24 May 2011

80s Classics

Years ago, classics music meant music from the 1960s and older.  Nowadays, in the year 2011, 1980s music is considered classics, too.  Whatever 1980s music is called, to me it's the stuff I grew up with.  That meant America's Top Ten with Casey Kasem on Saturday, Friday Night Video on, duh, Friday nights, and America's Top 40 on Sunday morning and afternoon.  Oh yeah, also Solid Gold with Dionne Warwick, which is not always good, but there were good moments.  I never got into music enough to learn any instruments or join a band, just enough to recognize most songs that were played on the radio.  At some point, Life changed and suddenly one day I don't know any of the current songs or singers.  Sure I discovered Jonathan Coulton and whatever songs honored by "Weird" Al Yankovic with a parody, but in general I don't know much else.

This past September when my Son joined the chorus at school I thought he would be singing church music and such.  Or maybe worse the typical crap played on the radio these days.  Luckily his teacher has a 1980s project for them to work with and Son came home with songs like "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and "Hit Me With Your Best Shot".  Around Christmas time the chorus practiced and sang Christmas songs, naturally, but comes spring and they finally unleashed their 80s classics.  Today I got to attend the performance outside Brooklyn Borough Hall.  They performed many songs and I recorded them all badly but Journey's Separate Way is one of my favorite songs, so here it is!  (Note to self:  zoom in before the performance begins and do not zoom back out until the performance is done.)

21 May 2011

NYRR Brooklyn Half Marathon

I did it!  A year ago I stumbled upon the finish line, sort of, of the NYRR Brooklyn Half Marathon, but today I was part of it.

As usual, getting to the starting line is half the challenge, thanks to the MTA's regular weekend track work.  I thought I would take the D train to the Prospect Avenue station and walk from 4th Avenue to Park Drive West.  Normally the D does not stop at Prospect Avenue, but on weekend it usually does.  Alas, the D was not running toward Manhattan, at least not from my station.  I got lucky and caught a train just as I climbed the stairs to the station, otherwise I would have to wait a long time.  Based on suggestion from the NYRR Facebook page, I took the Q from Coney Island to Parkside Avenue station.  I had a vague idea where the starting line was and followed some fellow runners, but since I had to go to my high-numbered corral, I ended up making a big circle around the lake in Prospect Park.  I think I walked 1.5 miles from the subway station to my assigned corral.  Too bad that distance was not included in the 13.1 miles.

I ran in Prospect Park twice before and was out of breath both times, with just one loop around the inside.  To better prepare for the two loops in Prospect Park during the Brooklyn Half, I have been training in Dyker Height.  Before I would just go up the hill then down the hill toward the BQE then head back.  Lately, I also head toward 80th Street and 12th Avenue, going up and down the hill in the process.  I think the training helped somewhat as I did not feel as bad as when I ran in Prospect Park before.

It is not true that once you are out of the park it's all flat.  Just right outside the park, we had to climb over the bridge over the Prospect Expressway then down into the Expressway itself, only to climb again into Oy Vey Parkway.  I read somewhere that spectator support along the Parkway was sparse and it was true.  Maybe there is some local ordinance about noises, or the rich people living along the Parkway don't want to be disturbed.  It was a hot and sunny day, but luckily the Parkway was half covered by tree shades so only when we entered intersections did we get some sun.  I don't think there is an Avenue A, but the first avenue name I noticed was Avenue H.  Slowly the letter increased until we reached Avenue Z, then it was Neptune Avenue then we turned onto Mermaid Avenue.  I don't know how it was done earlier when there were many more people, but by the time I got to Coney Island we were directed to get onto the Boardwalk using the ramp near the handball court.

On the Boardwalk, I had "Somewhere in Brooklyn" by Bruno Mars playing on my cell phone but it was unnecessary and ineffective.  Some DJ already played loud motivational tunes and support from the crowd along the Boardwalk was great.  As usual, I sprinted the short distance on the Boardwalk, not just the 0.1 mile to the finish line, but some distance before Mile 13.  After the race I attended a meet-n-greet with other runners who I am friends with on the web site dailymile.com.  It's always nice to put some real faces to the faces we see in cyberspace.

I was hoping I would break my personal record of 2:23:40, which I achieved with the Manhattan Half Marathon in the dead of winter in January.  I was able to run non-stop, bypassing all the water stations, which were serving frozen water anyway.  For the Brooklyn Half, to be safe, I stopped for water three times, around Mile 7, 10, and 12.  I was disappointed to discover in the end that my time today is 2:24:40.  Even though conditions are not the same, I still hoped I would outdo myself.  Other people on dailymile.com sure did best themselves.  I don't know how they did it.  I just have to train more, I guess.

20 May 2011

Somewhere in Brooklyn

Less than 24 hours to go for the NYRR Brooklyn Half Marathon, yay!  I was actually at the Brooklyn Half in 2010, but only as a passerby.  I just resumed running after years of off-and-on running.  That morning I decided to run along Stillwell Avenue to Coney Island and sheesh, where did all these people come from?  I asked one of the runners who were walking to the subway station and learned it was the Brooklyn Half Marathon.  What a novel idea, half a marathon instead of the whole thing!  I ran the full marathon back in the late 1990s and even ran 2 shorter races and since then I did not keep up with NYRR.  Funny how one moment you don't care about nyrr.org and a short time later you regularly visit it to check out the races, not that the site changes that often.  I am sure I signed up for those 90s marathons with pen and paper, but not sure how I registered for the 2 shorter races. Maybe NYRR used to mail entry forms to its members?  How did we ever live our lives without the Internet?

Bumping into the Brooklyn Half in 2010 gave me an idea.  I was just back into running and did 3K everyday, maybe 9K on the weekends.  I knew I was not ready for the full marathon, but perhaps a Half is achievable.  I signed up for the Queens Half Marathon and managed to finish it under the 3-hour limit.  It was one of the hottest days of the summer and I walked from Mile 10 to Mile 11 or one of those miles at the end.  The important thing is the goal was achieved.  Next I ran the Bronx Half, under better weather and improved my time.  Lastly, one freezing day in January 2011 I ran the Manhattan Half and set my personal best of 2 hours and 23 minutes.  Maybe it is wishful thinking but for the Brooklyn Half I want to outdo myself again.  Conditions are not the same, of course, cold weather vs. hot weather.  I was able to run the entire Manhattan Half without stopping for water.  But we can dream, can we not?

17 May 2011

Fartlek, Anyone?

Colonoscopy technology is so advanced these days, doctors no longer have to put on gloves and get messy with the camera probing about.  Instead, doctors can be assisted with a voice-control robotic arm that does all the work.  It all starts with the doctor's command, "See colon, enter."

Seriously, I don't think the technology changed that much since I last had one more than five years ago.  It did feel fast.  One minute I was having a broken chat with the anesthesiologist then the next instance he woke me up to go to the recovery room.  I did not even feel groggy, just bloated from all the gas that went in.  From what I blogged last time, I had a nasty headache because of the fasting before the procedure.  This time maybe because the liquid diet actually helped somewhat, or maybe because of my recent more active lifestyle, I did not have a headache at all.  Not the morning of the procedure, not afterward.  Before, if I somehow forgot to have coffee in the morning, or skipped lunch, a headache certainly came in the late afternoon.  I think it is mostly due to all the jogging and regular exercise.  We have only one body to worship, let us take good care of it through exercise!

Speaking of which, here is just one more joke.  Since I skipped running two days in a row, I thought of putting in some miles after the procedure.  I asked my doctor about it and he said, "Fartlek, no; fart, yes."  OK, such conversation never happened but I did refrain from running today. 

16 May 2011

Diarrhea of A Mad Man 2011

One of my favorite scene from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was when Dr. McCoy, having traveled back in time, met a woman at a hospital who was scheduled for some surgery.  The good doctor gave her some pill and she was up and running shortly afterward, no need for any messy surgery.  Maybe some day colonoscopy can be done without all the, uh, messy preparation.

I will have a colonoscopy tomorrow and, based on what I wrote in 2005, not too much has changed since I last had one.  Without going back to the blog, I mistakenly told my doctor that I last had it done in 2001.  Good thing it is about time I have one done anyway, as my father had colon cancer that was detected too late.