the 9 miles this morning at a 9:12 pace.

Tonight is the Billy Joel concert at Shea Stadium. I'm pumped. I'll be sitting in the Field Box section row 247J seats 4 & 5. Based on where the stage is (centerfield), I have pretty good reason to be excited. Now, I've seen BJ plenty of times. I've seen him play at Yankee Stadium, and I've seen him twice play with Elton John too. His music is played out on the radio station, but he's a great live act, and truth is, I have not heard his music in a while. I was going to drive there, but parking's gonna be a bitch, it's gonna be expensive, and it's going to be stressful. So I'm doing what New Yorkers typically do in situations like these. I'm taking the frickin' subway!!!
Review and set list will be

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ever Have One Of These Days?

When it comes to preparing for a race, we all have the best intentions, don't we?
Yesterday, I started my first week of training for the NYC Marathon. Monday was a day off, but today I was supposed to run 9 miles at an 9:33 pace.

It never happened. I could not wake up this morning. Did not have enough time during lunch to do 9 miles, and tonight. Whoa, tonight.

My Garmin was near death. I never charged it fully. I'm also notorious for waiting until the last minute to turn my Garmin on, because I'm afraid the battery will die before the end of my run. However, I wait too late, and then I have to waste precious time just waiting around until the satellites link up with my Garmie. I am a Garmin Retard.

So, while I waited, I decided to do some stuff around the house. 7pm, 7:15pm, 7:30pm. Finally, and at 7:40pm, I figured I had juiced the Garmin enough. I put on my iPod, took my Garmin, and left.

And then I came right back.

After stopping twice on the elevator ride down, and walking outside I noticed that my iPod was dead. Guess I never charged it after Sunday's race. So I buzzed to get back into the building, and took Ily's iPod. Then I went back to the elevator. Whoops. I forgot my towel and my headpiece. Since it was 84 degrees outside, I definitely needed that stuff.

I left again, and headed downstairs. I leave the building. Whoops. I still had the uncharged iPod on my left forearm, while now wearing Ily's iPod that was on my hip. Running with two iPods? Now that's retarded! What will people think?

I buzzed to get back in the building and back up the elevator. Ileana opened the door and I gave her the 2nd iPod, then I left again.

And went back downstairs.
And left through the front door.
And turned on my Garmin.
And turned the corner to begin my run.

And then....
My Garmin died.
So much for that charge, right?
Now I had no time, the sun was going down, no GPS, and the music playing in the background was Julio Iglesias. What kind of an ass would I have to be to get all "charged" up by a love ballad by Julio released in 1976?
And now I was going to miss the All-Star Game too.

Done. I'm pissed. And Done. Not going to run tonight. Too many mental mistakes. Too many issues.

To add woe to insult, I now can tell you that a drained battery has nothing to do with why my iPod is dead. I just tried to charge this puppy for the last hour, and no go. I will now need to contact Apple. Ay Vay!

AUTHOR UPDATE: Well, I got my iPod to work again. But I've eaten more food tonight, and did not run. Tomorrow at 5am. Have to run. This is a lousy start to my training. Boo.

Monday, July 14, 2008

NYC MARATHON TRAINING SCHEDULE

16 weeks from today, my legs will look like straight "two-by-fours", but there should be a nice curvaceous smile on my face, for on Sunday, November 2, I will be participating in my 4th consecutive New York City Marathon, and 7th overall.

For this year, I have decided to give Runner's World magazine a shot, and use their 16-week training plan. Since I've already have a big base, I'm going to go for broke and use their "advanced" program. It calls for an weekly increase in a long run going up to 22 miles.

The entire program can be seen here --> http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-238-244-255-6946-0,00.html Just scroll towards the bottom, it's the "advanced" program.

I love the first day of the program. Take a look....

Sunday, July 13, 2008

RACE REPORT: NYRR Naples-New York Park to Park Race


WHAT: NYRR Naples-New York Park to Park Race
WHEN: Sunday, July 13th, 2008
WHERE: Central Park, NY
HOW: 10 kilometers
WHY: Because the race was moved from Sat. (Bon Jovi) to Sunday
WEATHER: 71 degrees // 81% humidity // 6 mph Wind
TIME: 48:40
PACE: 7:50
OVERALL: 670 out of 3990 - Top 16.7%
GENDER: 578 out of 2330 - Top 24.8%
AGE (40-44): 92 out of 311 - Top 29.5%
RATING: 231.82 points (Excellent)
PERSONAL RACE RANKING since 1984: 20th out of 82 races.
PERSONAL RACE RANKING since 2003: 15th out of 68 races.
RACE SPLITS:
Mile 1.0: 8:18.53 Mile 2.0: 7:59.56 Mile 3.0: 7:37.89
Mile 4.0: 7:46.38 Mile 5.0: 7:40.59 Mile 6.0: 7:25.05
Mile 6.2: 1:52.04 (pace 6:44 because it showed .28 miles)

Scott dropped by my house even before 6am. I was barely alive this morning. After an all-out eating binge yesterday at Lake Compounce, all I kept wishing was for a major extraction this morning.

However, the Red Bull and the Gatorade were major scores"A++++"s. Thank you, Scott!

Parking is always better in New York on Sunday. The parking meters are not in effect, and there are more people gone in the summer on Sundays than on Saturdays (Hamptons, etc.).

We got to the park in plenty of time, even after a nice mile long walk in each direction. A nice warmup, considering that I did not stretch before, and very little afterwards too. I was never that limber to begin with. Tomorrow, is the start of my 16-week New York City Marathon Training Program, and I will need to stretch a bit more.

Scott and I started with him pulling slightly ahead of me. As always, NYRR races are very popular, and traffic was bad. Sort of like the Cross Bronx ( sorry Scott, I know your nomination is the Van Wyck, but dude, I lived in the Bronx, and it was a nightmare ).

The humidity was even worse than I had initially thought. 81% is what NYRR reported on their race report. My sneakers were cooperating, and I was actually able to keep up with my fellow Forest Parker for the first 3 miles. Harlem Hill was not as bad as I had expected, and the water sprinklers along the course were marvelous. That's two huge things that NYRR got right today. One, they made the race on a Sunday, which makes it easier for us Queens folk to park, and Two, they kept us cool with the water sprinklers.

Water seemed to rule this race. The water sprinklers were prevalent along the course. Scott may be wishing he had not skipped his first water spot. My sneakers were squishing with water at the end. And water was the only thing being offered in cups today as there was no gatorade anywhere. So yes, while I did whine about taking a dip in Lasker Pool today (see this post -> Scott's Blog), I already had all the water I could handle by the end of the race.


One more note about water. It was also right around the 3rd mile marker, near the water stop, where I had lost Scott. I thought he had pushed ahead, so I pushed ahead as well. However, my 7:37 in my 3rd mile was too much for me to maintain at the time, so I pulled back to a 7:46.38 for my 4th.

Cat Hill was in the 5th mile, and I really struggled here. Yet, my Garmin showed me completing this difficult part of the race in 7:40.59. Wow. Cool.

In the last mile and 2/10ths, all I focused was on passing as many people as I could, 1 person at a time. By now a lot of marbles were rolling around in my head, and I was panting like a rabid dog. However, my new Gel-Nimbus 10s were really doing great for me. I posted a 7:15 average over my last 1.28 miles (yep, I ran an extra .08, which is what happens when you have to zig-zag around people, water stops, etc.) Just the psychology alone of knowing that I had removed a 1/2 pound off my feet was incredibly relieving too. Imaging when I start training with the heavier NB1123's and switching off to the Gel's or perhaps even the Mizuno's (nearly another 1/2 pound lighter than the Gels). I am getting older, but God bless, have no signs for wear yet. I have run 7 of my last 9 races in sub-8 form, which is my best ever so far. I still have much to improve and prove and my long-awaited, and highly-anticipated 16 week program for the 2008 NYC Marathon, kicks off tomorrow.

Somewhat to my surprise, I got back to our meeting spot, and Scott was not there. He did complain of leg pain and perhaps fell back, although I didn't see this happen. He did run a very respectable 8:08 though, and he's on pace for an even greater Nike NYC Half in a couple of weeks.

As for myself, while I did not do a "modern-day" personal best, the 7:50 pace was off by only 3 seconds a mile. Given the heat and humidity, I did exceptionally better than I thought I would.

Teamwise, we had a real nice showing today. 9 of us ran today in this hot and sticky weather. Finally, I want to recognize Sandra Jeet. Or should her last name be Jet? She rocketed her way to a sub-9 10k. Congrats, Sandra!

Action-Packed Weekend.

I need a vacation from this vacation. Where to begin?

Thurs. July 10

Besides my most awesome expedition through Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan, I did stop by the Jack Rabbit Store located on 42 W. 14th St. in New York. I have to give my props out to Scott (Siegel) from the club, who pointed me in their direction. He had already given them high praise, but it was hard to understand the level of hype. Until I got there. The service at this store is impeccable. Not only was the staff extremely courteous, but get this....THEY ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT THEY ARE SELLING!



Patrick, who works at the store, had me (and get this again) hop aboard one of their three treadmills. Ankle-high, on the floor behind and in front of the treadmill, were closed circuit cameras. When I started running, they started recording, my motion that is. Along with determining not only size, width, and arch type, they later gave me a full in-depth prognosis of my run style, based on the video. Incredibly, they mentioned that I do not pronate. In fact, they told me that I had the "golden" triangle of a perfect footstrike. They could not believe that I was in Beast shoes at all, and strongly recommended me to go into a neutral running shoe. Now this was news to me, because I have not been comfortable in anything but Brooks since the start of my running in 2003, and even before, when I was just about to hang up my laces in 1986, I was also wearing Brooks. Now, don't get me wrong, I love my Brooks, and Jack Rabbit said they are great shoes. Only that I did not need them based on my motion.

So, while I eagerly await my New Balances in the mail, I went ahead and got 2 more pairs of sneakers for rotation purposes that should last me until next year. The Asics Gel-Nimbus 10 and the Mizuno Wave Rider 11s.

UPDATE: THIS JUST IN: Today is now Sunday, July 13th, and I ran my first race in the Gel-Nimbus. I am extremely impressed. Jack Rabbit Sports, you guys are the best and I will be back next year!

Part of the Jack Rabbit "crew". Guy on the right (not Patrick) sold me the shoes, when I came back to the store.

Later that evening, I finally took Ily to the Bohemian Beer Garden in Astoria.
The place got packed. Pitchers of beer were only $14 bucks, and the kielbasa was excellent. There was a local live jazz band playing there, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I was actually trying to connect with Courtlandt "Courtie" Barnes (ex-Avon'r). I knew he lived in Astoria, and was even lucky to find his number. Unfortunately, he didn't call back. Perhaps out of town?

While we're not a "harriers" style group, Jack thinks we should consider getting a group outing here one evening. I'm game. Sign me up!


Friday. July 11th Nothing! I actually rested (somewhat) that day.

Saturday, July 12th

After an early morning run with Jack, and meeting up with Scott who was first there for the 8am run, I went home showered and picked up Jack at his home. Destination? Lake Compounce in ristol, Connecticut, only about 15 miles SW of Hartford, CT.



We went up there with Jack, met up with Mikey, Gus, Ada and Kevin and his family, and had a very enjoyable time. I only lament that I did not have my kids this weekend, and was a bit short-sighted in not arranging to switch weeks with Bern. However, the multiple (at least 6) water rides plus the roller coasters, bumper cars, haunted house, and the gondola (which takes you over 1000 feet and is about a 30 minute ride alone) is definitely well-worth to do this trip again. My kids get out of camp in August. Perhaps I might be able to plan something for a return trip there.

There was one other lamentable note of mention. I ate like a pig. Chicken, Ribs, Hot Dogs, Sausage, Cheeseburgers, Ice Creams, Potato Salad, Regular Salad, Corn on the Cob. All consumed in mass quantities by me. By the time we got home at 10:30pm (which also lamentably, was late for a race the next morning), I felt like I was the first man to be pregnant with a bowling ball.

How then, did I do in my race today (Sun, Jul12th)? The next blog should answer that question.....

Sunday, July 12th

Well, I finally got to see Scott's house. It's in a very nice area of Rockaway Park. We had just arrived there after a well done race by both of us. A few weeks back Scott managed to score 4 tickets to Yankee Stadium to participate in MLB's All-Star Week in New York. We went to see the All-Star Futures Game and the All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game. The seats were nothing short of awesome. Field box seats directly behind home plate maybe back about 75 feet. Comically, Scott, Chris and myself all dressed up in Mets gear. What can I say, we just don't care about the Yankees all that much. The weather was phenomenal too. Blue skies throughout the day. Beer was $9.50 and Parking was $30. Okay, maybe everything was not perfect.

I did have a few gripes about the management of the game however. Yankee Stadium did not throw up the scores around the league until 1:30pm. Perhaps it was to conceal the fact that the Yanks were already losing 4-0 by then. Also, there was no lineup at all. You had to rely on the scorecard and build it yourself.

The World team wound up defeating the USA team 3 to 1, powered behind a homer to left, by Che-Hsuan Lin. Unanimously, he won the Futures MVP Trophy. Oh, and yes, he is a member of the Boston Red Sox. Ha, Ha, Ha!

Afterwards, the Legends & Celebrity Game took place.

On the celebrity side was the most famous of all Yankees diehards, actor and comedian Billy Crystal, along with Oscar Award winners Whoopi Goldberg and Marlee Matlin. They joined Chris Rock and George Lopez; celebrity chef Bobby Flay; director Spike Lee; defensive end Justin Tuck from the Super Bowl champion New York Giants; celebrity softball game veteran James Denton of "Desperate Housewives;" TV correspondents Maria Menounos and AJ Calloway; and actors William Baldwin and Kyle Massey.



Major League legends included Hall of Famers Ozzie Smith; Rich "Goose" Gossage; Tony Perez; Dave Winfield; George Brett; Ernie Banks; Gary Carter; Rollie Fingers; Wade Boggs and Paul Molitor; plus seven-time All-Star Tim Raines and Yankees fan favorites Tino Martinez and Paul O'Neill.

Even I got caught up in the action:

I just finished watching the Mets on ESPN. What a solid performance. 9 wins in a row, and Pelfrey was amazing. As one fan's sign accurately read, the Rockies were "Pelfreyized" tonight. Sorry Larry, I know you like your hometown Rockies, but the Mets are rolling thunder at this point. The last time that the Mets picthing had 4 shutouts in the last 6 games, was back in 1969. And judging by the fact that they were absolutely putrid prior to that year, my guess is that we are watching, perhaps, the best compilation of Mets pitching, perhaps ever. Reyes, has driven in runs in 5 straight games, his best ever, both Carlos' went deep and the 9-game winning streak is their best since 2000. I know this is primarily a "running" blog, but I love my team, and I love when they are doing great. Die Phillies, Die!